Monday, September 17, 2007

show support for our truths

In a New York Times article titled “Dozens Arrested in Antiwar Protest Near Capital” (changed to “Antiwar Protest Ends with Dozens of Arrests” in later editions—somebody could probably write a paper on that change alone)—even though the actual number of arrests was 189 (dozens indeed!)—David Johnston reports on a rally and march protesting the ongoing US occupation of Iraq.

Along with the strange need to reduce nearly 200 arrests to “dozens,” Johnston (or his editors) contrasts the antiwar protestors—who numbered in the “thousands,” according to the Times—with a counter-demonstration—number unknown (or, at least, unreported) throughout the article. I’m guessing the pro-war counter-demonstration was relatively small, because if it had been larger than the antiwar march, well, that would have been news (at least that’s how I see it), but the way the article is weighted, you’d think it was an even-handed pair of rowdy sports teams going at it on the Capitol Mall.

But I digress just a tiny bit. . . .

The paragraph that set my blood to boil was this one:

“What troubles me, the thing that is so dismaying, is they don’t realize the big picture,” said John Aldins, 54, who came from Media, Pa., with his wife, Karen, and daughter, Rachel, to show their support for the troops. The Aldins have three other children serving in the military. Rachel Aldins will join the Army in the fall to serve as a nurse.

The Aldins, the article poses, are against a redeployment of US troops out of Iraq, so, by the logic of the Times, it seems, the Aldins are showing “their support for the troops.”

Support for what, exactly? Support for the troops shedding this mortal coil? Support for more servicemen and women learning the wonders of modern prosthetics technology?

Has the New York Times not gotten the memo on this one? Are we really—in September of 2007—are we really still having to teach the Times that you can support the troops by wanting to take them out of harms’ way—by wanting to stop them from being killed for little more than a man’s vanity and a party’s political designs? Do I really need to tell David Johnston and the New York Times that antiwar is not anti-troop.

If the Aldins believe that the only way to “support the troops” is to be pro-war, then they are entitled to such an opinion—but that is their opinion, and the article should make that clear. As written, without a quote to that point, the ignorance, if not the bias, of the article, the reporter, and, dare I say it, the Times is staggeringly clear.

As far as I’m concerned—no, make that “as far as over two-thirds of Americans are concerned,” the very best way to support our troops is to be anti-war. It’s in all the papers. Perhaps someone at the Times should pick one up and read about it.

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