Embarrassing numbers at home and abroad.

I just read a fascinating article about the anti-War march in San Francisco — fascinating, not for what it says, but for what it doesn’t say. The lede is “Anti-war protests in S.F., other cities draw thousands.” The first paragraphs again exude awe about the sheer numbers:

On the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bay Area residents gathered by the thousands in a Walnut Creek park, an Oakland theater and on the streets of San Francisco on Saturday to demand the war’s end.

The Bay Area protests, which were peaceful, were among hundreds scheduled around the nation this weekend, as opinion polls show anti-war sentiment growing among the American public. San Francisco’s march appears to have been one of the largest. [Emphasis mine.]

Cruise down the article a few more lines and you learn that a “larger-than-anticipated crowd” turned out. By this time I’m practically slobbering “How large? How large?” Well, funny you should ask. That’s the one thing the article doesn’t mention. I carefully read through the whole article, which described the protests and counter-protests, the 3,000 who turned out in Walnut Creek, the Democratic pols speaking to enthusiastic crowds, and couldn’t find a single number for that San Francisco protest.

At this point, I don’t know how many turned up. But I’m willing to bet that, had it been a significant number, that number would have been emblazoned all over the article. Its absence indicates to me that, regardless of the editorializing (“larger than expected,” “thousands,” and “one of the largest”) the numbers were disappointing for a march held in the heart of Blue. In this regard, it would be consistent with my sensethat other marches world wide were equally disappointing. Yes, London drew 15,000, but other marches seem to have been, well, fizzles. People may not like the war but we’re not seeing the revolutions of the 1960s/1970s.

In our decadent West, the real energy seems to be focused on preserving the easy life, as evidenced by the 500,000 youthful protestors all over France, complaining about the fact that they won’t instantly get tenure. Despite the moribund economy in France (and the even worse one in Germany which has the same horrible employment handcuffs), the youth of France know what matters: it’s not the disaffected — and murderous — Islamic youths among them, it’s not the declining population, it’s not the War, it’s not appalling unemployment (which is what led the government to enacted the challenged edict that slightly limits automatic and instant tenure). No, it’s all about making sure no one can fire you as your society goes down in flames around your head. Truly, France currently seems like a country set to win the Darwin awards.

UPDATE:  If you’re interested in some comments about the whole situation in France, you should read this post at A Rose By Any Other Name, in which Anna riffs beautifully off of a Thomas Sowell article on the same subject.

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  • T.S.

    The media is God-awful.

    Someone recently compiled a list of statments the press and pundits made in the wake of Operation Iraqi Freedom and it’s painful to read. Some of the best/worst:

    Iraq Is All but Won; Now What?”
    (Los Angeles Times headline, 4/10/03)

    “Congress returns to Washington this week to a world very different from the one members left two weeks ago. The war in Iraq is essentially over and domestic issues are regaining attention.”
    (NPR’s Bob Edwards, 4/28/03)

    “The only people who think this wasn’t a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington.”
    (Charles Krauthammer, Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)

    “We had controversial wars that divided the country. This war united the country and brought the military back.”
    (Newsweek’s Howard Fineman–MSNBC, 5/7/03)

    “We’re all neo-cons now.”
    (MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)

    “The war winds down, politics heats up…. Picture perfect. Part Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan. The president seizes the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific.”
    (PBS’s Gwen Ifill, 5/2/03, on George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech)

    “We’re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who’s physical, who’s not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who’s president. Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple. We’re not like the Brits.”
    (MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, 5/1/03)

    “What’s he going to talk about a year from now, the fact that the war went too well and it’s over? I mean, don’t these things sort of lose their–Isn’t there a fresh date on some of these debate points?”
    (MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, speaking about Howard Dean–4/9/03)

    “If image is everything, how can the Democratic presidential hopefuls compete with a president fresh from a war victory?”
    (CNN’s Judy Woodruff, 5/5/03)

    “It is amazing how thorough the victory in Iraq really was in the broadest context….. And the silence, I think, is that it’s clear that nobody can do anything about it. There isn’t anybody who can stop him. The Democrats can’t oppose–cannot oppose him politically.”
    (Washington Post reporter Jeff Birnbaum– Fox News Channel, 5/2/03)

    “Now that the war in Iraq is all but over, should the people in Hollywood who opposed the president admit they were wrong?”
    (Fox News Channel’s Alan Colmes, 4/25/03)

    “I doubt that the journalists at the New York Times and NPR or at ABC or at CNN are going to ever admit just how wrong their negative pronouncements were over the past four weeks.”
    (MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, 4/9/03)

    “Over the next couple of weeks when we find the chemical weapons this guy was amassing, the fact that this war was attacked by the left and so the right was so vindicated, I think, really means that the left is going to have to hang its head for three or four more years.”
    (Fox News Channel’s Dick Morris, 4/9/03)

    “This will be no war — there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention…. The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling…. It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on.”
    (Christopher Hitchens, in a 1/28/03 debate– cited in the Observer, 3/30/03)

    “I will bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week. Are you willing to take that wager?”
    (Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, 1/29/03)

  • jg

    An enjoyable list, T. S. Why did you stop with 2003? Oh, and you did include both sides, didn’t you? (as in ‘open minded’) (??)

    There is a LIBRARY (hardly list) of lies concocted by the MSM available through any reputable American conservative website. Try Powerline.

    4 years worth of lies from the Left. Check Yahoo headlines (main page) 19March 10PM and you will find the latest absurdity : “DEATHS CONTINUE AS IRAQ WAR ENTERS YEAR 4′

    Death and despair. That’s their news and YOURS, TS. Saddam reigns.

    The politics of ‘Presidential polls’ shown that, according to the MSM, the Left and you, TS, have indeed ‘won the war.’

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    The media is awful, but not for the reasons TS means.

    The media is aweful because in using propaganda to uplift the spirits of not only the American people but themselves as well, they failed in being the loyal opposition or even being reporters.

    They systematically setup American morale to be destroyed. And when the terroists professionally used the opportunity given to them by Western media, the media instead of blaming the terroists or themselves, blamed Bush.

    The only difference in people right now, who were cheering the war on before, was whether they are still consistent in their beliefs in victory.

    The media betrayed America, as those comments well have shown.

    “It is amazing how thorough the victory in Iraq really was in the broadest context….. And the silence, I think, is that it’s clear that nobody can do anything about it. There isn’t anybody who can stop him. The Democrats can’t oppose–cannot oppose him politically.”
    (Washington Post reporter Jeff Birnbaum– Fox News Channel, 5/2/03)

    I make a gamble and predict that that would be the “best” in TS’s view.