Friday, June 30, 2006

If you watch as much news as I do, and if you don’t you’re probably far saner than I am, you’ve noticed a trend. It seems that every time a Democrat brings up the idea of pulling the troops out of Iraq and redeploying them the right-wing noise machine kicks into overdrive. They seem to have a few catchphrases they are brandishing about. As with all pre-manufactured catchphrases they are of no real use. They bring zero clarity to the debate. Of course the use of these catchphrases has been around for a long time. They have always been half-truths at best. Let me explain using some newer examples and a classic model.

First off is the phrase, “cut and run”. You just know some Republican strategists sat around in some conference room thinking up this trite little phrase. They probably had a really big board with lots of different phrases and they set out to pick the best one. They needed something simple so everyone could remember it, even the Republican base. So they needed something brief with small words that had some real kick to it. It would have to be like the Fifth Commandment, “Thou shall not kill” but something that Republicans would actually retain and get some use out of it. I’d like to think at some point they had “Shit and Get” on the big board. But they decided to drop it after they asked “What Would Jesus Do?” So they came up with “cut and run”. Cut is a nice violent word for a nice violent bunch of people. When you’re responsible for the deaths of about 50,000 people you qualify as violent. It also has run in it, which has the connotation of being a coward. Never mind that neither the President nor the Vice-President has ever served in combat. They just want the people who oppose their war to look bad. So they settled on “cut and run”. Of course no one that has suggested leaving Iraq has wanted what the Republicans would like everyone to believe. They Republicans are trying to paint those who want us out as unpatriotic and cowards. Rep. Murtha and Sen. Kerry merely want the troops out of the chaos of Iraq and used elsewhere, like maybe finding Osama Bin Laden. Republicans don’t think our mission is complete however. They want us to “stay the course”.

OK may I be so bold to ask a few simple questions? Do we even have a course? What precisely are our goals in Iraq? Does Bush even know? Would any of these steadfast “stay the course” Republicans even recognize this so-called course? Would they recognize it if it crawled up their asses and bit them on their sphincters? I sincerely doubt it. You know what this “stay the course” translates to? What they are really trying to do is save face. These egomaniacs with neither their own personal safety or the well-being of a loved one at stake don’t want to leave Iraq looking like anything less than a conquering hero. They can’t stand the thought of having to admit, even if it is just the mere insinuation of it, that this war was fought for the wrong reasons and we should have never went in the first place. So we are left to “stay the course’, no matter how far away from the truth, justice or the American way that course leads us.

Please stop comparing this war in Iraq to World War II. World War II was a just war against two powerful nations that both sought to become an empire. We had to fight in World War II. There wasn’t an alternative. Also the people that point out how iron-willed we were in World War II need to study the Lost Division. The Lost Division, the approximately 19,000 soldiers who went AWOL while fighting in Europe. Not everyone was a hero. Some cracked under the pressure of fighting a brutal war. War is never glorious. War is Hell. So please stop bringing up World War II every time you want to justify a war.

Republicans seem to be good with these little catchphrases and comparisons. They must have better marketing people. It seems like about an election rolls around a new phrase of two pops up. Do you remember “family values”? There’s a nice vague piece of language. Aren’t the values of a family variable from family to family? Do you really think the Manson Family had the same values as the Brady Bunch? Well do you?

There’s a perfectly good reason I loathe these precious little catchphrases. It is because the people use them and then have nothing else to offer to the debate. The next time some on drops a “cut and run” or a “stay the course” press them on it. I guarantee they will go silent. We’re a sound bite culture. We seem to have the superficial nonsense down to a tee. But when asked for deeper meaning there is usually very little there. This is why politicians can get away with murder. People only retain the little blurbs and never look deeper. These catchphrases are at best half-truths. If you scratch away at a half-truth long enough you’ll always find the lie.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post. You tell em'

12:47 PM  

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