What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.



By Elton Beard

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who divide people into two kinds and those who don't. I don't.



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02/23/02 11:15pm link

Admiral Craig Quigley
"There's a lot of other ways to convey information to the American people than through news organizations" said Admiral Craig Quigley. He made this unarguably correct statement while defending this means of conveying information to the American people: an upcoming ABC reality series named "Profiles From the Front Line", in which the stars are American soldiers combating terror in stylish and exotic locales such as Afghanistan, the Philippines and South America.

According to co-producer Bertram van Munster, vice president Dick Cheney and defense chief Donald Rumsfeld were favorably inclined towards the project:

They haven't given me any restrictions as of yet; they're very enthusiastic about the thing. Obviously we're going to have a pro-military, pro-American stance. We're not going to criticize.
Well, obviously.

Meanwhile, this is what happened to a real reporter who had not filed his pledged to refrain from criticizing the military: American soldiers threatened to shoot him. This happened to Doug Struck of the Washington Post, who was attempting to investigate a site near the city of Khost where Afghan civilians had been killed by US precision bombing. US soldiers prevented this American reporter, at gunpoint, from coming close to the site of the civilian deaths.

And this is not an isolated incident; according to Reporters sans frontiers:

20 December 2001, Joao Silva and Tyler Hicks, photographers with the New York Times, and David Guttenfelder, photographer with Associated Press, were roughed up and threatened by Afghans in the presence of members of American Special Forces in Meelawa, near Tora Bora (east of the country). The American commandos refused to allow US journalists to be present in this area, and local Afghan forces were in charge of preventing the press from reaching it. According to David Guttenfelder, members of the US special forces personally gave orders to Afghans to arrest them. Film was confiscated from the photographers.
Why didn't the Pentagon think of this sooner? It took thirty years, but they've honed the technique from raw lying in Vietnam, to fully controlled press pools during the Gulf war, to finally neutralizing and bypassing the press altogether in order to directly present the American people with a partially fictionalized, non-critical, fully patriotic TV version of the war on whoever it is we're fighting this week. And America's enemies had better really watch out during Sweeps!

War can be hell, entertaining and profitable too.

By the way, the reference to South America as a future wartainment (wartertainment?) site comes from this CNN article. No war with direct US involvement has been officially scheduled for that part of the world, so the producers of "Profiles From the Front Line" must know something the rest of us don't. Stay tuned.

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What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.



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