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“Well, coach, the big day is almost here; you and your team are in the Super Bowl a week from now, and your opponent is mighty rugged. In fact, most experts and the odds-makers are making them the favorite, figuring you got here on a series of flukes and last-second miracles. They say you really shouldn’t be in the Big Game at all.
“What is your response and how in the world do you plan to win this one?”
“Son, I know a lot of folks think we don’t have a chance, but I have a strategy. I think we can astound everybody and win this Super Bowl.”
“But how, coach? What in the world can you do?”
“You’ll see on game day, son. My assistant coaches and I have been working on this for a month now, and we’ve got some aces up our sleeve. Just wait.”
“But coach, they’re bigger than your guys, they’re quicker, they’ve got more guys on the bench, they’ve been here before; what can you and your coaches spring on them they haven’t already seen and prepared for?”
“Just wait; you’ll see.”
“Coach, absolutely none of my fellow writers who’ve watched this whole season unfold think you’ve got a chance in hell, and frankly coach, we all feel you’ve lost your grip on reality and are not only fooling yourself but are setting your team up for a huge disappointment and embarrassment. Can’t you give me a clue, some idea about what you’re planning to do?”
The coach hesitates, clearly stung by the reporter’s insistence and doubt, bordering on disdain, and finally makes a decision. His response:
“OK, son, since you don’t believe me, I’m going to show you my play book for the first half, every play in sequence – when we’ll run the ball, when we’ll pass and to which receiver, the trick plays we’ve designed, how I’ll rotate the players to keep them rested, how we’ll draw the other team offside, everything we’re going to do and why we believe we’ll be up three touchdowns by the end of the first half.
“Then, in the second half, while they’re trying to catch up, we’re going to drop back into a total defensive mode, not allow passes or long runs. We’ll hold on to our lead, and when they get sloppy or careless, we’ll take advantage and run these plays right here … see these? Aren’t they great? They won’t expect any of these, and all this, son, is why I’m confident we can win this game!
“Now, you keep this under your hat. I wouldn’t want Coach Otherguy to suspect any of this, of course. If he got wind of this, we wouldn’t have a chance, as you said.”
Idiocy? Of course.
Any fool knows what would surely happen next. The reporter would rush his “scoop” into his column or even into a headlined feature story and be the toast of his fellow writers (or more likely the fist-biting envy). The other team would wipe the field with the hapless losers, and the bumble-headed coach would wind up flipping burgers in Modesto.
And yet, we’re seeing this same scenario attempted over and over on international TV, as renowned reporters and even Jim Lehrer of PBS hound and pry and dig and insinuate and harass the president of the United States, our commander in chief, trying to wheedle him into revealing just what our military plans are in Iraq, when we plan to withdraw troops, whether he “counted the cost” estimating the number of American and Iraqi casualties that would be suffered before we went in – as if that kind of “guesstimate” even is possible when you don’t know how the enemy will respond – and to trick or beg him into revealing our whole game plan!
I keep wanting President Bush to look at these irresponsible, insistent hecklers and say something like “Are you writing this for the Post, the Times or Al-Jazeera? It really makes no difference who’s paying you to ask these things; they’re military secrets, in a real war, and if I were the fool you think I am (or you wouldn’t even be embarrassing yourself by asking), anything I tell you will be printed in extremist Islamic papers before the ink is dry on the American special editions! Why don’t you turn your hat back around, stick your press pass back in your pocket, go back to the school you came from and enroll in Journalism 101, where you can learn the difference between reporting on what’s happened, and trying to influence what will happen?”
I said before, in columns like this, and was never challenged or refuted:
When CBS and the “60 Minutes” team rushed to judgment with what they’d dug up about Abu Ghraib – absolutely ignoring the blatant facts that 1) the Army already knew and had investigated and was handling and correcting the inexcusable situation, 2) that these were military secrets in time of war, and 3) that the militants and extremist media would have an absolute field day exploiting and distorting the incidents against us – they were indisputably aiding and abetting our enemies. If you remember, there was a sudden retaliatory rash of kidnappings and beheadings while the masked terrorists proclaimed, “This is for what you Satanic Americans did at Abu Ghraib!” What do you call it when, in time of war, your fellow countrymen deliberately turn over information to the enemy who in turn uses it to kill more of your own countrymen?
You tell me.
And what do you call it when hordes of admittedly liberal, Bush-disdaining, headline-hungry, anti-war, Pollyanna-ish, peacenik Jimmy Olsens clamor to get the president to reveal our military plans and schedules … to our sworn enemies?
You pick your own name. I call it doltish un-American idiocy.