Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Friday, July 18, 2003
Can the Truth Escape a Quagmire? The media has steadfastly clung to reports that only 33 American soldiers have died "in combat" in Iraq since the President declared the end of hostilities back in May.

A new analysis shows this to be a badly misleading figure. According to Editor and Publisher:

According to official military records, the number of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq since May 2 is actually 85. This includes a staggering number of non-combat deaths. Even if killed in a non-hostile action, these soldiers are no less dead, their families no less aggrieved. And it's safe to say that nearly all of these people would still be alive if they were still back in the States.

This truth shouldn't come as a surprise to readers who keep an eye on the NY Times' daily list of confirmed American deaths, which has clearly exceeded 33. A similar knowledge of the grave price being paid by many military families is the PBS NewsHour's nightly "honor roll," in which the names and pictures of soldiers who have died are aired.

But the Times item is usually buried, while the NewsHour has a fairly limited reach. Where's the Fox News Channel, supporting our troops in their moment of ultimate sacrifice? So much for the "liberal" media.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Avoiding the Pain I was a bit surprised the Mets unloaded Jeromy Burnitz on the eve of the All-Star Game, but it seems like a decent deal -- at least dealing the likely free-agent for prospects was a step in the right direction.

But the transaction gave me hope that Armando Benitez, the Mets' sole All-Star could be dealt before tonight's game -- thus saving all Met fans the ignominy of having the nation watch this guy wear our team's uniform on national television. Alas, with 20 mins. to game time, it appears that it is not to be...

Sex and the Glass House One of the major plot lines in this week's Sex and the City involved Carrie engaging in the kind of editorial nitpicking that readers of Mourning in America will probably recognize.

She playfully criticized her boyfriend for including a scrunchy-wearing character in his novel. As everyone knows, no self-respecting female Manhattanite would be caught dead wearing a scrunchy in a hip downtown bar.

Fair enough, I guess. MIA never really noticed. Perhaps that's because I've never gotten past the rope line at any hip downtown bars, but that's another story...

The irony arose later in the episode, when Charlotte and her boyfriend Harry engage in an explosive fight over Harry's desire to watch the Mets during Shabbas dinner. He tells her "it's an important game."

Note to the Writers: As everyone knows, no self-respecting Met fan would call any game this season "important."

Columbia Grads, Defenders of Virtue! Back in the day, Frank Scaturro, a 1994 Columbia College graduate, was fighting to defend Grant's Tomb from physical decay and neglect. Having largely won that battle, he's fighting moral decay!