Saturday, May 27, 2006

Baghdad E.R. 

I watched tonight the HBO documentary "Baghdad E.R." with some trepidation. They were warning veterans who wished to view it to do so in groups, and some Veteran Hospitals set up special areas for people to watch it, with pastoral and counseling staff nearby. Many chose not to view it, but many did. It was hard to see. And I don't just mean all the carnage. It was difficult to watch soldiers receive news of their compatriots' deaths. It was difficult to see them phone their families from the hospital to tell them they'd been injured. It was difficult to see the doctors become so agitated and frustrated at the never ending stream of casualties. But, in the midst of that, I thought it was a well-done piece. To say I liked it or I enjoyed it would not be the right phrase, but it was well-done. I thought it especially significant and important that they featured the chaplains prominently, and it took me back to my CPE days. I never saw carnage like that (not sure I could deal with it), but I saw plenty of emotion like that. Some say this film was made to be a piece of anti-war propaganda. To say that, in my opinion, makes about as much sense as it does to say that the evening news is a piece of anti-war propaganda. While the government censors the images of coffins coming back, I feel it is important for citizens, in this case, me, to witness some of what goes on over there. Some of what is being done in my name. One of the E.R. docs said, "I have to believe that these people will be better off for us being here. I have to believe that. Because if I don't believe that, then this all just becomes senseless." As one of the chaplains featured prayed over a soldier who was K.I.A. he said,

"Heavenly Father, gracious God, we did everything we could to save his life, but in the end, we could not save him. Take him home now. Give your comfort to his family, friends, and squad mates as they learn of this. May his life and his death be used to further the cause of peace and bring an end to this senseless war. And may he be among the last for whom we pray. I pray this in the name of Christ. Amen."



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