Let’s Fight Like Lovers If We’re Going To Fight

Okay, I’ve already fallen for one joke tonight, evidence of my mounting writer’s block, panic, and current mental tailspin. So when I saw this column calling for more “nuanced” coverage of the war, I thought it was another prank. Except I don’t think it is. I read it three times and the casual monstrousness of it still threatens to overwhelm me.

Many readers object to the daily publication of the “War Toll” of U.S. military deaths, which they perceive — understandably, I believe — as a reflection of the newsroom’s bias about the war. Typical is this from Ralph Little, who says it “tells me the newspaper is biased toward anti-war sentiment. The only purpose of such postings is to create outrage and opposition.”

Understandably.

Emphasis, I’m sure it goes without saying, mine.

Understandably.

God. And I say that as someone who does not pray lightly. God. God.

I don’t know what I can say in the face of that kind of arrogance. I wonder if they, these complainers that the death toll is biased against their pretty dreams, had a toll in mind that would have been acceptable to them. And I wonder why we couldn’t simply put a number on this adventure from the beginning, so that we all knew what the score would be, how many mothers fathers brothers sisters daughters sons we could kill before it became too much for our delicate suspension system.

Because I think, in the end, besides the deaths themselves, that’s what bothers me the most: how it keeps smacking me in the face, how many people think of this war only in terms of how it makes them feel, as if that’s what’s really important here. As if that matters. And how many members of our press continue to indulge them, to agree, to excise or obfuscate anything that might remind people that this is what they ordered, and that if they insist they still want it, that t still looks good to them, then they should eat it, even if they choke.

As if that is, in the slightest, understandable.

A.