Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'No one knows, no one cares'

As is all too typical in the nonsense that passes for discourse today, something that needed to be called out got ignored because it was more important to push partisan crap.  And to push partisan crap, a lot had to get ignored.

Former reporter Thomas E. Ricks decided to appear on Fox News yesterday.  For some reason, while appearing on Fox News, he decided to make a statement insulting Fox News.

Because he insulted Fox News, those of us on the left are supposed to be thrilled and praising him.

And his insult is getting a lot of coverage for him -- just in time to promote his new latest soft-porn book on military brass.  You sort of get the picture that Thomas E. Ricks types on all fours with his ass in the air.  In the animal kingdom, they call it presenting.

The first and most obvious point to make is that you have no high horse to ride about Fox News if you're appearing on it.  They didn't stop him outside a book signing.  He was invited on and he chose to go on.  Then, instead of answering a question, he elected to hector Fox News with his opinion of what they were doing (and what they were doing wrong).

Some on the left, I really am starting to fear for IQ on the left, think this was great and wonderful.  It was bad manners and that's not a surprise, Thomas E. Ricks has no manners and lacks all social graces (he's been known to appear in public with food in his beard -- chunks).  As a general rule, for others who struggle with the concept of good graces, when you're invited into someone's home, you can choose to accept the invitation or not.  If you accept the invitation, it is considered poor form to insult your host.

Ricks was rude and insulting.

There is some nonsense that he 'showed' the host and the host, scared and afraid, cut the interview short.  No, I've streamed the video this morning, that's not what appears to have happened.  Ricks was rude and trashed the network in a sentence and then went on to make a more disturbing statement (not about Fox News) and the host, apparently surprised by what ricks had stated, got the crazy off the air.

After you've insulted your host, there's really no point in your continuing on in an appearance.  If I'm going on CBS This Morning and I make a point to insult ABC on air -- their prime time schedule, a recent decision they've made, and I'm insulting the host (not having a conversation), then Charlie Rose or Gayle King has the right to thank me and end the interview.  That's not up in the air, that's not open to question.  The program he was appearing on was not Bill O'Reilly or anything like that.  He was ill-mannered and he was insulting (more so than to just Fox News).

He later supposedly apologized.  Ricks said he never did.

If he's telling the truth and not apologizing is a point of pride for Thomas E. Ricks, he has even more serious issues than most would realize.

Thomas E. Ricks is not the left.  He is not our poster boy and we shouldn't be applauding him.  When he was a reporter, there was the appareance of neturality.  Those days have vanished and we're left with something else currently. This is aptly captured in a comment left at the Washington Post piece (Erik Wemple wrote the Post piece) that Cedric and Wally passed on:

Let's try one more time. Wemple's set the tone so blame him first. But these "You're an idiot because you're a Republican!" and "You're an idiot because you're a Democrat!" I'm so tired of them. I'm so sick of the automatic hatred. Whomever you are posting on this thread, whether I agree with your or not, you are a person and you are thanked by me for sharing your thoughts.
I'm a liberal (not a 'progressive') and I find it appalling that we don't have answers still. I also find it appalling that if you mention one person you don't mention all three. Four names are not too many: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Chris Stevens and Tyrone Woods. I didn't break a fingernail typing all four names. I find it very shameful the way some comments here treat all but Stevens as if they don't matter.
I also find it appalling that, on the left, we're supposed to be praising Thomas E. Ricks. Ricks is for counter-insurgency. While promoting his previous book, he went around the country declaring what 'hippies' say just so he could have a straw man to beat up. He also posted a nude photo of a woman at Foreign Policy which is not Playboy magazine. And when called on it in comments, he refused to apologize. When you add in not just his friendship with the man who verbally attacked Lara Logan after she was sexually assaulted but the fact that 'journalists' Ricks never said one word about the attack on Logan, this liberal woman doesn't see Thomas E. Ricks as a member of the left. In addition, his writing has gotten very shoddy since he left The Washington Post. Ellen Knickmeyer always did a more solid job covering Iraq during the period when the two of them were both covering it. Equally true, Ricks keeps writing these books 'about' Iraq that never really feature Iraqis. Xenophobia is the term that springs to mind. Thomas E. Ricks hates Fox News. Well I don't watch Fox News. But if I hated it, I don't think I'd go on it. Seems like more attention seeking behavior from Ricks.
Now can we get some answers on Benghazi? As The Common Ills pointed out today, it's now been 47 days and Jay Carney announced the White House still doesn't know about the attack or how to prevent another one.

