I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles,
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
Simon and Garfunkel
See, in my line of work you
got to keep repeating things over and over
and over again for the truth to sink in,
to kind of catapult the propaganda
--President George W. Bush
Why do we never get an answer
When we're knocking at the door
With a thousand million questions
About hate and death and war
The Moody Blues
The OCT 2015 - JAN 2016 Army Echoes, the quarterly newsletter sent to over a million retired soldiers and families, has set for itself the modest proposal of keeping its readers in thrall to Them Terrorists, 24/7 ("Sustaining Antiterrorism awareness -- always ready, always alert," p.5.) Just in case you fail to subject yourself to the ample media sources which should have already brought you to this paralyzed state.
Ranger will deconstruct the money graph, to wit:
"Terrorists can attack anywhere, anytime – the threat is real. Over the recent months the continued threats on social media from the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant (ISIL; also commonly referred to as ISIS) and their influence on domestic extremists demonstrates the lengths that terrorist groups take to threaten our nation and our military communities. ISIL has also expanded their tactics to include cyber-attacks and attempts to exploit private and sensitive information of our military personnel and their families. These risks pertain directly to Retired Soldiers, just as they do the entire Army community."
A sophomore creative writing undergrad would recognize the weakness presented here as fact, courtesy the United States Army. The breakdown begins with opening statement: "Terrorists can attack anywhere, anytime."
Is that true? Can you think of somewhere they could not? How about a nuclear (surety) weapons storage area, the protection of which is the job of the Army, after all. So, no -- not anywhere; check one.
Next: "(T)he continued threats on social media from the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant (ISIL; also commonly referred to as ISIS) . . . demonstrates the lengths that terrorist groups take to threaten our nation and our military communities." OK -- "social media threats" -- certainly is not a nice thing to do. We call such people "trolls", and what they do is BULLYING. When they act on their threats, they become criminals.
Bullying certainly has its own corrosive quality, but do WE need to be "always ready, always alert"? Maybe we could just farm out that set of feelings over to the people paid to monitor such transmissions on a daily basis. That IS what they are paid for, after all, and it would cut down on our psychotherapy bills and Unisom consumption, something that would be good for an overworked, over-stressed population, no?
Aren't Terrorists a Level One threat? If they are out "to exploit private and sensitive information of our military personnel and their families," and "(T)hese risks pertain directly to Retired Soldiers, just as they do the entire Army community," tell us what these tactics entail so that we might be proactive about it. Instead we are fed a vague miasma of fear, riding on the tails of the aura created around terror groups.
Further: the piece is predicated on a falsehood: ISIL is not a terror organization. IS has a military chain of command, their members wear uniforms, carry weapons and attack military targets. They do not conform to the international laws of war.
The last fact does not render them terrorists, but rather War Criminals. Possibly they could be convicted under "crimes against humanity", but the evidence favors war criminal prosecution. A paragraph full of lies and half-truths, courtesy your U.S. Army.
You can sleep well, tonight, despite the fact that rough men stand ready to scare you witless.
[Cross-posted @ milpub.]