Thursday, March 08, 2007

Semper Lie

"Embrace the Suck" - that does about sum it up...might be a good motto for NPR news. This morning they had on rightwing military man Austin Bay. Here's a little recent flavor from his blog lauding Guliani for the next prez:
"It’s bitterly ironic. Media elites whose careers and lives depend on the defense and expansion of individual liberty hammer America with the harshest criticism, strangely equating American inadequacies with the terrorists’ and tyrants’ depravities. In a hundred years –as they survey The War on Terror– historians will ask why America’s most creative and able communicators at best reluctantly engaged in the global battle against the tribal and oligarchic killers who threatened the great political experiment which gave them the chance to create without fear."
Holy crap, this is the joker NPR turns to for a bit of the cheery warno-lingo coming out of the military. We get to hear the jolly wit and humor of Anbar province being called "Marineland"--har, har. And Bay just love's the twist of "Semper Fi" to "Semper I" to describe a Marine who is only watching out for himself. His driving theme is that the best jargon skewers the foibles of the system, while actually lauding and reinforcing the overall premises and goals of the system--hmm...sounds like someone's approach to reporting news!

As I listened I kept thinking how this witty lingo reminds me of the humor of torturers--such as sleep deprivation at Gitmo being called "the frequent flyer program." I also wondered why we didn't get to hear about any derogatory terms the military uses for Iraqis and Muslims -- we know this kind of culture exists. In an excerpt from Bay's book posted on the NPR site he writes:
"Warrior slang, however, has a peculiar appeal and influence. That's understandable. Waging war is a risky, all-encompassing endeavor physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It displays humankind at its best and at its worst, and the warfighter's slang reflects the bitter, terrible, and inspiring all of it."
At its best? That's the lie that NPR wants to fob off on all of us. The obvious truth of war is that - yes, men and women in war may behave decently and courageously - but waging war is the most debasing, grotesque, sickening, pornographic endeavour that humans engage in. There is nothing redeeming about it, and this aggressive war of choice is all the more disgusting.

1 comment:

Porter Melmoth said...

Steve 'n Renee were in fabulous goo-goo gah-gah mode, embracing the 'suck' spewn out by hipster-general Bay. Those darn imaginative military wits! What WILL they come up with next?
Such 'Good Morning America' stories like this deserve nothing but mockery. Soon there won't be much left of NPR to tangibly criticize, as it will be a writeoff as far as serious consideration is concerned.
I get a bitter kick out of all these cliched Buck Turgidsons and General Rippers who enlighten us about the Military Industrial Complex's whimsicality. They all seem to have the same voice, the same hint of thickheaded toughness combined with fake geniality. And man, is that formula ever successful in winning over media doofuses like Steve 'n Renee. Mission accomplished.