It is absolutely true that the “hero” rhetoric that is attached to all things related to the U.S. military is used to shut down real debate about the merits of what exactly it is that all those heroes are doing out there. If all soldiers are heroes, then all soldiers are righteous. If all soldiers are righteous, then the soldiers’ cause is righteous. The soldiers’ cause is war. Therefore the war is righteous. This is one of the oldest tropes in the “Manipulating the Free Press During Wartime” handbook. You need only look back at the profusion of American flag graphics and distinct lack of pointed skepticism that defined the U.S. media in the run up to the Iraq War to know how well this tactic works. It is easy for a TV network and its pundits to be patriotic. Theirs is a cheap patriotism. It is a patriotism of platitudes and comfortable symbols and cartoonish enemy villains to be opposed. Dissenters are just easy weenies to be picked on in the media schoolyard.
Pundits, Platitudes, and Patriotism: War Heroes and Their Enemies (via azspot)
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