Monday, February 11, 2013

Tobacco Road

 --Lorraine Schneider 

Ah, bless you tax man, bless you all
You may take some but you never take it all
But if I give it all, I won't feel sad
As long as I got enough to buy a harry rag 
--Harry Rag, The Kinks

Most of them smoke maybe 40 a day
A habit Billy doesn't share
One by one they're passing away
Leaving orphans to Billy's care 
--Little Billy, The Who

Just like Erskine Caldwell's novel, things aren't subtle here in the South.

We have recently been subjected to an anti-tobacco advertising blitz on television which feature a freak show of tobacco-related diseases, including the various cancers and their gruesome endpoints, all to the effect of scaring people out of the smoking habit.  The message seems, if you have any shred of dignity, vanity or humanity, you will not be so stupid as to start smoking the cancer sticks.

All well, good and laudable, if a tad macabre in the exploitation of the gaspers.

But it got Ranger thinking: Why do we not have a similar ad campaign showing the destroyed bodies of our soldiers and the waste that was once a fierce, proud body and mind?  Billboards abound with ramrod-straight Marines in the making and Soldiers walking tall, but not so much the amputees suffering grueling rehabilitation and Traumatic Brain Injury sufferers struggling with most daily tasks; we do not even show returning military coffins (in the name of discretion, mind.)

If the tobacco adverts show amputees and tracheotomies, why not show some Ty Ziegel's in Ranger's proposed war ads?

While the war damage is not self-inflicted, it is every bit as avoidable as the tobacco-related diseases.  Why are we so concerned about the ravages of tobacco while ignoring the ravages of elective, aggressive wars?  Tobacco is the devil's weed while soldiering is lauded, but the consequences of each can be deadly.

Tobacco and alcohol cause birth defects; war causes life defects.  We put "may be hazardous to your health" warning labels on ciggie packs, but not on recruitment posters.  Maybe "Uncle Sam Wants to F*ck You Up" posters wouldn't go over so good in the red states.

But don't we owe our soldiers-to-be this consideration?

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Anonymous Moe Hamad said...

Surely we do, but if it isn't obvious by now when will it ever be?

Majority of those joining the army are doing so out of financial reasons. Those recruited by propaganda and posters never doubt the righteousness of their cause.
Case in point here:


^ Article on Esquire's website with man that shot Bin Laden and how his life is horrible after leaving the army. No pension, divorced and paranoid about safety of his family.

I think its true considering that CNN ran it.

(Other point Bin Laden was shot 27 times, leading doubt about Matt Bissonette's story that he finished him)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 1:53:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Moe Hamad said...

My point was that joining the army should (ideally) be something out of genuine patriotism and reflection and not something done in financial desperation because it involves taking human life. Leeching off the poor for cannon fodder is never good and just shows the need for reform in the country. In VA, and in education, and social safety.

Most importantly of all why doesn't US democracy tolerate moving for peace? It seems to me that the climate of fear and absolute fear of political suicide of making a Chamberlin like prediction and moving the US along from the terror wars makes your senators and congressmen cowards and chicken hawks.

The drone program and perpetual warfare offer no chance of resolution and it allows the ultimate politlical victory: of acting tough (killing hundreds) abroad while suffering no consequences (body bags). That seems quite Roman to me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 2:02:00 AM GMT-5  

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