Sunday, January 23, 2005

These things write themselves

Here's yet another "Bush fiddles while Rome burns" Op/Ed from Bob Herbert at the New York Times. I suspect being an anti-Bush columnist at a major daily newspaper is the easiest job in the country. All you have to do is write about 8 column inches of rage, and hand it in. These things pretty much write themselves anyway.

Here's a little game: before reading the column -- printed on Friday, the day after the inauguration -- predict what it's going to say. Let's see if you are right.

Even as President Bush was taking the oath of office and delivering his Inaugural Address beneath the clear, cold skies of Washington, the news wires were churning out stories about the tragic mayhem in Iraq.

Well, of course they were. It was all part of the plan to counter the inauguration with news of death in Iraq.

There is no end in sight to the carnage, which was unleashed nearly two years ago by President Bush's decision to launch this wholly unnecessary war, one of the worst presidential decisions in American history.

Right. There was no carnage in Iraq prior to the war. (Pay no attention to those mass graves.)

By the way, on a related note, pay attention to how these guys refer to what's happening in Iraq. Nine times out of ten, it's called a "war." (Sometimes it's even described as a "war against Iraq.") Maybe this is quibbling about semantics, but the "war" part has been over for many months. What's going on now is an attempt to stabilize the country made difficult by terrorists. But Iraq is not our enemy. We share a common enemy with Iraq -- an enemy that has no flag. But maybe this is a distinction without a difference.

Incredibly, with more than 1,360 American troops dead and more than 10,000 wounded, and with scores of thousands of Iraqis dead and wounded, . . .

The press wants so badly to compare Iraq to Vietnam, but the casualties -- while still more than we'd like -- are a drop in the bucket compared to Vietnam.

. . . the president never once mentioned the word Iraq in his Inaugural Address. He avoided all but the most general references to the war. Lyndon Johnson used to agonize over the war that unraveled his presidency. Mr. Bush, riding the crest of his re-election wave, seems not to be similarly bothered.

I love the word "seems." It allows you to make an unverifiable statement and pass off your opinion as fact. The fact is, you don't know if he's bothered by it nor not, because you don't really care. All you care about is creating a straw man you can easily knock down.

In January 1945, with World War II still raging, Franklin Roosevelt insisted on a low-key inauguration. Already gravely ill, he began his address by saying, "Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, my friends, you will understand and, I believe, agree with my wish that the form of this inauguration be simple and its words brief."

"Already gravely ill" might pretty much explain that, mightn't it?

Times have changed.

The New York Times has not.

President Bush and his equally tone-deaf supporters spent the past few days partying hard while Americans, Iraqis and others continued to suffer and die in the Iraq conflagration. Nothing was too good for the princes and princesses of the new American plutocracy.

Do you suppose if John Kerry were being sworn in, given his incredible wealth, he would be called a plutocrat? Just askin'.

Tens of millions of dollars were spent on fireworks, cocktail receptions, gala dinners and sumptuous balls. Ten thousand people, including the president and Laura Bush, turned out Wednesday night for the Black Tie and Boots Ball. According to The Associated Press, one of the guests, Lorian Sessions of San Antonio, "donned a new pair of black kangaroo boots, decorated with a white star and embroidery, with an aqua-colored mink wrap she bought on sale at Saks."

People are spending their own money on things, and boosting the economy as a result! This is terrible! Don't they know that only the federal government should spend money?

An article in The Washington Post mentioned a peace activist who complained that the money lavished on the balls would have been better spent on body armor for under-equipped troops in Iraq.

You know the moonbats have lost their moorings when peace activists are suggesting that money be spent on the military.

With the elections just a week and a half away, American commanders, according to John F. Burns of The Times, are seeking "to prepare public opinion in Iraq and abroad for one of the bloodiest chapters in the war so far."

A photo at the end of Mr. Burns's article showed an Iraqi National Guard member carrying the remains of a suicide bomber in a garbage bag.

If you're like me, your immediate response to this news item was "That's exactly where a suicide bomber belongs."

Even though Herbert goes on, I can't.

Now . . . was your prediction correct?


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