The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, July 20, 2007

GOP lies; press too busy slamming Dems to notice.

Yes, again. Not too long ago, I brought up Fearless Leader's 2000 campaign claims to have expanded Texas children's access to health care. That's after he tried to scuttle it and had his veto overridden by Republicans.

And one of the rarely-acknowledged tragedies of the Iraq war has been the GOP's constant efforts to deny our troops a decent wage, decent medical care, or decent opportunities when they return. All the while claiming that anyone critical of their immoral actions was a terrorist sympathizer, of course.

In his Rose Garden address this morning, President Bush criticized the decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to pull the Defense Authorization bill from consideration, saying the move would deny a pay raise to soldiers serving in Iraq. “Congress has failed to act on” a bill that would “provide funds to upgrade our equipment, for our troops in Iraq and provides a pay raise for our military,” said Bush. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl made a similar argument on Wednesday.

“Even members of Congress who no longer support our effort in Iraq should at least be able to provide an increase in pay for our troops fighting there,” Bush added. . . .

In May, he threatened to veto a House defense spending bill over the exact same 3.5 percent pay increase that he is now touting:

Bush budget officials said the administration “strongly opposes” both the 3.5 percent raise for 2008 and the follow-on increases, calling extra pay increases “unnecessary.”

Democratic leaders in the House wrote to Bush at the time urging him to reconsider his veto threat.

Who knows? Maybe the press will rise to the occasion for the third or fourth time in a decade. Or not:

Philip Elliott and the headline writers at the Associated Press have done a real job on Barack Obama with this story, headlined "Obama: Don't Stay in Iraq Over Genocide." The article claims that Obama says that genocide isn't a "good enough reason," when in fact he simply makes the observation that we don't make military decisions on that basis or we would currently be in the Congo, Sudan and Darfur. Not quite the same thing.

But the truly puzzling assertion in the article is this one: "Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, said it's likely there would be increased bloodshed if U.S. forces left Iraq." That would not be a particularly shocking assessment unless it had been preceded by the inaccurate headline and lead that imply Obama doesn't give a damn about genocidal bloodshed. But it's just plain misleading when you see what Obama actually said:

"Nobody is proposing we leave precipitously. There are still going to be U.S. forces in the region that could intercede, with an international force, on an emergency basis," Obama said between stops on the first of two days scheduled on the New Hampshire campaign trail.

"There's no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there."

The greater risk is staying in Iraq, Obama said.

I'm almost tempted to see how many winger blogs put that headline in blaring headlines with lots of added exclamation points. Morbid curiosity.