Wednesday, September 29, 2004

CBS Acts Rather Stupidly... Again

Courtesy of Ace of Spades: is cutting the already disgraced anchor and his Tin-fany Network absolutely no slack. Nor will the rest of the PJ Junta, for that matter.

This time, by way of human interest, the ever-vigilant Richard Schlesinger grabs hold of one Mom's fear that her two sons may well be drafted, as early as summer of next year. The only quoted source for this fear is another Urban Legend email making the rounds indicating that the draft will be reinstated by July 15 of 2005.

Setting aside for the moment the fact that Mrs. Cocco (the Worried Mom) is, in fact, a chapter president of an organization that opposes the draft, we can see that this would be a legitimate fear. No mom of my acquaintance would want her son or daughter to be called up and sent into harm's way. There may be moms and dads out there who, out of a sense of patriotism, would be proud to have their children serve their nation that way, but for most I'd daresay it would be a nightmare come true.

The problem here, as it was for MemoGate (of Rather recent memory), is the source. Once again, the network relies on something other than primary source material for its attempt to scare us out of voting for a Republican president.

As a professional techie, I see hundreds of these emails make the rounds every year. In fact, one of the first red flags I see in these emails is any phrase containing the words "thought you should know..." It's a sure sign that someone, somewhere, is trying to call attention to something that probably isn't true. It's similar in scope to that email that resurfaces every few years stating that a terminally ill child would like to be entered in Guinness' Book of World Records for most postcards received. The hospital then has to issue press releases asking everyone for heaven's sake to stop sending postcards to the hospital. The kid involved (this story was true - once) had long since been discharged, and there was no such record to be listed anyway.

The idea here is to get people to react in a kneejerk way. Oh no! They're gonna start the draft again! My kid'll be next!

Only, Bush, Rumsfeld, and everyone else who currently has a say in the draft have all denied that such a thing is in the works. Schlesinger even goes so far as to get this beauty of a soundbite out of the man in charge of the Selective Service: [JACK MARTIN (Selective Service System)]: "I think we could do it in less than six months if we got the call."

Well, of course he could. That's his job, darn it. It's always been his job, and yet he's never been called upon to do it. Ever. In over 30 years, no one who has registered with Selective Service has ever been drafted. Rumsfeld even goes so far as to say that in a country as rich as this one, we shouldn't have to.

There you have it! Proof positive that the draft will begin by next July! Thank you, Mr. Schlesinger, for your professional CBS-like analysis!

Look, my daughter once wanted to join the Army, over my own Rather biased objections. She got as far as the physical exam, where she was (thankfully) rejected for a problem that I don't even recall today. As scared as I was then, I was also proud of her for wanting to serve. She has since married a man who joined the Air Force. Even though he isn't a flyer, he has been "deployed" to a hospital in Connecticut once already, and is even now stationed at Walter Reed. That's as close to the war as I care for my children (or children-in-law) to be. It would scare me to death if he was deployed to Iraq, and my greatest fear would be for my daughter and granddaughter. But, no matter where he serves, I'll always be proud of him for serving and being willing to follow those orders, even if it meant the ultimate sacrifice.

I understand the fear, folks. But please, let's make sure it's warranted.

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