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Bush in Baghdad, Behind the Scenes
November 27, 2003 8:56 PM   Subscribe

Bush in Baghdad, Behind the Scenes. Drudge has posted Washington Post reporter Mike Allen's raw notes from the 2-day secret whirlwind trip to Iraq. It reads like a script from "The West Wing." (The stripped-down finished article appears in Friday's Post.) Meanwhile, some in the journalism field are pissed, says Howard Kurtz. Says one: "Reporters are in the business of telling the truth. They can't decide it's okay to lie sometimes because it serves a larger truth or good cause."
posted by PrinceValium (59 comments total)

 
Holding your toung for two days is not lying. It's not like they wrote reports they knew were false.
posted by delmoi at 9:02 PM on November 27, 2003


This says it all:"My problem with this is not that he misled the press. This is a president who has been unwilling to provide his presence to the families who have suffered but thinks nothing of flying to Baghdad to use the troops there as a prop."
posted by amberglow at 9:06 PM on November 27, 2003


"They can't decide it's okay to lie sometimes because it serves a larger truth or good cause."

As if it's a given that this serves a higher cause, as opposed to another risky, expensive campaign stunt.
That's why reporters should report facts and not serve as the propaganda wing of the republican or democratic parties.
posted by 2sheets at 9:32 PM on November 27, 2003


As if it's a given that this serves a higher cause,

Clearly, reporting on the trip would have put the president in great danger--so that's the "higher cause", protecting the president's life. However, if this was just a big campaign stunt--which I think it was--then the president put himself (and the whole US, in effect) in great jeopardy by making the trip. The press has a responsibility to point that out in its op-ed pages. I hope they do.

If, in fact, the reporters who knew simply "held their tongues" and didn't rile false reports, then I don't have a huge problem with it. Reporters withhold information all the time (consider that Robert Novak wasn't the only member of the press to have Valerie Plame's job title leaked to him, and none of the others have come forward.) But if the media "hold their tongues" about what a foolhardy stunt this was, then we should hold their feet to the fire.
posted by jpoulos at 9:45 PM on November 27, 2003


Either tell the truth or march behind our happy fuhrer.
like Loyal party followers, Sue its distasteful and even wrong, but our fuhrer needs our help, so stick to the script and we shall pass to the promised land.

To much freaking justifying evil shit going on here...
posted by Elim at 9:47 PM on November 27, 2003


There isn't one of the reports who has any fucking room to bitch. If they really wanted to tell the "truth" we might see something in the media that would actually question the administration instead of just slobbering on the teat that is proffered.

How about they (someone? anyone?) get off of their asses and do some real investigative journalism? Then they can bitch.

Oh yeah, Bush sucks.
posted by damnitkage at 10:04 PM on November 27, 2003


I don't see any real problem with embargoing a story for a couple of days; that's pretty understandable, and I think that anyone who thinks the country's at risk because this particular story was kept secret for a day or so is overreacting a little.

On the other hand, you gotta love the list of invitees. Fox, but not CNN? Giving news to a handpicked bunch of sympathetic reporters is blatant media manipulation.
posted by Bryant at 10:06 PM on November 27, 2003


I wonder how disappointed Rove will be that most people don't watch TV on Thanksgiving. They used to, but not much anymore. From what I hear families actually go to movies(no, don't ask me why).

Why not do this on next Tuesday, when nothing else is going on?

And you think they would be burnt out on the big play after "Mission Accomplished" worked out the way it did.
posted by dglynn at 10:10 PM on November 27, 2003


It seems to me that the real story here isn't the President showing up in Iraq, but rather how dangerous they seem to be casting his decision to go there.

Yeah, admitted left-wing commiewhatever here, but isn't the fact that the guy essentially had to, you know, sneak into the country that was just "liberated" out of fear for his life to appear before a secured tent (as opposed to a mass-thousands rally, etc.) slightly significant- especially considering his arrival was meant as some kind of iconic symbol of the U.S.'s alleged success in the war?

