April 30, 2004

The protein wisdom interview:  Ted Koppel

Yes, that's really my hair.  Like I haven't heard that one before...

ABC “Nightline” host Ted Koppel says he’s “surprised” anyone would think his special, “The Fallen,” is a ratings ploy or a political statement of some sort.

For 40 minutes tonight, Koppel will show the faces and read the names of American servicemen and women who have died in Iraq.

Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns 8 ABC affiliated stations in Ohio, Missouri, and some smaller markets, said it would not air the “Nightline” broadcast. The company’s memo said, “Despite the denials by a spokeswoman for the show, the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq.”

ABC’s response: “The ‘Nightline’ broadcast is an expression of respect which seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country. ABC News is dedicated to thoughtful and balanced coverage and reports on the events shaping our world with neither fear nor favor — as our audience expects, deserves, and rightly demands.”

Earlier this morning, protein wisdom spoke with Ted Koppel by telephone about the special and the pre-broadcast response to it. What follows is a partial transcript of that interview:

protein wisdom: “What do you think this special says that needs saying, Ted?”

Ted Koppel: “Just look at these people. Look at their names. And look at their ages. Consider what they’ve done for you. Honor them.”

protein wisdom: “Okay. But then why not just say, ‘Hello, I’m Ted Koppel, I honor those who’ve died defending my freedoms,’ then spend the next 39 minutes pointing out what a messianic, world-destroying demon George Bush is…?”

Ted Koppel: “Well, because this is a special.

protein wisdom: “Fair enough. On Wednesday, you were quoted in The New York Daily News as saying you were initially concerned that this program not make a political statement…”

Ted Koppel: “Not only initially, I still am. I don’t want it to make a political statement. Quite the contrary. My position on this is I truly believe that people will take away from this program the reflection of what they bring to it –”

protein wisdom: “– which for the typical ‘Nightline’ viewer is a visceral distrust of American military force and an abiding hatred of gun-toting hicks in camouflage — “

Ted Koppel: “– Well sure, there’s that. But I think it is just as possible for a staunch supporter of the war to come away from this program very moved and content that it was done well, as it is for someone who is an opponent of the war to come away with exactly the same feeling. I also have no illusions. I think it’s entirely possible that people who hold those differing points of view will watch the same program and come away wishing it had not been done.”

protein wisdom: “You realize nobody’s going to watch this thing, don’t you?”

Ted Koppel: “We realize we’re up against Cinemax Friday Night, yes.”

protein wisdom: “Okay — and not that I believe it’s possible for a second — but how do you think someone who is a staunch supporter of the war will be fortified in their position by seeing this? How could that happen?”

Ted Koppel: “I always find it kind of strange that when we send young men and women off to war we make a huge fuss about them –”

protein wisdom: “– Wait, you find that ‘strange‘?”

Ted Koppel: “Please let me finish. And indeed when they come back from the war we make a huge fuss about them then, too –”

protein wisdom: “– you’re right, Ted, that is strange –”

Ted Koppel: “I’m not finished. And I don’t like being interrupted. Would you like me to continue?”

protein wisdom: “I’m sorry, please. My bad.”

Ted Koppel: “There are, understandably, joyous celebrations when a unit comes back from any war, although that has, as you and I both know, not always been the case. But it’s certainly the case right now. Why, in heaven’s name, should one not be able to look at the faces and hear the names and see the ages of those young people who are not coming back alive and feel somehow ennobled by the fact that they were willing to give up their lives for something that is in the national interest of all of us?”

protein wisdom: “Are you asking me?”

Ted Koppel: “Yes.”

protein wisdom: “Well, because it’s depressing, it weakens the nation’s resolve, it twists idealistic self-sacrifice into cold material defeatism, and it reeks of the kind of self-serving media sensationalism that makes most Americans want to buggy-whip smarmy blowhards like you with a vacuum cleaner cord. Viciously. And that’s just off the top of my head. Want more?”

Ted Koppel: “No, I believe you’ve made your point.”

protein wisdom: “Good. And I’m asking the questions here big shot, remember?”

Ted Koppel: “Of course, I’m sorry, it’s your dime. Go.”

protein wisdom: “‘Nightline’ has covered lots of wars that have involved scores of US casualites — from Grenada to Haiti to Panama to Somalia to Gulf War I to Kosovo… You didn’t do a special in those instances, so why now?”

Ted Koppel: “I think if you look at that list that you’ve just enumerated, there’s one thing that all those actions or wars have in common. They were very short. They didn’t last as long as this one –”

protein wisdom: “– so duration, then? Interesting. …And you expect most Americans will believe that?”

Ted Koppel: “Well, I do have a very deep voice.”

protein wisdom: “That you do. In fact, I’ve often thought you would have made a wonderful crooner. Had you not, y’know, become a transparent political hack bent on deconstructing traditional American values from your network’s bully pulpit.”

Ted Koppel: “Thank you. Yes, I love to sing. Just never in public, if I can avoid it.”

protein wisdom: “Okay, serious question: Is Iraq today like Vietnam of 35 years ago?”

Ted Koppel: “My executive producer Leroy Sievers remembered, and asked me if I remembered and I did, a two-page spread in Life magazine back in 1969 on the Vietnam war dead for one week and the impact; he reminded me of the impact that that had had. And said, why don’t we try to do something similar? For months and months and months now, in fact, we have been doing a segment at the end of ‘Nightline’ called ‘In the Line of Duty.’ And basically all I can do there, because that’s all the information we have on any given day, today for example, I think so far 10 people, 10 Americans have died in Iraq. And all I’ll be able to say was eight died in this incident and two died in that incident, and maybe I’ll be able to give the branch of the service that they were in, but no names, no pictures, just the number of people who died over the last 24 hours. And we have been doing that for a very long time and our fear was by virtue of the fact that we’ve been doing it for such a long time, people are almost numb to it and really not paying that much attention anymore unless the number is extraordinarily high. And so we wanted to just take one program and say, here, let’s show you the faces and the names of all these who have laid their lives down –”

protein wisdom: “– I’m sorry, is that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?

