Friday, April 27, 2007

Op-Ed: Iraq Is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac

This is an Op-Ed piece by columnist Frank Rich of the New York Times. It was originally published on Sunday, April 22. But since it's Opinion, I didn't care much to blog it by that very exact day.

The column started out as a criticism to President Bush's selective attendance to various events that are pressing to our country. Rich said that the President only shows up for events (funerals, memorials, speech events) for things that does not directly correlate to the Iraq war, because these are the things that he cannot be blamed for.

Rich uses the metaphor of a cancer to show how the Iraq war may have started off all these other problems. An example: "At home, the president is also hobbled by the Iraq cancer’s metastasis — the twin implosions of Alberto Gonzales and Paul Wolfowitz."

For a short Op-Ed, it actually has quite a fantastic structure. As I said before, Rich started out with Bush's public appearances (or lack thereof) and then he went into how there are other people in the news who are being criticized right now for misdemeanors (Gonzales and Wolfowitz), but that the media have completely forgotten about their roles in the Iraq war.

Then Rich goes into great explanation about Bernard Kerik, who recently withdrew from a cabinet position because it emerged that he had questionable finances records and that Gonzales had rushed his nomination into his position. The White House pinned the blame on Rudy Giuliani, and it is most unfortunate since Giuliani is now running for President.

However, the White House had also failed to mention that Kerik had failed in his duties in Iraq a year before his cabinet nomination. He was supposed to train the Iraqi police, but instead, "Mr. Kerik gave upbeat McCain-esque appraisals of the dandy shopping in Baghdad’s markets."

From there on out, Rich shows quite well how the White House may be facing domestic problems with these people's alleged mistakes, and they may have serious PR issues because of that. But what's worse is that these domestic jobs were given to these individuals after their failures in the Iraq war, and that when the domestic problems arose, it would actually be better for the White House to have the scandals and the front page splashy headlines because it serves to shadow the ugly going-ons in Iraq.

It's good that Rich is an opinion writer because the diction that he chooses are often powerful and evocative- a little too much for objective reporting.

Here's the lead of his piece:

"President Bush has skipped the funerals of the troops he sent to Iraq. He took his sweet time to get to Katrina-devastated New Orleans. But last week he raced to Virginia Tech with an alacrity not seen since he hustled from Crawford to Washington to sign a bill interfering in Terri Schiavo’s end-of-life medical care."

And here is Rich's point at the very end:

"Like the C.I.A. leak case, each new scandal is filling in a different piece of the elaborate White House scheme to cover up the lies that took us into Iraq and the failures that keep us mired there."

I thought that his flow and transitions were very good, and they all added up to his kicker at the end. I actually don't read Frank Rich very often- not for any particular reason, I just usually go straight to Nicholas Kristof and Paul Krugman, or the guest writer- so this was actually a great introduction of Rich for me. He's very harsh and astute in his writing, I quite admire it.

Since it is Op-Ed, you can only view it if you subscribe to Times Select. But I found that a website called Truth Out copied and pasted the piece, so go read it- it's quite an eye-opener.


No comments: