Sunday, June 1, 2008

May 31, 2008

I haven't read Scott McClellan's book yet, but I've seen so many yummy quotes that maybe I don't have to. "Waging an unnecessary war is a grave mistake," he writes. Well bleep, Scott, some of us have known that for years. He also acknowledges an "even more fundamental mistake--a decision to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed" Well, bleep again, Scott. Lying and cheating are bad, sure, but if you ask the families of the more than 4,000 Americans and 100,000 Iraqis who died in Mr. Bush's dumb war, I'll bet they'd say the war was a more fundamental mistake than the lies. Tears and coffins and all that, you know.

McClellan writes about a "culture of deception" and that's fair enough. He also says that Washington is now the home of the "permanent campaign...a game of endless politicking based on the manipulation of shades of truth, partial truth, twisting of the truth and spin. Government has become an appendage of politics rather than the other way around." Well, bleep again, Scott. A lot of us have known that for a good while too.

The truth is, of course, that all modern administrations--I'm not old enough to remember what Lincoln's time was like--have tried to manipulate the press, to get the story reported their way. I'm old enough, as you, Scott, are not--to remember Walter Cronkite, the CBS anchor, coming back from a visit to Vietnam and announcing that that war wasn't working well. "If I've lost Cronkite," President Lyndon Johnson is supposed to have said, "I've lost middle America." And the government told lies back then too. I remember sitting in a briefing room in Saigon one day, listening to the spokesman describe "human wave" attacks on a U. S. position. I happened to have been at that position and I asked the briefer why he didn't finish the sentence, which in fact read "human wave attacks by an estimated enemy platoon." That's about thirty-five guys--pretty small waves. A lot of reporters
covering that war wore badges reading, "Ambushed at Credibility Gap."

So it isn't new, but it probably is a little worse this time. Some who favored the Vietnam War really thought they were containing Communism. We lost, of course, but the wicked Commies discovered free markets and our countries are friendly now.

I never could figure why Bush invaded Iraq. To prove he was tougher than his father by knocking off Saddam? As good a guess as any. We'll never know and I'm not sure Mr. Bush does, but I do know a truth McClellan has come to very late--the war isn't...the war wasn't worth all those dead bodies.

Bleep, Scott, why'd it take you so long to figure that out?

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