“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Monday, May 19, 2003


Ah, the weekend. Suicide bombing is the new bungee cord jumping sport throughout the Middle East, the dollar is quietly plummetting in the background as the Bush administration, which argues that its tax cut will raise stock prices, shows that it could care less, and the Private Jessica Lynch rescue turns out to have been a little less dangerous than your average frat party.

Where to begin?

LI talked to D. -- okay, I talked to my brother yesterday, and he was full of outrage about the faking of the taking of Jessica Lynch, pfc. Since the networks were full of her story two weeks ago and she has been figuring heavily in the national press, we expected a story about the BBC report in the NYT or the Washington Post. So far, we haven't seen one. Since much of the rightwing blog community, leaking into much of the rightwing communitiy, is always on guard against media manipulation, we decided to visit spots we usually touch on very gingerly. There is a general blogger indignation that the BBC is putting out anti-American propaganda, since 1. The BBC claim blanks were used for the filming, and soldiers wouldn't have agreed to use blanks; and 2. blank ammunition has a different profile than real ammunition, and usually requires a modified weapon to fire it -- and, to quote a source I've avoided on this site,

So how do blank rounds work in the movies? Well, the weapons used are not real. They are specially produced replicas, often based on the mechanism of a real weapon, with the barrel partially sealed. They cannot fire live ammunition under any circumstances whatsoever. This is how film makers create realistic scenes of automatic firing without attaching a BFA to the end of the weapon.Clearly, no one will be carrying that sort of a �weapon� into a combat area.

The tone, here, is very interesting. It assumes that the American Military is always honest; would never risk troops for a stunt, and that the only reason a story claiming it was a stunt could possibly be aired is that any deviation from the Gospel version of the War must be motivated by malice.

This shows a certain shift in the way the Military is considered, at least in this sub-culture. It is a shift that is, perhaps, facilitated by the evident lack of acquaintance with the military. Having a volunteer army, which I think is a mark of civilization (rather like abolishing the death penalty) comes with its disadvantages, one of which is that military matters become subject to romantic illusion. The Military has not been particularly reticent to express its view that the truth is merely one strategy in the process of achieving victory. Stunts are pretty much the m.o. of American intelligence. Who would dare to broadcast entirely fake news of a mercenary army on the march to the capital in order to unseat a government? The CIA, in Guatamala, in 1956. This became a standard trope in CIA lore, and one bragged about, discretely, by the Company. In fact, if you hypothosize that the Lynch rescue was faked, would it have military value? Of course. It did. It was a morale builder. It is interesting that the war cannot, however, have fake moments in it for its most ardent fans. It is as if a bunch of wrestling aficianados were appalled to learn that some of the jumps from the ropes were practiced.

It is surprising how little is being made of the Lynch assertions, but we think that the NYT and the Washington Post are being particularly careful not to offend their thin-skinned American readers about their cherished stories. As Jack N. says, however, the Truth? You can't take the truth!
The military motto of our time.

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