Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Hate The War

He may be presiding over two wars and facing a terror threat at home and abroad, but you'd hardly know it from listening to President Barack Obama speak.
Obama has uttered more than a half-million words in public since taking office Jan. 20 -- and a POLITICO analysis of nearly every word in this vast public record shows that domestic topics dominate, so much so that Obama sounds more like a peacetime president than a commander in chief with more than 100,000 troops in the field.
He has spoken the words "health" and "economy" each more often than the words "Iraq," "Iran," "Afghanistan" and "terrorism" combined, the analysis shows.
"Jobs" are mentioned twice as often as "security" and four times more than "war."

The above is from Zachary Abrahamson and Eamon Javers' "Barack Obama's words downplay wars" and you know it has to be worth reading if I'm highlighting Politco, let alone opening with it. But, of course, it is Politco.


So much is not addressed.

Yeah, Barack has avoided Iraq in his speeches. Yeah. Guess what though? The press has avoided it too. That's in questions to Barack --as the New York Times' Helene Cooper and Katharine Q. Seelye, among others -- have pointed out. Barack holds a press conference and no one wants to ask about Iraq. It's not just Barack.

And it's not just the 'luster' and 'star power' from his speaking 'style' that resembles Sandy Dennis in Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. The same is true when Robert Gibbs or anyone else is doing a White House press briefing. It's usually the case at the US State Dept as well but they've actually been taking notice of Iraq this week (not just today) -- the press. Not the spokespeople.

In fact, for those who missed it, the State Dept lost one of their own to violence in Iraq. And so, of course, they opened the first press briefing after that by acknowledging him and by . . . Oh, wait, they didn't do that. They didn't even bother. A State Dept briefing took place with the spokesperson ignoring the State Dept employee who had died the day before in Iraq, whose death was in that morning's papers. Just avoided it. Just pretended like it didn't happen. He should have opened with it but he didn't. And was so caught off guard by the press actually asking an Iraq related question that he hadn't bothered to learn the name of the employee who had died -- the name that was already being reported. Ian Kelly didn't know Terry Barnich's name. He never named Terry Barnich, even while replying to a question.

And what was his reply? Does anyone even remember? He repeats the basics about a bombing. He doesn't say a damn thing. He's even asked, "Can you say more about the State Department employee, what they did?" His reply? "Right now, I can't tell you. But I'll get back to you, if you don't mind."

How does the State Dept stage a press briefing, hours after the press is reporting not just the death but the name of the deceased, and the Dept's spokesperson doesn't know a thing about the deceased, not even his name?

How does that happen? Because repeatedly the message is sent that the press will not ask about Iraq. They won't 'bother' the spokespeople with those questions.

We don't usually link to Politico here (in a pinch we'll link to Ben because he's so much better than the outlet) and I usually refer to it with a nickname like "Hedda Hopper Lives!" but we'll link to it tonight and I'll even say "well done." Politico, well done.

But the reality is that it's not just Barack.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4330. Tonight? 4331.

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