May 8, 2011 in Opinion

Truth be told, raid was fine

By The Spokesman-Review
 

When government tells me it rushed out information to satisfy the public’s interest, I have to roll my eyes. Space doesn’t permit me to list all the times that rationale has fallen on deaf ears when the media use it.

In the time it took the Obama administration to disseminate the original story on the Osama bin Laden raid and issue all the corrections, it could’ve told one accurate version. What was once a 40-minute firefight is now a battle against one guy who fired back – and that dude was killed within minutes. Bin Laden’s wife used as a human shield? Didn’t happen. Bin Laden packing heat? Nope.

Are we really supposed to believe that it’s just a coincidence that the raid looks less harrowing and cinematic with each telling? We went through this same nonsense with Jessica Lynch in Iraq and Pat Tillman in Afghanistan. The truth is going to get out, so how about releasing it first?

What’s strange with the bin Laden corrections is that we could’ve easily handled the truth.

Tortured logic. The question of whether waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” were used to extract information that eventually led to Osama bin Laden seems disturbingly important to those who apparently want it to be true. It’s as if the entire operation and America’s stature would be diminished if we hadn’t tortured people first.

Sore point. The torturing of the word “flexibility” isn’t pretty to watch.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is honchoing a bill that would give states the ability to lop more people off Medicaid. Currently, if states take the federal matching dollars, it must abide by the feds’ enrollment guidelines. In tough budget times, this means states have to make budget cuts elsewhere, even their own state-run health programs.

Of course, states could opt out of Medicaid altogether and be more limber than a Chinese gymnast, but the feds pay on average 57 percent of all Medicaid bills. So the threat of dropping the program is a stretch. I can understand the frustration of states trying to balance budgets, but dropping poor people from health care just shifts the costs elsewhere.

We aren’t going to let them die. They will get care. We will pay for it, one way or another. Calling this more flexible doesn’t ease the pain.

Dealers. Gas prices are climbing again. Time to fire up the rhetoric and drill, baby, drill.

Led by U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., the House passed a bill that would expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and near Virginia. Drilling was curtailed after the Deepwater Horizon disaster dumped 206 million gallons of oil into the ocean.

Proponents are citing $4 a gallon gas as the impetus for renewing the drilling, but the United States is responsible for only 7 percent of the world’s supply, so this will have a negligible impact on prices at the pump once it finally gets to market. If prices were to miraculously plummet, that would only increase the demand for oil and hinder the production of alternatives.

Sadly, the United States is like a crack addict. It treats the next hit as relief instead of the problem.

Husky salary. So the new University of Washington president will make less money than the previous one. Don’t weep for Michael Young, because he’ll still be able to collect nearly $1 million a year if he stays on the job for at least five years. In the executive world, this is called golden handcuffs, which is designed to stop the new leader from grabbing the next available job.

The justification for the pay for this public job comes right from the private sector vocabulary. If you want the best, you better pay top dollar. (Oddly, this doesn’t apply to teachers.) Besides, he is the head of a campus that is as large as many corporations.

Then again, Gov. Chris Gregoire is the chief executive of the entire state government, including all of the public campuses, and she makes about $150,000 a year. The president of the United States takes home $400,000.

Bottom line? Get appointed, not elected.

Smart Bombs is written by Associate Editor Gary Crooks and appears Sundays on the Opinion page. Crooks can be reached at garyc@spokesman.com or at (509) 459-5026.


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