TCS Daily


Counternarratives and the Grunt

By Josh Manchester - December 12, 2006 12:00 AM

When it comes to ground forces, the American press has a standard template for wartime narratives. Developed in World War II, it has morphed over the years (to the detriment of the perception of our forces) but has remained largely intact. Much of it has reflected the nature of the wars in which the US has become involved.

The Standard Narrative goes something like this: There is a massive deployment of US forces to the far side of the world. This action is more or less just and warranted. The troops charge into battle, sometimes many battles. All the while, there's an understanding everywhere of an end-state - a point at which the war's goals will have been accomplished and then, most importantly, everyone can come home.

Throughout all of this there is a standard typecast character: the American enlisted infantryman. Usually he is portrayed with undercurrents of victimhood (this is one of the innovations in the Standard Narrative since WWII.). We see such images in the recent gaffes of Senator Kerry and Congressman Rangel, in which they respectively questioned the intelligence and alternative employment prospects of military personnel. Running through this undercurrent are a couple of others: a sort of class warfare vibe, in which it is assumed that only the poor do the fighting, and a related guilt vibe, in which it is posited that since the troops are merely pitiable, poor, undereducated, unemployable automatons, the best way to "support" them is to bring them home. This entire panoply of implied images even applies when troops are painted in a semi-heroic light. See Forrest Gump.

There's one more aspect to the Standard Narrative: frequent "horror of war" type memes. These include as many references as possible to PTSD, torture, civilian deaths, and atrocities. These things do happen of course. War is, of course, horrible. But in the standard narrative, they frequently come to dominate, rather than to be portrayed in relationship to their frequency or context.

I say all of this to make this point: the Standard Narrative's days may be numbered. It's not because of some innovative PR method about to be launched by the military. No, it's because the nature of the military reorganization that is taking place today will serve to significantly subvert the sources of material for the Standard Narrative's propagation. A larger number of small deployments, brought about by changes in mission, devolution of decisionmaking authority, and a reorganized force, will work to completely undermine the economy of scale enjoyed by the press in covering large conflicts.

The change in mission springs from a desire to "shape the choices of countries at strategic crossroads." At least that's how the Quadrennial Defense Review put it. This means teaching foreign militaries how to defend their state from within - from terrorists, organized criminals, and social unrest. A former Commandant of the Marine Corps once referred to this as "phase zero," alluding to the operational plan for the invasion of Iraq, and meaning the desire to influence other countries before things get so bad that "phase one," or an invasion, is necessary. The training in mind will be performed by small teams of US military personnel operating for months at a time in remote places all over the world, in relatively benign environments.

At the same time, innovations are in the works to dramatically increase the impact of small groups of military personnel. One of these, being developed by the Marine Corps, is the concept of distributed operations. Essentially seeking to decentralize decisionmaking within an infantry battalion, distributed operations will mean that a battalion commander will have 9-12 platoons or 27-36 squads as maneuver elements, instead of 3 or 4 companies as he does today. This means that for some types of missions, he'll be able to cover more ground with less people.

On a much larger scale, the Army has reorganized itself from having 10 divisions to having 40+ brigades. These are known as "units of action," meaning that an individual brigade could deploy overseas and operate independently. Even though a brigade is still pretty big - something on the order of 2,000 to 5,000 soldiers, the result is the opportunity for more deployments with smaller forces, since this is still smaller than a division, which could be 15,000 to 30,000 soldiers.

What all of this means is that in many cases it will no longer be cost effective for media outlets to cover US military deployments. The troops will be operating in smaller numbers, more frequently, over long periods of time, in often remote locations. Not only will it be expensive to send Western journalists to such places, but there also won't be much dramatic action for them to find. Furthermore, such deployments will fly far under the radar of the attention span of the imputed audience at home.

The press may adjust by relying more upon local stringers for its reporting. This is a tactic used many, many times in Iraq, though presumably for reasons of security, and not economy of scale. The recent controversy involving the Associated Press and a man named "Captain Jamil Hussein," who seems not to have been a captain of anything, may portend some of the problems that the press will encounter in the future in continuing to use the Standard Narrative.

It's far too early to declare the death of the Standard Narrative. Left to its own devices, much of the media reverts to the memes described above. But it's entirely possible that the US military will slowly fade from the headlines as its forces head in small numbers into remote places the world over. What will the new narrative be?

