Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I regret to inform you...

On the way to work today, I heard Jerry Springer can the right wing tactic of setting up a straw man to knock down. "The liberals," they say, "want the terrorists to win." The liberals do this, the liberals do that, creating a false representation of what a liberal is that they can then tear down with all that ignorant self-righteous anger pent up inside.

Springer rightly assailed the tactic, arguing that there isn't a single liberal in the country who would say such a thing. Of course not! Liberals want to win against terrorism, but liberals say we can do it smarter. Bravo!

Later, during my lunch break, I heard a "Best of Al Franken" show with guest George Packer, who recently wrote a story for The New Yorker, "The Home Front: A soldier’s father wrestles with the ambiguities of Iraq." Packer said that Bush doesn't want to hear any news of failure or complications in Iraq. His conversations with advisors are benign and untroubled. Unlike Johnson, who stayed up late at night waiting for body counts, the Bush administration thinks that the right way to win a war is to leave the details to other people, to stay on a positive note, to repeat the message of victory ... to ignore the Americans dying over there.

All the while, the scene has been replayed over and over again, to date, 1783 times. From Packer's New Yorker article:

Frosheiser met the lieutenant colonel outside the building and invited him in, hoping it was all a mistake, and they briefly made small talk in the living room. Frosheiser went to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. When he returned, the lieutenant colonel suddenly stood at attention: "I regret to inform you that your son Kurt was killed as a result of action in Baghdad."

Packer found the Bush administration lacking in honesty, even to themselves, of the reality of the situation in Iraq:
"We all have doubts all the time," [Richard] Perle said. "We don’t express them, certainly not in a public debate. That would be fatal." Expressing doubts in public would empower opponents. In public, Perle himself essentially said, "I told you so." Soon after the invasion, he told a French documentary filmmaker, "Most people thought there would be tens of thousands of people killed, and it would be a long and very bloody war. I thought it would be over in three weeks, with very few people killed. Now, who was right?" As the war became longer and bloodier, Perle was still right, but in a different way: If only ten thousand Iraqi National Congress members had gone in with the Americans as he had wanted, if only Ahmad Chalabi had been installed at the head of an interim government at the start, all these problems could have been avoided. None of the war’s architects publicly uttered a syllable of self-scrutiny. ...

"It’s not accidental that President Bush, during the campaign, couldn’t answer the question whether he ever made a mistake. I’ve never seen those folks say they were wrong. ... Johnson was a tragic figure. He was driven by the imperative not to lose the war. He knew he couldn’t win. Bush is Johnson squared, because he thinks he can win. Bush is the one true believer, a man essentially cut off from all information except the official line."

My message of support to WSMB 1350 AM for making the change to Air America format:
Thank you! Thank you for the Air America format change. Thank you for giving New Orleans an alternative to the bile and venom spewed over the airwaves by self-promoting, right-wing talk radio hosts. Democracy can't survive the poisoning of minds to indefinitely. Americans are dying, literally, for a home where reasonable minds can engage in civil discussion. I applaud your vision and courage in making such a bold move.

Once again, I can hardly believe that it took so long to get an alternative voice out there on the radio to combat the freakshow of wingnuts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Show your support of the WSMB Air America format as well by contacting WSMB. It's important!


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