Monday, December 26, 2011

Embedded forever

The word is now an accepted adjective and verb in journalism. We have accepted that, in future wars, journalists will be invited into the thick of it to report without a Stars and Stripes level requirement for operations security. From these experiences we now accept the vast linear feet of commercial books, documentary films, and fictional accounts offering inside views, firsthand perspectives, and memoirs.

Today, I read an editorial in the Kansas City Star by Matt Schofield; one of the formerly embedded. Yes, the word’s now a noun as well. In his piece, he bids a fond farewell to Iraq. He shares the names of a few of the people in Iraq whom he met and collaborated; people who helped him in various ways. It’s a nice short essay from one who was embedded.

There must be a few embedded-experienced memoirs still in the publication queue. Local writer, Whitney Terrell is set to release a novel based upon his embedded visit to the Iraq theatre-of-war. I heard the working title was “The Good Lieutenant” and even heard him read an excerpt. This generation has had their war, or so it seems, from the media’s perspective as Afghanistan dims from the national consciousness. Yet, I sense that while the wars appear to be coming to a close, the wars are merely entering a new phase.

I offer this because, for those who drove these wars, and in this instance I’m referring to the various groups bent upon our cultural and national demise, there’s more work to be done. For the time being, those who report news and make a living writing for news outlets and publishing houses, the market must be shifting to the coming presidential primaries and the election. I’m not certain the American people yearn for more war correspondence. Hollywood’s certainly avoided the subject this year, yet there could be a few young directors desiring to make their war film in the traditions of Coppola, Scorsese, and Kubrick. In the meantime, we have War Horse. Jolly good…

I expect to read more nostalgia like the editorial from Matt Schofield. Memory begins to take hold as the nightly news and newspapers coverage of the wars fade to black. Yet, still bright and burning are the fires of discontent, religious fervor, and misplaced nationalism in the countries we are departing. Still active are agents and organizations determined to destroy this country of ours fueled with unfathomable religious belief and a commitment to martyrdom.

Therefore, while touched by the nostalgia and retrospection from writers, the employed embedded throngs, I’m cautious to declare what we’ve witnessed over the past ten years as over, or even coming to a close. Those embedded veterans, those still employed, with literary agents, may consider keeping their bags available for packing and their conclusions just in draft form for now, as we enter this yet-to-be-defined phase of contemporary conflict. We shall not have the luxury to define the phase nor name it. Our numerous and loosely-affiliated, multi-disciplined enemies shall draft the new campaign plans and act upon them.

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