Right Around the Corner
"This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." -- Elmer DavisI can't say that I have much interest in or sympathy for CNN, a Shouting Heads Network that in recent years waffles between aping Fox News as a propaganda organ and pretending to be an alternative to it. Although I could be persuaded otherwise, I'm neither convinced the media world is poorer for Eason Jordan's resignation nor surprised that when the chips were down he didn't show the strength of his convictions and 'engage' his blogger critics, to use a phrase well worn on a recent PBS News Hour program.
Perhaps Eason was a force for good somewhere behind the CNN scenery, but not on the external evidence presented by my television screen. Nor am I impressed by crowing from right wing blogs who claim to have taken another SCLM scalp. As if ....
The real tragedy, I think, is how all of this is swamping the persistent life-threatening risk that faces journalists, politicians, bloggers, and anyone else who tries to penetrate the Pentagon Propaganda Machine and identify the actual costs of the Iraq war and occupation. As Resident Information points out, there is substantial evidence suggesting that, indeed, at least a dozen journalists may have been murdered -- and even more arrested and abused -- by U.S. occupation forces.
Does it matter if the dead and abused were specifically targeted by U.S. military personnel or were 'only' collateral damage? Dead is dead, whether by accident, wilful disregard, or deliberate design. Is it a slur on our troops to say that these deaths were wrong? No more than it is to point out the terrible wrong committed when our troops are ordered by the Pentagon to kill thousands of Iraqi civilians, or as many as a hundred thousand as research published in The Lancet reports.
The story here goes well beyond whether 'bloggers have added a new prize to the walls of their virtual trophy room,' as Terrence Smith puts it. We are entering a new, and depressingly predictable, phase of Bush's Iraq adventure. It will look very much like what we've seen before -- in Vietnam with the My Lai Massacre, after Korea with incidents like No Gun Ri, in the reflective calm that followed the fire bombing of Tokyo and Dresden, to name just a few.
Any criticism of the Iraq war or how it is conducted will be seized upon by the 'nativist paranoids' and jingoists as treason. Bet on it.
The New McCarthyism is right around the corner.