Monday, June 27, 2005

Questions for Abizaid, questions for Schieffer.

Since the Fair Penelope and I began our church pilgrimages, Sunday talking-news television has receded into an extended irrlevance. Even Fox slipped away when Tony Snow left. But I have a question for, as Hugh Hewitt calls him, Sleepy Bob Schieffer.

From the transcript of CBS's Face the Nation comes this question to General Abizaid:

SCHIEFFER: When do you think, General--you say they will be able one day to handle this
themselves. Can you give us just some sort of estimate on how far along you are? When, for
example, will we no longer have to have--take part in the ground war? Let's say we can still
give them air support and supply support. But when do you think the Iraqi forces can take
over the ground fighting? When will they be ready?

Skipping his answers, General Abizaid got two more just like the first.

SCHIEFFER: But you can't give us any estimate on when that will be? I mean...


SCHIEFFER: ...I'm not asking for a date on the calendar, just...

Oh Bob, you have been in Journalism for what, twenty-five, maybe thirty years. When are you going to win a Pulitzer Prize? I'm not asking for a date, mind you, but just when can we expect this to happen? I mean, you haven't won one yet, correct? Surely you have some estimate of when that might be. No? Well why not?

We hear this same question asked perpetually. The press goes this route only to be able to throw it back in the face of the military when the "morning of July 17th, 2006 by 11:33 AM, EST" is missed by eighteen seconds.

"General, you told us on June 26th...why did you miss this date by two minutes and twelve seconds? Are we losing? Is it time for the entire country to commit ritual seppiku? "

The idelogical template for journalism is conflict, dissonance, a "I'll ask the questions here buddy" attitude. If they knew just the tiniest bit of military history, the embarrassment at their own questions would drive them all to vows of silence and penance. Vice-President Cheney spoke about the insurgency in its last throes. Japan's last throes in the Pacific war was the kamikaze. Despite its fearsome posture, at the time the U.S. Navy's studies showed its impact to be militarily not significant. The terrorists want to go for terror. When they are up against it, they'll lash out with more, at easier targets, the local ticketbuyers at the Revenge of the Sith, not the meeting of police sergeants at the range. Sure it's ugly, and vicious, and people are shredded into mist. CBS news has the answers though? Not on your life.

Really, a when is this going to happen is the question of someone who doesn't want us to win.
Is it over yet? Are we there yet? When is this Costner movie going to be over?
Bob, got that Pulitzer yet?

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