"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Believing the Worst Requires Too Little Imagination

If it bleeds it leads is one reason we are all too well aware of as to why the news has more good then bad; even when more good than bad may have happened. Watch any local newscast and the coverage is wall to wall crime, accidents and anything that might bring in the viewers hoping for some action and car chases.

In Iraq, from Abu Ghraib, Fallujah to Haditha, the truth isn’t nearly as important as the story; much like the Duke Lacrosse players in their travails and tribulation facing prison time for a rape they did not commit nor even happened.

All this is unfortunate for us in that it leads to an acceptance of what isn’t as those it is, which brings us to all the horror stories of our soldiers in Vietnam as baby killers and presently our heartless “killers” in Iraq. Perhaps if the media wasn’t so starved or easily self-mislead toward the worst in us in a war they disagree with we might have a true picture of what exactly is going on.

Mackubin Thomas Owens, contributing editor at NRO had a great column yesterday that I had hoped to bring attention to, however failed on that task. From John Kerry and the “Winter Soldier Investigation” from Vietnam, to Stephen Glass of National Review fame, Owens reveals a reason that we should all take what we hear of atrocity with a grain of salt before we go on the rampage beating ourselves, our military and our nation down as though it is not worthy of spitting on.

Owens does not deny the reality that horrible things happen and anyone that does is obviously a fool probably cannot speak beyond the monosyllabic. That said however, it is a fool that in knee jerk order accepts that which paints what our military does as everything but honorable as though each member in its ranks cheered on the anomaly, not “new management” at Abu Gharaib.

A personal anecdote shared by Owens during his time in Vietnam goes:

“I heard of an atrocity just after I joined the unit. A Marine who was scheduled to rotate soon recounted an incident that he claimed had occurred shortly after he had arrived in the unit about a year earlier. According to his story, members of a sister company had killed some North Vietnamese soldiers after they had surrendered.

Some months later, I happened to overhear another Marine who had joined my platoon after I took it over relate exactly the same story to some newly arrived men, only now it involved me and my platoon. I had a little chat with him and he cleared things up with the new men. But that episode has always made me wonder how many of the stories have been recycled and how many accounts of atrocities are based on what veterans heard as opposed to committed or witnessed.”

Instances of atrocity are undeniable in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere; they happen in Iran, Palestine, and Lebanon and we’re not there. As a matter of fact horrible acts are committed daily all over the world. This is not to justify the action of those that commit them, but to allow ourselves the calm that should come knowing that it is not in our military’s first instinct to commit them.

We should doubt that which we read or see in the news until we know more. All the claims of support of our troops is nothing if you expect the worse of them.

From Wednesday’s NRO, Mackubin Thomas Owens, “Stephen Glass Meets the Winter Soldiers.”

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