Archive for category Disgrace to the Military
I’ve seen the promos, and wondered out loud if this is an actual show or just a clever satire of corporate-sponsored “reality” TV. Turns out that NBC is truly going to air “Stars Earn Stripes,” an incredibly stupid faux-war celebrity contest co-hosted by retired U.S. general Wesley Clark. Bear in mind that NBC is owned by defense contractor GE, which profits from the normalization of permanent war.
Dean Cain, Dolvett Quince, Eve Torres, Laila Ali, Nick Lachey, Picabo Street, Terry Crews, and Todd Palin will compete in allegedly dangerous warlike activities — in which no one gets hurt. None of them have ever served in the real military.
RootsAction.org and Just Foreign Policy have set up a petition at StarsEarnStripes.org challenging NBC to tell the truth about war.
Your entertainment show “Stars Earn Stripes” treats war as sport. This does us all a disservice. We ask that you air an in-depth segment showing the reality of civilian victims of recent U.S. wars, on any program, any time in the coming months. (StarsEarnStripes.org has provided a few resources to help you with your research.)
It’s not a revelation that American corporate media don’t tell the truth about war. However, this is ridiculous. “Reality” TV has never departed this much from actual reality. General Clark ought to be ashamed of himself — being a tool of the military-industrial complex is bad enough, but he’s gone too far now.
More info: NBC Invents War-o-tainment
UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald weighs in:
It’s actually necessary that America have a network reality show that pairs big, muscular soldiers with adoring D-list celebrities — hosted by a former Army General along with someone who used to be on Dancing with the Stars – as they play sanitized war games for the amusement of viewers, all in between commercials from the nation’s largest corporations. That’s way too perfect of a symbol of American culture and politics for us not to have.
Ten bloody and grueling years later, Iraq is finally emerging from its ruins and establishing itself as a geopolitical player in the Middle East — but not the way the neocons envisioned.
Though technically a democracy, Iraq’s floundering government has degenerated into a tottering quasi-dictatorship. The costs of the war (more than $800 billion) and reconstruction (more than $50 billion) have been staggeringly high. And while Iraq is finally producing oil at pre-war levels, it is trying its best to drive oil prices as high as possible.
Most disturbing to many American foreign policy experts, however, is Iraq’s extremely close relationship with Iran. Today, the country that was formerly Iran’s deadliest rival is its strongest ally.
In other words, the Neo Cons were not just wrong but absolutely 100% wrong, their predictions turned out exactly 180 degrees from what actually happened.
Predicting what’s next in Iraq is next to impossible. In virtually no scenario, however, do things turn out how the neocons intended.
“Whatever [the war] was about, which was never entirely explained, it hasn’t worked out terribly well,” said Freeman, “and in fact Iraq continues to evolve in ways that are, if not fatal to American interests, certainly negative.”
At this point, I’m even more certain the Iraq war was not worth what it cost. It was a colossal waste of time, resources, lives – an exercise in imperial vanity and posturing that was so destructive in every imaginable way, more costly, more ruinous than anyone predicted.
We need a national truth and reconciliation commission. We need it now.
Of course, at least one caller to the Diane Rehm show, on NPR, knocks the cooler over every day Diane Rehm is actually on her own show. A multitude of Americans have been asking this question ever since the invasion of Iraq. I just thought I’d add to the repetition, since the call happened this morning, in hopes of nudging my fellow citizens into some kind of conversation at the water cooler that isn’t about dancing with stars, or the latest sex scandal manufactured for the US.
The caller refers to the latest BIG AMERICAN SEX SCANDAL before going where she really wants to go.
(listen here at about 42 minutes in)
All right. To San Francisco, Calif. Good morning, Denise.
Good morning, Diane. My question is going back to the GSA scandal…
…you know, with them going to Las Vegas. And my point is that where is the outrage over a manufactured war and the cherry-picked intelligence and the trillions of dollars spent and that hundred, maybe 200,000 Iraqi citizens and thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of young men and women living their lives as amputees or with head trauma. Where are the pallets of cash that went missing in Iraq? The bungles and irresponsible way that the Bush administration funded those wars, where does this debt come from? Where is the outrage about that?
It’s a great question. I do think one of the things that’s been really striking to me about this election year is how little Afghanistan and the on-going wars have been as part of the debate. And I think that may intensify as we get closer to the general election, but you have a president whose policy has more in line with Republicans. And I think Democrats thought — that they thought it was gonna be when he came into office.
He’s actually have been fairly hawkish about his foreign policy, and you have a progressive left that is not particularly organized or willing to go after the president in any kind of coordinated way. I think there’s been a willful silence in the Democratic Party of unity behind the president on this. And it has been surprisingly not an issue in this election year so far.
No doubt about it, $822,751 is a lot of taxpayers money to be spending on pleasure seeking, but trillions of dollars, crippled and dead soldiers are probably a little more noteworthy on the eve of memorial day, which most working Americans will spend – uh – working.
Did you notice how Susan Davis tried desperately to steer the conversation towards Obama and the progressive left’s failings. Well, I’ve learned not to expect much from “USA Today” and always turn off the radio whenever that other Susan from “USA Today” fills in for Diane.
The entire American media is a cesspool, except for NPR and PBS, which gives us a window of truth some of the time. I’ve been listening a lot more lately, and I, mostly, like the national and local fare.
Yesterday, Bush announced “I’m takin’ a bunch ‘o Vets mountain bike riding.” “I like mountain bike riding.”
