"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Post-turkey press

Now that the effect of the Thanksgiving-dinner booze has probably worn off for most people, let's take a look at what has been said in recent hours about certain people visiting Baghdad:
Bush had to be "prodded" to go to Iraq (link via The Poison Dart):
"For a president fond of a tough-guy image, George W. Bush was uneasy when an aide casually asked him, 'You want to go to Baghdad?'

With Bush safely back at his Crawford ranch on Friday, White House supporters seized on the U.S. Thanksgiving Day visit to Iraq as a public-relations coup that could boost troop morale and Republican fund raising.

But the trip -- one of the most secretive by any U.S. president -- also highlighted how precarious security remains in the Iraqi capital, captured by U.S. forces in April.


'Andy (Card), as he often does, said (to Bush) almost in passing: "Thanksgiving's coming up. Where do you want to go? You want to go to Baghdad?"' [Condoleezza] Rice recalled, and the planning got under way."
This also from my "financial advisor" at The Poison Dart (via e-mail):
"On the Stock Market Newsgroups, the rightists of course were trying to trumpet what a big 'MAN' Bush was for [going to Baghdad], but a number of "investors" responded (and properly so), 'What if things had gone the other way and Bush got hit? [The] stock market would have crashed and chaos would ensue.' [In other words], the Chimp was taking a stupid risk for his own photo-op and RISKING EVERY INVESTOR'S MONEY in the process, when it needen't be so! ... I think that's a very good perspective: 'COWBOY does it again, putting everybody at risk with his shenanigans, only thinking of himself, even as he pretends to be doing something for others.'"
And this shocking admission by The Corner's Clifford D. May:
"Sen. Hillary Clinton also is in Iraq. So far, at least, she's not criticizing Bush. She's not saying the war was unjustified or a plot hatched in Texas. She's not dropping hints about how the U.S. could cut-and-run and make it look like an endorsement of the U.N. or of principled multilateralism.

Instead, she's praising the troops. She's praising the humanitarian effort. She's praising Coalition efforts to assist an Iraqi 'transition toward democracy.'

It's probably true that no one espousing such views can win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. But if you expect the Democratic candidate to be licking his wounds about this time next year, and if you have your eye on 2008, this is the smart play.

And it may be more than that. Not everyone on the Left is a post-humanitarian and an apologist for terrorism and Islamist totalitarianism. Could it be Hillary -- of all people --who leads the Left back from its current dance with the devil?" [Emphasis mine]
Clifford didn't really think she'd go over there and, perhaps, spit on the troops, did he? I mean, smart people learn from the mistakes of others instead of repeating them. Whatever Senator Clinton thinks of Bush's war, she obviously knows that the troops in Iraq should not be her sounding board for those views.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Turkeyhawk in Iraq

Those on the right are probably huffing out their chests just about now as Bush has made a sneaky Thanksgiving visit to Iraq in order to create more footage for his campaign commercials.

Here are just a few examples of the lies coming from the dark side in the wake of the latest episode of Karl Rove's Monsterpiece Theatre:
Michael Graham: "WHAT CAN PRESIDENT BUSH DO IN BAGHDAD THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN CAN'T? Appear in public. If that doesn't send a message to the Ba'athists and their would-be allies, I don't know what does." [Michael Graham dot com]

Rick Brookhiser, National Review: "How right that he went; how heartened I am that he saw the rightness. Enjoy the moment. Tomorrow, Maureen Dowd will tell us it was a glitzy, glammy secret sideshow; Paul Krugman will explain that it distracted from the good economic numbers, which are really bad economic numbers..." [LINK]

Jonah Goldberg, ibid.: "I think they'll make fools of themselves if they criticize him at all. They should just say, 'It was a nice thing to do, our troops deserved it...'" [Click LINK in above paragraph, then scroll up.]

[Emphasis mine]
"Appear in public"?! Now that's a rather naïve statement. Despite saying in his speech: "I have a message for the Iraqi people...," Bush was obviously not speaking to the Iraqi public. He was speaking to American soldiers. Michael, it's remedial English time for you.

"Good" numbers? Maybe Rick meant "numb-ers," as in "things which make us numb*, and maybe he meant Bush's "Kodak moment" holding the turkey.