Ted Koppel: “I don’t remember the question, I’m afraid.”

protein wisdom: “Is Iraq today like the Vietnam of 35 years ago?”

Ted Koppel: “If I can help it, yes.”

protein wisdom: “Good. Refreshingly honest. Final question: Are you surprised, in the end, that this program has gotten such pre-air attention?”

Ted Koppel: “Yes. I really am. I didn’t expect that. I thought it would get attention, but did I think it would become so controversial, did I think that people would feel the need to question the patriotism of those who are putting it on the air? Did I think that it would descend to the depths of some people suggesting we were doing this because the networks are going into a sweeps period when ratings become important? You start to wonder after a while. I’ve been doing ‘Nightline’ for over 24 years, I’ve been at ABC for 41 years, if that’s really the impression I’ve left with people then I have failed in such a colossal way that I can’t even begin to consider the consequences of it. But quite apart from that, it seems to me absolutely silly that anyone would suggest that we were doing this for ratings. In point of fact, we were sitting around unaware that it was sweeps, that’s how dumb we are at ‘Nightline.’ But we were actually sitting around saying, you know, what’ll probably happen is that people will tune in for 30 seconds or two minutes or maybe five minutes, but I doubt very much that many viewers are going to hang on for the whole broadcast. If anything, our expectation was that this program might have fewer viewers than normal. It never occurred to us that someone might think we were doing this for ratings.”

protein wisdom: “So you were actually hoping it would fail — that barely anyone would be interested enough to sit through the whole thing — but now you’re pleasantly surprised at all the attention it’s gotten?”

Ted Koppel: “That about sums it up, sure.”

protein wisdom: “I see. But all that stuff about questioning your patriotism — you were just kidding about that, right?”

Ted Koppel: “Well, it’s worked for John Kerry, so I figured what the hell, y’know? Throw it out there, see if it sticks. Truth is, I could care less. I’m from Canada, remember?”

protein wisdom: “– Go Expos.”

Ted Koppel: “Yes. Indeed. …er, who are they again…?”

****
update: Glenn’s thoughts.

update 2: More from Henry Hanks.

update 3: Mrs du Toit, Spoons and Ilyka Damen

update 4: Somebody calling itself Captain Normal cites the Center for American Progress in order to prove … oh, who cares…? The point is, this person seems to think the Center for American Progress is ideologically unencumbered.

Macroglossius lunarius gothikas, is my guess.

update 5: Oh, and The Fat Guy! Musn’t ever forget The Fat Guy.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 7:09pm
74 comments | Trackback

Comments (74)

  1. Does Ted Koppel’s hair look like he head-butted a furry cow flop or what?

    http://blogtreatment.blogspot.com/

  2. You’ve got his parenthetical speaking style down cold.  I called Sinclair this morning to tell them how much I appreciate its bravery in going up against the corporate giant Disney and its sock puppet Ted.

  3. boy is that sock puppet gonna make Bush pay for not letting them use shots of the caskets at Dover. and despite ABC’s tough-guy stance for, um, balanced journalism, nobody, but NOBODY demands anything from Mr. Koppel. A collosal failure, indeed.

    new google bomb, Koppel = sock puppet. works for me.

  4. This is as priceless as Koppel’s liberal media ploy is disgusting.

  5. I wish I could threaten to stop watching, but since I’ve always thought Ted Koppel was a self-parody almost as big as Senator Byrd, I haven’t seen his show in years. 

    He’s one of the reasons I get my news from the blogosphere.  The *B* broadcast networks are slowly merging into Air America. 

    How about a Topple Koppel! campaign. Any email addresses we can deluge?

  6. It could be worse – ABC could produce a reality show where couples compete to win a 16 year-old’s baby and try to pass it off as a serious piece of journalism.

    Now that would be crass and exploitive.

  7. You can contact Nightline at:

    this URL

  8. Can’t you stand the consequences of our actions?  Does it make you uncomfortable to hear the names and see the faces?  Go to the Vietnam Memorial and feel the consequences of that “war”.  Go to the WWII Memorial–feel the difference.  Talk to a few WWII veterans does it feel and sound different. 

    If what is happening in Iraq is not worth the death of you, your child, brother or sister, or parent then it is not worth being there.  It is personal for someone!

  9. Ted’s program marks the confluence of Boomer self-absorption and Vietnam nostalgia with Big Media belief in the deep stupidity of the American people.

  10. Microsyops:  I can stand it so well that I don’t even need Ted Koppel to feed it to me with his sparkly sanctimony spoon. 

    Don’t need a bib, either.

  11. Koppel thinks were infantile idiots, unable to appreciate that when MEN and WOMEN are sent off to WAR, MEN and WOMEN DIE.

    Really? No shit? Thanks, Ted, for pointing that out. Wondered what all those guns and bombs were for.

    So, when I visit Gettysburg National Cemetery, there were real men under those stone markers? Men who were babies, children loved by their parents, who marched off to war and were killed?

    Damn, the things you learn.

  12. I believe this ‘interview’ more than I believe the ‘honor’ involved for our soldiers. If this was the truth, the names of those killed in Afghanistan would be read too. Not to mention the victims of 3/11 and 9/11.

  13. Who said that “facts are stubborn things”? Fact: US soldiers died.  The effort to cover up this fact speaks of an agenda to cover up facts.  We can’t supress facts that are not convenient to the Theocract/Neocon agenda.  We should get more information, not less.

