Iraq: Complete Coverage

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I assume you have read all the news over the weekend about Iraq. The Iraq Study Group report is out this week with its recommendations... some of those recommendations have already leaked. From comments President Bush has made in recent days, it sounds like the report may not be received well at the White House, but I guess we will see as the days pass. Before we pass judgment, we need to read the full report and hear what the president has to say.

Who could miss the weekend news about the Rumsfeld memo that was sent to the White House the day before the election and two days before Bush fired him? Rumsfeld called for a "major adjustment" (in contrast to what the president said in the past few days.) It does sound like the president did take part of Secretary Rumsfeld's advice about a "major adjustment" — I am not sure, however, that Rumsfeld necessarily thought he would be the "major adjustment." The timing of his memo, the election and his firing is interesting... however, I would like to know more — maybe with more information I will understand it better and it will look different to me than it does currently (see below and you will understand why the cry for more facts.)

I am curious how the prior votes for war by both Democrats and Republicans will be treated by the electorate in '08. Now many in both parties currently opposed to the war — or recognizing the growing crisis in Iraq — are saying they voted for the war because they had faulty intelligence or were misled or even lied to. The problem they may face is that their job was to make sure the intelligence was right, to ask the right questions and get answers, and to make sure they were not misled by anyone. It is also not enough that other nations may have gotten it wrong, too. From top to bottom, our politicians' jobs — whether we like them very much or not, whether they are well intentioned or not — was to get it right for all of us. Popularity is not the job criteria — getting it right for Americans is.

I confess I feel bad for many politicians — from BOTH parties — who have made disastrous decisions on any issues (domestic and foreign) that turn out to be poor ones. I get to know many of them in my job and I know each would like to do a great job. I have yet to meet one who enjoys a huge blunder. But, we have to think what is best for our country — it is not about patriotism, about loyalty, about party, etc. It is about exercising good judgment, making tough decisions and, in some instances, even having a bit of good luck. In the end, getting it right must be our standard.

The foregoing leads me to this: What do we do on our show this week? We are last in prime-time and face a different challenge than other shows for that very reason. The topic of Iraq is discussed all day long and into the night. I think we should cover it, but need to figure out how to expand on the discussion or the reporting. Repetition is not good programming. We need to advance the story. Often on our show we try to "counter program" — meaning do other topics that matter to you than the topics that have been discussed all day and night. When we don't cover a topic on a particular night it is not because we think it not important. We pay attention to the 24/7 nature of our network. So I toss it to you: Is there anything about the Iraq war that you would like to learn and are not hearing elsewhere? Or are there other topics — other than war and politics — that you want to hear about? Send me an e-mail. I read your e-mails and I am interested in what you would like to see.

Now to totally switch gears — and for some amusement that includes poking some fun at myself — and under my favorite headline "never dull," I read over the weekend that I have had dental implants. While I often read odd things about myself (it goes with the job for all in the media), that one struck me as particularly bizarre. Of course if I felt I needed dental implants for some reason, I would get them. But where do people get this stuff? As you might imagine when you are in the public eye much gets written about you — some good, some bad, some true, some false, etc.

One of my favorites was a recent one reporting that I was spotted in a hotel bar in New York about midnight with a man who looked like some actor and I looked like I was having a "good time." Sounds a bit Paris Hilton-ish? Hardly. But, frankly it was true. I was in a hotel bar (at the time my husband and I owned an apartment/condo in the New York hotel), it was about midnight (I get off work at 11 p.m. and it takes a bit of time to get home to our New York apartment). I was with a man (my husband... we have been together since 1979) and we had a glass of wine together. And l hope I did look like I was having a good time, because I do enjoy being with my husband — he is my best friend. So yes, the article was true.

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

Hi Greta,
I think Mr. DeVito's little act on "The View" shows more than what we saw on the surface. It's a perfect example of how actors, musicians, and athletes are treated by the general public, and we finally got to see how the audience and "The View" hosts pander to this kind of behavior. In this environment, everything a famous person says is the gospel, and everything they do is cute and funny. Pretty soon these famous people start believing this hero worship and all of a sudden they're an authority on everything. Why not? Everything they say is championed by the average citizen, the mass public, their entourage, and the media. The behavior of these athletes, actors, musicians, and people that are famous for reasons I'm not sure is partly our fault. Did anyone read Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" or see the movie, "Apocalypse Now"?
Tom Hickman
Clemson, SC

E-mail No. 2

Hi Greta,
DeVito probably wishes he had not appeared drunk, and he should be ashamed, but like you, I do believe he's just a good guy who did something, not evil, just wrong. I wish he hadn't bashed the president in such a silly way, tho it's OK with me if he doesn't care for Bush and just says so. Celebs are apt to make mistakes like the rest of us, sometimes they pay a higher price and some times they don't. He'll be OK, and so will "The View" and so will George Bush. The rest of us should just leave it alone.
Nashville, TN

