The reign of mindlessness

(Note, May 6: a reader offers a reasonable excuse for the rushed dissemination of incorrect information about the raid, an excuse that many people probably have in their minds, and I reply.)

Here’s the madness of what has been happening. All the commentators keep discussing such question as, “Should we release the photo?”, “Did Osama fire back?”, etc. They take each of these discrete issues seriously, instead of addressing the larger issue within which all those discrete issues have arisen, namely that the administration deliberately or negligently created all this confusion in the first place.

You hear excuses for the mess, such as this from Oliver North last night on Fox, “I’ve been in many situations like this [firefights], and know that there’s always a lot of confusion about what happened.” Yes, of course. But the government of the United States is not a platoon of soldiers talking about what happened in a battle they’ve just been through. It was the administration’s responsibility to gather and sift the information from the SEALs and make sense of it before presenting it to the public, rather than treating the killing of our country’s number one enemy as a collection of Rashoman scenarios.

And then there’s the New York Times’ excuse, appearing on yesterday’s front page, that the administration was trying to get the story out to the press quickly. Excuse me, Mr. Times, but what is more important, getting a story out quickly, or getting the facts right before you get the story out? The notion that instant accessibility to the press is more important than having the facts right shows an advanced stage of vitalist nihilism, the desire for energy in place of truth, leading, in this case, to the open embrace of sheer mindlessness by the government and the media.

As I said in another entry this morning, “Part of the project of the left is to destroy men’s belief in truth, so that no one trusts anyone, the consensual basis of self-government is undermined, and all that remains is power.”

- end of initial entry -

Posted May 6

Timothy A. writes:

I believe that the rushed announcement (with its attendant inaccuracies) was due to a political calculation that the maximum benefit would accrue to the President by having him announce the death of bin Laden to a primetime television audience. The alternative was to have it revealed by a series of leaks or announced in the middle of the night (probably by a low level bureaucrat or military official). Even the slight delay of the announcement—until 11:30 p.m. Eastern—probably annoyed the President’s political staffers, since it meant a smaller audience on the East Coast.

LA replies:

I wasn’t saying the announcement itself should be delayed! Just the details.

All they had to say to the media was, “We will have the details for you in a couple of days, after we’ve debriefed the SEALs.”

Timothy A. replies:

Yes, you are right. I wonder why the administration didn’t take this approach? The SEALs are expected to face down fanatical terrorists, but administration spokesmen can’t stand up to the press and tell them they’ll have to wait for a day or two?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 05, 2011 11:06 AM | Send

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