Tuesday, April 22, 2003
The rapid onset of a vicious flu bug prevented any weekend posting on an Internet that seemed curiously empty of people. Perhaps a generalized revulsion of too much information and noise has set in amidst the plugged in.
I certainly wanted to post something after reading nearly identical page one fan letters to Donald Rumsfeld in Sunday’s New York Times and Washington Post following a week of unprecedented American media manipulation geared toward solidifying the Bush administration preferred war perceptions.
In newspapers bereft of more encompassing Iraqi warfare coverage excepting the omnipresent and monocular embedded “diaries”, the Post was still able to categorically state, "Rumsfeld stands tall after victory," while the Times said, “After the war, new stature for Rumsfeld." due to “swift victory in Iraq, with relatively low casualties.”
Now I may experience some fever induced delirium as my flu battle rages but I fail to grasp how the fight described as the “war to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction” can be said to be victorious when those same weapons have yet to be found in a land potentially more devastated by our heavy handed technological swiftness.
Mr. Bush should emulate the courage of American troops and boldly state his belief in victory and stop hiding behind the cowardice of surrogate statements and Mr. Rove’s endless polling. Warning bells sound when our glorious mainstream American press make definitive statements based on limited and usually fed information that really should be quotations from policy makers or impartial 3rd parties with real access to hard information.
Does the word “cakewalk” and the lawyerly waffling regarding claims to its paternity ring a bell?
I’m of the opinion, anyway, that the “if “ and “when” of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction are one of those rabbit chases postulated by the bespeckled corporate pharmaceutical executive who has “seized all of Washington's means of communication”, according a Times that still admiringly mixes a few brambles with the laurel.
A recent disturbing conversation with a military medical source suggests the United States government is hiding the actual numbers of American wounded by diverting medical flights from Germany to Italy and Greece and away from the media’s selective cameras.
Another unchased rabbit, tantalizingly hinted in a range of superb battlefield reporting, should be on the creative shoestring Iraqi tactics that did initially stymie our overwhelming might. Hints, such as the coordinated Republican Guard use of cell phones to coordinate artillery fire and other unconventional or guerilla tactics, have remained unexplored. These hints are as critical to the successful future fight against terrorism as they are dangerous to the successful completion of the Bush political agenda.
I pray the Army and Marine generals whose jugulars are scheduled for a SecDef political gnawing fight back with the same recently displayed courage of their soon to be forgotten troops.
The largest number of POW’s, so celebrated over this past weekend, were taken by the enemy during a supply chain weakness while possible unconventional Iraqi tactics, involved in the Apache downing and the two Warrant Officers’ capture, certainly bears closer examination.
I continue to be disturbed that the Marine Combat 1 Commander can be removed from his battlefield commission to vanish on a chopper ride back to Kuwait. This event, certainly, owes its testimony to History.
Throughout this weekend amid the wide smiles of the returning POWs there was one whose smile was brief and infrequent.
Even Sunday, as President Bush repeatedly squeezed his arm and patted his back, Chief Warrant Officer David Williams could not give America and George Bush’s leadership the politically desired benison of a happy ending smile. This young man like all the other POWs and many returning young soldiers witnessed and participated in military actions that will affect the rest of their lives at the order of the President. The noble sacrifice of youthful innocence by these soldiers deserves more than their calculated use in a political drama to secure that same President’s agenda and reelection.
High ranking elements of our United States government have a very large stake in obscuring supply chain difficulties and the clever on the cheap Iraqi tactics that did (according to an honest read of most embedded reports) stymie, however briefly, the plan that Mr. Rumsfeld was so loath to lay claim to prior to the start of the past week’s "swift victory" media juggernaut.
As these politicians and their media advisors purposely blur costly issues of war and government restructuring with the emotions surrounding the returning POWs, America’s issues have taken a back seat to the political goals of the Bush administration. I have sadly thought, because of the complete and dangerous capitulation of the mainstream media, that the real story of Iraq II might only come out slowly through conversations between soldiers, family members and friends as Afghan war stories did during the last years of the Soviet Union. Will CWO Williams and the rest of America still have a happy ending smile in a year or so?
The Bush administration and certain elements of the military have a large political investment in Mr. Rumsfeld’s restructuring and the domestic United States perception of the war. As the advocates this is certainly their right but if America is to remain American through this “war on terra” other voices than those of the administration and their surrogates have got to be heard through the masterfully orchestrated and very unamerican popular din.
It’s the American way.
Photos: Reuters, USNews