Caleb Powell – Writing & Photos

Redployment vs. The Corpse Exhibition

with 2 comments

Thanks to William Vollman’s piece at Bookforum for directing me to the following two collections of stories about Iraq, one from a U.S. perspective, the other from an Iraqi. Below are two excerpts indicative of the power of story:

The Corpse Exhibition, stories within stories:  “The man with the beard was a teacher who went to the police to report on a neighbor who was trading in antiquities stolen from the National Museum. The police thanked him for his cooperation. The teacher, his conscience relieved, went back to his school. The police submitted a report to the Ministry of Defense that the teacher’s house was an al Qaeda hideout. The police were in partnership with the antiquities smuggler. The Ministry of Defense sent the report to the U.S. Army, who bombed the teacher’s house by helicopter. His wife, four children, and his elderly mother were killed. The teacher escaped with his life, but he suffered brain damage and lost his arms.”

Redployment, one sentence:  “She spent all his combat pay before he got back, and she was five months pregnant, which, for a Marine coming back from a seven-month deployment, is not pregnant enough.”

Whether legend or reality, the stories confront corruption, indifference, misplaced justice, and lack of responsibility, always a consequence of war. These two books are about how war exacerbates pain. To enter into war we must be certain the net result will surpass the human cost.

Written by Caleb Powell

June 19, 2014 at 6:06 am

2 Responses

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  1. I just say that the problem with almost every war is that the “net result”, which I am taking to mean benefit to the victors and the “cost” are not spread evenly throughout the populations. So,in the end, the poorest, most vulnerable horribly suffer the most, and benefit the least from war. The US energy resource access providers may “benefit” from an intervention. Gas prices may not skyrocket. But in the end the

    US soldier loses, emotionally, physically, financially, and the Iraq citizen loses, life, liberty, physically.

    Theo Dzielak

    June 24, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    • By reading this short review ,i was totally disturbed. It once again brought to our mind the agony and the suffering of HUMANITY.Unless a suffered human ,I think ONE cann’t present the trajedy of life.
      These few intro lines are enough to read the book . Here is a book ,I think ,to answer an important question……
      WHAT TO READ………………………….rk


      October 13, 2014 at 3:10 pm

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