Catapulting the propaganda
There's a new book coming out:
LETTERS FROM THE FRONT LINES
by Rear Admiral Stuart Franklin Platt
(Granville Island Publishing, ISBN: 1894694481, $24.95, hardcover, September 2006)
See war through the eyes of our soldiers with this remarkable account of the lives and experiences of Americans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. These letters were written from the heart, and tell the truth about life on the front lines, as well as life on the home front.
Interestingly, Granville Island seems to be a vanity publishing house - not that there's anything wrong with that, though one thinks a book about letters from soldiers in Iraq could, given the American public's concern about Iraq, attract the attention of a major publishing house.
Looking at the press kit [PDF file], though, it sure seems as if this is yet another Pentagon effort to put a better face on the Iraq conflict:
MANY OF US HOWEVER are curious about what these soldiers have seen, felt, and done while fighting in the epicenter of fundamental Islamists and terrorists.
Huh, I didn't know Iraq counted as one of the "epicenters" of terrorism. If (as it seems) we should assume "terrorism" = "al Qaeda", they weren't there until AFTER we invaded. And as far as fundimentalist Islamism, that sounds more like Saudi Arabia to me. But let's keep going.
MANY also talk about being there for the opening of a new criminal court system, explain the differences between Shiites, Kurds, and Sunnis, comment on the UN’s lack of support, share what it’s like to train the Iraqis to be self sufficient, and speak of pride when a soldier recalls seeing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld come to the “sandbox” to rally the troops.
I'd say the bits about "UN lack of support" (Why SHOULD they support Iraq, when they were nothing more than a forum to be used for Bush's press to war?) and the "pride" about seeing the man who put them into Iraq without body armor and without a plan for the occupation kind of give away the game, here. Given the raw deal Rummy's handed them, I'd hardly be inclined to be proud of him flying in in secret for yet another Pentagon pep rally. And "train the Iraqis to be self sufficient"? WTF? Isn't that JUST a slight tad patronizing? Seems to me the country was pretty damn self-sufficent before being invaded, and could be again if we'd just leave them the hell alone.
You forget for the moment why they are there or even without thinking about the inevitable truth that the US will prevail, and you just imagine how you would survive under the conditions our soldiers exist in. The letters bypass the bias and filters of the news media and talk to us as if WE WERE engaged in a private conversation.
Yep, "US will prevail", even though it sure as hell doesn't look like it. But that's only because you're looking through "the bias and filters of the news media"! It doesn't SAY "liberal bias", though that's self-evident in cases like this. (And let's fersure forget why they're there - the damn justification for war keeps changing almost weekly, so the fact that they went there originally to defend America from Saddam's non-existent WMDs - water under the bridge, baby!)
“I must say, despite the difficult road ahead for the Iraqi people, I am as proud as I have ever been to be here at the birth of a republic. The weight of history is spread evenly across the shoulders of the soldiers and the Iraqi people, as we forge forward with a new path for Iraq and the Middle East.”
Oh, come ON! That's right up there with "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life". There's NO way a soldier in a war zone would write something like that unless his CO was leaning over his shoulder.
Platt believes the wars of the Mid East are about the survival of freedom and that “we have no choice but to see it through.” The collection of letters clearly reflects this fighting spirit.
Yup, no "defeatism" here, folks. No questioning our mission (what IS "the mission", anyway?) or suggesting that we shouldn't be in Iraq. No voices of opposition in this roundup. No sympathizing with the people of Iraq -in fact, quite the opposite:
"[. . .]I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard soldiers complain that “these people don’t get it,” or question “why Iraqis don’t understand we are trying to help them.” In frustration, I have probably expressed similar sentiments myself. Prior to Saddam’s capture many of us clung to this wishful, perhaps overly-idealistic belief, that once Iraqis no longer feared Saddam they would be more welcoming of U.S. troops, and peace and stability would follow.”
-- Captain Brian Baldrate, 3d ACR U.S. Army, Al Anbar Province, Iraq
Funny how when you invade a country on flimsy justifications and outright lies, kill thousands of its citizens, neglect protecting the country's cultural heritage in favor of defending the local natural resources, seize aforementioned natural resources, delay rebuilding of the country's infrastructure, hire thousands of unaccountable "security contractors" who make a sport of shooting at civilians, let hundreds of tons of high explosive be looted (undoubtedly to be used in IEDs), treat racism and murder of civilians as "entertainment", then allow the destabilization of the country to the point where the "democracy" you supposedly wanted to create is no longer a valid option and the issue of just redrawing the borders of said supposedly sovereign country is raised, people of said country get a bit irritated with you. Funny how that happens.