RANGER AGAINST WAR: Agitprop and The Underdogs <

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Agitprop and The Underdogs

In our opinion and from our experience,  
there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen  
that realistically threatens the United States of America  
--John Kerry's 1971 Testimony to Congress on Vietnam  

Aside from being a great name for a punk rock band, the title describes how we live our public lives (when we're not debating whether Miley's twerking is a valid dance move, or whether Mr. Castro swinging in his jail cell will go to hell.) 

So it is heartening that some people are considering what might have previously been thought an imperative to show U.S. military force in Syria. You Tube clips, no matter how well-staged or how they make John Kerry cry, are not sufficient evidence to launch rockets, just as Colin Powell's pathetic easel drawing of mobile chemistry labs should not have propelled the U.S. into the quagmire that is Iraq.

Just what is a rebel, and insurrectionist, a freedom-fighter, a nationalist, a religious zealot and a hoodlum? Perhaps one man's freedom-fighter is the other man's hoodlum. This more measured approach contrasts with the opposite and more typical approach as seen in a recent encomium on Palestinian "stone-throwers" run by the New York Times (In a West Bank Culture of Conflict, Boys Wield the Weapon at Hand.) 

Of course, the agenda was to downplay the harm done, and to liken the many generations of stone-throwers to righteous heroes fighting for the good of the people. (Only one mention was made of the deadly nature of the "boys'" game when the writer meets a woman whose husband and son were killed by stone throwers.) No one mentions that stone throwing is terrorism and can be deadly, and becomes acceptable due to brainwashing and a culture of living on public assistance, and because we love the "David and Goliath" story.

Would that same writer would be willing to write an homage to our own homegrown stone throwers ... in Watts, Division Street, Hough Street, Overtown, et. al., and risk being shown for the patronizing person she is? Unlikely, because we don't cotton to such behavior at home ... people get injured and killed, and businesses get destroyed. It is more akin to mayhem than iconography when it happens stateside. Reginald Denny, the trucker who sustained brain damage from bricks and kicks to the head in the 1992 L.A. riots, symbolizes our take on rioters, which is something shy of admiration.

How incredibly condescending to suggest that generations of stone-throwers are admirable, just as it would be to suggest the L.A. rioters could do naught else in such a racially-biased climate. People can always do better, and often do. To provide a pretty cover for violence -- or to join in on the side of another nation's rioters while not loving ours -- does not bode well for a democracy.

The recent more considered reaction to events in Syria is a welcome change from the U.S.'s usual rush to join in the fight on behalf of the perceived "underdog". Since we are not there, our perception can only be shaped by the agitprop we receive.



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