Thursday, May 11, 2006

From Orson Scott Card - in case ya missed it

American Soldiers and How We Use Them

Card covers many aspects of the relationship America has with it's military. I picked out a few points for emphasis.

Because, of course, the academic-intellectual-media Establishment of America has nothing but contempt, in the main, for our military. The Establishment regards itself as the heirs of the Vietnam anti-war protestors (which is why they just hate it when I call them, accurately, the Establishment), and their attitude toward the military ranges from suspicion to hostility.

They assume that anyone who enters the military must be a murderer at heart, who can't wait for a chance to torture people or club babies to death. Or at least turn their backs while other soldiers behave that way.


...

Donald Rumsfeld did not go down to the Pentagon with a blank purchase order on which the generals could write down their wishes, which it would be Rumsfeld's job to grant.

Instead, he went there as one of the most accomplished and conniving bureaucratic maneuverers ever to work in Washington -- and that's saying something.

Rumsfeld had an agenda, partly derived from President Bush and partly from his own experience in the past. Rumsfeld knew that the military, if left to itself, would choke on its own institutional debris.

For all fulltime professional military cultures share some common traits. For one thing, during peacetime, it is not the great military leaders who rise, it is the conniving bureaucratic generals. As a conniving bureaucrat himself, Rumsfeld knew exactly whom he was dealing with, and he was better at the game. (Plus, he had the ear of the Commander-in-Chief, and he was a civilian.)


...

It isn't just the press, of course. It's the entertainment media -- just as much a part of the Establishment, and thrilled to take opportunities to spread anti-Bush propaganda.

Of course, the obvious ones, like David E. Kelley with his endless, unfunny, and lying attacks on the Bush administration in Boston Legal, are not terribly effective.

There is, however, a much subtler campaign going on -- which may, in fact, not be a campaign at all, but simply a natural response to the extreme leftist and anti-American culture that permeates the Establishment in Hollywood.

Here's where it shows up:


Now take Lost -- one of the best shows in the history of television. They have the character Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews), who was a torturer in the Iraqi military. So far so good -- he's a fascinating, complicated, tormented character because he managed to keep his conscience but can't get rid of his memories.

But apparently somebody said something scornful to a Lost writer about how they must have been pressured by the government not to tell the "truth." Yeah, they said, you can show Iraqi torturers, but nothing about American torturers.

So, to be fair and evenhanded (they suppose), they do another flashback episode in Sayid's story in which his first experience as a torturer is actually under the direction of Americans who captured him during the Gulf War back in 1991.

In other words, the Iraqi torturer learned torture from American soldiers.


A third example: 24. Again, a brilliantly effective show. They show a Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) that has a torturer on staff, ready, by the use of drugs or brutality, to extract needed information on an emergency basis -- from anyone, including American citizens.

Moreover, the leading character, Jack, does his own ad hoc torture -- "off the books" -- in order to get results. Totally justified, because of course there's such time pressure to finish the whole thing in twenty-four one-hour episodes.

Ostensibly, 24 doesn't even seem to be against the use of torture. But they show it as a routine policy instrument of the U.S. government.


...

Here's the kicker:

It is arguable that 24 is pro-military and pro-American. But the effect of these three shows is to plant and reinforce the idea in the minds of the viewers of the program that the American government and the American military torture prisoners whenever they need to. And if the namby-pamby higherups won't authorize it, the guys in the field will do it themselves, without authority, in order to save America.

He amplifies this element further but you can read the whole thing yourselves... I would add "The Unit" as dereserving the same criticisms.

...

One last bit I'd like to highlight because it echos a point I've made many times:

So when the Establishment slanders these American soldiers, exposing them to greater risk of death or betrayal or, if captured, torture, it is not just "entertainment." It is a gross evil being perpetrated against those who are risking most in defense of our civilization.

How long would these television writers last -- as writers, anyway -- under a government led by a Saddam or an Osama or the Taliban? They can only write such slanders against their own nation's troops in a free country defended by soldiers like ours.

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