Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 180)

December 13, 2004
Members Only Edition

'Tis the season for conservative idiocy. Donald Rumsfeld was in the Middle East last week, and he was taking the tough questions (1), except that he didn't really mean it, and god forbid he actually have to take a question from a journalist (2). Meanwhile, George W. Bush was commemorating Pearl Harbor day, and calling on All Americans to sacrifice in this time of war (4). Oh, wait, did I say "All Americans"? I meant to say, All Americans who aren't millionaires. And from the "White Christmas" file: we've got "Christian" schools in North Carolina trying to show that slavery really wasn't so bad (5), and a conservative columnist upset about the breakdown of "sexual barriers between the races" (6).

1Responsibility Rumsfeld
At a town hall meeting with American troops in Kuwait last week, Don Rumsfeld committed a cardinal sin for any Bush administration official - he gave people permission to ask him anything.

"Now the General said you can ask tough questions," Don told the assembled troops, "and you can." Big mistake. After fielding two softballs, Don got a fastball in the face from Spc. Thomas Wilson.

"My question is more logistical," said Wilson. "We've had troops in Iraq for coming up on three years and we've always staged here out of Kuwait. Now why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromise ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles and why don't we have those resources readily available to us?"

"I missed the first part of your question, responded Rumsfeld, shakily. "And could you repeat it for me?"

Sure he could! "Yes, Mr. Secretary. Our soldiers have been fighting in Iraq for coming up on three years. A lot of us are getting ready to move north relatively soon. Our vehicles are not armored. We're digging pieces of rusted scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass that's already been shot up, dropped, busted, picking the best out of this scrap to put on our vehicles to take into combat. We do not have proper armament vehicles to carry with us north."

The troops are having to dig through landfills so they can make armor out of rusted scrap metal? That's outrageous! And that's the response Don Rumsfeld should have given, except, realizing the trouble he was now in, he decided to do what he's best at, which is dodge all responsibility.

"I'm told that they are being – the Army is – I think it's something like 400 a month are being done," replied Rumsfeld. "And it's essentially a matter of physics. It isn't a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the Army of desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it."

Oh really? Funny that. See, after Don's comments, the only company which supplies the Army with armor for Humvees in Iraq said that they wouldn't have a problem boosting production by up to 22% without further investment. It's just that the Pentagon hasn't asked them to.

But that wasn't Don's only duck-and-weave. He went on:

"As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time ... And if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored humvee and it can be blown up."

So, to translate, "Yeah, I've been defense secretary for four years and had more money thrown at me to improve the military than any defense secretary in recent memory, but this is all Bill Clinton's fault. And you guys suck, I wish we had a better Army. And at the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether you've got any damn armor or not, you're still screwed."

Way to support the troops, Don.

2Media Shower
But hang on, hang on, don't panic! So what if Donald Rumsfeld practically set himself on fire with his thoughtless comments in Kuwait? The Media is here put out the flames!

See, it turns out that the soldier who asked the question, Spc. Thomas Wilson, isn't actually a soldier after all, but a devious liberal media plant - an automaton, if you will, a puppet, re-educated by the liberal elite and set loose amongst the troops to sow dissent and discord. Yes folks, this was just all part of the liberal media's plan to "gotcha" Don Rumsfeld.

At least, that's the impression you'd get if you listened to Rush Limbaugh last week, or read the Drudge Report, or watched... um... CNN.

It turns out that Edward Lee Pitts, a Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter embedded with Wilson's unit, had committed the unholy crime of working with Wilson and other soldiers to help them "ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor their vehicles going into combat have."

This, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, "has raised questions about journalistic objectivity." Rush Limbaugh said of Pitts, "he created news in order to cover it ... We found out the whole thing today is a setup."

A setup? Never mind the fact that Wilson's unit doesn't have any armor on their humvees, or that they are having to scavenge through scrap heaps for a workaround solution. No, the big news here is that a reporter dared to work with a soldier in order to ask a question. This obviously disgusted the Freepers, who - always ready to support the troops - decided that Spc. Thomas Wilson was an "idiot."

Don't worry though, the Chattanooga Times Free Press was appropriately embarrassed that one of its reporters tried to do his job and get a story, telling readers last week that, "In hindsight, information on how the question was framed should have been included in Thursday's story in the Times Free Press. It was not." FOR SHAME!!!

To be fair, the Times Free Press did go on to say, "Mr. Pitts used the tools available to him as a journalist to report on a story that has been and remains important to members of the 278th [National Guard unit] and those back at home."

