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Very glad to see this action taken by a group of Nobel Laureates.  What an embarrassment for the Democratic Party.  What the hell was Wesley Clark thinking when he got involved with this trash TV program?

An Open Letter to Mr. Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, General Wesley Clark (ret.), Producer Mark Burnett and others involved in “Stars Earn Stripes”:

During the Olympics, touted as a time for comity and peace among nations, millions first learned that NBC would be premiering a new “reality” TV show.  The commercials announcing “Stars Earn Stripes” were shown seemingly endlessly throughout the athletic competition, noting that its premier would be Monday, August 13, following the end of the Olympic games.

That might seem innocuous since spectacular, high budget sporting events of all types are regular venues for airing new products, televisions shows and movies.  But “Stars Earn Stripes” is not just another reality show.  Hosted by retired four-star general Wesley Clark, the program pairs minor celebrities with US military personnel and puts them through simulated military training, including some live fire drills and helicopter drops.  The official NBC website for the show touts “the fast-paced competition” as “pay[ing] homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and our first-responder services.”

It is our belief that this program pays homage to no one anywhere and continues and expands on an inglorious tradition of glorifying war and armed violence.  Military training is not to be compared, subtly or otherwise, with athletic competition by showing commercials throughout the Olympics.  Preparing for war is neither amusing nor entertaining.

Real war is down in the dirt deadly.  People—military and civilians—die in ways that are anything but entertaining.  Communities and societies are ripped apart in armed conflict and the aftermath can be as deadly as the war itself as simmering animosities are unleashed in horrific spirals of violence.  War, whether relatively short-lived or going on for decades as in too many parts of the world, leaves deep scars that can take generations to overcome – if ever.

Trying to somehow sanitize war by likening it to an athletic competition further calls into question the morality and ethics of linking the military anywhere with the entertainment industry in barely veiled efforts to make war and its multitudinous costs more palatable to the public.

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