Battle Hymn of the Potomac
The absurdity of CNN’s premature declaration of the War of the Potomac on Friday was definitely worth a laugh. When it became clear CNN’s report was a huge mistake, one wit on Twitter quickly quipped: “Breaking news, shots fired in CNN cafeteria. Update: microwave popcorn now banned in CNN cafeteria.”
The Coast Guard was conducting an exercise, such as military organizations are wont to do. The whole fictitious account of an encounter with a hostile boat took place on the radio. The only thing that would make the story better was if the radio operator was named Welles and the Coast Guard ship, The Mercury. Somewhere in heaven the great radio player was laughing in approval at Reagan National Airport’s decision not to allow outbound flights for twenty-two minutes until CNN’s report could be checked.
For CNN, the pursuit of being first meant the story was “too good to be checked”. The rush to air of the erroneous reports of naval batteries fired in anger drew attention to the global news organization’s shocking inability to make a simple phone call to verify the story. Perhaps the next time they report on the infallibility of President Obama, the report should be treated with some skepticism.
CNN earned a rare rebuke from the White House. After all, people might think there is a war on. When Spokesman Robert Gibbs was queried as to the Coast Guard’s wisdom in conducting exercises on September 11th, Gibbs replied that he did not typically question the actions of law enforcement agencies. We assume he meant that such behavior is left to the president. Thank heaven the fictitious Potomac intruder was not The African Queen.
Was it September 11th already? Yes, it was, and the nation tried to remember, something. Not to worry, the Obama Administration was there to remind us. It was something about a “renewed national purpose.” President Obama made the required observation at the Pentagon and then painted someone’s bedroom in a call to service. The Secretary for Health and Human Services cautioned against the biological hazard of swine flu. And at the slightest hint that that there might be a reason to fear another violent attack upon our shores, the President’s spokesman referred to the last line of defense, the Coast Guard, as a law enforcement agency.
Oh yes, Afghanistan. That was supposed to be the good war, the war even the Democrats supported and criticized Obama’s predecessor for neglecting. Now it’s terribly inconvenient and frustrating. Do you mind if we just figured out a way out? After all, they’re just so unruly those foreigners and they’re so far away. We need to refocus on our priorities. If those people desire to keep killing each other, what are we to do? After all, what moral standing do we have to tell them there is a better way?
Gosh, I hope they don’t provide a safe haven for our attackers again. They do know that we’re sorry, right? For something, but we forget what. Thank goodness for our national purpose.