PBS: right-wing propaganda for a change

Last night I watched the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS, promoted as "the premier memorial service for the United States, honoring the sacrifice that so many American servicemen and women have made for their country throughout our nation's history." Fair enough.

Honoring the warriors is a worthy enterprise, whether you like current war policy or not. Among the less worthy aspects: repeated appeal to religious sentiment, reminders that 9/11 is the whole reason we're stuck in Iraq, and even a paean to the high quality of medical care available to our maimed troops. At one point an actress, representing a real mother of a U.S. soldier killed in action, performs a monologue saying how "proud" she is that her 20-year-old son is now in Arlington cemetary, and that when the sun shone through the clouds during a visit to the grave, she was sure it was her boy saying he was alright.

This is an understandable coping mechanism for a grieving mother, and the story surely tugged the heartstrings of Christians and patriots alike. But to exploit such grief in furtherance of policy is just sickening. The real tragedy is that the catastrophic suffering of the Iraq war, dwarfing that of 9/11, is largely self-inflicted...or, more accurately, inflicted by the powerful upon the meek.

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