You can see the L.A. Times is really taking the message of my recent “Outside the Tent” op-ed to heart, in its Peter Wallsten article about Cindy Sheehan today titled Back in Crawford, Sheehan Vows Not to Quit.
Let’s look at one curious and horribly written sentence from the article, to see why I say “not” (in bold type, no less!):
The president met with Sheehan in 2004, but she has since said she was offended by his approach — when he repeatedly referred to her as “mom,” and learned later that the weapons of mass destruction initially used to justify the March 2003 invasion were never found.
Who learned what now?
I don’t think Peter Wallsten meant to say that Bush later learned that the WMD were never found. I guess Wallsten means that Sheehan learned after her 2004 meeting with Bush that the WMD were never found. And, I suppose, that is mentioned to explain why Sheehan is all hot under the collar now — as opposed to then, when she praised the president (a fact the paper has still, even now, never mentioned on its news pages).
Except that Sheehan has experienced no change in attitude about the war — she was against it before the meeting, during the meeting, and immediately after the meeting. So what’s the point of mentioning WMD in that sentence?
And what is the meaning of saying that WMD were “initially used to justify the March 2003 invasion”? I think the (false) implication here, if you flesh it out, is that Bush never mentioned democracy as a justification before the war — otherwise, Wallsten should say WMD were “initially used as a justification for the March 2003 invasion.”
The idea that the president didn’t mention democracy initially, or whispered it only in passing, is a myth that this paper has been pushing for some time. I’ll grant you that WMD were the main reason to go to war in most people’s minds, including mine. But if Wallsten is suggesting that democracy wasn’t a justification for war before the fact, that ain’t true.
By the way, Sheehan says that it wouldn’t make any difference if Bush decided to meet with her: “If George Bush came out and spoke with me today and we went home, this wouldn’t end.”
Maybe at least we can now all stop wondering why Bush isn’t meeting with her.