Jonah may be the biggest fool of all. He won't find anyone in my "blogroll" who says anything that runs counter to the troops deserving something special. But I need to say something more that's a bit more direct: What the troops don't deserve is to be lied to by Bush and to be used by him for his own personal agenda. That's not what soldiers are for. The best support that can be given to the troops is anything which gets them back home as soon as possible and keeps them away from similar situations in the future.

We'll have to wait and see if Bush got all his lines for the commercials right on the "first take" this time.

I imagine that the downward trend in Bush's poll numbers will slow down -- or even turn around -- slightly because of this act. But, don't be duped. Chickenhawk Bush (who required 14,000 police to protect him in England) was still AWOL. The war in Iraq is still illegal, there are still no weapons of mass destruction, and they're still "bring[ing] 'em on."

"Foreign insurgents" my ass!

UPDATE: The latest news is saying that Hillary Rodham Clinton has been to Baghdad after visiting troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day. Condi Rice, in a separate news report, said that Bush's trip to Baghdad was a spontaneous suggestion by Andy Card. Spontaneous after learning of Senator Clinton's visit? Newsmax is calling Senator Clinton's trip a "Frantic Bid to Outdo Bush" and saying that the soldiers' reaction to Bush's unannounced visit "had to rankle the former first lady." I'm highly suspicious of their words "frantic" and "rankle," both of which are outright assumptions. First of all, Senator Clinton announced her trip ahead of time (in late September, in fact), and she has been "outside the security zone," according to a Clinton spokeswoman quoted in the Newsmax article.

Allow me to paraphrase Michael Graham's question above: What can the former First Lady do in Baghdad that Bush can't? You got it. "Appear in public." If that doesn't send a message to the Bushies and their wannabe team leaders, then Ted Rall is right about the effects of Reagan's education budget cuts.

* WEEKEND UPDATE (11/30/2003): In case the "numb-ers" above weren't enough for Rick Brookhiser, he should check out the CNN article titled "Soggy start for shoppers" or the one linked there called "Bargains not such bargains."

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

The velvet revolution

I'm in awe of what happened in the former Soviet republic of Georgia over the weekend. Can you imagine how many dead Americans there would be on the streets if the same thing had happened after Bush's inauguration in January of 2001 following an election fraught with voter disenfranchisement, intimidation, screwy ballots, disappearing votes, hands in the pockets of Florida's secretary of State (now a Congresswoman), and a "winner" chosen by the Supreme Court?

I'm also surprised to find out that the U.S. supposedly had its shadowy hand involved in Eduard Shevardnadze's exit. I'm not at all surprised, though, that this involvement had something to do with oil, but actually seeing the riot police just leave the place was simply sublime.

Yeah, I know. They've got it tough over there. Millions of jobs lost, huge national debt, currently at war in at least 2 countries... Wait a minute. That sounds like the United States! When do we get our turn?

" I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."
- Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826), Letter to James Madison, 1787

Friday, November 21, 2003

Blinded on the "right"

Spot the difference in the blogging regarding the number of those at Trafalgar Square protesting Bush's London visit. While Hoffmania! appears to be following the adage of "believ[ing] none of what you hear, and only half of what you see," InstaPu... uses the saxophonist's "circular breathing" method to incessantly spew forth anti-truth pablum.

Hoffmania! (has eyes, can use 'em):
And somewhere in Britain, President Cokespoon is pleased that CNN isn't showing the hundreds of thousands of angry Brits protesting his visit, because the nets are busy covering this "news." [Michael Jackson being driven "to wherever he's going"]

So here. Let's show you what's NOT being shown on the news - the love the U.K. is displaying toward President Pilotpackage: [followed by a series of photos] [LINK]
InstaPundit's Glenn Reynolds (hangs onto his masturbatory "right-is-omniscient" fantasy 'til reality practically bites him on the ass):
The NPR story that I just heard didn't mention any numbers -- it just interviewed protesters. From that alone, anyone used to reading Pravda could have figured out that the numbers were small. . . . [LINK]

[Quoting the BBC "Reporters' log"]:
A relatively small number of protesters have made their way down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace where they have effectively been cut of [sic] by the substantial police numbers who have been visible all day today.

Several hundred people would perhaps be a generous assessment of how many people made it there.
[Reynolds] They're promising 100,000 for tomorrow. We'll see. [LINK]

[Quoting David Frum in the Telegraph]:
The anti-Bush demonstration in Lincoln's Inn Fields was called for six o'clock, but at the appointed hour, journalists and camera crews substantially outnumbered protesters. . . .


