Archive - Jun 5, 2006

Feeling A Bit Nostalgic Myself

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Memo to the Usual Gang: HEY, LOOK, STILL DUMB!

If you want to know who the holdouts will be - if, as seems to be happening, the Permanent Republican Majority turns out to only describe disapproval ratings - look no further than the Haditha apologists.

Like the Abu Ghraib apologists before them, only fewer in number, the Haditha apologists have such a stake, for whatever reason, in maintaining the status quo that they will, like they did before, say ridiculous and astonishing things that they may or may not truly believe to support their disintegrating worldview.

If the rest of you actually manage to come to your fucking senses, the Haditha apologists will still be trying to marginalize you, to deny your unprecedented first steps into the world of looking and thinking, to pretend you don't exist. And since they're part of the media, they can do a pretty good job of it.

John Gibson, Michelle Malkin, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity. You know the names, you know the routine. But in case your memory's a bit lacking, here's a quick primer on the techniques being used to keep you nice and complacent.

Wait Until All The Facts Are In:

This is one of those things that sound reasonable at first. The investigation is technically not complete. No charges have yet been filed. So let's wait until all the facts are in! The problem is twofold. First, all the facts are never in. It's two years after Abu Ghraib, and "all the facts" never came out about that, did they? Second, what they want us to "wait until all the facts are in" to do is discuss, or even mention, the facts that ARE in.

No, the investigation isn't finished. It's just close to being finished. Close enough that the people in the know obviously know how it's going down. They know enough to ramp up the "ethics training" for Marines, because apparently the existing PowerPoint presentations telling them not to shoot civilians in the back of the head is not sinking in across the board. I'll leave the irony of right-wing pundits waiting for facts as an exercise for the reader.

Anti-War Opponents Are Rejoicing Over Massacres

This comes out every time members of the military get caught doing something they shouldn't. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"And there are puddles of drool in the offices of the L.A. Times and The New York Times, whose columnists and editorial writers are screaming, 'Iraqi My Lai, My Lai, My Lai,'" - Michelle Malkin, who, I must remind you, thinks the Japanese internment camps were A-OK.

"Predictably, the left-wing press has run with the alleged massacre at Haditha. Editorials across the country today, screaming about holding all of those involved accountable... But why? Why do so many rejoice when bad things happen to the USA?" - Bill O'Reilly, who, I must remind you, loves phone sex, vibrators, and falafel.

Not rejoice. RECOGNIZE. When bad shit happens, yes, we reserve the right to notice. And yes, we reserve the right to say these things happened. And yes, we reserve the right to demand that something be done about these bad things, and question whether this latest bad thing in a series of bad things doesn't form a larger bad picture. But whatever. Keep implying that all 72% of the people who disapprove of Dubya are dancing in the streets chanting "YAY, MASSACRE".

Diminishing The Crime:

This one was a lot bigger with Abu Ghraib. The prisoners could be painted as Evil Terrorists, and the indignities inflicted on them could be minimized to the point that, even today, the total number of Iraqis killed at the prison is understated by one - as zero. With Haditha, that's tougher to do - the victims were civilians, and they appear to have been shot in the head and back. It would take a bold man to attempt to diminish even the alleged crime of massacring civilians. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

The war in Iraq is not the story of massacres by Americans. If Iraqis know their own history, they know massacres have been committed in Iraq by warring parties for millennia piled on millennia. This is the part of the world that was in on the massacre game early, played it often, and the last character to be up to his eyeballs in massacres was the very guy we went in to regime change, Saddam himself. - John Gibson

First, John, allow the grammarian in me to insist upon "the very guy whose regime we went in to change..." I know the language is fluid and evolving, but "regime change" as a compound verb? That's like shooting 24 English teachers in the head and claiming they were the victim of a roadside conjugation.

And second, Gibson appears to be arguing that massacres aren't as bad if they're inflicted upon members of a society who are more used to them. In Gibson's mind, the Iraqis, who haven't greeted us as liberators yet because they're having a tough time planning the surprise party, would be looking at Haditha with something akin to... nostalgia? "Oh, massacres. I remember those. Used to be you couldn't swing a dead family around here without hitting a massacre or three. Wonder what happened to them?"

So keep an eye out for these and similar strategies from your favorite right-wing media holdout. At least, of course, until all the facts are in.