Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Other Items

Iraqi forces and American soldiers appeared helpless to stop the bloodshed in Mahmudiya, arriving after the gunmen had already killed dozens, witnesses said.

The above is from Edward Wong's "Gunmen Kill Dozens at Shiite Market in Iraq" in this morning's New York Times. Which is a nice way of putting down on paper the inaction that eye witnesses and wire reports noted yesterday. What they say is that American and Iraqi troops were yards away and waited until the 'gunmen' ceased the attack and left to move in. In fact, the AP offered an explanation for the hesitation/inaction just yesterday:

U.S. troops of the 101st Airborne Division reported hearing detonations and gunfire, the U.S. command said. But Iraqi troops are responsible for security in Mahmoudiya, and American soldiers do not intervene unless asked by the Iraqis.

Wong gets credit for actually being aware that Iraqis are in Iraq and that, shocking to the Gordos and Dexys, they can speak. Maybe another reason they're so ignored by the paper is because, when they do speak, it's not the pleasing tale that so many 'reporters' appear to have a strong need to hear? Wong quotes an Iraqi legislator, Bagaa al-Aaraji, stating, at a news conference, "It's become obvious that the occupation forces are responsible for the devastation taking place in our country." He also quotes Hamid Mohsen explaining that the "Mahdi Army launched a sectarian war in the city after the American forces turned over the security portfolio to the Iraqi forces."

Yes, it's in direct contrast to the article bearing Dexy and Wong's name yesterday but "delusional" Dexy steered that report. The US military, high on Rumsfeld strong-arming trip last week, needed to try and get some traction for the notion that Sunnis wanted American troops to stay and, yet again, Dexy was the go to Go-Go Boy for yet another US propaganda operation targeted at American citizens.

Today in Iraq, the violence continues with the AP reporting:

A suicide car bomber detonated explosives in a crowd of laborers gathered across the street from a major Shiite shrine in southern Iraq Tuesday, killing at least 53 people and wounding 105, officials and witnesses said.

Reuters places the death toll at 59 and the wounded at 132.

As Katrina vanden Heuvel notes in "Don't Forget the Bloodletting in Iraq" (Editor's Cut, The Nation):

Over the past three years, the Administration and its allies have offered a succession of reasons for why we must "stay the course"--all designed to match the succession of rationales for the war itself. An American withdrawal, we've been told, would embolden the insurgency, make Iraq a safe haven for terrorists and foreign jihadis and lead to civil war. One by one each of these predictions has come true. Not, of course, because we withdrew or even announced a timetable for withdrawal or redeployment but because we could not control the forces the war and occupation have unleashed and created.
At this point, there may be little America can do to stop the sectarian violence or even an all-out civil war. The sanest course is to remove US forces and work with the international community to keep Iraq from disintegrating as a result of our invasion and occupation.

And we'll close with Gina's highlight, Cindy Sheehan's "Me, Hugo and George" (Truth Out):

On a recent appearance that I made on MSNBC's "Hardball," which was being guest-hosted by Norah O' Donnell, she introduced me as someone who has been photographed with "dictator" Hugo Chavez. After the introduction and in a very short subsequent break, I looked at her and said: "You know, President Chavez is not a dictator. He has been democratically elected to his office 8 times."
To which she replied: "We had a big discussion about that and we decided that he ruled like a dictator." That statement really shocked, yet irritated me, because I can't believe that MSNBC and Norah O'Donnell would perpetuate the myth that President Chavez is a dictator and mislead and misinform their viewers, because contrary to facts, they "decided that he ruled like a dictator."
"Then you should call George Bush a dictator," I said, right before we were given the signal that the interview was beginning.
During the segment, which Norah called an interview and I would like to better term as an "attack," (I gave her a hug after the attack: it seemed like she really needed one) we got on the subject of Hugo Chavez, and I ended up admitting that I would rather have him as a leader than George Bush. Since this truthful admission, which comes from experience and research, my life has been threatened several times and the hate mail to the GSFP web site has increased dramatically.
There are many brilliant pieces written from a more scholarly point of view defending the administration of President Chavez and trying to educate our corporate-owned, media-misled citizenry about the politics, economics and civil society of Venezuela. Most recently and notably, an article by Jeff Cohen entitled "
Go to Venezuela, You Idiot." So, instead of writing a scholarly piece, I would like to make some personal observations about the regimes of George Bush and Hugo Chavez.
First of all and most importantly and as far as I can recall, Hugo has not invaded any countries in baseless wars of aggression justified by lies. George has. As a matter of fact, instead of using "Cowboy Diplomacy" and "Bring 'em on" rhetoric, President Chavez has skillfully used his country's resources as a diplomatic tool to make friends and coerce good behavior from other countries. George uses our children in the Armed Forces to strong-arm his way into other countries, making enemies for the USA and leaving death and destruction wherever he goes.

Cindy Sheehan wouldn't have been surprised by Norah O'Donnell's attitude if those who call out the press regularly had bothered to note the little party Cheney's former assistant (who had just left due to her maternity) threw for Norah when O'Donnell became the DC correspondent for NBC. It was a very public secret, making the 'society' pages. But O'Donnell got a pass then and that pass has largely continued. A number of watchdogs took a pass (including one that is no more) but when you've just been assigned to cover the administration, probably not a good idea to let them throw you a party that they heavily attend. Especially when so many of your co-workers were already describing you as the "perfect fit" for Fox "News."

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