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Repeal the ObamaCare individual mandate
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Written by Peter Van Buren
Tuesday October 6, 2015
Sustaining America’s state of post-9/11 perpetual war requires skillful manipulation of the public at home. The key tool used for this purpose is the bloodless narrative, a combination of policy, falsehoods and media manipulation that creates the impression that America’s wars have few consequences, at least for Americans.
How can the American government sustain its wars in the face of dead soldiers coming home? Why is there no outcry among the American people over these losses? The answer is the narrative of bloodless war.
The bloodless war narrative’s solution to the dead is a policy of don’t look, don’t tell.
Dick Cheney, as Secretary of Defense for George H. W. Bush, helped decide in 1991 the first Iraq War would play better if Americans did not see their fallen return home. He recalled the images of coffins from the 1989 invasion of Panama on television, transposed against the president speaking of victory, and banned media from Dover Air Force Base, where deceased American personnel would arrive from the Persian Gulf.
The ban at Dover lasted 18 years, past George Bush 2.0 and Iraq War 2.0, overturned only in 2009, well after the casualty counts dropped off. Even then, allowing cameras at Dover was left at the discretion of the families, except of course when the president needed a blood-stirring photo op. Obama took one just before ordering the surge in Afghanistan.
Death, when it is reluctantly acknowledged, must still follow the bloodless narrative as closely as possible. Death must be for a good cause, freedom if possible, “for his buddies” later when public opinion weakens.
There is no better example in recent times than the death of Pat Tillman, America’s once-walking propaganda dream. Tillman was a professional football player making a $3.6 million salary. Following 9/11, he gave that all up, and volunteered for combat. When he died in Afghanistan, the Army told his family he’d been killed by enemy fire after courageously charging up a hill to protect his fellow soldiers.
It was of course the right thing to say to support the narrative, but it was a lie.
A month later, the Pentagon notified Tillman’s family he had actually died as a result of friendly fire. The month placed the non-narrative news safely after Tillman’s memorial service and in the fog of faded media interest. Later investigations revealed the Army likely knew the death was by friendly fire within days.
The Physically Wounded
For all the trouble the dead cause to the bloodless narrative, the wounded are even messier. They still walk around, sometimes speak to journalists, and, well, do not always look bloodless.
The Honolulu side of Waikiki beach is anchored by a hotel run by the Department of Defense as a low-cost vacation destination for servicepeople. While some of the grounds are public by Hawaiian law, the hotel itself is off limits.
I used to have a government ID that let me in. Inside, who is a soldier? The buff bodies stand out against the beached whale look more popular among regular tourists. The odd-patterned tans – browned faces with pale white limbs – betray a recent trip to the Middle East.
But sometimes it is a missing limb on a 20-year-old, or a face that looks like raw bacon. Could’ve been a car wreck or a factory fire, but I doubt it. The burns sketched precisely where the helmet had, and had not, been, a map of pain.
That’s on the inside. When we as outsiders see images of the wounded, they instead follow the narrative. Brave troopers, with their state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs, are shown skiing, surfing or working out. Some featured amputees even demand to return to active duty. They show off their new limbs, some decorated with decals from their favorite sports teams. They are brave and they are strong.
The inside story is again very different. A recent book by Ann Jones, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars, fills in what the narrative omits. As a summation, Jones offers the haiku of one military trauma nurse: “Amputees up to the waist. No arms. No legs. No genitals. Age 21 or 22. We cry.”
The Mentally Wounded
Military suicides have made it through the screen of bloodless narrative, but just barely, thanks to the Hollywood-ization of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Where we need clarity, we get tropes, such as the freaked-out-at-home scenes in Hurt Locker and American Sniper. Not to say those things don’t happen (they do) but to say those types of scenes are incomplete, giving enough info to arouse sympathy without actually being too alarming. As Ann Jones points out, such treatment of PTSD is “useful in raising citizen sympathy for soldiers, defusing opposition to Washington’s wars, and generally medicalizing problems that might raise inconvenient political and moral issues.”
At the same time, another non-Hollywood narrative bubbles just below the surface, that some vets are exaggerating or outright faking it. PTSD inherits all of our stigmas toward mental illness, and that dilutes the bad news.
Still, with all the attention PTSD and soldier suicides garner, one would think the military would, at minimum, have some ready statistics to help frame the problem. Oh, there are numbers, but not ones that fully strike back against the bloodless narrative.
The Department of Defense keeps statistics on suicides which occur while soldiers are deployed. The Veterans Administration (VA) tracks them at home. But since big suicide numbers run counter to the narrative, it is little surprise that it was only in 2011 that the VA announced a joint suicide database with the Pentagon, so the two bureaucracies might arrive at an accurate body count. Perhaps not unexpectedly, an Inspector General’s report stated that in 2015 the database is still a work in progress.
One way of not knowing is not to look for the answers at all. The narrative says we should be like Mafia bosses’ kids, who never ask what Daddy does for a living despite our big house and fancy cars.
When the Narrative Fails
During the year I spent in Iraq, the only deaths experienced by the Army units I was embedded with were suicides.
The death I was most familiar with was a young Private, who put his assault rifle into his mouth. No one back home saw what I saw, because they were not supposed to see: the fan spray of blood and brain on the wall, already being washed off as I arrived to look.
These things are not unspeakable, we just don’t want to talk about them, and the bloodless narrative says we don’t have to. That keeps it alive. Because when the narrative fails, the wars tend to end.
