Sunday, April 08, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

I say enough, too. Enough to George Bush and Dick Cheney. Enough to corruption, hypocrisy, and intolerance. Enough to war. Enough to U.S. imperialism.. Enough to propaganda. And enough to those supposedly antiwar Democrats who handed Bush an obscene amount of money to fund the war.
I am weary of the mugging by the Bush Administration. I'm sick of being treated like a battered spouse. Obviously, Bush and Cheney are well schooled in the psychology of this syndrome-one in which victims are unable to take action to escape the abuse. The president and his vice have used it from day one of their stolen ascendancy to control the electorate. I can hear Cheney: "Let's beat down the will of the people. We'll inundate them with so many outrages they'll think they deserve our exploitation."
George's response: "Bring it on." And they did. They manipulated a national tragedy. They ravaged and pillaged our minds. By talking "mushroom clouds" over our cities, they Stockholmed much of the public. They pumped up the patriotism and cranked out the lies.
They've gotten away with murder.

The above, note by Mia, is from Missy Comley Beattie's "Enough Already" (CounterPunch).
Enough. Yet the war drags on the New York Times, knowing they can't ignore the issue of self-check outs (even The Nation may have to drop their silence) rushes in to portray it as PTSD (tomorrow) as though PTSD and a desire to say "no" to the illegal war are incompatible? In fact, they are often intertwined. And late to the party NYT, can offer spin damage all they want, but service members are saying (and have been saying) no to the illegal war. Darrell Anderson, Joshua Key -- do we really need to go through the list of war resisters who said "no" after they were deployed and do a check list of which ones have PTSD? The Times tries to create two classes when two classes do not exist.

It's not reality. For those who depend on the media, big or small, to tell them what is going on, it may pass (briefly) for reality, but it's not reality. The New York Times has never been consumed with a desire to offer a window view on reality. They exist, they saved their ass in fact, by managing opinion. This goes to the historical period of the paper and it's why so much of the "Bad to Dems!" gum flapping is only that and little else. How bad are things in Iraq?

Are the outlets telling you? Candice notes Sherry Ricchiardi's "Obstructed View" (AJR) which includes many details and many stories but let's zoom in on just one paragraph that captures the differences between reality and what it makes it into the coverage:

No one sees the situation improving. Many news organizations have escape plans should American and Iraqi forces completely lose control of Baghdad, a squalid city brimming with weapons and sectarian animosity. For the media, security concerns have become an obsession.

Do you see that in the coverage? As the media lies and updates (not backdates) the so-called crackdown to tell you it started in February when it's the same crackdown that has not been working since June of 2006, do you see the reality in the coverage? The non-stop, eternal crackdown gets beefed up. Go back and check how it was promoted in June or August or any time or period it's gotten coverage and there is no new 'mission,' it's the same old crackdown and only the numbers sent in increase. But notice how many outlets, writing of the current beefed up version, tell you that the 'security measure,' or whatever other term they want to use, started in February. It started in June of 2006 and it is now April of 2007. Possibly in 2008, we'll get a passionate editorial from the New York Times denouncing the eternal, never ending crackdown and, you can be sure of it, many sites online will rush to link it and sprinkle praises on the paper.

We covered it earlier today but Edward Wong wrote two articles. One reported on air assaults but acted as though they had just happened Saturday when, in fact, they began in that province on Friday. That article ran in the hard news section. Another article, one that largely relied upon what Wong himself witnessed, ran in the light section, what's largely the opinion section. All these years in Iraq, paid to be a reporter by the paper, and suddenly Wong's ability to convey what he witnesses with his own eyes is called into question by the paper?

Media knows it is getting worse, media knows it is not getting better. Media has began planning for the withdrawal. But as they update the crackdown and mislead the public, the war drags on.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the American military fatality count in Iraq, since the start of the illegal war, stood at 3253 (AP and Reuters) and 3252 (ICCC). Tonight? 3280 is that AP* count and 3281 is the Reuters count. 3282 is the ICCC count with 35 for the month of April thus far. The "*" is because that count is based on six US service members being announced dead on Sunday and that number grew higher. Today, the US military announced: "Four Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed Saturday as a result of an explosion near their vehicle in Diyala Province. One other Soldier was also wounded in the attack and was taken to a Coalition Forces' medical treatment facility." And they announced: "Three Multi-National Division -- Center Soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device during a patrol south of Baghdad April 8. One Soldier was also wounded in the incident." And they announced: "One MND-B Soldier died and three others were wounded when an indirect fire attack targeted units operating south of the Iraqi capital April 8." And they announced: "A MND-N Soldier died of wounds April 8 as a result of injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Diyala Province." And they announced: "A Task Force Lightning soldier died Sunday of wounds sustained while conducting combat operations in Salah Ad Din Province."

When you look at those announcements, do you think of Bully Boy's announcements? All those promises from him in Cheney about the 'win,' about that turned corner about to be reached? It takes some people awhile to wake up so maybe when the toll hit 700+ it was too early for them? As the toll gets closer and closer to 3300, you have to wonder what it will take to wake some people up? 4,000?

Of course, they'd need to know the actual number. It's funny, last week we saw AP spend all day Thursday (and Friday reports included it as well), telling you that 4 British soldiers died and 4 US service members died (that number of US service members climbed throughout Friday, but when they started reporting it was 4) and that, therefore?, the total number of British soldiers who had died was 104. And?

They ended it there. They didn't tell the count of US service members. Report after report, filed by reporter after reporter, and there was no count for US service members. It's apparently too much for many news outlets to keep on their count. So when the AP goes silent, most aren't going to note a count. When the AP's count isn't included in the wire stories, the count is going to be left out more often than not.

