Putting the blame on Bush

Saturday, September 8, 2007

While going over our Times-Gazette blogs this week, I have noticed a massive upsurge in severe cases of BDS [Bush Derangement Syndrome]. The spread of this disorder saddens this writer.

For those of you unaware of this sickness, the term was invented by columnist Charles Krauthammer, who defined it as "the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush."

It's been getting much, much worse lately, with complaints about the war in Iraq and the policies of this administration being inserted into nearly every topic that is discussed. For example, a thread about the pros and cons of local school fundraising had "stop spending two billion dollars a week in Iraq for starters" thrown into the discussion.

What did this have to do with the topic at hand? Absolutely nothing at all. It was just an example of how this disorder is altering the perceptions and mind set of educated, sensible people. Another thread that did deal with the topic had one of our regular Internet users comparing the president to Hitler.

Respectfully, I have to point out if this were really the case, he wouldn't have the opportunity to even express that opinion. In fact, there are still many places across the globe where a person's entire family would be liquidated for just starting a rumor to that effect.

Another practice I've noticed is those infected with this disorder frequently only get their news from very one-sided sources, such as the website The Raw Story, not exactly the most objective place to get your news.

This writer likes to look at different versions of the same event before making up my mind on any issue, but with all the bias that creeps into even some of the most respected news organs in the country, getting the whole story is becoming more difficult.

But if a person is constantly bombarded with literature and "news" providing just one point of view, especially a hateful one directed at a person or a group of people, they tend to let this infect every part of their lives and believe every story and accusation, no matter how outlandish it is. We have seen this in history, specifically during the reign of the foul vermin that BDS sufferers constantly compare Bush to.

However, we also need to understand that the media has given us a view of the ugliness of war that is unprecedented compared to past conflicts. It has shown us how barbaric our enemies are and the horrors that our young men are exposed to every day.

Many people have stated that one of the reasons the Vietnam War lost public support was that the media were given full access to what was happening in that conflict. It was the first time that folks outside the armed services saw what our fighting men have to deal with and it probably played a big part in shaping public opinion.

This wasn't always the case, though. Today's crop of journalists don't know how good they've got it. They could never operate under the rules set down in the past. Sometime back, I was sent a copy of a clipping from the front page of the Waterloo Daily Courier from January 9, 1951 titled "Full Wartime Censorship Placed on Korean War News."

"The US. Eighth Army imposed full wartime censorship on news coverage of the Korean War Tuesday and threatened to court-martial newsmen who deliberately report any troop movements without authorization," the story from United Press read.

"The rules placed correspondents under the complete jurisdiction of the army and forbade any criticism of the Allied conduct of the war."

Wow. You can just imagine the reaction today to that sort of move. You think that call Bush a fascist now ...

The regulations that were set down specified that "all dispatches filed to publications throughout the world will be screened for military information which might injure the morale of UN troops or their government."

A list of nine matters that were "specifically forbidden" were then listed, many of which could be classified under the "loose lips sinks ships" type of thinking. Things that were not allowed into print were quotes from officers in any way, "except as specifically authorized," stating that any town or village in the combat zone was occupied by American or Allied forces "unless it is essential to a news story," or any discussion of "Allied air power."

Other pieces of information that were banned were "the mention of number of troops, unless authorized" and "the effect of enemy fire or bombardment, unless authorized."

"Also listed as unauthorized was information on the strength, efficiency, morale, or organization of Allied forces. Under this rule, no mention may be made of reinforcements, equipment, arms, plans and forecasts of future operations, or positions or descriptions of camps."

Rules like this would have eliminated a good 75 percent of the reporting that is going on now with the Iraq War. And media darlings such as Geraldo Rivera would have faced the following for some of the stunts they've pulled.

"He may be subject to disciplinary action because of an intentional violation of these and other regulations, either in letter or in spirit, and in extreme cases of offense where investigation proves the circumstances warrant the correspondent may be placed in arrest to await deportation or trial by court-martial," the 55-year-old story said.

So when you are told things like Bush "has imposed unprecedented restrictions on the First Amendment" and is "the most secretive administration in history," I'd look back to things like this.

I also don't think we need to mention who was in power when these rules were set down. Those with severe BDS need to know that abuses of the Constitution aren't exclusive to just one political party.