Senator Obama states that the more than 3000 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq were “wasted”.
NBC Nightly News reports that the soldiers beg to differ.
Those who have seen Jarhead know that what’s reported from the front might not always be what the soldiers really think. The insinuation in that movie is that any time you see positive, upbeat videos of American soldiers in the front lines, it’s been carefully censored by the Pentagon, or if not, the front line commanders have exerted much pressure on the soldiers not to complain. (Along that line of thought seems to be the implied message that complaining, a trait commonly thought of as “unmanly”, is preferable to “manly” stoicism. Would that mean that having an “unmanly” armed forces is what those who think along those lines really want?)
Is Senator Obama right? After all, he’s a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School. Moreover, he was president of the Harvard Law Review. In other words, he’s about as educated as a man can be. Surely his education has enlightened him in a way that no mere grunt in the sands of Mesopotamia could possibly understand. After all, as Senator Kerry once sagely remarked: “You know, education–if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
I’m sure all those chicken hawk neocons are completely out of line to believe the self-congratulatory propaganda of the American military-industrial complex (run by none other than Vice President Cheney through his vise grip on all things Halliburton) could possibly be worth any more than the enlightened dismissal of the doyens of our brilliant, public-spirited intellectuals, whose Ivy League education places them leaps and bounds above the mean existence of mere mortals.
Yes, that was a bit arch and snide. I actually don’t necessarily believe that Senator Obama is a preening elitist. (For all I know he’s just a regular elitist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) The point is, I’m afraid there are people out there who probably do buy into that world view. If you see one that effuses about how magnificent this or that current darling of the media is, smile and politely remind him (or her!) to take everything with a grain of salt, including the advice of those who would tell them to take only one side’s story (such as those of the soldiers) with a helping of a salt lick.
By the way, Matteo found some interesting commentary about the rhetorical parlor game against so-called “chicken hawks” (quoting Ace of Spades HQ):
Exit question: Since Arkin asserts that the troops should not be allowed to influence the public’s opinion on the war, and since the entire left demands that anyone supporting the war become a troop himself — has the left pretty much created a Catch-22 by which any and all support for the war is illegitimate?
Campaign ’08 is well and truly under way!
[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]