In other words, yeah, it's a publicity stunt. Like someone on Daily Kos said earlier, I'll be impressed when Bush spends the night and starts starts walking around examining all the schools the warbloggers keep telling me I need to go look at because I think everything's so bad over there.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:41 PM on November 27, 2003


And you think they would be burnt out on the big play after "Mission Accomplished" worked out the way it did.

That charade worked great. All of the people who bothered to think critically about that already knew Bush was a monkey, and my evening news uses a graphic now that says "Iraq: After the War."
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:46 PM on November 27, 2003


Libs knickers are more knotted over this than they were in their asinine complaint that he wasn't exploiting the return of dead soldiers enough.
posted by HTuttle at 11:34 PM on November 27, 2003


so he exploited them just barely enough for the "cons?"
posted by mcsweetie at 11:42 PM on November 27, 2003


grandstanding photo op accomplished: at taxpayer expense.
american legion and VFW votes: locked in.
bush is the anti-christ.
posted by quonsar at 11:54 PM on November 27, 2003


So London was so unsafe that we had to spend a gazillion quid to assuage his fears of impending attack and then he touches down in Iraq the next week... Uh huh...
posted by zeoslap at 12:00 AM on November 28, 2003


So London was so unsafe that we had to spend a gazillion quid to assuage his fears of impending attack

Not to mention sacrifice the Buckingham Palace gardens, I hear.
posted by homunculus at 12:14 AM on November 28, 2003


"their asinine complaint that he wasn't exploiting the return of dead soldiers enough."

you got it exactly right, in a way.

I'm actually glad that he stopped by Baghdad airport for a couple hours, say hello to the soldiers. they're only useful to White House propaganda stunts if they're still alive, but I guess they went to bed happy to have met the President.
when, in the next few weeks, some of those 600 GI's who were at yesterdays' Turkey Photo-op get killed by people who took seriously the "bring'em'on" taunt, well, the President of the United States will be extremely unwilling to have anything to do with them and their not-photogenic corpses.

they'll just become a little, embarrassing, shameful detail in the glorious War Against Terror, er, no, Removal Of Tyrants Who Have A Lotta WMDs And They'll Use Them In The Next 45 Minutes, no, excuse me again, War Against Terror


Bush likes his soldiers only if they're still breathing.
And if they provide a nice photo-op.
Deal with it.

He'll just go AWOL (again) at their funerals, but who cares after all.

and it's kinda sad how, out of spite for those satanic "liberals", so many right-wingers seem to share Bush's spite for fallen soldiers
posted by matteo at 1:49 AM on November 28, 2003


Bush likes his soldiers only if they're still breathing.

Just not talking.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:59 AM on November 28, 2003


Noted: this anecdote from the local AP reporter in Baghdad:

But other soldiers grew angry that their departure from the airport was delayed for an hour, while they waited for Air Force One to leave. Finding the door barred, about 50 troops got into a shouting match with the soldier blocking their exit. The streets of Baghdad were too dangerous to delay their departure any longer, they shouted.

"Do you have any idea how many IEDs are on this road?" one soldier who didn't give his name shouted, referring to improvised explosive devices or roadside bombs. "I have to get back to my base. I don't want to lose a soldier because the president wants us to sit here."


Not well reported by the starstruck reporters who happened to follow them, as the filing from Terence Long, the AP journo who took the trip from Crawford and back, attests.

posted by calwatch at 2:13 AM on November 28, 2003


I wonder how disappointed Rove will be that most people don't watch TV on Thanksgiving. They used to, but not much anymore. From what I hear families actually go to movies(no, don't ask me why).

Why not do this on next Tuesday, when nothing else is going on?


Oh, not to worry. I'm sure that Fox, conveniently being the only television crew that were allowed to come along on George and Carl's Most Excellent Adventure, will be showing this throughout the weekend and most likely, all day Monday when their regular anchors get back from the holiday.

But, to steal a line from somewhere else, at least the troops had a turkey in Iraq on Thanksgiving. :)
posted by snarkywench at 2:26 AM on November 28, 2003


interesting link homunculus

Royal officials are now in touch with the Queen's insurers and Prime Minister Tony Blair to find out who will pick up the massive repair bill.

I'll hazard a guess that the answer will be 'UK taxpayers'

Particularly for this tale of sacrifice:

The Queen's own flock of flamingoes, which security staff insisted should be moved in case they flew into the helicopter rotors, are thought to be so traumatised after being taken to a "place of safety" that they might never return home.
posted by biffa at 2:38 AM on November 28, 2003


"the only morale problem he found was that soldiers who were not U.S. citizens said they were having trouble becoming citizens, and said that would be the best Christmas present ever."

sorry for the derail, but you can apparantly be a U.S. soldier when you are not a U.S. citizen. Isn't that rather odd?
posted by dabitch at 5:02 AM on November 28, 2003


The conspiracies start: "There were no outside shots as it was conveniently dark. The entire thing was filmed inside a hangar. Possibly the same one where they filmed the moon landings. Bremer was in the US a couple of weeks ago. The entire thing was staged and filmed up front. Bush never left his ranch on Thanksgiving Day."
posted by tapeguy at 5:15 AM on November 28, 2003


biffa - that's really sad about the flamingos. But perhaps they are happier in their new home - wherever that is. They might not relish all the constant attention, for they are in fact very private birds.

Y'know, as I was reading everyone's comments - and marvelling that every reaction I had to the Bush Iraq visit was already covered by a comment (and more) and while my brain fumbled for something unique and clever to say, I was struck by I sudden off topic realization :

Metafilter as political talking point generator!

And - though there are admittedly more liberal talking points here, there are certainly some conservative ones and a wide range of iconoclastic points which cannot be jammed into an easy category. These talking points are, in fact, an art form - and the authors should be compensated for their use by political parties and major media pundits.

Think of it - we, the net's lumpenbloggerati - own, in some cases, little more than our tapping fingers and facility for a quick, caustic turn of political phrase, and we slave away in our self imposed boilerrooms while Big media™ gorges on the fruits of our labors. Where's our morsel thrown from the media spotlight feast? Are we merely dogs for the overstuffed Fox, CNN and NPR overlords to wipe their greasy hands on? Where's our tasty morsel flung from the Fourth Estate for our slavish toil? Unite ! Litigate! Sue Sue Fight! ....Unite ! Litigate! Sue Sue Fight!

So : "If they really wanted to tell the "truth" we might see something in the media that would actually question the administration instead of just slobbering on the teat that is proffered.....How about they (someone? anyone?) get off of their asses and do some real investigative journalism? Then they can bitch." ® 2003, AIICAP™

"...a publicity stunt.... I'll be impressed when Bush spends the night and starts starts walking around examining all the schools the warbloggers keep telling me I need to go look at because I think everything's so bad over there." ® 2003, AIICAP™

"Libs knickers are more knotted over this than they were in their asinine complaint that he wasn't exploiting the return of dead soldiers enough." ® 2003, AIICAP™

"Bush likes his soldiers only if they're still breathing.
And if they provide a nice photo-op....and it's kinda sad how, out of spite for those satanic "liberals", so many right-wingers seem to share Bush's spite for fallen soldiers." ® 2003, AIICAP™


Use of talking points coined here can be purchased for a small fee paid to AIICAP* ( whose kennel is packed to bursting with snarling licensing rights lawyers waiting to pounce on thesaurus using scofflaws attempting to steal valuable intellectual property ), to be distributed to individual Talking Point artists. AIICAP maintains special, undisclosed (but mutually beneficial) financial and licensing agreements with those blogs in which AIICAP author comments first appear.

*AIICAP is the Association of independent Internet Commentators and Producers.