And, I realize Chimpy was trying to be self-deprecating when he said, “what I don’t like is to be beaten on a mountain bike ride by a one-legged Veteran.”
All I could think is, how will he find a one-legged Veteran who won’t try to beat him on sight?
The Chimpster goes on to brag that his “Institute” is sponsoring a golf tournament for Vets. How thoughtful. And why not? Most of them have fairly flexible schedules nowadays (unemployed).
Except for the few lucky troops who found time to practice at the driving range when not dodging IEDs, I imagine most have never stepped onto a golf course, other than to pick up trash, turn on the sprinklers or to find a quiet spot to spend the night?
Yes, a golf tournament. What better to say I love you and avoid missing a day on the links?
If you have been paying any attention to the news at all today, you have likely already seen the video of American Marines urinating on corpses in Afghanistan. The number of levels on which this is disturbing is legion. I am mostly working out my thoughts on this as I write, so I may be unorganized at best, but feel this should be addressed.
First of all there is the most superficial reaction. These men are desecrating bodies. They are soiling once living beings in a way that causes a “yuck” factor. As a philosopher I am not particularly worried about this “yuck” factor, but I am also well aware of its existance and the reaction many have is a red flag that makes me want to look into the reaction. Perhaps at another time.
Republicans are afraid to criticize the war in Afghanistan for fear of being attacked for being unpatriotic . . . by other Republicans.
Well, doesn’t that just break your heart? They sat on their hands while Rove and Bush and their lackeys in the media savaged John Kerry and Max Cleland. And now, they realize, that maybe, you know, criticizing an unnecessary war isn’t unpatriotic and isn’t a sign of lack of support for the troops.
Screwed yourselves but good didn’t you boys?
Today’s D-News published the following letter:
Ken Halterman (Readers’ Forum, Sept. 5) writes that he mourns the loss of heroes Cory Jenkins, Kurt Curtiss and his friend Mike Hughes. All died fighting for our country. Then, he goes further, saying they died for “nothing except pride and bravery.”
The writer doesn’t understand that freedom … is never free. He doesn’t understand that his freedom to read and write to this paper has been purchased for him by the blood of countless, nameless heroes.
I’m grateful that I do understand and appreciate the price others have paid for me. My son, Zachary Lee Padron, is serving right now in Afghanistan. Every minute of the day, his mother and I worry about him. We pray and trust he will come home safe. But if Zachary dies fighting for America, like so many before him, he will have laid down his life for all of us. There is no greater good.
I can in fact understand the fear of knowing a loved one is in harm’s way. Certainly, we want to believe that if our loved one dies in military service that their death had meaning, that their dying was truly in service of a greater good. We want to believe that if someone we know and love is in the military and they die in combat that their death makes us safer and freer.
But is the war in Afghanistan really in defense of our freedom? Is it truly a war that will improve our freedom? Is the war in Afghanistan even a war in defense of the United States?
From where I sit, it seems that the war in Afghanistan has failed in every one of its operational objectives. Al Qaeda has not been stopped. The people of Afghanistan continue to live amidst nearly constant violence. The nation is is still a chaotic patchwork of warlords and druglords and poverty and despair. I know it’s not pleasant to admit but at some level, I’m not sure our presence in Afghanistan is doing anything beneficial for our nation. Did Afghanistan ever even pose a threat to us?
It seems to me that the greatest failure of American foreign policy in recent years has been our ongoing inability to discern the real threats to the US and decide on appropriate action. It seems we have been trapped in the illusion of our own military might and we have come to believe a set of lies about our military’s greatness. We seem to have indulged in a mythology in which our ability to shape the world to our will is boundless and that we can do so anywhere and anytime we like. We spend more than any other nation in the world on our military but we seem never to ask is this a wise use of our wealth? We have tried to maintain our empire of consumption – a neverending supply of material goods to fill a hole in souls they will never – and have built a worldwide empire which drains our resources – moral and material.
Andrew Bacevich calls it the crisis of profligacy – the great unfolding crisis in which we spend ever greater resources to secure ever fewer rewards in the name of our chase for ever more material abundance, at the cost of ever more wealth and time and lives. And at the cost – here at home – of our freedoms. At some point, the American empire cannot be sustained and we must choose – will we abandon empire in the name of democracy or will we pursue empire and sacrifice democracy.
When the US invaded Afghanistan, then forgot about it to invade Iraq, it signaled a dire turning point, an inflection point if you will, of a spiral turning unremittingly downward as we lost the ability to discern real from imagined threats. At the cost of lives and billions of dollars and moral authority, we have pursued two wars without victory and stand alone before the world, a screaming colossus incapable of self discipline.
It is my hope that not one more American will die in Afghanistan or Iraq, that we will have strength of national character to end those wars and find a new way. And it is my hope for Lee Padron that his son comes home safe and sound and lives a very long life.
Thank you Desiree Fairoo, Medea Benjamin and Code Pink for your unflinching pursuit of justice and you guardianship of the highest American principles.
It is utterly surreal that any of the Bush administration, especially Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush are walking around free men. This is our national embarrassment.
All of them are directly responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis as well as the deaths of over 4000 American soldiers, victims of Iraqi terrorists fathers and sons protecting their homes and families.
The sickening, uncomfortable smile on Rummy’s face as he is confronted by these great Americans betrays the underlying truth that Rumsfeld remains a free man only by virtue of our collective national shock and the broken and still paralyzed culture of justice and law in the homeland.
Code Pink is become a great American institution producing brave heros of the peace movement on the order of the Tim DeChristopher.