Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Holy Headstone, Batman, Bush's Graveside Advertising Exploits War Dead!

Just when you think it can't possibly get worse....Bushco does something you couldn't have imagined.

For weeks we have heard grieving pro-Bush parents of soldiers killed in Iraq complain that Cindy Sheehan is exploiting their sacrifice by putting up crosses with the names of dead soldiers on crosses near their protest site without the family's permission. Today we get a news story about how the Bush Administration has been putting the names of military operations on the headstones of war dead at Arlington.

At first, you probably think, "So what?"

Well, consider that ever since the invasion of Panama (Operation Just Cause) these operational names have been chosen specifically to help shape public opinion into support for the operation. In that light, any use of the operational name becomes political propaganda. "Operation Enduring Freedom" and "Operation Iraqi Freedom" were specifically designed to promote public support for these operations, because opposing them meant you must oppose freedom.

Putting these slogans on the headstones of the people who gave their lives carrying the operations out not only implies the support of those dead soldiers for the operation they were ordered to participate in, but also continues to advertise those operations to an increasingly skeptical populace.

While the families are supposed to be able to approve or disapprove of the additional inscription (all previous headstones, provided by the government and paid for by everyone's tax dollars merely list the name, rank, dates of life, and sometimes the war)....not all families have signed off on the inscriptions before they were added. Before this new program, families had to pay extra if they wanted anything beyond the basics inscribed on the stone.

Even the people who make the headstones are uncomfortable about the new program:

"It just seems a little brazen that that's put on stones," said Jeff Martell, owner of Granite Industries of Vermont. "It seems like it might be connected to politics."

Personally, I don't like it when Bush invokes the dead of 9-11 to thwart critics of any of his policies and I don't like the way he invokes the more than 1800 US military dead as a justification to continue the occupation regardless of how many more casualties will occur since "major combat operations ended" in Iraq.

Most politicians, and that is what Bush is, wrap themselves in the flag to get popularity. Bush wraps himself in corpses, a legacy of headstones, and most Americans seem to love him for it. But then, don't most victims of vampires fall in love with their demonic attackers?

Where is Jonathan Harker when you need him?

Sources:
Troop graves bear operation names: Critics condemn move as public relations bid by administration By David Pace, Associated Press, August 24, 2005

7 Comments:

Blogger R said...

You put it so well. You shame me and my little blog attempt. Seriously. Thanks for sharing this on my site as well. Oh..and love the new picture!

9:48 AM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

Thanks, but nonsense on shaming your blog.

I think the rationale for the operational names on the headstones is unintentionally sinister, which in a way, makes it worse.

Since "major combat operations" ended, and this wasn't a declared war but an action engendered by a president who was given "war powers" there isn't really a name you can give the conflicts these soldiers are dying in besides the operational names.

But that is the whole problem, that they need to come up with something to put on the headstones for operations which occur outside a defined war with a declaration and a defined ending. If the current "War on Terror" is designed never to end, then we need smaller incriments to put on the stones, like the operational titles.

It's not so much the propaganda that is reprehensible, it is the subtext of a never ending war which necessitates them that I object to....but as we have seen, it is propaganda which makes it possible, so we need to hit the hydra head which comes closest to us before we can kill the beast.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Joshua said...

You go, Archie - it's amazing what the Bush people will say and do, and we need to archive it as well as fight it, for generations to come.

3:19 PM  
Blogger The Peter Files Blog of Comedy said...

I think this is just about the worst thing he's done yet, other than going into Iraq before catching Osama.

What's next?

PSA spot's on television with a list of rolling names and the soundbite "These deaths brought to you by Operation Iraqi Freedom! Let's Hate! More Killing!"

6:56 AM  
Blogger afterthought.cjb.cc said...

Damn Bush...and damn people for getting swayed so easily into his hands!

7:07 AM  
Blogger frstlymil said...

The more I think about this - the more it angers me. Bush will not attend one funeral of a fallen soldier - yet he'll claim ownership and mark his territory over their corpses. Disgusting. Where is the shame?

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Joshua said...

Hey man, I may need your power . . .

I got into this discussion and I'd like your assistance and /or advice - perhaps the conclusions I've drawn are hasty, and if so, let me know - but if not - maybe Archie could drop by and kick this guy's butt for me? Archie's kung fu on this subject is stronger than mine - you're better spoken on this than I am, though I'm still working at it -

It's on this discussion thread (and by the way, I think you may like this site) - here's the llink - http://leegoldberg.typepad.com/a_writers_life/2005/08/i_was_wondering.html

the guy that's got me on the ropes is called Brainster - If I am indeed incorrect in my arguments, I can just walk away, but I hate to do that now - take a look and let me know (or jump in over there) -

thanks man, if we find ourself in a bar again someday, you know I got your back!

4:19 PM  

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