Sunday, June 25, 2006

Double Negative

Kevin Drum has blogged this morning about the front page article in today's Sunday LA Times about the rapid melting of Greenland's ice sheet (Kevin's post here, Global Warming: Worse Than We Thought, and the original LA Times article here, Greenland's Ice Sheet is Slip-sliding Away, may require free registration), but I think he misses a bigger story to be learned from the front page. Let's take a look:

LA Times home page showing stories on two Bush administration failures.

There's a double negative going on here, two areas of blindness in our current administration.

First is the failure of the Bush White House to realistically acknowledge, let alone substantively address, the threat of global warming. They have grudgingly admitted that, gee, it does look like temperatures are little higher, but not that there is anything to be done about it, nor even confronting the changes the country will have to go through to deal with the effects, regardless of what is causing the phenomenon.

Second is the failure of the Cheneyites to deal with Iraq realistically, which means keeping track of the basic information about the war - like how many Iraqis are dying. In the article War's Iraqi Death Toll Tops 50,000, Louise Roug and Doug Smith, LA Times staff writers, report on what the US government refuses to even track, the number of Iraqis who have died as a result of the US invasion. The opening paragraphs are telling:
BAGHDAD — At least 50,000 Iraqis have died violently since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to statistics from the Baghdad morgue, the Iraqi Health Ministry and other agencies — a toll 20,000 higher than previously acknowledged by the Bush administration.

Many more Iraqis are believed to have been killed but not counted because of serious lapses in recording deaths in the chaotic first year after the invasion, when there was no functioning Iraqi government, and continued spotty reporting nationwide since.

The toll, which is mostly of civilians but probably also includes some security forces and insurgents, is daunting: Proportionately, it is equivalent to 570,000 Americans being killed nationwide in the last three years.
This situation, a combination of unwillingness to track the facts along with chaotic conditions that prevent others from doing the same, is paradigmatic of how Bush's Forever War has been run. From the start, no provision was made to treat it in a realistic manner - not the reasons fabricated to justify the invasion, not the pulled-out-of-Rumsfeld's-ass war "planning", not the lack of protection for people and property once the main military barrage had ended, not the utterly corrupt contracting of the "reconstruction" after the initial hostilities.

In both of these situations, there's something at work that is more insidious than mere ignorance or bull-headedness. It is a willful disregard for reality, an active assault on common sense and truly conservative evaluation. When truth becomes inconvenient, get rid of it. They have completely internalized Reagan's gaffe "Facts are stupid things." They do not feel a need to use the same facts as the rest of us.

Hence, a double negative. First, reality imposes no restraints on their action. Second, their actions result in death, destruction and misery for tens of thousands of people, and they don't care.


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