It appears that Anna Nicole Smith, like any great artist, is more popular dead than alive — at least as measured by the continuing stream of stories about her in papers, magazines and news shows. The media’s mock self-reflection involved reaches new levels. There are stories about her, then stories about the media’s fascination with her, then meta-stories about the media’s tendency to report on it’s own reporting of stories about the death of Anna Nicole Smith. All are gratuitous, including my discussion here, which raises the bar of Anna Nicole Smith recursive reporting up yet another notch.
Still, it seems right, somehow, that her fame continues unabated after her death. Anna Nicole Smith, the person, had little to do with Anna Nicole Smith, the celebrity, and the former, if anything, tended to get in the way of the latter. Now, relieved of the burden of actual life, the flame of her celebrity can burn as pure and as hot as the sun.
Smith may still be dead, but vice-president Dick Cheney is very much alive. Cheney was completely unharmed when a bomb, apparently targeted at him by the Taliban, exploded near the compound he inhabited during his visit to Afghanistan. Twenty-three other people died in the attack, thereby strengthening the VP’s resolve to stay in the fight.
According to Cheney, the Arab bad guys plan on continuing to kill Americans, figuring that we’ll eventually tire of it and bring our troops home. But Mr. Cheney isn’t going to let us fall into that trap. Let ’em kill as many Americans as they can, we’ve got plenty more. I’m not making this up, really. During his flight back from Afghanistan, Cheney was asked why he says nasty things about Speaker Pelosi and Representitive Murtha. Cheney replied:
They [the al Qaeda] know they can’t beat us in a stand-up fight. But they do believe — and I think there’s evidence to support this — that they can, in fact, force us to change our policy if they just kill enough Americans, create enough havoc out there. And they cite Beirut in 1983; Mogadishu, 1993, kill Americans, America changes its policy and withdraws. And Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri believe this. They talk about it. It’s not a mystery.
And my point was that if we follow what I believe Speaker Pelosi really wants to do in terms of withdraw, that that would validate the al Qaeda strategy.
And so, absent a real plan, we stay in Iraq for brinkmanship. They think they can kill and wound enough soldiers for us to back down? We’ll show ’em.
I wish someone would tell Mr. Cheney: Adamantly refusing to consider loss of life in making military decisions is not good policy; and playing chicken with people willing to blow themselves up to kill us is not an effective strategy.