Thursday, December 01, 2005

Other Items

In this morning's New York Times, Scott Shane & Jeff Gerth cover what Democracy Now! listeners, viewers and readers learned of yesterday, "U.S. Is Said to Pay to Plant Articles in Iraq Papers." What's added from this story?

Not real much. We learn that the ethics problems just keep coming. Not only did the Pentagon hired Lincoln Group run Operation Happy Talk in parts of the Iraqi press, they also passed off others writing as their own. Will they be sued for copyright infringement? Doubtful.

Actually, the article maintains that the US military wrote at least some of the pieces so they would be responsible for the cribbing. Apparently the Lincoln Group was just a syndicate placing articles:

[. . .] the article was prepared by the United States military as part of a multimillion-dollar covert campaign to plant paid propaganda in the Iraqi news media and pay friendly Iraqi journalists monthly stipends, military contractors and officials said.

We can also note that, unlike Elaine, Gerth & Shane aren't very interested in whether or not Operation Happy Talk might have had some blow back intent as well. That thought seems to have never have entered their minds.

Moving on. Elisabeth Bumiller's piece is dubbed a "news analysis" but news isn't being analyzed, it's a tip sheet for the 2006 horse race known as the mid-term elections. That's the thrust of the article. That's not analysis, that's prediction. So for those who enjoy spin and people weighing in on things that they have no way of knowing, check out Bumiller's "news predicition" in this morning's paper.

Meanwhile, someone's confused the main section of the paper (should be "hard news" but we're lucky to get news and "news" most days) with the house & home section which must be why Marian Burros' "Holiday Decor at the White House Takes a Subtler Turn" runs in the political subsection of the main section.

Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Plan for Quagmire" (This Just In, The Progressive):

I saw Bush's speech at the Naval Academy, and he didn't even know what month he was in.
He talked about the Iraqi elections being next month, and then he said, no this month. Poor guy couldn’t figure out whether he was in November or December.
Aside from that, Bush's message was unmistakable: We're going to be in Iraq at least until he’s out of office.
"The enemy must be defeated on every battlefield," he said, early on.
A little later, he added: "We will never back down, we will never give in, and we will never accept anything less than complete victory."
Still later, he said, "When our mission of defeating the terrorists in Iraq is complete, our troops will return home to a proud nation."
And finally, in case anyone missed the point, Bush vowed: "To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of bombers and assassins so long as I am your commander-in-chief."
Problem is, Bush has turned Iraq into a laboratory for bombers and assassins.

On a similar point, Ben notes Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman and Anthony DiMaggio "Q/A on the Iraq War" (Z-Net, Ben found a link for it at FAIR):

Chomsky: The excuses also overlook the fact that the insurgency was created by the brutality of the invasion and occupation -- which is, in fact, one of the most astonishing failures in military history. The Nazis had less trouble in occupied Europe, and the Russians held their satellites for decades with far less difficulty. It is difficult to think of an analog. A few months after the invasion, I met a highly experienced senior physician with one of the leading relief organizations, who has served in some of the worst parts of the world. He had just returned briefly from Baghdad, where he was trying to reestablish medical facilities, but was unable to because of the incompetence of the CPA. He told me he had never seen such a combination of "arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence," referring to the Pentagon civilians in charge. In fact, it was monumental. They even failed to guard the WMD sites that had been under UN supervision, so that they were systematically looted, handing over to someone -- probably jihadis --high-precision equipment suitable for producing missiles and nuclear weapons, dangerous bio-toxins, etc., which had been provided to their friend Saddam by the US, UK and others. The ironies are almost indescribable.

Also on the topic of Iraq, Micah e-mails to note Jimmy Breslin's "Where's Hillary on Iraq?" (Newsday via Common Dreams) on a mass mailing he received from her office:

There are, as stated earlier, now more than 2,000 young Americans who have died in Iraq. She wants to be a candidate for president and she doesn't even mention our dead, or our next dead.
Wait. Here is question 9:
"How concerned are you that the administration's unilateral policies have reduced our number of allies and endangered our national security?"
How absolutely marvelous!"
It depends on what your definition of 'is' is," her husband said when he was questioned about rolling around on the office carpet with a young office worker.
And she not only copies, but clearly surpasses. She deals with something important.
Hillary Clinton today holds the new North American record for fakery.
She copies. She sneaks and slithers past you with her opinion on a war that kills every day.
Hillary Clinton is in favor of the war and of executions. Sensational!
The other day, when Rep. John Murtha of Johnstown, Pa., called for a withdrawal from Iraq, and obviously did so with half the Pentagon behind him, Hillary said, no, we shouldn't pull out at this time. Oh, it would cause so much violence.
We must stay. It takes a national Alzheimer's for her to be able to try to get away with things like this.
If Hillary Clinton wants this war to go on, then she should send her daughter to fight in Iraq.

Also on this topic, Rachel e-mailed to note David Lindorff's "What Happened to Those Bush/Cheney Bumperstickers?" (CounterPunch):

The Zogby poll conducted between Oct. 29 and Nov. 2 found that even among Republicans, 29 percent say that they think Bush should be impeached if he lied about the reasons for going to war against Iraq. The percentage can only have risen since then, as more evidence comes out that there's no reason for the "if."
It's too early to predict how this tectonic shift in political attitudes will play out in the November congressional races across the country, but I'm guessing that my neighborhood is not that different from much of the red and purple parts of America, and that there are going to be a lot more contested House and even Senate races than people were expecting a few months back.
Iraq seems to be going predictably from bad to worse for the military and the administration. The Shiite-led government that Bush and his Neocon advisers placed their bets on is slaughtering Sunnis, who are certain to strike back. Everyone's getting increasingly pissed at the US occupiers, and if the Pentagon follows through on the Bush/Rumsfeld plan to cut back on ground troops by increasing use of air power, with the resulting increase in "collateral damage" deaths of civilians, America's popularity in Iraq will only decline over the next year, while Moktada Sadr's rises.

FYI, American military fatality count for the month of November is 81, total since the invasion is 2110.

At Corrente Wire, Leah's asking everyone to "Help Make Thursday, December 1st 'Blog Against Racism Day.'" Billie's passed it on and I've just e-mailed it to all the community sites. Obviously The Third Estate Sunday Review, publishing only on Sunday, won't be able to do anything today. Also Elaine is off (she runs an evening group session on Thursdays) on Thursdays and Betty works from an outline and is writing a comic novel. (Plus, she posted yesterday.) But I'm sure Rebecca, Mike and Cedric will have no problem participating. (I'll try but Thursday nights is Indymedia so unless a large number of e-mails come in saying "Forget Indymedia!" we'll have those two entries. Translation, Thursday's not a good night. I will try to pull something together though.) Kat's already replied that she'll be doing something "musical or pop culture." Seth's juggling a lot and Wally may have already done The Daily Jot before he reads my e-mail.

Reminder (from yesterday):

Ruth also notes that tomorrow is the FIRST THURSDAY OF THE MONTH. Point? CCP airs the first Thursday of every month on Pacifica Radio's WBAI. (Starts at eleven a.m. eastern standard time, tomorrow, Thursday.) CCP is original comedy programming created for radio.

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