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Oct 29, 2006

Your Turn: Turning A Phrase


Considering its publication a little over a week before the American election, where is this cover going?  Here are some possibilities to get you started.

This is:

... a subtle poke at Bush/Blair for having dumbed down foreign policy to the slogan level.

... confirmation that the American election has come down to a war referendum.

...  an acknowledgment, now virtually irrefutable by the military and Republicans, that we have to -- somehow -- get out.

... a political reminder (and assist to the conservatives) that the liberals don't have any good answers either.

Regarding the picture, and picking up on the question mark, seems like the helicopter is surely a mirage.

It's your BAG....

(image: unattributed. The Economist - North America Edition.  October 28, 2006.


Man, oh man, how I wish ONE Democrat would stand up and say: "you bet your ass we out of Iraq and we out of it now. Call the policy what you want. Its the wise thing to do. Never mind the most humane as well." I suspect a majority of Americans, maybe only a slight majority, but a majority of Americans would agree once that see that someone has the guts to say it outloud.

I always ask people to tell me what we are cutting, when we talk about 'cut and run'. Is it a rug? A record? Some cheese?

No, we are actually talking about cutting our losses. One party wants to cut our losses and leave before we have to run, the other wants to keep losing people and money, so they never have to admit they lost a war.

Whether we stay or go in Iraq, the outcome for the Iraqis remains bleak. The reason to stay or go is not what happens to them, it's what continues to happen to us. Do we continue to lose a hundred men and two billion dollars every month, so our leaders don't lose face? As Kerry once said, how do you ask the last man to die for a mistake?

Deep parallel tracks in the sand represent the " Stay the course" of the bush administration. The soldiers run toward the "mothership of salvation" in a distance and the soft sand is slowing the progress down. They run instead of standing firm for oil mission. (The 200 or so soldiers wanting to get out of Iraq have put down their names, the Appeal for Redress adds some more. Is that enough to even out the dead and wounded? How will the public tip the balance?)
Foggy atmosphere is the lies clouding the situation. Blades rotating may mean it is too late for some to make it back.

The soldiers are abjectly running into the sunset. American imperialism and might is on the wane. The helicopter looks like a ghostly mirage. Is there any real refuge? Like the tracks in the sand that lead to nowhere, American foreign policy is insubstantial and without direction.

I can't see military helicopters in an evacuation setting and not think of our frantic escape from Saigon. Even though this is a very different image from those of that episode, I suspect the editors were trying to evoke that memory.

the running spaceman; the last man on the moon.

No Old Glory : and Our Flag Was Still There Not :-/

"Cut & Run" ...what, The End Times ?

The word "rapture" comes from the same root as rapt: the Latin verb rapere, or the adjective raeptius, which means "carried away by force, caught up."

The specific form used is rapiemur : "we shall be caught up", translating the original Greek harpagēsometha (ἁρπαγησόμεθα) (passive voice, future tense of harpazō (ἁρπάζω): "snatch away, carry off.")

However, the word "rapture" itself is found nowhere in English Bible translations, nor in its original Greek or Hebrew documents.


After criminally destroying Iraq and leaving what little is left of it to the worst elements of Iraqi society, the Anglo-American culprits will make a similar disgusting claim to that of former US President Jimmy Carter when he referred to American criminal violence in Vietnam . . .

"The damage was mutual"

. . . he said. Horrid. Where were, where are the enormous reparations owed to that country?

If we're going to look at Economist covers, we have to keep in mind that the essential premise of the magazine is to defend gross political and economic disparity throughout the world. In that light, "Cut and run?" seems to be asking "can we get away with leaving yet?" There will be no reparations. There won't even be the faintest suggestion of a hint of a thought of them. Horrid.

May 1975. Vietnam. First thing I thought of. Running. Helicopter.
Is it just a coincidence that all the running is to the right of the frame? The soldiers, the copter, the tracks in the sand.

As for affecting the election in the US, doubtful. I just don't think many in the US electorate are reading "The Economist."

P.T.Barnum redux: No one ever went broke misunderstimating the American public.

The deep trenches represent all the lines that Bushco has drawn in the sand. Then crossed.

The soldier is running through this featureless, bleak place. There is nothing here, nothing, except the lines in the sand. Getting to the helicopter, to safety, is urgent.

"scottie, zero in on these coordinates and beam me out of here."

Now I understand the title of the MASH theme song: "Suicide is Painless".

From a British point of view, this could also be Afghanistan. They've had a lot of soldiers killed in Afghanistan, and military officials talking about how the forces were sent in with poor planning, not enough equipment, etc. This picture could represent incidents where their soldiers were surrounded and had to be rescued after running out of ammunition...

Like Carl Manaster, I immediately thought of the "frantic escape from Saigon". I'm not positive that this was the main intent of the magazine, but I do believe that they had to know that many, many of us would get that impression.

And, did we "cut and run" from Viet Nam, or did we simply leave too late to be able to spin a little false honor and glory for the flag-waving American public?

