Just Above Sunset
May 16, 2004 - Good intentions and a little fudging on the résumé and people get all upset...

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CBS is reporting on an odd little item about some of leaders in Washington.  First these CBS folks prove they hate America by airing those prison abuse photographs on 60 Minutes and undercut our noble efforts in Iraq.  Remember this from Jonah Goldberg over at William F.  Buckley’s National Review?


Whoever leaked these pictures to the press was not doing anybody any favors.  Since the case was already being handled, the release of these pictures did more harm than good.  I don't blame 60 Minutes for running them - though I don't applaud them either.  But a person would/could be morally obligated to leak these pictures if the army was covering it up or refusing to investigate.  It doesn't sound like that was the case.  So releasing the photos isn't prodding the government to do the right thing, it's encouraging millions of Arabs to hate us.  That's not whistle-blowing, that's sabotage.


CBS is irresponsible, it seems. 

You want the best and the brightest running the show, folks who would never let these photos be disseminated. 

Well, who is running the show in Washington?  From a new CBS item -


Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Abell has a master's from Columbus University, a diploma mill Louisiana shut down.  Deputy Assistant Secretary Patricia Walker lists among her degrees, a bachelor's from Pacific Western, a diploma mill banned in Oregon and under investigation in Hawaii. 

CBS News requested interviews with both officials.  The Pentagon turned us down, saying, "We don't consider it an issue."

But using such a degree is a crime in some states.  Alan Contreras cracks down on diploma mills for Oregon, a state that's taken the lead on this issue. 

"You don't want somebody with a fake degree working in Homeland Security," says Contreras.  "You don't want somebody with a fake degree teaching your children or designing your bridges."

But we found employees with diploma mill degrees at the new Transportation Security Administration, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Departments of Treasury and Education, where Rene Drouin sits on an advisory committee.  He has degrees from two diploma mills including Kensington University. 


So what’s up with CBS?  Do they want the FCC to shut them down as a subversive organization?  Geez.  They seem to be trying to embarrass the important people who keep us safe. 

Of course, there is this view from Eric Alterman in his MSNBC daily column…


Let’s recap shall we?  We invaded a country that we now know posed no threat to us and enjoyed no connection whatever to those who did.  In order to do so, we pulled manpower and resources away from the job of protecting us and thereby made ourselves more vulnerable to the thousands of new enemies we created with our failed, dishonest invasion.  OK, what next?

How about we go through the nation we profess to be liberating, arrest a whole bunch of innocent people and then torture them — raping a few here, killing a few there.  What next?

Well, what do you say we continue to this for a year after the Red Cross alerts us both to the fact of the torture as well as the innocence of ”70% to 90% of prisoners detained in Iraq since the war began last year?”

I don’t know about you, but I’m having trouble understanding why, at minimum, the term “criminal negligence” is not being used here.  If Rumsfeld really is responsible, and he says he is, then he should not merely be fired, but tried.  I know it’s more than he’s willing to offer an American citizen like Jose Padilla but I’m in a generous mood.  This being the Bush presidency, however, he is instead congratulated.  You are doing a superb job.  You are a strong secretary of defense, and our nation owes you a debt of gratitude,” says the man who has just reached the lowest popularity point of his presidency.  I fear Mr. Orwell is looking more and more pollyanish every day. 

I do wonder what honest supporters of the war are telling themselves now.  There was no threat.  There was no planning for the occupation.  We are hated by the people who we professed to liberate and we have destroyed our reputation in the Arab world we were pretending to teach a lesson about democracy.  The Arab-Israeli peace process is in tatters and we are reduced to begging the very same United Nations we treated so contemptuously to bail us out of the mess we’ve created.  In the meantime, Americans are in the hundreds are being killed a year after the president proclaimed “Mission Accomplished” and we have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives to make neither ourselves nor the rest of the world any safer. 


Well, yes. 

But we meant well.  And check out those degrees on the wall! 

A sort of legal point: Can there be “criminal negligence” when Bush, Rumsfeld and the rest meant well?  Everyone makes mistakes now and then, even if they won’t ever admit that they might have made any mistakes at all. 

Don't good intentions matter?  Shouldn't good intentions count for something?  Can we shut down CBS now?

Not now. 


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