Friday, June 18, 2004

The San Fransisco Chronicle repeats the line about Bush lying as justification for the war.

In other words, one of the arguments used to justify the invasion of Iraq is fiction. In the months before the war, the White House nursed public misconceptions that Osama bin Laden and Hussein were in league. President Bush exploited this misconception -- by continually linking Iraq and Sept. 11 in speeches -- to help built support for the war.

Who is exploiting misconceptions now? Bush said that we could not allow a rogue state like Iraq to provide weapons of mass destruction to Al Qaeda. He did not say that this had happened yet. He did not even say that Iraq had already re-armed. He said that we had to overthrow Saddam before any of this could happen.

How should people react to Fahrenheit 911? Ignore it. Moorewatch points out that any attempts to stifle the movie will only help Moore. Look at what Fox's lawsuit did for Al Franken's book.

If you do see it, remember that Moore lies a lot. Don't trust anything you see. Selective editing can do wonders. To see how this works, watch Babylon 5 episode 74, The Illusion of Truth. (It helps if you have seen all 73 episodes leading up to this). A news crew films what seems like a sympathetic documentary then edits it to totally distort things.

Weird Al has some interviews like this, also. At one point he seems to get Emenem (a homophobe) to say that he is in love with Weird Al.

I had an insight about the Geneva Conventions - my generation grew up laughing at them.


I am thinking of the TV show Hogan's Heroes. It was about a bunch of American and British POWs who would sneak out of the POW camp they were in and sabotage the Germans. The usual complaints about the show are that it trivialize the Nazis.

While this is true, think about the premise of the show. As Senator Biden pointed out, the Geneva Conventions are supposed to be a reciprocal agreement between nations on how prisoners of war will be treated. Part of the agreement is that the prisoners will not make trouble. If a prisoner is caught outside the camp, out of uniform, blowing up munitions, he would be shot. In fact, if an operation like Hogan's Heroes actually existed and had been uncovered then probably every POW would be executed immediately. No government would take a chance like that so Hogan's Heroes never existed (even assuming they could have found a Commandant Klink).

So we grew up laughing at a show that violated the Geneva Convention.

In reality, Germany was not always careful about following the rules. During the Battle of the Buldge, prisoners were shot so that Germans didn't have to detail soldiers to guard prisoners.

The Japanese never signed the Convention and ignored it completely. I read an account of an American pilot who was captured. The Japanese government wanted to show the people that Americans were not to be feared so they put this pilot in a cage on a city street where passers by could poke him with a stick. They starved him, also. The accompanying picture looked like a concentration camp victim.

A Viet Nam POW spoke to my high school in the early 1970s. He was a helicopter pilot who was shot down. After he was captured he was transported to the POW camp by truck. This consisted of tying him to a barrel of gasoline in an open truck for three days. They didn't untie him during air raids. He was left exposed in the hope that he would be killed by his own side.

In the current conflict, no soldiers are taken prisoner. Civilians are captured and sometimes killed on-camera.

None of this excuses Americans torturing others but it puts it into perspective.

No comments: