Saturday, August 13, 2005

Sabre-Rattling, Again

Here's a puzzle, Bush. The BBC World News led off last night with two items: first, your interview in Crawford, Texas, with an Israeli television reporter; then news of the long-range sniper assassination of the Sri Lankan foreign minister in his own home. Yet somehow, in our home-grown television news, the first rated nary a mention(I happened to have watched CBS; maybe other stations ran it;) and the second ran way down the list of news items, along with other brief mention of events on foreign soil.

I guess it's a question of priorities, another example--albeit perhaps a small one--of this country's obsessive self-involvement. The BBC, in my judgment, took the larger and more comprehensive view, in which events in Sri Lanka ranked in importance with those in other countries, even this one. As you well know, Bush, I have personally been pleading with you for these past several months now to step into that larger view, since the world has now become so small. It's a globe, and what happens in one small part of it will necessarily create waves that affect the rest. This assassination was, if anything, a terrorist act. So why do we, in your much bally-hoo'ed war on terrorism, relegate it (as did today's New York Times) to the second page?

As for the Israeli television interview, it rated no mention at all, that I could see, in the Los Angeles Times, and--just possibly, without attribution--a quick aside in the New York Times in an unrelated article. And yet there you were, rattling the old sabre once again, refusing to rule out the use of force in Iran if the Iranians "refuse to comply with the demands of the free world" to abandon their nuclear plans. You claimed to be "working feverishly" on the diplomatic front--as feverishly as you did in Iraq, Bush, before you invaded?--and added that it was "difficult for the Commander-in-Chief to put kids in harm's way." Difficult? You managed the feat with remarkable ease in Iraq. Force, you added--ingenuously, in my view--"is the last option of any President," but you're willing to use it "as a last resort for people to be able to live in free societies." A last resort? How you have the balls to come up with a statement like this defies the imagination. Anyway, the BBC wondered aloud whether this was a message to the Israelis, since you chose to air these views on Israeli television, or simply a new way to further enrage Iran.

Perhaps, to be charitable to the American media, they decided to ignore what you said because it's simply the same old, tired rhetoric from the great leader and defender of your "free world." I choose not to dwell today, Bush, on what the word "free" has come to mean in this increasingly theocractic oligarchy you're busy creating, out of what was once a plausible democracy. But it does occur to me to wonder, not for the first time, how much of your misguided words and actions these media are prepared to ignore, presumably in the interest of those whose profits they exist to earn. They sure don't seem to exist to inform us any more.

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