Monday, August 28, 2006

We Order Our Priorities

It’s frustrating to read the mainstream news today. It’s fairly frustrating everyday, since short attention spans overtook demand for some depth to news reporting and all the average citizen can handle is a sound- or word-bite that tells an entire story in a sensational headline. Today’s big story: Karr Won’t be Charged in JonBenet Murder.

The frustration lies in the other news stories that are all more important for each of us in our lives than some nut wanting a moment of fame by falsely confessing to a crime with which he had nothing to do. The big stories are a tropical storm, Ernesto, rumbling up the waters toward eastern Florida, and the overreaction of the authorities in the face of earlier under reaction to what could prove to be yes, a lot of rain, but no, not much of a hurricane. Then again, W’s smarter, more serious, younger brother, Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, is positioning himself for a dynastic plunge into the presidential wannabe foray, so when he can point to his utterly remarkable management of the onslaught of Ernesto with all of it’s fury, that would be a nice notch on his political resume.

There have been bombings in Turkey with people killed, UN Secretary Kofi Annan is in Lebanon trying to get Hezbollah to release 2 Israeli soldiers so that Israel won’t kill additional hundreds of Lebanese again. And in Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejected a state probe into his conduct of the recent war in light of the failure to defeat, utterly, Hezbollah in Lebanon. Instead he will authorize a downsized, less antagonistic committee investigation. "I am not going to allow the army to be a whipping boy, nor am I ... simply to satisfy some Tom, Dick or Harry," he said.

I can see his point, especially based on some back ground supplied in a New Yorker Article by Seymour Hersh of August 21, 2006. Why would Olmert want to take the blame for being a go-along kind of guy, appeasing Israel’s number one ally and financial benefactor, not to mention the most powerful nation on earth, the US?

The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.

Hersh describes the complex discussions and planning back and forth, and the customary denials and affirmations of both sides, Israel and the US, that there were plans, or not, and who first decided on the plans, or who acquiesced. No matter what story is the bottom-line truth, the obvious initial US detachment from trying to negotiate an end of the bombings allowed the horrendous destruction of years of Lebanese infrastructure construction, and of course several hundred innocent civilian deaths and homeless and villages gone. All to make Israel safer, and keep the US safe, from Iran nuke possibilities and other evildoings by those Islamo-Faschist folks.

It’s hard to blame Olmert for not wanting to be called on the carpet for not coming out of that war with a shiny new Hezbollah-free southern Lebanon. It wasn’t his entire fault.

Worry not, my fellow US citizens—that news isn’t going to see the light of conversation at today’s water coolers or tonight’s dinner table. A plane went off the wrong runway in Kentucky yesterday killing 49 people, and Conan O’Brien had a pre-taped spoof showing a plane in trouble on the Emmy telecast last night. Some consider that bad taste and it got attention in today’s papers. That story, the JonBenet case, and a possible hurricane get the big billing.

The long term problems of ongoing US military occupation of war-torn Iraq, tensions between Israel and its neighbors, declining ability of Americans to pay for necessary health care—these items which affect each and every one of us—will be on the back burner--out of sight, out of, what would be for Bush politically-detrimental, mind for now. Even on his best day, Karl Rove couldn’t engineer this favorable order of news-story priorities for the sake of his bosses, Bush and Cheney. Then again, in terms of supply and demand and the news—we all engineered it for ourselves.

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