Slaughter And Propaganda
A leaked war crime video shows Regina profs are right to fear “heroes”
by Stephen Whitworth
I’m not superstitious but I like a good synchronicity. Carl Jung — Freud’s renegade disciple and the 20th century’s renowned psychiatrist mystic — coined the term, which describes the experience of a meaningful coincidence. And Sting sang about it in a couple of Police songs: “a connecting principle, linked to the invisible, almost imperceptible, something inexpressible.”
Jung was an interesting guy who laid the groundwork for a half-century of witch-doctor psychiatrists and obnoxious undergraduates. And Sting is, well, Sting. So I don’t want to make too much out of this supernatural-seeming phenomenon.
But yeah, I had a good synchronicity this week.
The groundwork for it was laid when 16 Regina profs signed a letter protesting the University of Regina’s new scholarship for students who lost a parent in the military. The scholarship seemed like such a noble idea — a huge break on tuition for students who lost a parent to military conflict, whose mom or dad “gave their lives for their country”, as the saying goes.
So to most people, it was probably a monstrous shock that anyone would be opposed to the scholarship. And professors? They sounded like out-of-touch leftist radicals. Their stodgy, academic language made them easy targets for critics, from angry letter-writers to the daily newspapers, to callers on John Gormley’s show, to anonymous commentators on websites.
Brad Wall — whose government stamps “support the troops” logos on their public correspondence, got into the act with a disappointed shake of the head. And Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski, a disgraced (yet re-elected!) politician who knows a thing or two about offending people, demanded a public apology from the profs.
I’ll leave it at that. Elsewhere in this issue, John goes into detail on Project Hero and the controversy the letter caused.
My little meaningful coincidence came Monday night. I’d been fuming over Project Hero for days. As a former student loan victim I’m inclined to say any scholarship is a good scholarship. But like the profs, I hate the name “Project Hero”. I recognize it for what it is: sleazy, pro-military propaganda.
Phrases like “Project Hero”, “Homeland Security” and other mindless war slogans have no place in a democratic society. They’re the type of phrases you see in totalitarian regimes. The type of thing Monty Python made fun of. And when people start parroting these slogans with a straight face, we’ve got trouble.
What kind of trouble? People getting brutally killed trouble.
My synchronicity: on Monday I came across a video released by Wikileaks, an organization dedicated to exposing government and corporate lies, of a 2007 military operation in Iraq. Operation? More like a massacre. The video — you can find it on our blog and a thousand other websites — is an Apache helicopter’s eye-view of the unprovoked, long-range slaughter by U.S. troops of roughly a dozen Iraqis, two of whom were journalists.
The grainy black and white film isn’t gory but it’s astoundingly brutal, especially thanks to the soldiers’ sociopathic comments and obvious bloodlust.
This leaked video begs the question: is this the kind of thing our “heroes” in Afghanistan are doing? I hope not.
But when I saw that Wikileaks video I made the connection to Afghanistan. And any lingering doubts were erased.
The profs are right. The scholarship is inappropriate. Canada is becoming far too militaristic.
And the so-called Afghan “mission” is turning into a joke.
I’m not laughing.