Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Washington Post With Egg on its Editorial Face

Ignorance is bliss. Sounding as if it were ghost-written for the Post editorial board (as indeed it may have been) by Robert Kagan, their neocon-attack-dog-in-reserve, the piece had its own  excesses of cynical mockery. He (it, they) continues,

Vladimirputin In a stunningly ignorant editorial, Message for Mr. Putin, the Washington Post lays out what can only be characterized as an adolescent rant, thusly;
IN THE PAST few days, the anti-Western rhetoric of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which had been rising in pitch for several months, has reached Soviet levels of shrillness. He accused the United States of "imperialism" and "diktat" and threatened to target Europe with new Russian weapons. In an interview with foreign journalists, he cynically mocked Western democracy, saying that U.S. "torture, homelessness, [and] Guantanamo" and Europe's "harsh treatment of demonstrators" have left him as the only "absolute and pure democrat" in the world.
Robertkagan Ignorance is bliss. Sounding as if it were ghost-written for the Post editorial board (as indeed it may have been) by Robert Kagan, their neocon-attack-dog-in-reserve, the piece had its own  excesses of cynical mockery. He (it, they) continues,
If the Cold War were still on, Western leaders would probably find it relatively easy to rebuff such barbs at today's summit of industrialized democracies in northern Germany. But this is a different era, and Mr. Putin himself will attend the summit, a member of a club -- the Group of Eight -- in which he clearly doesn't belong. His presence should remind the other seven members of how much has gone wrong in Moscow since they decided in 1998 to offer Russia membership in the hope that it was evolving into a liberal democracy. It should also give them the opportunity to make clear to Mr. Putin that his belligerence will not return his country to great-power status.
Ah for those good old days of Cold War, when rebuffs were easier. The trouble with this kind of wounded-bird editorializing is that it is so easily made ironic. His (Bush’s) presence should remind the other seven members of how much has gone wrong in Washington, Iraq, Britain, Europe, North Korea, Iran, Lebanon, Syria et al, since the Bush presidency. On a scale of 1-10, the Putin disruptions to world peace and prosperity might rate a 2, compared to Bush’s solid 8 or 9.
In recent days the Kremlin's tone has become so blatantly propagandistic that some observers believe it is driven entirely by domestic politics.
Is it possible that the Washington Post, dedicated as it is to the craft of language, fails to see the irony in that statement?
Bushklaus Stopping over in Prague to try and put a kindly face on the imposition of a radar base that is resoundingly (70%) opposed by Czechs, President Bush declaimed,
"In Russia, reforms that once promised to empower citizens have been derailed, with troubling implications for democratic development."
Irony is apparently not reserved to the Post, as Bush has all but single-handedly trashed habeas corpus and individual rights to privacy, politicized virtually all agencies of federal government and unilaterally pulled the United States from treaties agreed by the Congress but personally abhorrent to himself. Pandering to his religious base, he ignored the strictures between church and state, while driving the country to divisive extremes never before seen in America.
Talk about your troubling implications.
Johnbolton Dragged kicking and screaming to the G-8 conference, the president has decided the best defense is a strong offense. Yet the crux of the current impasse has been a long time coming, as the administration stomped its way throughout the world with muddy boots. Bolton at the U.N. and Wolfowitz at the World Bank are just the most egregious examples.
Rumsfeld_2 The administration has utterly failed to make plain and build the case for radar and missile bases in Europe—or anywhere else, for that matter. The claim that our goal is to save Europe from Iranian aggression is simply laughable. The suspicion that these installations are outriders of Donald Rumsfeld’s failed (but scary) Star Wars program is unavoidable in the face of such a claim. If we meant what we said, these installations would be on the Iran-Israel border instead of the heart of Europe.
No wonder Russia is nervous and China as well. We seldom put someone else’s shoe on our foot, yet if Vladimir Putin busily and smilingly coerced an agreement from Canada to install radar and missile shields in Toronto, I suspect America would be outraged.
Bushputin1 Had Russia waded into the Middle East as we have, in reaction to Chechen terrorists (no doubt allied with al-Qaeda), spreading destabilization within an already unstable area, we would have gone wild-eyed with criticism. Had they done that by drawing around them the allies of their bad old Cold War days, we’d have been additionally frantic.
Perhaps—just perhaps—had Putin complicated those transgressions by publicly humiliating us over our shortcomings in housing our homeless, educating our illiterate, caring for our mentally ill, providing health care for our 45 million uninsured, exacerbating the ever wider division between our haves and have-nots and creating a systemic program of paying off our legislators—they might then have poisoned the spirit of bonhomie at the G-8.
Putindacha Deprecatingly, Putin might have invited Bush to his personal dacha to hear Vladimir's wisdoms and avail himself of a more proper path to the governance of America. Somewhere, some time, a ring might have been kissed, absolution asked and given.
The ignorance and arrogance of George Bush, now wholeheartedly joined in the effort by whoever decides editorial position in the increasingly irrelevant Washington Post, is simply stunning.
There was a time in our venerable newspaper history when rags were known as rags and serious journalism inhabited the pages of such publications as the Washington Post and New York Times. Alas, those days have fallen to the balance sheet. Which would be great if that presumed a political balance.
If our newspapers continue to fall victim to the quarterly profit and if advertisers and stockholders continue to use that vulnerability as a wedge between partisan politics and investigative journalism, they will become no more than entertainment venues. Not flashy and cutting-edge enough to survive in that market, they’ll go down the tubes. Perhaps that’s where they’re headed in any case. Certainly even classified automobile ads are better accessed on the Net.
Danapriest1 It’s no accident that major exposés follow the pattern of Dana Priest’s excellent work on Walter Reed Hospital (where there are no profit structures) and the Jack Abramoff payoffs (where there are no willing advocates).
But what have we from any major paper on the offenses within the pharmaceutical industry? Who takes on the credit-card, chemical or oil industries? Who dares to criticize the health-care conglomerate?
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
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