Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ad Hymanem

While the rest of the country focuses on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the plight of those whose jobs, homes, and lives were taken from them, Hyman continues to wage a war against his fellow Americans by accusing anyone who disagrees with him about the Iraq war of “blaming America.”

Even by Hyman’s notoriously low standards, his argument here is weak. The crux of his commentary is juxtaposing the Defense Department’s “
America Supports You Freedom Walk” with the upcoming anti-war protests scheduled for Washington and other cities around the country on September 24.

In a textbook example of guilt by association, Hyman frames the September 24 events and criticism of the Pentagon walk as the doing of International ANSWER, a group Hyman accuses of being “a front for the Marxist World Workers Party.” Ergo, both the protests and any criticism of the DOD walk must be the work of anti-American yahoos.

But the trouble is that whatever you might think of International ANSWER, they are only one of an impressively large coalition of groups involved in the planned September 24 rallies. In fact, groups participating in the events include veterans groups and families of those serving in Iraq. And these groups are doing nothing more than voicing the opinion held by a
sizable majority of their countrymen: the Iraq war is bad. Are all these people also “blaming America,” or are they blaming the Bush administration for a failed policy? As we’ve seen so many times, this is a meaningless question for Hyman; the Bush administration and “America” are one in the same.

Not only does Hyman mislead his audience by implying that the protests of the 24th only involve “radical” groups, but he also suggests that criticism of the “Freedom Walk” at the Pentagon on September 11 also comes from the political fringes. But in fact, the commemoration (the brainchild of Donald Rumsfeld)
has been widely criticized, including by families of those who died in the 9/11 attacks. The Washington Post, at first a co-sponsor of the event, pulled their support when it became clear that this “commemoration” was in fact an orchestrated political event.

Hyman misleadingly says that the Department of Defense has honored those who died at the Pentagon on 9/11 every year, implying that this year’s commemoration is no different. But it is. The “America Supports You Freedom Walk” was billed as a way of honoring the fallen of September 11 AND supporting the war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. In other words, Secretary Rumsfeld is using the bodies of those killed at the Pentagon as a makeshift soapbox from which to hold a pep rally for the president’s unpopular policies in the Mideast. What could be more insulting to the memories of those who died (and their families) than to co-opt the nation’s sympathy and grief for them to push a political agenda? As if that weren’t bad enough, this juxtaposition of commemoration for the fallen of 9/11 and support for the president’s war in Iraq intentionally fosters the long-ago-disproven claim that Iraq had something to do with the attacks of September 11. The administration has used this canard from the very beginning, and shamelessly continues to do so. Hyman, of course, avoids any mention of the pro-war aspect of the march. Why let facts get in the way of a good ad hominem attack?

As if using the dead to support more killing wasn’t obscene enough, there’s a laughably ironic twist to the “Freedom March”: you had to submit a pre-registration form in order to participate (the better to check your background with, my dear) and the marchers walked down a fenced pathway to make sure no unregistered folks joined in the commemorating. After
the appropriately vetted and well-herded crowd completed their walk, they were treated to a concert by Clint Black, the maestro who penned “Iraq and Roll.” MLK at the Lincoln Memorial in ’63, this ain’t.

But Hyman neatly collapses this for his audience, foregoing the troublesome issue of facts or valid argument. Commemorating the dead (even when it’s actually using the dead to celebrate a war): good and American. Disagreeing with the policies of the government: bad and un-American. In fact, according to Hyman, if you disagree with the president, you may very well be a member of the “wild-eyed campus radicals, or unbathed, ratty-haired protestors who join in every nutty cause.”

Hyman ends his commentary by saying that the people who have done the most to uphold the right to free expression are servicemen and women. True enough. But how much would you like to bet that there will be more veterans protesting the Iraq war on September 24th than walked (after pre-registering, of course) in the Department of Defense’s
obscene rally?

How about it, Mark: wanna take that bet?

Nope, I didn’t think so.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 5.63


At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hyman thinks commemorations of the dead are good only when it isn't on "Nightline."


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