Just give 'em what they want
July 23, 2003 8:41 AM   Subscribe

 
Wow you took one quote, out of context, and made a FPP out of it. Must be a slow news day for you, eh?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:46 AM on July 23, 2003


Wow, some 77-year-old in Elizabeth, West Virginia actually said that? That must signify ... something.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:46 AM on July 23, 2003


"Every news story needs a post ... the interest doesn't particularly matter"
posted by signal at 8:49 AM on July 23, 2003


Yeah, just give the people what they want... I'm just sorry Bob Fosse didn't live long enough to see this...
posted by JollyWanker at 8:52 AM on July 23, 2003


That was yesterday. In a year, the quote will be "Jessica Who?" Unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately for Jessica), the hero worship accorded her has a rather fuzzy base and will soon dissipate.

Conversely, if the Pentagon could prove she took out a dozen of the enemy and, in so doing, saved the life of a fellow American, they would have a real hero whose name had staying power.
posted by mischief at 8:55 AM on July 23, 2003


Besides, the war already has a hero.
posted by signal at 8:56 AM on July 23, 2003


It was a war, people got injured, people died. The reasons don't particularly matter.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:57 AM on July 23, 2003


Every war has propaganda. What makes this peice of propaganda so special?
posted by SweetJesus at 8:57 AM on July 23, 2003


One of two cells at the Wirt County jail is filled with hundreds of items -- quilts, pillowcases, angels made of World Trade Center rubble, even a pair of thong underwear -- sent by people swept up by her story, officials said.
posted by danOstuporStar at 8:58 AM on July 23, 2003


the article seems to imply that the county assessor is in charge of sending thank-you notes. begs the question of whether the county assessor has accurately documented the effective doubling of the size of the lynch home and if those changes will be reflected in the next property tax bill?
posted by quonsar at 9:00 AM on July 23, 2003


How exactly is someone who got lost in battle, then got caught, then had to be "rescued" from a hospital a hero?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:06 AM on July 23, 2003


S_a_L: could you elaborate on why the quote is out of context?

pardonyou: seeing how the American public has strived for the truth about terrorism and the war in these past years, I'd say the quote is fairly representative
posted by magullo at 9:07 AM on July 23, 2003


That was yesterday. In a year, the quote will be "Jessica Who?" Unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately for Jessica), the hero worship accorded her has a rather fuzzy base and will soon dissipate.

Maybe. But lately, it seems that in the U.S., celebrity never really goes away - rather, it decomposes into more toxic elements and dissipates into the air. She may well appear on Larry King as an expert in post-traumatic stress disorder, or be included in a roundtable discussion with Paul Wolfowitz as a neo-Clausewitzian authority on the fog of war. She'll be around for a while, treated as anything but what she is: a normal person to whom extraordinary events happened.
posted by stonerose at 9:09 AM on July 23, 2003


"You provide the pictures and I'll provide the war."
-- William Randolph Hearst
posted by kirkaracha at 9:12 AM on July 23, 2003


How exactly is someone who got lost in battle, then got caught, then had to be "rescued" from a hospital a hero?

I wouldn't neccessarily say she is, anymore than any other soldier who risks their life in battle. But she is someone who's been through a rougher ordeal than anything I've had to face.

But that ordeals been made worse by the gov't and media using her as propoganda, and anti-war people using her as a symbol of what's wrong with the war (perhaps correctly, but I think that's beside the point). I say we leave her alone. I know Bush started it. How about we end it.
posted by jonmc at 9:13 AM on July 23, 2003


I've been in a couple of car accidents, banged up pretty bad, too. Can I get a parade and medal? I'll wear my Star Trek uniform if it'll help.
posted by briank at 9:20 AM on July 23, 2003


briank - read my post again. I'm saying she had a a rough time and that all the govertment hoopla, plus the response from the opposition has made it worse. I'm not calling for another parade.
posted by jonmc at 9:27 AM on July 23, 2003


Is she a hero? I would imagine if one asked her, she would say No. Is she brave, yeah, no doubt.

