HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

April 23, 2007
From the Editor

John Turner


Spring has finally made its way to Vermont. And everyone here is glad. But spring in New England doesn't arrive all at once in glorious permanence. It's going to get a bit chilly again at the end of the week. Yet, as long as it doesn't snow, we'll remain happy.

On the McLaughlin Group yesterday, all the panelists predicted how long Alberto Gonzales will remain as attorney general. The longest anyone thought he could hold on was Memorial Day. I'm not sure we should be rejoicing over George Bush's appointment of a new attorney general. Even though people think he couldn't do worse, that's a mistake. There's no bottom to Bushism. We should have learned that by now.

It's good the publicity about Virginia Tech is now about over. It followed the predictable course from appropriate sadness to a sentimentality that was more self-indulgence than genuine concern for those who were harmed. That's expected from the media now, and from the public too. Our response to anything horrible is not one of our more admirable points.

Don Imus also seems to have been dumped into the ashcan of the past. I suppose he could make news again if he got a new job. Everyone would have to speculate on what that meant about American racism. And that's the only reason I hope he decides to enjoy a retirement from the airwaves.

My major anticipation is hearing from Monica Goodling, recent retiree from the Justice Department. I wonder if a Congressional committee can get her to appear. It will be grand to watch her sit and refuse to answer questions. And even grander to watch the legislators' faces as she does.

The Vermont Senate called on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush. This was met with congratulations to the senators from people who don't themselves want to waste time on a process that is bound to fail. But they like to have other people push the issue.

The most serious news of the week was the release of General Eldon Bargewell's report on the killing of civilians by Marines at Haditha in the fall of 2005. Though the report has been available since the summer of 2006, the Pentagon decided to keep it bottled up, presumably because criminal investigations were underway. It's a scathing account that tells us much about the nature of the U.S. occupation of Iraq (guess what? It's like any other military occupation), and, probably for that reason, received relatively little attention from the either the press or the public. We've already made up our minds about all that. It was just a big "mistake" and so we don't want to be bothered with the details.

While you're enjoying warmer weather, try to find some time to send your thoughts about how we, collectively, are behaving ourselves.


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