Beyond that, I felt a little squeamish about everyone mourning one American when so many people have been killed. Most of the pieces I saw about Ruzicka's death were also concerned about that, and took great pains to relate her death to the whole disgusting situation over there. Also, Ruzicka chose to go to Iraq to help alleviate other people's suffering; in that sense she truly was heroic, and her life should be celebrated. But still, it made me uncomfortable.
This morning I see our pal Bob Herbert attended Ruzicka's funeral. He uses it as an occasion to write about the horrors of war - and the silence that keeps those horrors off the American radar screen
The vast amount of suffering and death endured by civilians as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq has, for the most part, been carefully kept out of the consciousness of the average American. I can't think of anything the Bush administration would like to talk about less. You can't put a positive spin on dead children.Ruzicka was working to to establish a U.S. government office to accurately document the civilian casualties of American wars. Shortly before her death, she wrote about why this is important; if you haven't seen the piece, it's here, among other places.
As for the press, it has better things to cover than the suffering of civilians in war. The aversion to this topic is at the opposite extreme from the ecstatic journalistic embrace of the death of one pope and the election of another, and the media's manic obsession with the comings and goings of Martha, Jacko, et al.
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So the public doesn't even hear about the American bombs that fall mistakenly on the homes of innocent civilians, wiping out entire families. We hear very little about the frequent instances of jittery soldiers opening fire indiscriminately, killing and wounding men, women and children who were never a threat in the first place. We don't hear much about the many children who, for one reason or another, are shot, burned or blown to eternity by our forces in the name of peace and freedom.
Ruzicka founded CIVIC Worldwide: The Campaign for Innocent Victims of Combat. Of course, I think everyone killed or hurt in this war is an innocent victim (assuming Bush and Rumsfeld don't get blown up.) But Ruzicka's work is important. The idea is to get this information publicly reported, provide compensation for victims and their families, and study the data in an effort to minimize civilian casualties in future "operations". (There's a euphemism for ya.) Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont is pursuing it on the government level.
War is always about sorrow and the deepest suffering. Nitwits try to dress it up in the finery of half-baked rationalizations, but the reality is always wanton bloodshed, rotting flesh and the lifelong trauma of those who are physically or psychically maimed.Read the whole column here.