Josh Manchester is a TCSDaily contributing writer. His blog is The Adventures of Chester (www.theadventuresofchester.com).


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230 Comments

The Narrative...
Rather than to focus on what the nature of war is doing to the media's ability to tell the story, maybe we should talk about what the nature of war is doing to the validity of the "standard narrative".

I don't think many of the people reading this remember that during World War II we were literally fighting to avoid being enslaved by Imperial Japan and by Germany's Third Reich. Those were the stakes.

Everything that we suffered during the Cold War specifically in Korea and Vietnam were proxy wars against Communist China and the Soviet Union while our economy raced away from them and we waited for their economies to step off the track in defeat. That process took about 40 years but during this time we were in no imminent danger of being enslaved by the Communists. (If it came to World War III we would probably have simply immolated each other.)

Now we say that we are at war with terror. But terror cannot really be defeated. We might locate and terminate terrorists but the human inclination to commit acts of violent anarchy will always be part of our biology. Furthermore, terror does not really threaten to enslave us. So the stakes are fundamentally less urgent.

Yes, we need to work hard to protect ourselves and the rest of global society. But given that we will work very hard at this into perpetuity it is unlikely that mankind will be enslaved to a foreign government or that we will all die in a WMD holocaust.

Therefore, the standard narrative regarding "war" is flawed and the current generation is confused to think this is anything more than the killing of hundreds of thousands of our human brothers in a "war" where no one stands to gain anything and humanity does not stand to lose everything (or relatively very much).

Maybe the new word should be "Military Manslaughter". And let's stop doing it.

So you think radical Islam is harmless?
Calling the current struggle the "War on Terror" has been a serious error. Western civilization as we know it is in mortal conflict with radical Islam and it's at least as dangerous as Germany in WWII and world communism in the form of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Europe is already in danger as evidenced by, among other things, the troubles in Holland. If you don't think that life under the Taliban in Afghanistan wasn't equivalent to slavery, especially for women, then you haven't been paying attention. Oh, and just because Saddam's Baath party was not religious doesn't mean that he couldn't be allied with the radicals. The enemy of my enemy and all that.

narratives about the military
Before, I used to always hear that the poor american servicemen were like slaves because of the draft; so they had to fight in vietnam against their wills, etc. Lately I keep hearing from american liberals that even though the forces are all, 100% volunteers, it doesn't matter because they're still like slaves because they are only joining the forces because they simply couldn't get any other decent jobs in the US. So if conscription, liberals hate it, if voluntary, they hate it. And that little matter of that fatwa against all of us infidels and 9/11, and the Cole, and the attacks in the UK, Spain, Russia etc. when perhps it's just a letting off of steam for their righteous grievances that we haven't given in to yet. That's what guys like Forest above and most liberals keep saying. But then in the end, they beg the real americans to save them.

Terror Tactics
are being used by those in support of Islam and socialism.

Chavez and Iran are getting buddy-buddy.

You don't believe a nuclear Iran or Venezuela would want to enslave the west?

Islamists are pushing for Sharia law all over Europe and in Canada.

Radical Islam is a Proven Historical Threat
“If you don't think that life under the Taliban in Afghanistan wasn't equivalent to slavery, especially for women…”

There are numerous references in the Koran to slavery…that is, how the faithful should treat their slaves. There is a whole chapter about woman…fully delineating their subordinate nature and role.

The Taliban and other disciples of Radical Islam have and WILL enslave or kill as they see fit. They have done it for 1,300 years. And the Koran provides religious cover for their imperial ambitions.

Of course, most Muslims do not appear to be of the radical pedigree. Yet, I do not see an organized Muslim outrage or even opposition to the radical elements. Is it that the moderates are uncommitted and will reveal their allegiance once the victor is clear?

The future course of Islam is uncertain. What is certain is that Radical Islam is a long term threat.

The Media and the enemy
Unfortunately the US government will have to learn to deal with a media that is dedicated to obstructing national efforts to support its vital national interests where ever and when ever the press can. When not directly carrying the water of our enemies we find that our media is being manipulated by our enemies. Clearly they have learned that our media has no scrupples and will report any rumor so long as it reflects badly on the US and takes advantage of this.


We see how the AP and Reuters have repeatedly used fraudulent sources, faked and altered photos and staged photos. This is because we face a clever enemy that has learned that our media will buy into any anti=America propoganda while they stay in the comfort of their hotel bars.

