Quote for the Day II

It's revealing of so much:

Tom Ricks, author of "Fiasco": I asked one officer why are you talking to me about these things, and he looked down at his hands, and he said because I have the blood of American troops on my hands. And I said what do you mean? And he said because when I said to Rumsfeld we need that division, and Rumsfeld said no, I gave up. I compromised. And he said U.S. troops died because of that. And he said that's why I'm talking to you.

Hugh Hewitt: And you can't name him, though?

TR: No.

HH: Well, you'll pardon me, Tom, Mr. Ricks.

TR: And he was practically crying as he spoke to me about this.

HH: Yeah, I'm just not going to buy that.

So Hewitt accuses Ricks of lying. Because if the truth about Rumsfeld's criminal incompetence has to compete with Hewitt's "no-mistakes-were-made" Caeasarism, then the facts be damned and the reporter's a liar. Ricks or Hewitt? Reality or ideology? I link. You choose. A reader notes another quote from Hewitt, which is just as revealing. He seems to believe that all the criticism of this botched war is due to some sort of conspiracy:

The "money quote," as you say, is this from Hewitt:

"A cadre of Clinton-era senior brass, who did not see it coming, it being the Islamist world war, got bitter and angry at having been passed over and pushed aside by the 9/11, post-9/11 Pentagon, and they have spent the next five years doing their best to undermine this administration, using reporters like you who are good, to carry out that story, and amplify every mistake, and there are many, and to downgrade every success, and there are many, in a continued war against the people who tossed them out, and perhaps against their own conscience for not having seen it coming. Your response?"

Throughout the interview, Hewitt deals with the overwhelming evidence that he is wrong by, first, using a quibble about some fraction of the evidence (here, that some of the sources are anonymous) to cast doubt on all of it; and second, by accusing everyone of pursuing the same kind of partisan agenda that he himself is. There are no facts, to him. There is just a fight, and if you say something that supports the other side, you're on it.

Here's Ricks' response:

"It is not partisan, it is not a bunch of burn-out generals. It is the military trying to do the best it can in an extremely difficult situation. And to disregard it and slap it aside, if you'll excuse me, I think is aiding and abetting the enemy."

Finally Ricks is giving Hewitt the medicine he so regularly dishes out to others. I think of Hewitt as an American version of Baghdad Bob - you remember, the guy who insisted that U.S. forces were defeated even as U.S. shells were pounding in Baghdad behind him. No, I don't mean the analogy literally - just in so far as it reflects the Christianist inability to deviate from received dogma, even when confronted with empirical reality. Hewitt is a very smart, completely partisan propagandist. Once you understand that, the rest fits into place.