I looked up and down the south side of the square. The "mass movement" extended barely half the length of the railing. I'd seen larger crowds at poetry readings. [LINK]
[Reynolds] HERE'S A LIVE WEBCAM VIEW of Trafalgar Square. Doesn't look like 100,000 people to me, to the extent you can tell from one webcam. Nor to Andy at World Wide Rant.

UPDATE: This BBC story still says 100,000 are "expected" -- but if you scroll down you'll see that it's really more like 30-40,000. That's about 10% of the number who showed up to protest the fox-hunting ban. And yeah, I know these numbers don't mean much in themselves. But the downward trend seems pretty clear.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Email from London suggests that protesters aren't exactly overrunning the place. And here's a photo from a London blogger's office window that makes the turnout seem less than overwhelming, too. [LINK]

[Quoting David Carr]
Never in all my days have I cast my gaze upon such a motley collection of bedraggled, unsightly, grotseque and snaggle-toothed specimens as gathered today in Central London.
[Reynolds] And he's got the pictures to prove it. [LINK]
Finally, "all Insta, no Pundit" makes a three-word admission that his claims -- which are merely excerpted above -- were wrong:
"IAIN MURRAY ... says he was wrong about the turnout ... So was I." [LINK]

[Originals contain many links]

[All bold emphasis in quoted sections mine]
What a man, that Glenn! (Not!)

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Why we write (Tim, Tom, Ted, and others)

Tom Tomorrow and Ted Rall are both linked over in my sidebar because they are both writers and thinkers, and many of their ideas parallel my own. This week, they've both generated lots of anger and misunderstanding. Sometimes that's what it takes to get people to move their butts and their minds.

Tom was probably caught completely off guard by the fracas which ensued after this cartoon making fun of "chickenhawk" bloggers; not all bloggers, not all warbloggers, and certainly not military veteran bloggers. A "MilBlogger" calling himself Lt. Smash (AKA Citizen Smash, AKA The IndePundit) took it upon himself to be offended by Tom's comic when it had nothing to do with him or anyone deserving of his support. Smash's readers followed suit, Tom's readers caught wind of the story and went over to try to straighten some of these misunderstandings out, and the resulting wildfire (an estimated 500 comments in all) will make you nauseous. Take a peek (if you have a strong stomach), and see if you notice anything "familiar."

Ted wrote a column called "Why we fight" (alternate link), named after the official U.S. government World War II propaganda film series directed by Frank Capra and others. In Ted's version, he writes from the perspective of an Iraqi military commander. It appears that he is trying to give his readers (more likely American than Iraqi) a sense of what's going on in the minds of those fighting against the U.S.-led occupation in Iraq. He wants his readers to try to understand why American soldiers are being killed every day. But he doesn't give you Bush's simplistic vision of "foreign insurgents" who "hate freedom" and all that. The way Ted says it might make you cringe. From InstaPundit to Pandagon, far too many people seem to be seriously misreading this one as well.

Back to the title of this post: Why we write. I think we write not just to provide information, but also to share our thoughts, to stimulate ideas, and even to provoke people. I think Tom and Ted were pretty successful at doing so this week (though they both apparently went over quite a few readers' heads). Tim? Hmmmm. I dunno. I seem to have merely pissed a few people off.

UPDATE (11/26/2003): Ted has replied to those who somehow think he finds pleasure in the deaths of American soldiers. Go read it, and see how you feel about Reagan's education cuts. Ted has also done another comic related to this subject. (See "Bush's simplistic vision" above, in this very post.)

Monday, November 10, 2003

Reagan vs. Lynch vs. Johnson

Right-wing power vs. impotence. In the vein of Orwell's "Big Brother," right-wingers are literally controlling what you can and can't see on TV, but they can't endure the tiniest bit of "bad light," and they won't put up with the plain truth.

Conservatives got The Reagans miniseries canceled because of so-called "inaccuracies," but despite Jessica Lynch's own disputation of the events being used to promote "Saving Jessica Lynch," that one went on the air.

In a true democratic society, both of these programs would be allowed on TV, and people could form their own opinions via intelligent debate, not to mention actually having seen what they were talking about. However, in the "land of TV, home of the slaves," the one which promotes the agenda of the government by propagandizing its war effort gets on; the one which "tarnishes" the image of the "Great Communicator," Ronald "I Don't Recall" Reagan gets canceled.