What's worse in a bizarre circular reporting of these planted stories, because American media buys these stories from local stringers (acting on behalf of our enemies) they are sure to turn up in the Middle Eastern media as proof positive of America's imperialism, etc.

The Russians trained its clients well in disinformation.

Infantry as combat rather than occuption forces obselete
Traditional combat - armies going out & fighting hand to hand, or at least rifle to rifle aregone. Such armies are now largely decided by air power, missiles, satellites. Even artillery is getting a bit close. The only exception would be a modern equivalent of Stalingrad which modern armies have been careful not to tackle.

This turns conventional soldiers into geurilla fighters & occupation forces moving in to hopefully accept the surrender of beaten forces.

freedom of the press
caveat emptor

You get what you pay for.

100 dead reports on the ocean floor?

A good start.

Reporting vs. Propagandizing
The MSM shifted (decades ago) from “Letting the facts determine what story will be reported” to “Letting the story determine what facts will be reported”.
That is the difference between “reporting” and “propagandizing” – and that is why I doubt that what Josh calls “the Standard Narrative” will actually die of a lack of factual sustenance.
Because propagandizing is so much easier to do -- you don’t really need any “facts” – just make assertions and pretend that they're “facts” – as we can routinely see on any given day on any given MSM “news” show.
In other words they’ll just keep “making it up” -- See Dan Rather’s “fake but accurate”; Reuters “fautography”; the AP’s nonexistent “source” ‘Captain’ Jamil Hussein; plus most anything from the BBC and absolutely anything from Al-Jizzeera (not a misspelling ;-).
So instead of hoping the “Standard Narrative” will die a natural death, we’d better keep looking for ways to “give it a push”.
The best bet is to find ways to by-pass the MSM entirely.
I suggest producing professional-quality downloadable video reports; and then posting and advertising them on the Internet. The military should have teams of military “videographers” running around Iraq and Afghanistan showing us how the troops live; what they do; who they help; what they say about it; and occasionally even following them into battles.The general instruction should be “show both the good and the bad, but don’t dwell on the bad” – because the “patriotic” Left’s MSM sock puppets will give us all the fake-but-accurate fautography and nonexistent “sources” that we could ever need.

21rst Century Warfare
"This turns conventional soldiers into geurilla fighters & occupation forces moving in to hopefully accept the surrender of beaten forces."

While urban warfare is with us for the long run, the methodology of engagement will likely evolve substantially in the next 2 decades. Future warfare will feature remotely controlled robotic armies on sea, land and air. A new generation of “warriors”, trained by simulation and game play, will fight our battles by controlling vast arrays of deadly ordinance from a relatively safe distance. Even the first-responder Peacekeeper units may be robotic. The “WOW” addicts of today are in basic training 24/7. Of course, it still remains for DARPA and the Joint Chiefs to leave the 20th century in the past.

Right on
Well said. It is amazing how these "reporters" denegrate the very nation that gives them a voice. Do they think the Taliban of Islamonazis will give them a similar voice?

No Subject
"This turns conventional soldiers into geurilla fighters & occupation forces moving in to hopefully accept the surrender of beaten forces."

We have any number of "wars" in motion concurently--we have: the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty etc, etc and we have the War on Terror. So, based on your statement above, just how do we "accept the surrender" of drugs, poverty or terror when we "beat" them?

What is disconcerting about this type of "warfare" is that they seem to be endless mainly because there is so much taxpayer extracted money to be had. For instance the war of drugs has been going on now for thirty years, give or take a few, and yet today durgs are plentiful and the drug warrior agencies are big and scary--and often make lethal mistakes, like assaulting the wrong address, leaving dead people behind and then neither suffering punishment nor paying for their damage.

These ill-defined wars all have one thing in common--their missions can be morphed to fit anything--anything to keep the $'s flowing. The end, in my opinion, will be, perhaps already is, a police state.

Checks and Balances
"their missions can be morphed to fit anything--anything to keep the $'s flowing. The end, in my opinion, will be, perhaps already is, a police state."

