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It would be ridiculous for me to try and make some kind of "full report" on the war and my thoughts on everything that's taken place thus far. Indeed, I spent much of my Spring Break following this. Using the newspaper clippings, VCR recordings, text files saved from net stories, and all the notes I've made, I could already write a book or two. And the conflict is just over one hundred hours old.

Instead I'll pose a question.

This war is by far the most accessible and widely-broadcast war in history. Every major news organization has an "embedded" reporter travelling with a military unit or stationed in or around Iraq. These folks have undertaken their assignments at serious personal risk, but it's also by military design that this war is so well-documented and open to the world.

Today, it became known that there exists footage of maimed US soldiers, executed US soldiers, and US POWs still alive, taken by Iraqi cameras. This footage was shown on Al Jazeera and on other news outlets around the world, but not in the US. Apparently, it us much worse than the films of US soldiers being tortured and dragged to death in Mogadishu, Somalia (Black Hawk Down).

THIS is war. Soldiers on both sides get horribly maimed and mangled. Prisoners (their prisoners, anyway) are tortured, killed. Casualty numbers increase by the hour. What we're hearing about isn't some terrible new plague. It's the terrible reality of war.

And as our ground troops move into position to take the giant city of Baghdad, what the cameras record is going to make what's happened so far look like a friendly game of cricket.

The Special Republican Guard of Saddam is well-trained, fiercely loyal, well-equipped, and fortified in a labyrinthine, sprawling metropolis. Our troops will undoubtedly face chemical and possibly biological attacks.

Should the US public see the tapes that exist now? Should the public continue to have the amazing live access we've had to this point as the real war begins? Can our incredibly sheltered, ignorant, care-free (spineless?) soccer moms and hockey dads handle this kind of thing?

The real question is this: would such continued access serve to steel the American people, to fill them with resolve? Or would it fuel the anti-war/anti-regime change sentiment? Did it only take eighteen months for America to go back to sleep?

Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.

I will try to return every day or so with a short set of thoughts or a question to mull over.