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Fear and Diversions

So far in February, the “Coalition” fatality rate is four a day. Thirty-three U.S. soldiers have died this month; two British troops and one from Poland have been killed. The average daily number of Iraqi deaths is sixty-two. That is 558 in just nine days.

I know if I turn on the television right now, I will see footage of Anna Nicole Smith. I am sorry that she died. I’m feel sad for her child, her family, and friends. But I am disgusted by the inane anchors who speculate about her short life, the death of her son just months ago, and the birth of her daughter whose father has yet to be determined. Last night, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer repeatedly asked what kind of hospital the “Reality Television” star was taken to. This on his show so pathetically called “The Situation Room.” Breaking News on “The Situation Room” is the collapse and death of Anna Nicole. Breaking News on “The Situation Room” is never the reality of Iraq. The many tragedies there are relegated to the crawl.

Here’s the situation: Next month marks the fourth year of an illegal and conquest-oriented invasion and occupation, a neocon exploit that has claimed the lives of almost 3,120 U.S. military personnel and an estimated 650,000 Iraqis. As lawmakers quibble over a troop surge, George Bush and Dick Cheney are plotting to bomb Iran.

Retired Brigadier General David Grange was perfectly positioned after Blitzer’s baloney broadcast and before another CNN lightweight, Larry King, who interviewed friends and family of A. N. Smith. Grange said that Iran, a member of Bush’s “Axis of Evil,” is responsible for many of the Improvised Explosive Devices now killing our troops.

The Mainstream Media are dealing in diversions and fear.

In March of 2003, CNN acquiesced when the now defunct Donald Rumsfeld did not want footage of captured and slain American soldiers shown on television because this “violated the Geneva Convention.” Rumsfeld cared about violating the Geneva Convention? Who knew?

Yes, it’s documented that the Bush Administration doesn’t want us to see images of war, the captured and dead soldiers, or the flag-draped coffins. I’m sure they have belittled an electorate perceived to be intimidated by fear and mesmerized by reality television. They were convinced that we would pay little attention to the reality of endless war. The midterm election disabused Bush of this belief and he was forced to admit that the Republicans had taken a “thumpin.”

Today, the neutered MSM continued their clamor to explore every single area of Anna Nicole Smith’s notoriety, especially her marriage to a now deceased, wheel-chair bound, billionaire octogenarian.

Iran linked to Improvised Explosive Devices. The death of Anna Nicole Smith. Fear and diversion. Intentional attempts to make us support a war against Iran and forget a war that never should have been waged.

But I don’t support war and I don’t forget. I look away from the area of the screen that allows trespassing into the privacy of celebrities as well as the privacy of fallible unknowns who become celebrities and search the crawler. Or I turn off the offensive chatter and access a computer site that documents the reality of Iraq.

So, here’s the situation: Our military is ravaged. So are their families. The Iraqi people are suffering unimaginable pain and devastation. Death and sorrow have been delivered by George Bush and Dick Cheney. There are no diversions for their victims.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:


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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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