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Today, March 4, Diane Rehm held discussion on her NPR program on the cost of the occupation of Iraq.  She allowed Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution all the room he needed to spout Bush neo-con rhetoric, and did not challenge it a bit.  What gives?

The program began with a call-in from Linda Bilmes, a Harvard prof at the Kennedy School of Government, who along with Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia prof and Nobel economist) authored the new book  The Three Trillion Dollar War.  The authors present a comprehensive accounting of the staggering cost of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

For whatever reason, Prof. Bilmes did not remain on the call-in to the program after she spoke for several minutes.

Here is my own transcript of part of Michael O'Hanlon's commentary:

It's hard to predict what will happen to the Middle East if we withdraw and the likelihood of an intensified Iraqi civil war results, with the possibility at least of regional war and who knows what implications for the global oil markets.  I don't want to be a doomsayer and say the Middle East will blow up entirely if we are defeated in Iraq.  But you have to expect some kind of instability.  Linda and Joe Stiglitz are very good at talking about the cost of oil.  Obviously this war has not helped contain the cost of oil, but I believe things could get worse were much of the Persian Gulf region to be destabilized.  So there'd be monetary and budgetary costs of defeat as well as the monetary and budgetary costs of continuing the operation.

Whoa, there! "Costs of defeat", is it?  What defeat?  Defeat of whom?  Defeat by whom?  Michael O'Hanlon repeated this phrase "cost of defeat" several more times during the program, without any notation or question or challenge from Diane Rehm as to what is meant by this.

This use of the word "defeat" is subtle, yet significant wordcraft, on Mr. O'Hanlon's part. He's implying that if you want to end this misuse and abuse of our troops, then you're a champion of defeat. Of course, it's a very short step from this "defeat" rhetoric to the neologism "defeatocrat", which is bandied about by the Rush Limbaugh Society in an attempt to slander those who oppose the ongoing misuse and abuse of our troops in the occupation of Iraq, no?  Yet Diane Rehm let this fly right by.

And, of course, redeployment of our troops from Iraq would constitute no military defeat whatsoever!  Our troops were resoundingly successful in a mere two weeks in defeating the Iraqi Army and in toppling Saddam Hussein.  Mr. O'Hanlon dishonors our troops and the job they've done by referring to redeployment of them from Iraq as "defeat", does he not?

Again, Diane Rehm let this fly right by without note or challenge.

And, towards the end of the program, Mr. O'Hanlon dredged up the Pottery Barn Theory, of all things:

And also let me finish with with the famous line that Colin Powell mentioned, "If you break it, you own it".  You can't just go in to a place like this which had some limited if terrible and strongarmed type of stability under Saddam, depose him, and then say to heck with it, we're out of here.  I think that's not a serious proposition.

Perhaps he considers a more serious proposition to be the P.T. Barnum Sucker Barn Every Minute Theory: After I pay for the pot I broke, a huge Wild West brawl breaks out between the Pottery Barn's customers, employees, and owners.  Pots are smashed all over the place.  Unitary George Bush thinks that American troops should pay the price for all the damage, and neo-con jingoists heartily agree.

And Diane Rehm lets it all fly right by, no question, no challenge.  Neo-cons must love it when this shtick goes unchallenged on NPR, but I can't say the same for those who want our troops brought out of this Iraq hellhole.

This is why for the first time in years, I haven't contributed at my NPR affiliate's (KWMU in St. Louis) pledge drive.

Originally posted to Hound Dog on Tue Mar 04, 2008 at 08:07 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The only good program from NPR (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw

    is Science Friday with Ira Flatow.

    That's it.

    Democrats promote the Common good. Republicans promote Corporate greed.

    by murasaki on Tue Mar 04, 2008 at 08:14:43 PM PST

    •  Terry Gross, Fresh Air sometimes is good (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murasaki, Eloise, Hound Dog

      and you'll get better news reporting from Wait Wait Don't tell Me most of the time than from the damn magazine shows.

      There's other shows, [not NPR shows, but on NPR stations] which are good. This American Life, Living on Earth ..

      •  Agreed!!! (0+ / 0-)

        Terry Gross has been doing some hard-hitting between the pieces on the male rock stars she's so enthralled with!!  ; - )

      •  Also.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ....on Fresh Air this week, Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Blimes, the authors of The Three Trillion Dollar War were interviewed by the guest host for almost the entire program.  The link I posted at the beginning of this diary entry goes straight to the Fresh Air page and an excerpt from the book.

