Friday, June 16, 2006

One Good Thing About the Right Wing Echo Chamber

It makes them tell the truth.

Not about external facts, like no WMDs, economic realities, or about Democrats. The echo chamber is meant for creating unified arguments in support of policies and ideologies, and in the case of the Repug echo chamber, lies are not only welcome but necessary, since external facts contradict much of their ideology. Weak pseudo liberals don't make good arguments against the strong Reps there, and talking points get refined amidst much head patting and large salaries, like on Fox News.

But because external reality doesn't often intrude, the repeated echo makes them deaf to the sound of their own bullshit. It makes them insensitive to others.

It makes them tell the truth about themselves.

Q Tony, American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500. Is there any response or reaction from the President on that?

MR. SNOW: It's a number, and every time there's one of these 500 benchmarks people want something. ...

The other people in his echo chamber know exactly what he's talking about. No individual is as important as the whole, and what we're fighting for in Iraq is that important. There is an argument to be made for that, if the cause is worth fighting for. WWII is constantly trotted out for comparison, and not many would argue that 1) WWII had way more casualties and 2) WWII was a just and necessary war.

But when you really believe that a cause is just, there is no need to emotionally distance yourself from the deaths of other human beings. There is no need to hide from the human toll your policies and actions cause. If the cause is just and necessary there's no need to hide the consequences.

We all know that sacrifice is required to accomplish difficult but necessary tasks. We long to be asked to sacrifice in other ways, as well. But we're asked to ignore the war's harsh realities, go shopping, don't look at what is happening. They want us to view the war as something far away that isn't really affecting our daily lives, that's happening to faceless entities who we don't have to be concerned about except in the most casual, detached way.

Creating this emotional and physical distance by calling the troops mere numbers indicates a sense of shame and guilt.

Here's how Tony describes the President's human connection with his troops:

Any President who goes through a time of war feels very deeply the responsibility for sending men and women into harm's way, and feels very deeply the pain that the families feel. And this President is no different. You've seen it many times. You saw it, you saw it when he was in that ballroom, Terry, and you had this crowd of servicemen and women who were cheering loudly for the President, and he got choked up.

He sees the ones who cheer for him in ballrooms. They're alive. They like him. They've been ordered to cheer. That's what chokes him up.

And there's even more cheering, happy troops in the relative safety of Baghdad's Green Zone to cheer Bush up and give him those human connections with the troops.

Here's how you really show concern for the well-being of our armed services:
  • She spends several days a week at the hospital, often bringing pizzas or DVDs. When the Marines have no family, Beverly spends hours in their rooms like a surrogate mother. One Marine says that when he was overmedicated with painkillers, she saved his life by cursing in his ear like a drill instructor.
  • Operation Helmet is a nonpartisan, charitable grassroots effort that provides helmet upgrade kits free of charge to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. These helmet upgrade kits consist of shock-absorbing pads and a new strap system.
  • Ten prominent Americans, including former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, are forming a bipartisan group to assess the Bush administration's policies in Iraq and political and economic developments in the troubled country.
Listen to complaints, seek out problems, try to find solutions, and then actually do something about it. Punishing those who have screwed the entire enterprise from the beginning would help, too.

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