Friday, November 12, 2004

# Posted 1:31 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

IS THAT WHAT THE BLUE STATES CALL PATRIOTISM? A good rule of thumb for reading the papers is that you shouldn't take political statements too seriously if they aren't made in the first section of the paper. On the other hand, the opinions expressed elsewhere are often more revealing because they aren't subject to the same kind of self-censorship and artificial imposition of balance.

In Thursday's Style section, WaPo correspondent Thomas Ricks reviews the Smithsonian's new exhibit on America's wars. Ricks writes that
Some might be put off by the loaded title, "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War." But behind that red-state rubric is a well-balanced show, with enough combat gear to please the warriors, enough emphasis on casualties and Indians and blacks and women to comfort the loyal opposition, and enough balance to satisfy most historians.
So, believing that America fights for freedom is a Red State belief, whereas an emphasis on the suffering that America has inflicted is a Blue State preference?

That's just ridiculous. I bet that a strong majority of those who voted for Kerry (and perhaps even Kerry himself) believe that America does fight for freedom most of the time. And I bet there's a strong majority of Bush voters who understand that America is far from perfect.

However, there is a certain elite (say, journalists) who believe that virtue can only be achieved through constant mea culpas. If one were in a provocative mood, one might refer to such an elite as those who want to Blame America First.

On that note, it is probably worth pointing out that Mr. Ricks is not simply a museum reviewer but one of the lead national security correspondents for the Post. It's been his job over the past year to report on people in Washington are thinking about Iraq. Keep that in mind.

UPDATE: Kevin Drum also linked to Ricks' article in the Post, but sans criticism. Yet for some undiscolsed reason, the article provoked such a vicious set of comments that Kevin had to delete the entire thread.
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