I am a huge fan of literary circumspection. The only way I know of to make a piece of writing suggestive is to avoid spelling everything out. Of course, this can cost you readers in the blogosphere, because very few people, it seems, can refrain from skimming what they read, and few go back for a second read. Knowing this, I have been guilty more than once of making things much more explicit than a strict consideration of aesthetic effect would have dictated.
What I am leading up to is this: if I’d been in Karrie’s place, given a great title like that, I know I would’ve had a hard time not mentioning Fallujah. I am thinking in particular about the way civilian deaths (at least 800 at last count) and other atrocities have been almost completely excluded from mainstream U.S. news coverage, thanks in large part to Pentagon propaganda’s framing of the story as a fight against an invisible enemy named al-Zarqawi, who may not even exist. This is also in the context of a news blackout that includes indefinite detentions – disappearances – of unauthorized (unembedded) journalists. The tens of thousands of residents thought to have remained in the city during the assault were treated as enemy combatants. All who moved – and many who did not – were killed.
Of course, it isn’t only people whose images would disappear from long-exposure photographs of Fallujah. The dogs and cats feeding on human corpses would be erased from the historical record, as well. Perhaps someday an Iraqi artist will paint the 21st century’s equivalent of Guernica. Maybe you’ll get to see it in MOMA. Why not? As K. observed recently, hatred is, if nothing else, an endless source of entertaintment.*
You may need to read that last word twice.