Nearly three years ago, the Toronto Sun's Eric Margolis, one of the finest and most prescient writers on foreign affairs anywhere, walked away from his regular gig on TVO's Diplomatic Immunity because, as he told me at the time, producer "(Dan) Dunsky et. al. tried to censor my views on Iraq and the Mideast, and kept packing the guest list with far-right neocons from Washington. I have never in my (then) 21 year media career accepted anyone trying to tell me what to say. Events have, of course, proven the TVO party line dead wrong."
Indeed. Iraq is a quagmire. The Bush regime a disaster. They lied. Tens of thousands died. Etc. Etc. Margolis sums it up well in his latest effort about ''the war president'' not being able to war. (H/t to Jiminy C.)
Defeat I: Five years after Bush ordered Afghanistan invaded and proclaimed `total victory’ there, US and allied forces are struggling to defend their bases and supply lines against rising attacks from a growing number of Afghan resistance groups. The war costs $1.5 billion monthly. US-ruled Afghan now produces over 80% of the world’s heroin. The US just quietly deployed thousands more troops to Afghanistan to hunt al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in a desperate attempt to save Republicans from heavy losses in November mid-term elections.
Defeat II: Remember `Mission accomplished!’ in Iraq? President Bush’s war in Iraq is clearly lost, but few dare admit it. The US has spent $300 billion on Afghanistan and Iraq, with nothing to show there but chaos, civil war, body bags, and growing Iranian influence in Iraq and western Afghanistan. The Bush/Cheney `liberation’ of Iraq has now cost more than the Vietnam War. So much for the `cakewalk.’ Iraq is likely the biggest American foreign policy disaster in living memory – even worse, in many ways, than Vietnam.
Defeat III: Off in the strategic Horn of Africa, another dangerous fiasco is unfolding. The White House had CIA and Pentagon spend tens of millions bribing Somali warlords to fight Islamist reformers trying to bring law and order to their strife-ravaged nation. The Islamists whipped CIA-backed warlords and ran them out of Somalia. Following this defeat, the US has encouraged and financed ally Ethiopia – shades of Lebanon - to invade Somalia, thus raising the threat of a wider war between Somalia, Ethiopia, and its old foe, Eritrea. Meanwhile, growing numbers of US Special Forces and CIA teams are getting drawn into obscure tribal melees in the Horn of Africa and the Saharan regions.
Defeat IV: Lebanon is, of course, the fourth major American military disaster. Bush and Cheney encouraged Israel to launch the hugely destructive but militarily fruitless war in Lebanon as the first part of their long nurtured plan to militarily crush Hezbullah, Syria and Iran. The Bush Administration brazenly thwarted world efforts to halt the conflict while giving Israel the green light to tear apart Lebanon. Now, just over a month later, Bush announces he will send $230 million to `help rebuild’ Lebanon – the same Lebanon blasted apart by US smart bombs rushed by air to Israel.
Anyway, after Margolis' departure, I got complaints from dozens of fans of the show who abandoned it because they missed Margolis and disliked the political turn it took.
No kidding. Did TVO really need to give Richard Perle a forum when he was already on all the Amnets? They even put out a news release announcing this ''get." The show lost a chunk of its constituency and ratings, I hear, dropped with Margolis' departure.
Well guess what?
Looks like Dunsky, and host Steve Paikin, want Margolis back this fall when they launch their new program The Agenda. It's the program that will replace the suddenly-cancelled Studio 2.
Looks like ratings trump politics.
UPPITY DATE: One of the biggest idiots on the right is David Horowitz, a ''former Marxist" who conducts witch hunts on campus of liberal-leaning academics. The reason he's relevant is because, in Googling Margolis, I tripped over this screed
by Horowitz on Horowitz's website against him, where author Eugene Girin calls the Sun -- hee-hee -- ''the leftist tabloid" and Margolis "an apologist for terror." What an ... er ... goof. (H/t to DEnnis Earl for catch my mistake here.)
OVERDUE DATE: Speaking of foreign affairs writers, Robert Parry takes hammer and tong to the New York Times' over-rated and over-exposed Thomas Friedman, the man who never gets it right and attacks those who do.
New York Times foreign policy analyst Thomas L. Friedman finally has come to the conclusion that George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq – which Friedman enthusiastically supported with the clever slogan “give war a chance” – wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Noting that “it is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are babysitting a civil war,” Friedman wrote, “that means ‘staying the course’ is pointless, and it’s time to start thinking about Plan B – how we might disengage with the least damage possible.” [NYT, Aug. 4, 2006]
Yet, despite this implicit admission that the war has unnecessarily killed tens of thousands of Iraqis and more than 2,600 U.S. soldiers, Friedman continues to slight Americans who resisted the rush to war in the first place.
Twelve days after his shift in position, Friedman demeaned Americans who opposed the Iraq War as “antiwar activists who haven’t thought a whit about the larger struggle we’re in,” presumably a reference to the threat from Islamic extremism. [NYT, Aug. 16, 2006]
In other words, according to Friedman, Americans who were right about the ill-fated invasion of Iraq are still airheads when it comes to the bigger picture, while the pundits and politicians who were dead wrong on Iraq deserve pats on the back for their wise analyses of the larger problem.
Great piece on the go-Bush-go punditry elite. Read it.