The Democrats need to step up and call for getting the hell out of there NOW, or it will be a long time before they see my face at a voting booth again!

I prefer the phrase "slice n' mosey."

Cut and run? You mean like we did in New Orleans? And Like we did with the Military Commissions Act? Or the tax cuts or No Child Left Behind?And on and on and on.
Democracy isn`t dead;It merely smells funny.

Why do I hate The Economist?

Is it this?

". . . the issue is now strikingly simple. It rests entirely on whether Mr Clinton is telling the truth—and not just a partial truth, but the whole truth. If he is, and Miss Lewinsky’s apparent accusations turn to dust, then he can and should survive. But if he is not, he must go. And the test of this does not rest on the issue of whether, in lying, he has committed the “high crimes and misdemeanours” required for impeachment. It rests simply on whether he has lied, even one jot, about whether he has had a sexual relationship with Miss Lewinsky. For if he has, his already fragile credibility will be utterly destroyed."

Or is it this?

". . . nub of America’s great experiment with government is that the president must be able to be disconnected from his office, dealt with like an ordinary man. His office should not put him above the reach of the law."

Or is it this?

"A government headed by a man who is reckless—and, worse, whose recklessness and moral weakness are indulged—is running on empty, because it has no claim to the public trust."

Or is the money quote the pitch at the end?

". . . if there is a shred of truth to the story he is so vigorously trashing, he should not be allowed to get away with it again. He should go."

Ah, those halcyon days in the late 90s, when the personal morality of a President warranted impeachment or, as The Economist demanded, resignation. Your assignment, if you can bear it, is to reflect on the lengths to which The Economist went to posit possible acts of wrong-doing and illegality by Clinton and his lawyers.

In our next class we'll compare and contrast with how The Economist has treated Dubya.

So, again I ask, why is it right and just to hate The Economist?

Some background: The Economist is perhaps the standard-bearer of classical liberalism in the global media: it is a 160-year old magazine that still refers to itself as a "newspaper" and, true to the tenets of its Scottish hat-making founder, continuously evangelises about how only free markets and free trade can be counted on to build a better world. While I don't entirely buy into The Economist's vision, which I view as unnervingly utopian in its own right, I accept their sincerity of purpose and admire it.

A key to The Economist's enduring credibility is what may be perceived as the "dismal science's" inherent objectivity. If (and I mean "if") it is perceived as being stripped of emotion, irrationality, bias, prejudice or what have you, econimics can be a powerful weapon in debates over public or social policy and, ultimately, in politics.

Facts and unadorned statistical analysis don't lie: these are supposed to be, at least in theory, an economist's stock in trade. In a broader sense The Economist trace their philosophical lineage to the Age of Reason and they remain firmly in that trajectory of progressive thinking that has been moving mankind forward ever since.

What I can't understand, therefore, is how such a newspaper so readily turns its back on its own principles when it comes to political analysis, particularly in relation to the U.S.

Lexington in particular really gets to me. I don't know why he/she/it - whomever or whatever hides behind that famously pseudonymous byline -- bugs me so much. Maybe it's that palpable smugness capable of being worn only by those who believe the god of statistics is on their side, and who have the added luxury of pronouncing as much anonomously. Specifics in my next post.

Lexington, Lexington . . .

In "Pants on Fire", 19 November 2005, Lexington sniffed, "Mr. Bush starts with one big advantage: the charge that he knew all along that Iraq possessed no [WMD] seems to be a farrago of nonsense." Lexington naturally failed to point out who, exactly, is saying such a thing. Need it really be said this is not even close to the gravamen of the criticism that has been leveled at the president for his misadventure in Iraq or of the way in which he chose to prosecute America's Global War on Unspecified Threats?

To paraphrase this bagnews post, what is The Economist trying to say here?

In direct contradiction to Lexington's column quoted above, no one who can be taken seriously is saying the president knew there were no WMDs. Many who should be taken seriously are saying the president presented a case as unvarnished truth when he and his subordinates knew full well the evidence supporting it was variously cherry-picked, suspect or outright fraudulent.

This, in the context of a supposed “imminent threat” of attack on the nation, from a paper which demanded another president's resignation because he lied about oral sex.

The Economist has pointedly ignored or dismissed very serious concerns relating to how dubbya and his subordinates used and presented information to the congress and the people in making the case for war on Iraq. Like an angry alcoholic, the Economist simply refuses to admit it has a problem.

Why has The Economist so stubbornly, so persistently, framed the debate about the war in this way? Why has it steadfastly refused even to acknowledge what lies in plain sight: a veritable smorgasbord of dishonesty exhibited toward the American people by the Bush administration, not to mention toward the Iraqi people, who never seem to have suffered enough. Why can't this newspaper -- of all newspapers -- bring itself to say even the minimally decent thing, i.e., “taking the country to war on a false prospectus is, perhaps, a problem.”

