Sunday, April 23, 2006

You Can't Have A War Without A Hero

As the Australian Prime Minister's opinion polls sag from the mud of a bribery scandal, a flag-draped Australian hero is brought home to be honoured on our annual day of war remembrance.....

It was bad luck that I was re-watching "Wag The Dog" while reading about the death of the Aussie sniper... maybe otherwise I wouldn't have been feeling so cynical. For those who don't know the movie, it's about the media staging of a war to save the US President's election campaign. Anyway, I was listening to Dustin Hoffman uttering the words in the title as my eyes fell on this Melbourne Herald-Sun paragraph:

He died in a US Army combat surgical hospital where he was surrounded by his mates, who draped his body in an Australian flag and with a paratrooper's beret on his chest as they said The Lord's Prayer.

The same scriptwriter who brought you The Doug Wood story is at it again. Last time he was spinning the story of a war profiteer into US media footage to vindicate President Bush. This time he's hailing someone as a hero for having the job of shooting Iraqis to protect Australian bigwigs in Baghdad, writing media releases for Murdoch newsprint that tug the heart and instill patriotic pride.

The level of pageantry already spinning into the media to emphasis the accidental nature of Private Kovco's death belies a fear within the Australian government.... a similar fear to that of the Bush Administration when they forbade pictures of flag-draped coffins of dead US soldiers returning from Iraq.

The psychological force being applied to prove the point suggests how afraid the Australian Government is of dead Aussie soldiers. Somewhere in a spin-surgery there's an opinion poll that says that Australians would want to withdraw from the War if our countrymen die fighting for Bush. Otherwise, why bother with all this effort?

If I wasn't suspicious enough already, the conclusion of the Herald-Sun story with a mention of ABC cameraman Paul Moran brought a flash of deja vu. Moran, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq three years ago, was hailed in his hometown newspaper as local-boy-made-goood CIA operative. According to former AP correspondent Christopher Allbritton "Moran only filed to two stories for the ABC, both on the naval blockade of Iraq." The rest of the time he was allegedly attempting to generate an uprising against Saddam Hussein. From what I've seen (this blog is not to be missed) I believe that one of Moran's last jobs was to promote the existence of WMD's in Iraq, providing through his camera the "evidence" that Bush needed to invade. As one of only two journalists in the world to interview the Iraqi dissident who claimed involvment in Saddam's construction of WMD-creation bunkers, Moran showed the "picture" that "justified" the invasion.

Turning back to the weekend's sad news of an Aussie weapons expert accidentally killing himself, why are my instincts screaming "cover-up"? Right now I'd like to see a report of the Iraqi people who Private Kovco, in his capacity as Guardian Angel Of Baghdad, took careful aim at and ended their lives.

There seems to be some confusion in details of the incident already. One Murdoch paper, the Advertiser has the "fun-loving soldier" cleaning his pistol. At the same timeThe Australian has him cleaning a disassembled yet loaded rifle, a weapon which Defence Minister Nelson says Kovkko was "outstanding" at. The SMH pegs it as a rifleman cleaning a pistol.

I think the saddest thing, watching the story spin through the night, is the use of this sniper to associate the Iraq Invasion with Anzac Day. While the Howard psychologists work out how to bolster his approval ratings, the Herald-Sun is proclaiming how Kovco's hometown will be honouring him. You can bet the camera's will record Briagalong's Last Post from every angle. Mr Howard would pick up a few popularity points if he attended.

It's now four in the morning... the ABC is reporting how Kovco's collegues have carried his casket to an awaiting Hercules, which is now winging homeward. This is becoming a media overkill.

This story is as inconsistent as it is colourful. This story may not be that of an accidental death of a saint. To some it may already appear to be one of a hired murderer encountering karma. To others it may be reminiscent of Wag The Dog. However the Fallen Australian Hero has all the hallmarks of propaganda invention, and therefore needs to be looked at with suspicious eyes.


At 2:54 AM, Blogger Zoe Brain said...

To some it may already appear to be one of a hired murderer encountering karma.
"some" including yourself?
And if not, why the sly implication? Because that's what it reads like, intentional or not.

Just asking.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger lumberjack said...

Some see "A hired murderer encountering karma?"
I suppose some must know if he ever killed in Iraq. And some must know that he wasn't shooting at armed AIF, or at a suicide bombers driving their bombs towards a police station or school. SOME are willing to bend over backwards to assume that this wasn't a regular guy, who would have been horrified had he accidently killed an innocent.

What disgusting thoughts. Smart of you to make them look better by putting them next to an even more disgusting bit of crap: that "the Fallen Australian Hero has all the hallmarks of propaganda invention, and therefore needs to be looked at with suspicious eyes." Way to write off a man's life. You must be proud.


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