Monday, January 26, 2015


More and more often, we see common people expressing uncommonly vicious opinions, inspired by what they see, very much in passing, on the social networks. By “common”, I mean to indicate people who have no particular knowledge of the issues addressed. Rather, they have read one prejudicial article and swallowed hook, line and sinker that which is truly no more than propaganda. This sort of dumb naivety happens with alarmingly increasing frequency and often involves a single ...minded inclination to embrace the counter-intuitive as a matter of popular habit. This makes them both smart and safe, and saves them the trouble of having actually to investigate a matter. Examples of such sheepish behavior are countless and run the gamut from politics to race, social issues to religion. I’m thinking just now of the fashionable backlash against a movie and a book called “American Sniper”, the story of a Navy Seal who served 3 tours of duty in Iraq. This man, they say, was not a hero, but a liar, a racist, and a murderer. Personally, to begin with, I don’t know that the story makes him a hero at all. It describes him as a soldier doing his duty, the mission for which he was trained. Every soldier is a killer. That’s the job. A reviewer in Russia Today states that this Seal hated Iraqis, therefore was a racist and therefore killed as many as he could – becoming the most successful sniper in American history. Leaving aside the difference between an innocent Iraqi citizen and the terrorist with an AK-47 or a pipe bomb, the writer goes on to claim that this sniper injudiciously killed women and children. For the fun of it, I guess. What the biography describes, on the other hand, is a soldier having to face a choice between shooting a woman, for instance, who is running toward fellow American soldiers with an anti-personnel bomb or allowing her to complete her mission because she’s a woman. Of course the writer understands both the dilemma and the obvious choice. He knows, in that part of his mind where honestly is being hidden, that he would do the same thing. But it is not honesty or a comprehensive view that is being presented here. It is merely propaganda, which serves its own blind gods and tells its own lies. Most despicably of all, the writer concludes his piece by insulting the memory of this soldier, who was killed after the war in his efforts to help other traumatized veterans, and tramples on the suffering of his family members by stating, essentially, that the soldier deserved to die for his sins, which, I guess, are best described as his actions as a soldier in the service of his country. It was karma, the Facebook dupes cry. He got what was coming to him, and so did his family members and loved ones. Well, be careful with the notion of karma, for by this measure, so did the Iraqis, and the women and the children, and so, indeed, will this disingenuous writer for Russia Today.

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