Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day Editorial Highlights

Minneapolis Star Tribune
  In exchange for our uniformed young people's willingness to offer the gift of their lives, civilian Americans owe them something important: It is our duty to ensure that they never are called to make that sacrifice unless it is truly necessary for the security of the country. In the case of Iraq, the American public has failed them; we did not prevent the Bush administration from spending their blood in an unnecessary war based on contrived concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes. Perhaps it happened because Americans, understandably, don't expect untruths from those in power. But that works better as an explanation than as an excuse.

Bob Herbert, New York Times
  This Memorial Day is not a good one for the country that was once the world's most brilliant beacon of freedom and justice.
  President Bush's close confidante, Karen Hughes, has been chosen to lead a high-profile State Department effort to repair America's image. The Bush crowd apparently thinks this is a perception problem, as opposed to a potentially catastrophic crisis that will not be eased without substantive policy changes.
  In much of the world, the image of the U.S. under Mr. Bush has morphed from an idealized champion of liberty to a heavily armed thug in camouflage fatigues. America is increasingly being seen as a dangerously arrogant military power that is due for a comeuppance. It will take a lot more than Karen Hughes to turn that around.

Baltimore Sun
  At the beginning of the Iraq war, Pfc. Jessica Lynch's story was so overspun and distorted as to become ridiculous. In Afghanistan, we now know, Ranger Pat Tillman was mistakenly killed by U.S. soldiers, but the Army seized upon his death to try to create a fighting legend - out of whole cloth. These PR blunders serve neither of those soldiers well. Lies have marked these wars from the beginning, and besides being ultimately self-defeating, they are an affront to all Americans, most especially those whose bravery and sacrifice have gone unheralded.
  If the Bush administration truly wanted to memorialize the war dead, it wouldn't spirit them into Dover Air Force Base under cover of a photo blackout - as if the White House were ashamed of those who died abroad. If the president truly wished to honor their memory, he would demonstrate to the nation that the government that has botched so much of the war at least has some inkling as to how to draw it to a successful conclusion - so that the dead will not have died in vain.
  But critics of the war have a particular responsibility, too. The best way to honor the memory of all those American heroes who have been killed in action is not to lose faith, or hope, but to remain engaged, to hold the administration to account, to seek out and advocate ways to achieve a real peace in Asia. It still must be possible - and it would be a lasting monument to those who gave their lives for their country.

Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post
  The day after [Paul] Wolfowitz's nomination [to head the World Bank] was confirmed, a satirical staff magazine "reported" that a moving crew had arrived at World Bank headquarters to deliver his personal items, "including a 1768 map of Iraq (with hundreds of red Xs denoting 'WMDs,' hundreds of black Xs denoting 'Oil Well$,' and one blue X denoting 'decent sushi restaurant') . . . a fully armed AH-64A/D Apache helicopter, a "red phone" with a direct line to Karl Rove, an RQ-4A Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle . . ."

Paul Krugman, New York Times
  ...the Bush administration, which was ready neither to look for a way out of Iraq nor to admit that staying there would require a much bigger army, simply threw out the rulebook. Regular soldiers are spending a lot more than a third of their time overseas, and many reservists are finding their civilian lives destroyed by repeated, long-term call-ups.
  For a generation Americans have depended on a superb volunteer Army to keep us safe - both from our enemies, and from the prospect of a draft. What will we do once that Army is broken?


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