Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Truth vs. Propaganda

This is old news, at least to people who live in the Bay Area, but there is a hill in the town of Lafayette with a bunch of crosses on it and a sign that reads how many soldiers have died over in Iraq (well over 3,000 now). It has raised a great deal of controversy, and there are those who insist that it is a piece of anti-war propaganda, designed to undermine the war effort. Here, read what folks like that have to say. (I just linked the first one that I found, but I think that it's a fairly well-written piece, even though I completely disagree with the writer's stance on the issue - I don't want to just post some foaming-at-the-mouth warhawk's point of view, which I'm sure that there are plenty of out there.)

I sorta understand what they're saying, but ultimately, I just don't get it. That's how many people have died in the war. There's no way around it. I mean, should we stop having military cemetaries, because after all, those show us how many have died as well. Are all memorials to fallen soldiers, including the ones for Vietnam and Korea, undermining what the troops have done?

It doesn't make sense to me, and I see a pattern with some of the more conservative-minded people out there. When somebody points out a fact that's inconveniently contrary to their position, they complain that it's propaganda. Yet they will completely dismiss the outright LIES that we've been told. You know, that whole thing about the Hussein/al Qaeda connection? The whole thing about how we not only knew for certain that he had WMDs, but we knew where they were? The thing about seeking uranium for a nuclear bomb?

It amazes me that people can be aware of things like that, and yet the big offense to them is that somebody puts crosses on a hill which indicate an undeniable truth - this war is costing American lives, and we don't have a clear definition of what exactly "victory" will entail. (Forgive me if I'm dubious over claims that we're currently "winning" due to the surge. Just read about a bombing in this morning's paper. How long will we have to be "winning" until it turns into the past tense and we've "won"? It's not like World War II, where we knew that we "won" when the Germans and the Japanese agreed to unconditional surrender.)

And what gets lost in all this is all of the Iraqi lives that are being lost. Yeah, a lot of them died under Hussein, but does that justify what's going on now? I suppose if it all led to a free Iraq that was a peaceful utopia, then it would. I just don't see that happening. I want to be wrong about this more than anything I've ever wanted to be wrong about in my life. Still, I guess they don't count, because nobody seems to want to talk about them. I guess an Iraqi life is worth less than an American life.

Personally, I think that what upsets people who support the war is that this memorial is reminding them of something that they don't want to deal with. Too bad, and luckily it's on private property, so they're not going to be removed. If you truly believe that this war is for a noble cause, then you can handle the number of American lives have been lost. I just wonder how many more it's going to take until we think that maybe it's not worth it. 5,000? 10,000? A million? Will that be enough? Let's hope we don't have to find out.

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