WHAT SHOULD THE GENERAL HAVE SAID?
That is what several callers with a pronounced drawl wanted to know when they called "Washington Journal" this morning when the topic turned to James Mattis and his apparent love of blowing away Muslims. "He's a warrior," one caller drawled, "what did you expect him to say?"
How about this--he could have said something along these lines: "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity." And what giant, appeasing, anti-American pussy-boy said that? Dwight D. Eisenhower, of course. A Republican. The Allied mastermind of WWII. Even if he didn't mean a word of it, it's still the best face to put forward to the public. Not some bullshit about how cool it is to shoot people.
That's how American soldiers should talk. Not like what Mattis said, which was virulently anti-American, pro-fascist, and anti-humanity. But every cable news program has brought on an apologist for him. It's disgusting.
Distorted Morality, cont.
So this morning I finished watching "Distorted Morality" and started to watch the Q & A session that is included in the special features. The first question was something along the lines of "why do you blame America for the situation in Afghanistan?" And Chomsky had a very good, thought-provoking answer. He said (I'm paraphrasing) "I blame you and I blame myself, not some abstract entity called America for the war in Afghanistan." The "situation" that the question referred to was the fact that our war in Afghanistan was very harmful to the civilian population. But the questioner obviously felt that the dirty people of Afghanistan brought the war on themselves.
Anyway, I thought, what a way to look at it. This war in Iraq is your fault and it's my fault. America is made up of you and me--it's not an entity separate from us--it is us. And we are letting this illegal ends-justify-the-means war happen. I cannot stop it by myself and you cannot stop it by yourself, but you and me and a few million of our friends can do it. But we have to be vocal. Let's not let it go on--let's make the war unpopular.
Master Narrative update
"Iranyanprncess" emailed with an addition to the master narrative list. She proposes "The rich are a lot better then the poor." I like it. It fits--it's like the time on "Hardball" when tax cuts were being discussed (maybe we on the left or the progressive left/right coalition should start referring to Bush's "tax cuts" as "deficit increases") and some jerk-off was defending the fact that the wealthiest people would benefit the most. He said something to the effect that rich people need the most help because they're the ones who give out the jobs. Then he asked smugly and rhetorically "When was the last time a poor person gave you a job?"
So let's add "The rich are better than the poor" to our master narrative identification project. Maybe tweak it just a smidge and substitute "superior" for "better." So here once again is the master narrative, the boundaries of debate, the starting and ending assumptions for the mainstream and/or conservative media (one and the same, really) all of which are either false, a matter of interpretation, or oversimplified:
They’re terrorists, we’re freedom fighters.
The U.S. is the greatest country in the world.
The U.S. is the most generous country in the world.
The U.S. takes better care of its less fortunate than other countries.
Capitalism is the best economic system, ever.
Making corporations and industries follow regulations is bad.
It’s bad because regulations keep them from maximizing profits.
Maximizing profits is the highest calling of an American businessperson.
America is a Christian nation.
Liberals (Democrats) are wusses and pansies that spend too much money.
Liberals (Democrats) hate the military and Jesus.
Liberals prefer abortions to births.
Conservatism is the moral high ground.
Conservatives are fiscally responsible.
Conservatives don’t want big government.
Liberals want to dismantle the military.
Liberals appease dictators.
We take every precaution to protect civilians in a war zone.
American leaders would never intentionally mislead us.
Welfare hurts the poor.
Specialized degrees help people find work easier.
There is no shortage of jobs to be had in this country.
Hard work is always rewarded with financial gain.
No privilege or financial gain ever comes without hard work.
Government only ever hurts the entrepreneur.
Taxes are legalized theft.
Statements issued from the White House place informing the public before seeking political gain.
The rich are superior to the poor.
And of course, the master narrative to end all master narratives:
It can't happen here...