  14. Wow.  So you didn’t know US soldiers had died until you heard Ted Koppel was going to read the names?

    You need to stop worrying about “Theocract[sic]/Neocon” agendas and start worrying about getting out a bit more.

  15. “Who said that “facts are stubborn things”?” -

    Tell me about it; I’m still pissed at the Media for not reporting the Horrible Truth about D-Day. Did Ernie Pyle write about the thousands slaughtered on the beaches? Did Edward R. Murrow somberly intone the names of Our Boyz who sacrificed everything in those terrible weeks in June? Fact: Hell no! Just think; if the American People knew of all the carnage in a timely manner, we may have become pessimistic enough to stop that bloody WWII. Yeah, yeah … I know there was supposedly some Concentration Camps of Mass Destruction in Poland; but hey, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

    And don’t get me started on the Media blackout of the U.S. casualties on Okinawa, et al….hoo boy! Oy vey! Shoulda, coulda, woulda. If only we had known at the time we would have demanded that Our Gov’t stop all that reckless island-hopping and begged for Peace from Tojo.

  16. For those who don’t agree with what Nightline is doing:

    It’s your broadcast tonight.  How do you honor the sacrifices of US soldiers who’ve lost their lives?  And how do you do so in a non-political manner?

  17. I’d start by not doing it during Sweeps Week.  Then, I’d include the Afghanistan dead.  And I’d avoid letting Ted Koppel or ABC anywhere near it.  But if I had to let them near it, I wouldn’t let Ted Koppel go on Air America the day of the broadcast and badmouth the war.  And I wouldn’t let his producer compare the show to the Vietnam / Life Magazine issue that galvanized anti-war sentiment.

    For starters.

  18. not an original thought (I heard it on the factor [begin cringing now, Sam, Six and Micro]), but why this “memorial” now? is it a milestone day by any stretch of the imagination? think hard.

    ahhhh….there is one timely tie-in: it’s a thoughtful, beautiful ratings-attracting spectacle of a tribute to those coffins in Dover you’ve been seeing that you won’t be seeing, leaving the media no other choice than to force the “truth” out of Bush – that soldiers have been dying – in another way. also, it has nothing to do with sweeps. really. Ted said so.

  19. Watched it.  Thought it was sad, moving, tasteful. 

    This is bias I began with, but the program left me with a desire, more visceral than before, to make sure our soldiers didn’t die for nothing, to finish the job.

    What Lincoln said at Gettysburg is still true, and that is the lesson I hope our leaders on both sides take from seeing the faces of the fallen.

    The ironic thing is that Sinclair’s cure for this “not in the public interest” broadcasting is almost certainly worse than the disease.  Acting defensive is never a good sign, but the damned thing is that it was so unwarrented in this case.  I don’t think very many people who chose to watch the show had their minds changed.  But people like to be able to make decisions for themselves, and by not allowing that, Sinclair hurt themselves and the larger (and quite valid) cause of winning in Iraq.

  20. as much as I love the “this is what I would say” interview…I think I am more turned on by Jeff’s command of photoshop filters.

    But seriously….

    don’t you think now would be the perfect time for Ted to be RE-embedded!

  21. they call it a squeeker, Sam. happier to be wrong than right on this one; I’m no Jonah. but still not fooled about Ted’s agenda.

  22. What Koppel is trying to do is undermine the war effort. Just like Cronkite did in 1969. Militarily, we won in Vietnam, and the Veit Cong were no longer an effective fighting force after Tet, after Walter told us the war was unwinnable.

    It was voices like Walter Cronkite and politicans like Ted Kennedy that made the sacrifice of each and ever name on that wall meaningless. Despite the efforts of the US military at that time, we lost that war thanks to the folks here at home like Ted and Walter.

    Someone mentioned that running from a mountain lion is a bad thing. It is the strategy of prey and only serves to encourage the lion to run you down and eat you. We ran from Vietnam, just like Ted and Walter wanted us to. UBL saw it, and from that he concluded that we would run again.

    So we ended up with 9-11. Thanks Ted, thanks Walter.

  23. Yes, I cite the Center for American Progress—what of it? You don’t even try to argue the facts. Some weird form of “ideological purity” is way more important to you than “facts.”

    Oh, and tee bee—it IS a “milestone day.” It’s the anniversary of Dubya’s flight suit, “Mission Acomplished” speech.

    The intellectually-bankrupt right-wing continues to disgust me.

  24. It’s not that you cite the Center for American Progress, Captain Normal.  It’s that you do so uncritically and then present the citations as if they somehow prove your assertions.  You beg your own question.

    I “don’t even try to argue the facts” because I’m not interested enough in what you have to say to spend any time on it.  I just found your credulity amusing.

    Nor do I care what “continues” to disgust you.  You know nothing about me, but already you’ve labeled me twice—here, and in your post.  Perhaps you should look up “intellectually bankrupt” before you trot it out again.

    You’re welcome for the tip.

  25. Jesus, Ben…are you actually blaming Ted kennedy and Walter Cronkite for 9/11? what kind of uber-macho, beer-addled logic is THAT?

  26. Yeah, that ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech really sends the anti-America people over the edge like few other things do. Why is that?

    I’ve never seen what the huge deal was about it. After all, major military operations were over. The banner was there partly for the crew of that aircraft carrier who were returning home after doing their job; aka accomplishing their mission. Hence, Mission Accomplished, get it?

    Then began the hard part: putting down the insurgencies that would sometimes arise, and rebuilding a nation that has known tyranny for the last 30 years. EVERYONE ALWAYS SAID THAT THE POST-WAR PERIOD WOULD BE THE LONGEST AND MOST DIFFICULT PART. What part of that do the Lefties not understand?

