51 despite the cancelling of the saigon analogy in

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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...
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