As I writer this, I'm listening to the predigested, triple-vetted blather from public radio, "Secret....risky...secret.....surprised, cheering troops....risky....secret.....bold move.....very secret.....a stunning surprise." - FOX Public Radio ? If I heard even a squeak from NPR about Calwatch's great catch -

"soldiers grew angry that their departure from the airport was delayed for an hour, while they waited for Air Force One to leave....about 50 troops got into a shouting match....The streets of Baghdad were too dangerous to delay their departure any longer, they shouted....."Do you have any idea how many IEDs are on this road?" "

- I'd topple off my chair gasping for breathe like a stunned trout whacked with an oar.
posted by troutfishing at 5:44 AM on November 28, 2003


There isn't one of the reports who has any fucking room to bitch. If they really wanted to tell the "truth" we might see something in the media that would actually question the administration instead of just slobbering on the teat that is proffered.

How about they (someone? anyone?) get off of their asses and do some real investigative journalism? Then they can bitch.


Comment of the day. That's what I call necessary perspective. I.F. Stone, commie though he was, had it right: the only way reporters can maintain any objectivity regarding politicians is to stay the hell away from them. Once you start having cozy dinners with the bastards in the hopes of getting your carefully rationed "scoop" of meaningless pseudo-news, you're lost; you'll never say anything that might endanger your flow of pellets, and you'll come to accept the Beltway view of everything ("positions" and "coalitions" and "institutions" = all-important; people hungry or out of work or so brutalized and beaten down they don't bother to try to improve their lives, much less vote = pointless distraction).
posted by languagehat at 5:58 AM on November 28, 2003


"...you can apparently be a U.S. soldier when you are not a U.S. citizen. Isn't that rather odd?" (Dabitch)

Dabitch - I'm sure the US military treats it's noncitizen soldiers better than those colonial subjects who served in the British Army during the heyday of the glorious British Empire which reached beneficently across the globe to bring those gifts - of English, finest tea (with scones), bureaucracy, croquet, law, gin, bland food, and fine schools - to those teeming, dun colored masses awaiting, with expectant yearning, the cultural and civilizational gifts of the west. *cues reading of Kipling's "White Man's Burden", with rousing chorus of "God Save the Queen" in the background.*

besides - to answer your question more directly - don't Americans believe that all things are possible?
posted by troutfishing at 6:00 AM on November 28, 2003


Languagehat - I agree with your "comment of the day" vote, but that's a nice extension of it:

"Once you start having cozy dinners with the bastards in the hopes of getting your carefully rationed "scoop" of meaningless pseudo-news, you're lost; you'll never say anything that might endanger your flow of pellets"

So : "The media rats have once again lined up at the pellet dispensor......"
posted by troutfishing at 6:13 AM on November 28, 2003


i can't believe rove missed out on a chance to film a version of 'escape from baghdad.'

maybe kurt russell is too old.
posted by lescour at 7:53 AM on November 28, 2003


dabitch, you may be suprised to learn that citizenship via military service has been used as a carrot before (http://www.shusterman.com/gulfwar.html). Bush has lowered the required number of years from 3, to none. As I understand it, you also get college paid for on return to the US if you want it.

'President Bush in July signed an executive order allowing all active-duty immigrants serving as of Sept. 11, 2001, to apply for U.S. citizenship without waiting the three years normally required for enlisted personnel. (Nonmilitary immigrants are required to wait five years.) The president's order made 15,000 immigrants in the armed services eligible for citizenship -- and perhaps gained him some future political supporters in the process. As of February, 5,441 immigrant service personnel had taken advantage of the offer.'

http://www.wsjclassroomedition.com/wsjtoday/war/03apr02_story2.html

Cynical people might be reminded of Operation Human Shield during the US/Canada war in the South Park movie.

Sorry about the links, just installed Opera and still getting to grips.
posted by asok at 8:38 AM on November 28, 2003


I've only recently discovered the west wing show. And yes - this event is like something that might have happened in the west wing - except that in the west wing, the pResident would have had a reason other than PR/campaign stunting to go there.

The thing that I'm finding really disturbing about the west wing is that 1.lots of people think that it's an accurate portrayal of how our government works, specifically the president and his advisors. and 2. Our pResident probably doesn't play chess as well as the one in the west wing.

