Saturday, June 19, 2010

Separating WW2 from Iraq and Afghanistan

Ech-h-h!  Abounding and abiding anachronisms and abnormalities.

After all, ALL ANALYSIS of military matters is the same, right? 
Why bother with anything new for our contemporary wars?

Parts of the daily "news" we can really do without
-- quite well, in fact, thank you very much.

Now, MeanMesa would absolutely love to post that all this media mischief is a BRAND NEW THING, unprecedented in the history of the American free press.  However, no matter how appealing such a dramatic lamentation might seem at first, it would be just that, a vacuous addition to the nauseatingly long list of "oh, woe is me" imaginary tenants of "those Good Old Days."

The "free press" was, it turns out, just as "yellow" then as it is now.  The times have changed, the headlines all deal with new countries and the outrages have experienced the same mind numbing contemporary exaggeration as their equally shallow -- and dangerous -- brethren since the Spanish American War.  (Who actually sank that war ship in Cuba?  Oh, it's far too late today to worry about such nonsense.  That was then.  This is now.)

In his youth, MeanMesa was told that the fascist, maniacal Japanese ate babies, that innocent little Soviet children turned in their parents for believing in God and that all those nationalistic North Vietnamese, aside from being insanely rabid Marxists, were actually only puppets in a giant game of "falling dominoes."  During all of this sketchy reporting, the media was, historically, always the first prostitute on the corner to hold up her hand and smile -- eagerly.

Can anyone recall a day when Spiro Agnew had any trouble finding a microphone?

The precise forces which had carefully positioned themselves to benefit the most from exploiting all these fairy tales seemed to also have positioned themselves in perfect postures to be the voices which were almost always most reported on the daily ration of "the burning news of the day."

That hasn't changed much.

So, let's take a cooler look at some of the more modern mechanisms of social manipulation.  The more aware we become of these subtle little semantic engineering miracles, perhaps the less we will fall prey to them.  Further, a list of every one of these little demons would create the longest blog in world records, so we will just pick out a few "starters."

Body Counts

Let's begin with what's missing.

Since we already mentioned the Vietnam War, we may as well compare it with what is unfolding in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.  If one were to pay more attention to the "news" than it deserves, one would note that all the casualties being reported in these three conflict theatres are

a. American troops
b. innocent civilians (often termed collateral damage)
c. maniac commanders of the insane Taliban jihadists

During the Vietnam War, monumental "body counts" of enemy soldiers destroyed appeared daily in the "news."  Of course, these "body counts" were only estimates -- the North Vietnamese always gathered most of their dead and secreted them away.  After ten years or so of that endless war, a total of eleven information challenged Americans still believed what they were hearing, two were blind and the rest were deaf.

The credibility of the "news" fell faster than a 500 pound bomb hurtling out of a B-52.  As MeanMesa remembers it, no one ever told the truth until Walter Cronkite finally "spilled the beans."  And, when we say "no one," we have to include a string of two or three Presidents.

Now, after the bad taste of that escapade had long passed, the yucky taste remained.  As a consequence, reports from Afghanistan, to this day, never include any count of Taliban insurgents killed by US or NATO combat operations.

Is this just a case of pandering to the well developed "growing public distaste for the war," or would the actual enemy combat fatalities be so small that whatever shard of credible explanation remained for the war would be shredded by the facts?

With respect to "how the war is going," we are stranded with official  statements from authorities such as General Petraeus or General McChrystal, bombast from the botox saturated Senator "Rat Face" or any of the dozens of suspiciously well-paid pundits, all singing in a chorus of repetition and reinforcement.  

We Americans are paying for this killing field with both blood and treasure.  We can probably handle enemy casualty counts.  We probably couldn't handle what would come next if we were to just come home -- even after that bloody picture was buffered into smush by the media and their masters.

The mischief of the failed autocrat, the W, just keeps on giving -- like a nasty case of drippy, untreated gonorrhea.

War Making "Experts"

Now, we have all seen the highly questionable "military analysis" of the well paid "military experts" on the networks as they mumble and bumble forth subtly promoting the idea that all really "good" generals are naturally, also thinly disguised war-mongering fascists.  On slow "news" days, retired Colonels and Majors appear, but when the going gets sticky (PR-wise), the media moguls trot out some dinosaur from their "lounging corral" of aging "rough and tumble" war fighters.

Thankfully, perhaps, no paid enough attention to these "experts" to jot down much of their military histories.

Amazingly, even the more or less objective "news" sources rush to the knees of John McCain to get the "conservative" side of emerging military matters.  The Senator  set fire to an air craft carrier, wrecked four jet fighters while he was learning, graduated 898th in his class at Anapolis, was in combat for 28 minutes, received 30 Navy citations for bravery and spent years in the agony of the Hanoi Hilton, a place where most of the guards remembered the bombs he dropped on their families.  Maybe the "news" folks think he possesses some sort of genetic insight -- his father and grandfather were Admirals.

McCain wanted 6,000 troops for Arizona's border instead of the 1,200 authorized by the President. Yup.

Don't get MeanMesa started on the neo-con bleach blond bitches who want to throw troops everywhere on the map where they can say the name.

Are all the "war experts" war mongering fascists?  No, but don't expect to hear so much as a peep from honorable -- and successful -- generals such as Wesley Clark.

"Two Sides of Everything"

Civilians have a difficult time understanding that it becomes increasingly harder to "shoot straight" the "busier" one gets.  Of course, it would be "roses, simply roses" if the combat in these oil wars were to actually flow along like the movies we watch, but they don't.

However, literal months and years of well funded efforts have reduced the US  "news" consuming electorate to a dizzying state where "being informed" means always having "two sides" to consider.  It may be yet some time before Americans can actually countenance the fact that sometimes there really is only one side to things.

No war can unfold without a full harvest of days bringing bad news.  Perhaps the real story is watching neo-cons, our fellow citizens, relentlessly "blame and inflame," exploiting every inevitable set back into an opportunity for a thinly disguised political attack.

The only question left unaddressed is whether these cranky old neo-cons are full time bigots or if they have "day jobs."

A "License to Lie"

Finally, do we really have to watch Rupert Murdoch's "media machine" interview neo-con politicians and other drawling Southerners without ever challenging any of the "facts" or carefully crafted "insightful innuendoes" spewing out of their mouths?

The "news consuming" population, although dwindling from lack of interest, can now only believe interviews when the pundits perform in a raucous argument, presented as a thoughtful discussion.  No one says anything which won't incite some equally specious response.

When this verbal chaos is not the "order of the day," no one feels particularly interested in believing anything that is said.

Yup.  Thanks to the media fraud and mischief, we're flyin' blind.

MeanMesa urges all of our visitors to pay attention to what you find yourself believing.  If you notice some of this garbage starting up on your television screen, rush to the kitchen for a grain of salt.

In fact, bring the whole salt shaker.

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