RANGER AGAINST WAR: From Both Sides, Now <

Saturday, March 15, 2008

From Both Sides, Now

A single death is a tragedy,
a million deaths is a statistic.
--Joseph Stalin

This was just posted by AP photographer Todd Pittman on the recent loss of his friend and fellow photographer, Dmitry Chebotayev ("Friend's Death Shows Cost of Iraq War.")

Lately more of these meditations on personal loss from members of the press have been appearing in the MSM. It is a shift from statistical coverage to real losses. It is not clear whether it is a ploy to catch the eye of an increasingly apathetic audience, or something different, like a recognition of the futility of the endeavors.

Here is an excerpt from Pittman's piece:

"I was always able to leave it all behind — until Dmitry was killed.

"That day, I crossed through a kind of looking glass, and saw the war in Iraq from another side.

"To the daily churn of news, it was just one more tragic story.

"To me, it was far more profound. It reverberated through lives thousands of miles away, changing them forever.

"I think about all the stories we have written — all the headlines and statistics that comprise the daily death tolls.

"I do not look at them so casually anymore."

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Anonymous tw said...

For more on the cost to our soldiers and the lies, death and destruction of this war I suggest people should check in on the Winter Soldier hearings that are going on right now sponsored by the Iraq Veterans Against the War.


Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 2:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

for me, it was all these afternoons of playing the pipes lowly and strumming the harp slowly at the funerals of the young men from arizona, now california.

it hit home the hardest when i played at the funeral of a young man i knew. he had been inside my house, dated one of my daughters, and the thought that he was now dead in the service of lies sent me reeling.

now, my friend, the sgt. major, is headed to afghanistan in a little bit. i fear for my friend. i know command sgt. majors can structure their deployments to weigh heavily on the safe side. he's not that kind of soldier.

i seriously doubt that any democratic candidate for president or congress will take much of a stand against this war. there is far too much money being made. those making that money will kick down to the politicians who keep the trough full at feeding time.

pick up my guitar and play
just like yesterday
then i get down on my knees
and pray. . .

i pray, but i don't hope much.

Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 11:22:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


What an appropriate verse. For those who won't be fooled again, what an interesting question to pose:

"When did you first come awake, and what was your reaction?"

You have provoked me into thinking about an interesting post.

And of course, I am terribly impressed by your fortitude, to be able to play the pipes or harp at such crushingly sad moments. I could not do it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 12:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys the Bitter said...

I think the point made is valid....most people are able to separate themselves from the losses if they don't have a personal tie. Some days, I swear I will commit murder if I have to hear one more person say "I don't listen to the news about the war, it is depressing." Cause, you know, it is a fucking lot more than that to those fighting it!

Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 12:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I am amazed at people's desire to turn away. Well, like Babs Bush said, it's not pretty, is it?

"Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee..."

Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 1:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous tw said...


My first revelation of this human phenomenon was when on my first weekend pass from Ft Dix after basic I went to an Aunt and Uncle's place in NJ. At supper when talking about VN, my aunt said, oh I wish they wouldn't show that on TV. I was appalled. Here I was about to go over the pond and she didn't want to hear or see anything about it. We ended up taking her to the movies and saw The Graduate and then we took her home and my uncle took me for a tour of the village, but I've still never got that statement or attitude out of my mind.

Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 11:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Not speaking to your experience in the particular, but it is outrageous to me the people who are so pro war yet are so absolutely untouched by it in any tangible way.

I remember in a college class during Gulf War I, such as it was, "the girls" sewing and making little do-dads of some sort. On the surface, making care packages, true agenda: looking to make contact with some hopefully young officers. Husband material.

However, I don't think they'd be so eager to hook up with some poor, damaged soldier, who didn't fit their image of handsome war fighter. they carried pictures of all the fit ones.

Monday, March 17, 2008 at 8:09:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

TW--yeah, believe me, the attitude is unbelievably widespread. I often feel I have to think/care about those "over the pond" with many times my normal intensity just to compensate for all the willingly blind and ignorant.
Course, I'd rather poke a sharp stick in their unlooking eyes and be done!

Oh, and Lisa? When T. came home from Viet Nam, where they got care packages and all that happy schlock? He got turned away from his dates' doors by their parents because they didn't want their darling girls dating a messed up vet. Fine, you twits...more for me, me, me!

Monday, March 17, 2008 at 10:27:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

TW, In the Graduate there was a scene of Benjamin hiding underwater in the pool. He was cut off of external stimulii- That scene was metafor for the war. Just float along and chill and all will be ok. In effect turn off your mind relax and float down stream.
And there in lies the problem. jim

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 9:14:00 AM GMT-5  

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