This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: from Kabul. Here the parallel is denied on the basis of the argument that the beginning of the Soviet pull-out cannot be compared to
what happened in Vietnam. In the second excerpt from a leading article
published on Feb 16th 1989, a day after the official completion of the Soviet withdrawal, the Soviet officers could not be awarded the recognition
for minimising self-losses and conducting a well-ordered retreat, as in the
first sentence they ‘are spared the humiliating confusion’. They did not
earn the dignified retreat but rather were spared the humiliation. Placed in
a position of a syntactic Patient, they are not the Agents of the successful
operation, merely the beneficiaries. The following two sentences through
their lofty reference to the Imperial Russian Army and the elevated style
marked by the use of such words as dignified and befits, carry undertones
of irony.34 Although the correlation at the level of states and the military
command seemed inappropriate to The Times journalists, the correspondence between the soldiers’ experiences seemed more fitting, so that in
the same leading article there is the following passage: 34 Andreas Musolff (p.c.) disputes my interpretation of the second passage and claims
that the thrust of the passage is that the USSR was ‘spared the humiliating confusion’,
and that the edge of the comment is against the US. I agree with the perspective on the
US, but my point is exactly that the USSR were ‘spared the humiliation’ rather than that
they efficiently conducted a military operation. A qualitative analysis of war news 171 (99) The Soviet Union now has a generation of young people whose lives
have been overshadowed by the Afghan war, much as the Vietnam
war overshadowed the lives of a generation of Americans. Their response has been similar. Many have become disaffected; some have
turned to pacifism, others to drugs, yet others to vigilantism.
When the analogy allows for an appreciation of the Soviet military skill, it
is denied, but when it reinforces the potentially disruptive effects of war,
it is endorsed.
Similarly to the Polish reporting of the departure of the British
fleet for the Falklands, the British reporting of the Soviet homecoming
employs the Glory of War Myth and the THEATRE metaphor to create a
sarcastic distance, which allows the reporters as if to see through the
ceremonious pomp. In (100) below the tension of the relatives expecting
the return of another group of soldiers in the border town of Teremez, and
the pompous welcome by the orchestra are contrasted with the image of a
bleak truck column transporting useless junk:
(100) Eventually headlights on the bridge signalled the arrival of the
day’s column, as the band dutifully struck up with the “Defence of
the Motherland” and a motley collection of about 20 army trucks
approached. Most were carrying junk bits of old engines, spare
tyres and old oil drums.
The Glory of War Myth reduced to a handful of empty symbols, such as
‘Mother Russia’, ‘red carnations’ and the ‘tradi...
View Full Document