Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bring me his head!

Bring me his head! On a pike! Or a plate! Or maybe in a frame! Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's head, that is.

How did they get his picture in death blown up (so to speak), framed, and matted so quickly? Spot was unaware that in addition to fast food joints and coffee shops, the Green Zone has a frame shop too.

Whaddya bet that George Bush took that framed photo, or one just like it, home on Air Force One when he returned from his most recent Mission Accomplished tour to Iraq? He can display it in the little trophy room off the Oval Office along with Saddam Hussein's pistol, the one he was carrying when they caught him in the "spider hole." W and Dick and Rummy can go to the war porn room for some heavy breathing!

Spot would like to see the preznit go to Iraq and help Marines collect the body parts of comrades after a particularly nasty IED explosion, or maybe lend a hand in giving out the piddling compensation payments to the relatives of "collateral damage." Spot wonders what kind of trophies Bush would bring home then!

Sidney Blumenthal has a recent article in Salon entitled "Mission Accomplished" in a business suit. In it, Blumenthal describes the role of the US government in elevating al-Zarqawi's stature and conflating the war on terror with 9/11. A tidbit:
Since the rise of the Iraqi insurgency, U.S. military intelligence had been directed to build up Zarqawi's profile as its leader through a psychological warfare ("psy-op") effort. On April 10, the Washington Post reported on internal military documents it obtained about this psy-op: "The documents explicitly list the 'U.S. Home Audience' as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign." According to talking points in a 2004 briefing, the goal was: "Villainize Zarqawi/leverage xenophobia response." One military intelligence officer involved stated that Zarqawi's followers were "a very small part of the actual numbers" of insurgents, but this had little bearing on the program. Another officer concluded, "The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date."

The "US Home Audience" is one of the targets of a PSYOP program. Spot invites you to think about that for a moment, and then go read the whole Blumenthal article. It's worth wading through the Salon ad, if you have to, to read it.

And finally, a word about war trophies. Tom Engelhardt and David Swanson at have an insightful essay about war trophies:
The U.S. military killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, took a photo of his dead head, blew it up to enormous proportions, and displayed it in a frame at a press conference. From the way it was framed, the head could have been connected to a body or not. Presumably this was meant to be not only proof of his death, but a kind of revenge for al-Zarqawi's beheading of Americans. The image would fit perfectly in a collection of war trophy photos. Is there any mystery about where rank and file soldiers learn to behave this way?

Any mystery indeed.

Tags: is a pin-up

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