I read that post, and think of how I have a couple of nephews in the military.Not only are the vast majority of Muslims getting a bad rap, but the American soldiers are likewise.Because over 90% of Muslims are just down home good people, as are over 90% of the American soldiers, each American newspaper ought to--if it wants to make a claim to balanced and insightful reporting--have a policy of publishing at least 9 articles that show the good that Muslims and soldiers do in their daily lives, for each story of mayhem or corruption, or whatever the seedy human emotion of the day happens to be.Maybe both groups need to talk back at the world of journalism. This is where I fault Bush the most, in not speaking up insistently and 100% effectively, for the American soldier.
I read this post and the one, "Does this make you angry?" (It does.) I have a son and a son-in-law in the military, and I cannot really say the military gets a bad rap these days -- not like when I was in the Army, 1966-69 -- aside from a few things like Abu Ghraib, and the disturbing there was how the blame seemed hardly to go higher than sergeant level. But then, it almost never does, does it? Those who get to make the policies get to skirt their consequences. Though I would agree that Bush does not so much speak up for the American soldier as use him (and her) for base political purposes. What troubles me more are things like the second post. More of Europe and the Western world generally needs to develop a stiffer spine against hogwash like "Muslim rage." So much dangerous mischief is spread easily by the Internet, so that Islamist terrorists can turn a bland molehill (such as the pope's remarks) into a flaming mountain. If it is true that the Dutch police would not come to the assistance of the son of the murdered Theo van Gogh, then that is unforgivable.
Arthur,My apologies first. I usually don't do the political thing, but I'm in, realizing that I didn't write the thought out through at all.The fuel for Muslim extremists gaining "equal" press has to do directly with the attitude--with whatever prevalence it has or one thinks it has--that American soldiers are no better morally than the terrorists and tyrants they remove. We do not get one without the other.If American soldiers were admired worldwide--and admired they should be and would be if they got those 9 out of 10 news items--the extremists would tone down the sick or violent acts that play up to the extreme hate of Americans. The world press is played to fuel the cause, in the US, Europe, the UN, everywhere. A well-functioning press at this point seems like romantic, idealist thinking.This, in turn hampers the important progress being made, at times seeming to put the whole thing into a jeopardy that could cause millions to die, and kills American soldiers in the mean time. Things are dangerous enough with the smattering of thugs that try to take social control in any town in any country, without giving the sociopaths political credence through air time to a receptive audience (again, however large it may be, however hated the soldiers are).The flip side of the coin is where these ideas flooded from tonight-- my reading of the "Muslim disappointment," the need to counter the extremists changing the perceived identities of the good 90-plus per cent Muslims, something that kills them too, the innocent Hokey McFolkys, what we all are 90-plus per cent at heart.That article blames the Muslims for the Muslim bashing. It's understandable, and exemplary in a way, but it is wrong. And "apathy" is not the right word. The Muslims I meet in my days are not apathetic to any aspect of what's going on. Passionate is more like it. But who wants the fight, when we all just want to be homeys? What are we fighting for? So we can be homeys. So how can that be wrong? And why call it apathetic?In this country, the Democrats should change the name of their party to the anti-Republicans. We can all brace for each candidate that comes out for the Dems in the next presidential election to run more on being anti-Bush (or some creative anti-something-else) than on having a truly grounded platform of his or her own.But this is what the press feeds on, the anti. And such horribly unbalanced reporting is twisting people's views of the good folk who make up this world--in fact by taking advantage of the goodness in people. The anti sets up the prejudice. And what's a press for?
I have to agree with Rus regarding the "anti" business. I am old enough to remember when the politics stopped at the shoreline. And I remember how supportive then-Senate majority leader Lyndon Johnson was of President Eisenhower on matters of foreigh=n and military policy. I remmember there was once a Sen. Henry M. Jackson. So far as anything has been made clear on the matter, Abu Ghraib seems to have been an exception - and the general in charge was dismissed. But let's have some sense of proportion, too: What went on at Abu Ghraib hardly rose to the level of the Bataan Death March - yet the outcry in the media and among certain members of Congress and others was such that you'd have thought the American military was an organized pack of sadists. Regarding Bush, he has said plenty in praise of American soldiers, but anything he says on the subject is going to be denounced by the anti-Republican Party (as Rus puts it) as political. So he's better doing - as he does, my paper not long ago had a piece about it - is quietly visit with the families of those who have fallen. In the article we had, one of the mothers disapproved of Bush and his policies and even she was impressed by him in this instance.Like Rus, I like to skirt the political here - God knows, there's enough of it to go around - but both of may find this pertinent, if you haven't seen it.I remember a wonderful story about Jack Kerouac's being taken to hippie a party in Greenwich Village by Allen Ginsberg. In the apartment a large American flag was being used as a slipcover for the sofa. This infuriated Kerouac, who tore it off the sofa, folded it up in proper miliary fashion and walked out.
I will send a link of this to my son and my son-in-law in the military. Both Democrats. Er, anti-Republicans. Perhaps it will still be viewable when they return from their current missions.
I don't think rank and file Democrats are anti-Republicans. I think the Democratic national leadership has become such - which is one reason why they are such poor leaders. It doesn't do the country at all well to have an ineffective opposition. As regards the military, I still think the extent to which military personnel in Iraq re-enlist tells us more than the headlines. (Do tell your sons that I am obligated to monitor the blog for language. Otherwise, this is, as ever, a free expression zone.)
Why would you think they need to know about monitoring for language? Just because they are in the military does not mean they routinely use foul or abusive language. Perhaps they do when they are among themselves, as we did when I was in the Army, but they know enough -- as most of us did -- to conduct themselves more civilly outside "work" hours. Or is it that their anti-Republican-ness would get the better of them and drive them crazy in their unreasoning hatred of Bush? (Sorry, just expressing the blogosphere's typical attitude toward any hint of opposition.)
Because, in my haste, I misunderstood this: "Perhaps it will still be viewable when they return from their current missions." It will stay viewable, because it will be archived. I thought you were referring to their possible vehemence. My bad! So, fire away gentlemen.