Instead, true to its long-standing assertion that the president’s wackiest hard-core right-wing supporters are no more obnoxious than and anyone left of John McCain, Lexington wrote (in a previous week's column) "American conservatives" are no worse than "Michael Moore and the 'I hate Republicans crowd'". It is on this basis, and only on this basis, that the Economist evades any serious discussion of such minor indelicacies as separation of powers and the administration's misuse of the nation's intelligence apparatus. As the debacle in Iraq goes from bad to unendingly worse, The Economist doggedly perseveres, FawltyTowers-style: "Don't mention the war!"

So . . . the clear message from The Economist -- either by saying so directly or by refusing to discuss the casus belli of the Iraq war seriously -- is there is no need to discuss how we got into the Iraq mess because those people who have raised questions are hate-filled lunatic Bush-haters.

Well, I challenge anyone to cite examples of legitimate, professed liberal commentators, pundits or columnists openly sliming the opposition as "traitors" or worse. Such is the vitriol commonly put forward by commentators on Fox News, various right-wing pundits and even by Republican elected officials (witness Representative’s Schmidt’s viciousness directed at Representative Murtha). Hell, this approach was a key tactic used by Karl Rove to defeat Kerry.

What does The Economist hope to accomplish with all this ducking-and-weaving?

My guess is The Economist, like much of the American mainstream media, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, has come to realize that it has not yet even begun to atone for its own manifold sins in the lead-up-to-Iraq fiasco. Perhaps its editors have begun to notice the increasing number of journalists in the U.S. who have started to become a part of the story about how the Bush administration so ably misled Americans in so many ways. Funny, isn't it, how so many of these journalists have been revealed to be highly reliable transmitters for Bush administration-disseminated information that has turned out to be false, misleading or intended to intimidate critics.

In other words, if The Economist were to acknowledge the validity of the war critics' concerns, it would then need to consider the media's -- and its own -- role in the larger con.

Now, don't get me wrong: I don't put The Economist on par with Judy Judy Judy Miller or Timmeh Russert, but there's no doubting they do bear some responsibility as enablers of Bush administration deception. I just hold them to a much higher standard, I guess.

Hang on folks,

The Economist is truly one of the finest publications on this planet.

But, it is totally fallible!

Of course it is.

It is a publication made up of people submitting articles, just like any other publication. Mistakes are made, opinions are published that in hindsight were unfair (ie: thrashing Clinton for a ridiculous liaison).

However, don't start thrashing the economist for the wrong reasons.

To point:
"Lexington in particular really gets to me. I don't know why he/she/it - whomever or whatever hides behind that famously pseudonymous byline -- bugs me so much. Maybe it's that palpable smugness capable of being worn only by those who believe the god of statistics is on their side, and who have the added luxury of pronouncing as much anonomously. Specifics in my next post."

-> noone is hiding behind anything by being anonymous, this is a journalistic standard that the
economist has laid down as a policy, and has enforced for many many decades, the idea has always been TO NOT make celebrities out of the contributors to the paper, rather the journalism and prose should stand on its own.

Don't underestimate this, especially in our modern day of news being entertainment and vice-versa:

"the journalism and prose should stand on its own"

You make some very deep cutting and valid points, and the ole econ is going to have to answer for it. Well done! Personally, after having read this paper for over 20 years, I do believe in their editorial standard, and I think they will make amends, in fact from the recent cover, the point of this thread, they are hinting at it already.


Give me a break!! Why are you making excuses for the media? We are almost four years into this mess and they are just now beginning to see that perhaps, maybe, there just might be some room for possibly criticizing some of what this administration has done! They were silent or complicit when the original PATRIOT act was passed. They were silent or complicit when the war powers act was passed. They were silent or complicit when the killing started in Iraq and the silent coffins returned under cover of darkness. They were silent or complicit when the Constitution was being decimated. They were silent or complicit as habeas corpus was turned on its head after 500 years. If this were a criminal case, and I use 'if' advisedly, they would all be charged as accessories. It is way past the time when progressives can forgive those who refused to see and when they saw refused to act. Now that the blood is seeping under the door it is easy for them to say there may have been a crime. By next week or month or year, they will be saying they knew it all along because it just didn't all add up.

Ha ha ha, great piccie

tracks in the sand = busy road, heavy traffic to negotiate - while in the action of legging it with as much of your loot as he can carry- risk of getting run down by the oncoming truck of the greater middle eastern conflict,
long way to go to get that chopper, will he be left behind? are we going to leave hime behind to die in the sand while we POLITICALLY cut and run.
maybe the helicopters already full of iraqi (black) gold, with no room left for the unfortunate some mothers son.

Except for the question mark after "run," it's a great cover.

Of course, if The Economist had left the question mark off, it would appear to be making a powerful statement. (Just hold your thumb up to blot out the question mark and you'll see the difference.)

But *with* the question mark, they save their noncommittal asses once again. Cowardly shitheads.

The republicans have been cutting and running from Afghanistan for some time now.

But to hell with that: Why spend resources on a legitimate war, when you can use them (and your political capital) on a colossal criminal act which have made America less safe and failed to gain you any kind of geopolitical advantage worth of notice.

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