Friday, May 26, 2006

Sorry Doesn't Walk The Dog! Sorry Doesn't Spread The Mustard!

Read it in the NYTimes:

President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, two leaders badly weakened by the continuing violence in Iraq, acknowledged major misjudgments in the execution of the Iraq war on Thursday night even while insisting that the election of a constitutional government in Baghdad justified their decision to go to war three years ago....

But in an unusual admission of a personal mistake, Mr. Bush said he regretted challenging insurgents in Iraq to "bring it on" in 2003, and said the same about his statement that he wanted Osama bin Laden "dead or alive." Those two statements quickly came to reinforce his image around the world as a cowboy commander in chief. "Kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people," Mr. Bush said. "I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner." He went on to say that the American military's biggest mistake was the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, where photographs of detainees showed them in degrading and abusive conditions. "We've been paying for that for a long period of time,"

Yes, we have. And rightly so. Call me a weak-kneeded liberal if you will, I practically invite you to do so. Our actions at Abu Ghraib were reprehensible and inexcusable. Our actions at Guantanamo, for that matter, have been similarly reprehensible.

I understand full well the need to "specially interrogate" certain prisoners. What I do not understand, endorse, or tolerate, is the rampant abuse of power and of low-threat prisoners for fun/photo-ops.

It is nice to see that Bush understands taunting murderous terrorists to try again might not be the safest/best/sanest thing in the world to do.

....Mr. Blair tried to focus on the current moment, saying that he had heard the complaint that "you went in with this Western concept of democracy, and you didn't understand that their whole culture was different." With a weak smile, he suggested to Mr. Bush that those who voted in Iraq had amounted to "a higher turnout, I have to say — I'm afraid to say I think — than either your election or mine."

Well, Mr. Blair, it's impossible to deny the painful truth of that observation. We bold champions of democracy don't seem all that concerned about the exercising of our civic duties.

On a final note, can we agree to stop editorializing in these sorts of news stories? This article's author slathers on the 'descriptive' details until we're browbeaten into accepting a 'tone' for this press conference. To wit:

....Speaking in subdued, almost chastened, tones....Mr. Bush said, his voice heavy with regret....The news conference, in the formal setting of the East Room, was notable for the contrite tone of both leaders....

Having seen portions of the conference, I'm disinclined to read any chastened tones, heavy regret, or contriteness there. Those sorts of emotional modifiers have no place in a news story of this kind. Leave the skewing of opinion to the blogosphere.


At 2:37 AM, Anonymous Hattie said...

That's our job, to skew and spin. And we're damn good at it, too. A glass of wine or two really rev it up.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Amen to that.

Nothing like writing rants while half-sauced on Jack Daniels.


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