She may well appear on Larry King as an expert in post-traumatic stress disorder

don't think so

Paul Wolfowitz as a neo-Clausewitzian authority on the fog of war

so now you insult PVT. Lynch? I think she has demonstrated courage and humility.

"You provide the pictures and I'll provide the war."

clever quote, wanna put that into context....

I say we leave her alone

I agree.

I've been in a couple of car accidents
I'll wear my Star Trek uniform if it'll help.

well that explains alot.
posted by clavdivs at 9:32 AM on July 23, 2003


briank - read my post again.

why would you think briank was responding to you, jonmc?
posted by quonsar at 9:34 AM on July 23, 2003


so how is jessica lynch a hero? i don't get it. she got captured. yes, it's sad... but what was heroic about that?
posted by shadow45 at 9:36 AM on July 23, 2003


Capt. Scott O'Grady. Pay per appearance = $10,001 - $15,000.

.
posted by stonerose at 9:44 AM on July 23, 2003


so how is jessica lynch a hero? i don't get it. she got captured. yes, it's sad... but what was heroic about that?

well, as near as i can gather, you just do your job. then, if you're meant to be a hero, a building falls on you, or you get [shot, not shot, stabbed, not stabbed, raped, not raped, taken prisoner by vicious enemies, taken prisoner by compassionate doctors, rescued, set free]. simple.
posted by quonsar at 9:47 AM on July 23, 2003


I've heard the little speech she gave, and unless she's not on a shitload of pain medication, she ain't the brightest bulb.

I was shocked to hear her thank the Iraqi citizens that saved her life.

I was kind of stumped about her saying "I'm an American soldier too," a couple times. I don't get it. I think it was supposed to be the tear-jerker in her speech, but... I don't get it? Did they think she wasn't a soldier because she's a woman?
posted by zekinskia at 9:48 AM on July 23, 2003


Unless she's ON a shitload of medication...
posted by zekinskia at 9:50 AM on July 23, 2003


This piece refers to O'Grady, but is quite apropos.
posted by stonerose at 9:53 AM on July 23, 2003


No, jonmc, I was not responding to you.

I've been in a couple of car accidents
I'll wear my Star Trek uniform if it'll help.

well that explains alot.


Yes, actually, it does.
posted by briank at 9:59 AM on July 23, 2003


briank - why don't you talk to adamgreenfield about that? He might still have some connections in the business, at least somebody still in the loop who can put you on the "warm body willing to do and say anything as character in manufactured PsyOps operation - in exchange for fame" list.

Not that I think Private Jessica did that. She just got lucky ( or not ).

What interested me about the Washington Post story was that it seemed rather vague on the story's details. I seem to remember that Private Lynch's "capture" might not have been a capture at all, that she was just picked up by sympathetic civilians and deposited at a local hospital? [ It's been a while since I reviewed the endless variations of the "Saving Private Jessica" mythos. ] And about the rescue - didn't her rescue come about because some sympathetic Iraqis contacted the US military? And isn't it also true that the US special forces sent to rescue Private Lynch never fired a shot, that they just drove to the hospital (or landed in a helicopter), put her on a stretcher ( with lots of professional photo op footage taken in the process ), and took her to an American hospital - all with no enemy opposition at all? As I said, I'm fuzzy on the details.

But the Washington, that feebly flickering beacon of occasionally bold investigative journalism (especially the type which does not pose much a threat to the reigning political powers that be) seems far muddier on the details than I.

All hail our mediazheimer's addled Fourth Estate shepherds of agitprop.