That really sums it up.  (The book being referred to in the MTW2 comment above is The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 ).

So having no dog in this fight (he's not one of the left and since leaving the Washington Post, he's taken to falsely conflating al Qaeda in Mesopotamia with al Qaeda that attacked the US on September 11, 2001 -- they are not the same, we've called Ricks out for this since late 2009 when he went completely off the rails) and with Thomas E. Ricks being rude and ingracious, you'd think we'd stop applauding.  Instead, Media Matters and others have decided Ricks created must-see TV which must be applauded.

They're wrong about the applause aspect but he did create must-see TV when he dimissed the deaths of four Americans in the Benghazi attacks stating they were "contractors."


Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were Iraq War veterans.  One has to wonder how Tommy I'm With The Brass Ricks will go over beyond the core group of idiots who follow him once they grasp the disrespect he's shown two military veterans.

Second, they're not "contractors."  Chris Stevens, or course, was the US AMbassador to Libya.  Sean Amith was the US Foreign Service Information Management Officer.  Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods?  Here's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

Today, we also recognize the two security personnel who died helping protect their colleagues. Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty were both decorated military veterans who served our country with honor and distinction. Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest gratitude are with their families and friends. Our embassies could not carry on our critical work around the world without the service and sacrifice of brave people like Tyrone and Glen. Tyrone’s friends and colleagues called him “Rone,” and they relied on his courage and skill, honed over two decades as a Navy SEAL. In uniform, he served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2010, he protected American diplomatic personnel in dangerous posts from Central America to the Middle East. He had the hands of a healer as well as the arm of a warrior, earning distinction as a registered nurse and certified paramedic. All our hearts go out to Tyrone’s wife Dorothy and his three sons, Tyrone Jr., Hunter, and Kai, who was born just a few months ago.
We also grieve for Glen Doherty, called Bub, and his family: his father Bernard, his mother Barbara, his brother Gregory, and his sister Kathleen. Glen was also a former Navy SEAL and an experienced paramedic. And he put his life on the line many times, protecting Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hotspots. In the end, he died the way he lived – with selfless honor and unstinting valor.

Here's the key passage.

Jon Scott: When you -- When you have four people dead -- including the first US Ambassador in more than 30 years -- how do you call that 'hype'?

Thomas E. Ricks:  How many security contractors died in Iraq?  Do you know?

Jon Scott:  I don't.

Thomas E. Ricks:  No.  Nobody does.  Because nobody cared.  We know that several hundred died but there was never an official count done -- of security contractors in Iraq.  So when I see this focus on [. . .]

That is beyond offensive.

What contractors died in Iraq that we know of?  The Blackwater ones killed in the spring of 2004: Jerry Zovko, Scott Helvenston, Michael Teague and Wesley Batalona.  I'm sure not the only one who knows their name.  We know them because they were attacked in ambush and their corpses hanged from a Falluja bridge.

Were they the only ones?  No.  Did the US government keep track?  Probably.  There was no public count.  There was no website that tracked it.

But what does that have to do with anything.  Tom Ricks' fabled ICC website can't even get the number of US service members killed in Iraq correct all this time later.  The DoD count has been public for a long time now.  (And there have been no additions in the last 11 months.)  We switched to the DoD count because the press applauded ICC wasn't doing their job and their count went up and it went down and it went all around.  So we went with the official government source and we did that because a friend with DoD suggested it.  And I had no idea there was a DoD count until he informed there was.  I would assume the press had no idea either.  But I'm not the press.  Meaning?  It's their job to know.

