Steve Reynolds, friend of the Pit, sent me today’s NY Times op-ed by Bob Herbert, and it just set me off on some things I’ve been meaning to say lately. So I said them. Have a look at the op-ed first, though.
Sorry folks, but this little editorial just caught me wrong.
The ultimate irony is the nature of who’s doing the yelling and why. The semi-literate yahoos calling for Natalie Maines’ head are also the people who stand, every 4th of July, and sing Lee Greenwood’s famous patriotic anthem at the top of their goddamned lungs, because, you know, “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.” Read more
A couple interesting links forwarded to me by a co-worker:
The first is a good analysis of the planning leading up to the war, while the second speculates on why Rumsfeld has been so insistent on a policy that stretches US forces so thinly. The reasoning seems plausible enough to me, although I can see other explanations working just as well. But the articles taken together set me to thinking. Read more
A roundtable between Paul Barrow, Jay DeFrank and myself .
It began last night when Aaron Butler sent me Mark Franchetti’s recent piece for the London Times, “Slaughter at the Bridge of Death: US Marines Fire on Civilians.” Brutal, ugly, horrific – this was war at its most disturbing. So I sent the URL around and encouraged people to read it, noting that we weren’t seeing stories like this from our press. The article provoked a reply from Paul Barrow (Paul is a former colleague from my Boston days, and a native Brit, which explains his familiarity with the Times), upon which I commented, and that elicited a commentary from Col. Jay DeFrank, who heads up PR for the Dept. of Defense at the Pentagon. So here’s what passed back and forth via e-mail, more or less. Read more
Some friends – specifically Greg and Lair, the Brothers Stene – have recently been pondering how, exactly, we’re going to win this war – and by “win” we’re talking about terms of resolution, not merely body count or square miles under technical control. Superior firepower notwithstanding, there comes a time when this turns into a streetfight, a door-to-door campaign through a city with a population the size of Chicago and Houston combined, against an opponent that has a distinct home-turf advantage and nothing at all to lose. If we can’t get Saddam, and if his generals don’t sell him out, this has serious ugly potential, something our military leadership has acknowledged.
Now, add to this a second question: how can Iraq win? Read more
This little exchange occurred via e-mail. Recorded here for posterity.
Lair Stene: Please give me a reality check:
Somewhere between the cynical (we’re invading at the direction of a president who came to power in a coup, supported by an Administration made up of Texans, who want their own private Texas-sized oil well in the Middle East) and the naive (this is only about – mix ‘n match – the war on terrorism, enforcing UN resolution x, WMDs, installing democracy, saving Iraqi children, or the President’s megalomaniacal fixation on the demise of the guy who tried to kill his dad), is the truth that one of the drivers for this war is indeed oil. Read more
A roundtable between Jay DeFrank, Greg Stene, Denny Wilkins and myself.
It begins with Matt Taibbi’s column in New York Press.com this morning: “Cleaning the Pool: The White House Press Corps politely grabs its ankles.” You really need to read this first.
So Dr. Denny Wilkins, our friend and colleague at St. Bonaventure University (no connection to the basketball program, by the way), sends the column along, and it touches off a little exchange involving him, Greg Stene, Col. Jay DeFrank (that’s Dr. Col. DeFrank, actually, Director of Press Operations, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs – in layman’s terms, that makes him director of Media Relations for the Dept. of Defense), and myself. I’ve collated these e-mails into what I hope will be a semi-coherent blog.
Greg: Truly an excellent piece. Representing reality as it is, unfortunately. Read more
Time for a quiz.
Q1: You’re charged with murder. Who would rather have defending you?
A: The best lawyer in town, the guy who graduated top of his class, nailed the bar exam first try, and can’t remember the last time he lost a case.
B: The guy who partied all the time, was just barely bright enough to get by, and who’s only practicing now because his father is a senior partner at the biggest firm in the state?
Q2: You’ve just been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition and you need surgery. Do you want your surgery to be performed by: Read more
Sometimes the important stuff goes down via e-mail. Greg Stene and I have been having a pretty good back forth over the pending war, and what you have below is one of the e-mail exchanges. I apologize that things are picking up in medias res, but you can sort of infer what has been said by who and when.
Sam: Apologies, in advance, for the forthcoming rant. No offense intended, despite the strident issues I take with your argument.
I think you are dead right about the value of force as a tool of diplomacy. But I think, as I have noted, that this case [Iraq] simply doesn’t meet the criteria. It doesn’t address the stated issues at all, period. Read more