"Hail! Hail! Hail!"
posted by troutfishing at 10:04 AM on July 23, 2003


quite
posted by clavdivs at 10:05 AM on July 23, 2003


If there is a god, PFC Lynch will fall down a well, creating a media-frenzy the likes of which the world has never seen.
posted by bondcliff at 10:08 AM on July 23, 2003


BTW, if anyone gives a shit about a real hero, visit MSF's page on Arjan Erkel, a humanitarian volunteer in Dagestan, who was kidnapped almost a year ago. These people are all over the world, never taking a life, doing all they can to save lives, putting themselves knowingly in harm's way, often dying in the course of their duties, in conflicts and hellholes that don't make it onto the evening news. It's this lack of perspective that should really piss us off.
posted by stonerose at 10:08 AM on July 23, 2003


if the gov't had told the truth, things would have gone much better

so much for our super special government ideology that's so caring for ppl

Tom Clancy is a bullsh*tting racist ---

US Gov't is no different from the Commies now eh
posted by firestorm at 10:10 AM on July 23, 2003


oookay....
posted by Cyrano at 10:18 AM on July 23, 2003


I seem to remember that Private Lynch's "capture" might not have been a capture at all, that she was just picked up by sympathetic civilians and deposited at a local hospital?

Check your facts, buddy. Defintely captured by Iraqi soldiers who lied about her ferocity over insecure radios to make themselves look good. WaPo covered the story in some depth about a month ago.

But I guess that they aren't independent because they didn't gloss over details, insinuate, disparage, and spin the story a way that you like.
posted by ednopantz at 10:32 AM on July 23, 2003


Um, firestorm, next time the nice doctor men and women come in to dispense the meds, better ask them for a double.
posted by dhoyt at 10:38 AM on July 23, 2003


Jessica Lynch is the biggest straw man ever, or should I say the biggest straw woman?
posted by Bag Man at 10:41 AM on July 23, 2003


I suppose we can now call her Private Jessica Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith Lynch. Who knew just how ahead of his time Sturges was?
posted by ed at 10:57 AM on July 23, 2003


I find it sad and ironic that as one Palestine celebrates, life grinds miserably on in another.
posted by dmt at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2003


"I find it sad and ironic that as one Palestine celebrates, life grinds miserably on in another."

Yeah, it's like rain on your wedding day.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:33 AM on July 23, 2003


It's this lack of perspective that should really piss us off.
I agree.

These people are all over the world, never taking a life, doing all they can to save lives, putting themselves knowingly in harm's way, often dying in the course of their duties, in conflicts and hellholes that don't make it onto the evening news.

Like military surgeons or combat support personnel?. People like "these"? This happens daily, nay every minute if not second. one must define "Hero" then see if pt. Lynch falls into that criteria. Her Purple Heart signifies the sacrifice of pain for her country. A Bronze Star is given for deeds and actions that does fall in the criteria for "hero". What did she win that for? I say there is more to the story then we know.
posted by clavdivs at 11:33 AM on July 23, 2003


Like military surgeons or combat support personnel?. People like "these"?

I have a lot of sympathy for some of these people (many of whom go into the military to make a living, for lack of better options), but to argue that they are morally equivalent to humanitarian aid workers is a little bit odd.

Aid workers sign up knowing that they are going to hellholes, knowing that they won't be paid a living wage, knowing that there will be no victory parade - indeed, there will be no long-term victory at all against the suffering they see. Still, they persist. They almost always operate without military backup or meaningful security, even though they are used, abused, and targeted. They do this out of a sense of solidarity with humanity: not some narrow segment of it, like a nation. All of these factors differentiate them from soldiers in meaningful ways.

This is not to say that humanitarians are perfect: there are pedophiles, incompetents, thieves and nutcases within their ranks. But still...
posted by stonerose at 12:14 PM on July 23, 2003


But still what... they're better people because of knowing that they won't be paid a living wage, knowing that there will be no victory parade - indeed, there will be no long-term victory at all against the suffering they see?

A surgeon is a surgeon is a surgeon. Combat surgeons do quite a bit of work on civilians and even the enemy.

...but to argue that they are morally equivalent to humanitarian aid workers is a little bit odd.

To argue that they aren't equivalent is silly and pointless.
posted by Witty at 12:27 PM on July 23, 2003


A surgeon is a surgeon is a surgeon.

A surgeon is a surgeon is a surgeon.

