Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Returned To Duty"

Something that's been hard to miss recently is the perverse, military-centric nature of the debate about Iraq. In our budding troopocracy, the troops are no longer the means to an end, but an end in themselves. What they want shapes our discourse and policy as much as anything else does. The occupation's critics seize on every media report of discontent, while supporters argue that the troops favor "finishing the job."

When nine U.S. troops were killed this past Monday in Iraq, the military put out the following press release:
Nine Task Force Lightning soldiers died as a result of injuries suffered from an explosion near a patrol base in Iraq’s Diyala province yesterday, military officials reported.

Twenty soldiers and one Iraqi civilian were wounded when a car bomb attacked the patrol base. Twelve soldiers were returned to duty after initial medical care, and eight soldiers and the Iraqi civilian were evacuated to a coalition forces medical treatment facility for further care. Three of those soldiers were later returned to duty.
I checked every Centcom press release from 2007. There were obviously many reports about wounded troops, but I found only one other that included the phrase "returned to duty" -- and that was last week.

Remember, it's all about the troops. So what does the phrase "returned to duty" (used twice in a short press release) imply about what they want? Does it sound like they want to come home? Also, note the word "duty." It has a slightly different connotation than "returned to their unit," doesn't it?

Subtle. And very telling.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This goes along with the recent statement of Mrs. Bush that no one is suffering more about the war than the President!!!

That is one of the most obscene statements I have read in a long time.

So a family that has lost a member or someone with horrific injuries, etc. has suffered less than our war president!

4/26/2007 9:53 AM  
Anonymous mary said...

The troops are being used as props. Don't know if you caught John McCain's appearance on the Daily Show the other night, but I thought Jon Stewart did a pretty good job of reprimanding McCain for using the troops to prop up his so-called argument about the rightness of the "surge" and the war in general. Needless to say, no actual news reporters have done this -- they're too busy feeling the First Lady's pain. It's shameful. Or shameless. Or both.

4/26/2007 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Awake! said...

Krugman has this one right ( "There are two ways to describe the confrontation between the U.S. Congress and the Bush administration over funding for the Iraq surge. You can pretend that it's a normal political dispute. Or you can see it for what it really is: a hostage situation, in which a beleaguered President George W. Bush, barricaded in the White House, is threatening dire consequences for innocent bystanders - the troops - if his demands aren't met."

4/26/2007 5:25 PM  

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