We've all seen them. Over and over again on our local news programming, network morning shows, CNN, MSNBC and especially Fox News. You Tube is
jam-packed with them. Sentimental snippets of families reunited after a long tour of duty. Or maybe even pets and their service member owners.
No doubt, it's sweet. Who wouldn't be happy for loved ones reunited? Only the most calloused, heartless jackwagon among us.
But the question begs asking - what is the real purpose of those videos? Or at least the real effect?
The effect is that the only thing the average, over-worked, time-strapped citizen knows of war is those feel-good moments. It's likely the only
reference to the ten plus years of war that the average citizen will receive in any given week.
The subconscious message is positive. Evoking positive feelings of family, country and our war efforts.
But, obviously, the reality of war is much different.
On average, one service member a day
commits suicide. Up 17% from this time last year. The article goes on to say that prescription drug use has tripled. Add to these concerns
joblessness, bankruptcy, foreclosure, divorce and medical issues such as PTSD and physical injury.
But, most importantly, in contrast to the heart-warming images of countless homecomings is the stark reality of flag-draped coffins. Coffins filled
with human beings - sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends - killed in the line duty while fighting a war in a foreign country
for reasons ill-defined and ever-changing. For ten years.
These types of images have always been tightly managed but since 2003, the start of the Iraq war, they have been much more restricted, subject to FOIA
requests, law suits and redactions. See chronology here.
The simple fact is the government
does not want citizens to see these images.
Can you imagine the outcry if we were exposed to these images on a regular basis? Would we have been at war for so long? Sure, some may argue that
military personnel deaths are announced through official channels and printed in the back pages of local papers. But those are just words on a page
and, maybe, a picture of a proud, young, uniformed - live - service member taken when they are first enlisted. Again, evoking sentimentality and
So, again, the question begs asking - what is the real purpose of these reunion videos? I submit that it is pure, unadulterated propaganda:
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward
some cause or position. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience
As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience.
Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce
an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the
target audience to further a political agenda. Propaganda can be used as a form of political warfare.
So please, the next time you are forwarded one of these videos or it is submitted to your favorite social media site, please consider the real impact
of it before you click or comment. Look at who
submitted or forwarded it. Do you know them or is it a regular member? Look at the time-line of the submission. Is it associated with a spike in
criticism or controversy with regard to the military? Ask yourself "Why?" they submitted it . Ask yourself - Are you enabling the war machine if you
pass it on?