Chinwei had never seen Hurt Locker but we started discussing our personal opinions of the Iraq War. I was excited to see a perspective from another country and how it would differ from my own. I wonder in part if our different opinions are the result of the different media outlets we follow. Below is our exchange.

MS:

It’s such an unpopular war. I actually just went to a debate where one of the politicians was Karl Rove, who was a part of the Bush administration. He defended Iraq and said everyone believed there was weapons of mass destruction and an invasion was the best option at the time.

I think the war was based off of bad military intelligence but I don’t think that legitimizes it. I don’t know if I feel completely comfortable that the war isn’t about oil. I also feel like it’s making the US unpopulr on an international scale and it’s breeding a lot of resentment in a region that already hates the US.

CW:

 I don’t think a war is ever about a crusade against evil, which is what we’re usually encouraged to believe. I think the Iraq War, as with many others is motivated primarily by material gains, but ideals such as fighting for freedom from oppression, and the responsibility of the US to “protect” the weak against their rulers are mobilized to justify the war. Personally, i am largely set against the war. “Our side” of the war sees an extremely one-sided picture of the war, where “enemies” are dehumanized, and their casualties and the atrocities committed to their populations are largely invisible or ignored. It is easy to believe you’re fighting a good fight when your enemies are reduced to a statistic, a barbaric population that seeks to destroy the civilized world. But we know that is not true. Every state consists of a large plurality of opinions, beliefs and allegiances and for the media to frame a minority segment to portray their worst nature in order to justify killing them is downright inethical imo. Even as i say this, i know the same thing is happening on “the other side”, their news present another side to the conflict which is far from neutral as well. By emphasizing the cruelties committed by US soldiers and the plight of the population, they also justify hostilities against the western world.

A desire to view the world in simplified terms, as a binary of “ours” and “theirs” makes the population a ready receptor for propaganda and state-influenced media. If more people would question the validity of what they see on the TV, and also possesses a view that is able for them to cross the boundaries and view a conflict from both sides, there would no doubt be less desire for conflict.