Monday, August 02, 2004

Speech, War, Warriors, and Nationalism

I have yet to see "Control Room," the Al-Jezeera documentary - but not for lack of desire. This piece only adds to my drive to make it to a theater soon . . . .

One of the film's central figures, a Marine lieutenant named Josh Rushing, is in trouble for his role in the film and for comments made in interviews after its release.

The article touches on many of his insightful, sometimes painfully honest comments in the film. I'll paste it below - for those still refusing to register at the LAT site.

Most notable among the notable items in the story: the Marines aren't satisfied with just having Rushing can it - they want him to hush up his wife as well. The problem with their comments? They contradict the single-broad-brush of badness with which Rumsfeld et al have painted Al-Jezeera. Rushing likens the station to Fox News - saying each appeals to its viewers' nationalism because that's what sells. He also says that Al-Jezeera isn't the Islamist hotbed the Administration would have us believe - though the element is undeniably large.

The "Control Room" filmaker expressed disappointment at Rushing's plans to leave the Marine Corps in October, saying "He convinced a lot of skeptical people in the Arab press that there are those in the U.S. military coming from the right place."

Rushing is now assigned to the Marine Corps Motion Picture and Television Liaison office in Los Angeles, where he's been forbidden to give more interviews on the film. The office's mission, according to the article, is to "advance [the] image of Marine in Hollywood," consulting with movies and TV shows.

I'd say that job is right up there with being assigned to the band (though I'm not denigrating anyone's service, regardless of form.)

So much attention paid to PR by the military - though I suppose it's no wonder. It is, however, pretty sad that an educated, eloquent spokesman for the Corps, and the Country, can look forward now to securing the accuracy of shows like Fox's "Boot Camp."

The U.S. military: no place to let the best and brightest be the best and brightest.

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