War of Words a Powerful Weapon in War Against Iraq
Were I the Moor I would not be Iago. In following him
I follow but myself; Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so for my peculiar end. For when my outward
action doth demonstrate The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, ’tis not long after But I will wear my heart
upon my sleeve For daws to peck at. I am not what I am. (I.i.57–65)
Iago, the central villain of Shakespeare’s Othello is both fascinating and false, not only for his “peculiar end” but for the cryptic manner in which he describes himself and later dialogues with other characters. Not for him a sense of “love and duty” but rather his own motives. Word play, (in this case a play on words about the play of words in a play, in a manner of speaking) is a means of distracting attention away from the horrible and illogical. Military industry frequently uses this tactic, as if in couching inhumane acts in banal industry code renders its misdeeds acceptable.
If a rose named cesspool remained as sweet then surely a massacre entitled neglect of duty tastes as sour.
Admittedly I do not know the complete story about Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the marine convicted of leading a massacre against Iraqi civilians in the Baghdad suburb Haditha, in 2005, killing 24 people. Wuterich claims his actions were intended to “keep the rest of my Marines alive“. The massacre, you see, was a reasonable response to the killing of one of his soldiers, as does happen in the midst of war among military personnel. A roadside bomb detonated beneath a car carrying Wuterich’s marines. Minutes later a car with 5 unarmed Iraqi men drove up alongside the car, and as the men ran from the scene, Wuterich shot all 5 men in the back.
Nearby, Wuterich believed he heard shots being fired inside a house and raided it, ordering his men to “shoot first and ask questions later.” A body count revealed women and children among the victims, yet Wuterich invaded another home, “prepping the room with grenades and eliminating a threat using targets.”
“Prepping the room with grenades and eliminating a threat using targets.” Word play for we attempted to blow a house of innocent women and children into the hereafter with a grenade and gunfire. Why can’t we have Uzis?
“It’s difficult for the court to fathom negligent dereliction of duty worse than the facts in this case.” – Judge Lt. Col. David Jones. A brilliant example of understatement.
“Even with the best intentions, sometimes combat actions can cause tragic results.” Word play for I fucked up.
“Negligent dereliction of duty.” Word play for the bigger issue is not dead Iraqis but cutting court and prison costs by resolving “the incident” quickly, and without further ado. (Much ado about nothing, anyone?)
“The truth is I never fired my weapon at any women or children that day.” Word play perhaps, for “you can’t handle the truth.”
We use words like honour, code, loyalty. We use these words as the
backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a
punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself
to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of protection that I provide
and then questions the manner in which I provide it.
Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men
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