I expect Bush to be more of a checkers man, myself.
posted by jaded at 8:49 AM on November 28, 2003


cspan aired the speech and Bush serving dinner unedited for those folks who didn't want to deal with the Fox news narration.
posted by jbou at 9:01 AM on November 28, 2003


I don't hear any of you bitching that Hillary Clinton went over there for Thanksgiving too.


As for Bush, if you had a chance to criticise how the man flushes after he poops, you would do it. If Bill Clinton had done the same thing you'd be falling all over yourselves talking about what a wonderful thing he was doing.

I am not saying that everything Bush does is correct. I was never sure about this war to begin with. But I still think it was a good thing he went over there for Thanksgiving. And before you start crapping on me for not caring about the troops, remember I live right down the road from Fort Bragg and these are my friends and neighbors we are talking about. (He visited the 82nd Airborne. Hoooah!)
posted by konolia at 9:10 AM on November 28, 2003


troutfishing: the net's lumpenbloggerati

In the coming week, I will work this phrase into my conversation whenever possible.
posted by SPrintF at 9:14 AM on November 28, 2003


Well, konolia, if you're gonna play that way...

(He visited the 82nd Airborne. Hoooah!)

The ones that are still alive that is. Where you live is irrelevant. If you care about your friends and neighbors then you should work to stop this madness.

I am not saying that everything Bush does is correct.

And you don't need to. We all know how you love aWol and company around here.

Speaking of Clinton, just four short years ago a certain Clinton visited a country only 5 months after military action and was warmly greeted by the troops AND the native population. The military action did not require the blood of our soldiers on a daily basis and had clear goals and objectives which did not include the enrichment of some petroleum buddies at the expense of all else. Of course you won't hear me bitching about that.

In regards to Hillary, she had the balls to announce her visit two weeks ago. But of course she's not a cowardly chickenshit hawk like aWol.
[/rant at defender of all things duhbya]
posted by nofundy at 9:30 AM on November 28, 2003


I don't hear any of you bitching that Hillary Clinton went over there for Thanksgiving too.

Yeah, they way she snuck in there under a cover of darkness and was given glowing multi-hour coverage and discussion by all the news networks about- oh, right.

As for Bush, if you had a chance to criticise how the man flushes after he poops, you would do it. If Bill Clinton had done the same thing you'd be falling all over yourselves talking about what a wonderful thing he was doing.

When Clinton went to Bosnia for Thanksgiving, he was warmly recieved by the liberated people, and didn't go over for a mere hour-long photo-op that would emphasize how "daring" and "suprising" it was to make it look even more of a spectacle.

But, as you've shown, konolia, you've opted to go for the two-fer and use both Clintons for the "oh you just don't like Bush" straw man. No shit, we don't like Bush. Stupid shit like this is why.

And HTuttle, seriously. You're making liberals like myself uncomfortable when you keep asking about our underwear. Copy a new trolling line from a warblog or I'm gonna have to file a sexual harassment complaint.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:39 AM on November 28, 2003


I don't hear any of you bitching that Hillary Clinton went over there for Thanksgiving too.

well, she actually went to Afghanistan first, then to Iraq, but let's just say that "over there" means "a place not in North Carolina where there are very few, if any, Wal Mart and McDonald's"

but if you don't see the difference between Senators (Jack Reed is with her) taking a scheduled trip abroad and Bush surprise top-secret Operation Turkey, well, you're hardly the one to lecture others about being blinded by partisanship (and since you're mentioning the name "Clinton", feel free to explain to the Pinko Huns here on MeFi your Republican buddies' bipartisan spirit and good manners so evident during the Clinton years)

don't worry, anyway: Hillary actually ventured out of Baghdad airport and out of the security zone, and stayed more than two hours, and didn't meet just Chalabi the Dread, and (obviously, it's sad that one has to point that out for you) she's had much less media coverage to enjoy.

of course, as a NY Senator, I think she has the duty to try to go to all (or most) of the funerals of KIA soldiers coming from the State she represents in Congress. Just like the President (or his VP, or a senior WH aide between an illegal leak to Robert Novak and another) should do for all KIA soldiers. If she doesn't do that, I'll be the first to admit she's wrong. Just like Bush is very wrong in ignoring the dead GI's and cutting off media coverage of their comeback to the USA.

oh, and I just love how the Bush defenders stance by now is reduced to either "you're aiding the enemy" or "Clinton did it first bla bla blah Hillary is evil blah blah"
posted by matteo at 9:40 AM on November 28, 2003


But I still think it was a good thing he went over there for Thanksgiving.
Is that how you go to Thanksgiving, tho--in secret, and under the cover of darkness, without letting the people you're visiting know you're coming?

