All that work, and for what? We were just so close, you know? All of that effort, all of those man hours, all of those bridges we built, our efforts at diplomacy, spreading good cheer, chucking kids under their chins with an “aw shucks” fist. After all of thorough planning we had done making sure we understood the culture and the repercussions of all of our actions, years of studying how the most minor Western behavioral tick might be interpreted, those bastards at Newsweek had to go fuck it up for all of us.
Way to go, Newsweek. Way to single handedly spoil all of the good will towards Americans our government had worked for the past three years to cultivate. Way to take President Bush’s good name abroad and smear it in the mud with your act of disreputable idiocy. Overnight, all of a sudden, it seems like in the blink of an eye, the flowers our soldiers have been handed, the hugs they have received, the open arms we were welcomed with after Saddam’s statue came down have closed off. The natives, it appears, are suddenly restless.
And what about Condi? I mean, how is this supposed to make her look, traveling to the Middle East and all. It probably changed the tenor of her trip from glad-handing and hugs with kids in the street to one of sudden diplomatic action.
Fuck you, Newsweek. That’s what I say. Fuck you.
Your acts aren’t just inept, they are (dare I say it?) downright treasonous.
Are you terrorists, Newsweek? Are you? Is this some new form of intellectual terrorism? Do you know Osama Bin Laden personally? Because if you do, this won’t stop freedoms march. In fact, as you read this freedom is marching up Broadway to your offices. Look out the window. See it?
As if journalism needed another scandal, we have this beauty plopped on our doorsteps like the morning paper. (As I live in New York, I don’t have a doorstep, but you follow me.)
The sad statement of this story is not that Newsweek printed what looks to have been a false story. What is sadder, to me at least, is that this story did not cause the riots that happened in the Middle East. This story said something about America and how we operate that those who read it in the Islamic community were all too ready to believe. In fact, the story in and of itself was unnecessary. They already believed the worst, this confirmed what they feel they already know about us. Whenever someone tells me they don't care how America is perceived in the rest of the world I find it incredibly short-sighted.
The howl coming from the White House, the confrontational tone of the press secretary, the statement by Condoleezza Rice, this are disingenuous acts. They are finger pointing the blame for what is really the effects of their Fire, Ready, Aim foreign policy.
Because the simple fact of the riots is this: A failure of journalism broke the dam on a well of anger and resentment that had built up for three years, and that anger is due to the failures of diplomacy.
Yes, Newsweek made a mistake. But it just seems like there’s a much bigger story here.