Friday, August 26, 2005

Lack of debate

Terry Michael in the Washington Times:
"The worst, the most corrupting of lies, are problems poorly stated," Georges Bernanos wrote decades ago -- an elegant way of saying, those who twist the terms of a debate skew its outcome.

Look at almost any major daily op-ed page, watch the Sunday shows or listen to nightly cable-babble. See how seldom you encounter voices against the war permitted to argue we should just end it, not try to mend it.

Sure, there is coverage of protests, like the mother outside President Bush's ranch. There have been many pieces about unfound weapons of mass destruction. Columns were filled with findings of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, including the discovery of no operational link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. But those reports are the raw material of discourse, not the debate itself. In fact, the Crawford protest is the opposite of reasoned debate; it's a sideshow of verbal combatants yelling past each other. For average citizens to be presented with meaningful alternatives to the current war policy, we must have legitimate, fully engaged discourse, with intelligent voices coming to competing conclusions.

We're not getting that honest debate. Instead, those who control access to mainstream media are telling a quiet, corrupting lie when they allow the Bush administration and "opposition" congressional Democrats to engage in Amish-style shunning of those who advocate immediately ending the war.

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