In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • The War Reporter Paul Watson on How to Eat Well, and: The War Reporter Paul Watson and the King of Kings, and: The War Reporter Paul Watson on the Question of the Bombing of Syria, and: The War Photographer Lynsey Addario Tells the War Reporter Paul Watson, and: The War Reporter Paul Watson and the Son of the Tortured
  • Dan O’Brien (bio)

The War Reporter Paul Watson on How to Eat Well

Enjoying a meal owes as much to fearas to famine. Waking in the Cityof the Dead, goose-stepping over corpseswho cough back to life. A man and womanbathe a breathing skeleton with a bowlof mud. Hips like a sail. Corpses twistedin sheets, lined up as trash. While the livingpeer over the ledge, speechless. When the mobopens its mouth: behold, a boy. His skulllike a crown. Byzantine eyes devouringme while I focus. It’s clear suddenly:eat or pass out. So I tiptoe intothis trattoria. A sanctuaryof fascist kitsch. Hellfire boring throughbullet holes in stucco walls. Spaghettislung in terra-cotta bowls. Two gunmenlevel their barrels. Dollars, please. I kickmy camera beneath the table, fingerssnag the strap—a comical tug-of-waruntil the skinny chef comes brawling throughswinging doors with machete poised, afraida dead white man would pose an obstacleto profit. The gunmen laugh and flutterinto the world’s oven. When invitedto cross the Green Line in Mogadishufor beer and lobster with friends, happilyI’ll find myself risking my life againfor a good meal. [End Page 27]

The War Reporter Paul Watson and the King of Kings

Qaddafi. Self-anointed King of Kingsof Africa. Disguised as their brotherfirst, a David reading from his Green Bookof psalms. Because men do not have the giftof childbirth, they do not suffer the strainand stain of menstruation. Educationoppresses freedom. A baby’s nurseryis a tyranny. And other such germsof insanity. When flesh fell on hillsaround Lockerbie, the Cowboy sent him60 tons of revenge in minutes. Sun-glasses thereafter. A face like MichaelJackson. The circus tent. Wherein young girlsand boys were raped. The children of Libyaadore me! he would say. Why should I fearmy own children? We are coming for youwithout mercy, the King of Kings promisedhis rebellious children. But the childrenof the Cowboy sent some drones from Vegasto hound him into the mouth of a drainplugged with shit. When his children pulled him backinto the sun weeping blood. His throat slashedshallowly with a bayonet. Perhapsa shot grazed his arm, or his breast. Perhapshe’d been raped with his own golden gun. Slapsrain down on the revealed, bald pate. Frenziedbarking of men, girlish squealing, shiveringfor the thrill of justice. The golden gunanoints his forehead. Do you not recallwhat is right and what is wrong? Show mercyfor your father! He wears a Yankees capwho blasts the back of Qaddafi’s holleringinto a rosy echo. Old Fuzzheadis dead, cries a father to his daughter [End Page 28] via cell phone. While liberated menare playing with the King of King’s bodylike children with a hand puppet, gapingthen frowning the rank mouth as if speakingwith their voice now. [End Page 29]

The War Reporter Paul Watson on the Question of the Bombing of Syria

The before-shot’s a Kurdish shepherd boyleaning on his crook like a crutch. Gnarlyknob in his mouth like he’s teething. With nailschewed ragged, crescents of grime. A snowflakepattern knitted in a Christmas sweaterwith sleeves unraveling. Polyesterslacks and, one presumes, sneakers. Donatedby Cheney and Bush. Hell, his name might beCheney or Bush, a common tribute. Dustcoats a dusky face. Gazing dreamilyout behind my camera. Behind his backhis family’s out-of-focus flock grazesbetween flat rocks. Horizon as if steeledfor what’s next. The after-shot’s just the flockscattered and sprawled like suitcases aftera...


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pp. 27-33
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