Baghdad Burning is the first of our texts that is blatantly creating/writing dangerously. The others we’ve read were political, yes, but Riverbend’s blog isn’t created with fictional characters, and it goes right at the source of the crap involved with what occurred in Iraq.
At some point before Bush and his cronies made the decision to go into Iraq, when the discussion was about whether or not Iraq had WMDs, I found myself suspicious. I knew something wasn’t sitting right, but it wasn’t clear to me what until I went to an anti-war meeting with a group that was discussing the ways the administration was trying to deceive congress and the public. But before the anti-war group meeting, I recognized the slippery way they were trying to connect 9/11 with Iraq; even bringing that up to people, I would receive hesitant replies of such lines like “you can’t be sure” or “they have proof.” I learned things from that meeting though, and when I tried to share those insight with others they would have nothing to do with it. A lot of times I would hear the opinion that “We should just bomb the whole country;” usually this coming from those that had no idea of what was actually going on besides what the news networks told them. Here’s an interesting video to show how the manipulation of the public occurred:
That rant aside now, I wish I had known about this blog when it started, I would have loved to share it with others so that some humanity could be brought into the picture, and a firsthand account of what was what over in Iraq could be taken into account that wasn’t filtered through the media.
Riverbend, I think, was brave in what she was doing. While she was posting anonymously, the things she was putting out there, in terms of information and viewpoint, was anything but safe in their expression. I would often get frustrated at people who didn’t want to see the manipulation that was occurring with the invasion of Iraq, but in Riverbend’s blog she stated it concisely:
This war started out a war on WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. When those were not found, and proof was flimsy at best, it turned suddenly into a “War against Terrorism.” When links couldn’t be made to Al-Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden (besides on Fox and in Bush’s head), it turned into a “Liberation.” Call it whatever you want – to me it’s an occupation. (Riverbend 15)
These were things people needed to be made aware of, but weren’t. This statement wouldn’t put her in the hot seat so much though, since it would be American citizens or officials who would be concerned with such statements, and I’m sure the officials wouldn’t give it too much worry considering the source was from an Iraqi citizen. There’s plenty that she blogged about that could have really caused her some problems though, like on page 26 when she starts talking about the “cast of the most elaborate puppet show Iraq has ever seen” (26). Her expressed opinions about the presidents, backed by information about their “dirty laundry” from the past, couldn’t have sat well with those in charge.
Riverbend’s ability to expose is/was great. Her written attacks on the corruption in the government is fantastic. Her pointing out of how much money actually played a role in everything is information that needed more light shinned upon it. And her ability to bring humanity into her blogs was just as strong and important, showing people the true side of the war rather than the statistics and false images presented by certain media outlets.
Riverbend. Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq. New York: Feminist at the City University of New York, 2005. Print.
WeAreONEbigFamily. “The FALSE WAR ON TERROR Exposed ! Media Manipulation CFR !” YouTube. YouTube, 09 July 2011. Web. 02 Mar. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a_OEM7eAyY>.