Sunday, June 15, 2014

Now *there’s* a by-line!

Prominently featured in the Review section of today’s New York Times (though pretty much buried on the Website),  is a contribution  wittily titled “The Fog Machine of War” (a deft pun on the self-exculpatory standard excuse, “The Fog of War”), by one “Chelsea Manning”, identified only as “A former United States Army intelligence analyst” -- witty again, in its winking minimalism.   No current institutional affiliation is listed, although the reader might glean it from the unusual “reporting-from” location:  Fort Leavensworth, Kansas (not normally among the sources for Sunday Supplement deepthink pieces out of Cambridge, MA, or Princeton).   Not recognizing the name, I was about to flip the page;  when suddenly a tiny light-bulb went on, in a sleepy brain still absorbing its morning French-roast refreshment:   That’s Bradley Manning, the former … Well, you know.   Here it is:

The piece is well-written, and even contains some observant skewering of the sort of psychopolitical media puffery which we often chronicle under the Label  “The Society of the Spectacle” (click here for the roster):

If you were following the news during the March 2010 elections in Iraq, you might remember that the American press was flooded with stories declaring the elections a success, complete with upbeat anecdotes  and photographs of Iraqi women  proudly displaying their ink-stained fingers.  The subtext was that the United States military operations  had succeeded in creating a stable and democratic Iraq.

Such images (we might call them “Purple-Finger Porn”) have become a meme, and a staple of the media fog machine.

Manning’s article is accompanied by a memorable counter-image to such things:

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