Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.
His mother is sorry, his friends are distressed, his colleagues are not terribly surprised and the news media are not sure.
We write, of course, of Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard gunman. Everybody agrees this psychopath killed 12 people and wounded more than a dozen before he was shot dead by authorities.
Nevertheless, many in the news media, particularly the TV talking heads, persist in calling him the “alleged” or “suspected” killer. Here’s a bulletin, kids: Alexis, being deceased, won’t be going before a jury of his peers, so there will be no formal adjudication of his guilt or innocence. Don’t worry (as if you ever do) about his getting an unbiased trial.
Don’t worry about defamation, either. You can’t defame the dead.
Honestly, if some of today’s bleeding-heart journalists were writing about Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin, they’d be giving them the benefit of the doubt and calling them “alleged mass murderers.”
Which reminds me of an incident from my days as a reporter/editor in California’s capital city, Sacramento.
One day, some neo-Nazis showed up at my newspaper, the Sacramento Union, and also at our cross-town competition, which I used to refer to as “brand b.” These evil poltroons had cash in hand to pay for a full-page ad “proving” World War II’s Jewish Holocaust was a fraud.
The editor and publisher of the Union told the scurrilous rats to put their ad and their money where the sun doesn’t shine. Brand b, on the other hand, sanctimoniously invoked the need for “diversity of opinion,” pocketed the money and ran the ad.
The Union was correct. There was and is no doubt about the Holocaust, and the idea that one should be “fair” to every historical revisionist or murderer or crackpot is so much phony piety.
Phony piety also accounts for the undercurrent of sympathy running through much of the reporting about Alexis. That undercurrent says, “Poor guy; he was sick,” and, “We’re not doing enough for the mentally ill.” This reflects exactly the attitude that gained this deranged killer his security clearance. Nobody wanted to be the one discriminating against a certifiable nut case.
Speaking of certifiable: Federal law forbids our government from supplying arms to terrorist groups, but it also allows the president to waive this provision in the name of national security.
And this is what President Obama did last week. According to the National Security Council, this was done to provide Syrian rebels with equipment to protect themselves from chemical weapons.
The NSC statement said the action was part of “longstanding and ongoing efforts” to help Syrians protect themselves from chemical weapons.
Well, maybe so. But if only defensive materials were involved, why was such a waiver necessary? Even more pertinent: Isn’t this tantamount to admitting we’re going to support terrorist elements in the Syrian opposition?
Further nuttiness: U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle have been talking about the need for the country to follow through when the president declares the nation’s intent. And it doesn’t matter how stupid that declaration might be.
If the prez says certain behavior “crosses a red line” and he threatens military action, he needs to be backed up because (brass-band fanfare) the nation’s credibility is at stake.
As I tried to point out a couple of weeks ago, this is precisely the logic presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon used to justify the horrors of the Vietnam War.
Question: Why would senators from both parties rally behind Obama when he uses the same justification?
The answer: They all think, “That’s what I’d want if I were chief executive – and, being highly qualified, I just might be president one day.”
They’re missing the point: The weepers and wailers in the Republican establishment keep complaining that last week’s vote to defund Obamacare carried the threat of a government shutdown. They moan that Senate Democrats will force a vote on a continuing resolution to fund the government, including the health-care disaster.
Well, duh. Of course the latter scenario will play out. But what the House Republicans really have done is force the Democrats to vote – again – for a most unpopular measure. That vote will come a little more than a year before the next election, when a number of Dem senators in wobbler states will have to justify their action.
I can hear the Republican candidates now: “My opponent voted for Obamacare without reading the bill, and now that we know how bad it is, he has voted for it again.”
The Democrats have been mousetrapped. You’ll hear their squeaking, starting with the 2014 campaign.