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Reporting For Duty

By Jesse Taylor
Monday, June 30, 2008 17:54 EDT
 

imageIt’s a Newsbusters twofer today!

First, we have solemn concern over Wesley Clark attacking McCain’s war record, at least according to the braintrust at MSNBC.

I admit that I, too, am deeply and gravely concerned over this thing that Wesley Clark did not do. When he honored and verified McCain’s service, and then declared that it wasn’t a qualification for office, I felt for the thousands of POWs who were likewise told by the former Supreme Commander of NATO that they served their country with honor and distinction, yet were not automatically more qualified than those who were not held captive to become president. It reminds me of when I graduated from college, and was told by someone I once respected and trusted that I’d achieved something great and wonderful, but I wasn’t qualified to be a fighter pilot.

A crashed F-22 later, they’re still wrong. Next up, we have the Busties talking about the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the term “swift boating”. Now, given their wholehearted aversion to slandering the service of troops you might think…

You might think…

Oh, fuck it, you know there’s no consistency.

The New York Times published an article Monday about the anger some Vietnam veterans feel over the vessel they used to serve on, Swift Boat, now being synonymous with “the nastiest of campaign smears.”

In dredging up this issue, Times’ writer Kate Zernike not only misrepresented many of the facts surrounding the claims made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, but also completely ignored the mainstream media’s role in turning the name of this patrol craft into a political pejorative.

In fact, something the Times conveniently chose not to share with its readers was how one of its own columnists, Frank Rich, wrote one of the earliest and most prominent pieces recharacterizing this nautical term as a smear tactic in his August 21, 2005, article “The Swift Boating of Cindy Sheehan.”

Luckily, Frank Rich’s September 19, 2006 article, “I Totally Gunwaled Your Sister Last Night”, was hidden behind the TimesSelect subscriber wall.

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth openly and directly assailed a veteran’s honorable service for political gain. They did so in a way that was fundamentally about swift boat service, and their reclamation of it as offended veterans who may or may not have been on boats with Kerry, boats near Kerry, boats that Kerry was once on, or waterslides. They also did so in a way that was fundamentally dishonest, contradictory, and laughably transparent…but also effective. It was their own success at lying that made “swift boating” what it is, much to the detriment of veterans who understand where the blame lays:

This month, a group of veterans who served with Mr. Kerry took up the challenge by Boone Pickens, the billionaire Texas oilman who helped finance the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004, that he would give $1 million to anyone who could disprove anything in the group’s campaign against Mr. Kerry.

“One of the prime reasons we’ve done this is the way it’s taken on the connotation of political sport versus honoring those that sacrificed everything,” said Fred Short, who was in the gun tub of a Swift boat during one of the firefights that the veterans group said Mr. Kerry had exaggerated.

[...]

Regardless of what they thought of Mr. Kerry, many Swift boat veterans objected to the attacks.

“It was unconscionable,” said Stan Collier, who served as an officer in charge on a boat based in Qui Nhon. “I thought those boys struck a new low.”

Mr. Collier considers himself a conservative and did not agree with Mr. Kerry’s politics, but he voted for him to protest the Swift boat campaign. “We’ve all been attributed to the sleaziness that those guys assigned to Kerry,” he said. “I think we’ve all been demeaned.”

These veterans are oddly concerned with the political group that made swift boating a political hot-button issue, and not columnists who referred to them months and even years past the end of the 2004 campaign. I think their service jackets need another look, myself. Is Swift Boat Veterans Against Swift Boat Veterans registered yet…?

And, from the Busties:

As such, Ms. Zernike, if you really are angered by the pejorative use of Swift Boat, and want to help the veterans referred to in your article return the term to one “[connoting] service with honor,” why don’t you call on your fellow liberal journalists to cease and desist from using it this despicable way?

I completely agree with this, and offer the following compromise: instead of calling them the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, I will agree to call them the Self-Identified Pedophiles Against Parents On Playgrounds. Whatever shorthand follows should honor actual swift boat veterans and allow them to reclaim their proper honor.

I like compromising.

When choice creates options, options become valid for evaluating

By Amanda Marcotte

This won’t be a popular article, except of course for those of us childless people who are annoyed at the sanctimonious pity we get from people trying to bully us into validating their choices by having children ourselves. Too bad, though. It’s better to know than not before you make what is really a very permanent choice, isn’t it? In Daniel Gilbert’s 2006 book “Stumbling on Happiness,” the Harvard professor of psychology looks at several…

 

Idle Thought

By Jesse Taylor

What’s the gas mileage on the Straight Talk Express?…

 

More On Our New Warrior King

By Jesse Taylor

How does saying that someone is a hero to millions dishonor their military service? I really need to get dishonored more. Seems like a real resume builder.…

 

All Hail The Warrior King

By Jesse Taylor

Oddly enough, we are not a nation constructed to idolize our military rulers. We all know that Wesley Clark saying that John McCain’s military service isn’t a qualification for the presidency wouldn’t raise a blip if their partisan affiliations were reversed; it would probably also help if you couldn’t hear…

 

The Gay Muslim Chronicles

By Jesse Taylor

Findlay, Ohio is at about the 3/4 point between Columbus and Ann Arbor, meaning that I’ve been through the city several times in the past couple of months alone. And, well, yeah. On the television in his living room, Peterman has watched enough news and campaign advertisements to hear the…

 

Traditional Values Coalition: pot calling the kettle…

By pams

Holy smoke. The irony and hypocrisy meters just blew-the-f*ck up. Look at this from the American Taliban Traditional Values Coalition’s Lou Sheldon (a big fan of John McCain, btw), is aghast that a he’s not the only game in town in the whole church-state merger deal. Imposing Christianity is saving…

 

Bamboo Reviews: WALL-E

By auguste

I’m going to get the biggest spoiler out of the way right away, so don’t click further if you want to remain unaware of a major theme which is not revealed until about an hour into the film: 700 years of space life, served only by robots, has led humanity…

 

You’re free to physically assault young women if Jesus told you to in Texas

By Amanda Marcotte
Sunday, June 29, 2008 19:09 EDT

From PZ, a story that’s horrifying both on its own and for its implications for the rights of all people, but especially women, whose bodies that the churches claim spiritual ownership over in the name of god. A bit of background: A number of fundamentalist churches believe that sin is…

 

Obama Is The Leader Of Multiracial Teenage Fascists

By Jesse Taylor

That’s what Heh, Indeedy tells me about the Glorious Revolution. I’m signing up for Applenacht, because I really want to bust up some insufficiently hip iPods.…

 
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