The First Casualty

The award for best headline on the release of the Afghanistan classified documents — the best summary in the fewest words — goes to the Tuesday edition of the Christian Science Monitor.

“Congress’s response to WikiLeaks: shoot the messenger.”

WikiLeaks, the website, scored a coup with the release of 92,000 documents on our war in Afghanistan. Once again a massive leak of classified documents shows our war in Asia is going badly and all our leaders have lied to us about it every time the subject came up. Our allies are duplicitous, too.

The “problem” with WikiLeaks’ revelations is the public had lost all confidence in our political leadership already. That’s why the leak isn’t having the impact of the “Pentagon Papers” during the Vietnam war.

We know our leaders lie to us, whatever party they come from. They do it all the time — on the economy, on the deficit, on everything.

The leaked papers show air raids kill innocent civilians. Boy, there’s a news flash. The complete apathy of the American people toward the lives of thousands who don’t support the Taliban but who aren’t wearing one of our uniforms is appalling and saddening to the point of sickening. However, the certain knowledge that the American pubic doesn’t care how many people you kill — whether they’re “gooks” or “ragheads” — has been a well known fact since Vietnam at least. The last faint signs they may have cared once died out during the Philippine insurrection at the turn of the 20th century. It’s American casualties that count.

I’ve told this story before. Mrs. Dan Quayle, wife of the hapless former vice president, once gave a speech in Hot Springs Village bragging about how the Berlin Wall fell “without any bloodshed.” The Russian Army was marching through Georgia at the time, and the killing in Yugoslavia was wide open. When I reminded Mrs. Quayle of this in the news conference after the speech, she cut me off and said “I meant American blood.”

There’s another factor involved: Afghanistan is bi-partisan. You can’t criticize President Barack Obama’s handling of it without raising the issue of the mess a compliant Republican-majority Congress let happen. Again, to repeat myself: Everyone would have been better off if Congress had not abdicated its check and balance responsibilities during former President George W. Bush’s term. Nobody would have benefited more than Bush.

“The emerging picture from this leak adds up to little more than what we knew already — that the war in Afghanistan was deteriorating over the past several years, and that we were not winning,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

“Little more than what we knew already …” Now that begs a question.

Why did they bother lying to us all this time?

I agree with McCain’s statement. I knew the war wasn’t going like it was supposed to. You didn’t have to be Alexander the Great to figure that one out.

So why lie to us? Why not just tell the truth? So you can look better on the talk shows?

Good grief.

“In war, truth is always the first casualty.” I forget who said that, but it’s a fact.

Thanks, WikiLeaks. You may not have told me anything I didn’t already know, but at least you didn’t lie to me.

On the topic of losing battles, the lines have crossed on the House’s Democratic majority.

The Iowa Electronic Markets is that little exchange where people buy “options” on what they think will happen in elections. Longtime readers know I follow it pretty faithfully.

The “options” for Republicans winning control of the House finally crossed the 50-percent mark on June 19 and took a big jump June 20. Meanwhile, the Democratic option fell. There’s been no significant narrowing since.

These futures markets have their critics, but I consider this a more reliable indicator of trends than, for instance, a weekly Gallup poll that recently showed a spike in support for Democrats. As points out, that spike has a good chance of being a statistical glitch. Also, an average of recent, credible polls are in line with a downward trend.

Categories: Legacy Archive