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August 28, 2005 - The Oxbow Incident in Iraq?

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World's Laziest Journalist

August 29, 2005

By Bob Patterson


[Recently one of the regular readers of the WLJ column sent us a copy of Mark Steyn's column about the "Peace Mom" and asked us for our comments.  We will "step out of character" for this week's World's Laziest Journalist column and respond directly to a fellow SPHS class of '61 graduate, who has know us for about forty-seven years.  Since the conservatives use smirking sarcastic humor to refute points from the liberal Mainstream Media, we will follow suite with some snide remarks in boxed parenthesis.  We'll try to provide fact checkers with as much academic-style documentation as we can, but extensive documentation would require some time in a library and deadlines can't wait for such time consuming tasks.  We'll do the best we can with the time we have before we ship this column off to Just Above Sunset world headquarters for inclusion in the August 29, 2005 issue.]


Steyn starts off by archly quoting Maureen Dowd about the "moral authority" of parents and reacting thus: "Really?"


Steyn, referring to the American casualties, says "they're not children in Iraq, they're grown-ups…".  He then mentions thirteen-year olds getting an abortion and wonders if parents should be involved in that decision.  Don't conservatives believe that parents do have the right to know about their children's involvement in any abortion procedures?  Isn't it the peacenik Democrats who say that it's the pregnant person's decision?   He then mentions something about a young lady having consensual sex with a well-known politician.  Wasn't it the conservatives who thought she was just a tad too young (but over the age of consent) to make her own decision?  Can a fact checker with a computer run a fast check and see if any 18, 19, or 20 year old members of the armed services have been killed in Iraq?  Could the conservatives please be consistent?  Was an over eighteen-year-old intern old enough to participate in consensual activities or was she not?  Is consensual sex a more important decision than joining the armed forces?


[Steyn has adroitly sidestepped the question about the possibility that the smart bombs inadvertently killed some Iraqi kids.  A clever conservative talk show host would counter that by asking this columnist to provide the name of three Iraqi kids who have suffered that fate.  That's a standard conservative ploy: they always ask anyone who refutes the conservative contentions to always be specific and provide three well documented examples.  Other than Ann Frank, can they name three people who died in the holocaust?]


Steyn then says he has received e-mails from soldiers in Iraq and asserts that they are more mature than the aforementioned New York Times columnist. 


[Expecting columnists to be mature is unfair.  Heck, my role models are Hunter Thompson and chef Teddy Owen, so we have to concede that point.]


Steyn then portrays the "anti-war crowd's purposes" as being aimed at stopping the Bush administration from exploiting the soldiers because they (the soldiers) are "poor confused moppets."  The implication is that they are old enough and well informed enough to make a decision. 


[Heck, I don't condone bait and switch at an appliance store, but as far as promising kids Fun-Travel-Adventure is concerned, don't many conservative communities hold parents financially responsible for vandalism done by juveniles?  Apparently, members of the Bush team believe it is okay to use dirty tricks to manipulate (and deceive) voters, but they would never, ever do that to someone about to graduate from high school and considering a career in the military.]


Steyn notes that some unnamed "leftie" wants to dub Mrs. Sheehan "Mother Sheehan."  [Could he please be specific and give us three examples of such attempts?]


On Friday August 19, 2005, Rush Limbaugh reported that Ms. Sheehan had left Crawford to go visit her mom, who had just suffered a stroke.  The mother was in the hospital in Southern California.  Rush delivered the information as if he were about to break into tears, but couldn't restrain himself (and his control room guy?), and fumbled around on the fringe of some quickly stifled laughter.  Obviously they weren't laughing at her.  One must assume that they were laughing with the family. 


Steyn then castigates Ms. Sheehan for saying "America has been killing people on this continent since it was started."  Any fact checker worth his salt would point out that it was not until the Aryans arrived in North America that they began to say "the only good Indian is a dead Indian."  When the native Americans were offered the land in middle America as a peace gesture, they didn't like it when the terms had to be renegotiated after it was discovered that the Black Hills were loaded with gold.


Steyn then goes on to combining toppling Saddam and the Taliban into one topic.


[When General Custer was killed, did the Great White Father in Washington send troops to seek justice by going after Cochise, Geronimo, and Sitting Bull?  Wasn't it Crazyhorse who fought at the Little Big Horn and didn't he pay the price for that?]


What can you do when the leader makes a bad call?  Was there really an embedded news reporter with General Custer? 


