Monday, November 29, 2004

Brits in Iraq get back into "Vietnam" with a vengeance

Looks like Iraq reporters have been getting Vietnam withdrawal symptoms. Just when we thought that ‘Nam and Swift Boats had finally disappeared along with John Kerry’s fortunes, it seems that 'Nam is back — at least for Brit reporters. On Sunday the BBC, using pooled material from the Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mirror, and Daily Mail, reported that the Scottish regiment, The Black Watch, were supporting U.S. troops in a river assault on the Euphrates River south of Baghdad. The journos quoted one Scottish corporal as saying, "This is unbelievable -it's like a scene from Apocalypse Now or something. Even the trees look the same. It could be The Mekong Delta." I could almost hear The Doors’ “This is the End” playing in the background.

Then today’s New York Times led with the headline “Shadow of Vietnam Falls Over Iraq River Raids”. The article, written by British-born John F. Burns, dealt with the increased use of river patrol boats — now called Surcs rather than Swift Boats — in U.S. attempts to squelch the insurgency. Burns also drew heavily on the imagery of Apocalypse Now — palm trees, mud, humidity, M-16s pointed skyward, all that stuff — to bring the spectre of that pointless war right back to the present quagmire. There was also a very Vietnam-like photo of a patrol boat set against a backdrop of baking sun and palm trees. Well, it’s about time the media got back to Vietnam as a very appropriate analogy to what’s going on now. I wonder if it'll last. Depends, of course, on the rising body count. But one thing we're desperately missing is a really rockin' soundtrack for this war, one that will stand the test of time as well as The Doors, The Stones, or for that matter Jefferson Airplane and CSNY. Recent efforts by Eminem and Clutch are a start, but only a start. (OK, getting a little facetious here, but it’s hard not to be when I consider the rubbish that has been passed off as journalism about this insane war over the past two years--though I don't include John Burns' work among the rubbish.) Anyway, I’ll doubtless return to this subject. ‘Nuff for now.


Blogger Victor The Talking Mule said...

Keep writing. I enjoyed the first ones.
The Mule at

11/29/2004 5:43 PM  

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