Thursday, October 19, 2006

If Only the Whole Country Were Like the Marines

With the war in Iraq drenched in blood, lies, and failure and getting worse, I wondered what NPR's take on it all might be. I was floored by two stories on Morning Edition celebrating the warrior myth and military culture. In a piece on young people (Gen Next) Judy Woodruff pleads with a 25 year old videogame marketer, "but never before in modern American history have we more needed smart, young people like you, and some people would listen to what you're saying and say 'wait a minute, we need you helping at the Pentagon or working for an agency that's going to get us past these huge problems we face.'" The Pentagon! -- I mean the guy had just said that he thought of joining the FBI but "I became a little bit disillusioned….what’s the point of doing all that intelligence work if it's just going to be ignored or manipulated" to justify going to war. I think that's a legitimate concern.

The other story finds Wayne Goodwyn interviewing the family of a marine recently slain in Iraq. Goodman tells us that the father, though "frustrated with the war in Iraq..." is "like his son,...much more frustrated with Americans here at home." Is the frustration that Americans are doing so little to bring the culprits (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld) of this war to justice? Not a chance, it's that "the people in this country, and especially the young people in this country, have got to learn that there's a price to pay for having a country..." This report also has the marine's sister say, "there's a certain mystique about the United States Marines. It's a brotherhood like nothing I’ve ever seen." And Goodwyn finishes the story repeating the father's sentiments: "that's exactly what his son loved about the Marines – the sense of community, the shared purpose, the idea that they were men and women who did more than talk...."

I'm feeling a bit like a broken record on how NPR keeps shilling for militarism, but it's scary. Consider how simple it would be to also talk to some families of slain soldiers who's comments would be a little more pointed and a whole lot more interesting.

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