Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Marching Band of Useful Idiots

Back in July, James Walcott, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, called Howard Kaloogian and his fellow pro-war shills "the marching band of useful idiots."

Walcott was referring to Kaloogian's "Truth Tour" of
Iraq. A public relations ploy dreamed up by Kaloogian's astroturf organizations, Move America Forward, and the Pentagon's Office of Media Outreach, the propaganda arm of the Department of Defense. For more on the Truth Tour and Kaloogian's propaganda partners read this.

Kaloogian is still beating the drum for the war in
Iraq. Apparently, he doesn't care how many Americans come home in body bags or how many Iraq children are maimed. Kaloogian continues to blindly follow George Bush. His only complaint regarding the president's handling of things in Iraq is that not enough of the good news is being promoted by the White House. The San Francisco Chronicle gets the word from Howard.

"He's doing excellent on the prosecution of the war,'' Kaloogian said of Bush, "but he gets a D-minus on promotion of what we're doing there.''

Kaloogian, sitting in a local restaurant in Rancho Bernardo while he met with supporters, said his views on Iraq come in part from his fact-finding trip there last July with talk-show hosts and political activists.

To call Kaloogian's trip to
Iraq "fact finding" is a bit of a stretch. Prior to their departure Kaloogian and crew had already announced that they were going to Iraq to publicize all the good things going on in that country. They weren't looking for facts, just going to highlight whatever Potemkin events to which their Pentagon handlers delivered them.

The talk show hosts to which Kaloogian refers were a hand picked lot of second string right wingers whose shows dot the landscape of predominantly "red state" markets. And the political activitist were culled from the same rabid right wing lemmings that the White House routinely chooses as audiences for President Bush's forays out among the "'Merican people".

What is interesting about the Chronicle article that quotes Kaloogian is the fact that the majority of the story is about the feeling of betrayal and disillusionment felt by many long time Republicans and individuals who had been staunch supporters of the President at the start of his Iraqi adventure.

Real people like
Oceanside barber, Dennis Dalbey:

"Enough is enough,'' he said of the war while showing Lance Cpl. Aaron Kernell, 19, from Tennessee, to a red Naugahyde chair for a cut. "If they haven't got this thing settled by year's end, it's time to bring the boys home.''

Real people like Oceanside businessman, Robert Anderson:

"We've done what we needed to do,'' he said. "We could spend 10 years there and get the same thing. ... It doesn't matter, it won't change. These guys have been fighting each other for generations, and they're going to hate us no matter what.''

Real people like retired Navy veteran, Herb Ranquist:

"If we're going to war, we ought to do it right. If we let the generals and admirals do the job, we'd do OK."

"I voted for him [Bush] two times, and I wish I hadn't,'' Ranquist said of the president. "It was probably one of the worst mistakes I ever made.''

Ranquist recalls how on May 1, 2003, Bush stood on an aircraft carrier off the coast near San Diego -- backed by a sign that said "Mission Accomplished'' -- and proclaimed that "major combat operations in Iraq are over.''

"I remember that,'' he said softly. "We all remember it.''

Howard Kaloogian continues beat the war drum. Maybe he should stop the music for a minute and begin to listen to the people of the district he says he wants to represent.

The problem is that Kaloogian enjoys his position at the head of the loud and obnoxious band of useful idiots too much to stop and listen to quiet reason.