Tag Archives: Iran

“Steel in Our Ship of State”


Obama and the Military Industrial Complex

Image by Truthout.org via Flickr

Our troops are the steel in our ship of state. And though our nation may be traveling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true, and that beyond the pre-dawn darkness, better days lie ahead.

President Obama’s speech, August 31st, 2010.

How many fantasies and collective national delusions did Obama perpetuate in his last paragraph?  Will the right-wing now be satisfied with such 19th century imagery?  Does this satisfy their manly desires of the warriors being the core of our national identity?

The troops give us confidence?  The young men and women we tattered for years and then we brought them back home broken and discarded.  We used them at their best, then we abandoned them to physical and mental disabilities.  An economy that cannot employ them and give their families a glimmer of a life their grandfathers enjoyed after WWII.

The difference is that the “steel” he talks of is used, spent.  Our troops are a mirror of how we use our citizenry and then discard them into a pile of used materials– like the iron scrap heaps of broken cars that we ship off to China we see on the highways.

Where are the better days?  1.2 Trillion of our treasure thrown at a mistake.  Something this President opposed and now he sits with the flag and the pictures of his children creating the imagery that his opponents want to hear.  They want the old imagery of heroism, steel and ships in rough waters supported by warriors.

This paragraph establishes  the chilling  Eisenhower warning about  the military industrial complex as reality.   Maybe these words are used to give a people being tossed around in rough seas some glimmer of dignity.  But it’s a  false dignity that is used to just satisfy the machine of militarism.   The troops are just a ploy to give the monster a human face.

In truth, our steel lies in many other places and in this day in age, what holds society is not 19th century anachronism, steel.    And yes, the speech writers can produce this imagery for those who are pining for American exceptionalism.   What did we learn as a nation? Many things, but history, politics and interests will mask what we learned.  Sugar coat it in sweet language.

We come home defeated and wrong, but yet we engage in flowery language and continue the political fanfare that put us into this war.  What did we prove?  We can win wars in no time.  But, we can never win an occupation.  We destroyed all civil society of Iraq. We destabilized the region, Iran, is now more powerful.  But, we lie to ourselves.

We allowed a group of extremists , the Neo-Conservatives , to carry out their theories.  Our elected politicians stood by and let it happen.  We as a nation let it happen.  Our media did not ask questions.  And now we make ourselves better cause we will turn the page.

Who will pay for this mistake?  The young men and women who came home with broken bodies and souls.  The Iraqi people who lost their lives, homes and all their way of life.  Yet, our President uses the flowery language to paint a picture of collective national delusion based on 19th century imagery.

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Filed under American Politics, Culture and Society, Middle East

Stoning of Iranian Woman Image


In the  Guardian UK there is an article about the women sentenced to stoning.   The article includes the image below with the caption explaining the image.  I saw this image on a number of blogs and something did not seem right.  The blogs described it as an actual stoning.  Yet, if you Google the image, you see cropped versions and full versions.  The cropped versions do not include the onlookers, which are many women without covered heads.  Obviously not an Iranian crowd scene.

An Iranian woman at a protest in Brussels highlights the barbarity of death by stoning, in which women are buried up to their necks in front of a crowd of volunteers and killed in a hail of rocks. Photograph: Thierry Roge/Reuters 2005. (the caption for the image)

What is interesting about this image, is that when you wonder around the internet, there are many bloggers who think this is an actual image of a stoning.  The Guardian article includes an image and has it captioned appropriately, that it is a re-enactment, a protest, this is journalism.  Yet, blogger, after  blogger, pass off the image as an actual stoning of a woman.   Very few notice that the picture is cropped, if they have a cropped pictures.   Or, when they have the full image, that the crowd is not Iranian.

Of course, this is not an apology in any way for the Iranian policy, this is another warning about images on the internet, truth and how we distort images to fit our message.  In truth, when you look at the image, it does look staged.  I found many bloggers who did have the correct attribution, but the ones who did not, were definitely looking for a certain point of view, or making a certain argument.


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Filed under Culture and Society, Media, Middle East, Uncategorized