Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Shattered Glass, Half Full

With the retirement of Billmon, I get my fixes where I can. Here is something from The Cunning Realist that uses some Billmonian signature technique of juxtaposition to make the point.
Many parts of Iraq are stable now. But of course what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everybody.

Laura Bush 2/26/07

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And so in early 1967, Joe McGinniss, then just a young reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, would spend a day traveling with Westmoreland to the coastal town of Phan Thiet. There a young American officer startled McGinniss by giving an extraordinarily candid briefing on how bad the situation was, how incompetent the ARVN was. Westmoreland had demanded the briefing and the young American had been uneasy about giving it, apologizing for being so frank with a reporter present, but finally it had come pouring out: the ARVN soldiers were cowards, they refused to fight, they abused the population, in their most recent battle they had all fled, all but one man. That one man had stood and fought and almost single-handedly staved off a Vietcong attack. When the officer had finished his briefing, still apologizing for being so candid, Westmoreland turned to McGinniss and said, "Now you see how distorted the press image of this war is. This is a perfect example -- a great act of bravery and not a single mention of it in the New York Times."

David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest, pg. 562

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