The Juxtaposition of two articles in the Times this morning left my head spinning. In the first, Davd Carr takes on our collective ability to forget the troops we celebrate this Memorial Day. The White House sets a narrative–The Surge is Working–and the networks fall in line.
But the tactical success of the surge should not be misconstrued as making Iraq a safer place for American soldiers. Last year was the bloodiest in the five-year history of the conflict, with more than 900 dead, and last month, 52 perished, making it the bloodiest month of the year so far. So far in May, 18 have died.
Television network news coverage in particular has gone off a cliff. Citing numbers provided by a consultant, Andrew Tyndall, the Associated Press reported that in the months after September when Gen. David H. Petraeus testified before Congress about the surge, collective coverage dropped to four minutes a week from 30 minutes a week at the height of coverage, in September 2007.
So while we manage to forget about the War in the Streets of Sadr City, our Department of Homeland Security wants us to spend our tax tax dollars keeping those I.E.D.’s off the streets of Boston.
Juliette N. Kayyem, the Massachusetts homeland security adviser, was in her office in early February when an aide brought her startling news. To qualify for its full allotment of federal money, Massachusetts had to come up with a plan to protect the state from an almost unheard-of threat: improvised explosive devices, known as I.E.D.’s.
When Ms. Kayyem enquired whether there was any new intelligence on this threat, she was told no. What’s worse, the Feds want her to spend some of her tight police budget on this as well.
The disconnect between what is important and what is not, is quite profound.