The Ithaca Journal
Fresh memories of war
  by Kandea Mosley
May 25, 2002


Our news media regards itself as liberal, progressive, and courageous -- 
always ready to stand up for the little guy, always on the alert for 
corruption in government and elsewhere, etc., etc. The reality, of course, 
is that our "news" organs, especially the national newspapers and 
television networks, are servants of our rulers. They are, in fact our 
informal Ministry of Truth.

The News Media see themselves as the "gatekeepers" of information to the 
public. They actually use that word. They are our protectors from news that 
hasn't been properly vetted for accuracy, or that isn't "newsworthy." But, 
of course, lack of newsworthiness can often mean that some piece of 
information might encourage us to think in ways that the State would not 
like. That's why Journalists hate the Web so much -- it allows people to do 
an end run around their "gates" and judge for themselves whether something 
is newsworthy or accurate.

A while back I was listening to National Bolshevik Radio (NPR) and heard an 
interview with a journalism professor. He was complaining because graduates 
of journalism schools were being lured away from newspapers, television, 
and magazines by the better pay then being offered by dotcom operations. 
Good heavens, it meant that jobs on newspapers might be filled by people 
with degrees in English, history, economics, and other inferior 
disciplines. The real problem, of course, was that those people hadn't 
received the proper indoctrination in conventional News Media-think. Not 
to worry, though; the collapse of the dotcoms has probably put a smile back 
on his face.

Generally the Ministry of Truth does a good job of refining the news into 
bland, digestible, homogenized mush. But every now and then some real news 
creeps in. Often, it's because the reporter (and/or his editor) doesn't 
understand the ramifications of what he is revealing. That's apparently 
what happened with the story linked above.

It's a fairly routine interview in the ITHACA (New York) JOURNAL, with a 
local about his recent experiences as a soldier in Afghanistan. The general 
tone of the article is the kind you would expect: what the conditions were 
like, how his parents feel about his being there, why he joined the Army, 
et cetera.

But there's a stick of dynamite hidden in the text: 

> "We were told there were no friendly forces," said 
> Guckenheimer,  an assistant gunner with the 10th Mountain 
> Division at Fort Drum. "If there was anybody there, they were 
> the enemy. We were told specifically that if there were women 
> and children to kill them."

There it is, folks. Our rulers have assured us over and over again that 
they do not target civilians, and that the numerous dead bodies of 
noncombatants resulting from their actions are accidental -- "collateral 
damage." But if this statement is true, and it seems a stretch that this 
kid would lie about it, targeting civilians is exactly what they are doing.

We have already learned that My Lai was not an aberration, and that 
civilians were deliberately killed in Vietnam in areas in which they were 
viewed as sympathetic to the Viet Cong. And we know that the U.S. and its 
allies deliberately bombed civilian populations during World War II. So I 
guess we shouldn't be surprised. Even so, it turns my stomach.

The article goes on to other subjects as if this revelation were nothing. 
Here are the following two paragraphs:

> Taliban al-Qaida soldiers had already been given about two 
> weeks to surrender when U.S. soldiers were ordered to demolish 
> their last strongholds and finish the operation, he said.
> Guckenheimer said he loved learning about tanks and guns and 
> watching battle scenes on TV when he was young.

And here are the last two paragraphs:

> He said although he only interacted with Afghan men, those he 
> spoke to looked forward to women re-entering public life. On 
> the whole, he said, residents of the towns attached to the Bagram 
> base had been able to achieve a measure of happiness despite 
> living amid constant war.
> Guckenheimer returned to Fort Drum on April 24. He said he 
> looked forward to their next assignment and would like to serve 
> in Sinai, Egypt.

Well, bully for him.

We are truly in trouble when a soldier can drop such a bombshell to a 
reporter, and neither they nor the reporter's editors recognize how 
horrifying it is. God help us.

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