2006/12/01

Silly, silly people

Rumsfeld received an award at the Union League tonight. Why? Who knows? The Union League apparently thought Rumsfeld was obviously doing a good job. So much for their good sense and discrimination.

UPDATE: The Philadephia Inquirer did a nice piece on the protest.

David Horowitz, who used to be a lefty radical back in the 1960s, but then "went bad" and turned conservative, sent out an appeal today:

"Simply put, Professor Beinin has set out to chill our free speech. He asserts that we've defamed him by putting his picture on our booklet, 'Campus Support for Terrorism.' That booklet's been out for more than a year."

The claim that this fellow would have for damages against Horowitz seems pretty self-evident, but I agree that waiting a year before launching the case seems a bit peculiar. My only claim to legal expertise is that my sister was a paralegal for a number of years and that we sometimes discussed a few legal cases here and there. My wild, off the top of my head guess is that because courts like to deal in solid, proven quantifiable facts, people probably wait until the damage to their reputations has been done, count up what the false accusation cost them and then, with a solid cost in hand, go to the courts for relief. According to my theory then, the plaintiff was confident after a year about just how much Horowitz's action cost him in terms of lost jobs, lost pay raises, people's refusal to hire him, etc. I say toss the book at Horowitz! He should pay enough to have to cancel his next vacation, perhaps enough to make him sell a yacht or two!

George Will, whose columns I remember reading back in the 1970s, is clearly experienced enough that this can't possibly be an error. Here's the original set of statements:

"At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.

"Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.

“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.

"Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t."

And now George Wills' version:

"When Bush asked Webb, whose son is a Marine in Iraq, 'How's your boy?' Webb replied, 'I'd like to get them [sic] out of Iraq.' When the president again asked 'How's your boy?' Webb replied, 'That's between me and my boy.' "

Completely absent from Will's version is Bush's arrogant, snippy, response to Webb's desire to bring US soldiers back home. "I didn't ask you that" comes across to me as an absolutely imperial disdain "How dare you question ME, your glorious Dear Leader, you peasant?!?!" Was it appropriate for Webb to inject politics into what appeared to be a friendly, non-political question? Perhaps not, but both of them are politicians, this sort of thing comes with the territory.
My real question here is not so much about Will himself, but the supposed difference between bloggers and people who write for mainstream media newspapers and TV. The alleged difference is supposed to be that MSM people are supposed to have editors who are supposed to catch stuff like this. When a writer is being blatantly dishonest and unfair, editos are supposed to, well, edit. As leaving out that snippet changes Bush's comment from one of imperial disdain to one where people wonder "What's Webb getting so excitable about?" an editor REALLY should have caught that!
Jacob Weisberg's piece in Slate is a reasonably good look at the Iraqi situation until we get to this part:

"As in the final stages of the Vietnam War, we face the question: If we have lost, why are we still there? One answer is that George Bush is a stubborn man—even this week, he was insisting we won't withdraw 'until the mission is complete'—an apparent synonym for 'when hell freezes over.' A better answer is that we're staying to prevent genocide. Without a military force separating Sunnis and Shiites, the present savagery could go Cambodian, with remaining secular democrats as the first victims."

Okay, the situation in Iraq has ALREADY gone "Cambodian." Maybe it hasn't reached those numbers of casualties yet, but there's simply no question that slaughter and torture and brutality are the daily fare of Iraqis. Are US troops preventing genocide? For US troops, simply protecting themselves is a full-time job. The great majority of the violence in that country is the violence of Iraqi insurgents against American soldiers or Iraqis who collaborate with the American occupation. Sorry, but US troops are not in Iraq to keep the two main religious groups apart and they aren't doing any such thing in any event. As in Cambodia 1975, the US simply has no power to prevent a massacre from taking place after US troops leave or are driven out.

DailyKos has more. "What, does [Weisberg] think the people of these nations will happily see their men and women in uniform sent into the Iraq meat grinder to try and save Bush's incompetent ass?"


Yglesias has a marvelous comment concerning Charles Krauthammer's latest nutty notion.

Glenn Greenwald examines NY Times columnist Tom Friedman: "It is still the case in Establishment Washington that having been pro-war in the first place is a pre-requisite to being considered a "responsible, serious" foreign policy analyst. And having been anti-war from the start is the hallmark of someone unserious. The pro-war Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are serious national security Democrats but Russ Feingold, Nancy Pelosi and Jack Murtha are the kind of laughable losers whom Democrats need to repudiate."

Very, very intriguing piece in which Sara Robinson compares reporters to the "Kewl Kidz and Queen Bees" of junior high school. These people haven't really changed since they were 11 and they WON'T change until the Democratic grown-ups take charge.

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