  27. Jesus, Ben…are you actually blaming Ted kennedy and Walter Cronkite for 9/11? what kind of uber-macho, beer-addled logic is THAT?

    Hey, I thought it was all about root causes?  That’s not “uber-macho, beer-addled logic.” Ben’s just following the dictates for the debate that the left set down.  Or does the left only get to argue about root causes?

  28. Actually, Heinrich, not everybody “always said that the post-war period would be the longest and most difficult.” We on the Left said that. The White House was spinning fairy tales of Iraqi citizens throwing roses at our feet, hailing us as liberators, and holding free elections in six months. When they turn out to be WRONG WRONG WRONG, the White House simply denies everything, and you folks on the Dubya Apology Squad crank up the volume to help spead the lies.

    And Kathy, if you want to talk about root causes, you’re going to have to at least mention a century of Western colonialism in Indochina. But since your masters at FoxNews haven’t spoon-fed that data to you, you don’t know anything about it.

    The intellectually-bankrupt right wing just keeps repeating the same few slogans—over and over, louder and louder, shriller and shriller—until any logic or compassion is lost in a miasmia of Drudge Report links.

  29. Oh, and tee bee—it IS a “milestone day.” It’s the anniversary of Dubya’s flight suit, “Mission Acomplished” speech.

    So you admit that Koppel’s corpse roll call is not a memorial but an attempt to call Bush to account?

  30. Actually, Heinrich, not everybody “always said that the post-war period would be the longest and most difficult.” We on the Left said that.

    I do remember the Left saying that the seige of Baghdad would result in hundreds of thousands of deaths.  But I suppose it’s unreasonable to complain about you moving the goalposts, because without that cructch what could you do?  Whine about Matt Drudge?

    Oops, you did whine about … well, forget I said that.

    (By the way, is Drudge a Neocon or a Theocrat?  It’s so hard to keep track.)

  31. Captain Howdy, you’re the perfect parody of yourself.

    Tell me again about the “intellectually-bankrupt right wing” repeating the same few slogans over and over again.  I didn’t hear you the first three times.

    Priceless, the irony.

  32. “Actually, Heinrich, not everybody “always said that the post-war period would be the longest and most difficult.” We on the Left said that.” – Actually, you are lying. Every sane person, Left or Right, knew the post-war would be trickiest. And said so from the start,

    The anti-America crowd was screaming about ‘chemical/biological/nukes’ and ‘thousands of U.S. deaths and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths’ when we were on the eve of war.

  33. I’m lost in a miasmia [sic] created by Matt Drudge and my masters at Fox News?  Mmmm-kay.  How original and current, cappy; yet, you still want to fight the Vietnam war.  It’s 2-0-0-4. Not 1-9-6-4.  Get a calendar.

  34. You know, Don, there are better things I can do this afternoon than argue with you. This being the season of open-toed shoes, it’s quite apparent that I badly need a pedicure, but I will forgo a fresh coat of Bogota Blackberry and refute your statement.  Let’s take it line by line, shall we?  There are only two of them, so I should be getting to my pedicure quite quickly.

    And Kathy, if you want to talk about root causes, you’re going to have to at least mention a century of Western colonialism in Indochina.

    First off, let’s be clear about who was imperializing whom in Southeast Asia. Because there were quite a few imperial powers in the region. You had the French, the British, the Dutch, the Portugese, and even the Spanish.  The United States was woefully lacking in the imperialistic department when it came to SE Asia.  All the good countries had been taken already—of course we had the Philipines, but compared to Sumatra (mmmm…coffee)or Indochina, that’s really nothing in terms of reapable natural resources.  But you said “Indochina,” so I will assume that you are actually referencing the colonial designation of Vietnam under the French.  Who cut and ran after they took a serious hit at Dien Bien Phu. Remember that?

    Due to the prevailing logic of the Domino Theory, the United States decided to start sending “military advisors” to help the South Vietnamese because that Ho guy in the north was getting pretty pesky; they were also afraid the PRC and the USSR would overtly get involved in the civil war that was raging and bam! another communist country.  Enter the US, stage right, onto the side with the the least repulsive leaders. We fought a war.  Natural resources did play a part, as did the prevention of communism, but if we’re looking for root causes and people to blame, one could easily make the argument that the reason we lost 50,000 plus men was because of the French. 

    My original point had nothing to do with any of this, just in case you’d forgotten.  It had to do with pointing out the left’s (and your) lack of fairness regarding the use of root causes in a debate. It would seem from your arguments that any root cause where the West isn’t ultimately to blame is wrong.  I chose to disagree with that assumption. 

    Your second point:

    But since your masters at FoxNews haven’t spoon-fed that data to you, you don’t know anything about it.

    Oh, but Massah Brit, I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies!

    Please.  Just for the record, I don’t watch Fox News.  I believe there should be less bias in the media, not more. Swinging the bias to the opposite side does not solve the original problem.  I do realize I’m pretty much out here by myself on this one when it comes to being a conservatinve, but I do have a brain (I know, that’s something you’re probably debating about right now, no doubt) and I am quite capable of using those critical thinking skills the nuns so aptly pounded into my psyche to figure out what is what when it comes to bias.

    As far as knowing “anything about it,” I do believe my refutation of your first point declares otherwise.

    (Jeff, sorry for sucking up your comments space)

  35. Not at all Kathy.  Have at it.  But I suspect Don will just keep right on fighting caricatures no matter what you say to him.  He bores me.

  36. It’s amazing how much Ted Koppel looks like Jane Fonda.

  37. The only time people like Ted Koppel, the NYT, and the journalism establishment such as NYU prof Jay Rosen (see Instapundit link) care about OUR soldiers is when:

    1) They’re dead; and

    2) When they can be used as a tool to try to topple a government they don’t like—be it Nixon or Reagan or Bush (funny how it’s always Republicans). 

