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The "Desertion" Flap

A Net Positive for the Progressive Opposition

 

Ernest Partridge, Co-Editor
The Crisis Papers

January 27, 2004

 

In case you missed it, at the January 22 New Hampshire primary debate, ABC's Peter Jennings directed this shot at Wesley Clark:

At one point [Michael] Moore, said in front of you that President Bush -- he was saying he'd like to see a debate between you the General and President Bush who he called a deserter. Now that's a reckless charge not supported by the facts so I was curious to know why you didn't contradict him and whether or not you think it would have been a better example of ethical behavior to have done so.  (For context, see Peter Neiwart's entry at our "Best of the Blogs").

Note the begged assumption (the "when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife" ploy) -- the unexamined assumption  that ("as every fool surely knows") "that's a reckless charge not supported by facts."

To the contrary, of course, it is not a "reckless charge" and it is not "unsupported by facts."  However, Jennings and his cohorts in the corporate media have heretofore have managed to bury this potential bombshell by treating it with near-total silence.

There is an abundance of "facts" supporting the charge that Bush took a (shall we say) "unauthorized early departure" from his military obligation.  (See the reports by Robert Rogers and Martin Heidt).  Moreover, we can be assured that if a Democratic candidate had committed such an offense, the "librul media" would have seen to it that he would be banished from politics and forgotten before the morning editions.  After all, authentically unsupported and reckless charges of "disloyalty" cost Viet Nam hero, Max Cleland, his senate seat.

Finally, if this nagging and troublesome "rumor"  about "our President" were unfounded, the White House could conclusively and permanently put it to rest by producing the muster sheets from Bush's Service Record and from the base files.  If he were on base, as required, there simply must be a record of this.  And yet, not a word of substantive refutation.  Only poses of outrage by the likes of Peter Jennings.

"Desertion?"  Possibly an exaggeration.  (I'll leave that to the experts in military law).  AWOL?  Seems closer to the mark.  But these are semantic questions.  The hard, non-reckless fact, which the media is manifestly unwilling to confront, is that Bush violated his military obligation.

So, with the media unwilling to raise the issue, it falls upon the likes of Michael Moore to push it under the noses of the Grand Poobahs of broadcasting -- and also, thankfully, the audience that is tuned in.

At last,  the genius Bushista spin-meisters, and their media-whores, have dropped the ball.  Far better that they had simply ignored Moore's "desertion" remark.    Instead, they attempted to use that arguably intemperate remark to flog Wesley Clark, and it has backfired.  It was Topic One on the following "Crossfire" as Bob Novak brought it up repeatedly, and over the weekend, it has rebounded throughout media. 

The anti-Bushites can only relish their contemplation of the ensuing conversations at the other end of the tube, throughout the realm:

Charlie Nascar Dad:    "How dare that librul snake, Michael Moore, call our President a deserter!"

Sally Soccer Mom:    "Yes, dear, it's just awful.  But gee, just suppose that Mr. Bush did, in fact, walk away from his military obligation.  Do you suppose there's anything to it?"

Dad:  "I dunno.  I've heard nothing about it. But if it's a lie, why don't the President's people prove it?  Makes ya kinda wonder, don't it."

And so, in living rooms across the country, the door of doubt is unlatched and opened just a crack.

Time now to rush in and pry it open.  It's an opportunity not to be missed.


Copyright 2004 by Ernest Partridge

 


Ernest Partridge's Internet Publications

Conscience of a Progressive:  A book in progress. 

Partridge's Scholarly Publications. (The Online Gadfly)


Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He has taught Philosophy at the University of California, and in Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin. He publishes the website, "The Online Gadfly" and co-edits the progressive website, "The Crisis Papers".

 

 

Crisis Papers editors, Partridge & Weiner, are available for public speaking appearances