Media Matters

Paranoia at the Des Moines Register

This columnist must be read to be believed.

By 12.17.03

Send to Kindle

Finally, those on the far left are beginning to be honest. Up till now, most had either kept to themselves the true feelings about what they hoped the outcome would be in Iraq, or limited it to ravings on loony sites like Democratic Underground. But the capture of Saddam was apparently too much to bear. Their deepest, malevolent desires may be about to seep into the editorial pages of major newspapers. At the vanguard is Rob Borsellino, columnist for the Des Moines Register.

Borsellino and wife Rekha Basu form the dynamic duo of way-out left-wing thinking for the Register editorial page. In recent months she has repeated the Palestinian propaganda that the bulldozer driver knew he was running over Rachel Corrie and suggested that President Bush's administration was a tyranny. On Monday she offered spousal support by writing, "Saddam's capture and removal from power have the potential to be a very good thing for Iraqis…But how good depends on what government they end up with, because U.S. occupation isn't a good thing, either."

But Monday was Borsellino's big day as the Register ran his tirade entitled "At Least One Cynic Amid Those Cheering the Capture." It was certainly cynical, and also uninformed, paranoid, deceitful, and cowardly. Upon hearing the news that Saddam had been captured, Borsellino claimed:

I wasn't convinced. I hung up, turned on the TV, and the cynicism kicked in.

Are they toying with us again, lying like they did about the weapons of mass destruction and the Iraq-9/11 connection?

Typical misinformation that has crystallized into fact in the left-wing mind. The Bush Administration did not lie about WMDs; it based its case on the same intelligence that led Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and Tom Daschle to believe Hussein had WMDs back in 1997. As for the 9/11 connection, Borsellino could stand to read up on the recently leaked Defense Department memo. But Borsellino isn't that interested in letting facts get in the way of his fantasy:

Can we believe them when they say it's Saddam Hussein, or did they dress up one of his look-alikes?

Did they really catch him now or were they holding him until Sunday morning so the Bush team could do the talk-show circuit?

Is this just one big stunt to raise Bush's poll numbers?

I was half expecting Borsellino to follow it up with, "Did the Bush Administration put more arsenic in the water to attempt mind control?" This paranoid speculation, though, was not the worst part of the column. This was:

It's gotten to that point with me. I've been burned a few times and now I just don't believe these guys. It's not a particularly good feeling, but I know I'm not alone. I've talked to a lot of people who feel the same way.

Back in the summer, a friend admitted that she was actually taking comfort from the terrible news coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan. She'd hear about explosions, ambushes, the killing of U.N. officials, pro-American Iraqis, innocent children, and she was saddened by the deaths. But ultimately she thought it was a good thing. She'd thought that enough bloodshed and disaster would create a movement in this country, a demand to get our people home and save some lives. Maybe enough death would wake folks up to the fact that we have no business running around the globe killing people.

There you have it! Hoping for more deaths in Iraq to indulge infantile fantasies about the return of the 1960s protest movements. And to think that his wife, Rekha, laments that their side of the political spectrum is tagged as unpatriotic!

One could ruefully say, well at least he's honest. But not completely honest. Note who was excluded from the list of those dying in Iraq, namely our boys in uniform. Going all the way with one's deepest thoughts might be just too much even for a left-leaning editorial page like the Register. Rob surely doesn't want a pink slip. And for other profiles in cowardice, consider that these aren't necessarily Rob's thoughts. They're the brain plops of an anonymous "friend."

The sentence "Maybe enough death would wake folks up to the fact that we have no business running around the globe killing people" also displays the typical moral vapidity of the left. Driving out brutal, murderous rulers like Saddam and the Taliban is best described as running around the globe liberating people. But in the left world's view, violence used to drive out dictators is no different than violence used for terrorism.

After indulging this tripe, Borsellino has the nerve to ask, "So how do you get at the truth on something like this?" How about by calling a spade a spade? It's a bunch of unpatriotic, self-indulgent, pea-brained schlock that the Register should be ashamed to have printed.

But it seems that nothing embarrasses the Register in its recent lurch toward the loony left. The Register editorial board was among the first to call Iraq a quagmire, an editorial that was nicely fisked by James Taranto at OpinionJournal.com's "Best of the Web." On Monday the editorial board managed to praise Saddam's capture, but not without giving a nod to moral equivalence between liberators and thugs: "Americans are dying in what amounts to a civil war between those who accept the American presence and those who don't." Actually, it's a struggle between those who want liberty, and those who want to return to the positions of privileged under a thuggish regime. But never mind.

The Register's editorial standards are sinking to new lows. Borsellino's column is proof positive.

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author

David Hogberg is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.  Follow David Hogberg on Twitter.