Monday, May 14, 2007

unbearable heaviness of being

I wonder if we're doomed to repeat Vietnam over and
over. From my position it is impossible to tell if Iraq
is vietnam, if it was vietnam from the beginning or if
by repetitive framing over and over the press has framed
the square peg of iraq into the round hole of vietnam.

With hindsight it's easier to see the mistakes that were made,
the press screeches over too many civilian casualties, so
no strict control was established over 'civilians' after the
initial invasion so the country was looted to the ground.

Some idiots playing games pull naked frat pranks on prisoners,
the scream of "torture" goes up, and we end up with a catch
and release terrorist program.

When our soldiers die, there is a drumbeat of reporting that says
how terrible that is, so our troops are kept on safe and secure
bases while a civil war rages in the cities of Iraq.

All these things occur while time passes and life goes on.
Now people are saying the war is lost, instead of too much
micromanagement of president johnson, we have mismanagement
of president bush. It seems like vietnam has repeated again.

I would say that two things have been the same in Iraq as in vietnam,
there was no formal declaration of war voted on by the congress
in either conflict, and there was no response from the government
when the press reported on events as if they were the worst that
could happen.

Every event in the press will always be reported as if it is the worst,
just so that they can attract readers, viewers and listeners. If there is
a tropical storm hitting texas in July, then it will be reported as the
worst tropical storm to make landfall in Texas since george bush was
elected, even if it's the only one to hit in the past ten years. Because
bad events happen every day somewhere, the news
is reported as "bad things are happening everywhere", when in reality
it is "bad things are happening somewhere". This is an example of
the extreme value fallacy

War is hell. War is a dirty business, and civilian deaths, stupidity
and foolishness are some of the horsemen that always ride with war.
The lesson for the next war is that we must have an actual
declaration of war before we do anything so that various idjits
can't come out after and say they didn't vote for war, they voted
for peace with rolling airstrikes, cruise missiles and no casualties.

We can then fight the war on all fronts, on the mlitary and in the
press, and we can say that if we're going to fight we're going to
fight to win. If the press wants to go along they can, but they need
to understand that although things are bad, they aren't really the
worst that could have happened. Maybe if they would add that
fact to stories then reporting would seem more balanced.

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