Steyn then takes a condescending moral tone about Air America and "its own financial scandals."  Have to give him points there.  If folks involved in Silverado, Broward Savings & Loan, Arbusto Engergy, Spectrum 7, and the seized oil wells of Harken oil don't know about financial shenanigans, then who does?  Surely that is a classic example of "it takes one to know one."


The Sheehan divorce is, Steyn says, an apt metaphor for the condition the Democratic Party at this time.


Steyn then wraps it all up and predicts "most Americans will not follow where she has gone."  He lumps together "anti-Bush, anit-war, anti-Iraq, anti-Afghanistan, anti- Israel, and anti-American paranoia" into one catchall category for all folks sympathizing with Ms. Sheehan.


Does Steyn really mean to say that to be anti-Iraq one must also be "anti-Afghanistan?" [Were all Native Americans the same?  I've read that the Cheyenne tribe had women warriors and the Sioux relegated women to the "barefoot in Winter and pregnant in Summer" level of existence.]  Isn't this "package deal" concept a bit retroactive?  Must someone who is pro American also concomitantly be pro Israeli? 


Steyn ends his column with a flourish indicating that every right thinking person will stand up and applaud his point of view, wildly. 


["We're just good patriotic Americans like yourself."  Hunter S. Thompson Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas page 39.]


Well, Charlie, since you asked; I'll tell you what I think.


Steyn opens up vast areas for consideration but he omits (through ignorance or clever oratorical legerdemain?) several pertinent questions.


It's great the way he limits the discussion to only the children of Americans who got killed there.  [If one invented a term to convey disdain for the residents of Iraq, would it be acceptable?  Is there such as term as "sand-gooks?"  Was the technology for the smart bombs originally developed at Peenemunde?]


Since Casey Sheehan cannot ask these questions, it can only be hoped that he went to his final resting place already knowing the answers or was not concerned by them:


Since 15 of the 18 terrorists involved in 9-11 were Arabs, why did Saddam become a greater threat than the Saudi regime?  The War with Iraq has driven the price of oil up.  The Saudi Royal family has benefited financially.  Osama is a Saudi.  Could the Saudi family have urged Dubya to "get that sonofagun" in Iraq for ulterior motives?


[I'm not saying anything whacko here like Michael Moore did in that Fahrenheit 9-11 movie.  After all the denials, didn't some news organization finally learn that members of the Saudi family were permitted to fly out of the USA during the ban on flying?  Did Prince Bandar have supper with Bush in the White House on the evening of September 12, 2001?  If he did, was he a pawn pushing some left wing media crap on the president?  Isn't it odd how some folks get "face time" with the president and others don't?]


When the U.S. went into Afghanistan to get the head of the organization that was responsible for 9/11, why did the fellow, who was the equivalent, for some, of a "fraternity brother" in the Carlyle Group, getaway?  Was it because of inept planning?  [Just like what would happen in Iraq?]  Was it luck?  Where those drone reconnaissance airplanes on strike?  If we went in to get one specific culprit, wouldn't those drones have kept him under close surveillance? Wasn't there some news footage that showed how the drone reconnaissance aircraft could pinpoint and target one specific car?


When Elliot Ness went after the Capone gang, did he spend much time going after John Dillinger?  Did he spend any time going after Charles "Lucky" Luciano?  Didn't the Chicago task force, run by Ness, focus on culprits who operated in the windy city? 


Rumsfeld is fond of quoting an old Al Capone line: "A kind word and a gun, will get you a lot further than the kind word alone."


Rumsfeld is not without charm and I believe that he could, with his wit and humor, meet with Mrs. Sheehan and do a great deal to disarm (a pun for the "flower power" hippies?) her wrath with a mixture of sympathy and fractiousness, but she is asking for a meeting with the president, not chummy Rummy.


George W. Bush has been described by Kitty Kelly (The Family page 541) thus: "He reveled in his bad-boy status, even introduced himself to Queen Elizabeth at a White House state diner as 'the family's black sheep.'  Stories about George W. Bush and his adolescent treatment of frogs have been bandied about. 


[Fact checkers:  go to some books, especially Mind Hunter, by FBI profiler John Douglas and see what psychologists say about what cruelty to animals by adolescents indicates.]


If folks are going to smear Cindy Sheehan because of a divorce, then what about Reinhard Heydrich?  According to the book Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth by Gitta Sereny, Heydrich was "by all accounts devoted to his children."  (page 325.)  Wouldn't he then, with a high regard for "family values," logically, be a much more acceptable (to the conservatives) spokesperson for the anti-war kooks? 


