Democrats Make Political Points; With Bagdad


ABC’s This Week had the most controversial coverage. Host George Stephanopolous interviewed Congressmen Jim McDermott, D-Wash, and David Bonoir, D-Mich, live from Baghdad. A seemingly incredulous Stephanopolous heard McDermott claim that the President was misleading the world and that he should take the Iraqis’ word at face value.

Bonoir brushed aside questions about Saddam Hussein’s past behavior. “We could go back and play the blame game. I wish you would focus on what’s happened to the people of Iraq—the children.”

During This Week’s roundtable, George Will called the McDermott-Bonoir comments, “The most disgraceful appearance in my lifetime.” ABC’s Michele Martin just shook her head, noting, “This is why the Democrats are having such a hard time.”

Back from Thailand; alas

I am back from Thailand. Actually I have been back since Tuesday night but I have been too lazy and jet lagged to do any posting.
My mailbox is not filled to overflowing with unanswered mail from desperate readers so I’ll just have to launch into a new round of uninformed, opinionated blather.
On Sep 12 (Sep 11 in US) the following ran in the Bangkok Post Thursday 12 September 2002 – Hundreds join rites at embassy; Protest outside blasts plan to attack Iraq.
Interestingly enough, the web site for the Bangkok Post shows this as being one story, actually there were two stories side-by-side on the front page of the Post. One was the story about the ceremony at the embassy and the other was the story of the protest.
There were also expressions of sympathy throughout the country involving thousands of people, but these were considered to be equivalent to a protest by 150 people. Some balance.
I did find that there is as great a gulf between the news reporters and the actual person on the street as there is in the U.S. Bangkok is a city where “multiculturalism” and “ethnic diversity” is the norm and has been for years. The first question that everyone asks is “Where are you from”? Some people don’t know where the United States is. But if you answer “America” they know instantly. Almost without exception the next thing is an expression of sympathy for the Sept 11 attacks. This was true of taxi drivers, security guards at the Skytrain terminal and even an office worker that we asked directions of (My wife is Thai and I speak and understand some.) everywhere people expressed their sympathy and no one tried to lecture us on how bad Americans are.
The newspapers are a different story of course, the following ran on Sep 11
Bangkok Post Wednesday 11 September 2002 – Excuses for terror remain with us

The underlying factors that allow fanatics to attract members so readily in their assaults on American institutions have still to be discussed, let alone addressed. A round-table conference has never been held. And in the meantime, US foreign policy and “Big Brother” tactics, which are partly to blame for causing the extremist anger in the first place, have not adapted and so, in many instances, will continue to exacerbate the problems.

The Nation, another Bangkok newspaper has the following story compiling all the negative press stories in the Kingdom following Sep 11:
Welcome to The Nation

Like the rest of the world, the Thai media was shocked by the attacks in New York and on the Pentagon on September 11 last year. But once the press had done with its coverage of the tragedy and loss, it started to become critical of US leaders, the country’s policy in the Middle East and attitudes towards the Muslim world

I point this out not to infer some criticism of Thailand or Thai people but to point up the unanimity of the newspeople regardless of country. They all seem to be of the opinion that the newspaper is there for them to use to ride their particular hobby horse and not to report the news. This is something that seems to be endemic in the “free” world. All newspapers (including American ones) are of the opinion that all the evils of the world are manifested in the U.S. government. (As long as George W. Bush is President)

Sunday Morning in Beautiful Downtown Bangkok

I thought I told everyone that I was going on vacation to Thailand, but if I didn’t, that’s where I am. It’s 10:39 AM Sunday Sept 8 here and it is not there. Bangkok has changed a lot since last time I was here and even more so from when I was stationed here in the 60’s and 70’s.
I had forgotten how mixed it is. The hotel that we are staying at has a guest mix consisting of Arabs, Indians, Europeans and Americans. One thing that I found interesting is that they are all speaking English to each other. This morning we rode the elevator down with a couple. She was obviously Japanese and He was just as obviously Indian, and they conversed in English.

Just an observation.