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Posted by landfallprods in Landfall Productions, Inc..
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Well, tonight it happens, at last.  The major media, NBC specifically, brings us the latest in PR from the Pentagon in the form of its new “reality” show, Stars Earn Stripes.  (8/7 c)

If ever there were a perfect example of the military industrial complex desire to warp the minds of young people into celebrating war, this is it….  You see, gradually, the military has decided that smaller and faster makes more sense for today’s “war on terror,” with small, highly trained strike teams from Special Forces and/or Navy Seals ready to penetrate borders and take out bad guys or rescue VIPs without the necessity of taking over a country via a massive invasion. Good thinking Pentagon brass.  Very efficient.  Saves money and lives.

However, “Stars Win Stripes” is a shameless attempt to turn marginal celebrities into world class warriors of Rambo stature.  Under the direction of Gen. Wesley Clark and Bertram van Munster, best known as the producer of The Amazing Race in association with Jerry Bruckheimer (producer of Top Gun 1 & 2, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, etc.), the show pretends to put TV “celebs” in harms way to let America fully appreciate what it takes to kill at close range.  NPR says the show is “stultifyingly boring as television and badly designed as a reality-competition show.”  With celebrities like Nick Lachey, Eva Torres and Todd Palin, can anyone seriously wonder what this show is really about?  –  Todd Palin?

If you’ve ever wondered how much of what Washington has to tell us about the military and war is the truth, Stars Win Stripes might get a passing grade for impressing us with the strength, skills and determination of Special Forces and Navy Seal types, but it does nothing to deepen America’s understanding of why we go to war or carry out covert missions in the first place.  And this is one of the great underlying problems of our current state of affairs in Washington.  The military-industrial complex in collusion with the mainstream media carefully avoid any discussion of what’s important for us (voters) to understand about things like “National Security” and the “War on Terror.”

Chris Hedges has quite a lot to say on the subject in his recent book, Empire of Illusion.  “The defense industries, like all corporations, rely on deceptive ad campaigns and lobbyists to perpetuate their lock on taxpayer money.  The late Senator J. William Fulbright described the reach of the military-industrial establishment in his 1970 book The Pentagon Propaganda Machine.  Fulbright explained how the Pentagon influenced public opinion through direct contacts with the public, Defense Department films, close ties with Hollywood producers, and use of the commercial media to gain support for weapons systems.  The majority of the military analysts on television are former military officials, many employed as consultants to defense industries, a fact they rarely disclose to the public.  Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star army general and military analyst for NBC News, was, The New York Times reported, at the same time an employee of Defense Solutions, Inc., a consulting firm.  He profited, the article noted, from the sale of the weapons systems and expansion of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan he championed over the airwaves.”

So, while Stars Earn Stripes may find an audience with young folks interested in blowing shit up, I would like to point out the fact that though we may have the strongest and best equipped military in history, that is no excuse for treating the rest of the world like it has an obligation to become like usor else.

As David Swanson, author of War is A Lie, recently wrote about our little independent film, Purple Mind, “Here’s a movie of the sort Hollywood should be required to make every time it makes a glorification of war.”  But if you want to see our movie any time soon, you’ll have to do it on-line.  It may take NBC some time before they call.


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