Sunday, September 05, 2004

Lies and the Lying Liars


Painting himself as the noble agent for "the transformational power of liberty" abroad, he said "there have always been doubters" when America uses its "strength" to "advance freedom": "In 1946, 18 months after the fall of Berlin to Allied forces, a journalist in The New York Times wrote this: 'Germany is a land in an acute stage of economic, political and moral crisis. European capitals are frightened. In every military headquarters, one meets alarmed officials doing their utmost to deal with the consequences of the occupation policy that they admit has failed.' End quote. Maybe that same person's still around, writing editorials."

She isn't. Anne O'Hare McCormick, who died in 1954, was The Times's pioneering foreign affairs correspondent who covered the real Axis of Evil, interviewing Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Patton. She was hardly a left-wing radical or defeatist. In 1937, she became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism, and she was the first woman to be a member of The Times's editorial board.

The president distorted the columnist's dispatch. (download a PDF of the original column)The "moral crisis" and failure she described were in the British and French sectors. She reported that the Americans were doing better because of their policy to "encourage initiative and develop self-government." She wanted the U.S. to commit more troops and stay the course - not cut and run.

Mr. Bush Swift-boated her.

Kudos to her for picking up on this. The truth is, in 1946 Germany was in crisis. And, there was a discussion about what to be done. And a proposal. What was the proposal called? Oh, yes, the Marshall Plan, which Marshall propsed in June of 1947 and which began being implemented in 1948. Now, it would be wonderful to say that this is an example of how things could be turned around in Iraq, but the Marshall Plan "only" cost us about $100 billion dollars, in current terms. How much have we already spent in Iraq? How much of those reconstruction dollars are being siphoned off into contractors pockets and diverted to "security" costs?

Iraq is a disaster now, as Germany was then, with the added bonus that fighting is still going on and people are still being blown up. And, clapping louder isn't going to fix it, and nor will disparaging those who rightly point that out.