The opportunity and temptation to misuse technology increases possibly in excess of technology advancement. While the founders probably never envisioned satellite survellance, mach-3 attack aircraft or 50 megaton nuclear devices, they knew that the threat from any central government to liberty was ongoing. Checks and balances were therefore built into our legal system to insure that power remains dispersed. The 2nd amendment was designed in part to keep citizens on par (militarily) with their government. Today of course, citizen ordinance is but of shawdow of government capability. Technology will continue to widen this gap. It is my belief that additional "checks and balances" are now necessary. One idea is a National Referendum. Direct citizen capability to initiate, approve and veto legislation would provide an additional barrier to the everpresent enemies of liberty.

Seems like you'll believe anything...
...as long as it comes labeled "not-liberal, not-mainstream media."

But as long as your intellect is so focused on this issue, why not look at the website of (say) the New York Times or CNN and show us what's being lied about. By all m eans compare the stories with those in the Washington Times or NY Post if you think that will make your point. But please be specific. Where are the lies or the misrepresenations? What's being ignored?

Western Civilization is in no danger...
Islam as a political institution and the basis for a competitive sovereign government is struggling at the end of a very long run (hundreds of years). The economics of military imperialism are bankrupt and any society that is not using its people resources to create wealth in the global arena is certain to fail. Extracting mineral wealth (pumping oil out of the ground) is not a substitute for a growing GDP.

Developing nations need to convert their cheap labor into export dollars and embrace the technologies involved to get into the game themselves. The nations dominated by radical Islam are in real trouble.

Radical Islam has absolutely no chance to bring great and enduring harm to Western Civilization. When I said that people today don't understand the difference between this current War and the threat posed by the Axis during World War II my sense was that well meaning people like DPayne are too young to put this business into proper context.

Do you really think that a handful of crazies can conquer the world? Do you think we should try to kill all the Moslems because some of them are dangerous? This is racist. When radical Islam has run its course, there will be radical something else. But to compare this permanent reality with World War II or the threat of a nuclear holocaust is exactly what I was talking about. We need a fresh "narrative". Calling this a serious war is naive. It is not even remotely a fair fight.

Brown Shirts: Can't happen here.
"Do you really think that a handful of crazies can conquer the world?"

A few years ago a handful tried and millions died.

They did not succeed, but are you willing to die or succumb for it now?

The Taliban took over Afghanistan. A crazy runs North Korea. Another crazy said 6 million Jews and 7 million Christians were not killed by the *****.


"1939, Rev. Martin Niemoeller, Lutheran minister and former U Boat captain:

"In Germany they first came for the Communists and I didn't speak up
because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I
didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade
unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was
a Protestant. Then they came for me--and by that time no one was left
to speak up.""

http://www.mit.edu/activities/safe/writings/misc-quotes/came-for-me


And Rome was destroyed by the Martians?
There are idoits, and then there are idiots who will not learn from hiwstory.

Op Ed
Are you claiming the Editorial Staff of the NY TImes is not liberal?

Why the editorial staff of the NY Times is as conservative as Pravda, The Guardian, Le Monde
I mean can anyone actually find a major newpaper that is to the Left of the NYTimes? See proved its conservative. QED.

You are right on two points
"Calling this a serious war is naive. It is not even remotely a fair fight."

The problem is the Islamofascists are serious and we are not.
- We argue about whether to monitor enemy communications based on geography.
- We allow treasonous statements by congressmen and senators (Murtha's and Kerry's false statements about our military meet the Constitutional definition of "giving aid and comfort to our enemies in time of war").

Op-Ed means 'opinion"
and even liberals have a right to express their opinions, particularly in a privately owned company that isn't subsidized by the government.

but, ok, lets imagine every employee of the NY Times is not just a liberal but a sworn died in the wool Bush hater with sympathies for socialists in foreign lands. You still have to show where this showed up in the news coverage today: that was my challenge. You aren't up to it? Admit it.

Again: please show how this shows itself in the news coverage today
What's been ignored, covered up, misrepresented.

should be easy for a big thinker like you.

Suggestion: time to go to Spam mode.

so you think the Taliban should be the role model here?
the Taliban doesn't respect freedom of the press, so we should imitate them?