    The rest of the time they have no use for our fighting men and women—largely because they are known for being a Republican-leaning voting bloc.  But if they sense an opening, any blood in the water, they move in for the kill.

    This started last year when it was so obvious on that flight deck—yes, the one with the Mission Accomplished banner—that Bush had the love and affection of the forces, unlike the left’s hero Clinton.  Since that time, they have tried everything possible to drive a wedge between the commander-in-chief and the troops.

    God help us if they succeed.

  38. Well, Rosen, Koppel and most of the NYT, to name just a few, have a lot in common. They’re all assholes.

  39. You know, this show has been done before, on the Vietnam Memorial which is essentially a vast gravestone.  Koppel seems to think he is being dramatic and noble, but it rings as phony and manipulative as Richard Clarke’s apology.  It’s based on the assumption that if we look at the photos and listen to the names, we’ll realize that each of these people was a person, each had a life and loved ones.  The problem is that most of us knew that already.  Anybody who lived through the Vietnam period and its aftermath has heard that meme.  It’s no longer powerful because it’s a cliche.

    That doesn’t mean the point isn’t true, it’s just that it assumes that those who support this war haven’t considered it.  It’s an old, truly bankrupt argument. It’s been made and answered.

    The fault with it is that it focuses only on the troops who died, not on what they accomplished, and what they and others like them have done for the ordinary people of Afghanistan and Iraq, and what they are still doing. By dramatizing the costs and ignoring the goals, it seeks to convince us that the policy is wrong.  It’s dishonest and as old as the arguments against military preparedness have always been.  That’s why it offends me so much.  Koppel seems to think he’s being insightful and powerful, but he just doesn’t have anything new to say.  So he waves the bloody shirt, manipulates his audience in the most pompous and cynical way and congratulates himself and basks in the adulation of the idiot left.

  40. He bores you, Jeff? I’m fascinated by the guy.

    Are you sure you didn’t make him up?  I never know when I can trust you anymore.

  41. Here ya’ go, Matt.

  42. Great catch, Jeff.  60 more reasons to buttress my argument that Cappy is a loser.  Body issues?  Too funny.

  43. Wow, you put a lot of work into that bio.

    The brief membership in the Socialist Workers’ Party was a great touch, but the idea that he’d be a vegan to impress women was just too much.

  44. He bores me, too.  But when people imply that I’m stupid, I rush to do an Otto from “A Fish Called Wanda.” Hopefully, with better results thoughsmile

    I did however love the bio.  Deeply scarred by Catholic grade school, hmmm?  Interesting.  Everyone knows the serious scarring doesn’t happen until you attend Catholic High School.  Which I did. 

    Wimp.

  45. Don Myers says:

    Actually, Heinrich, not everybody “always said that the post-war period would be the longest and most difficult.” We on the Left said that. The White House was spinning fairy tales of Iraqi citizens throwing roses at our feet, hailing us as liberators, and holding free elections in six months. When they turn out to be WRONG WRONG WRONG, the White House simply denies everything, and you folks on the Dubya Apology Squad crank up the volume to help spead the lies.

    Since Kathy already shredded the bullshit about Western (non-U.S.) imperialism, I will address only this paragraph, and I will do it thusly:

    You, sir, are either willfully ignorant or a fucking liar. Here is the full text of the speech.

    Rather than “spinning fairy tales of Iraqi citizens throwing roses at our feet”, Bush referred to “the citizens of Iraq who welcomed our troops and joined in the liberation of their own country” [note the past tense] and “the images of celebrating Iraqis”, which of course, were prominently displayed in the blogosphere and (reluctantly) in the mainstream press. These pictures even included “hailing us as liberators”.

    I see absolutely NO MENTION of “free elections in six months”. In fact, there was no date set for elections for quite some time after that speech.

    As for the “post-war period would be the longest and most difficult”, he did not say that. However, he did say:

    We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We’re bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous…

    The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our Coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq.

    Sounds to me like he was preparing the country for a long campaign, as he had already done several times before.

    So instead of chiding us for not “try[ing] to argue the facts”, I suggest you should actually try learning to read, the save up your money to buy a clue.

  46. I watched about ten minutes of the program.

    I realized my worst fears were true when I noticed that where there was no picture of a servicemember, they showed a field of coffins dwindling into the distance…infinity?

    No mention of the objective.  No mention of the causes behind the war.  Just a cheap reach at ratings from a thoroughly practiced and pretentious maggot.

    On an aside, everyone knows that the REAL root causes of western imperialism are indelibly linked to the Romans teaching the Brits about clothing. I understand Chomsky is working on a magnum opus linking decadence to any attire that isn’t blue mud. 

    Sounds silly, doesn’t it? 

    I bet if the story was pushed in the blogosphere, John Kerry would show up for his podium speech in Boston wearing blue mud and a botox smile.

  47. The Vietnam War began when it was returned to the French at the end of World War Two.

    Every decision after that was wrong.

  48. The simple truth is that this war was not worth the cost!  We could have facilitated the Iraqi opposition’s attack on Hussein.  Iraqi freedom would have been bought with Iraqi blood thereby increasing its value to them.  Now when the civil war occurs and Iraq is partitioned into Kurd, Sunni and Shia region the “west” will be responsible.

  49. I might have even watched it, but since there was not going to be a honoring of the soldiers in Kosovo or Afghanistan, it was clear to me that it was selective for a reason. Politics as usual. Protestations to the contrary not withstanding.

    About the partitioning concept: The idea of an “Iraqi people” is somewhat amusing. The current countries are the results of lines in the sand (literally) drawn after World War 1 and the fall of the Ottoman empire. Sheikhs that were buddies with the British got kingdoms and countries, and those that weren’t their buddies got squat. The “west” is responsible for the existance of Iraq in its current form, anyway. So what?

