Saturday, March 08, 2008

Medals as Propaganda

I read recently about medals being given out for the wars of terror. While I can appreciate that they are supposed to celebrate individual acts of valor, they also help the military PR machine pass out some news that has a positive spin. This is particularity important for countering the reality of a very bloody and unpopular (not to say expensive and seemingly unending) wars. In the face of falling recruitment and some public friction to the military it is little wonder the military is dreaming up PR stunts like 'Prince Harry fighting Terry Taliban' and possibly medals being bigged-up to the media? After all the military are happy to lie for propaganda at home... Over in the US there is the noted phenomena of 'medal inflation' where it seems more medals and ribbons are being handed out willy-nilly. Take these examples;

Here is General George C. Marshall, a five-star general of WWI and veteran of WWI. He has an impressive row of three ribbons;

And click here to see an image of Lynndie England who also has three rows of ribbons and was one of the soliders court-marshaled for torture in Abu Ghraib...

A quote;

Consider what a retired Air Force officer, Lieutenant Colonel William Astore, has to say on the subject: "Those medals and militaria that our commanders wear are a kind of evidence. Our military, they indicate, is so busy patting itself on the back that its medal-bestowing has come to resemble those Little League tournaments where every kid gets a trophy, win or lose. We're so busy celebrating how great we are that we're failing to face reality. Not all problems can be solved by applying more elbow grease and shouting 'Hooah.'"

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