March 23, 2006

Keeping the troops in the dark.

A while back, I posted at Magpie about how the US Marines have been censoring the web sites that the troops in Iraq are allowed to look at. Today, via PEEK, we found out more aout how news is being kept from servicemembers.

Meet dreadcow, who's serving in the Army infantry in Iraq. When he was on the phone to his parents in Minnesota recently, he received an interesting bit of news:

Me: "I sure miss home, I really would like some snow just to see it for once? so how's Grandma/rest of family/friends? it's starting to warm up here finally, how's it back home?...."

Parents: "Well, everyone misses you. People ask about you all the time and how you're doing. Your Dad is sick right now. The weather is miserable; it's below zero in Minneapolis right now. Iraq almost fell into civil war today. You sure you want to buy a truck with these gas prices? When you get home we'll get you wasted on Margaritas.

Me: "Come again?"

Parents: "Oh, I was saying with gas prices over two bucks a gallon, are you sure you want to get a truck?"

Me: "No, the civil war part."

That was the first I'd heard about the mosque getting blown up and this was two or three days after it happened. I'm IN Iraq and have no idea what's going on. A few months back I came to the conclusion that I'm fed nothing but propaganda and now it seems like my theory is dead on. I was always skeptical about the paper around here, Stars and Stripes. It's the newspaper for soldiers that's published by the military and widely available overseas. It's been around since WW II, maybe prior to that for all I know.

Anyhoo, I can't say that I've ever read much overtly negative press except the "letters to the editor" page or articles on soldiers getting waxed. Yeah, you'll see an article about IEDs or riots, but ninety percent of the pages that are focused on the war talk about how "great" the Iraqi Army/Police are becoming, how we built some school or water plant and how Haji is so grateful for it, or how such and such a unit found the mother of all weapons caches in some garden in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere....

Back to the newspaper. The only reason I even pick up a copy of Stars and Stripes is for two things: the crossword puzzle and su-do-ku; I think the Army makes me more stupid everyday so I try to keep my mind somewhat active and maintain a somewhat geared up vocabulary (I need to count how many times I say "fuck" in any given day and publish the results). I usually skim through the paper over dinner, directing everyone else to the humor I find in the blatant propaganda articles....

But the way our media talks about the war it sounds like a stroll through Candy Land. A hot, dusty, ghetto Candy Land. The muffin man lives in downtown Baghdad in a mud house that has a plastic tarp for a door and in his spare time watches bakery porn on satellite television.

I can tell you that this place isn't Candy Land. Car bombs are going off killing civilians, people are blowing up mosques, the kidnapping and subsequently beheading of people, these fuckers don't wear identifiable uniforms, and friends of friends are getting killed over here. I personally find it insulting that what little amount of news I'm given isn't realistic. I feel like the main character in "Clockwork Orange" with his eyelids held open while being brainwashed....

Pretty much speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Via Fun with Hand Grenades.

Posted by Magpie at March 23, 2006 03:02 PM | Censorship | Technorati links |