    Other countries with Kurdish minorities don’t want a Kurdistan because it might give their own Kurds an idea. I don’t know that seperate countries along ethnic lines is such a bad idea. The “west” forced them to co-habitate in the first place. Perhaps that was a mistake.

  50. The partition issue is valid…but a bad solution for everyone involved, especially the Iraqis.

    I have a post (at the bottom, 10:45pm) of a Michael J. Totten thread here

    http://www.michaeltotten.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=370

    on the subject.  BTW, wonderful blog here.  Yet ANOTHER one to follow.

  51. I wouldn’t mind them reading the names of soldiers who died in combat after the war is over.I also don’t think Ted Koppel is worthy of reading those names because of the way he reports stories about the war.He always takes jabs and reports in a negative tone when it comes to the war.It’s a slap in the face for the soldiers to be honored by someone who loathes what they died for.Ted should have swallowed his ego and hired a real soldier to come and read the names of his fallen brothers.But that would have made it a true tribute and Ted wouldn’t want that to happen.

  52. “We could have facilitated the Iraqi opposition’s attack on Hussein.” – never would have happened; at least in our lifetimes. The Iraqi’s would not have trusted us to support them (since we abandoned them after GulfWarI) and the Axis of the Bribed would have put up roadblocks at every opportunity.

    No, if we thought it needed done, then we needed to take direct action. There are few Patrick Henry’s in that geo-cultural part of the world, so we shouldn’t expect their War of Independence to be the same as ours.

    “Now when the civil war occurs and Iraq is partitioned into Kurd, Sunni and Shia region the “west” will be responsible.” – Maybe; but that would have happened whether we were involved or not.

  53. [In my best Cartman impression] “Yes…yeeeeeesssss…shower me with your delicious hatred…”

    Kathy, I lumped you in with the rest of the know-nothings (in the 19th century sense of the term) and clearly, I was wrong. While I don’t agree with you, you’re obviously thoughtful and well-educated. I apologize, and I’m sure the new coat of Bogata Blackberry looks stunning on you.

    Ken, I wasn’t qouting the USS Lincoln speech (and neither is Bush, which is funny, since the entire stunt was obviously meant to be used in his campaign ads). I was talking about the Bush/Rumsfield war policy. While I admit to laying on the hyperbole pretty damn thick, there is no doubt that the White House was totally unprepared for anything more than token resistance.

  54. “Hatred”…?  My my.  How you do feel persecuted, Don. 

    Well, whatever keeps you going, I guess.

  55. Then what were you quoting when you talked about those “fairy tales”? Certainly not any Bush speech (and forgive me for thinking you were talking about the Lincoln – you brought it up). Bush never claimed it would be easy, he never claimed it would be quick.

    “So the White House simply denies everything”.

    What exactly are you referring to? What did they deny? They denied having said what they, in fact, did not say.

    “…spread the lies.”

    Okay, caps key on. WHAT FUCKING LIES? NAME ONE “LIE” YOU CLAIM BUSH TOLD.

    And by lie, I don’t mean mistake, misspeaking, misquoting. I mean in its actual definition: Deliberately saying something he knows to be false.

    I’ve heard the lefty nonsense about “lies” of “imminent danger” – he never said it.

    I heard about “lies” of WMD – Saddam had used them and we found intact programs; every other country and the U.N. also believed Iraq had them, and there are indications that weapons were moved to Syria; beyond which, this could not be classed as a “lie” if Bush actually believed it.

    So go back through every single Bush speech and find ONE INSTANCE OF AN ACTUAL LIE. I’ll be checking back here periodically.

  56. Grab ahold of some perspective

    Deaths from auto accidents in 2003 – 43,220

    American deaths in Iraq since March 2003 – At least 753

  57. Ken:

    No problem. I’ve got about five minutes before I’ve got to go to work, so I’ll just bring up a couple off the top of my head. When I get home I can do a little research and come up with dozens, if not hundreds. So here goes:

    **The “Saddam buying uranium for Africa” lie in the State of the Union. Joseph Wilson, the man the White House sent to Africa, told them this was untrue weeks before, and he was backed up by other intel.

    **The entire WMD justification for the war in Iraq was a complete fabrication, according to David Kay and the entire weapons inspection team. The George Costanza defense—”It’s not a lie if you believe it”—doesn’t apply if they willfully chose to believe evidence they know is weak while ignoring any facts that don’t fit their pre-concieved notions. Besides, don’t you think that the President of the United States should be held to a higher standard than George Costanza?

    **I’m not sure it’s true that “every other country and the UN also believed Iraq had them,” but if they did, it was because the US government swore up and down that they did. All based on intel that was forged, weak, or otherwise comprimised. When members of his own administration warned that they were wrong about the WMDs, those people were ignored.

    **The “No Child Left Behind Act,” which Bush praised up and down enough to fool even Ted Kennedy before he refused to fund it.

    **The shameful campaign of lies about John McCain that Rove orchestrated in the 2000 South Carolina primaries—spreading rumors that Sen. McCain was gay and had fathered an illegitimate child. (If you get the chance you should read BUSH’S BRAIN: HOW KARL ROVE MADE GEORGE W BUSH PRESIDENTIAL by 2 Dallas Morning News reporters whose names I can’t remember at the moment. Very illuminating)

    **Then there are all the lies about his past—his drunk driving arrests in Maine and Texas, his service (or lack thereof) in the Nat’l Guard, etc.

    I don’t have a copy of Eric Alterman’s latest book in front of me, but I urge you to get a copy at your local bookseller or library. It lists literally HUNDREDS of bald-faced, despicable lies from his years in Texas and DC.

