Dissecting the day’s news

It often fascinates me how we look at events and issues. Here are some of my favorites.

Terrorism. The Bush administration claim: We kept America safe, there hasn’t been a terrorist attack since 9/11. The correct way to look at it: The worst case of terrorism in American history took place under the watch of George W. Bush.

Healthcare. The Republicans and right-wingers — aren’t they the same thing? — state they don’t trust the American government to administer a health-insurance program. Ah, Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration: The government already does it, and a majority of seniors will tell you they like their Medicare. A very astute Congressman from New York named Anthony Weiner calls the public plan “Medicare for all.”

Afghanistan. Most Americans are not aware that in Afghanistan we now have more security people that are hired from contractors. That’s right: We’re paying for private soldiers, an army of profiteers. An old general who became president envisioned this happening and, in 1951, President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, warned us to beware the military-industrial complex. “As we peer into society’s future, we — you and I, and our government — must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow.” Could he have foreseen outsourcing a war?

Iraq. Let’s just forget about debating the reason we got into that mess and instead look at how the mess was created. It was created the first year we took control. President Bush appointed as his Iraq czar a guy by the name of L. Paul Brenner. This guy had zero training at running a country. So what’s the first thing he does when he steps into the emerald city of Baghdad? He issues two orders: dismantle the Iraqi military and dismiss all the civil servants. Brenner, with a stroke of a pen, destroyed any infrastructure and security the country had and created insurgents from then-unemployed military.

24-hour news cycle. Last week, President Obama spoke at a memorial service for Walter Cronkite in New York’s Lincoln Center. In describing the news from Cronkite time to today’s 24-hour cable-news cycle, he said, “‘What happened today?’ is replaced with ‘Who won today?’”

Sarah Palin. Even I can’t explain that one.

Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He can be reached at [email protected].

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