NY Times Surmises Iraq Vet's Level-Headedness Symptom of 'Deep Emotional Delusion'

April 16th, 2007 5:26 PM

H/t reader BD.

A New York Times TV reviewer thinks the level-headedness of a U.S. Army veteran of Iraq could be symptomatic of a deep emotional disorder.

In In War’s Daily Grind, Death Is Routine, Dinner Is Good in today's Times, Ginia Bellafante reviews “Warriors,” described as "the second of 11 documentaries to be shown this week as part of PBS’s 'America at a Crossroads' series."  According to Bellafante:

"Ron Maloney, a National Guard lieutenant, returns from a 22-month tour in Iraq to his neat, welcoming house on Long Island and tends to his garden. There is a robust-looking lawn, and there are pretty flowers on a vine. The peace and comfort of such luxuries are unfamiliar to so many people outside the United States, he suggests.

"But although Lieutenant Maloney has seen bad things happen both to the good and the wrong-minded, he seems immune to any genuine tumbling of the spirit. He had viewed going to war as an opportunity for growth, as another life-affirming experience like taking a new job after too much time spent in another. It is hard to tell whether this extraordinary forbearance is a product of some deep emotional delusion or an admirable quality."

Wading through the dense underbrush that is Bellfante's writing, she apparently considers Lt. Maloney's absence of "genuine tumbling of the spirit" so strange as to be suspect -- a possible sign of "deep delusion." 

As a sign of just how out of touch Bellafante is with the reality of military life in Iraq, she is surprised that "another soldier, shown eating in a dining hall, doesn’t even complain about the food. The lasagna is pretty good, he explains, and there is almost always a salad bar."  Having eaten in perhaps 10 different chow halls around the country, including ones in far-flung parts of Anbar province, I can testify that the food is uniformly very good, varied and almost always fresh.

If there is any "tumbling of spirit" to be had here, it is from encountering another MSMer so profoundly unfamiliar with the attitudes and realities of the U.S. military.

Mark was in Iraq in November.  Contact him at mark@gunhill.net