    Well, that’s a pretty good list, considering that I’m still on my first cuppa coffee. More later, but I must dash…

  58. This is the list of George Bush’s horrible lies?  It’s just pathetic:

    The “Saddam buying uranium for Africa” lie in the State of the Union. Joseph Wilson, the man the White House sent to Africa, told them this was untrue weeks before, and he was backed up by other intel.

    From yesterday’s Instapundit:

    “It was Saddam Hussein’s information minister, Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf, often referred to in the Western press as “Baghdad Bob,” who approached an official of the African nation of Niger in 1999 to discuss trade—an overture the official saw as a possible effort to buy uranium.

    That’s according to a new book Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador who was sent to Niger by the CIA in 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq had been trying to buy enriched “yellowcake” uranium. Wilson wrote that he did not learn the identity of the Iraqi official until this January, when he talked again with his Niger source.”

    And that “backed up by other intel” is a typical passive-aggressive Democratic talking point.  Intel is fragmentary and inconclusive by its nature, so of course any point of view can be “backed up by other intel.”

    The entire WMD justification for the war in Iraq was a complete fabrication, according to David Kay and the entire weapons inspection team.

    “David Kay and the entire weapons inspection team” is not a source, it’s a term of opprobrium for people who couldn’t find their own dick if you gave them a flashlight and a copy of Gray’s Anatomy.  We’re discussing the search for WMD’s, not the search for 14-year-olds at Burger King.

    I’m not sure it’s true that “every other country and the UN also believed Iraq had them,” but if they did, it was because the US government swore up and down that they did.

    Sorry, I refuse to believe that the head of British or French intelligence believes something because the US “swears up and down” that it is true.  “Do you cross your heart and hope to die, Mr. Tenet?”

    The “No Child Left Behind Act,” which Bush praised up and down enough to fool even Ted Kennedy before he refused to fund it.

    Bush did not “refuse to fund” NCLB.  Why would it be a lie if he did?  What would it have to do with Iraq?

    The shameful campaign of lies about John McCain that Rove orchestrated in the 2000 South Carolina primaries—spreading rumors that Sen. McCain was gay and had fathered an illegitimate child.

    It’s ridiculous to think that Bush won South Carolina because of silly rumors.  McCain lost the 2000 primary because conservatives didn’t like his politics.  Many people can’t accept that, and make up tales about how Bush won through unfair means, but that’s their problem, not Karl Rove’s.

    And what does this have to do with Iraq?

    Then there are all the lies about his past—his drunk driving arrests in Maine and Texas, his service (or lack thereof) in the Nat’l Guard, etc.

    What lie did he tell about drunk driving?  Did he say, “I have never driven drunk?” And what does this have to do with Iraq?

    I don’t have a copy of Eric Alterman’s latest book in front of me, but I urge you to get a copy at your local bookseller or library. It lists literally HUNDREDS of bald-faced, despicable lies from his years in Texas and DC.

    Politicians do lie and dissemble, that’s for sure.  (Though it’s not clear what lies told by the governor of Texas have to do with Iraq.) But it amazes me that you gave yourself free reign to spit the worse bile you could disgorge about a politician, and this is the best you could come up with.

  59. Jesus, Floyd—how do you even lift your head up with those massive blinders on?

    Your ability to forgive and rationalize every lie, misstep, boneheaded error, and self-serving misdirection is a monument to Christian forgiveness.

    Ken asked me to list some lies, so I listed some lies. Some about Iraq, some not. Are you suggesting that it’s okay for Bush to lie as long as it’s not about Iraq? No, of course you aren’t (I think).

    If this guy worked for me I would have gotten sick of his lies and excuses and fired him. OH WAIT—he does work for me, and come November I’m sending him back to Crawford.

  60. “his service (or lack thereof) in the Nat’l Guard, etc.”

    -Well, which is it? Are you saying he did not serve? If so, what is your proof?

    I thought that was a rhetorical question, because all the allegations that I heard about Bush not serving have been thouroughly debunked. I thought only the moonbats believed this meme anymore.

    But hey, let’s see your proof, then I’ll decide.

  61. “Then there are all the lies about his past—his drunk driving arrests in Maine and Texas,..”

    And he lied about this,….how, specifically?

  62. “The “No Child Left Behind Act,” which Bush praised up and down enough to fool even Ted Kennedy before he refused to fund it.”

    So you don’t agree with the NCLB Act. That’s interesting.

    And this is a lie, ….. how?

  63. Heinrich, I thought only the most Fox-addled righwing fanatics believed the Bush awol story had been debunked!

    Go to http://www.awolbush.com to download pdfs of primary documents. I think that while Bush wasn’t gone enough to legally qualify as a deserter, he didn’t fulfill his whole obligation and had a pretty cavalier attitude about showing up when ordered.

    “Not Legally A Deserter” doesn’t make for a good campaign slogan, does it?

  64. “Go to http://www.awolbush.com…”

    So, you don’t have any proof then?

  65. Hey, folks, thanks for shortening the amount of time I had to chase down links at lunch.

    Don: Before commenting on the “lies” in the State of the Union speech, try reading it first. Here is the relevant quote on Africa:

    “The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.”

    Bush did not say Iraq purchased uranium, he said Iraq sought uranium. The British government still stands behind its intelligence and, as pointed out above, Joseph Wilson admits there was an attempt to purchase uranium. So where is the lie?

    “The entire WMD justification for the war in Iraq was a complete fabrication” – how exactly? “…willfully chose to believe evidence they know is weak while ignoring facts that don’t fit their preconceived notions…if [other countries and the UN believed] it was because the US government swore up and down that they did. All based on intel that was forged, weak or otherwise compromised.” Quite frankly, I never even heard a charge of forgery (other than that Niger hoax, which was not what Bush referred to above). Do you have anything to back up a charge of forgery?