Is your moral hierarchy really that flat, Witty? If so, it's no wonder you're having trouble drawing distinctions between humanitarians and cogs in the military machine.
posted by stonerose at 1:13 PM on July 23, 2003


It was a war, people got injured, people died. The reasons don't particularly matter.

Question mark? Please explain, you are bordering on incoherency.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:38 PM on July 23, 2003


Yeah, it's like rain on your wedding day.

BWAH ha ha!!!
posted by jpoulos at 1:52 PM on July 23, 2003


Her Purple Heart signifies the sacrifice of pain for her country. A Bronze Star is given for deeds and actions that does fall in the criteria for "hero". What did she win that for? I say there is more to the story then we know.

Circular logic, if any.
posted by Hildago at 1:54 PM on July 23, 2003


How about some medals for the 17 Marines that attempted to rescue the 507th in An Nasiriyah?

Of course, they'll have to be awarded posthumously.

Paging Mark Bowden......
posted by dglynn at 1:55 PM on July 23, 2003


Is your moral hierarchy really that flat, Witty? If so, it's no wonder you're having trouble drawing distinctions between humanitarians and cogs in the military machine.

Does there even need to be a heirarchy when talking about people who do whatever they can to save lives... whether it be soldiers or civilians... whether they get paid or not?
posted by Witty at 2:47 PM on July 23, 2003


pray tell what is "a cog in the military machine "
posted by clavdivs at 5:00 PM on July 23, 2003


These are heroes.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:35 PM on July 23, 2003


clavdivs:


posted by quonsar at 6:32 PM on July 23, 2003


I hope people click on that link in my last post. It's all the Medal of Honor winners, with a description of their citation. Each story is absolutely amazing, serious hero-stuff. For example, I literally picked a completely random winner from WW2 (awarded posthumously) -- here's the citation.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty at Saipan, Mariana Islands, 19 June to 7 July 1944. When his entire company was held up by fire from automatic weapons and small-arms fire from strongly fortified enemy positions that commanded the view of the company, Sgt. (then Pvt.) Baker voluntarily took a bazooka and dashed alone to within 100 yards of the enemy. Through heavy rifle and machinegun fire that was directed at him by the enemy, he knocked out the strong point, enabling his company to assault the ridge. Some days later while his company advanced across the open field flanked with obstructions and places of concealment for the enemy, Sgt. Baker again voluntarily took up a position in the rear to protect the company against surprise attack and came upon 2 heavily fortified enemy pockets manned by 2 officers and 10 enlisted men which had been bypassed. Without regard for such superior numbers, he unhesitatingly attacked and killed all of them. Five hundred yards farther, he discovered 6 men of the enemy who had concealed themselves behind our lines and destroyed all of them. On 7 July 1944, the perimeter of which Sgt. Baker was a part was attacked from 3 sides by from 3,000 to 5,000 Japanese. During the early stages of this attack, Sgt. Baker was seriously wounded but he insisted on remaining in the line and fired at the enemy at ranges sometimes as close as 5 yards until his ammunition ran out. Without ammunition and with his own weapon battered to uselessness from hand-to-hand combat, he was carried about 50 yards to the rear by a comrade, who was then himself wounded. At this point Sgt. Baker refused to be moved any farther stating that he preferred to be left to die rather than risk the lives of any more of his friends. A short time later, at his request, he was placed in a sitting position against a small tree . Another comrade, withdrawing, offered assistance. Sgt. Baker refused, insisting that he be left alone and be given a soldier's pistol with its remaining 8 rounds of ammunition. When last seen alive, Sgt. Baker was propped against a tree, pistol in hand, calmly facing the foe. Later Sgt. Baker's body was found in the same position, gun empty, with 8 Japanese lying dead before him. His deeds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

GUN EMPTY with 8 DEAD AROUND HIM. Holy friggin' cow that's some guts 'n glory. They're ALL like this.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:15 PM on July 23, 2003


Does there even need to be a heirarchy when talking about people who do whatever they can to save lives... whether it be soldiers or civilians... whether they get paid or not?

