One eyed umpire

Boston Globe calumnist (how apt) James Carroll has a fear and loathing of Republican politicians. It's possible to read a few of his published calumns (again, apt) and come away with the belief that he would prefer to see the US Executive Branch as it currently stands, up against the wall for high treason. There are accusations and suppositions. Conspiracy theories. Declarations of incompetence. Clearly, James is not a fan of Dubya. He has a special level of contempt for Cheney and Rumsfeld, who he believes have been shadow puppet masters of Presidents past. However, interesting things happen when his side of politics gets called on the bullshit they continually espouse, for his literary conundrums become a sight to behold. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present James Carroll.

Deconstructing Cheney

'When Rumsfeld became Gerald Ford's White House chief of staff, he again tapped Cheney as his deputy. Now they set out to destroy detente, the fragile new relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. Dismissing detente as moral relativism, Cheney so believed in Cold War bipolarity that when it began to melt in the late 1980s, he tried to refreeze it. As George H.W. Bush's secretary of defense, Cheney was key to America's refusal to accommodate the hopeful new spirit of the age. Violence was in retreat, with peace breaking out across the globe, from the Philippines to South Africa, Ireland, the Middle East, and Central America. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Cheney forged America's response -- which was, little over a month later, to wage an illegal war against Panama.'

How does James know all this about the current US VP? Interviews? Guesses? In the late 80's, peace was apperently breaking out all over, and a new wave of religious terrorists was being formed.

Dance of the Demons

'The clearest instance of this phenomenon today is unfolding in Iraq. ''Wars generate their own momentum," Robert McNamara once wrote, ''and follow the law of unintended consequences." George W. Bush must be held accountable for the consequences of his fateful decisions, from the 2,000 dead Americans to the American embrace of torture to the igniting of a clash of civilizations. But the ease with which the United States embarked on Bush's unnecessary and illegal war -- with huge popular, political, and pundit support -- was evidence of an already established momentum that predated Bush, and even his father.'

Must be held accountable. What's good for the flu-ridden goose, must be good for the plastic turkey.

Disasters we can prevent

'That is why the recent cluster of tragedies, from nearby and far off, must be the occasion of more than regret and worry. Neither should ''disaster fatigue" be allowed to dull the sense of urgency with which news of catastrophic suffering is normally received.

Absolute primacy belongs to the alleviation of such suffering, and when disaster strikes, nothing matters more than the rush to help. But help must be constructive and consistent. When it is not, every mistaken choice must be the occasion of criticism, learning, and reform. If dams (or levees) have been neglected ahead of time, and subsequently fail, those responsible must be challenged -- for the sake of safer dams. If relief efforts after the fact are slow or inept, those responsible must be called to account. Deeper sources of carelessness or corruption are often exposed during disasters, and they must be confronted.'

There's that 'call to account' thing again. How James expects to prevent the catastrophic events of earthquakes and hurricanes is not made clear, but it most certainly is somehow the fault of that evil bastard Cheney or devil incarnate Rumsfeld.

The fall of Bob Woodward

'So also that season's grief. Like frightened and heart-sick scribes looking to Marines to protect them on the battlefield, and therefore unable to write critically about their protectors, the news media, with rare exceptions, simply embraced and passed along Bush's purposes and justifications, not matter how palpably dishonest. Judith Miller was the public captain of this enterprise, but Woodward was her secret co-captain. This time, he was his own Deep Throat.

Your naiveté consisted in the belief that, after Vietnam, your nation would never again embark on a criminal and unnecessary war. After a popular movement, inspired by tribunes of the free press, stopped the Vietnam War, you believed that the government would be responsive to the will of the people, forgetting that the people can surrender that will.

The finger-pointing in Washington now -- who voted for what, when and why -- is truly pointless. The merest glance back at the prewar debates shows that the justifications for war were all made of tissue. If the press treated them as substantial, that is because the nation itself, which still includes you, needed the tissue to cover its shame. The tissue of lies is yours.'

The lead line of the last paragraph is worth the price of admission to this crazy show, ladies and gentlemen. When the chips were down, the table turned, and the money was finally on the barrelhead, James' side of politics folded like a cheap suit. His response? No point in finger-pointing now. He then blames the public for not heeding the press call for Republican blood. The hypocrisy of James Carroll is shameless. He truly believes that his occupation, as a denizen of the fourth estate, gives him some special power over the wider public. James Carroll sees himself as the very thing he accused Bob Woodward of being. An inside player, able to shape events and wider opinion. The lies, the deceits and the untruths are his alone. The best thing the Boston Globe could be used for is to wrap your kitchen scraps in and throw it out with the other garbage.

It's just that good.

Cross posted at Bastards Inc.

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