Favorite

Bad start to the year 

The country is barely into a new year and already we have a lot of problems. • The newspaper USA Today found out that a columnist whose work is syndicated to several daily conservative newspapers was paid $240,000 to write favorable columns about President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” and other things that the administration sold to Congress and the American people. The writer, Armstrong Williams, apologized after the story broke, saying that he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong. Williams, who has no real journalism background, was fired by the syndicate, and people and organizations that dislike newspapers are having great fun saying that it proves that what you read in newspapers is rarely true. Of course, what they should be doing is criticizing the Bush administration for giving our tax money to Williams and other hacks to enable newspapers and TV talk shows to make our leaders look good. • A few days ago an Air Force major general told Jacksonville’s Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council that the Defense Department has decided to save money by buying fewer of the new, $83 million, C-130J cargo and personnel transport airplanes. The base now owns only one, and, unless something changes, it will now get only six of the new planes instead of the 16 that were ordered for Jacksonville. The reason? The cost of the war in Iraq, of course. “More money is going to the Army,” the general said. An $11.6 million hangar for the C-139J, an $8.5 million flight simulator, a maintenance facility and a fuselage training building are already under construction on the base. Members of the Community Council left the meeting and called their members of Congress. The main function of the Little Rock Air Force Base is to train crews from all military services how to fly the C-130 and its new bigger model. The base pours $512 million into the economy of Pulaski County every year. About 5,500 airmen and 1,400 civilians work at the base, which in October will be 50 years old, and we want to keep it for 50 more. • The Pentagon has been saying it was constructing a system of interceptor missiles that would be ready in 2004 to shoot down any enemy warhead that might be aimed at the United States. Well, the tests haven’t been successful. The most recent one was Dec. 15, and the missiles couldn’t even get off the ground. Last week Lieut. Gen. Henry “Trey” Obering III said, “It turned out we had overly constrained the system,” whatever that means. Eight of these interceptors have been installed in Alaska and California, with 10 more supposedly to be installed this year. But Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld has not said when the system would be in operation. “Whether or not that occurs — and when that occurs — is not my decision,” the general told the Washington Post. • On Jan. 14, Charles Graner from Pennsylvania, the first soldier tried in the Abu Ghraib scandal, was convicted for torturing prisoners captured in Iraq. It was exactly a year ago when the world saw pictures of the horrors in American military jails. An Iraqi jailed for stealing a car testified against Graner, saying he jumped on him, forced him to strip, masturbate, simulate oral sex and then sleep naked in a cell the guards had soaked with water. “The Americans came to free the Iraqi from Saddam,” he said. “When they first came, it appeared that they were good, but this incident changed the entire picture of what Americans look like.” Graner is an enlisted man, a reservist, just as four out of every 10 soldiers in Iraq are members of the National Guard or a reserve unit in their state. The handful of others who are waiting for trial are also not professional soldiers and no higher in rank than sergeant. So what about the colonels and generals who had the responsibility of overseeing the American jails in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? The only one questioned by the Pentagon is a woman, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, but so far she has only been ordered to testify at these trials. Gen. Karpinski fears she’s the fall gal for the higher-ups and has fingered a couple of major generals she says knew and went along with the torture. Why even Secretary Rumsfeld approved some get-tough ideas for inmates in the Guantanamo jail, so maybe some commanders of other jails thought they too could proceed or at least look away. It’s hard to remember anything that has maligned Americans worse than those photographs and trials. • After almost two years of searching, the Iraq Survey Group announced last week that.Iraq had no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons — our president’s reason for invading the country. One of his other reasons — that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9-11 attack on the United States — was disproved years ago. The man responsible for it was Osama bin Laden, who has been pursued by every device and branch of our military force for years. Saturday when Washington Post reporters asked why we haven’t been able to catch him, President Bush said, “Because he’s hiding.” How does that make you feel?
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Robert McCord

  • The man behind the camera

    Newspaper photographers never get much money or attention. I know because I got my first job as one in the 1940s. In 1957, a guy named Will Counts learned it when he made the best pictures of the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School.
    • Oct 4, 2007
  • A straw poll

    Max Brantley took the week off. In his place, Robert McCord writes about presidential politics.
    • Mar 15, 2007
  • NLR: Second city no more.

    A long-time North Little Rock resident muses on the arrival of a former governor and current lieutenant governor and looks back at hometowns of governors and presidential contenders from Arkansas.
    • Jan 25, 2007
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

Most Shared

  • In the margins

    A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight.
  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.
  • Arkansans join House vote to gut Americans with Disabilities Act

    Despite fierce protests from disabled people, the U.S. House voted today, mostly on party lines, to make it harder to sue businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course Arkansas congressmen were on the wrong side.

Latest in Bob McCord

  • NLR: Second city no more.

    A long-time North Little Rock resident muses on the arrival of a former governor and current lieutenant governor and looks back at hometowns of governors and presidential contenders from Arkansas.
    • Jan 25, 2007
  • Parting thoughts

    This column is kind of a difficult one for me, and I will tell you why at the end. I have written some things that I believe would make Arkansas a better and more prosperous state.
    • Nov 23, 2006
  • On the winning side

    There were a lot of interesting things that happened all over in the country and in Arkansas at last week’s voting. For the first time I had more winners than losers, and...
    • Nov 16, 2006
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28  

Most Viewed

  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Out of control

    • Gene, the all wise one, needs to help us set some new rules. What if…

    • on February 18, 2018
  • Re: Out of control

    • And Olphart - hey, That is a witty reply - good for you!

    • on February 17, 2018
  • Re: Out of control

    • Oh for god's sake - read the play - just read the play before going…

    • on February 16, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation