Tuesday, September 25, 2012

the last book I ever read (Rachel Maddow's Drift, excerpt eleven)

from Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow:

From 2003 to 2008, the Bush administration exercised a tight hold on imagery about the cost of the wars. Not only were news photographers banned from the solemn transfer ceremonies for flag-draped caskets at Dover Air Base, but the president and vice president did not attend military funerals. Even when families of fallen soldiers wanted to invite the media to cover a funeral or the return of remains, the government maneuvered as best it could to prevent such coverage. The Pentagon ultimately even effectively banned images of wounded troops in Iraq when it quietly changed its rules to require that news agencies get signed consent forms from soldiers photographed after they were wounded.

With tax cuts in wartime, with no sense of collective national sacrifice on behalf of the war effort, with less than 1 percent of the American population taking up arms to fight, with US casualties politically and literally shielded from public view, the cumulative effect was to normalize our national wartime. We've become a nation "at peace with being at war," in the words of the New York Times media critic David Carr.

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