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April 08, 2004

Chris Allbritton is still doing a fine job of bringing us actual journalism on the subject of Iraq. Today's faxed flyer seems to be a sort of call for the end of the current round of violence.

What I want is for the DoD to stop giving things stupid names. Trying to come up with a succession of noble-sounding tags for each offensive is on a par with the rest of the mealy-mouthed euphemisms the military uses to try and make war sound less like the sort of thing likely to blind, decapitate, cripple, or kill human beings.

There's blood, okay? Guts. Body parts fly around in pieces. People scream. People die. Can we quit pretending it's clean and dignified and all really rather fine?

Pisses me off.

Via Digby, I found a story on The American Street that hurts to read. The original and complete posts are available on the soldier's blog.

People bitch that those of us against the war aren't supporting the troops. That's not true, but even if it was, it wouldn't be half as bad as people who are prosecuting the war not supporting the troops.

I don't usually read Buzzflash but occasionally I do go over and take a look at the headlines.

I really can't decide if the following teaser for unconfirmed story crosses the line or not.

Completely Unsubstantiated Rumor: 130 American Soldiers Killed in Recent Battles. But with the GOP "Censor the Truth" Operatives and Much of the Iraq Combat "Sealed Off," You Know the Death Toll is Larger Than 12 Marines. Maybe not 130. 4/7

I dunno.

On the other hand, this Forbes story seems to have more basis in fact.

U.S. terrorism policy spawns steady staff exodus

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has faced a steady exodus of counterterrorism officials, many disappointed by a preoccupation with Iraq they said undermined the U.S. fight against terrorism.

Former counterterrorism officials said at least half a dozen have left the White House Office for Combating Terrorism or related agencies in frustration in the 2 1/2 years since the attacks.

The cautious part of my brain wants to know if 6 departures in 2-1/2 years is really extraordinary. On the face of it, it doesn't really sound like it, but some of the interview comments put it in a more serious perspective.

"If you take the (White House) counterterrorism and Middle East offices, you've got about a dozen people ... who came to this administration wanting to work on these important issues and left after a year or often less because they just don't think that this administration is dealing seriously with the issues that matter," he said.

Andrew is making a lot of sense on school vouchers and, not surprisingly, teaching me a lot more about them as he goes.

Presidents and Prime Ministers in life and in fiction. Interesting contrast. Maybe British television leans toward absurdist PMs because they have more of a history and experience of outstanding statesmen in office than we do? When we want to be entertained by absurdity in office, we just open the newspapers.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:38 AM


Don't hold your breath waiting for military ops to have names that reflect the reality of war. I've been complaining that Memorial Day parades should have at least one float dedicated to the psycho nightmare of war and the pain of the people left behind but that's not going to happen either. It's Hemingway all the way and it stinks.

Posted by: eRobin at April 8, 2004 01:15 PM

The "Alamo is Overrated" posting is indeed remarkable writing, though if you read enough wartime narratives, that kind of panic, disorder and abandonment is, unfortunately, common. It's a terrible situation, which is [I told you so moment] why some of us supported better preparation and less militarized solutions.

My favorite bit (odd, but it's what stands out) was her acknowledgement that as a woman she is not eligible for the combat badges which men under those conditions earn, even though she was armed, under fire and doing her job with great courage and skill. Truly absurd.

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at April 8, 2004 09:07 PM

eRobin, if parades memorializing our war dead were actually reflective of war, people couldn't take their kids. Won't happen.

Or, like wossname's latest movie, the floats would become exercises in excess, with the point being more to outdo the previous float than to be true to life (so to speak).

Posted by: Anne at April 9, 2004 09:58 AM

Jonathan - Not surprisingly, the part that stood out to me was the brief outburst about how religious fundamentalists always base their power on the idea of repressing women - that when such men think they have "their" women "under control" then they strut around smugly, preening themselves on their accomplishments. (I'm paraphrasing liberally.)

And I remember the bit about how a colleague cleaned her gun for her one night - she said it was self-preservation on his part because she was a better shot.

Posted by: Anne at April 9, 2004 10:01 AM