Friday, September 30, 2005

Cindy Sheehan's Vision for Iraq

Here is an interesting interview with Cindy Sheehan by Tom Engelhardt.

Of course it's filled with the usual pith and vinegar that has been covered so well elsewhere, but since I rarely read all the way down to the bottom of one of her rants I was surprised to find this little tidbit:
"TD: You want the troops out now. Bush isn't about to do that, but have you thought about how you would proceed if you could?
CS: When we say now, we don't mean that they can all come home tomorrow. I hope everybody knows that. We have to start by withdrawing our troops from the cities, bringing them to the borders and getting them out. We have to replace our military with something that looks Arabic, something that looks Iraqi, to rebuild their country.
There you have it. Train the Iraqis to take our place and withdraw our troups over time. Why couldn't Bush have come up with this brilliant plan? The only thing she is saying differently is "Gosh, I don't see why we can't do it faster." Well the fact is we can't, because they aren't ready to take over yet. The Iraqis are working on building up a military and at the same time building up a civilian government that will control that fighting force so that they don't wind up with the next general who comes along appointing himself "President for Life". This is going to take some time. Why is this so hard to understand?

Why is this woman wasting her life and the lives of countless others for the message "I would do the same thing that Bush is doing except I wish that it could be done a little bit faster."? Oh, I guess she always has her other message "Bush stinks." One has to wonder if that isn't what this is really all about.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

In the aftermath

It's a funny thing, as time passes and more and more facts come to light, our vision of what happened in the aftermath of Katrina is turning out to be radically different from what we were told at the time. Via Instapundit, Jeff Goldstein has an excellent post on the role that the media played in all of this (see also Forward Biased interesting followup). Given that some in the MSM including Dan Rather were crowing that the Katrina coverage was possibly their finest hour, the fact that it now turns out that they were relentlessly hyping exaggerated rumors and outright fabrications does not speak well for them. If this was the media at their finest, what are we to expect from them on an average day?

One particular meme that partisans have plucked from the coverage and are now bandying about triumphantly is the "Bush was so clueless about the situation in New Orleans that Dan Bartlett had to prepare a DVD of media coverage for him to watch." This appears to have originated with the Newsweek hit piece "How Bush Blew It".

On the face of it, the assumption is ridiculous. Somehow the President of the United States with a vast network of agencies reporting back to him on the situation in New Orleans has no clue what is going on down there. He is being fed reports from trained professionals on the scene who's job it is to assess the situation but he still is in the dark. And somehow he would be better off ignoring what his people are telling him and instead focusing on the media reports. As Peter King put it perfectly, speaking to Chris Matthews "Just because the president doesn't watch you on television, it doesn't mean he's not doing his job."

But add to this, as we now know, that the media was wildly exaggerating the situation. I wouldn't be surprised if somebody doesn't pull Bartlett into their office for a little talk. "Dan, in a time of crisis it is important that the President be as well informed as possible. It is our job to provide him with facts, not rumors. In the future I would appreciate it if you refrain from feeding the President uninformed media hype and hysteria."

I wonder if the media will be as critical of their response to hurricane Katrina as they were of the president. Look for this article in the next issue of Newsweek, "How We Blew It". Just don't hold your breath.

UPDATE: Corrected my grammar so that media is plural instead of singular.