Monday, January 16, 2006

“A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

Michiko Kakutani reviewed Paul Bremer’s anyone-but-mea culpa in the New York Times late last week. . . that’s not news in and of itself. However, David Sirota called attention to this paragraph:

Mr. Bremer quotes a September 2003 memo in which Mr. Rumsfeld declared that “our goal should be to ramp up the Iraqi numbers, try to get some additional international forces” and “reduce the U.S. role.” And he writes that Colin L. Powell said this push was related to concerns that the president might have to mobilize more National Guard units, including ones from crucial states in an election year.

So, according to Powell, fundamental military decisions—decisions that directly affected the stability of Iraq and the security of those who serve there—were made for political reasons—specifically, US electoral concerns. They were not made to gain a tactical or strategic advantage in the Iraqi theater; they were made to influence the 2004 United States presidential election.

Now, I would guess we all kind of knew shit like this was happening, but to see it spelled out and sourced is still sick-making. And, to find yet another instance where Secretary Powell knew something that he must have understood to be dubious and dangerous (if not out-and-out corrupt), only to find that, once again, he kept it to himself. . . well, since it is MLK day, let’s use a King quote: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

And, speaking of silence, in a relative fashion, Sirota expresses outrage that this news was buried in a book review in the Arts & Leisure section. My outrage is slightly different. It is fine and fair to assign Bremer’s book to a reviewer and then publish a book review in the typical place. It is not acceptable, however, that the news division of the Times (or any other media outlet, for that matter) did not pick up on Bremer’s revelation, follow up with Powell, Rumsfeld, and others, and then run a news story right up front where everyone would notice.

I should point out that they could still do this—anyone could—for this news is still newsworthy. And, the silence, alas, is still noteworthy.


Post a Comment

<< Home