E-mail No. 3

I saw Danny DeVito on "FOX & Friends." I was watching in passing, but I didn’t see anything that told me he was drunk. Then a few hours later he is on "The View" and he acts like a fool and says it is because he is drunk from the night before. I don’t know what the truth is in this, but I smell a skunk. He was on a show with a bunch of fools on "The View" and he acted like a fool. When he was on "FOX & Friends" he was with fun decent people and he acted accordingly. Rhea needs to keep him away from George Clooney. Danny was attacking the wrong George.
Thank you,
Highlands, TX

E-mail No. 4

Please get it straight. Being drunk is never an excuse, nor is it justification. It is an explanation, and a partial one at that.
Bob Bilyeu

E-mail No. 5

Hi Greta,
I agree it really doesn't matter what label you put on a war. War is war. A person will die the same whether it's called a Civil, Revolutionary, Tribal, World or whatever name you can think of giving a war, war. I think that the present administration does not want to call the Iraq, what-cha-ma-call-it, a civil war because it would force us to either be stuck in the middle of a three way conflict, which we are pretty much now anyway , or we would have to choose a side. Either way we would come out losers. Of course, many think we've lost this war already. I think we should stick to attacking small Caribbean islands, ala the island of Grenada in the '80s. Not too many people get killed or hurt and no one really gives a damn.

E-mail No. 6

Upon reading your wire this morning, I found email E-mail No. 9 where you said to give Danny DeVito some slack. Frankly, that surprised me from you. Guess I know how you feel now. However, a lot of us average citizens out here are Frankly, tired of the Hollywood Stars doing outlandish things and yes, this was one. We are tired of them bashing President Bush. So many of them are doing it. They are stars, yes, but I for one love them for their special talent — NOT for their political views or nastiness like Paris Hilton. I really wish the news agencies would STOP and think and realize — don't publicize this bad behavior.
For the stars: KEEP YOUR MOUTHS SHUT. We don't want to hear your opinion, unless you want to hear ours.
I for the life of me wonder WHY the view put him on. BAD decision there.
This might be a good topic for you: How people feel about stars misbehaving.

E-mail No. 7

I get a kick out of your blog. It may just be the week I’m having, but could it be that no one else has recognized that Danny DeVito basically showed up for “work” drunk? It’s not like he just dropped in for coffee with "The View" crew. He was working to promote some form of entertainment, I think a movie. I wonder what his bosses are thinking about his representation of their movie? How would you feel if you invested that kind of money and your spokesperson went on national television bombed? What would happen if you or I pulled such a stunt at work? Does it seem the world has lost its’ mind? Wouldn’t most of us have the common sense to take it easy the night before if we have a job to do in the morning?
ABC producers should have pulled the plug on the guy as soon as it was realized he was drunk. There are four mouthy women and Barbara Walters herself there that day that could have easily filled the time (I know, Greta, you’re sitting there saying “easier said than done”) but really, why give the guy a forum when he’s drunk? Why give anyone that forum? Pull the plug on the moron. DeVito insulted ABC, his movie investors, employers, the people interviewing him (tho it’s hard to insult some of those girls) and the viewer! Collectively, this is an ongoing insult to our common sense — between DeVito, Spears, Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, Lohan, Ripa and O’Donnell over the last few weeks, I’m just sick of the entertainment industry overall. They’re boring me to tears. And now we have to keep reliving it over and over and over again with these ongoing discussions on news programs? How does any of this qualify as news?!? Please.
I’m just sick and tired of the “easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” mentality for our actions! If I showed up for work drunk I’d be fired. Maybe it best I just turn off my TV and get on with things without these morons.
Karen Gallagher
Bridgeport, CT

E-mail No. 8

Yes, we are a polarized nation that is sadly also becoming "an anything goes" society. I found Danny DeVito's "act" unfunny and sad. What happened to respect for the office of the presidency? "What goes around, comes around" and all of the DeVitos, Streisands, Clooneys, O'Donnells etc. of the world will have to remember their roles in dismantling common decency and respect for our U.S. Presidents. One day, I am sure as we hold elections, a Democratic president will be elected and look out. I will not be party to this and we are trying to raise our children to have respect for adults and people in positions of authority. I feel that sadly, we are probably in an increasing minority in doing so.
Deb Deterding
Lubbock, TX

E-mail No. 9

Hi Greta, I loved the story on the killer whale. I think what a miracle (with such a large mammal) that the trainer only received a broken ankle! That in itself is remarkable and shows the compassion of the whale. The fact that it was 8 long years ago that the whale acted in a similar way really depicts how wonderful these whales are. If a human was made to perform like that daily I can assure you it wouldn’t take 8 years to misbehave! I learned so much during this show and since I have never seen these killer whales perform in person I truly thought this was the most wonderful show you have ever did! Thank you so much!

