It's an essay written last April by longtime Seattle talk show host Dave Ross during a visit to Iraq.
First, some background on Democrat Dave Ross: while finally taking leave from his radio show last summer to make an ill-fated run for Congress, Ross at first had remained on the air for a good length of time even while campaigning.
A very questionable approach to gain free political advertising, he passed the blame onto his employment contract language, which was never offered to the public for review (and local papers didn't appear to demand it).
A longtime darling of the Seattle media elite, Ross is seldom questioned by the local power structure, even after shifting on the air over time from centrist, to far-left liberal, back to the middle for the campaign trail, then finally a hard-left turn again upon his return to the airwaves last November.
Do other talk show hosts or print commentators get away with such frequent ideological reworkings? If they're out there, I'm not aware of them.
The Seattle Times criticized greatly his choice to keep the radio show, in addition to on-air references that continued even after his departure to campaign, but predictably turned around and endorsed Ross when push came to shove.
While in Iraq in April, Ross's interactions seemed especially focused on hotel staffers, did he venture out much? Perhaps the security situation at the time provided a valid excuse.
From these limited contacts, Ross made sweeping, blanket statements about how Iraqis felt about the foreign presence:
(Dave Ross-Seattle Times, April 14 2004)
Freedom without prosperity turns out to be a tough sell. The majority of the Iraqi people that supposedly want us to stay (and I have trouble believing a reliable poll can be conducted in a country with few telephones and where answers may be chosen out of fear) are sitting at home.
In the meantime, the monument stumps attract only Muqtada al-Sadr posters, not the Bush likenesses that ought to be there. Whatever Bush likenesses do appear are, through some inexplicable oversight, printed on extremely flammable stock.
If that silent majority exists, it's time to call its bluff. As a nation, we should do what Major League Baseball does so effectively. Threaten to leave. Do it with a heavy heart, shed tears, curse the gods that it must be so, but issue the threat.
If we really believe that our mission is to help the good people of Iraq, then it's time to determine whether they really want that help. I suppose that threatening to leave might empower the young militants. But what else is going to jolt the grown-ups?
We are seeing a mission that was justified as self-defense, re-justified as a rescue, became an occupation and is slipping into repression.
It has prompted a search for a suitably scary analogy Iraq as Vietnam, Iraq as the West Bank. But the danger is not what Iraq will become. The danger is what America will become.
The point Ross hammers home is that the Iraqi people weren't interested in freedom, that it was being pushed on them by imperialist occupiers.
Would Dave Ross care to revisit these statements and make an apology to the Iraqi (and American) people for making blanket generalizations, without factual basis even at the time, that look especially absurd now?
How seriously should listeners take his future commentaries if he won't hold himself accountable? Certainly the Seattle-area media wouldn't dream of challenging their broadcaster comrade in this way.
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