However, Kelly McBride, a member of the ethics faculty at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, said, "I suspect some people would see it as manipulative. I suspect Rumsfeld felt manipulated."

Oh, poor Donald. How dare a so-called journalist and an "idiot" soldier manipulate our noble secretary of defense in such an underhanded manner? How could the media sink so low?

Just to reiterate: this all started when Rumsfeld said, "Now the General said you can ask tough questions, and you can."

What's really strange about this sudden uproar is that regardless of who was responsible, it's a plain fact that after Wilson took a stand and asked the question, the room erupted in applause and cheers. (Video from crooksandliars.com.) Clearly the lack of suitable armor for their vehicles was a concern on the minds of many soldiers attending the meeting.

Unless... unless... all the soldiers in the room were liberal media plants! Quick! Someone call Matt Drudge!

3Off Track In Iraq
So, how are things going elsewhere in Iraq? Despite the fact that it's clearly uncool these days for people to ask "tough questions," even when they're asked to, some news is still leaking out. For example, according to the London Times, the US Army is "plagued by desertion and plunging morale" - apparently more than 5,000 soldiers have deserted since the war began, and "For the first time in a decade, the Army National Guard missed its recruitment target this year."

The Times article goes on, "Experts are divided over how stretched America’s military really is. But they agree that another conflict would put the military in overdrive. Another war would require a shift to a 'no-kidding wartime posture in which everybody who could shoot was given a rifle and sent to the front,' according to John Pike, of GlobalSecurity.org."

So we've all got that to look forward to.

Elsewhere, since the Pentagon can't be bothered to armor our troops, military moms are having to sort it out themselves. According to FloridaToday.com, Joanne Homer, whose son is fighting in Iraq, is "trying to keep him from harm by helping gather nearly 500 bulletproof vests for the troops in his unit to use to protect the Humvees they'll ride through the war zone in Iraq." Props to her. Even more boos to the Pentagon

Finally, it looks like Ahmed Chalabi - remember him? - is BACK! According to MSNBC, "The much-anticipated Shiite list of candidates for the forthcoming elections in Iraq was presented [last week] - in partial anonymity and peculiar secrecy." Missing from the list of names is the current ruler of Iraq, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and his Iraqi National Accord party, which apparently "makes it almost impossible for Allawi to be re-elected prime minister, and could even mean he would not win a seat in the National Assembly."

Included on the list, however, is Ahmed Chalabi, the former Iraqi dissident who was best pals with the Bush administration and even had a seat behind Laura Bush at the 2004 State of the Union address. That was all before it turned out that he was an Iranian spy, of course (see Idiots 158). Now, instead of sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom, Chalabi is rubbing shoulders with the notorious anti-American cleric Moqtada al Sadr.

So to answer the original question, things in Iraq are going pretty much the same way everything else has gone since Bush came to power - straight down the toilet.

4A Time for Sacrifice (and Bad Jackets)
Last week George W. Bush called on all Americans to support the troops. Hey George, we do support the troops. Now how about you support the troops and give them some armor? Or better still, bring them home? Or even better still, try not to get them into any more illegal wars involving non-existent weapons of mass destruction?

Anyway, Bush was speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of Pearl Harbor. "The time of war is a time of sacrifice, especially for our military families," he said. According to the Associated Press, Bush "recalled President Roosevelt's World War II-era requests for Americans to pitch in for the war effort." Presumably Our Great Leader's request for sacrifice doesn't include his millionaire friends who all got massive tax cuts.

But the real question of the day was... what on earth was he wearing?

Was he going for the Kim Jong Il look?

Or the General Veers look?

We may never know.

5 Sunshine, Smiles, and Slavery
Here's a headline you don't see every day of the week: "School defends slavery booklet." Apparently students at one of North Carolina's largest Christian schools are being forced to read a booklet which literally "whitewashes" slavery, suggesting that slaves led "a life of plenty, of simple pleasures."

Oh, for sure. You can bet that all those Africans loved being kidnapped from their homes and transported across the ocean to work without pay for their white masters. The backbreaking work; the dehumanization; the occasional flogging. Ah, the "simple pleasures" in life.

Incidentally, one of the authors of the booklet is a member of the board of directors of the League of the South, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And according to the News Observer, "Leaders at Cary Christian School say they are not condoning slavery by using 'Southern Slavery, As It Was,'" which apparently "attempts to provide a biblical justification for slavery and asserts that slaves weren't treated as badly as people think." No, they're not condoning it. Just, you know, pretending it didn't happen.