The soldiers have to be there 24/7--our fearless leader couldn't even visit in the daytime, or announce his visit, or see more than 600 soldiers? All modern presidents visiting troops, from Eisenhower on, announced their visits in advance (it's a international sign of strength), and walked around a little, except this one.
posted by amberglow at 9:41 AM on November 28, 2003


btw, 2 deaths (1 sounds like a suicide) there today.
posted by amberglow at 9:57 AM on November 28, 2003


I've only recently discovered the west wing show.

I tried watching the West Wing, but I just couldn't stand it. That show is like Baywatch for people who are interested in politics. It's just porn, showing you how great it could be if the world didn't suck. Oh, yeah, baby, show me how thoughtful and intelligent my elected officials are. God, yes, right there.

Call me when we don't have to admire fictional leaders, because our real ones aren't short-sighted, greedy little smirky evil pinhead jerks.
posted by majcher at 10:00 AM on November 28, 2003


The turkey has landed.
posted by NewBornHippy at 11:37 AM on November 28, 2003


I.F. Stone, commie though he was, had it right: the only way reporters can maintain any objectivity regarding politicians is to stay the hell away from them.

There was a rerun yesterday of the Diane Rehm Show on our local NPR station--she had Studs Terkel on in front of a live audience. Man, you should've heard him tear into Bush and Iraq and John Ashcroft. The guy's 91 and apart from that his hearing's gone, he's sharp as a tack. They don't make 'em like that very often.
posted by y2karl at 11:43 AM on November 28, 2003


Yeah, Studs is one of the good ones. I'll miss him when he goes.
posted by languagehat at 2:04 PM on November 28, 2003


More from Studs.
posted by homunculus at 2:51 PM on November 28, 2003


The soldiers have to be there 24/7--our fearless leader couldn't even visit in the daytime, or announce his visit

There were perfectly sound security reasons for that. And you very well know it.

Look, when the twin towers fell, nothing was ever the same. We were told then that we were at war-a war on terrorism. This is a real war with real combatants, and whether or not we needed to take it to Iraq, we'd have been taking it somewhere-or the terrorists would be taking it to us. If you are unhappy with the President, I expect that you will participate in the political process and campaign/give money to/vote for his opponent. Meanwhile, see if you can understand that Bush is doing what he believes is the right thing. That is what any President does. History will judge him, and us.

I guess I feel that if you are going to bitch about Bush, find a policy or a decision to bitch about. Leave where he spent Thanksgiving out of it.
posted by konolia at 3:09 PM on November 28, 2003


konolia, the president represents America when he travels abroad. Vietnam was a real war, too, but Johnson (more than once) and Nixon both went on official announced visits. Every single president who has visited a war zone has done it with dignity and as befits a leader until now. And as for "perfectly sound security reasons," what does that tell you about the situation on the ground there? This is a man who tells us how wonderful life is there now, with businesses and schools and oil flowing, yet can't even leave a secured base to see it?

And that line about taking it to Iraq so they don't take it to us is a crock of shit, and you very well know it.
posted by amberglow at 3:19 PM on November 28, 2003


This is a real war with real combatants, and whether or not we needed to take it to Iraq, we'd have been taking it somewhere-or the terrorists would be taking it to us.

Do people actually bvelieve that pap? How can you actually think that such platitude could yield reasoned policy? I am beginning to fear that rationality has been relegated strictly to the dirty lib'ruhls.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:26 PM on November 28, 2003


The War on Terror's Newest Bad Cliche
posted by homunculus at 3:58 PM on November 28, 2003


Do people actually bvelieve that pap?

