Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A few days late

I recently posted comments on my friend Bookworm's site regarding the decision not to air Ed Schultz's radio program on AFR, and compared it to her post regarding free speech infringement on college campuses. The comparison dealt with authorities who recognized one's right to speak freely, yet restricted venues in which the parties concerned could speak freely (i.e. kept them from certain places).

While I do see significant similarities in the two issues, I think it very important to highlight one of the most significant differences. AFR broadcasts to active duty military members serving in war zones. The last thing these soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines need to hear is any kind of conflicting information regarding the way we at home feel about the war in Iraq and the GWOT. They don't need to hear that the majority of Americans don't approve of how the war is being handled, and they don't need to hear someone criticizing the leadership. The only thing that can come of it is dissention. The military MUST operate as a cohesive unit. The privates and corporals and sergeants MUST believe that they are doing the right thing, whether it is right or it isn't, or they are only guaranteed failure. And in the military in Iraq or Afghanistan, or anywhere else where bullets are flying, failure doesn't mean you lose that promotion or miss out on that big contract, it means you, or more likely the guy next to you, dies.

I'm a fan of free speech and the free exchange of ideas. Indeed, I will argue lost causes just to try to make the other person think and reason their answers. I believe that hearing all sides of the political spectrum is important, and that if Rush has a radio program airing at 5 on Monday, then a prominent Democrat might be well inclined to have a radio program at 6, unless he has no ratings, but we won't go into that... I just don't think it's right in a military situation, where esprit de corps and unity of thought are of paramount importance.

Now, if the reasons I stated above were the reasons the Powers That Be decided not to air Mr. Schultz's show, then that's fine. What troubles me is the timing of the announcements and the seemingly contradictory aspects of the whole thing, which leads me to want to call shenanigans.

1 comment:

Bookworm said...

Thanks for the link, Steve. I also agree entirely with the conclusion you reach in the post. Considering that our armed forces are putting their lives on the line for us, they don't need to be insulted nor their service denigrated. It's one thing to stifle dissent (what's going on at DePaul), it's another thing to demoralize people. Free speech always has to be subject to some constraints.

Indeed, I was thinking about the woman kicked off the Southwest flight because she had the obscene anti-Bush shirt on. I'd like to think that she was thrown off for the obscenities, which are inappropriate in a venue that serves families with children, and not for expressing a political opinion with which some may have disagreed.