When Germany was preparing to invade Russia, their leader issued Directive No. 25, and took some time and resources for using the military to settle a personal grievance with Yugoslavia.  William Shirer gave this assessment (The Rise And Fall Of the Third Reich, page 825) of the delay: "This postponement of the attack on Russia in order that the Nazi warlord might vent his personal spite against a small Balkan country which had dared to defy him was probably the most catastrophic single decision in Hitler's career." 


[Would that be similar to a famous son doing something similar to "the guys who tried to kill my daddy?"] 


Could President Bush be disregarding advice to meet with Cindy Sheehan, not just to underscore his determination to stay the course, but also because he wants to prolong her discomfort?


What conclusions would a profiler offer if he/or she studied the president's personality and were asked about that particular aspect of the decision to decline a meeting.


There are some very media savvy folks offering Cindy Sheehan advice.  The conservative talk show hosts are quick to deride this bit of professional prompting.  On the other hand, isn't the president also getting advice from a specialist who seems to have no compunction about playing "dirty tricks" to manipulate the democratic process?  Some call him "Bush's Brain."  Isn't he more like Bush's Goebbles?


Aren't the folks in Cindy Sheehan's audience thinking adults, just like Casey?  Can these adults be easily manipulated by the media "spinners" and have their adult capacity for rational decision making, adversely affected so easily? 


I think that the longer Cindy Sheehan persists in seeking a meeting with the president, the more intense the efforts by (independent?) surrogates to smear her will become.  If you don't believe me just ask Ann Richards.


I think that the president is enjoying the dissension.  (At one point, there was an instance [can't say where, Charlie, but Aunt Dorothy remarked about it to me when she read it] where it was pointed out in the media, that Richard Nixon used to like to goad the anti-war kooks by raising both of his arms and using his hands to flash the V for Victory sign. Could this be a Bush version of that style of goading?)


When Richard Nixon was given the opportunity to implement his secret plan to end the war in Vietnam, he took longer doing it than FDR did to win WWII.  Nixon ran for president twice on the same promise.  "I can end the war in Vietnam."  As it turned out, it was Gerald Ford (the only man to serve as president who was never elected either president or vice-president) was president when Saigon fell.


Did the WWI Veterans who gathered in Washington for the Bonus Army ever get the money they were promised?  Did a guy named Douglas MacArthur make a name for himself when he booted his "brothers in arms" out of their encampment? 


For every Camp Cindy, won't there be a platoon of Bull Connors ready to roust them, when they get too much publicity?


[I've seen the Fleer surveillance tape from Waco.  I'm not an expert on machine gun fire, but it sure looked to me more like what I would expect machine gun fire to look like, rather than sunlight reflecting off mirrors.


The conservative talk show hosts haven't had much on television to praise.  If the local Texas police (with experience personnel from nearby Waco?) could move those folks out of camp Cindy, they could get some "stick time" and win a great deal of praise from the conservative couch commandos living the War in Iraq vicariously.]


What if Cindy Sheehan merely stood by the side of the road and held a sign quoting the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 26: verse 25:  "… speak forth the words of truth."


What do I think?  I think it's very odd that Christians who believe, as it advises in the Bible (Matthew 18:9, and/or Mark 9:47): "If thine eye offends thee, pluck it out."  It doesn't say if your eye offend thee, then chop the pinkie finger off your left hand.


We'll never know how WWII would have ended, if the Germans had not tarried with the invasion of Yugoslavia, but it seems that speculation that it might have turned out very different sounds logical.


President Bush said on Tuesday, August 22, 2005, that Cindy Sheehan's views are dangerous for the United States.  His decision not to heed the advice of some Republicans, who urged him to meet with her, might turn out to be as cynically devious as any other Karl Rove ploy has ever been.


Will the president blame any future casualties in Iraq on her?  She wants him to pull the troops out now.  He is adamant about staying the course.  My guess is that he will blame all the subsequent (after August 22, 2005) casualties on her as if she had made the decision to keep the troops in Iraq, from then on.  How would that reasoning be graded in a class on logic?


If Bush works the hawk crowd carefully he can now blame any future failure in Iraq on Cindy Sheehan, claiming she has stoked the fires of the insurgency by giving al Qaeda hope that they could win sympathy from the American public. 


With a scapegoat like that, he could probably use that to get enough leverage to win a third term in 2008, if only there weren't presidential term limits preventing that.  It seems to me that there has got to be somebody to blame for: the failure to get Osama, oil that sells for over $65 dollars a barrel, and the enduring insurgency in Iraq.  Blaming all that on a "Peace Mom" may seem a bit unfair, but they say "all is fair in war," so Cindy Sheehan came along at just the right time and George W. Bush will take maximum advantage of it. 






Copyright 2005 – Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com



Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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