WideningGyre

A contrarian perspective on Geo-politics, society, and culture

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Quiet as a Tomb

While I only listened to parts of Bush's Ft. Bragg speech, I was struck by the lack of applause. Usually, when one hears the President give a Nationally televised speech, it is fairly frequently punctuated by applause. Yet, in this instance, there was no feedback from the audience (of soldiers). I noticed it, and assumed that there had been some instructions to "sit on their hands". Apparently, I was correct. Ironically, the troops were too silent, at least with respect to the wishes of the White House flacks. In an endeavor to stage manage the event, "orders" were given out, which were interpreted by the troops as a directive to stay silent, and to refrain from clapping. However, the White House managers only wanted to insure that the troops were not inappropriately enthusiastic, given the speech was on such a serious subject. They were quite chagrined at the prospect that viewers might have interpreted the silence of the troops as a tacit rebuke of Bush.

Hoist by their own petard, I say!

The networks were really burned by Bush & Co. Normally, I would say that there is a Civic responsibility to set aside air time, and broadcast a policy speech. But Bush's speech was so vapid, so predictable, and so craven, that it would have be perfectly appropriate not to go for the pre-empt option.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Fools Rush In....

So...there is speculation that the Iraqi insurgants deliberately targeted the women marines who were killed in Fallujah. Maybe that is an overestimation of the skills and sophistication of the bad guys. Right now, I still tend to believe that it was just a random attack. Of course, if similar attacks occur in the future, and they are specifically directed against US women, then it will be enough to convince me.

The NY Times had an article on heavy duty armored vehicles which are being deployed in Iraq. One wonders whether the military will resort to ferrying the women members of the armed forces around in the "Rhino Runners"?

Here is the description, as given by Glanz and Burns:

"The latest Falluja attack took place on the main east-west road through town, known as Highway 10, about 400 yards west of the main checkpoint on the city's eastern edge. On Friday morning, tires from the truck - a standard seven-ton transport vehicle - and pieces of metal from the car used in the attack still littered the cracked asphalt of the road.

A witness to the bombing, Muhammad Anwar, said that the car approached an American military convoy from the side and swerved toward the truck, which was visibly packed with military personnel."

Obviously, if the military insists on transporting troops on minimally armored, inadequately protected, vehicles, then we can only expect more of the same