I am trying to make myself stay abreast of the war. It is important, it seems to be our generation’s Vietnam. But it is hard. For one thing there is a lack of news (come on MSM! see more below), for another, there’s the Economy and there’s the BP oil spill. Stupid.
But there are two thoughts I have at the moment. The first is that the MSM is just.not.getting.the.job.done. Forget bloggers – who often break their own arms patting themselves on the back as the “new journalism,” it’s the “outsiders” who are stepping up to the plate for journalism. It was the National Enquirer that busted John Edwards affair wide open. Now it is Rolling Stone who owns ex-General McChrystal and bitch slaps the MSM that were asleep at the wheel. Here is a New York Times opinion piece that cogently analyzes the scoop, Frank Rich, an excerpt:
What we saw was this: 1) Much of the Beltway establishment was blindsided by Michael Hastings’s scoop, an impressive feat of journalism by a Washington outsider who seemed to know more about what was going on in Washington than most insiders did; 2) […]
Like I said, “COme on! MSM” And let’s not forget the lack of analysis in the lead up to the skulldudgerous Iraq War.
The second thought I have is, just how wise and important it is to democracy to have our military under civilian control. I am sorry to say that I have to resort to movies to make my point, but, hey, we live in a pop culture world. 1) I’ve always hated the glorification The Godfather gives to thuggery, but that’s neither here nor there, and 2) It has always remained seated in my mind (because it made such an impression) the line from A Few Good Men, when Kieffer Sutherland (who plays a Guantanamo Bay Marine guard on trial for the death of a fellow corpsman) is on the witness stand and he is telling the cross-examiner where a Marine’s loyalties lay (lie?):
“Unit, Corps, God, Country”
[middlerage sez…”I can’t quite remember – God and Corps might be transposed”]
So what he is saying is that, in the interest of being the hardcore tool, the tip of the spear, that America needs to defend it’s border, the Marine becomes loyal to his unit above all else. The author or scriptwriter wants us to be shocked by the fact that country (or God) doesn’t come first. But I always found this offensive – moreso if true – because for a military man, there is no reason for being without the country. Does unit integrity make an un-matchable military tool that we could get no other way? Then how come the idealogues from Boudicca to Che Guevara form such militarily potent entities?
In our democracy, it is THE COUNTRY, represented by civilian leaders, who run the military. Not the other way around. How dare General McChrystal and his aides disparage the White House administration! Via a transcript of the Rachel Maddow Show (on MSNBC) I come across this quote:
The Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 88 says, “Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the president, the vice president, Congress, the secretary of defense, the secretary of a military department, the secretary of transportation, or the governor or legislature of any state, territory, commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”