Thursday, April 29, 2004

On Friday night, the ABC News program "Nightline" will broadcast the names and faces of every member of the armed forces killed in action in Iraq. While I understand the fact that the American public is growing tired of that war, and think raising questions about its justifiability is a good thing, this kind of populist statements by what is supposed to be a responsible news network is wrong, I believe. On the day before Independence Day, in Israel we remember those killed and murdered in the wars between Israel and its neigbors, in terrorist acts and in anti-terrorist acts. On that day - from the evening before Remembrance Day until the beginning of Independence Day the following evening - on one public channel all the names of the more than 20.000 Israelis killed in the more than 60 years of our existential struggle are shown. If such a thing was done in the States, with the names of those killed in Iraq placed within a wider historical context, it would make sense. Now it is just one of several gratuitous and cheap political statements, the likes of which make it almost impossible for democracies today to fight against any totalitarian or religiously driven opponent. The war in Iraq might be wrong, and the Bush administration is managing it very poorly - to say the least -, but if one opposes Bush's Iraq policy ( or lack of it ) one should use proper political means aimed at the political leadership, not cheap stunts, abusing the names and faces of those who died in Iraq. Weakening the morale of those brave men and women who serve their country so far away from home is wrong. They deserve our sympathy and support, and should know that if - G'd forbid - something happens to them they will not turn into passive and posthume pawns in what is just another cheap political game.

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