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Giving Thanks for Our Warriors

From the Scrapbook

Dec 6, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 12
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“For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing nonstop .  .  . the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore into the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers—American and Iraqi—bedded down in the barracks, totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have known they were safe .  .  . because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber. The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder-width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.

“The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty .  .  . into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you.”

 

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Another Expensive Bridge to Nowhere

Connoisseurs of the New York Times will recall its breathless, voluminous coverage of the conception and birth of Air America, the left-wing alternative to conservative domination of talk radio. Curiously, the swift collapse and demise of Air America did not rate the same saturation coverage—in fact, other stories seem to have crowded that one altogether from its pages—but the episode did affirm the Times’s status as the herald of Good News for right-thinking people. Which is why The Scrapbook chuckled with delight the other day when we noticed another glimmer of progressive hope in the pages of the New York Times: “Effort to Set Up Liberal Counterweight to G.O.P. Groups Begins.”

As readers are no doubt aware, Republicans never prevail in elections on the basis of issues, or as winners of a contest between liberalism and conservatism. Republicans win because their candidates are actors who know how to hypnotize the electorate (Ronald Reagan), or because of race-baiting Willie Horton ads (George H. W. Bush), or because the governor of Florida conspired with the U.S. Supreme Court to steal an election (George W. Bush), or this year’s excuse—that malevolent, anonymous “outside” groups spent untold millions to paralyze Democratic voters. 

Well, help is on the way. “In what may prove a significant development for the 2012 elections,” writes reporter Michael Luo, 

David Brock, a prominent Democratic political operative, says he has amassed $4 million in pledges over the last few weeks and is moving quickly to hire a staff to set up what he hopes will become a permanent liberal counterweight over the airwaves to the Republican-leaning outside groups that spent so heavily on this year’s midterm elections. 

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former Maryland lieutenant governor and the eldest of Robert F. Kennedy’s 11 children, has agreed to serve as the chairwoman of the group, which will be called American Bridge, lending to the still extremely nascent undertaking the weight of what remains one of the most significant families in American politics.

The Scrapbook cannot help but admire Mr. Luo’s deft deployment of the English language. American Bridge, it turns out, is nothing more than a new, ever-so-slightly-dodgy fundraising vehicle for the ever-so-slightly-dodgy David Brock’s Media Matters organization. It even features the same deep-pocket leftists—the ubiquitous George Soros, Taco Bell heir Rob McKay, and Elizabeth Hurley’s baby daddy, Hollywood producer Steve Bing—who regularly shower Brock with cash and may now contribute “openly” to American Bridge or secretly to something called the Media Matters Action Network, a 501(c)(4) lobby. 

But of course, that is not quite the way the Times sees it. This standard political fundraising sleight of hand is depicted in its pages as something that “may prove a significant development for the 2012 elections” (wanna bet?) conceived by a “respected political player” (David Brock?) who is “moving quickly” to hire staff whose figurehead is a member of “one of the most significant families in American politics.” 

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