The Only Game In Town
December 2002

by Amy Bowers

'I’m sorry for your loss,” I will say if your son is killed in Gulf War II. Would you like to be a guest on our morning program? If you say yes, I’ll facilitate your television appearance. You’ll describe the dead soldier, a Ranger, a willing volunteer, a wonderful kid, yours, gone. I’ll be glad my kids are alive, and that I chose once again to be a wimp, at home for the war.

War is good for business. It’s good for television, newspapers and magazines. It’s good for this website.

We prepare for war, we do stories on its inevitability. War is a career builder. It’s the biggest story, the only story.

Where will you spend the war, daddy? Should you head for Iraq, with the troops? Imbedded? How about Israel (gas mask snug?) Or stuck in a media camp in a Gulf State whose strange name will become household in the Homeland, once your Sat Phones are up.

If you’re freelance, is there somewhere your clients are not staffed? Where to sit, poised. On the refugee path? But what if nothing happens? What to bring, stills and video? Or just stills? How much to invest in flak jacket, gas mask, chem suit (can you buy your own?). Got smallpox?

Where do you peddle your pictures? Lots of freelance photographers and writers who traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan last year were unable to sell their stories. Want to spend your own money and risk your only ass? Or would you rather miss it?

If you stay home, you might as well study yoga, and start a home improvement project, because the only work you’ll get will be The War at Home and victim’s families.

If you’re brave enough to go to war, and you’re killed over there, if you’re hostaged and tortured, I may meet your parents, especially if they live in New Jersey. “I’m sorry for your loss,” I’ll tell them. Their eyes meet mine, but I can’t possibly understand what I see. “Would you like to be on television?”

© Amy Bowers
Contributing Editor

Write a Letter to the Editor
Join our Mailing List
© The Digital Journalist