    In any case, all assertions about Iraqi WMD pre-date Bush. Again quoting from the SotU speech:

    “The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax—enough doses to kill several million people. He hasn’t accounted for that material. He’s given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

    The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin—enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He hadn’t accounted for that material. He’s given no evidence that he has destroyed it.”

    Please note the date. If this was based on lies from the US government, these certainly weren’t told by Bush. And, of course, one must take into consideration 17 resolutions passed by the UN stating that Iraq must disarm and prove it, which was never done.

    “No Child Left Behind” – How exactly is “praising” the act a lie? How exactly did Bush refuse to fund it, since Congress holds the pursestrings?

    “Shameful campaign of lies about John McCain” – Again, I never heard about this before, but assuming there were lies about McCain, you know Rove was behind it how? As for the book you mention, the title does little to assure me about its basic honesty.

    “Lies about his past” – What lies? He never denied arrests. He never denied that he had a drinking problem in his younger years. I will, however, give you credit for not trotting out that cocaine nonsense yet again.

    “Service (or lack thereof) in the Nat’l Guard” Beg to differ, but “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. But if that isn’t enough, the story has been thoroughly debunked in a number of places. For a good single roundup of the issue, try here.

    As for Alterman, I won’t even comment other than to say that I have read enough of his material to know that his credibility is marginally higher than that of Robert Fisk.

  66. We are at war with totalitarian religious fanatics who will happily sacrifice their lives in order to murder innocent people.  The US has chosen to invade, and liberalize, a former enemy in the heart of the Middle East.  And I am supposed to base my approval or disapproval for this policy based on whether George Bush fooled Ted Kennedy into supporting some education bill—presumably by disguising it as a whiskey bottle—and then didn’t “fully fund it”?  (I assume this is Democratese for “allocated all the money we could ever need, but not all the money we could ever need and then some extra.”)

    And I’m the one with massive blinders on?

  67. “If this guy worked for me I would have gotten sick of his lies and excuses and fired him. OH WAIT—he does work for me, and come November I’m sending him back to Crawford.”

    I predict Bush winning 45 states. How many do you predict Kerry winning?

    Hey, let’s bookmark this page and see who’s closer.

  68. Ken and Heinrich, I can see the game you’re playing here. You believe whatever people in authority tell you, and arrogantly throw out any facts or sources that don’t fit your theory (“As for the book you mention, the title does little to assure me about its basic honesty” Excuse the fuck outta me for thinking you might leave the keyboard enough to find the library).

    Of course, if you want to play that game you have every right in the world to do so—but you’ll forgive me if I don’t play this game myself.

    We’re all talking past each other, and I’m tired.

    Here’s my theory (get ready to bookmark, H): 45% of the country is firmly, blindly devoted to Dudya. If he was caught sodomizing his own daughter on the set of SNL, that 45% would still vote for him.

    Another 45% is firmly, blindly devoted to Kerry and/or NOT BUSH (which would include me). If Kerry announced that he worshipped the devil with the sacrifice of Christian virgins, we’d still vote for him.

    So we’re left with 10% in the middle, and 90% of them won’t even start to think about it until after Labor Day.

    The thing I’m waiting for, the thing that I believe will tip this thing one way or the other, is the first candidate who makes a giant, step-on-the-rake-and-smack-his-face, bonehead fuck-up. I’m thinking along the lines of Jerry Ford telling the world the USSR didn’t dominate Eastern Europe, or Bush I’s “read my lips.”

    Now here’s the thing that should keep you guys up at night: You’ve seen Dubya in his last press conference. You’ve also seen Kerry speak extemporanously in dozens of Democratic debates. You know—whether you admit it to yourselves of not—that you’re guy isn’t all that bright. If he doesn’t have a teleprompter he tends to get confused and say something incoherant (and sometimes he does that when the teleprompter is working just fine).

    So ask yourself—do you trust your guy to remember all his lines and not make any mistakes for six whole months?

  69. Don, I’m not playing a game, and I’m not throwing out things simply because I don’t agree with them. A book entitled “Bush’s Brain” impresses me about as much as a book entitled “Treason”. I will admit that I threw this one out simply based on the title, but I threw out Alterman because I have read his material and he has no credibility.

    The rest of my comment stands. You claimed “lies” in the SotU speech, and I rebutted it. You claimed “lies” about the NCLB but cited none. You claimed “lies” about Bush’s past but unless you can find an instance in which he denied the arrests, there are none. You claimed that the AWOL charge has never been debunked and I cited evidence to the contrary.

    I don’t see where I have thrown out any facts or sources save two, and one of those I will not accept based on personal experience (and will withold judgement on the other). So I would ask only that you read the SotU speech at minimum.

  70. “45% of the country is firmly, blindly devoted to Dudya.”…

    “Another 45% is firmly, blindly devoted to Kerry and/or NOT BUSH…”

    -and there’s the rub; the “and/or” part.

    A large part of this country thinks ‘Thank God Dubya is the candidate.’ Especially since 9-11. Do any Dems think ‘Wow! That Kerry is great! I’d rather have him as a candidate than (insert any other Dem candidate).’?  Not many. Most people look at Kerry as a lukewarm candidate. Few have a burning desire for him to be the Dem standardbearer.

    Barring a major disaster, Bush wins easily.

  71. Heinrich, you’re absolutely right about the lukewarm support for Sen. Kerry. But I think you’ve underestimated the huge groundswell of support for Not Bush. Bush’s list of negatives—weak on terrorism, weak on the economy, strong on enriching his campaign contributors—are strong enough to sweep him outta office.

    Wanna make it interesting? I’m not willing to bet the farm, but I got $50 that sez yer gut is going down.

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