May 06, 2004

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Soft Coverage Edition)

I'm going to try to turn the "Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?" over to Michael Froomkin. He's better at it than I am. (And I'm losing so many brain cells from banging my head against the wall to endanger my research productivity.) NYT Says $25 Billion Iraq Supplemental is no Big Deal: Which is a better, fuller, explanation of the state of play?

Is it the account offerd by Notes on the Atrocities:

Nickel and Diming

February. Bush’s budget comes out with no additional request for funds for Iraq.

Monday. A senior administration official says there’s no “resource problem in Iraq.”


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration asked Congress Wednesday for an additional $25 billion for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, congressional Republicans said, a retreat from the White House’s earlier plans not to seek such money until after the November elections….

It seemed likely that the $25 billion proposal would be only the first portion of funds that will be needed for next year.

Or is it the account (on page A15!!!) of the New York Times, White House Asks G.O.P. in Congress to Add $25 Billion which begins with the line,

“The Bush administration, which once said it had enough money for the military’s role in Iraq through 2004, asked Republican leaders of Congress on Wednesday to add $25 billion for the military beginning Oct. 1.”

… but nowhere notes that the administration was saying last week that no more money would be needed. Rather the article says over and over and over that this request was “not a surprise” and quotes (Republican) politicians as saying “we knew it was comming.”

Talk about soft coverage.

Posted by DeLong at May 6, 2004 06:59 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post

It wasn't a coincidence that this request came the day after the 2005 deficit forecast was lowered by $100 billion. Adding $25 billion now still allows the WH to claim that the deficit is falling below expectations. And don't be surprised if they still ask for another $50 billion in another supplemental later.

Posted by: Budget Wonk on May 6, 2004 07:16 PM


old news, Professor.

50 is the new style.

25 is old and tired.

Posted by: asdf on May 6, 2004 07:17 PM


oops no links.

Posted by: asdf on May 6, 2004 07:26 PM


Brad, you are demanding the NYT connect the dots and remember yesterday's news! Didn't you know, Big Brother frowns at such things!

Alzheimers! Remember to forget yesterday's news!

Posted by: Elaine Supkis on May 6, 2004 07:46 PM


Actually it's up over $50 billion now, the WH is denying that Bolton really meant that *only* $50 billion would be asked for - they're going to ask for *more* than 50 billion.

Posted by: Oldman on May 6, 2004 08:16 PM


If the NYT wanted to indulge in some hard reporting then they should have brought up the question of where this money is going and how the contracts are being awarded. In a heavily privatized occupation the word "military" is in itself very misleading (can you spell CACI). Once again secrecy is SOP for Bushco but we are still aware of questionable dealings with Halliburton, for instance. If we taxpayers are going to continue to foot the bill then we should have some answers and some accountability from the Bush administration.

Posted by: Dubblblind on May 6, 2004 08:25 PM


cbo thinks revenues are up $30-40 Billion so far this year. Now We lose $25 Billion on this deal and who knows how much more. If the Fed cranks the rates, then interest on the debt will eat the rest. How is the deficit is forecast downward? Do all the Billions in campaign dollars translate to increased demand?

Posted by: bakho on May 6, 2004 08:57 PM


Well, there may still be hope.

Hope will be lost when the NY times rewrites past articles to conform to present administration lies.

So far only does that.

Posted by: Dem on May 6, 2004 09:56 PM


This kind of free spending makes me wonder very seriously how much it would cost to invoke eminent domain, purchase the patents behind the most effective current AIDS drugs and throw them into the public domain.

There are and have always been so many better uses for the money spent on this war than destabilizing the middle-east.

Posted by: trevelyan on May 6, 2004 10:27 PM


*blush*. But no way I'm going into full-time headbanging. You'll have to soldier on. Maybe get a helmet? (Not tinfoil....)

Posted by: Michael Froomkin on May 6, 2004 10:40 PM


Thank you for the interesting piece on Special Forces methods being practiced by the wrong military personel. Unfortunately, while interesting as a partial explantion for how things went wrong, it verges on something of an apology for what has transpired in Iraq of late. The apology appears to run along these lines,

"If only the (barbaric) methods hadn't been practiced by the wrong elements, this would never have occured. "
This misses the point entirely!

The unnacceptable torture tactics were exposed in graphic detail. The issue is not in any way related to who perpetrated these abhorrent practices, but that they occured at all! Doubtless the Special Forces would have been more able at engaging in torture tactics and more crucially cloaking what they did in secrecy. I, for one, am not comforted by that.

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I have been serving in Iraq for over five months now as a soldier in the 2

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