It was a busy day in Washington today.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the administration wasn’t really that serious about the July 2011 drawdown date for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. If you’ll recall, the date was the carrot to liberals that President Obama handed out in his speech explaining why he needs to send 30,000 more troops there (just for awhile). Today Gates said, “the pace, the size of the drawdown, is going to be determined in a responsible manner based on the conditions that exist at the time.”
Oh well, carrots are over-rated anyway.
Today, the administration rolled up its sleeves about unemployment, too, sponsoring a jobs’ summit kicked off by the president himself.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted to a Senate committee that he’d done too little to protect consumers from high risk mortgages.
And the U.S. Senate, The New York Times reports, approved an amendment to its health care legislation requiring insurers to offer free mammograms.
Oh yawn. Who cares.
Don’t these Washington types know the panting pack is busy chasing Tiger — with the public right behind? This is hot news, tales about Tiger’s pre-nup agreement and post-accident plans, about canceled tournaments and even about whether his bad driving will hurt sales of the Cadillac Escalade.
In short, this is news about — well, whatever can keep the American public’s collective mind focused on something that has absolutely no direct impact on its life.
Extra! Read all about it. Everywhere. When life gets too hard, let’s return to Rome and the circus. Maybe the bad news will go away.
Tiger Woods is rich, famous, likable — and involved in a salacious scandal! That’s the ticket. To date, he’s been the subject of 1.7 million posts on Google under the exact search term, “Tiger Woods’ accident,” and 10.7 million posts under Tiger Woods coupled anywhere with accident. Stories about him today are listed — get this — as four of the top five “MOST POPULAR” on USA Today’s web site. And yes, as of 4:45 p.m. today, stories about him hold all four of the top spots on your favorite blog hub — Trueslant.com.
I’d like to tell you I care. But I don’t. I’m actually a lot more interested in what Nicholas Kristof had to say about Afghanistan in today’s Times. His point: while the politicians and pundits and generals argued about the right course of action, no one bothered asking the Afghanis or those who work closely with them what they would have liked. Here’s Kristof:
So why wasn’t the Afghan population more directly consulted?
“To me, what was most concerning is that there was never any consultation with the Afghan shura, the tribal elders,” said Greg Mortenson, whose extraordinary work building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan was chronicled in “Three Cups of Tea” and his new book, “From Stones to Schools.” “It was all decided on the basis of congressmen and generals speaking up, with nobody consulting Afghan elders. One of the elders’ messages is we don’t need firepower, we need brainpower. They want schools, health facilities, but not necessarily more physical troops.”
Kristof offers these fun facts:
1. For the million or so dollars it costs to deploy one American soldier for a year in Afghanistan, it is possible to build “about 20 schools.”
2. Our country’s military spending in Afghanistan alone next year “will now exceed the entire official military budget of every other country in the world.”
Oh please, you say. Just give me Tiger and a good glass of bubbly. Wake me up when the war ends and the American public is back to work.
Fair enough … if I’m still alive.
But for now, let me do some real reporting. Tiger, TIger, TIGer, TIGEr. TIGER.
There. Maybe now someone will read this post.