The Washington Post With Egg on its Editorial Face

Ignorance is bliss. Sounding as if it were ghost-written for the Post
editorial board (as indeed it may have been) by Robert Kagan, their
neocon-attack-dog-in-reserve, the piece had its own  excesses of
cynical mockery. He (it, they) continues,

In a stunningly ignorant editorial, Message for Mr. Putin, the Washington Post lays out what can only be characterized as an adolescent rant, thusly;

THE PAST few days, the anti-Western rhetoric of Russian President
Vladimir Putin, which had been rising in pitch for several months, has
reached Soviet levels of shrillness. He accused the United States of
“imperialism” and “diktat” and threatened to target Europe with new
Russian weapons. In an interview with foreign journalists, he cynically
mocked Western democracy, saying that U.S. “torture, homelessness,
[and] Guantanamo” and Europe’s “harsh treatment of demonstrators” have
left him as the only “absolute and pure democrat” in the world.

Ignorance is bliss. Sounding as if it were ghost-written for the Post
editorial board (as indeed it may have been) by Robert Kagan, their
neocon-attack-dog-in-reserve, the piece had its own  excesses of
cynical mockery. He (it, they) continues,

the Cold War were still on, Western leaders would probably find it
relatively easy to rebuff such barbs at today’s summit of
industrialized democracies in northern Germany. But this is a different
era, and Mr. Putin himself will attend the summit, a member of a club
— the Group of Eight — in which he clearly doesn’t belong. His
presence should remind the other seven members of how much has gone
wrong in Moscow since they decided in 1998 to offer Russia membership
in the hope that it was evolving into a liberal democracy. It should
also give them the opportunity to make clear to Mr. Putin that his
belligerence will not return his country to great-power status.

for those good old days of Cold War, when rebuffs were easier. The
trouble with this kind of wounded-bird editorializing is that it is so
easily made ironic. His (Bush’s) presence should remind the other seven
members of how much has gone wrong in Washington, Iraq,
Britain, Europe, North Korea, Iran, Lebanon, Syria et al, since the
Bush presidency. On a scale of 1-10, the Putin disruptions to world
peace and prosperity might rate a 2, compared to Bush’s solid 8 or 9.

recent days the Kremlin’s tone has become so blatantly propagandistic
that some observers believe it is driven entirely by domestic politics.

Is it possible that the Washington Post, dedicated as it is to the craft of language, fails to see the irony in that statement?
Stopping over in Prague to try and put a kindly face on the imposition
of a radar base that is resoundingly (70%) opposed by Czechs, President
Bush declaimed,

Russia, reforms that once promised to empower citizens have been
derailed, with troubling implications for democratic development.”

is apparently not reserved to the Post, as Bush has all but
single-handedly trashed habeas corpus and individual rights to privacy,
politicized virtually all agencies of federal government and
unilaterally pulled the United States from treaties agreed by the
Congress but personally abhorrent to himself. Pandering to his
religious base, he ignored the strictures between church and state,
while driving the country to divisive extremes never before seen in
Talk about your troubling implications.
Dragged kicking and screaming
to the G-8 conference, the president has decided the best defense is a
strong offense. Yet the crux of the current impasse has been a long
time coming, as the administration stomped its way throughout the world
with muddy boots. Bolton at the U.N. and Wolfowitz at the World Bank
are just the most egregious examples.
The administration has utterly failed to make plain and build the case
for radar and missile bases in Europe—or anywhere else, for that
matter. The claim that our goal is to save Europe from Iranian
aggression is simply laughable. The suspicion that these installations
are outriders of Donald Rumsfeld’s failed (but scary) Star Wars program
is unavoidable in the face of such a claim. If we meant what we said,
these installations would be on the Iran-Israel border instead of the
heart of Europe.
No wonder Russia is nervous and China as well. We seldom put someone
else’s shoe on our foot, yet if Vladimir Putin busily and smilingly
coerced an agreement from Canada to install radar and missile shields
in Toronto, I suspect America would be outraged.
Had Russia waded into the Middle East as we have, in reaction to
Chechen terrorists (no doubt allied with al-Qaeda), spreading
destabilization within an already unstable area, we would have gone
wild-eyed with criticism. Had they done that by drawing around them the
allies of their bad old Cold War days, we’d have been additionally
Perhaps—just perhaps—had Putin complicated those transgressions by
publicly humiliating us over our shortcomings in housing our homeless,
educating our illiterate, caring for our mentally ill, providing health
care for our 45 million uninsured, exacerbating the ever wider division
between our haves and have-nots and creating a systemic program of
paying off our legislators—they might then have poisoned the spirit of
bonhomie at the G-8.
Deprecatingly, Putin might have invited Bush to his personal dacha to
hear Vladimir’s wisdoms and avail himself of a more proper path to the
governance of America. Somewhere, some time, a ring might have been
kissed, absolution asked and given.
The ignorance and arrogance of George Bush, now wholeheartedly
joined in the effort by whoever decides editorial position in the
increasingly irrelevant Washington Post, is simply stunning.
There was a time in our venerable newspaper history when rags were
known as rags and serious journalism inhabited the pages of such
publications as the Washington Post and New York Times. Alas, those days have fallen to the balance sheet. Which would be great if that presumed a political balance.
If our newspapers continue to fall victim to the quarterly profit
and if advertisers and stockholders continue to use that vulnerability
as a wedge between partisan politics and investigative journalism, they
will become no more than entertainment venues. Not flashy and
cutting-edge enough to survive in that market, they’ll go down the
tubes. Perhaps that’s where they’re headed in any case. Certainly even
classified automobile ads are better accessed on the Net.
It’s no accident that major exposés follow the pattern of Dana Priest’s
excellent work on Walter Reed Hospital (where there are no profit
structures) and the Jack Abramoff payoffs (where there are no willing
But what have we from any major paper on the offenses within the
pharmaceutical industry? Who takes on the credit-card, chemical or oil
industries? Who dares to criticize the health-care conglomerate?
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
Media comment;

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