I think that whole paragraph is the output from Word's auto-summarize feature.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:09 PM on November 28, 2003


Reporters are in the business of telling the truth.

Ha, ha that's a hoot. Part of a Margaret Cho routine perhaps?

They can't decide it's okay to lie sometimes

Many, many, many reporters have managed to navigate that question to the satisfaction of their superiors.

The ones who are actually reporters, not just stenographers (if there are any left) know the answer.

posted by Twang at 4:18 PM on November 28, 2003


wow, konolia, that may be the weirdest comment ever. auto-summarize doesn't begin to explain it, but I agree it appears not to be fashioned by a human.

Look, when the twin towers fell, nothing was ever the same.

That is a bizarre choice of verb tense. Are we outside of history now?

...and whether or not we needed to take it to Iraq, we'd have been taking it somewhere-or the terrorists would be taking it to us.

So, what you saying is, to stop terrorism someone has to get bombed, and that while the current target may not be correct it doesn't matter, because the choice of the target is not important, only that there is one. I guess I understand what you're saying, but I don't see how you came to that conclusion.
posted by rhyax at 4:31 PM on November 28, 2003


What is the price of Experience? do men buy it for a song?
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath, his house, his wife, his children.
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy,
And in the wither'd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain.
It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer's sun
And in the vintage and to sing on the waggon loaded with corn.
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted,
To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer,
To listen to the hungry raven's cry in wintry season
When the red blood is fill'd with wine and with the marrow of lambs.

It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements,
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan;
To see a god on every wind and a blessing on every blast;
To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies' house;
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, and the sickness that cuts off his children,
While our olive and vine sing and laugh round our door, and our children bring fruits and flowers.

Then the groan and the dolor are quite forgotten, and the slave grinding at the mill,
And the captive in chains, and the poor in the prison, and the soldier in the field
When the shatter'd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead.

It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity:
Thus could I sing and thus rejoice: but it is not so with me.

—William Blake, from The Four Zoas
posted by languagehat at 5:07 PM on November 28, 2003


Terror experts fault Iraq war: Some in counterterror fear the war has hurt the battle with al-Qaeda.
posted by homunculus at 5:20 PM on November 28, 2003


Well, here's the Scorecard.
posted by y2karl at 7:32 PM on November 28, 2003


I'm as anti-Bush as anyone, but I really don't have a problem with this. Yes, it was a stunt, but presidents are supposed to do stunts. Going to Iraq is just good public relations. I think Bush would have done the same thing even if he wasn't involved in a re-election campaign.

And reporters keep quiet on things they know all the time. I see no reason any of the reporters should have spoken out about this trip beforehand. Reporters get behind the scenes coverage of events in exchange for holding back the content until the appropriate moment all the time. I've seen it not only in political coverage but in entertainment coverage, business coverage, sports coverage etc.
posted by gspira at 8:07 PM on November 28, 2003


Man, I wish booger from Revenge Of The Nerds was here right now. He'd know how to handle this board.

"Bush... I see Bush!"
posted by Dreamghost at 1:14 AM on November 29, 2003


Interestingly enough, on the news last night it was reported that Hillary Clinton supported Bush's trip to Iraq. Go figure.
posted by konolia at 5:27 AM on November 29, 2003


That's not hard to figure, considering she planned to visit Iraq herself.
posted by kindall at 8:50 AM on November 29, 2003


And HTuttle, seriously. You're making liberals like myself uncomfortable when you keep asking about our underwear.

I think he's filling in for paleocon.
posted by mcsweetie at 2:21 PM on November 29, 2003


an interesting take on what the visit was supposed to be like.
posted by amberglow at 6:20 PM on November 29, 2003


With the latest deaths, 104 coalition troops have died in November in Iraq, with guerrillas killing 79 American soldiers and 25 allied troops, making it the bloodiest month of the war that began March 20.

mission accomplished, indeed
posted by matteo at 8:31 AM on November 30, 2003


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