Read the SUnday NYT Op Ed
I won't admit anything. The national newspapers and media are liberal propaganda outlets. You know, you don't have to lie to tilt the story. Look at Dole vs Clinton election. Every CBS image of Dole was black and white images and he looks unhappy. Every image of Clinton was color and happy cheering crowds. The effect is the same. Manipulate opinion which is paramount to lying. In the same context the stories don't have to be lies. However, you ever see any good news from Iraq? They only report all the bad stuff and all the failures because the national media AKA liberal press is invested, like you , in our defeat. You relish it, admit that! How do I know good things have happened in Iraq? How do I know anything about Iraq? I have relatives there serving who are sick and tired of the 5th column in this nation pissing and moaning about the atrocities and the failures but ignore the sacrifices and hard work of our troops. As to today, no I stopped watching TV news because I got sick and fed up with the national news. If Hillary runs for prez I can assure you that she will get the soft glove treatment of love and hope, like that total socialist Obama, while the Republican, if it was Jesus Christ himself, would be roasted as a cold mean spirited heartless bigot homophobic racists warmonger.

Are we
I didn't know we were. However, it is amazing how the media coddles the terrorists. Look at how Israel is reported as the agressor while the Hezbolla dudes are portrayed as building infrastructure and helping the Lebonese peoples. It is sickening. So they in effect support our enemies. What about the NTY publishing classified information? Oh, I forgot, thats OK because the end justifies the means in all cases of liberal dogma.

Islam?
Since when are Mulims a race? Also, no one is advocating killing all of them. That is impossible. However, to claim that radicals cannot inflict massive damage to us in one form or another is placing ones head in the sand.

Sexual prevert Lemuel continues to spam his perverted sexual fantasies
-

The media believe they are superior to the state
If the media had their way they'd rule the world for only they are intelligent enough to rule it. We saw the true mettle of the media when the Palestinians kidnapped two of them and thy begged for their lives.

The corrupt media
During the election we heard about supposed GOP corruption day after day yet it appears only one GOP member of Congress was convicted of criminal activity. On the other hand we saw the media bury Sen Reid's multi million dollar mafia land dealings; Mollohan's 8 million dollar get rich paln; Jefferson's real cool savings plan; McKinney's new telephone strike plan; etc. The press uses double standards everywhere you look. It doesn't report the news and the facts it promotes its agenda.

Media
The funny things is that they are not all that bright either. I see them and read them. They live like they are the intellectual upper crust but in fact are usually pseudointellectuals. I think it was Diane Sawyer that stated "her job is to help us make sense of it all". Well excuse me but tell me the facts and I will make my own sense of it all.

In most countries these people are called "News readers"
Because that is what they do. They have no special claim to expertise or special knowledge. Most are unimpressive in their credentials and downright stupid if you question them. But the characteric that amazes me the most about the majority is their laziness. They don't want to research and dig up a story they all run in a pack covering the same old news. That's why one values the Wall Street Journal or other source that does do hard work.

Lying without lying
Yes, they lie by omission. They lie by avoidance. Maybe the stories they tell are factual, which I also doubt most of the time, but they only tell the side they want heard and they only tell the stories that further the advancement of the 5th column. So we have Obama bring "hope" and Pelosi bringing a new "civility" to the table. It is amazing. Example of outright lies? I read story about how snowmobiles are ruining the national parks. They claimed that a single snowmobile pollutes as much in 6 weeks as a car in 100,000 miles. Well at 20 MPG that is about 5000 gallons. So the snowmobile used 5000 gallons in 6 weeks with part time recreational use (even if it is a 2 stroke this is a impossibility)? Right. However, did the reporter challenge the assertion, no. After all, it furthered the enviornmental agenda and I bet the reporter was to dumb to even do the simple math anyway.

Absolutely
You are correct and news reader is what I call them. Funny. The line they use that really gets me hot under the collar is "Blah blah blah and what it means to you!" Does not matter what the subject. They are going to tell me what it means to me. I usually change to a old movie at that point.

Spot on
My favorite is when they cover environmental causes and then neglect to mention these tree huggers own 20 cars, fly private jets, live in three 20,000 sq ft. homes and own a 70 foot boat.

Obama is my favorite right now. What a joke, a rich radical who was so ruthless he used the sealed divorce papers of his opponent to win the election. A man who by any measure is a radical and has never accomplished anything of note. This is who the media is trying to serve up as a presidential candidate. It reminds me of when they tried to sell us Collin Powell or Rice.

The problem is that the media thinks the public has the IQ of Air America's audience.

Old movies have more entertainment value anyway
You're right. I rather watch an old comedy or a good Jimmy Steward movie anyway.

