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Reader comment on item: War's New Face

Submitted by Marc Molino (United States), Apr 18, 2003 at 15:17

I could not agree more with Mr. Pipes that the face of war has changed drastically, but I do not understand ...the explanation or proof of how those who go to war now "fight for the other side." Propaganda, PR, and media spin have become a huge part of war and naming a military "operation" with the words "justice," "freedom," or "liberation" does not magically confirm the intentions with such values. When the idea of confronting Iraq was first mentioned by the U.S., the intention was to protect ourselves from the weapons of mass destruction and his enabling of other terrorists. Those arguments didn't go over so well, so they were slowly spun with an emphasis more on how we were going to liberate the Iraqi people as if somehow right now, after years of oppression under Saddam, they suddenly deserved it. I sincerely hope the Iraqi people remain liberated and all of this leads to a better life for their society, but our intentions were not what I would call entirely altruistic, nor have I seen or read about many other conflicts that any militaries have gotten involved in with strong ulterior and self-serving motives. Hopefully, all this works out for the safety of the U.S. and the well-being of the Iraqis, but only time will tell that.

As for casualties, we don't "do bodycounts" anymore according to General Franks. While the duration of combat has been reduced and technology has provided better targetting methods, it has also introduced larger explosions, more shrapnel, and vile and dangerous remains that can plague a country from years (e.g., unexploded projectiles that sit like land mines for years, depleted uranium that seeps into soi and water, etc.). And for all our advances, it seems roughly 60% of coalition injuries were caused by ourselves and not the "enemy."

It seems like the distinction between enemy governments and their people will only be clearer as time progresses. Even in democracies, the actions of the government do not necessarily constitute the will of the people.

So, times are changing, but so are methods for manipulating public opinion, access to information, and shaping one's message, all of which makes it pretty tough for normal citizens to get a clear overall picture.
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