        My hat's off to how Terry Gross seems to be an exception to NPR's rule of just providing another pipe for the Mighty Wurlitzer of neo-con jingoism.

        The Three Trillion Dollar War is one very scary book for Bushco neo-cons.  They can't refute the facts very well.  So, they're obviously in need of some means to spout slightly watered-down Limbaugh bilge, and Diane Rehm is only too happy to give 'em the airtime.

        I think we need to have some regular critiques of NPR's shlock-pandering here on Daily Kos, myself.  If anyone checks my diary, they'll see I've picked up this ball and run with it in the past.  My sense is that NPR management and programmers simply hate being critiqued, since they're so eminently critiqueable.  How 'bout it, folks?  I'll slog along myself, and if anyone wants to contribute a piece tagged for NPR, I'll surely be intrigued!  Thanks for the interest.

  •  diane rehm frequently lets neocons spout. (4+ / 0-)

    After all of these years, I've kind of come to figure that she approves of what they say.  

  •  Silence = approval (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dconrad, luckylizard, jlms qkw

    Send NPR a snailmail letter telling them whny you aren't donating.

    If they get a few thousand such letters, it might have an effect.

    First, oversight; second, investigations; third, impeachments; fourth, war crimes trials!

    by ibonewits on Tue Mar 04, 2008 at 08:19:47 PM PST

  •  I've grown to despise Diane Rehm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    baldheadeddork, Hound Dog

    It's always the same, two hacks, usually from the WSJ and Heritage or AEI types, and one weak centrist.

    The lies they spread about both Hillary and Barack earlier on Feb 25th when Susan Page was filling in was par for the course. All THREE panelists were lobbyists, and two of the three said Saint McCain was above repreach. Once they got that out of the way, they proceeded to smear HRC and BHO.

    Corporatists, liars, criminals to spread lies, and the weakest possible representative they can possibly find from the  'left'.


    Got time? Listen to the show.

    I was so fucking pissed off, I was screaming at the radio at the top of my lungs, and I swear my SO was going to have me committed at any moment.

    And Rehm's show is one of the better ones.
    Try Talk of the Nation if you want to hear real filth and garbage.

    I used to work for an NPR station; they have not got a penny from me since Bush has been in.

  •  An alternative... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, Hound Dog

    There's another public radio station in your town...a community-supported radio station that broadcasts the kind of independent news and opinion I think you're looking for...Democracy Now!

  •  The last time I listened to Diane Rehm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hound Dog

    Michael O'Hanlon was on, talking about how wonderfully the surge was working. The right wing has succeeded in scaring NPR at least partially into line with their endless drumbeat about the 'liberal media'.

    If Obama's ahead and superdelegates give it to Clinton I'm voting for McCain--Geekesque

    by dconrad on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 12:32:28 AM PST

    •  It's a system-wide NPR problem. (0+ / 0-)

      And I've been making it known to KWMU, and NPR.  I got a half-hearted reply from KWMU last year to my letter explaining why I'm no longer a contributor, and zero reply to letters since then.

  •  One other thing -- monetary vs. budgetary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hound Dog

    Even though no one is reading this any more. :)

    When O'Hanlon repeats the reduplicative phrase "monetary and budgetary costs", twice, he isn't just being redundant. Nor is he just waxing verbose. The budgetary costs are, well, you know, financial. It's money, cash, long green.

    But 'monetary costs' has a second meaning beyond just lots of money. It's also about monetary policy, oil traded in petrodollars vs. euros, the dollar being used as the reserve currency by Middle Eastern states, the declining dollar, and the increasingly iffy full-faith-and-credit of the United States.

    The dollar was once backed by gold, or silver. We got rid of that. Then it was backed by, briefly, trust. Our reputation. We demolished that. Now the dollar is backed by the elements again, but not Au and Ag. It's backed by the uranium and plutonium in our arsenal, and it's backed by iron. Iron in the hemoglobin. Hemoglobin in the blood. Blood that our soldiers spill on desert sand.

    Monetary and budgetary. Budgetary and monetary.

    If Obama's ahead and superdelegates give it to Clinton I'm voting for McCain--Geekesque

    by dconrad on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:09:30 AM PST

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