Friday, May 20, 2005

Close, But No Cigar

To quote This is Spinal Tap, it’s such a fine line between stupid and clever. For example, take Mark Hyman’s recent commentary lambasting journalists for voicing concerns that the military has not been callous regarding the safety of journalists in Iraq.

As it stands, it’s pretty dumb. It takes quotations out of context and ignores the fact that many journalists have died covering the Iraq war and full investigations have yet to be done into the bombing of an Al-Jazeera studio and the “friendly fire” deaths of two journalists during the fighting in Baghdad.

However, change just a few words, and Hyman’s commentary actually becomes sensible. Swap a couple of names and switch the specific quotations, and you’ve got yourself a commentary to be proud of. With that in mind, I offer you a Counterpoint in Hyman’s own words, with a few slight editorial changes. [Note to readers: I am specifically citing the following words as coming substantially from Mark Hyman. I don’t want to use his words without giving him credit, since I know what a tireless crusader Mark is on issues of plagiarism.]

The Bush administration’s unsubstantiated story three years ago that Iraq had nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons led to deadly results. Tens of thousands have been killed and injured in military action in Iraq. U.S. prestige suffered a tremendous blow in the Muslim world. Intelligence officials have since said that we had it “almost all wrong.”

President Bush said, “"The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons,” and “"Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” No proof. Nothing to back up his claim. He just said it.

Then came Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States, who made similar remarks to the American people:

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”

These completely irresponsible remarks speak for themselves. Since Bush and Cheney have not supported their allegations, they should immediately resign as president and vice president.
Unfortunately, the damage has already been done. Their remarks have led to continued bloodshed, including against Americans.

The question is whether Congress, the media, and the American people will hold the Bush administration accountable or will they give them a free pass in endangering American lives with inflammatory remarks without any proof?

And that’s The Counterpoint (with substantial assistance from the Hymanator himself!).


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