This and the Shoshana Johnson story typify what we call a "double standard" valued so dearly by Republicans.

In reverse (for American readers only?)

In countries like Australia and England, November 9th can be written "9/11" ("the 9th of November" or "9 November"). I'm not sure how they do it in Saudi Arabia, but I wouldn't be surprised if yesterday's bombing in Riyadh was planned with that in mind. (I haven't been watching much English-language TV news today, so forgive me if you're already way ahead of me on this.)

On a semi-related note, Andrew Sullivan fails laughably at "debunking" Josh Marshall's "imminent threat" contest results while simultaneously quoting Bush asking "Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?" Uh, I dunno. Try this search. Or this one. Sullivan wrote that nonsensical post the same day as the bombing -- one day after the U.S. State Department shut down its missions there because it knew of the threat. Go read Sullivan and laugh -- out loud! Roll on the floor, even.

PILING ON: I've got to tack on something more about the Jessica Lynch story. Here's the money quote from the following linked article, in case you haven't yet heard it clearly enough: "She was not raped..."

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Setting the (broken) record straight*

"[U]nravelling like hasty knitting" is how the Sydney Morning Herald describes the lies surrounding the story of Private Jessica Lynch -- a story which has been spun into a made-for-TV movie to be shown Sunday night.

In an article titled "The Rambo who wasn't," Gerard Wright reports on the "show" that was made out of a "rescue" which happened on April Fool's Day.
"I'm not about to take credit for something I didn't do," Lynch said, in a television interview to be broadcast in the US on Tuesday. "I did not shoot, not a round, nothing ... I went down praying to my knees. And that's the last I remember."

Propaganda didn't get better than this: a blonde heroine, short and slight, from a town called Palestine, West Virginia. Jessica Lynch joined the army to help pay for her university education. She is not happy with her new life as a military fable.

"It hurt in a way that people would make up stories that they had no truth about," Lynch told interviewer Diane Sawyer. "Only I would have been able to know that, because the other four people on my vehicle aren't here to tell the story. So I would have been the only one able to say, 'yeah, I went down shooting'. But I didn't."

Asked if the Pentagon's portrayal of her rescue bothered her, Lynch replied, "Yeah, it does. It bothers me that they used me as a way to symbolise this stuff. Yeah, it's wrong." [Emphasis mine]
You may recall the stories earlier this year of Lynch supposedly "fighting to the death" (quoting "U.S. officials"), the House Resolution submitted in her honor, and the general mythology which surrounded her rescue.

And let's not forget the "rape" element (don't hyperventilate waiting for that scene, if they even put it in the movie) also being spoon-fed to the gullible audience via the simultaneous release of the book "I Am a Soldier, Too" by Rick Bragg -- another New York Times reporter of questionable integrity. The whirlwind of lies calls into question the events of the rescue, and therefore, the heroism of the rescuers.

Who really saved Private Lynch? According to the Herald article quoted above, 2 days prior to the rescue, Iraqi doctors tried to turn Lynch over to American forces because she wanted American medical care. However, their ambulance was fired upon and had to return to the hospital. Even the medical staff of the hospital from which she was "rescued," in a country which was being heavily attacked by Lynch's army, donated their own blood to save her life. They were humanitarians. Certain "U.S. officials," however, would prefer if you saw the Iraqis as a homogeneous gang of thugs.

Private Lynch may not have been the hero they made her out to be, but she will be now because she has the courage to tell the real story -- which only she could know -- despite the myths which might make some people feel better about this unjust war. If those who pushed for this war would dare try to discredit Lynch now, they'll have to make up even more lies. These lies are the rope with which they will hang themselves.

AFTERTHOUGHT (PREEMPTIVE TROLL REPELLENT): If you're among the zombies who believe(d) that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11, then you're probably latching onto the part about "no memory" like a baby latches onto its mothers tit. You probably think that our "leaders" know what "really happened" better than Private Lynch does. To you I would only say this: even Rick Bragg says she lost only 3 hours. If she were anally gangraped, she might be able to figure it out all by her "Rambo-in-distress" self.

*REVISION: The previous awkward title, "The truth in time saves nine lies," has been replaced with one I hijacked from Wolf Blitzer. I couldn't stand looking at the original one any longer.
eXTReMe Tracker
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?