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April 30, 2004
Fighting the last war, or maybe the one before that
The Treasury Department agency entrusted with blocking the financial resources of terrorists has assigned five times as many agents to investigate Cuban embargo violations as it has to track Osama bin Laden's and Saddam Hussein's money, documents show.
Story. (Hat tip: Gil G.)
Krugman opens his column with a quote from Orwell:
"We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."
(A parenthetic aside--it's ironic that the most vocal, self-proclaimed heirs to Orwell's throne so perfectly illustrate the self-delusional thinking he dissected. Memo to Andrew Sullivan: the point of 1984 was not to argue that the manipulation of language in pursuit of a political agenda is a good thing.)
So they lied to us; what else is new? But there's more at stake here than the administration's credibility. The official story line portrayed a virtuous circle of nation-building, one that could eventually lead to a democratic Iraq, allied with the U.S. In fact, we seem to be faced with a vicious circle, in which a deteriorating security situation undermines reconstruction, and the lack of material progress adds to popular discontent. Can this situation be saved?
Graphic photographs showing the torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners in a US-run prison outside Baghdad emerged yesterday from a military inquiry which has left six soldiers facing a possible court martial and a general under investigation.
I think some people owe Kos an apology. (Link.)
April 29, 2004
Contrary to the public interest
NewsBlues.com is reporting [no free link] that Sinclair Broadcast Group has ordered its ABC-affiliated stations not to carry tomorrow's "Nightline," which will air the names and photos of soldiers who have been killed in combat in Iraq.
Link. Hat tip to reader Michael H.
Vietnam on crack
Just go read Billmon.
Hearts and minds
Way to go, guys:
American soldiers at a prison outside Baghdad have been accused of forcing Iraqi prisoners into acts of sexual humiliation and other abuses in order to make them talk, according to officials and others familiar with the charges.
What he said
Other than Ted Kennedy's "quagmire" remark, I'd honestly have to contend that the main reason public opinion on the war is declining is because the situation on the ground is deteriorating. The old defense/counterargument to the realities of the Iraq war went something like this: "Sure, they blew up a hotel, but at least there was a hotel there to blow up! And there are 25% more hotels now than there were when Saddam was in power!"
Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing a little more repenting in the streets, myself. But it'll never happen--they'll just keep pouring out entire bottles of perfume, hoping against hope that it will mask the stench of failure.
Confidential to Brooklyn dog owners
If you need a kennel for your dog, I can recommend a great one. They've lost some steady clients lately by attrition--people moving out of the city and so on, as I'm about to do--and given how great they've been to my dog, I'd love to steer some new business their way. Email me if you want more info. (I believe they pick up in Manhattan as well.)
I'm seeing a lot of, you will forgive the expression, chatter...about John Kerry and how his candidacy is already doomed, doomed I tell you, doomed.
Of course, a lot of it is coming from the same people who were nattering on last year about Iraq's WMD's and the joy with which our troops would be greeted, so you have to take it for what it's worth.
Look, Kerry's obviously not a perfect candidate. But, come on. He's up against a guy who can barely stumble his way through a single coherent sentence, let alone a complete press conference. And frankly, any of the leading Democrats would be getting this treatment right now. If Howard Dean were still the frontrunner, we'd be hearing endless commentary on his lack of experience, not to mention that uncontrollable temper of his. If John Edwards had won, the airwaves would be full of blather about trial lawyers--not to mention his lack of experience.
But despite how terribly Kerry is supposedly doing, he's still running neck and neck with Bush in the polls.
There's a long road ahead before the election. Right now the Republicans are just trying to throw out as much crap as possible to see what sticks.
The President is ready...
April 28, 2004
Disorder and Dreams in (Country in the News)
Create your own Thomas Friedman Op Ed (from McSweeney's):
Last week's events in [country in the news] were truly historic, although we may not know for years or even decades what their final meaning is. What's important, however, is that we focus on what these events mean [on the ground/in the street/to the citizens themselves]. The [media/current administration] seems too caught up in [worrying about/dissecting/spinning] the macro-level situation to pay attention to the important effects on daily life. Just call it missing the [desert for the sand/fields for the wheat/battle for the bullets].
Remember all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over Jayson Blair and how his transgressions were all due to the evils of affirmative action?
Well, Leonard Pitts, Jr. does.
It's been nearly four months since the scandal broke. Four months since Jack Kelley, star foreign correspondent for USA Today, was found to have lied his way through his professional life for the past 13 years. He lied about where he had been, what he had seen, who he had talked to, what they had said. He lied so much I'm only half convinced ''Jack Kelley'' is his real name.
April 27, 2004
Confidential to the DNC
You really need to pay attention to the suggestion at the bottom of this post.
Speaking of military records
Truly bizarre that the Bush campaign keeps trying to make Kerry's military record an issue. Some perspective from Salon:
The story keeps changing. And regardless of what the White House says about George W. Bush and his time in the Texas Air National Guard, journalists tend to accept the explanation. I can't. The president of the United States is lying to hide his behavior while he was a young pilot during the Vietnam War, and he has almost taken away reporters' ability to get the whole story. Unfortunately, the national media have other distractions, and they apparently don't think the Guard story is important enough to warrant additional effort. I think they are wrong.
April 26, 2004
Just in case you missed this
Karen Hughes equates pro-choice with pro-terrorism.
Another happy Monday
And I mean that with only partial irony. But I've got to focus on cartoon-related program activities today, so the usual disclaimer applies: probably not much new here, unless there is. A couple quick notes--first, I want to extend a warm welcome to this site's first official sponsor, katemckinnon.com--the ad and link are over to your left, below the nav buttons. There's also a link over there to a t-shirt design contest I'll be helping judge, along with Atrios and Milton Glaser and Chip Kidd--go click through for details. And finally, I owe thanks to a reader who also happens to work at Citibank, who's helping me to sort that mess out.
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