by Matt Worley
In the lead up to the Great September Presentation of the Very Important Iraq Report of 2007, many people had a lot to say about what the reports and the reporters of the reports would say.
And then some people didn't have much to say, but they had the money to buy advertising to say not much. There were pro-war advertisements and anti-war advertisements. And in the middle of it all was Moveon.org's advertisement aimed at shooting down the messenger.
It attacked the current General of the Iraq Misadventure, as if, somehow, he was responsible for the whole thing. But, y'know, it had that funny turn of phrase on the General's name. Someone at Moveon.org (or the marketing firm that came up with it) realized simple was better. And everyone got it.
But it's not the General's fault, it's Bush's fault. And much of the congress is at fault as well. So why attack the General? Because he was the one talking.
Months ago, we all knew pretty much what was going to be said during the September report on Iraq. We knew because nothing much good had happened, the Surge was at its peak (and nothing much was different) and the Iraqi government was going on vacation (as pretty much everyone else in the world does in August).
But this ad was the greatest threat to American Society, so much so the Senate had to pass a symbolic resolution condemning it. Because, y'know, they didn't have much else to do after they got back from their vacations.
We're condemning "bad" advertising now, huh? Where was the Senate when those Geico Cavemen got their own sitcom?
To me, the focus of the ad is wrong. The General is in the employ of the President, so why would what he says be any different from what the President's been saying for years? You think he's gonna break ranks?
But Moveon.org has the right to run advertising and spend money on stupid shit. Just like that whole swift boat thing against Kerry. And just like all those pro-war advertisements by big corporations making billions off this war (Lockheed-Martin and Boeing to name a couple).
President Clinton...I mean Presidential Candidate Clinton...said today that no one should be able to disparage all our wonderful soldiers in uniform. Those who are doing the fantastic job of fighting a war most of us don't want them to be fighting.
Sometimes I forget what it is we stand for with all these strange twists of logic. I was a dirty hippie early last week on the set of a movie about a fictional Presidential Election. Right next to my Support The Troops Bring Them Home booth were a bunch of real Vietnam Veterans with their own booth. One of them looked at the signs behind me and said that the troops want to fight. That's why they're in the service. So bringing them home isn't supporting them.
Which has always been my view of the whole thing. And why I don't support the troops. I don't support their mission. I don't support what they're doing. I don't support this war. And, by association, I don't support the kind General.
But we're really talking about freedom of speech. This is my problem with condemning an ad attacking the General.
Freedom of Speech is more about the right to say completely stupid things in an attempt to get a reaction. It's not really about saying exactly what everyone wants you to say (although you are completely free to conform if that's what you want to do).
I'm sorry if people say things you don't like. Feel free to say something back. Feel free to spend millions making a fool of yourself.
Maybe you can get your own personal condemnation from Congress, too.