Thursday, June 29, 2006

NYT: Covering the spin and not much more

Mr. Rubaie said the Iraqi government learned the details of the shrine bombing after the capture a few days ago of Yusri Fakher Muhammad Ali, also known as Abu Qudama, a Tunisian militant who confessed to be a member of Mr. Badri's team. Mr. Ali, who entered Iraq in November 2003, also said the assault team consisted of four Saudis and two Iraqis in addition to himself and Mr. Badri, Mr. Rubaie said.
"The crime of Samarra was one of the biggest crimes meant to provoke sectarian division and civil war, but they failed to achieve that," Mr. Rubaie said at a news conference inside the fortified Green Zone.

The above is from Edward Wong's "Prisoner Links Iraqi to Attack on Shiite Shrine, Official Says" in this morning's New York Times. Martha notes Joshua Partlow's "Iraqi Official Says Insurgent Cell Bombed Shiite Shrine" (Washington Post) on the same subject and if Wong left you scratching your head, read Partlow which is more straight forward chronology wise. (Wong's jumping all over the place in his article. It's as though he thinks he has the skill to pull off writing Rashomon and he doesn't this morning.)

From Partlow's article:

Meanwhile, news services reported that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had been contacted by several Sunni Arab insurgent groups about his proposal to end violence by bringing them into the Iraqi political process. The Associated Press said nearly a dozen insurgent groups had agreed to immediately halt attacks on all foreign or Iraqi targets if the United States agreed to withdraw foreign forces within two years.
Maliki has said, however, that amnesty offers included in his recent reconciliation proposal did not extend to killers of Americans or Iraqis, and the Bush administration has rejected setting a timetable for troop withdrawals.

Why the AP continues to trumpet this based on an unnamed source, I have no idea. In exactly two weeks, they'll probably be forced to drop the story. Reality will once again bite them in the butt, but it's a talking point (usually presented as fact) for some. Another difference between the Wong and Partlow articles (there are many differences, I try to avoid commenting in any form on the Post but I've trashed four lengthy entries already this morning so we'll all just have to deal with the fact that I'm bending, if not breaking, my own rule) are details like this (present in Partlow's article, absent in Wong's):

In Samarra in February, some local officials said the bombers had been dressed in the uniforms of Iraqi security forces. A DVD later distributed in the area, said to be made by Ansar al-Sunna, contended that Interior Ministry commandos had organized the attack. Some Samarra residents said they put more credence in the video than in the national security adviser's account.
"The Iraqi government has made this announcement to look innocent of this crime," said Khaldoon Ahmed, 33, a high school teacher in Samarra. "If they are really prepared to reveal the truth, then we demand the formation of an international committee to investigate this incident, and we will not let anyone rebuild the shrine until that is done."

Mia notes Zoltan Grossman's "Military Resistance: A Brief History" (CounterPunch):

The public refusals here at Fort Lewis (Washington) of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, Sgt. Kevin Benderman and Spc. Suzanne Swift to deploy to Iraq are the most recent chapter of a long and noble history of resistance within the U.S. armed forces. To understand this history, and where it might lead, it helps to see how resistance varies strongly according to rank, class and race, and how difficult it is for resisters to express their patriotic viewpoints alone, without support from the larger peace movement.
Dissent from soldiers during foreign interventions has been reported throughout U.S. history, such as in Mexico in the 1840s and the Philippines in the 1900s. Even during World War II, African American rebellions against internal racism shook the military, and eventually forced unit desegregation. After the war ended in 1945, soldiers and sailors demanded a postwar demobilization and tickets home. Starting in Manila, they formed a huge and successful movement that may have prevented a U.S. intervention against the Chinese Revolution later in the decade, though did not prevent the Korean War of the 1950s.
During the Vietnam War, the military ranks carried out mass resistance on bases and ships in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, U.S. and Europe. Military resistance was instrumental in ending the war by making the ranks politically unreliable. This history is well documented in Soldiers in Revolt by David Cortright and teh recent film "Sir! No Sir!." Servicemen and women were heavily influenced by the antiwar and African American liberation movements back home, as well as by personal contact with Vietnamese civilians. But this resistance took years to develop after the initial deployments in 1960, not catching fire until after the 1968 Tet Offensive showed that the war was unwinnable.

Getting back to the AP talking point, it defies logic to believe that those who've taken up arms against a government (in this case a puppet government as they fight the occupation) would offer the prospect of laying down (candles in the rain?) if they were given a promise (from someone they don't believe) that in two years the American forces would withdraw. It's also true that if history means anything to the people of Iraq (as opposed to reporters for the AP who will no doubt be yet again caught with their heads up their asses), there's about to be a new wave of violence. Beth agreed it was spin from anonymice but wondered why I said it was "American made." I think the puppet government is perfectly capable of creating their own spin (and have) but I think only Americans could be so ignornant of Iraq's history as to fail to see the date looming on the horizion (July 14th, AP reporters, get out your history books).

Were the United States occupied, July 4th would not be an easy day for the occupation as Americans were reminded of independence from the past. By the same notion, July 14th shouldn't go over easy in Iraq. That the talking point of resistance fighters willing to lay down arms if they can have a promise from the installed al-Maliki ("two years, America out!") can come so close to July 14th is why I see it as American grown spin. An Iraqi, my opinion, would be aware of the upcoming date and hesitant to put forward a talking point that could blow up in their face internationally and wouldn't go down easy, to begin with, in Iraq (where July 14th has meaning).

Remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) Democracy Now! today.

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