Briefing -- or, things I learned from watching Operation Iraqi Freedom live TV coverage from the comfort of my living room while switching over to the news channels between periods of Dallas Stars hockey games.
1. When pampered, elitist, multi-millionaire actors blather incoherent liberal feel-good political views it's called freedom of speech. When someone disagrees with them it's called censorship.
2. People of the Muslim world knew that Saddam was a bully, but they hate the US for being a bully. Reminds me of the twin brothers I grew up with. They argued and bickered and got into fistfights with each other. But let someone from outside the family lay a hand on one of them and the outsider suddenly discovered that he had just picked a fight with both of them. Saddam Hussein is a sociopath but, by Allah, he's our sociopath.
3. The antidote for liberal media bias is MSNBC. I watched this channel the night Saddam's great vanity statue fell to earth in Baghdad. The crowing by commentators was loud and incessant for an hour. The verbal strutting wasn't about our military victory as much as it was about how the military victory vindicated President Bush and his entire administration and the Republican Party and the whole strange religion known as American conservatism. I learned that night that Bush is absolutely brilliant and all of his people are geniuses. I was told that George W. Bush is America's greatest president. Hammers and chisels are standing by at Mt. Rushmore. I'm not exactly sure, but I think he was also anointed God. It was truly embarrassing to watch.
4. We are fighting this war against Iraq in retaliation for the terrorist attacks against America on September 11, 2001, because Saddam Hussein has links to Osama bin laden and al Quida. Wait. Can't find any links to Osama and al Quida? We are fighting this war against Iraq to rid an evil regime of its weapons of mass destruction that could be secretly passed on to Osama bin laden and al Quida. Wait. Can't find any weapons of mass destruction? We are fighting this war against Iraq to enforce the UN sanctions imposed at the end of Dessert Storm. Wait. The UN won't sanction this war? We are fighting this war against Iraq to free the Iraqi people. That's why the administration's PR people assigned this war the catchy, feel-good name of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Wait. We just found weapons-grade chemicals. We are fighting this war against Iraq to rid . . . no, they're just barrels of pesticide. Wait. We've just found suicide vests and secret terrorist training camps. We are fighting this war against Iraq to . . . Hey, the great statue of Saddam in Baghdad has just been toppled and the people of Iraq are free. We are fighting this war against Iraq . . .
5. If you're a dead soldier you're a causality. If you're a dead civilian you're collateral damage. If you're accidentally killed by someone on your own side you're a victim of friendly fire. If you do a great job of courageously attacking the enemy, advancing under fire, achieving your strategic objectives and otherwise doing what you were trained to do you're just a faceless soldier. If you get wounded, killed or captured you're a hero. If you get rescued from captivity in a daring nighttime raid you're Box Office.
6. When an unorganized mob runs amok, intimidates people and steals their possessions without regard for their property rights, it's called looting. When an organized mob runs amok, intimidates people and steals their possessions without regard for their property rights, it's called government.
7. A combatant killed in action is a tragedy for his or her family. A journalist who dies from a blood clot while reporting on combatants killed in action is a tragedy for journalism and therefore a tragedy for the entire world, worthy of endlessly glowing monologs from every talking head who ever knew or didn't know him on every news show at every level, entitled to introspective feature stories and a live televised memorial service.
8. My wife Mary bumped into an acquaintance in the local food mart. The acquaintance complained bitterly that he had missed the last five minutes of Third Watch because the network broke in with war news. Some people seem to prefer fictional life and death over real life and death. If I ever hear that complaint from any of my libertarian acquaintances I'll unacquaint them on the spot.
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