Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It Must Be the Season

Did you miss the "you owe your freedom to the military" wreath story on Monday? No sweat, NPR brings it out again for ATC tonight. On a day when the US death toll in Iraq hit 2937, am I supposed to feel touched and patriotic because a wreath manufacturer in Maine is putting 5000 donated wreaths on graves in Arlington?

Joshua Gleason, opens the piece with a Hallmark touch: "the musty sweet scent of balsam fir is just overpowering..." Later when the wife of the owner of the company tells Gleason that she writes back when someone's letter is personal, he asks her "What do you say when you write back?" And she answers, "“What do you say when someone writes to you and says, ‘I buried my son in April?’ I try to say is what we do is to thank people like them.”

And that worship-the-security-state, simple-minded viewpoint is about all you'll get from NPR these days. Regarding each of the nearly 3000 deaths of our young citizens and each the half a million deaths of Iraqis I'd offer the patriotic anger of veteran Kevin Tillman:
  • Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.
  • Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.
  • Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.
  • Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
  • Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
  • Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
  • Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Frankly, using the Christmas season of peace to promote soldier-worship is grotesque - and it doesn't do one thing to end the war in Iraq, prevent another such horror, do justice to the people of Iraq, or help returning vets and their families with their struggles. NPR should be featuring people who are really supporting the troops -- those calling for the impeachment of Bush, Cheney, and Rice, for an end to the funding of the war, for reparations to Iraq, and for the speedy withdrawal of the troops. That would be worthy of the season.


Porter Melmoth said...

Mytwords, no matter how conscientious, elegant, and moving your commentary is in your post, 'It Must be the Season', NPR's stance, which you most accurately describe, is stunning evidence of the success the Bush Machine has had in capturing a supposedly 'liberal' branch of the non-Fox media. This is especially ironic in light of the fact that the Bush Administration is on thinner ice than ever, and there should, if NPR were truly impartial be a bumper crop of explosive stories being covered without guile, for the sake of history if nothing else. I think NPR fancies itself as THE audio medium of record - the USA's BBC - compiling a treasury for the ages. In many ways this is true, but the lack of impartiality will be judged harshly in the future. We live in times of less-than-great leadership, and that applies to associated agencies such as NPR.

larry said...

It was the same on Veterans' day, all smarmy goose-stepping about how the soldiers are sacrificing for MY freedoms. Bullshit, they're sacrificing for the profits of Blackwater and KBR. And I haven't found the BBC to be much better than NPR, they were co-opted by Blair a long time ago. To me, their godd programming is too sporadic.

jules said...

I grew up as an Army brat (my career officer father very nearly got fragged in Vietnam) and would find this sappy, manipulative drivel almost *hilarious* were it not taking the place of the crucial reporting they *ought* to be doing...

Porter Melmoth said...

Yes indeed, it was a shameful day when the BBC cowed to the Blair Division Ltd. of the Bush Machine. Buzzflash, Crooks & Liars, and like blogs remain as beacons in the darkness.

Porter Melmoth said...

My dad served honorably in the Pacific in WWII and has never grandstanded about the military, nor did any of his contemporaries that I can recall. During Vietnam he had the guts to recommend to draftees that they take the conscientious objector route, as that war was immoral. Regarding the Iraq War, he can hardly even shake his head in disgust. 'This isn't what we fought for,' he managed to say.
In John Ford's elegiac Civil War segment of the film 'How The West Was Won', before the war really gets going, a character says, 'There ain't much glory marching behind a plow.' After Shiloh, another character says, 'There ain't much glory with your guts hanging out.'
The cheapness of the Bush Sissyhawks is that they are ruthless exploiters of people's sentiments. The shallowness of NPR fits this exploitation very well, thank you.

Kevan said...

I'm a veteran. I appreciate the wreath-laying whole-heartedly, and the NPR story to a certain degree. But the phony bastards who say "support the troops" to justify continued war against Iraq can go hang themselves.

Porter Melmoth said...

Amen, kevan. Honor the honorable, but not the fakes.