Now, since some outlets have their own desks (or full staff) in Iraq ("desks," by me, refers to those who dash into Iraq for a few hours and then quickly leave). But apparently, it was too much to give the task of recording each announced death to someone. The Times officially runs the DoD count (a count that always lags behind). The reality is that the person assigned the task of counting wouldn't even have to be in Iraq. Just keep a tally of each announced death by Centcom (not the DoD list -- that list is based upon named dead and before they can make that list, their families have to be told). But that count, keeping that count, apparently didn't matter to most news outlets.

They were actively discouraged from keeping track of Iraqi deaths and they followed that very well. But, though the White House refused to allow photos of coffins to be taken, the administration didn't (and couldn't) prevent the announcements of the deaths. (Some would argue of "some deaths.") But who bothered to keep their own count?

Let's go over some of Sunday's reported violence from Reuters: 17 people dead and 30 wounded in a Mhamudiya car bombing, 7 dead and 21 injured in a Baghdad car bombing, one police officer dead and another wounded in a Falluja roadside bombing, one police officer dead and seven wounded in a Baghdad roadside bombing, three police officers injured in a Hilla roadside bombing, five corpses discovered in Baquba, six in Kerbala, 12 in Baghdad. CNN reports the number of corpses in Baghdad climbed to 17. CNN also reports:

A powerful and radical Shiite cleric implored his followers Sunday to stop killing Iraqis and focus their violent efforts on ousting American forces from the war-torn nation.
Muqtada al-Sadr also called on Iraqi forces to join the insurgents in the battle against "the occupiers."
The firebrand cleric's mandate came as a Baghdad security spokesman announced that a ban on civilian vehicular traffic will go into effect Monday, the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.
The 24-hour vehicle ban is slated to begin at 5 a.m. (10 p.m. Sunday ET), Baghdad security operations spokesman Gen. Qassim Atta said on Iraqi state television.

Khaled Farhan (Reuters) notes:

Baghdad was under curfew on Monday, the fourth anniversary of the fall of the capital to U.S. forces, as Iraqis streamed to the city of Najaf for a big anti-U.S. protest called by fiery cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
"No, no to America, yes, yes to Moqtada," thousands of marching Iraqis, mainly men and young boys waving Iraqi flags, chanted as they marched through the Shi'ite holy southern city.

Maybe the Times will tell us that while the Iraqis are suffering from PTSD, they are for the continuation of the illegal war?

Community notes. "Ruth's Report" went up Saturday. "Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts 'Veto'" went up Sunday. (Yes, I have read the e-mails. When possible, I will note this on the last entry on Sunday because we do have members who have no access on the weekend. This will allow everyone who missed them to quickly hit the links. But, no, I'm not linking to my own entries. If you miss them, consider yourself fortunate.) While I've been working on this, Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava have been working on the links at The Third Estate Sunday Review Dona, Jim and Ty changed the template to attempt to post a video -- in vain, that option isn't available -- in doing so, all the links were lost. The links are not going to all be put back tonight, or tomorrow. They'll go up when we have the time. Hopefully, by Sunday, those that should be back up, will be. We're about to do the note, to answer Kara's question. The video, to answer Lyle's question? "Check out the video." That really is a good video, for anyone who missed it and is able to check it out. "The winners are" notes the video and the winners and, in answer to Doug's question, I didn't notice the last names when I posted the winners here last Sunday. I also didn't notice them when we were doing the feature for Third. Jess saw the last name and noted it (recognized from return addresses on snail mail). I may know relatives of the winner, I may not. If I had noticed it when the list was posted here, I would have included that. Keesha is glad regarding the delink ("About time") and wonders why it didn't take place immediately (it has been pulled, before I started this entry)? I have to go into the template and when we were doing the roundtable, I said "tonight" because I knew there would not be time until then. Blogger/Blogspot is a problem. For example, if you were waiting (and waiting) for new content to go up and thought, "Why is it so slow now that it's going up?" Blogger/Blogspot. It took two hours just to publish the features (completed) at Third today. Error messages, "Blogger/Blogspot" is down, blah, blah, blah. I said "tonight" because I knew I'd make time then. It's done. It's pulled.

Pru gets the last highlight, "'Surge' kills Iraqi civilians" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

The first six weeks of George Bush's "surge" on Baghdad has greatly increased the number of Iraqi civilian casualties in the Iraqi capital.
According to figures compiled by news agencies, there were 1,806 recorded deaths in February. By March the number of deaths had risen by 15 percent.
Bush claimed sending an extra 30,000 troops to Iraq would reduce the daily rounds of kidnapping, sectarian murders and car bombings.
But as US troops sweep through Baghdad, they drive away local fighters and leave the capital’s neighbourhoods at the mercy of sectarian death squads.
At the beginning of March a round of tit for tat sectarian killings plunged Tal Afar into sectarian bloodshed. This was last seen when the city was "cleansed" of resistance fighters two years ago. Yet that huge US offensive was widely lauded as the model for the occupation.
The military surge has become a desperate gamble for an occupation that is deeply unpopular in the US.
Bush wanted the Iraqi army to bear the brunt of the fighting with the resistance. However many Iraqi soldiers have refused to join the deployment, leaving the US troops to fight alone.
The US lost 85 soldiers in March, while the Iraqi army lost 44.
Meanwhile the daily rate of attacks on occupation forces continues to rise.
April looks set to be a bloody month. In the first two days of the month two British soldiers and ten US soldiers have been killed.
Far from stabilising the country, the surge is fuelling a rise in bloodshed.
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