Alright, let's talk about Military Imperialism...
Marjon,

One Hundred-Fifty years ago nations (including the United States) were still collecting far flung empires of colonies and annexing their next-door neighbors. Seventy-five years ago it was still considered completely legitimate for sovereign nations to violate borders (if they got away with it) and World War II resulted in a further reshuffling of borders, protectorates and satellite nations.

Then we tossed Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in 1991 and the Soviet Union failed in 1991. As the sole Super Power we were in a position to finally put a stop to military imperialism as a long term strategy for sovereign states. Since we have nothing to gain (because we keep giving our conquests back to the nation's people and we only ask that they play nice with a free democracy) and much to lose (if they misbehave) it is in our best interest to summarily put an end to this military conquest game.

Hereafter, nations should compete with their GDP's. However, with the globalization of financial capitalism it is possible that nations will not fundamentally be in competition with each other any more. Work together to create wealth and we should all bnenfit. This might make it difficult for the media to report the news. Yet another reality calling for a revision of the author's "Standard Narrative".

Of course, you are exactly correct that some people want to struggle more and more for less and less with horrific loss of life. Hundreds of thousands (if not millions) murdered outright or lost to the starvation and disease of displacement.

This venal pointlessness of war is actually new. There is "nothing to kill or die for" anymore. (Could John Lennon have been right?)

Just when we developed all these really effective technologies to kill tens of thousands at a time and the world is "target rich" (with more than 6 billion of us) no one needs killing. What a waste.

We need to marginalize the crazies and take WMD away from the irresponsible. But we have only been working inside this part of history for 15 years and some of those characters were already out there before 1991.

We will never eliminate all killers large and small before they do something terrible. And we need to decide how hard we want to try. Ultimately, our governments might stop trying to manage everyone's specific behavior once it is clear that no one is going to take over the country and eliminate their jobs.

At some point we need to be left alone to manage our own social interactions. And we should be happy to let the government do those things for us that we cannot do better, faster and cheaper for ourselves. (Like building a colony on the Moon.)

I know it does not look this way today, because Washington does not want you to "get it" quite yet, but we are out of Iraq. And we are simply going to let them settle their internal affairs as ruthlessly as they would like sometime before the Democratic National Convention in August 2008. It is only a matter of politics and opportunistic timing. It's already set up and we are waiting for our moment.

This is why Rumsfeld is gone now and why the Baker Commission was so important. (Do you actually think that James Baker would participate in any such thing unless it was an essential element of some larger tactic by the White House? It is astounding that Americans are so very naive.)

No one should be killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in today's world. However, at the moment we find that we are rapidly being drawn back into such pointless slaughter again. And we are not going to do that.

Sometimes you need to know when to let people (who you could easily smack around) call you names, just smile back and take it. If you don't have that kind of discipline in Texas you end up on Death Row. (Whoa! James Baker lives in Texas. So he knows about that. What a coincidence.)

Our government is about as paranoid as we can stand...
Jonathan,

These agency operatives are entirely too serious. We are certainly monitoring enemy communications. What do you think all those computers in all those sub-basements burning up the Virginia grid are about?

What I don't get is the 400-500 uncharged enemy combatants we can't seem to just send home, now. If this war is over what possible harm can they do that their young cousins are not doing in spades! First thing for the new president to do is release these guys, give them each a chunk of money and a slap on the ass "No hard feelings, boy!". If they were going to talk they would have. Anything they might know is so dated by now as to be useless. It's embarrassing.

Remember those World War II Japanese soldiers who stayed hidden in the mountains of the Philippines until just recently? That seemed way too serious too.

We are genetically identical...Race is a construct...
DBT,

Prejudice and racism have nothing to do with actual genetics. The folks in the Middle East have been committing murder that we like to characterize as genocide for thousands of years but genetically they are the same people! Indeed, all Homo sapiens are genetically the same. We invent race as it suits us.

Here in America in the 1960's we had white people, black people and orientals. It was not until the 1980's that white people started to understand that there were brown people. We kept trying to force fit Mexicans, South Sea Islanders and East Indians into the "big three".

If a guy in a turban is stopped in the airport it is called "racial profiling", isn't it?

Let's define your massive damage in terms of how many of us they might be able to kill versus how many of them we are certainly killing. At the end of this all we will have is dead people and moral high ground. Life will go on and no one will have gained anything. We need to say "mission accomplished" regarding this expedition and let the bloody dust settle. As it will.

