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Sunday, August 21, 2011


Lemmingly, We Roll Along

August 19, 2011
Exclusive: When soldiers die, the politicians who sent them to their deaths typically use euphemisms, words like “fallen” or “ultimate sacrifice.” On one level, the avoidance of blunt language may be seen as a sign of respect, but on another, it is just one more evasion of 
responsibility, as Ray McGovern notes.

By Ray McGovern

There has been unusually wide (and for the most part supportive) reaction to my article of Aug, 7 on Afghanistan, “More U.S. Soldiers Die in Vain,” which was picked up by other websites as well.

One comment described a cartoon and struck me as particularly — if sadly — apt: “Two lemmings were chatting while standing in the line to the cliff. One says to the other, ‘Of course we have to go over the edge. Anything else would dishonor all the lemmings that have gone before us.’”

And so it goes, thought I, with our Lemming-in-Chief (LIC) Barack Obama … and those who lemmingly follow him.

The President’s and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s words about the 30 dead soldiers, including members of the elite Seal Team 6, were carefully chosen, but bore the telltale earmarks of “the Lemming Syndrome.”

“We will honor the fallen by showing our unyielding determination to press ahead … to move forward with the hard work,” said Panetta on Aug. 8.
President Obama also stressed how “our troops will continue the hard work. … We will press on.” There was also much talk about how the troops were “lost.”

Gosh, I thought, I did not know that the 30 U.S. troops were just “lost” or that they had simply “fallen.” Sounds like maybe we can still find them and help them get up – when the hard truth is that they’re dead.

Frequent references to the helicopter having “crashed” also played down the details of why the troops had “fallen.” I thought I’d read somewhere that the helicopter “crashed” because it was shot down by folks who do not like American troops making middle-of-the-night raids all over their country.

These unhappy folks are usually described as “militants” or, in a sad reflection on the primitive level of the war discussion in the U.S. news media, simply as “bad guys.”
Perhaps others of my (Vietnam) generation are hearing what I hear — the plaintive lyrics of the song, “When Will They Ever Learn?” More descriptive of such times, then and now, are the words Pete Seeger put to music during a large lemming infestation 44 years ago: “We were neck-deep in the Big Muddy, and the big fool said to push on.” Pete Seeger, 1967

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. An Army Infantry/Intelligence officer in the early Sixties, he then serves as an analyst of the CIA for 27 years.  He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Responses to Lemmingly, We Roll Along

bobzz on August 20, 2011 at 1:02 am
We send our “boys” and now our “girls” to fight for Exxon, the banks, the military industrial complex, etc. We call them heros—until they come home. Far too many of them bringing their PTSD with them. Shattered minds. Shattered bodies. Can’t find jobs; can’t find rehabilitation; throw ‘em on the dump. Homes foreclosed. Struggling to hold marriages together too often not succeeding. Suicides up. How many of these volunteers are unsophisticated kids from small towns who end up in the military because they can’t find jobs? It’s a mess all right.

Mike Strong on August 20, 2011 at 11:30 am
I agree – except on the use of “lemmings,” though I suppose there is no way to stuff that expression back in the bag. The lemming claim is about as true as Adam being created from clay and Eve from one of Adam’s ribs.
That lemmings supposedly committed mass suicide by following leaders across waters where they all drowned is a deliberate lie, committed by Disney “documentarians” as part of their animal story line. There is a famous scene where these lemmings jump over a cliff into the deep water and swim to their eventual doom. They never did any such thing. The film makers created the scene.
The film makers constructed a whirling table at the top of their “cliff” and set the camera just below. Then, on top, where the camera didn’t see it, the film makers threw the poor lemmings onto the turn table which caused the lemmings to come flying off the camera side, giving the impression that they were jumping off a cliff. After that they added a scene where they stuck the lemmings in the water to swim and told us that the animals were swimming out to open water and never reach land but would drown instead.
Actually, the true story of the lemming film, the construction of the lie, is perhaps a better match for the lies we’ve been told than the concept of lemmings following leaders to doom, regularly. As with the making of the lemming “doc” it is the humans doing the lemming bit, not the lemmings, who have more sense.

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