Friday, January 14, 2005

The difference between opinion, spin and defamation.

Today, while debating someone I was accused of not being able to accept someone's opinion can be different than my own.

I was actually quite suprised, I've always prided myself in not falling into the trap that a lot of people who are politically/socially aware fall into which is Bush is a fascist....Kerry is a traitor, ect. Basically what I'm saying is I've always felt that a difference of opinion is fine, that doesn't mean the person with the difference is evil or stupid. Just they see things differently than I do.

I think I learned this from my Grandmother, who is a staunch Democrat. We debate each other all the time, I always have a lot of fun and my Liberal arse Grandmother is a sweet, wonderful lady.

That said, after I was accused of running a spiteful, slanted, right wing nut blog and that I can't accept anyone elses opinion, I started thinking....yes, me thinking is dangerous. Remember when the lights went out in the Northeast a while ago? That was me trying to think of something deep.

And this is what I got.

An opinion is someone's point of view. For example, I like vanilla ice cream....you don't like vanilla ice cream. I think vanilla is tasty, you think it is nasty. Now this I can accept, and I won't think ill of the person who doesn't like vanilla or think that they are stupid or foolish.

Now defamation is actually what upsets me about people.

Defamation is something we see everyday in modern early 21st century politics. For instance, "Bush is like Hitler and he went to war for oil or so Haliburton will make a lot of money." Now, there are no real facts to this claim. We don't get oil from Iraq, Haliburton has been getting no bid government contracts since atleast Bosnia (which is the first time I got to live in a base built by them...in 1998/99 during Clinton's Presidency) and the President isn't going around building concentration camps or conquering nation after nation or even expanding the military that much(it's still half as big as it was ten years ago). It's basically people taking a simple opinion (don't agree with us invading Iraq) and going to the extreme with it(Bush is a warmonger).

Now spin is what I encountered today. It's when someone wants to persuade someone over to their point of view so they present facts leaving out certian things so that those facts become 'proof' that they are right.

For instance, in the debate today. Poster said that people lied to recruits about numerous things while they were entering the military. I'll use just one example. He said that he heard one guy get told that they could apply to OCS(Officer Candidate School) once they got to their units...initially according to the poster...this is BS. My guess is he was hoping someone reading it actually wouldn't know either way. But I did...you can in fact apply for OCS from any unit in the Army...of course, after I confronted him with it he said...yes, but it's hard. Which it isn't but that's niether here nor there. Point is, people who twist and misrepresent facts upset me. They don't piss me off like people who defame and everyone...even me...has used spin to win a debate now and then.

Another example is in regards to the unit that the coward NCO came from. Pointed out to me was that there were 17 AWOLs and 2 suicides in his unit. So this is how I looked at it....

I've been in two Infantry battalions since 2003. Both of those battalions have deployed to Iraq once before and both are over there again now (my company isn't yet because they stayed longer than the rest of the battalion the first time). Niether of these battalions have had any suicides nor any AWOLs related to the war. So my deduction was, it sounds like this third unit the coward came from is having leadership issues. Sounds like an easy conclusion to reach given my experience with two other units in the same boat, right?

For some people, that doesn't fit their view that all soldiers dislike trying to foster a free Iraq or that soldiers are leaving the army in droves because of Iraq or how often we've been deploying since 9/11(we call it OPTEMPO short for Operations Tempo). To them...even when the facts are clearly stated, with solid evidence to back them up...if it doesn't fit their opinion they will ignore said facts or spin them in order to win the debate.

To me, this means that the person isn't trying to point out things that need to be fixed, or things that are going wrong but that the person just has a predisposition, for whatever reason, to a certian train of thought and nothing you say, prove or demonstrate will ever cause them to waver. In other words, rigid thinking.

Now myself, on the other hand, my thinking may be a tad too fluid. I've found myself changing my opinion as I'm writing or talking because my brain seems to move faster than my fingers or mouth....and actually, I hope I stay that way.

2 Comments:

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

Brian,

My kid was given the choice of serving with an idiot(03) at 1st ID HQ in Tikrit, or a position that would take her outside the wire with an NCO that knew his shit.

She figured she was better off with the NCO outside the wire everyday, than taking a chance that she would have to go outside the wire once with the O3.

Hopefully, most of the crap leaders are inside the wire, not getting their guys killed!!!

 
At 8:08 PM, Blogger BryanP said...

I would have done the same thing, plus it gets boring in the FOB(forward operating base). Time goes by faster when you're outside doing things, and it really isn't terribly more dangerous outside the wire than inside it.

I wish her luck.

 

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