With the election campaign over (for at least a few weeks), you may be inclined to think that it is safe to look at your television screen. Be advised that a rose by any other name may smell sweet, but can be very dangerous. "The thorns" to watch out for are the growing parade of issue ads and the lengthier ones disguised as Congressional hearings. Both are really designed to prove or disprove a political point or, in some cases, to smear some individual or group.
A good example of this sneak attack is a TV spot currently being aired which picks up isolated incidents from General Chuck Hagel's past. We don't know the actual identity of the funder, whose identification appears at the end of these ads, but a good bet would be one of the people (our own Darth Vaders) who supported the invasion of Iraq and never tires of trying to defend it. Think of Karl Rove or Dick Cheney, who served during the reign of George The Knuckle-Headed. These men are adept at creating weapons of mass deception to get us involved in military missteps all around the globe.
The attack ad in question pulls up things which Hagel may have said ten or fifteen years ago or takes them out of context. Chuck Hagel is that rare breed of officer who rose from the enlisted ranks, has seen combat face-to-face, and come out of the experience with a healthy skepticism for those whose solution for every global problem is the U.S. military. In the Senate, the leader of these hyper-hawks is John (Boots on the Ground) McCain and his little Sancho Panza, Lindsay Graham.
This duo has been helped by some concerned citizens whose main concern always seems to be Israel. To this group, anyone who questions any aspect of Israel's foreign policies is viewed with suspicion. This kind of litmus test also applies to the quagmire we were conned into in Vietnam. Their idea is that if you were ever against that war and/or had doubts about it, you belong on their hit list.
The little identification at the bottom of the ad echoes the innocent indignation of the narrator: "Don't these doubters see that our country is in danger?" Of course, they think we're always in danger and the defense industries are grateful for their concern.
A lot of issue ads are similarly designed to seem to be in the public interest. My personal favorite is a big hunk of coal with a wire and plug coming out of the back, the point being that "clean coal" is America's only sure defense against foreign oil. This ad wins a double prize from me for being misleading and having chutzpah. So, the next time you see that bouquet of poisonous posies on your television screen, check to look for coal dust on those lovely roses.