Stem Cells, Haditha, and the need to be careful

How is the war being fought? On the front there is a new large scale effort to round up the terrorists but that is standard stuff. It is the front of the fifth column that is perhaps more important.

The stem cell funding veto was used in a number of ways to attack the enemy. The enemy in this case is the President. From his point of view it is a simple matter of whether or not the federal government should fund research that involves the destruction of embryos. But his opponents paint it as religious activism, as scientific ignorance, as a ban rather than a lack of support, as callous for the needs of those who might benefit from the research, and so on. Meanwhile, the researchers are finding that the need for this particular flavor of research is becoming less and less important as they learn more about stem cells and invent other ways to achieve the same results.

The ‘Marine baby killer’ meme was a favorite from Vietnam days. It was wrong then but that does not seem to have had an influence on today. This can be seen in the reports about bias at the BBC (See
Transterrestrial Musings). The latest example is the story promoted by Rep. Murtha and several major news media assuming that there was a massacre at Haditha. But Haditha is beginning to look like another Jennin as testimony is given in the hearings and trials of the accused.

Both of these events show how misinformation and incomplete information – propaganda – are being used to fight a war. It is not a war supporting freedom or other values that have built health and prosperity for many but rather those values that have been shown to lead to misery, death, and repression. It is a war that leads the gullible. It is an insidious war that is not fought by rules of engagement nor by uniformed soldiers held accountable for their actions. It is being fought on many fronts from many directions by soldiers who attempt to put on a cloak of respectability and self righteousness but have no uniform and no accountability. Let us hope that cloak is seen to be something like the parable about the emperor and his new clothes.

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