Wednesday, April 12, 2006

NYT: 'Woops!' or 'About that report two Sundays ago . . .'

The American military on Tuesday announced the deaths of five soldiers, bringing the number of troops killed this month to at least 32. That figure already surpasses the American military deaths for all of March.
When 31 service members died last month, it was the second lowest monthly death toll of the war for the Americans, and the fifth month in a row of declining fatalities, according to statistics from the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, an independent organization.

The above is from Edward Wong's "Deaths of U.S. Soldiers Climb Again in Iraq" in this morning's New York Times. We'll note that one of those months was February and that there's always a decrease of fatalities in February (possibly due to it being the shortest month?). But that never stops the wave of Operation Happy Talk from being picked up. If there's anything that can be learned by each wave of Operation Happy Talk, it's that it blows up in the faces of those who insist upon repeating it. But they continue to do so. If you read the New York Times, you may have some small idea that something is very different in Iraq than from the way the Bully Boy has (continually) portrayed it, but only a small idea of that. (I'm referring to the reporting.) It's really past time for the paper to get it together on Iraq. They took part in the propaganda again recently by repeating the talking point -- false -- that the administration wanted to get out.

While the Times has noted blue/purple fingers and this or that as a "change" -- a corner "turned" -- repeatedly, reality has never born that out. Cindy notes Patrick Cockburn's "Situation in Iraq Could Not be Worse" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer via Common Dreams):

Bush and Blair have for the past three years continually understated the gravity of what is taking place. It has been frustrating as a journalist to hear them claim that much of Iraq is peaceful when we could not prove them wrong without being killed or kidnapped. The capture of Saddam in 2003, the handover of sovereignty in 2004, the elections and new constitution in 2005 have all been oversold to the outside world as signs of progress.
The formation of a national unity government in Iraq is now being presented as an antidote to the violence. "Terrorists love a vacuum," said British Defense Secretary John Reid, citing his experience in Northern Ireland. But one Iraqi official remarked that the three main communities -- Sunni, Shiite and Kurds -- do not hate one another because they do not have a government, but rather they do not have a government because they already hate one another.
The coalition of Iraqi religious parties, the United Iraqi Alliance, won almost half the seats in the 275-member parliament in the election on Dec.15. They fear the United States and Britain are trying to break up the Shiite coalition. This is why they have resisted demands for Ibrahim al-Jaafari to stand down as prime minister. Even if a national unity government is formed, it will control very little. The army and police take their orders from the leaders of their own communities.
Three years ago, when Saddam's statue was toppled, Iraqis were promised their lives would get better. Instead Iraq has become the most dangerous place in the world.

So do the people who still fail to grasp what's going on in Iraq have the media (and the Bully Boy) to blame? Yes. But to what point? At what point is it incumbent upon them to realize that their media has failed them and seek out alternative news sources? And what happens when someone who appears not to get it is serving in the Senate? I'm referring to John Kerry but he's far from alone. We've got another highlight on his proposal, Eddie notes Brian Conley's "A Tale of Two Emails, from Ramadi and Capitol Hill" (Alive in Baghdad):

Apparently the email came last week, when Kerry introduced a resolution to the Senate calling for withdrawal. Demonstrating his own ignorance of the situation and tendency toward Orientalism, later Kerry says,
>President Bush is willing to let American soldiers and their families wait

>endlessly, while risking life and limb, as some Iraqi politicians incite
>sectarianism to grow their personal power and private militias.…
>We want democracy in Iraq, but it's now the job of Iraqis to build it. Our
>troops have performed gallantly and heroically. The best way to keep faith
>with them is to set deadlines for bringing our troops home and getting Iraq
>on its own two feet. That's the only way to give their sacrifice its best
>chance of resulting in success.
Kerry apparently doesn’t realize what's happening in Ramadi, or the role of the United States'

in destabilizing Iraq, indirectly aiding and abetting militias, and devastating Iraqi infrastructure and lives.
The individual members of the military, although many of them desperately want to believe they are helping the Iraqi people and have made a long-lasting difference, are part of a larger machine. The military, when it acts cohesively, as an organization, sublimates individual will and has led to repeated atrocities inside Iraq. Some of the latest are detailed in these recent reports:

Report finds U.S. shooting of Reuters soundman unlawful
3 U.S. commanders relieved of duty as Iraqi town mourns its dead
And those are just some of the latest reports.

Despite that, Bully Boy still has the blood lust and appears itching for a war with Iran. Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Comment: Beware the Bombing of Iran" (The Progressive):

Just because a course of action is foolish, irrational, costly, and bloody doesn't mean the Bush Administration won't pursue it. And just because U.S. troops are bogged down in Iraq doesn't mean the Bush Administration has lost its appetite for military adventurism.
This is an Administration that discounts the downside and hypes the upside to military action. It now appears to be gearing up to bomb Iran. We ought not be lulled into a false sense of complacency. Bush's low poll numbers and his Iraq fiasco may be reasons as much for him to launch bombs as not.
Progressive experts who have been following U.S. security issues for decades are increasingly certain that Bush is going forward with his Iran bombing plans.
There is a 75 percent likelihood that Bush will bomb Iran before the 2006 elections, Michael Klare, professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College, tells The Progressive.
Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker has been warning for more than a year now that Bush will attack Iran. "The guys on the inside really want to do this," he said on CNN as far back as January 17, 2005.
"In my interviews, I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran," Hersh wrote in The New Yorker at that time. "The Administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran" since the summer of 2004. "The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more, such targets that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando raids."
Joseph Cirincione, director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, used to think a bombing was unlikely. Not anymore. His sources tell him that senior Bush officials "want to hit Iran hard," he wrote on the website of Foreign Policy magazine on March 27. "What I previously dismissed as posturing I now believe may be a coordinated campaign to prepare for a military strike on Iran," he said in his posting entitled "Fool Me Twice."
We may look back upon the month of March as the time when the Bush war chefs decided to overheat the rhetoric and bring the conflict with Iran to a boil.

Once again, Cheney stirred the pot.

And on Iran, Rod passes on this scheduled topic for Democracy Now!:

* We speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. In his latest article in the New Yorker, Hersh cites defense officials saying the Bush administration has drawn up elaborate plans to use tactical weapons against Iranian nuclear sites.

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