They were out into the heat and dust again. There was no road to speak of, not even really a track, just a formless and infinite middle distance of barren land that stretched onwards and onwards, with no horizon visible in the haze of the afternoon sun.
All the villagers were standing outside their mud huts. They always made eye contact but that gaze gave nothing away. There was no reason for them to hide any more and so they just remained. The villagers gave the soldiers their names, but who they were, no one knew. No one knew anything.
The date: October 7, 2001. The place: a landlocked country. The aims: to locate a man; to bring men to trial; to remove a regime.
Aerial bombardments followed. Then came the tanks and troops.
The date: July 13 , 2009. The website stated: ‘Estimates of the number of civilians killed vary widely and must be treated with caution. Systematic collection of civilian fatality data only began in 2007. The United Nations is creating a civilian casualty database, but it is not publicly accessible.’
Nobody was talking. Maybe there were no deaths. Maybe there was no war. Surely it couldn’t have happened.