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Friday, September 21, 2007

Trivia Nation

Large, snowy cemetery
The Veterans' Cemetery at Ft. Riley, Kansas


The war in Iraq goes on.

Reuters:

A Kansas military cemetery has run out of space after the burial of another casualty of the Iraq war, officials said on Thursday.

"We are full," said Alison Kohler, spokeswoman for the Fort Riley U.S. Army post, home of the 1st Infantry Division.

[...]

Fort Riley can bury bodies on top of other bodies if family members want to share a plot, said Kohler


The bodies of war dead are literally piling up. Kansas Republican Senators Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts wrote a letter to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, asking for a new cemetery.

"While a new cemetery would not be completed in time to alleviate this situation immediately, it is vitally important," they wrote. "We truly owe our military members a debt of gratitude and the least we can do is provide them with an honorable burial ground."

Their concern is touching. Or, at least, it would be if it weren't so damned empty. While they say that getting a new graveyard is the "least we can do," Brownback and Roberts seem intent on keeping it at "the least we can do." Doing the most they can is totally out of the question.

The same day that story broke, Brownback and Roberts -- along with every single Republican senator and way too many dems -- voted to wag the collective senatorial finger at MoveOn.org for a NYT ad that asked if Gen. David Petraeus might "betray us." This was a non-binding, completely political resolution, meant to pump up a "scandal" that isn't really going anywhere -- except on right wing talk radio and FOX News. The average american probably couldn't care less and a lot of them probably agree with MoveOn.org.

With the dead literally waiting in line to get into a cemetery, this was the business of the day. Other business that day was another Republican filibuster.

Associated Press:

The Senate has blocked a bill that would have regulated the amount of time troops spend in combat.

The proposal, authored by Virginia Democrat Jim Webb, a former Navy secretary, would have required that troops get as much time at home as they spend deployed.

In a 56-44 vote, backers fell four short of the 60 votes they needed to cut off debate. It's the second time in two months the bill has been shelved, dealing Democrats another defeat as they try to challenge President Bush's Iraq policies.


The army suicide rate is through the roof and it's hard to believe that people are killing themselves because they think Gen. Petraeus was insulted or that they're not spending enough time in Iraq. But the big problem that Republicans needed to address was that someone was mean to a General -- the troops can go screw themselves.

And the all-important (though totally meaningless) resolution to scold MoveOn.org for exercising their First Amendment rights was even foremost on the president's mind.

CNN:

A MoveOn.org political advertisement that criticized the top U.S. commander in Iraq was "disgusting," President Bush said Thursday, accusing Democrats of being afraid to criticize the anti-war group.

Bush told reporters at a White House news conference that MoveOn.org's ad in The New York Times about Gen. David Petraeus was a "sorry deal." The September 10 full-page ad was titled "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?"

"I felt like the ad was an attack, not only on Gen. Petraeus, but on the U.S. military," Bush said. "And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democratic Party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad."

Bush said that "most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like MoveOn.org" and they "are more afraid of irritating them than they are of irritating the United States military."


Bush's and the Senate's "outrage" over MoveOn.org's ad was such big, earth-shattering news that CBS Evening News didn't even find time to cover the filibuster on the Webb Amendment. Well, that's not exactly true; they had the time, they just used it to cover complete crap. "While the September 19 Evening News did not report on the Webb amendment," reports Media Matters, "CBS did devote 3 minutes and 56 seconds of airtime to separate reports on O.J. Simpson's release from jail and his personal finances, and an additional 3 minutes to a report on bear sightings in residential neighborhoods."

Someone, somewhere in America saw a damned bear and OJ's still a prick, so no time for filibusters of resolutions affecting troop rotations and the war in Iraq. Nice to see they've got their priorities in order. Katie Couric is proving that the morning happy news is just as crappy and worthless when you do it at night -- an experiment not worth the cost.

But the rest of the mainstream media is hardly any better. What MSM outlet is tying together Fort Riley's overflowing cemetery with Brownback's and Robert's votes yesterday? Newspapers may, blogs may, but television news continues to be absolute junk. If you cover everything of importance every day, you'll never have time to run that footage of the guy who taught his squirrel to play checkers, the latest thing some drunk idiot posted on YouTube, or the most recent celebrity scandal/birth/death/mugshot/marriage/divorce/etc.

Roberts and Brownback, along with the rest of us, got a very clear symbolic message yesterday -- dead troops are piling up like cordwood. Or, more accurately, they received the message, but they didn't get it. Neither did far too many Senators, the president, and CBS.

I got it, you got it, but the people in a position to actually do something about it didn't get it. And that's the big story from yesterday, that the people waging this war don't give a damn about the people fighting it. MoveOn.org's ad is a tempest in a teapot, no one will even remember it a month from now.

But those veterans lining up outside the Fort Riley Veterans' Cemetery will be dead forever. Despite that indisputable fact, getting pissed off over a newspaper ad is more important than the troops.

We get it senators, Mr. Bush, and CBS. Thanks for wasting our time.

--Wisco

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