Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

To Loud Applause

Notes the Times,
"No nation can be neutral in the struggle between civilization and chaos,'' Mr. Bush told members of the American Legion gathered in St. Louis for the group's convention. "We've adopted a new strategy for a new kind of war,'' Mr. Bush said, to loud applause.
I'll bet. Most of the Legionnaires I've seen are fairly old, ultra-conservative and somewhat out of touch with reality, unlike other veterans' groups. And at this point I suspect one would need to have fairly selective reasoning to hear "civilization and chaos" (what a coincidence! another simplistic either/or dichotomy!) and not wonder whether we're actually imposing chaos upon a country which was (while great segments of the citizenry were oppressed under Hussein's regime, although possibly not as many as were oppressed under US UN-imposed sanctions formally lifted in May by the Security Council and last Tuesday by Russia) formerly civilized. And to applaud imperial dictat and first-strike invasions as if our "get 'em before they get us even if they're not out to get us until we've gotten them" foreign policy is a good thing? Kinda chills me. (Update: Bob Goodsell, link at sidebar, fisks much of the speech.)

And I figured it would bother a lot of others too, so I Googled to see how the protests went. Because there are always protests, and they're always downplayed as much as the reaction to Bush's speeches by hand-picked attendees or rich campaign contributors is overplayed. And this instance was no different. I did a Google news search on "Bush American Legion Protest" and found three articles in the local St. Louis press. Two - from an NPR outlet, no less! - employed the tactic of discussing groups planning to protest (one noting without irony that the group in question sought more visibility), always a good way to claim protests were covered when only the idea of protests was covered. The other I found, from a Hearst-owned paper, employed the more familiar marginalization tactic of reporting from the POV of, and only featuring quotes from, a Legionnaire chastising the protesters. The corporate press continues to aid and abet the powerful, and distort reality, by ignoring and dismissing citizen opposition to dangerous government policy.