6Rolling Back The Clock
Moral Values Watch: David Brock's Media Matters for America had to send a letter to the Creators Syndicate last week after they distributed a column by Sam Francis about the recent Monday Night Football naughtiness. But wait - it's not what you think!

The naughtiness was, of course, a comedy skit performed at the beginning of Monday Night Football on November 26 by Nicolette Sheridan and Terrell Owens, in which Sheridan attempted to seduce Owens into ducking the game and shagging her instead. But while most conservatives have been kicking up a stink over the fact that - gasp - a woman's bare back was shown on national television after 9pm, Francis had a decidedly different take.

According to him, the purpose of the skit was to "hurl a pie in the face of morals and good taste but also of white racial and cultural identity." Wait a second, white racial and cultural identity?

Francis continued, "Breaking down the sexual barriers between the races is a major weapon of cultural destruction because it means the dissolution of the cultural boundaries that define breeding and the family, and ultimately, the transmission and survival of the culture itself."

Jeez, guys, can you wait until we've sorted out the gay marriage thing before you start work on re-banning interracial dating?

7Wasting Everybody's Time
Last February, FCC Chairman Michael Powell told a Senate hearing that the number of indecency complaints received by the FCC had greatly risen in recent years, from fewer than 350 complaints in 2001 to almost a quarter-million in 2003. According to Powell, this was proof that there was "a dramatic rise in public concern and outrage about what is being broadcast into their homes."

Shocking, huh? I guess America really is morally outraged.

Not so fast though - it turns out that what Powell didn't mention during the Senate hearing was that 99.8 percent of the complaints filed in 2003 came from the Parents Television Council, a conservative activist group run by right-wing nutjob Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center.

"Why does it matter how the complaints come?" said PTC spokeswoman Lara Mahaney. "If the networks haven't done anything illegal, if they haven't done anything indecent, why do they care what we say?" Right... and this comes from an organization which hires people to watch "Sex and the City" and write down every line that violates their arbitrary standard of purity.

Aren't you glad that folks like the Parents Television Council are wasting government time and money looking out for you?

8Coincidence Of The Week
Moral Values Watch: Back on October 6 the Rev. Mike Hintz, a First Assembly of God youth pastor, appeared at a Bush campaign stop in Iowa to laud the president's tax policies. "Where we are in this world, with not just the war on terror, but with the war with our culture that's going on, I think we need a man that is going to be in the White House like President Bush, that's going to stand by what he believes." Hintz said he supports Bush's values.

In a remarkable coincidence, last week a Rev. Mike Hintz, of Des Moines, Iowa - who, funnily enough, also used to be a First Assembly of God youth pastor until he was fired on October 30 - turned himself in to the police after being charged with the sexual exploitation of a child.

I wonder if they're related?

9 International Idiots
Our next bit of racist nonsense comes courtesy of the British National Party. (For those of you who aren't familiar with the BNP, they're one of these "poor me, the oppressed white man" groups.) As it turns out, the BNP recently made fools of themselves while trying to organize their annual Christmas party when it transpired that the DJ they'd hired for the event was... black.

According to the UK's Daily Mirror, "Some members of the far right group were so outraged by the blunder they walked out of the hotel where their party was staged." (The BNP's official constitution says that all members must be of "British or closely kindred native European stock".)

BNP Official Bob Garner said, "There was a bit of a cock-up. The chap who booked him didn't realise. The DJ sounded white on the phone." Seriously, he actually said that.

10Hollywood Jews Hate Jesus, Like Anal Sex
And finally, I'm going to have to start watching cable news again if this is the sort of thing I'm missing:

PAT BUCHANAN: Bill Donahue, what do you think about "The Passion of the Christ"? And as a practical matter, even if Hollywood hated the film, it seems to me as an artistic work of art, a smashing triumph, a film of great controversy and interest, it ought to at least be nominated for best picture. It pulled in more money than any other picture all year.

WILLIAM DONAHUE, PRESIDENT OF THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE: I spoke to Mel a couple of weeks ago about this. And I don't think it really matters a whole lot to him. It certainly doesn't matter to me. We‘ve already won.

Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. That's why they hate this movie. It's about Jesus Christ, and it's about truth. It's about the messiah.

Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost.

You have got secular Jews. You have got embittered ex-Catholics, including a lot of ex-Catholic priests who hate the Catholic Church, wacko Protestants in the same group, and these people are in the margins. Frankly, Michael Moore represents a cult movie. Mel Gibson represents the mainstream of America.

Yikes!

NOTE: The Top Ten Conservative Idiots is taking a break for the holidays. It will return on Monday, January 10, 2005. Here's wishing you all a great holiday, and a Happy New Year!

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