Brian Williams visited the David Letterman Show in 2013. Talking of his 2003 trip to Iraq, he glibly recalled with a smile on his face, Four-Star General Wayne Downing's description of Iraq, using an old Vietnam-era term, as Indian Country.
Williams explains that Indian Country means unpoliced virgin territory. By unpoliced, I suppose he means no (white man) law and order. Perhaps he thinks Iraq is a reservation. By virgin, I am not sure if he means all Indians are virgins, or if they live in a natural, Biblical, paradise on earth, without sin, Garden of Eden state. Such an a priori event seems unlikely. How one could maintain virginity with no law and order seems contradictory, and perhaps gives new meaning to the word contradict. Eventually, I suppose Indians would not reproduce at all. Perhaps a diehard Darwinian researcher could put the test of truth to this virgin theory of how Native Americans became historically decimated.
General Downing allegedly did moderate his words with please forgive my politically incorrect statement, so Williams seems to give him a pass because Downing was a Vietnam infantryman. I think the logic is that if you participate in one war where racial epithets are used, then it is okay to use them in another war (kind of like earning your ghetto street stripes) and is also okay to reiterate them on a talk show. Williams, according to his story, has been there, done that, and is entitled to tread on the cultural edge.
Chris Kyle, to mention another cultural warrior, does not mince his war-zone words, either. In his American Sniper novel, along with calling the Iraqi enemy savages, he also describes Iraq as Injun Territory. The Indian as enemy is a recurring American theme. Perhaps the stealthy Kyle lifted the savage idea from Williams' interview. If a respected TV anchorman can portray hostile Iraqis with a Native American motif, what is to stop Kyle from one-upping him, actually calling Iraqis savages living in Injun Country?
I would not call Chris Kyle and Brian Williams birds of a feather, but true colors of institutionalized racism eventually bleed out, purposely or not, in print and screen. It can be messy, but it makes the narrators' language more visceral and violent. Ears bend to the bravado and blustering of war. To truly get attention, especially in an illegitimate war, requires scapegoats, especially ones with limited political clout. Indians do just fine.
Williams and Kyle seem joined at the hip when it comes to exaggeration. Is this coincidence, or do participants, whether warriors or wonk, tend to lie, to justify and magnify, their participation in an illegal war?
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