The Right Coast

May 17, 2004
The loathsome Frank Rich
By Tom Smith

These are salad days for the detestable Frank Rich. He disgorges the following:

Maybe that's true — we are just starting to hear Private England speak for herself — but there's a more revealing story in these women than the cheap ironies of their good witch/wicked witch twinship might suggest. Our 13-month journey from Jessica Lynch's profile in courage to Lynndie England's profile in sadism is less the tale of two women at the bottom of the chain of command than a gauge of the hubris by which those at the top have lost the war in both the international and American courts of public opinion. And the supposedly uplifting Lynch half of the double bill is as revealing of what's gone wrong for us in Iraq — and gone wrong from the start — as is her doppelgänger's denouement at Abu Ghraib.

Is that offensive enough for you? How about this?

But this movie [that's Rich's conceit, the war as movie] has just started, and it's beyond anyone's power to spin it any longer. Yet when the president traveled to the Pentagon on Monday to look at previews of the coming attractions, he seemed as out of touch with reality as Mr. Limbaugh. It was nothing if not an odd moment to congratulate the secretary of defense, who has literally thrown the reputation of our honorable military and our country to the dogs, for doing a "superb job."

What a hypocrite. As if Rich cared a fig for the reputation of our military. As if nothing thrilled him more than the release of the torture pictures. As if he would not dance a lumbering jig to news that a score or a hundred Marines or soldiers were wiped out by a roadside bomb or ambush? So much the better to defeat Bush, and West Virginia and everybody outside his tiny little world.

Amongst other troubling features, for all his sneering superiority, Rich reveals himself to be an utter sexist and city snob. All you have to be is a woman from West Virginia and you're just the same white trash to Frank Rich. Fair game. I missed the part where he explains just what Private Lynch did to deserve being twinned with Private England. I guess Lynch's crime was behaving in a way that did not clearly cast discredit upon the United States. But not everyone can live up to Rich's high standards. Read Rich's whole thing if you don't believe the Times crowd is just overflowing with hatred for the very idea that this country has anything to offer the world. It really makes me wonder why people from West Virginia and a lot of other fine states in this union should be dying for the likes of him.