October 16, 2004

Wartime Propaganda?

As the political season rolls on, I find myself growing more and more tired of hearing the current Iraq war compared to Vietnam or hearing the words "total disaster" from any direction I care to look.

40,934 US casualties were sustained in Vietnam compared to 1098 in Iraq. Naturally even one casualty is too many for associated loved ones, but as a nation, America suffers 5 times as many deaths annually from food poisoning as from the war in Iraq to date.

In addition, we as a nation no longer have the draft in place. Every soldier enlisted in the US military is there by choice. While the terms of service for our reservists and guard members certainly needs review and reform, even they join of their own free will.

A soldier does not automatically attain the status of "hero" simply by joining the service or fulfilling their contractual obligations. U.S. behavior during and after Vietnam has created a "guilt backlash" that causes us to label anyone associated with war thusly, a correction mechanism, if you will, that will in all likelihood last until an equally embarrassing or disastrous scenario unfolds as a result. Certainly every war sees its share of heroes, but the term gets so much use these days that I am beginning to wonder if I qualify as a hero for watching the news in the first place.

As a voter or concerned citizen, you are welcome to oppose the war for a variety of valid reasons. If you oppose our leadership taking America to war offensively instead of defensively, or believe that oppressed foreign nations should decide their own fates or request help first in the style of the American Revolution, by all means feel comfortable with your beliefs. Just don't get suckered into the newsreal hype, expecting instant results at no cost or expecting nations heavily bribed by Saddam himself via the Oil for Food program to take on major responsibilities In Iraq.

Iraq is decidedly not another Vietnam, nor do pending elections or an even remotely stable interim government constitute a "total disaster." Footage of children attending schools free of hate-propaganda or workers bring power or running water to areas of the nation previously deprived of such services simply does not make for good television.

When all is said and done, can we say the war is a success at this point? Certainly not. We also cannot dismiss it as a disaster regardless of how popular the term becomes. History shows that people can believe just about anything if they hear it repeated often enough, but that does not indicate that we must. Don't believe the hype.

Your comments are welcome.

Posted by Andy at October 16, 2004 02:03 PM to the Politics category
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