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Caveat lector

SNOWE JOB! Often confused with The Hair Club for Men, The Club for Growth has an attitude problem:


FLOWER GIRL: We were struck by Mary Beth Sheridan’s report in Friday morning’s Washington Post. She described shootings that occurred in Mosul last week as a demonstration erupted into violence:

SHERIDAN: U.S. spokesmen say Tuesday’s shootings occurred as a military civil affairs team was setting up space at the former governor’s office to receive citizens’ petitions. Suddenly, they say, demonstrators started throwing shoes and stones and spitting at Marines protecting the building.

A U.S. Army spokesman in Mosul said Marines fired warning shots above the crowd with a .50-caliber machine gun. Instead of dispersing, the crowd of several thousand grew more agitated. “Soldiers in the windows spotted people in the crowd with AK-47” automatic rifles, said the spokesman, who declined to be identified. He said that the Marines were fired on and responded in kind, killing seven people.

Accounts by local residents who witnessed the clash differed in their details, but all agreed the trouble erupted when an aspiring local politician who recently returned from exile in Syria, Mashaan Jubouri, gave a speech in front of the governor’s office. Some witnesses said the speech was pro-American, while others described it as pro-Kurdish.

According to Sheridan, while Cent Com has said that seven Iraqis died, “hospital officials in Mosul say the total is twice that.”

Was this incident significant in any large way? Here at THE HOWLER, we don’t have a clue. We don’t know how Iraqis will come to view the war, and we don’t know how they will come to regard the process of “nation building.” Nor do we know how other Arab populations will come to regard these events. But why did we find this report so striking? We found it striking because we had read Michelle Malkin’s op-ed in the Washington Times (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/17/03). Malkin was busy sliming “quagmirists”—pundits who had dared to stray from Approved Talking Points in the recent war. In Malkin’s account of that war, of course, all things were coming up roses.

As we’ve seen, Malkin mocked Diane Sawyer for asking a guest, in Week 2 of the war, “What happened to the flowers expected to be tossed the way of the Americans?” Malkin, offering her great rebuttal, posed as a sweet flower girl:
MALKIN: This week, as all the world has now seen, the flowers were in full bloom. Jubilation rocked the streets. Coalition troops were showered with petals, kisses and hugs from Basra in the south to central Baghdad to the northern-most cities of Iraq.
As good propagandists will always do, Malkin selected the images her story-line likes, and dumbly omitted the rest.

How will Iraqis come to view the war? At this point, no one knows. But the values of fable, propaganda and myth continue to drive the pseudo-con right. Malkin hands you pleasing pictures, then punishes scribes who saw other things too. American interests are poorly served by such work. But the Malkins have always stalked the land, and their foofaw is stalking it still.

In Mosul, Iraqis were spitting on U.S. Marines. But if you want to avoid such thoughts, just keep reading Michelle Malkin’s work. Malkin knows what you want to be told, and she’ll airbrush out everything else.

NAYSAYERS OF THE TIMES, UNITE: In Monday’s column, Malkin was busily naming names of all “[t]he antiwar grouches, naysayers and quagmirists [who] were so, so sure there would be no jubilation at the Iraqi liberation.” It’s a type of column which has appeared quite widely among the pseudo-con right. You’ve surely seen such silly work wherever pseudo-con spin is sold.

Of course, Malkin and friends are very selective when they begin to name names of the gloomy. In fact, if the pundit had wanted to be more inclusive, she could have listed many “grouches, naysayers and quagmirists” right there at the Washington Times! As late as April 2, for example, Harlan Ullman was still declaring that “Sharp fights await” in the war with Iraq. And a few days earlier, a front-page piece had battered the brass because, in performing their “shock and awe” campaign, they hadn’t bombed Iraq hard enough! In that piece, Air Force chief of staff John Jumper had been forced to respond to the griping. By the way, doesn’t it really endanger the troops when General Jumper finds himself thus distracted?

But our favorite conservative Nervous Nelly was Weekly Standard head honcho Bill Kristol. As hostilities were about to commence, former president William J. Clinton said that the war would be done in “a flash.” Appearing on the March 23 Fox News Sunday, Kristol said “Slick” was all wet:
KRISTOL: Well, Bill Clinton never ceases to appall. I mean, the most recent president of the United States, first saying “Believe me, this war is going to be over in a flash.” He doesn’t know that. It’s totally irresponsible to say that.

Some of my fellow hawks over the last six, nine months have been saying it’s going to be a cakewalk. I’ve always said we do not know that. And you need to prepare the American people for the possibility that things will go wrong in war. Biological and chemical weapons could be used.
This man isn’t just a pundit. This guy is the former president of the United States saying the war is going to be over in a flash. Totally irresponsible.

In short, Bill Kristol was naysaying hard. Why, you could almost say he was gloom-and-deal dealing! For the record, the Standard has now run a typical column in which they trash the gloom-and-doom set. But somehow, in all the post-war excitement, they forgot to include their own bossman.

There was, of course, nothing wrong with the naysaying stuff at the Washington Times. And Kristol had spoken good, common sense when he said that the war might be hard. But there is something wrong with silly op-eds in which pseudo-con spinners reprint vile “quotations”—“quotes” which have been carefully clipped to make sensible pundits seem stupid. But then, propaganda values increasingly rule the half-witted work of the pseudo-con right. Kristol’s gloom made none of their lists. Sawyer—asking an obvious question—was dragged away, straight to the gallows.

The Daily update

GROWING PAIN: Because it’s often confused with The Hair Club for Men, The Club for Growth has an attitude problem (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/17/03). And sure enough, The Club’s latest noxious TV ad has now been thrown up on the air. Here’s the text of the dim-witted spot, which is airing in Maine and Ohio:
CLUB FOR GROWTH AD: President Bush courageously led the forces of freedom. But some so-called allies like France stood in the way [photo: Jacques Chirac]. At home, President Bush has proposed bold, job-creating tax cuts to boost our economy. But some so-called Republicans like Olympia Snowe stand in the way [photo: Olympia Snowe]. [In Ohio: But some so-called Republicans like George Voinovich stand in the way.]
This Club’s stupidity knows no limit. Because Snowe and Voinovich would reduce Bush’s tax cuts, they are only “so-called” Republicans. And of course, they must be compared to others—the French—who were recently slimed for their evil. But that’s the way this hopeless gang works. In similar ads, Cleland and Daschle were compared to Saddam; Snowe is now just like Chirac.

“Club” president Stephen Moore has a full head of hair, but his mind bristles with dim-witted insult. Why do we let such undergrown men degrade our American discourse?