+Thursday, October 06, 2005+
As promised, I watched an episode of the epic series "Over There." Well, part of it anyway - Matt called around 9:30ish and it wasn't until a while after we hung up (or got disconnected, rather), that I remembered it was Wednesday and that I'd planned on watching the show; I managed to catch the last half hour. It's probably pretty amazing that I was able to watch the show in the first place. When Matt first deployed, I could hardly even watch recruitment commercials let alone even think of watching a war movie or the likes. Now that he's been gone 9 months, I'm a little less dramatic...After all, they're only actors portraying someone's point of view and not necessarily what is real.

My first thoughts on the show were that I was going to get motion sickness if they didn't stop jerking the camera around and zooming in and out. And the violins really started to wear on my nerves after a while, but those are just production values and probably pretty irrelevant to the quality of the show itself. All in all, I can't say I hated it. That, of course, isn't to say I liked it; I watched it with my keen pragmatist eye and saw the show for exactly what it is - a handful of no-name actors (I'd say "B-list," but I think that might be giving them a bit too much credit) acting out a script that might be just a tad melodramatic. I didn't really understand what was going on, but that could probably be summed up to coming into the show a half hour late and never having seen a prior episode. In some ways, it seems like the show is just a poor attempt to remind people that we're at war. The war is losing footing in the media, so hey, why not make a show about it?

I do think it's in very poor taste to create a show about a war that's still going on, and I think it just feeds on society's blood lust - you don't want to look, you don't want to know, but you just can't help it - and what is depicted on the show is more in response to ratings than facts. I tried to research the creators and producers a little to find out if any of them had served in OIF or OEF and came up empty handed. So where do they get their storylines? Did they extensively research the Iraq war, interview troops and freelance correspondents who were "over there" and their wives and families back home or am I to believe that I'm watching a show that's complete and utter bullshit about a war that's still going on? That's not rhetorical - I'd really like to know!

One part of last night's episode - when a wife is arguing about her husband's paychecks being sent to the wrong address and sarcastically claims, "The army at its finest. God, I loooove the army" - actually made me laugh to myself, but everything else seemed pretty painful to me. Is it an Iraqi woman that runs the orphanage and seduces a sergeant by sensually removing his radio headphones and taking him into her bed? I mean, COME ON! Where do you draw the line about what is and isn't acceptable about what the creators of this show are leading the American public to believe about the Iraq war? They've certainly romantacized the entire thing...Perhaps instead of worrying about their ratings, they should've taken into consideration not even making the damn show in the first place.

And I can't seem to come to definitive reason for the name - "Over There." It seems like it should be followed by a menacing "dun dun dun." Granted, I'm not being paid 6 figures a year to think up a "creative" name for a dramatic interpretation of a war still in the midst of being fought, but wouldn't, oh, I don't know, "Operation Iraqi Freedom" have worked just as well? They've really outdone themselves with this show. Perhaps next they can head out to the Astrodome and make a reality TV show about the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

It makes me sad that people can so easily forget we're at war, that our own are still fighting for the democracy of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the most "effective" reminder that we're at war is a silly dramatic TV show with a ridiculous name. I assure you the Iraqis and the Afghans haven't forgotten. Yesterday I found an editorial about that "other" war, but it's the first thing I've read in a while that basically says, hey, we're still working to make this country a better place.

Bombings, shootings and violent deaths continue in Afghanistan, site of the first post-9/11 American war. Although the campaign in Afghanistan became the "other" conflict once the invasion of Iraq began, the country remains dangerous and uncertain, and international cooperation there is as crucial as ever.

Last week, a suicide bomber killed nine people and injured more than two dozen others in the Afghan capital of Kabul, demonstrating again that reconstruction and successful elections have not ended the threat from the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The explosion near Afghan troops boarding buses was an ominous echo of suicide attacks in Iraq. It occurred a week after President Hamid Karzai claimed that his country was no longer the source of terrorist threats.

Karzai was overly optimistic. Afghanistan may not be the source, but terror still plagues the country. More...
Of course, it's not like I expect the wars to be a constant presence in the public's mind; now stories only make the headlines if they involve a bombing or deaths. News reports about the progress we're making in these war-torn countries and how far we still have to go seem only to be worthy of second page news, if that. It's all very morbid. Despite continued attacks, we are making headway, and yet it seems people only care about OIF and OEF in the way of fictional and dramatized accounts; a little more recognition and respect for those who are representing America and helping those who truly do need it would be a nice change.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to post a link to this - an account of the "ramp ceremony" for the soldiers that were killed in the Chinook crash a couple Sundays ago. All Along the Watchtower is a blog by one of the soldier's in Matt's unit.

wishing matt was here @ 12:36 PM+

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