Words are funny things. Not just the evolution of their meanings and the constantly changing idioms, colloquialisms and provincial usage of different phrases, but the manner of saying exactly the same thing but meaning the exact opposite. For example, when something or someone causes or makes something happen, there are different ways of attributing the resultant action to its cause.
We can assign blame or we can award credit. Obviously, one is “bad” while the other is “good.” So when we speak of the cause of… say, the war in Iraq - are we awarding Bush credit for the war? I think not. In fact, in a Los Angeles Times story recently, it referred to the administration as finding someone to blame the war on. In this case, it was a story about George Tenet’s new book and the idea that he is the administration’s scapegoat for the fiasco in Iraq. After all, it was his “slam dunk” statement.
"Tenet's comment's represent a new and potentially politically damaging source of fire in a battle among Bush administration officials over blame for the Iraq war."
These are the reporter's words, not mine, not a source's and not attributed.
Like everything else that has to do with this quagmire, it is far more complex than all that. One simple little instance of over-optimism shouldn’t be enough to lead our nation into this unnecessary and unmitigated disaster. Of course and as we now know, it was much more than that. And that’s not the point. What is important here is how we are now referring to the war today as opposed to four years ago.
No one in the press was “blaming” anyone. It was not yet a “civil” war. Now, the press, in many instances, uses different language when assessing the war - and finding blame is one of them. The credit, however, will not be awarded to Bush. Ever. There is the potential for credit to be awarded to whomever extricates us from this mess, but it won’t be given to this president or this congress. Like the problem, the solution will be complicated, but eventually there has to be some sort of resolution.
So here’s the question of the day/week/month/year… millennium: How long before this happens again? When will the watchdogs wake up? Is it possible that the “lessons learned” this time really were? It’s not just the press, or the congress; it’s everyone. Somehow, someway enough of us - with or without the mainstream media’s help - have got to stand up before a military conflict gets signed off and say, “Um… excuse me. Wait just a darned minute. What about… ?” And then ask those hard questions. Military engagement is the most serious foreign policy decision a nation can ever make. Don’t you think it’s time we gave it just a little bit of critical thought first?