News - Grilling the Loaf (2)

Sympathy, hypocrisy, doom and gloom (of course)

Two related items caught my loathing fancy right off the bat in last week's issue: "Hail to the chief?" (News & Views, Jan. 27), and "The charnel house president" (Fishwrapper, Jan. 27).

In "Hail," writer Coley Ward sympathetically (of course) portrays former Army Spc. Eric Nielson as an anti-war veteran. It was Nielson's "research" that led him to conclude the war in Iraq is all about "American dominance of the oil market." What's more, he says he voted for Bush in 2000 but not in 2004.

I salute Mr. Nielson for his service to our country. However, his "research" smacks of watching too much Michael Moore and reading too many of CL Group Senior Editor John Sugg's columns. The idea that we went to war in Iraq for oil is absurd. No serious person makes this case. Only conspiracy theorists (such as the estimable Mr. Sugg) buy the blood-for-oil crap - a theory with about as much veracity as the ones claiming LBJ had JFK assassinated and that Michael Jackson is a 10-year-old girl.

Sugg's sympathetic (of course) portrait of Chloe Blalock, the anti-war Grady High School student featured in "The charnel house president" mimics Nielson's sentiments. A Kerry-like anti-war veteran and a student activist both standing defiantly against "Bush's war" in a single issue of the Loaf: courage personified!

I also was struck by the hypocrisy of Senior Editor Doug Monroe's little tidbit in "Welcome South, Bigot" (Word, Jan. 27). Bigot is among the left's favorite words - kind of like homophobe or racist. Granted, radio show host Michael Savage, the subject of Monroe's piece, has been over the top in his on-air vitriol for gays and Jerry Springer. But when is Mr. Monroe going to write about the left's loonies, like those behind the websites comparing Bush to Hitler, or that "something" called a Whoopi Goldberg who delivered the sexually explicit, anti-Bush tirade at a John Kerry fundraiser last year? Aren't those examples of bigotry?

No way, Jose - just plain, old-fashioned, left-wing hatred of Bush. That's a good thing, right Doug?

We all know the alternative press thrives on doom and gloom scenarios, like global warming is melting the earth and Big Macs are killing us. The cover story "Haunted visions" (Jan. 27), an article commissioned by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and printed in alt-weeklies across the country, is one such example of the garden variety, sky-is-falling journalism typical of "alternative" publications. The piece was scary (of course) - but did it accurately portray the collective state of mind of soldiers returning from Iraq? Are an unusual number of veterans mentally ill as a result of their experiences in the Gulf?

No. The overwhelming majority of Vietnam, Gulf War and Iraq veterans are not basket cases. The reality is, the mental health industry has seized upon returning veterans as their latest cause célebre. Some veterans doubtlessly will need mental health services. But the horde of psychiatrists, social workers and post-traumatic stress hangers-on would have us believe that if you don't suffer from PTSD, you're the one who's messed up.

I honor all our veterans. But I question the motives of those in the mental health profession; they inflate those "haunted visions." Many if not most of these mental health types are, at their core, "war is not the answer" clones. The more stories that are published about stressed-out veterans, the better their case is made. ¨

OK, enough for now. Just remember: If you can't love 'em, loathe 'em.

Reeves Jackson is CL's ombudsmen, of sorts - however, unlike the critiques traditional ombudsmen offer of respectable daily papers, Reeves positively loathes us. His column appears every other week in this space.


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