Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Battles and Battlefields

On ATC yesterday David Greene covered of Bush's 4th of July maneuvers at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Bush (as usual addressing an audience that is NOT free to express dissent) celebrated our Independence Day by giving a speech to the 81st Airborne troops at Ft. Bragg. Greene covers Bush's speech and activities with almost no critical commentary. We do learn that, as Greene puts it, Bush was "determined to find a more upbeat mood." What I found compelling in this coverage was the use of the term "battle" and "battlefield." We get to hear the following from Bush's speech: "....when the job in Iraq is done, (pause) it will be a major victory in the battle against the terrorists...." and then without pause David Greene's voice comes in saying, "it's a battle in which Ft. Bragg has carried much of the burden...." This subtly both accepts and reinforces Bush's assertion that the adventure in Iraq is a battle against terrorists, and that Iraq is just one set piece in the grand "War on Terror." This is straight Bush propaganda. There is immense debate and disagreement (even within the mainstream) on all aspects of the Iraq war and its relationship to terrorism. Just days ago 80% of "security experts" polled believe that the "war on terror" is a failure and that Iraq is one primary reason why.
Finally--after airing a clip of Bush describing the compassionate soldiers treating Zarqawi before he died--Greene states, "at a time when some Democrats are calling for a timetable to bring US troops home Mr. Bush repeated an argument that has infuriated his critics including some military families--he said one reason he'’s determined to stay the course in Iraq is to honor those who have already died on the battlefied." Notice how skillfully this acknowledges Bush critics, without giving any of their reasons, and then proceeds to undermine these critics by returning to the battle/battlefield argument. After all, if the war in Iraq really is an essential "battle" against terrorists (and can be "won" like any traditional battle) then who can argue against just leaving the "battlefield" where so many soldiers have already died?

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