Humans establish hierarchies as a way of expressing the relative value attached to various social goods. I attach a relatively higher value to apparently altruistic acts undertaken in the service of humanity writ large, rather than paid acts undertaken on the orders of a military apparatus. Your mileage may vary.

pray tell what is "a cog in the military machine "

The military as a whole, and individual military units, seem to take pride in their capacity to function in a top-down, mechanistic fashion. Hence the mechanical metaphor. I was attempting to draw a distinction between people who do what they do by way of executing orders, and those (humanitarians) who seek to express solidarity with others by virtue of their humanity. If you take offense at this, you may wish to step back and evaluate your values.
posted by stonerose at 8:22 PM on July 23, 2003


civil disobedient: i knew this guy personally. he was the deputy chief of police, and then chief, in this city. he is, in fact, the man who hired me (as a third shift watchman at the police impound yard) back in 1980. he passed away a few years back. one of his kids is my age. frank was a real character, a huge, powerful man. his personality was bigger than life - one of those 'unforgettable characters' you might read about in reader's digest. aggressive, fearless, he loved to climb radio towers for fun (and made some handsome bucks doing it as a side business). i was on the ground crew for a couple of those operations (winching heavy coax up 500 feet!). outspoken to a fault, his police career was effectively ended after a reporter printed quotes from him describing how a homeowner might legally kill an intruder, touching off a local controversy. frank enjoyed retired life for a number of years before he was struck ill, cancer i think. i always thought he had a death wish, and at the same time i always thought he was indestructible. check out this quote from the link: "he stood in the open to draw the enemy's fire and, with his weapon blasting, enabled the litter bearers to reach cover." thanks for posting that link, pierce never talked about the war and i only learned he was a medal of honor winner by reading his obit.
posted by quonsar at 9:17 PM on July 23, 2003


stonerose: My point is... at the very moment a military surgeon is performing his work, he/she isn't likely to be thinking about how much money he's making. The experience of saving a person's life with your bare hands (tools too of course) is NO different whether you're in the military or some volunteer group. I certainly applaud the efforts of those volunteers and think very highly of everything they do. But I wouldn't sell a military surgeon short just because he or she chooses it as a career (perhaps so he can raise family, maybe). I've never known a military doctor to save a man's life just because he was ordered to.
posted by Witty at 10:14 AM on July 24, 2003


If you take offense at this, you may wish to step back and evaluate your values.

you are joking yes.
I was attempting...

I agree

distinction between people who do what they do by way of executing orders, and those (humanitarians) who seek to express solidarity with others by virtue of their humanity.

The distinction is indeed in ones station in life. A humanitarian, in the strictest sense would probably not serve in the military.
So your comparison seems invalid or even not needed in classifying what it means to be a hero. Is this not the point of contention?- the definition of the term?. What is your answer? It seems you want to say a solder could not be a hero or perhaps your saying Pvt. Lynch is not a "Hero".
so what are you saying other then the obvious this being a distinction exists between a non-combative humanitarian worker and the solder

see, quonsar makes more sense in a picture then your prosaic little conclave of wit in the beginning of this thread.
posted by clavdivs at 12:29 PM on July 24, 2003


clavdivs, go back and read my comments. At no point did I state or imply that military personnel could not be heroic. I decried the relative lack of attention paid to humanitarian heroes, and provided a few criteria to substantiate my contention that, all other things being equal, humanitarian caregivers are more laudable than military caregivers. I repeat:

Aid workers sign up knowing that they are going to hellholes, knowing that they won't be paid a living wage, knowing that there will be no victory parade - indeed, there will be no long-term victory at all against the suffering they see. Still, they persist. They almost always operate without military backup or meaningful security, even though they are used, abused, and targeted. They do this out of a sense of solidarity with humanity: not some narrow segment of it, like a nation.

Perhaps you think this distinction is obvious, but Witty and I were having a discussion about that point.
posted by stonerose at 1:18 PM on July 24, 2003


ya, real deep discussion.
posted by clavdivs at 9:12 AM on July 26, 2003


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