I haven’t done much politics in this space, and barring another Israeli conflict, I intend to do very much. Then again, I don’t intend to do much motzei Shabbat posting, but here we are.
Over the past year, there has been a campaign to remove all sorts of politicians, bureaucrats, and military intelligence officials from their posts. This, in response to the now-obvious flaws, misapprehensions, and downright deceptions in the pre-Iraq-war planning and ramp-up.
On its face, this seems eminently reasonable. Failures on this scale lead to waves of finger-pointing, investigations, dismissals, lawsuits, cover-ups, and the whole suite of blame-passing, obfuscations, fall-guyism, and suprise discharges that make up political life. To what extent any truth is uncovered, errors are corrected, or guilty parties are held accountable is something we’ll never truly know, but it’s nice to see that everyone is at least going through the motions with some energy and passion.
I am left with one question though. A recurrent theme of the re-tellings of the ramp-up to war is the quiescent Washington press corps, whose members were cowed into uncritically accepting the White House’s political conclusions and military strategies. Many news organizations stepped forward around the time of the 2004 elections with chest-pounding confessions about their failures in the post-9/11 journalism climate.
It would stand to reason then that an institution like the news media, having confessed to its lapses and failures in what should have been its finest hour, would follow confession with some self-flagellation! Did any journalist get fired or reassigned as part of an attempt to fix the journalistic failings we witnessed since 9/11? Has any bureau chief, editor, or corporate department head lost a job? I have not heard of a wave of reform sweeping though the news media – have you? Makes you think…
[Edit – Krum as a Bagel suggests that the administration was engaging in a “noble exaggeration” when they trumpeted the case for war in Iraq. You’ll have to check his blog out to find out what that has to do with Al Gore.]