I'm sure the US government has kept a count on contractors.  I don't believe they've kept a public count.  You may remember the claim that the US wasn't keeping track of the number of Iraqis killed.  Yes, WikiLeaks releasing the cables made clear to some that this was a lie.  But many of us were paying attention in real time, back in 2006, when Nancy A. Youssef broke that story for Knight Ridder (now McClatchy Newspapers).

Did the lack of a public count for the number of Iraqis dying mean their deaths didn't matter?

Maybe to Thomas E. Ricks.  How many books will he write 'about' Iraq before he finally 'discovers' the Iraqi people?

So that's offensive there.

It's also offensive that he's confusing security contractors in a war with what took place in Libya.  Libya's not supposed to be 'at war' with the US.  Remember?  Barack didn't need Congressional approval, he (falsely) argued because no Americans were taking part in combat on the ground in Libya.  And that war is supposed to be long over with the US government having installed the so-called 'rebels' to rule Libya.

The Benghazi attack was an attack on Americans in a non-war zone and it was a terrorist attack.  It was not, as the ridiculous idiot declares that he's "covered a lot of firefights."  This was not a firefight.  This was an attack, on the anniversary of 9-11, on Americans.

Thomas E. Ricks is an idiot.  That's why he can tell you that Susan Rice will be confirmed as Secretary of State.

Susan Rice has not yet been nominated for that post.  Ricks is not a reporter and hasn't been for some time.  He's now a gas bag who predicts and sneers.

Based on the official government record thus far, 4 Americans were killed in an attack on a diplomatic outpost -- a US diplomatic outpost.  It is hilarious to watch Ricks and partisans for Barack insist that this or that is not a fact because the government doesn't say so but at the same time they want to insist other things are facts that are in conflict with official statements.

By the official record, a diplomatic outpost was attacked and diplomats and those protecting them were killed and attacked.  Now we can go somewhere else if you want but if you're wanting to appear reasoned on TV and scoff at others maybe you can't cherry pick through which part of the official story you'll embrace and which you won't.

Thomas E. Ricks belittles what took place and belittles the security contractors.  But that's not surprising.  For all his gung up pretense of loving the military (to the point that it comes off as a perverse sexual worship), the fact of the matter is he doesn't do a damn thing for veterans and never has.  His reporting didn't care and now his blogging doesn't care.  Burn pit victims?  Ricks has other things to do.  Maybe post a nudie photo, maybe one of a canine, maybe attack Michael Hastings again, maybe attack the dead woman he loved, maybe rush to defend the disgusting Nir Rosen, maybe stay silent about the attack on Lara Logan.  (If you're late to the cess pool that is Nir Rosen, refer to "The Damned Don't Apologize (Ava and C.I.).")

Let's repeat that so we can all grasp how disgusting Thomas E. Ricks is.  Lara Logan is an international correspondent for CBS News.  She's covered the war zones.  She was covering Egypt when she was assaulted.  Not only did Thomas E. Ricks' little buddy Nir Rosen savage her but Ricks wanted to try to save Rosen while never, ever expressing one word publicly in sympathy to Logan who was attacked.

Does Ricks not get it?  Probably not because you won't find Military Sexual Trauma addressed by him either.  That was a savage attack, what happened to Logan.  Fortunately, she has more strength than the wimp Thomas E. Ricks.  She has gone on with her life.  There have been some hard days for her but she's been a professional and then some.  And while Ricks could try to redeem the asshole who attacked her, he couldn't express any sympathy for a reporter who was attacked while doing their job.

That tells us everything we need to know about Thomas E. Ricks.

And all we need to hear from him now is an apology for his rude remarks regarding the four dead Americans from 48 days ago (check my math, always) and for the rudeness aimed at contractors and especially for conflating the actions of the US government with the desires of the American people.

Thomas E. Ricks is an asshole.  Those who are applauding him need to stop or accept that they're going to look as offensive as he does.

(And is it just me or have his eyes gotten even beadier?  Just looking at him makes me sick to my stomach.)

Updating in the last 24 hours or so:

You should know who is and isn't a community site.  My stomach's killing me, I've got to throw up.  Give me about 30 minutes and I'll have the second entry up, Thomas E. Ricks and his crap has made me sick beyond words.

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