The Nose watched way too much TV last week. He watched it while slurping down his morning raisin bran. He watched it in the locker room after he snuck off for a quick lunchtime jog and shower. And he switched the tube on the minute he returned home from work, even keeping the bathroom door open so he could listen to Tom Brokaw going about his business while the Nose did his own.
Pathetic? Perhaps. But the Nose has the perfect excuse: This was a regime change made for TV.
Rarely have the images of war been so suited for a Sony Trinitron. The Nose was able, from the comfort of his La-Z-Boy, to glory at the toppling of the statue of Saddam in Baghdad. To marvel at the magnificence of the Bradley fighting vehicles rolling through Mosul. To applaud at the pimple-faced Marines expressing their desire to liberate the Iraqi people. To shudder at the torture chambers wired with electrical cables. To chuckle with secret delight as Donald Rumsfeld spanked the media. To experience shock and awe at the rococo bathroom fixtures in the presidential palaces. And to weep like a schoolgirl at the vision of rescued POWs.
Yep, TV gave the Nose a first-class ride aboard the Coalition of the Willing Express.
Which, of course, is part of the problem.
The real difficulties of the war in Iraq and its aftermath will not be televised.
The Nose isn't talking about the deaths of civilians, the looting of Iraqi museums or the occasional brutishness of the American troops. Those graphic images, despite what some peace protesters argue, have been and will be shown on television.
Instead, the images that make this war so complicated won't be shown on TV because they have no visual impact.
Where is the footage of the history of the Middle East, the one with a map highlighting a part of the globe that--aside from Israel--is more inhospitable to democracy than any other place on earth?
Where are the video shots of those who insist, correctly, that while the fall of Hussein may be the first step toward peace in the Middle East, Israel's return of the West Bank to the Arabs must be the next?
Where is the handsome anchor
who reports that America's next problem is not Syria but Saudi Arabia, a nation whose unofficial sponsorship of international terrorists is outweighed only by its bankrolling of Washington lobbyists?
And where is the embedded reporter who, rather than seducing us with tales of America's military prowess, examines how the march toward liberation in Iraq is likely to be measured in centuries--rather than years?
Think the Nose is kidding? Not so long ago, before there was a prime-time invasion to keep him glued to the TV, the Nose actually read a book--about the American Civil War. He was reminded that one of the goals of the last armed conflict waged on American soil was the liberation of a group of people oppressed by their government. Yet it took a full century, until the civil-rights movement of the 1960s, before Southern blacks enjoyed even the most basic rights of liberated people: the right to vote, the right to an equal education, the right to not be lynched.
Not all images of war and its aftermath can be captured by Geraldo