|Friday, March 26, 2004
10:08 - How big a rifle round do you use for a "character"?
I've been staying out of the whole Richard Clarke thing, because I know I can count on others to do a much better job of covering all the relevant details as soon as they're brought to light.
Lileks, for instance.
You wouldn’t know from today’s paper that he’d said these things. You would have only read an allusion to a “tape,” with no explication.
Probably this is why:
And MoveOn.org is still gleefully sending out urgently worded e-mails to its members:
As you may have heard, Richard Clarke, a former counter-terrorism advisor to Bush, and a registered Republican who has worked in every administration since Reagan, has exposed Bush's mishandling of 9/11 and the war on Iraq. In his book "Against All Enemies," Clarke does an amazing job of presenting the facts and connecting the dots. Instead of refuting Clarke's claims, the Bush Administration has launched a campaign of character assassination, hoping that the story will just go away.
We're committed to stopping that from happening by making sure that the American public hears Clarke's extraordinary comments. If we can raise $300,000 in the next few days, we can run a hard-hitting ad nationally that highlights his message.
Boy, I can't wait to see that little gem.
Whatever it takes, eh? To hear some people tell it, Bush is a greater threat to America than bin Laden ever was. And I've got to admit, if the only impressions of him that a person gets flow as hearsay from the quavering voices and rattling fingers of people who would be totally at home marching in the streets under giant papier-mâché oil barrels, it's pretty hard to get a good impression of the man. Normally I'd be able to trust the news media to give me an accurate representation of things, but these days-- perversely-- I feel like the news media is the enemy of the truth. Not because I disagree with it, but because it's so easily and repeatedly contradicted by facts, facts it should have-- if it had any legitimate claim at all to either impartiality or a commitment to reporting the whole story-- placed front and center, no matter what it might mean politically.
That's why blogs form such an unreasonably large portion of my diet lately: it's not that they provide me with discourse that I can count on not to say things I disagree with; that's a non-zero ingredient, but certainly not the only thing. It's because how else would we hear stuff like this?
"WE WANT DEMOCRACY LIKE THE OTHERS:" Here's some more evidence that the freeing of Iraq is sending ripples across the Arab world, to the discomfort of despots:
Kurdish residents claim the government responded to what they call peaceful protests with violence as an excuse to say Syria remains too unstable to introduce the kind of democratic reforms that are helping their brethren in Iraq.
"We want democracy like the others," said Hoshiar Abdelrahman, another young shopkeeper in Malikiya, 60 miles east of Qamishliye.
Many of those present had relatives and friends in northern Syria and were in cell-phone contact with them hour by hour. In and around the city of Kamishli, in the past few days, several dozen Kurdish protesters have been shot down by Baathist police and militia for raising the Kurdish flag and for destroying pictures and statues of the weak-chinned hereditary ruler, Bashar al-Assad. In tussling with local party goons who shout slogans in favor of the ousted Saddam, it is clear, they are hoping for a rerun of regime change.
It is early to pronounce, but this event seems certain to be remembered as the beginning of the end of the long-petrified Syrian status quo. The Kurdish population of Syria is not as large, in proportion, as its cousinly equivalent in Iraq. But there are many features of the Syrian Baath regime that make it more vulnerable than Saddam Hussein's. Saddam based his terrifying rule on a minority of a minority—the Tikriti clan of the Sunni. Assad, like his father, is a member of the Alawite confessional minority, which in the wider Arab world is a very small group indeed. Syria has large populations of Sunni, Druze, and Armenians, and the Alawite elite has stayed in power by playing off minorities against minorities. It is in a weak position to rally the rest of society against any identifiable "enemy within," lest by doing so it call attention to its own tenuous position.
And that's not all:
In Syria, and tomorrow in Iran, there are forces at work who intend to take these pronouncements with absolute seriousness. It would be nice if American liberals came out more forcefully and demanded that the administration live up to its own rhetoric on the question.
Yes, the Administration shouldn't chicken out now. The dominoes are teetering, and we should be giving them a shove.
Yes, those are links to big-media articles; but that's a function of blogs too: to scrape together crucial scraps of information that otherwise would get buried. It's not like you hear ongoing coverage on the evening news about Syria and Iran agitating for democracy, or people pointing out just how unequivocally Libya's surrender of its weapons programs and the cracking open of the Pakistan-based nuclear black market are tied directly to the fall of Saddam.
In short, Bush's plan is working. Or it's doing an excellent impression of working.
That, and the complete lack of logic (to say nothing of taste) exhibited by those who attack him out of what can only be mob-guided reflex action, make it hard for me to want to join in the chanting.
I'm attracted to sanity. Could be a character flaw, and maybe that means it'll get assassinated too. But what can I say? I'm helpless to resist.
It'll all end in tears, I'm sure of it...