Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wall Street Journalism

We have come to expect right-wing wind from the Wall Street Journal, especially from its editorial department. The Oct. 21 edition contains a op-ed piece by Thane Rosenbaum titled “Evening the Score in Afghanistan” argues that we need to escalate that war for one reason: revenge. Rosenbaum, a professor of law at Fordham University, is big on he revenge aspect of justice. They are the same thing, as far as he is concerned.

Thane’s burble is short on something: on whom are we looking to get revenge? The amorphous assortment of militant types we call the Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11. None of the 9/11 attackers were Afghans. We still don’t know for sure where Osama bin Laden is, but he’s probably not in Afghanistan.

Rosenbaum’s “eye for an eye” diatribe suggests that we need to get even for the 3,000 Americans killed on 9/11. Rosie, dude, we have killed far more than 3,000 people in our woebegone war on terror. Let’s call it a day. Rosenbaum also, as one might expect, derides President Obama’s Nobel Prize.

Elsewhere in the Journal is a slice of hackery from Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, who also makes hay by deriding Obama’s Nobel, and for his attempts at passing a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty through the UN. Kyl insists that we need to test our nukes to ensure our deterrence capability. Clue in, Kyl. Nobody doubts that our nukes will work if we ever decide to use them again. Our nuclear deterrent is secure.

Another op-ed by Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. of the Journal editorial board says those poor CEOs of Bank of America and Bear Stearns and the rest of the banking cabal that shoved our economy up our nose were simply victims of “bad luck.” None of those CEOs’ “luck” caused them to lose their bonuses, or their homes, or their kids’ health insurance, or get flies in their eyes, or anything else bad. Can you imagine: the Wall Street Journal running an op-ed piece that exonerates rich Wall Street fat cats?

As an opinion journalist, and frankly a left-leaning one, I’m dismayed by the lack of logic and reason displayed by opinion journalists on the right. They’re targeting an audience of people whose cognitive processes, regardless of their levels of education, have shorted out. I’m especially dismayed that the Wall Street Journal has fallen to such depths. There used to be a high and low end to right-wing propaganda. Now it’s all the same. You can’t see a difference between Sean Hannity and National Review.

The senseless demonizing of Iran continues, though there seems to be hope of a sane breakthrough on that front. The Iranians apparently agreed to some dope deal that makes everybody happy that they have no nuclear weapons program (something we’ve known for years, but that the drum roll from the war party continues to deny.)

At Foreign Policy, a Frankenstein creation of the Washington Post, David Petraeus’ head concubine Thomas E. Ricks says we need to stay in Afghanistan to keep its roads open so trucks can carry stuff around, by which he means, on has to assume, trucks that carry goats and sheep from one herd to another. How many American soldiers’ lives are worth that objective? (Hint: <>

How much longer Americans will put up with this offal?

An Oct. 21 piece by defense analyst Ivan Eland titled “Is adulation of the military really patriotic?” aptly sums up what’s wrong with American culture at present. “The nation’s founders would roll over in their graves at what patriotism has become,” he says. We have come to idolize “the troops,” largely because of the propaganda campaigns aimed at us, and have bought the illusion that if we don’t support the silly wars the Pentagon continues to propagate, we’ll be letting down those poor kids we send overseas in uniforms that make them look like they’re occupying Vichy France, which is essentially what they’re doing.

Eland asks, “Is this healthy for a republic?”

It is not.

The Joseph Goebbels-class propagandists who have been shaping our national mindset have no shame. The four-star long war commanders—David Petraeus, Mike Mullen, Ray Odierno and Stan McChrystal—are media manipulators par excellence, and they all have high-ranking information warfare officers at their beck and call. Above all else, they’re fright merchants. Support their war or some flavor or other of Islamo-fabulist will swim or jump or fly on a carpet “over here,” or will shoot the kid from your home town just got sent “over there,” or steal a nuclear weapon and stuff it in a piece of Samsonite and blow up Cincinnati with it. (The “evil ones” are as likely to develop suitcase nukes as they are to develop commercial space travel.)

The money in opinion journalism tilts to the right, and into the awful pro-war mob’s till, but the problem isn’t just opinion journalism. Access poisoning has turned supposedly objective journalism into a war party cesspool as well. The puff piece on McChrystal by 60 Minutes and Dexter Filkins’ 13-page adoration of McChrystal in the New York Times Magazine were shameful examples of pro-war propaganda injected into the so-called mainstream media.

Fighting back the war crowd is tough, but fight back we must.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


  1. Anonymous7:45 PM

    Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, they brought the world the inquisition.

    If it worked in Spain why not try it in Afghanistan.


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