Posted by: quiscus | June 22, 2010

June 22, 2010

1.  So stop training people to kill:

“An instant to pull the trigger, and a lifetime to live with it

Manzel, 30, doesn’t think killing affected him any more than hearing the thud of mortars at night, or watching an Iraqi boy die on a soccer field, shot accidentally by other soldiers.

But with suicides surging in the past five years and more troops being diagnosed with PTSD, some researchers, struggling to discern the root causes of the disorder, have focused on its relationship to killing. They wonder whether PTSD is exacerbated by the ever-improving conditioning to kill, or the shame and guilt associated with having killed.

“There is an instinctual repulsion to killing one of our own kind,” said Dr. Daphne Brown, chief of behavioral health for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. “When you are trained and required to overcome that, not everyone is going to be able to do that unscathed.”

2.  “Obama’s MacArthur Moment? McChrystal Disses Biden

McChrystal is said to have asked “Who’s that?” at the mention of Joe Biden’s name, and to have suggested that Amb. Eikenberry leaked memos critical of McChrystal’s planned counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan because he wanted to cover himself against harsh criticism if the war went badly wrong. His staffers, interviewed for the piece, were even more derisive of Obama insiders.

President Obama absolutely must fire McChrystal for insubordination. You can’t have the office of the vice presidency disrespected in public by a general in uniform that way. Nor is it plausible that the Obama team has a prayer of getting Afghanistan right, assuming such a thing is possible, if the commanding military officer and the ambassador are feuding

If Obama doesn’t fire McChrystal, he will never be respected by anybody in the chain of command that leads to his desk. Moreover, moving McChrystal out now would be a perfect opportunity to pull the plug on the impractical counter-insurgency campaign that the latter has been pursuing, which probably has only a 10% chance of success. ”

3.  ”


Fighting Talk: The New Propaganda

Journalism has become a linguistic battleground – and when reporters use terms such ‘spike in violence’ or ‘surge’ or ‘settler’, they are playing along with a pernicious game.

Following the latest in semantics on the news? Journalism and the Israeli government are in love again. It’s Islamic terror, Turkish terror, Hamas terror, Islamic Jihad terror, Hezbollah terror, activist terror, war on terror, Palestinian terror, Muslim terror, Iranian terror, Syrian terror, anti-Semitic terror…

But I am doing the Israelis an injustice. Their lexicon, and that of the White House – most of the time – and our reporters’ lexicon, is the same. Yes, let’s be fair to the Israelis. Their lexicon goes like this: Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror.

How many times did I just use the word “terror”? Twenty. But it might as well be 60, or 100, or 1,000, or a million. We are in love with the word, seduced by it, fixated by it, attacked by it, assaulted by it, raped by it, committed to it. It is love and sadism and death in one double syllable, the prime time-theme song, the opening of every television symphony, the headline of every page, a punctuation mark in our journalism, a semicolon, a comma, our most powerful full stop. “Terror, terror, terror, terror”. Each repetition justifies its predecessor.

Most of all, it’s about the terror of power and the power of terror. Power and terror have become interchangeable. We journalists have let this happen. Our language has become not just a debased ally, but a full verbal partner in the language of governments and armies and generals and weapons. Remember the “bunker buster” and the “Scud buster” and the “target-rich environment” in the Gulf War (Part One)? Forget about “weapons of mass destruction”. Too obviously silly. But “WMD” in the Gulf War (Part Two) had a power of its own, a secret code – genetic, perhaps, like DNA – for something that would reap terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. “45 Minutes to Terror”.

Politicians didn’t want – I told the Doha meeting on 11 May – the Gaza voyage to reach its destination, “be its end successful, farcical or tragic”. We believe in the “peace process”, the “road map”. Keep the “fence” around the Palestinians. Let the “key players” sort it out. And remember what this is all about: “Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror.”


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