Dr. Dawg

Nightmares of war

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Multiple truths: to begin with, a long-forgotten poem by Charles Madge (better known as one of the founders of Mass-Observation):

The Times

Time wasted and time spent
Daytime with used up wit
Time to stand, time to sit
Or wait and see if it
Happens, happy event

For war is eating now.

Waking, shaking off death
Leaving the white sheets
And dull-head who repeats
The dream of his defeats
And drawing colder breath

For war is eating now.

Growing older, going
Where the water runs
Black as death, and guns
Explode the sinking suns,
Blowing like hell, snowing

For war is eating now.

War is a monster: and, in Iraq, the monster--indeed, several of them--prowl the streets of Basra, in both metaphorical and literal form.

Multiple truths. On the one hand, the townsfolk: "I have not seen such an animal before. My husband hurried to shoot it, but it was as swift as a deer. It is the size of a dog, but his head is like a monkey. It runs so quickly." "I saw it three days ago at night attacking animals. It even ate a cow. It tore the cow up piece by piece."

The local residents are convinced that the man-eating monster--a fierce, giant badger--was introduced by British occupation forces. "As we are close to the airport, they probably released this animal into the area." Nor are the waters safe: they have been stocked with snakes. The British Army has had to issue a formal denial on both counts.

The director of Basra's veterinary hospital says the badgers are native to the area, and that to blame their arrival on the British is "incorrect and unscientific." Speculation among "experts" (as they are called in the press) is that the badgers arrived after flooding of former marshland drained by Saddam Hussein to punish the Marsh Arabs in the south. A British Army spokesman, Major David Gell, said that the animals "don't stalk humans and carry them back to their lair."

Meanwhile, in the American zone, we learn that indiscriminate attacks on Iraqi civilians are the order of the day. The horror stories are summed up in this reported comment by one officer: "A lot of guys really supported that whole concept that if they don't speak English and they have darker skin, they're not as human as us, so we can do what we want." And there's more (Warning: for strong stomachs only. H/t Stageleft). The population, needless to say, is--terrorized.

Multiple truths: when the British are blamed for releasing monsters, what is really being alleged? For war itself is monstrous: and it's eating now.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on July 13, 2007 10:40 AM.

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