reede, mai 07, 2004

Crazy Lady

Midge Decter:

This new scandal is no more than an election-season opportunity seized by certain serious opponents of the war, along with many more unserious opponents of the Bush administration.

Huh. And here I was thinking this new scandal was about soldiers abusing, violating, torturing, and possibly murdering prisoners. Silly me.

Keep in mind that this is, after all, a war, and that American troops have been almost unbelievably civilized — especially in light of the unspeakable things Iraqis have done and are doing to one another.

You can't have a conservative commentary on this situation without some good old-fashioned moral relativism. She seems to be missing the point that we're talking about the soldiers who aren't being unbelievably civilized here, not the ones who are.

Given the speed of all the apologies, what are those hoping to re-create the kind of public outcry that once greeted the revelations about the My Lai massacre — and hardened whatever hearts were left to harden against the war in Vietnam — now to do? The answer seems simple: Call for the head of Donald Rumsfeld.

The speed of the apologies. That came over a month after the report was completed, several months after the abuse was first reported, days after the story finally broke. The military gets caught abusing prisoners and we should be impressed that they apologized? I'd be more impressed if, you know, they had refrained from torturing prisoners in the first place. Maybe that's just me, though.

The president, it has been joyfully reported, admonished — the word used in several of the papers was "upbraided" — Rumsfeld.

Reported because it was fed to the press with Bush's approval. He wanted that story out there. Don't blame reporters for reporting it.

About the fact that though the secretary had reported to him on the nasty hazing the Iraqi prisoners had received at the hands of their guards, he had not shown Bush the photographs that were taken by the guards themselves.

Silly Bush. Getting angry at Rumsfeld for not giving him all of the information he had on the situation, even when he knew CBS was going to reveal the photos in a week. Who does Bush think he is? The commander-in-chief?

Now he is in the administration doghouse for failing to show the president the pictures of what was done to the prisoners, not to mention for having caused an irreparably bad odor among senators by failing to share with them the contents of interrogations that had not been completed yet.

Yes, that is why he's in the doghouse with the president. As well he should be. But he's in the doghouse with the Senate because he didn't tell them about a completed report on the abuse that was about to be unveiled on national television. Interrogations have nothing to do with anything.

Out of such kindergarten stuff is fabricated the latest, and most joyful, assault on one of the most capable public servants in living memory.

I think this is the exact moment where Decter slips into self-parody. "One of the most capable public servants in living memory" who didn't tell the president about, and didn't read, a report he knew was about to go public. Also, apparently, complaining about the abuse of prisoners and violating of laws by our soldiers is "kindergaten stuff" now.

This country was assaulted and went to war and may be at war for a long time, for the terrorists who are out to get us have found support and will be provided with ever more dangerous weapons in and by countries beyond Iraq.

Decter's right about this, although she does fail to mention that the terrorists never found support or received weapons from Iraq to begin with. Just a minor detail, really.

Should a desire to cut and run — which is the message logically contained in the continual light-minded assault on one of the most intelligent and steady-nerved public servants this country has seen in many a year — come to pass, the consequences will be felt for who knows how many generations.

"Most intelligent and steady-nerved..." heh. Yes. I can see how "fire Don Rumsfeld" is clearly code for "cut and run," rather than "stop letting soldiers stick chemical lights up prisoners' asses."

There's something very wrong with a world where this woman is allowed to write numerous books.

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