For example, in 1969, Life magazine published a famous edition consisting entirely of portraits of the Americans who died in Vietnam that week. Many subscribers canceled, but many more looked for the first time outside the narrative. The war found its end.
In another conflict, President Bill Clinton pulled American troops out of Somalia after a photo showed crowds cheering a dead American soldier dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. That image dogged American war mongering until it could be cleaned up by the bloodless narrative of Gulf War 1.0.
We are no longer likely to see those nasty pictures. The military has become more skillful at manipulating the media, even as the media has become more compliant. In the X-rated world of war, most of the media refuses to budge from family fare.
The military-media symbiosis is just one more tool that feeds the narrative. As long as Americans are convinced of the bloodlessness of perpetual war, the wars will go on.
Interesting that nobody was fired, but then this is the new norm I suppose!
The Huffington Post says, “shockingly.” I am in no way shocked. I doubt many of our readers are either. If one works for the government, even if one is charged with enforcing drug laws and one is caught using drugs, the chances of being fired are slim. Very slim. More people should know about the completely ridiculous level of “job security” federal employees enjoy. Remember, you pay for them. (Which is why accountability is in such short supply. After all, you are only the taxpayer.)
(From The Huffington Post)
USA Today reporters Brad Heath and Meghan Hoyer found that, from 2010 through 2015, DEA employees have avoided getting fired despite serious violations of agency policy, including distribution of drugs, falsifying official records and having an “improper association with a criminal element.” And in the few cases in which administrators did recommend termination, the DEA’s Board of Professional Conduct often reduced sanctions to suspensions or lower forms of discipline and even required the agency to rehire problem employees…
…Indeed, a closer look at the internal log turns up numerous examples of disturbing behavior being punished with suspensions of a few days, at most. From 2010 through 2015, HuffPost found 62 instances of an employee losing or stealing a firearm; more than 30 violations for driving while intoxicated, including four while driving a government-owned vehicle and one that involved a hit-and-run; two occasions in which employees deprived individuals of their civil rights; nine instances of employees losing or stealing drug evidence; 10 cases in which agents lost or stole a defendant’s property; four violations for committing fraud against the government, two of which were punished by a letter of caution; and two more general violations of DEA policy on drug use. The DEA didn’t fire anyone as a direct result of these actions.
The DEA has faced intense scrutiny for its handling of discipline in the wake of a string of high-profile scandals at the agency. The criticism came to a head earlier this year with the revelation that agents stationed abroad attended cartel-funded sex parties involving prostitutes.
Our Religious Documents are being removed just like our Religious Freedoms are being taken away!!
Construction crews needed special lighting as they removed a Ten Commandments monument from the Oklahoma capitol grounds in the dark of night Monday.
Oklahoma Ten Commandments removal
“We wanted it to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible, and doing it at night gave us the best opportunity to do that,” Office of Management and Enterprise Services spokesman John Estus tells KOCO. “The Highway Patrol was also very concerned that having it in the middle of the day could lead to having demonstrations of some kind.”
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered the privately-financed monument removed after ruling in June “that the monument’s display violated a constitutional prohibition on the use of public property to support a ‘system of religion,'” News 9 reports.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin had previously defied the Supreme Court’s order, saying she would keep the monument in place while an appeal was heard.
“The Ten Commandments monument was built to recognize and honor the historical significance of the Commandments in our state’s and nation’s systems of laws,” Fallin said at the time.
“The monument was built and maintained with private dollars. It is virtually identical to a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol which the United States Supreme Court ruled to be permissible. It is a privately funded tribute to historical events, not a taxpayer funded endorsement of any religion, as some have alleged.”
In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court sided with the ACLU and its three plaintiffs. The group immediately denounced Fallin’s decision.
“The Supreme Court did not give any leeway in their opinion. The bipartisan, seven-member majority did not say remove the monument except if you look into your crystal ball and think the law might allow it at some point in the future and go ahead and keep it,” ACLU of Oklahoma executive director Ryan Kiesel told the Tulsa World. “The court said remove the monument.”
Kiesel believed Fallin was in “contempt” of the court’s ruling.
“Frankly, I would be astonished if we get to a point where the governor outright defies an order of our state’s highest court,” he said. “That said, if she does, there is a word for it. It is called contempt.”
The monument is being relocated to the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs’ offices.
The activity of God in the world today is twofold. First, there is His saving activity-"Surely His salvation is at hand for those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land." God is saving men and women all over the world, even though it may seem like a trickle in the great riverbed of human need. But, if revival were to visit us, the tens would become hundreds, and the hundreds thousands, and the thousands, millions.
The activity of God in the world today is twofold. First, there is His saving activity-"Surely His salvation is at hand for those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land." God is saving men and women all over the world, even though it may seem like a trickle in the great riverbed of human need. But, if revival were to visit us, the tens would become hundreds, and the hundreds thousands, and the thousands, millions. You have only to read the story of the great movements of the Spirit over one hundred years ago in Great Britain and the United States to see what God did in a matter of months. Oh, for another such visitation!
Secondly, there is God’s sanctifying activity. This is demonstrated in personal life-- "Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other." What a delightful portrayal of a sanctified life! Those glorious qualities were gathered up in the nature and personality of our Lord Jesus. When by His Spirit He dwells in us in revival fullness all flesh can see the glory of God.
Revival - Pastor Robert K. Teske
Tomorrow - Part 4O: The Why of Revival
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