E-mail No. 10

I am so tired of all the Bush bashing. The thing that made even more annoyed was Rosie's cheerleading the whole thing. I am beginning to think he wasn't even drunk. Generally I am just sick of Hollywood in general, could they just give it a rest? I mean their suffering is almost over Bush will be gone in a couple years, surely they must be tired of banging the same drum for so long. I know I am truly tired of listening.

E-mail No. 11

Danny DeVito can say anything he wants about the president, drunk or sober. He’s an actor. Deal with it. Michael Richards can say anything he wants about hecklers. He’s a “comedian”. Deal with it. Perhaps those offended should not attend their movies and comedy shows. Free speech can be offensive by its nature. The Founding Fathers knew that in their day. It is an important enough issue to include in the Bill of Rights. Political correctness has no place in a free country.
Rob Brixey

E-mail No. 12

I don’t mean to be a pest but, I am an alcoholic and I have said and done things that I have regretted. Alcohol does not make you say or do these hurtful things, it only removes the common sense you would normally have if it hadn’t been cloudy from alcohol. Whether Mel or Danny harbor these thoughts rests with them and only them. I can also say that they are in the spotlight and sometimes as we see, they are human. He who is without sin, cast the first stone. Even the Pope can get in trouble in this world of hate. We should really go back to our roots and do as you mentioned be more forgiving (as the Amish) and move on and not be as the radical Islam believers and continue to hate and want to run down or destroy anything which does not agree with them or their state of mind.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks for listening

E-mail No. 13

The two most despicable things about Danny DeVito's drunken appearance on "The View" are these:
1) His sick humor about "trashing" the Lincoln bedroom in the White House and telling us about his sexual activity in there (who does he think he was pulling one over on — Lincoln? The American people? Why is this funny?) I have never had the privilege of visiting the White House but I can tell you that I never, ever want to see the Lincoln bedroom now. The mental image is too much. It has indeed been "trashed" and brought down to the level of a pay-by-the-hour motel.
2) The second horrible thing was to see intelligent, outspoken, educated women who did not have the guts to escort a drunken man off their show. It is apparent that they tolerated it because he was a man. Does anyone think they would have allowed a drunken woman to continue on their show? No way!
They'd DESTROY her. But with DeVito, they just grinned and bore it and treated him like he was cute... "a fun drunk", they said... puhleeze, I'm gagging. These women aren't so strong, after all.
Jo Kellum

E-mail No. 14

Greta: Alcohol might be a reason for his acting the way that he did, but it will never be an excuse for acting the way he did for me anyway. For me alcohol does not excuse any behavior, verbal or physical, it is a reason and if you have a problem when you drink with either verbal or physical abuse, it’s a simple answer: don’t do it, period. I grew up in an home with an alcoholic father, non-abusive verbal or physical, but it is ugly, ugly, not matter how you might want to sugar coat it. Just my opinion, but I do love your show and watch it ever night I am home.

E-mail No. 15

No — being drunk is never an excuse for bad behavior. I did not see the show and have no idea what was said but I think we should have less respect for the views of someone that would go onto a television show drunk and by no means should their behavior be excused or dismissed. They should be held accountable for their actions. What kind of person would do that?
C. Alpers

E-mail No. 16

Dear Greta,
Maybe it's the holiday season, but I find I have a really low tolerance level now days for petty bickering... you're right on when you question the whole Iraq is/isn't civil war debate!
I agree with you on DeVito as well. Again maybe it's the holiday season, but I just can't seem to get excited about DeVito. I personally disagree with his politics, his behavior, and his drinking to excess, but then I'm very sure he'd disagree with some things I think and do. So what?
So he's a sloppy, goofy drunk... We all laughed at Dean Martin and Red Skelton when they acted just as drunk and goofy. As long as he's not behind the wheel, or in a position to hurt somebody, I can ignore it easily enough.
So he insulted the president... I might be upset if it was part of a serious monolog, but it was by far the opposite. I wouldn't expect anyone gets their political guidance, borrows their political opinions from a goofy drunk! In fact, the state he was in, I would have been upset if he talked about supporting President Bush — who wants to share the opinion of someone who's totally smashed?
The only real damage DeVito did was to himself.
If I'm going to feel badly, it's in regards to Beth Holloway... she's endured enough — by far. I'm pretty sure that, appearing to be in the limelight, Beth has been attacked before, will be attacked again. Obviously she has the grace to deal with it.

E-mail No. 17

It all seemed rather logical to go from today's emails on the latest stupid celebrity actions to animal attacks.
We are such an egocentric species, the humans are. We continually rate this animal or that animal as being very intelligent because it can do tricks. Lets look at the potential intelligence, a great example — Cocoa the signing gorilla... shy of Diane Fossey or Jane Goddall, how many people do you know can speak gorilla, or lion?
We do have very special relationships with our animals but, in Shamu's case when they have a grievance, its a little hard to ignore. My cat gets irked, I can still pick him up by the scruff - doesn't mean the dispute is over, just in renegotiation. When Shamu is mad...
Cathleen S.
Mason City, IA

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