...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, November 03, 2003
      ( 11:40 AM )
All Systems Go

The Filter is working. The BushCo administration is successfully shielding Americans from the truth yet again. They are a benevolent administration, wanting to spare us from the terrible images of war. Not.

While Donald Rumsfeld calls the deaths and injuries yesterday in Iraq tragic, yet "necessary," the administration is busy trying to pretend they simply didn't happen.

Minutes after the attack, American Black
Hawk helicopters swarmed over the scene
to rush survivors to hospital while soldiers
secured the site, ordering journalists to
leave and confiscating film.

Not only are war correspondents having their film confiscated, but the US government has denied all access to the homecomings of the slain soldiers.

Americans have never seen any of the
other 359 bodies returning from Iraq.
Nor do they see the wounded cramming
the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in
Washington or soldiers who say they
are being treated inhumanely awaiting
medical treatment at Fort Stewart, Ga.

In order to continue to sell an increasingly
unpopular Iraqi invasion to the American
people, President George W. Bush's
administration sweeps the messy parts
of war — the grieving families, the flag-draped
coffins, the soldiers who have lost limbs —
into a far corner of the nation's attic.

No television cameras are allowed at Dover.

Bush does not attend the funerals of soldiers
who gave their lives in his war on terrorism.

Though Americans are ignorantly unaware of how our government is hiding the results of its "necessary" war, the rest of the world is fully cognizant of the degrading behavior of our leaders:

"You can call it news control or information
control or flat-out propaganda," says Christopher
Simpson, a communications professor at
Washington's American University.

"Whatever you call it, this is the most extensive
effort at spinning a war that the department of
defence has ever undertaken in this country."

Simpson notes that photos of the dead returning
to American soil have historically been part of the
ceremony, part of the picture of conflict and part
of the public closure for families — until now.

"This White House is the greatest user of
propaganda in American history and if they had
a shred of honesty, they would admit it. But
they can't."

The callousness that is being accorded to our war dead is not limited to keeping pictures of the coffins out of the media or ignoring the needs of the injured. No, they don't even accord an ounce of the honor these soldiers deserve as they are being transported home.

But today's military doesn't even use the
words "body bags" — a term in common
usage during the Vietnam War, when
58,000 Americans died.

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the
Pentagon began calling them "human remains
pouches" and it now refers to them as
"transfer tubes."

This is beyond disgusting, and I have no words to express the depth of my horror at the way this administration is treating our dead and wounded from this war. Americans have no idea what this war is costing us because we are forbidden from seeing the real images that usually accompany war. Yet, this article in the Toronto Star guarantees that people in other countries are far more aware than US citizens of the devastating treatment being given our war dead by Bush.

The need for reflection in America is important,
Dawson says, because the country seems to
have lapsed back into a state of complacency.

"The country should be asking whether these
men and women are putting their lives on the
line for a justifiable purpose."

There is simply no national reporting on the thousands of wounded returning to this country. Perhaps a hometown paper or two might acknowledge a soldier who has returned - but no political leaders are acknowledging their constituents who have lost limbs or sight or anything, and the Bush administration is simply pretending they don't exist.

Walter Reed officials did not return calls
seeking comment, but the crush of casualties
in late summer was such that outpatients had
to be referred to hotels in nearby Silver
Spring, Md., because the hospital was full.

The Washington Times said the hospital had
treated about 1,700 patients from Operation
Iraqi Freedom.

"Rarely have we seen so many young patients
at one time," a spokesperson said.

Montana soldier Adam McLain, recovering from
injuries when a military Humvee drove over his leg
and head in Baghdad, told the newspaper from
his hospital bed: "I didn't realize how many people
were without limbs or without eyes. It's just
depressing. I feel lucky. I have all my limbs."

Why aren't they showing us the truth about this war? Well, the answer to that is obvious. The real question is: why aren't we demanding it?

(thanks to Maru for the heads-up)

UPDATE: Looks like CNN's Mark Shields has caught on to this issue gets rhetorical:

Where is the outrage on the part of the press?
Are we lapdogs? The administration in full spin
control insists that the reality on the ground in
Iraq is much more positive than the press reports.
Yet the administration denies reality at home
-- the reality of the recent heroism of this nation's
fallen sons and daughters.

(thanks to Atrios for that link)

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