Tuesday, July 11, 2006

false reports of missions accomplished

frank rich unleashed:
"The administration has a more insidious game plan instead: it has manufactured and milked this controversy to reboot its intimidation of the press, hoping journalists will pull punches in an election year. There are momentous stories far more worrisome to the White House than the less-than-shocking Swift program, whether in the chaos of Anbar Province or the ruins of New Orleans. If the press muzzles itself, its under-the-radar self-censorship will be far more valuable than a Nixonesque frontal assault that ends up as a 24/7 hurricane veering toward the Supreme Court.

Will this plan work? It did after 9/11. The chilling words articulated at the get-go by Ari Fleischer (Americans must "watch what they say") carried over to the run-up to the Iraq war, when the administration's W.M.D. claims went unchallenged by most news organizations. That this strategy may work again can be seen in the fascinating escalation in tactics by the Bush White House's most powerful not-so-secret agent in the press itself, the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

The Journal is not Fox News or an idle blogger or radio bloviator. It's the establishment voice of the party in power. The infamous editorial it ran on June 30 ("Fit and Unfit to Print"), an instant classic, doesn't just confer its imprimatur on the administration's latest crusade to conflate aggressive journalism with treason, but also ups the ante.


The trouble is we have plenty to worry about. For all the airy talk about the First Amendment, civil liberties and Thomas Jefferson in the debate over the Swift story and the National Security Agency surveillance story before it, there's an urgent practical matter at stake, too. Now more than ever, after years of false reports of missions accomplished, the voters need to do what Congress has failed
to do and hold those who mismanage America's ever-expanding war accountable for their performance in real time.

No comments: