Day By Day

Monday, June 19, 2006

Remembering Haditha

At the height of the Haditha hype I wrote this, but with one thing and another, forgot to post it. This morning I was cleaning out files on my hard drive and ran across it. Here are my somewhat belated thoughts on the matter.

Wretchard over at the Belmont Club makes an acute observation:

From a purely academic point of view future historians will find this period an interesting example of how manipulated perceptions struggled obstinately with suppressed reality for the center stage of the policy debate. Some of the questions that will be asked fifty years from now are: what was Scooter Libby really charged with? Is that all? How come millions of people could die in Darfur without anyone noticing? Why were people obsessed with the possible criminal behavior of a handful of Marines in Iraq and uninterested in why their wonderful universities and high schools could produce kids who would be interested in blowing up buildings, spreading poison gas, or maybe shooting down airliners with surface to air missiles. And the most interesting thing about this period is that for a brief time, the manufactured perceptions almost looked like winning. Until reality weighed in.

Read the whole thing here.

I hope he’s right in that last statement. In this election year, considerations of actual governance go by the board as all concerned jockey for political advantage. In the US both Democrats and Republicans are behaving shamelessly, twisting and distorting serious policy issues, moving marginal issues like gay marriage and the alleged Libby leaks to the center of the political stage while suppressing and ignoring matters of immense importance. The sheer irresponsibility of it all is staggering.

As horrible as Haditha may be, and we don’t know at this point just what happened there, the willingness, even eagerness of the MSM to apply the My Lai template and to focus obsessively on this latest attempt to shoehorn Iraq into the Vietnam experience is shameful, especially when a real and present danger, such as the terror plots recently uncovered in Toronto, London, and elsewhere, are being shoved to the side.

Wretchard is perfectly right to ridicule the ridiculously PC response of Luc Portelance, CSIS’s assistant director of operations. Such exquisite attention to irrelevant forms constitutes nothing less than criminal ineptitude in the face of real danger.

For two election cycles, the bulk of the American public has resisted the shameful and determined efforts of political pros to divert them from the important issues of our day. Once again in this election year our friends and enemies around the world wait with bated breath to see whether or not the American people will allow themselves to be distracted from serious purposes.

We can only hope that once again the wisdom of the American people will prevail over the affectations of an irresponsible and self-absorbed elite.

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