In the midst of a religious war, we hear the rumblings of imbeciles peddling old worn out tools. These are the tools of fools who think all wars are winnable for those who swing the biggest stick. They’re not!
Tough talk can sound real good, but it can turn out rash and reckless. It can lead to the kind of “go get’em,” “bomb’em to hell,” and “who do they think they are” mentality that got us into this mess in Iraq in the first place. Men and women with graphics taking up the lower third of the cable news TV screens that define them as congressmen, senators, analysts, strategists and yes, anchors — who too often say only what they think we want to hear rather than what is right.
Americans on the right, left and all parts in between are tired of wars and lies. They’re tired of giving and not getting. For Americans, this is not a game. It’s not about how to position oneself politically, or how to make money on some company that peddles military hardware and, most certainly, it shouldn’t be about ratings.
As of this writing, I’ve just returned from the theater where I was coaxed into the “Edge of Tomorrow.” Ricky, Robby and Remmy watched the movie the night before, but they wanted to see it again this time with dad, so off we went.
It’s a frightening movie about a drumbeat for war filled with sci-fi adventures; shoot’em ups and clearly defined characters that delineate good from evil. Fun to watch? Absolutely! And also extremely simplistic, which is, oddly enough, exactly how some cable news outlets are presenting the present conflict in Iraq. And guess who’s in the movie besides Tom Cruise?
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No really, guess...
OK, here, I’ll give it away: cable news anchors mostly from CNN. That’s right. In what is either bad timing or God’s way of playing gotcha, the movie is being released just as we’re actually hearing anchors on the Cable News Network uttering words and phrases similar to those they spout in the movie. Is art imitating real life, or is it the other way around? One CNN anchor recently referred to a sectarian group in Iraq as “the bad guys.” Wait, was that in the movie or on TV? Not sure I can tell the difference anymore. And that’s not good.
Real wars are not fought by actors. They don’t end in 120 minutes. They cost us greatly in blood and treasure. And they require the nuanced understanding of issues, which is not what cable news does well.
Unfortunately, that lack of nuance and understanding leads to both journalistic complacency and misinformation. Sound familiar? It’s a recipe for bad foreign policy. It’s what happens when questions fail to be asked, and tough talk turns into complicity. Then, before we know it, without much forethought, we hear the sounds growing louder. The drumbeat is on again for a war that we maybe ought not fight.
Thank goodness, my former colleagues are pitching a war against aliens. But wait, they seem so comfortable, so well rehearsed in the role — it’s kind of scary!