Monday, July 16, 2007

This Is Wrong On A Number Of Levels...

12 comments:

Democracy Lover said...

I can understand why it upsets you, but what specific panels of this cartoon do you think are off-base? I think the last panel is off-base because I don't believe that a well-trained and heavily indoctrinated soldier is immature in any way.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I think it is apt, actually. Unless we see the devil in ourselves more clearly, how can we cleanse it from others? I think it is right on target, and it should be disturbing, because it means that we aren't so different from those we call "enemies". Americans hate being the same as the rest of the world - all that "moral equivalency" stuff you keep hearing about as bad news (apparently "equivalency" isn't a real word, because spell check keeps underlining it as I type it). Unless I missed something somewhere, we are still human beings, so that would mean we are kind of like most of the rest of the world . . . even in ways that are frightening to our own sense of self-righteousness and uniqueness.

Ashlee said...

I agree with you Cam. Our soldiers are nothing like the suicide bombers from 9/11. Anyone who thinks they are, are TRULY un-American. Period.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Ah, ashlee, no one is saying our troops are like suicide bombers. Rather, I was saying the rhetoric and policies of the Bush Administration and the practical effects - terrorizing innocent civilians, destroying the national infrastructure of a nation-state in order to remake it in our own image, etc. - do end up in the same place. We are just asked to support our side, and denigrate our opponents. That's all.

Why is it un-American to say that some of the things done by our political leaders is wrong?

Cameron said...

The message of the cartoon is US soldier = suicide bomber.

Regardless of any deeper meaning that may be gleaned from it, the cartoon is an affront to every single soldier around the world today.

It is an affront to Staff Sgt. Ian Freeman, from Idaho's 321st Engineer Battalion.

It is an affront to fallen soldiers like Mark Daily.

It is just one more peg in the propaganda war being played out worldwide.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Cameron, can't you see that, to some, there is a moral equivalence here? Can't you at least acknowledge that it is possible that there are those who do not make a distinction between the various factions in the Iraq civil war and American soldiers because they are both killing people, engaging in torture, kidnapping, etc.? Is it impossible for you to see that the social and political framework pushed by Muslim fundamentalists and that pushed by many Christian fundamentalists are virtually identical? Do you not see there is only one difference between Timothy McVeigh and the 9/11 hijackers, namely he didn't have the courage of his convictions to die in his attack?
The only slander on our troops I see in this cartoon is that it doesn't reflect the reality that most of our troops are smart enough to know they are pawns in a losing chess match, and want out. The real criminals, the real radicals, are the ones who sent our troops over there to die and be wounded for no reason.

Cameron said...

Yes, to some there is a moral equivalence. Hatred of America and America's soldiers is often cited as an excuse by those that blow up innocent civilians at markets, schools, funerals, and hospitals. However, it's factually inaccurate. It's propaganda. The mission of US soldiers in Iraq is not to kidnap innocent people and slowly decapitate them on camera. To not see the huge, cavernous difference between what our soldiers do in Iraq and what the suicide bombers' ilk do in Iraq is to do a grave disservice to everyone in uniform, and frankly plays right into the hands of those ordering the bombings and decapitations.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Ah, now I am a stooge of the terrorists. Sorry, Cameron, but I refuse to accept the idea that just because I see no difference in kind between many of our actions in Iraq - we do kidnap, we kill entire families, only with guns rather than swords, we torture, we rape, we utterly ravage the social, political, and physical infrastructure - and those of terrorists. Nor do I see even a hair's breadth of difference between the justifications given by the Bush Administration and the rhetoric of various terrorists groups. To me, they are all ignorant, hateful, and to be denounced loudly and clearly.

The question of the status or stature of individual troops, or even the military as a whole, is outside my competence to judge, and irrelevant anyway. The troops do what they are ordered to do, and while there is some culpability for these crimes, ultimate responsibility rests with their civilian political leaders (Bush, Rumsfeld, et.al.).

Please don't wave the flag and pictures of troops in my face. More members of my family have done more within the military for this country - quite a lot of it still highly classified - than you can imagine. Even if that weren't the case, I have every right to say, "You know what, we are engaging in war crimes in Iraq, and our troops often behave in the same manner and with the same justifications as the terrorists we are supposed to be fighting". Not only do I have the right, I have the duty, especially when it is true. Maybe not the whole truth, but certainly much of it.

Erudite Redneck said...

Wow.

Freedom of expression, and freedom of the press, *are* meant to be taken to the extremes.

The toon may be an affront to honorable service member. It nails the monsters at Abu Ghraib, and others we don't know about, though.

The similarities are, indeed, striking.

It is not "unAmerican," nor is it "dangerous" or anything like that.

It's main failure is it's in terribly bad taste. The emotions it evokes will so overshadow the point he's trying to make, as to make the toon ineffective.

Cameron said...

Geoffrey, the message of the cartoon is US soldier = suicide bomber. I don't think it's shoving a flag in anyone's face to say that when our soldiers see the toon they will feel a variety of emotions- none of which are remotely similar to support.

It's clear that the leaders of the terrorist organizations at work in Iraq and around the world focus on public opinion to achieve their victories. It is clear to me that when they see this toon they will feel a variety of emotions- none of which will cause them to rethink their suicide bombing strategy.

Now, it's not necessarily a cartoonist's job to support troops or to not support terrorists, but this cartoon crossed a line.

Democracy Lover said...

Cameron,

It is not only leaders of the terrorist organizations that use public opinion to create "victories". Our own government seems to see every problem as one of PR rather than substance.

We often need to put ourselves in the other person's shoes when we look at things like this. I think much of the world sees the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US as equivalent to suicide bombing in that both target civilians in an attempt to achieve political goals. (Yes, I know the US claims to work hard to avoid that, but they obviously don't.)

One of our most glaring faults as a nation is our allegiance to a civil religion that accepts as a matter of faith that the US always is the good guy and is acting for high moral purpose in the world. That is the kind of pride that goeth before a fall.

Cameron said...

DL, I am not arguing that the US or its soldiers are free from error. Nor am I arguing that people shouldn't speak up about any errors they might see.

I don't need to argue that because the cartoon isn't arguing it. It's not scolding our soldiers for behaving badly. It's not scolding our government for any wrongdoing.

It's message is that US soldiers are equivalent to suicide bombers. It did not single out "only the bad ones". It painted with a broad stroke and in so doing lost credibility.