Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The President is a people person

Nearing the anniversary of Katrina, Bush finds the one guy from Louisiana who doesn’t hold a grudge, a Republican failed office-seeker, as it happens, which the White House says they had no idea of when they invited him. He is one Rockey Vaccarella, who finds it “amazing” that “a small man like me” could meet the president of the United States. It’s the American dream, really. He lost everything he owned, but now he has this precious, precious memory. “The President is a people person,” Mr. Vaccarella informs us. Oh, and FEMA trailers, he thanked Bush for all the FEMA trailers, and drove a replica of one from Louisiana to DC. Read the transcript at the first link, it’s an odd little photo op.

China is considering legislation to ban strippers from funerals. According to Reuters, they’re used to boost attendance. Evidently in China funerals have Nielsen ratings.

The WaPo report today on the Haditha massacre says in as many words that the Marines involved didn’t think that anything unusual had taken place, quoting the statement of a sgt in a “Marine human intelligence exploitation team” who walked the scene and talked to the Marines a few hours later. The Post writer suggests that the Marines “viewed the civilian deaths as accidental rather than the result of a vengeful rampage.” 24 accidental deaths. Oops. Certainly their colonel didn’t consider those deaths to be anything remarkable, much less worthy of investigation. What these stories leave out is the attempted cover-up. As I’ve said before, when the first story the Marines told was a blatant lie (that they were all killed by an IED), it behooves you to look fairly carefully at their next story. Also, I’m not sure how exonerating it is if they killed dozens of civilians calmly following procedure rather than in a furious rage after the death of a Marine, directed not at those responsible but at the nearest available Iraqis. Even had they thought themselves under attack, which they claim and which I don’t believe, how many innocent people do you get to kill in the name of preserving your own life? In the last scene of “Saving Private Ryan,” Ryan wonders if his life had been worth the lives of the men who had been killed “saving” him. How is that question changed if you’re the one who pulled the trigger?

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