Yeah, Marjon...
And..let me get this straight...I might miss your point...The Venezuelans are going to enslave the west and the Islamists are going to make the Canadians stop drinking beer...Yeah...I think I understand...your subject was Terror Tactics?...(forgive me, I'm laughing too hard to type).

Absolute power corrupts absolutely...
Eventually we do need to withdraw from direct interaction with agencies of the state. Of course, they will abuse us and take our money as long as we let them. Once they have a measure of power we will need to take it back, not by fighting the state, but by refusing to play their silly game. This process of marginalizing the overreaching sovereign governments will be the future of social evolution. We will do this by moving someplace else. To a country where the central government does not act like that. (Don't act surprised. We are almost there.)

Non-examples and denial
I gave you a simple challenge from today's paper: show what was wrong or misrepresented. Instead, you come back with your impressions about photos of Dole, and the lack of good news from Iraq.

> How do I know good things have happened in Iraq? How do I know anything about Iraq? I have relatives there serving who are sick and tired of the 5th column in this nation pissing and moaning about the atrocities and the failures but ignore the sacrifices and hard work of our troops.

And I've seen lots and lots of stories in the NY Times and elsewhere about the dedication and skill of troops. That doesn't mean the war in Iraq is a big success, by any measure at all.

>If Hillary runs for prez I can assure you that she will get the soft glove treatment of love and hope, like that total socialist Obama, while the Republican, if it was Jesus Christ himself, would be roasted as a cold mean spirited heartless bigot homophobic racists warmonger.

The problem is you have a particular idea, and you think any medium that doesn't daily prove that Obama is an evil total socialist is biased. That's not the papers's problem, it's yours. But thanks for making my point for me.

One? Start with Ney & Cunningham, and the list grows longer.
One GOP member??? DeLay's indicted, awaiting trial, Ney and Cunningham arge guilty. Is arithmetic difficult?

And Nobody's covered up anything about Reid. The voters got a chance to hear every word of the accusations, and so did the DAs.

>The press uses double standards everywhere you look. It doesn't report the news and the facts it promotes its agenda.

The double standards are yours. Jefferson got wall to wall coverage.

What's amazing is everyone claims they don't watch or read the MSM, but they're sure - certain - that it's guilty of what they say it is.

Again, you're saying this, but you aren't grounding it
You offer a grab bag of stories from all over without saying when or where they appeared, and then say they prove your point. I mean this:

>I read story about how snowmobiles are ruining the national parks. They claimed that a single snowmobile pollutes as much in 6 weeks as a car in 100,000 miles.

Where did you read the story? When? Can you quote it? You give the example, but it's meaningless as proof of media bias. Were these accusations widely echoed? Were they challenged?

So you don't like Obama
The idea is, that the press should attack him because ThomasJackson doesn't approve? Any story that presents facts that ThomasJackson doesn't want to know about is biased?

>My favorite is when they cover environmental causes and then neglect to mention these tree huggers own 20 cars, fly private jets, live in three 20,000 sq ft. homes and own a 70 foot boat.

Qho, exactly are you talking about?

Will you be laughing when they threaten you with a nuclear weapon?

Sexual prevert Lemuel continues to spam his perverted sexual fantasies
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Headless chicken TJ turns on his spam machine and flees debate
And this is exactly the same mechanism that's behind his noise about media bias: he is simply unable to cope with any facts that contradict his ideology, and too much of an intellectual coward to try to honestly argue his points.

"Help!!!" says ThomasJackson. "Reality!!! I can't cope with reality!!!"
And off he goes down the road, flashing the big yellow stripe down the middle of his back.

The usual suspects
I read the war coverage about the Lebanon incursion. I got very clearly that Hezbollah was provocative and tried to manipulate media coverage. CNN did a long story on precisely this.

the problem is, you seem to think that the role of media is to be a cheerleader, making up nasty things about the enemy to motivate us, while suppressing news about mistakes we make. It doesn't work that way: that's not the role of the press in a free society, and if you don't understand that, you don't want a free society.

I gave a really simple exercise. Go online to www.nytimes.com. Look at the stories there. Go to the washington times if you want, or your favorite blog, and show where today's news (not the editorials, but the news) is distorted, or biased, or wrong, and how.

So you think the state should control the media - tell them what to write?
And the idea of reporting is to give people information they need to make important decisions. But you don't want people making these decisions: you want a state run according to your wacko ultra John Birch politics to be making all these decisions for people.


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