Belaboring the Obvious

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

When the News Shits on Your Head, It's Cindy Sheehan's Fault....

Perhaps it was providential that I woke up today to an email from an acquaintance which excoriated Cindy Sheehan for not putting a headstone on the grave of her son who had died in Iraq, and who has been solidly against the war and determined to get an answer from George Bush as to why her son died.

This email has been circulating for some time, and shows a grassy plot with a small bouquet where the headstone would normally be. The accompanying text is quite inflammatory, suggesting that Sheehan was neglectful of her son. The email is quite behind the times--as Snopes recounts, there was a temporary disagreement over disbursement of mortuary funds, and there is now an elaborate headstone in place.

But, it continues to circulate not only as fact, but also as a condemnation of a woman who wants the cessation of a war in which her son was killed for no discernable reason but that Bush and Co. wanted a war.

To give some shaded racist cant to the email, a second picture has been appended since the email began to circulate--Sheehan giving Jesse Jackson, Sr., a hug at a rally, as if this were further proof of her treason.

It's almost pointless to reiterate that all the reasons given for the war--that Iraq had alliances with al-Qaeda, that Iraq was in possession of huge amounts of chemical and biological weapons, that Iraq was preparing nuclear weapons, that Iraq was an imminent threat to U.S. national security--have been soundly disproven. A hard-nosed and hard-headed small core of people in this country still believe that all those things are true, and that people such as Cindy Sheehan are traitors, that they "hate" the military, and that her "disrespect" for the Commander-in-Chief hurts troop morale and is evidence of grave wrongdoing on her part.

The latter may be, in the eyes of that minority of knuckleheaded cult followers, the greatest sin. The cult of personality that has grown around Bush is nothing short of breathtaking. The man is an idiot, probably maniacal, and certainly the most bullheaded and obdurate of any recent Presidents.

I say the timing of the receipt of the email is providential, because it comes at virtually the same time that I read the Washington Post's first installment of a planned series on "The Other Walter Reed." (The second installment is here, and the third, here.) Just read the whole goddamned thing, then whiz backward in time a few days to the reports from Congress on the incredible amounts of money wasted in Iraq, and just juxtapose those news items and that email and ponder what they mean, individually and together.

Compare the photo-ops of George Bush visiting the polished Ward 57 of Walter Reed with the pictures of Cindy Sheehan being arrested for civil disobedience. Compare Bush, jutting out his chin and demanding the carnage go on because, otherwise, his fragile house-of-cards psyche will collapse, with one dead soldier's mother saying, "no more carnage." Compare the ways in which Cindy Sheehan and the loony right choose to "support the troops."

I say providential, because there seems to be no better way to illustrate the gigantic cognitive disconnect at work in this country today. The very people who claim to "support the troops" tolerate the sort of neglect occurring at Walter Reed (and at army facilities as far away as Colorado--see) and will, mark my words, eventually denounce Priest and Hull for bringing the situation to public view as an attack on their Dear Leader.* Priest has already been subjected to that treatment for her articles on the CIA's black world prison gulag, so I don't expect anything from the hard-core right wing but more of the same. I don't expect the attacks on Sheehan to stop, either, nor on the current Congress for exposing the sort of graft and bribery and war profiteering that may have been the only plan this White House ever had for the war.

There's not much chance of changing the minds of those in the deeply neurotic/psychotic cult of Bush in this country, but, there might be a chance of influencing the people, including those in the media, who take their ravings as serious, thoughtful complaints. It's one thing to acknowledge their rights to free speech. It's quite another to treat them as if they have some kind of special knowledge, or to give priority to their views as if they are representative of the majority in the country, when, in fact, they are at the margins of society and represent its fringes.

* Oops! Young Jonah Goldberg (evil spawn of Lucianne) says at National Review Online that, well, the troops ought to get the best, but Dana Priest is such an untrustworthy reporter that he'd much prefer that Fox News take Geraldo Rivera (who hasn't done anything resembling real journalism in about forty years) off the Anne Nicole Smith story and put him on the Walter Reed story. That way young Jonah could be assured of getting the unvarnished truth, because Fox (evil spawn of Rupert Murdoch, which was, in fact, doing the non-stop Anna Nicole Smith story instead of the Walter Reed story in the first fucking place) is so much more trustworthy when it comes to reporting the "news."

Give me a fuckin' break, Jonah. Neither you nor Geraldo would recognize the news if it walked up to either of you, introduced itself, gave you its home phone number, begged you to call and then shit on your head. What you and your very needy, very fearful and not-at-all-independence-minded readers think is news propaganda.

Exactly who broke this story in the first place, Fat Shorty? Dana Priest and Anne Hull, or Geraldo Rivera and you and your pal, Rupert?

One guess, and, be quick about it, fat-boy-who-loves-war-but-won't-join-up, before the news shits on your head. And the news is that the loony Bushies can't run an army at home, either....


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