Friday, August 10, 2007

US helicopter goes down, Iraq dictoator talk floated

An Iraqi army officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information, said the helicopter went down after hitting an electricity pole at about 1:30 a.m. He said the raid was targeting a senior al Qaeda in Iraq leader in the agricultural area. Burwell said he could not confirm that report.

The above is CBS and AP on the US helicopter that went down in Iraq, wounding two Americans on board. The US military is working on a report which they will stall until everyone forgets and one outlet (like UPI for the July crash?) will finally report, in a few weeks, what actually happened (in the case of the July crash, the US military found that it was shot down -- UPI may have been the only outlet to cover that).

Graeme Wilson's "PM no closer to withdrawal from Iraq" (Telegraph of London):

In the process, the Prime Minister has succeeded in creating the impression that he would like nothing better than to extricate our troops from the killing fields of southern Iraq.
Yet despite the mood music, he has been unable to escape the core commitment that British troops will only withdraw from the streets when their Iraqi counterparts are able to take their place on the front line.

With the Poodle's exit and Gordon Brown's installation there were hopes for some that the transition of power would mean some form of an end to England's participation in the illegal war and, of course, that hasn't happened. What has happened, as Thomas Harding (Telegraph of London) observes, is that "British forces are set to suffer more deaths in Iraq this year than during the invasion of 2003." And it also comes when a new option is being pushed which has had very little coverage in the US -- installing a new dictator in Iraq. Yesterday we noted Damien McElroy's "Iraq needs a dictator, says group" (Telegraph of London):

After hundreds of British and American troops died trying to restore democracy to Iraq, a new lobby in the United States has concluded the country must go back to dictatorship.
[. . .]
But Michael Oppenheimer, director of New York University's Centre for Global Affairs, claims a dictatorship is now the most likely route to salvage Iraq. "If you can find a more authoritarian, non-constitutional figure in Iraq, you should probably go for it," he said. "Everyone else is clinging to threads that are things are improving when they are not."

If anyone's thinking, "Oh, that just an academic, what influence could they have?", then they obviously haven't been paying attention in the last few years. (Or throughout the 90s when the neocons invaded domestic college campuses and began preaching and fine tuning their nonsense there.)
Meanwhile, Rosa Brooks continues to take op-ed space in the Los Angeles Times that should go to a columnist who lives in the area. Problem enough but this is from her column on the New York Times down sizing/reducing the physical size of the daily paper:

A democracy needs reporters. True, journalism hasn't entirely covered itself with glory lately (think the New York Times' Judith Miller and her misleading prewar reports on WMD in Iraq). But for every Judith Miller, there have been reporters such as the Los Angeles Times' Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling, who, with photographer Rick Loomis, won a 2007 Pulitzer Prize for a series on the world's distressed oceans, or the Washington Post's Barton Gellman, whose recent reporting brought out previously unknown details on how Vice President Dick Cheney acquired unprecedented power within the Bush administration.

Every Judith Miller? Every outlet pretty much had a Miller but thanks to the likes of Rosa Brooks, they can all hide in safety and silence because in 2007, Judith Miller's the target for Rosa Brooks. Michael Gordon remains with the paper. Maybe that would take real guts to note, eh Brooks? And maybe the physical size of each morning edition of the New York Times is the last thing to gas bag over on the pages of the Los Angeles Times? Maybe there are actual issues that a columnist based in the LA area could cover the way Bob Herbert does from time to time with regards to New York (he also covers national issues)? Maybe you shouldn't mention "training" and talk about basic journalism when all you offer is the text equivalent of a Sunday chat & chew? Brooks gets out a shout out to and a quote from Thomas Friedman and readers of the Los Angeles Times get another column that reads as if it was put together in about five minutes with 30 seconds going for research.

And most importantly, Sub Rosa, Jo Becker co-wrote the "Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency" series with Barton Gellman. It's called giving credit where it's due. (Then again, maybe the issue here is having gathered a few facts before you sit down to jaw bone.) There's something truly sad about a woman who, by choice or ignorance, praises work but rips the credit for it from a woman. The series had two writers: Gellman and Becker.

It's equally amazing that she trots out Judith Miller for another round of Bash the Bitch when Michael Gordon not only did his part to sell the current illegal war but also continues to attempt the selling of war with Iran. From Editor & Publisher:

One day after The New York Times placed Michael R. Gordon's latest story about Iranian weapons allegedly blowing up large numbers of Americans in Iraq, President Bush warned that action might be taken against that country. McClatchy Newspapers meanwhile warned in a Web headline, "Cheney Urging Strikes on Iran."It was reminiscent of the day in September 2002 when Cheney and other officials went on Sunday talk shows and touted the now-infamous Gordon-Judith Miller front-pager in the Times on the "aluminum tubes" in Iraq and the possible "mushroom cloud" on the horizon. The Times, and Gordon specifically, have been giving the unproven Iranian IED charges far more prominent play than any other major news outlet.

From Warren P. Stobel, John Walcott and Nancy A. Youssef's "Cheney urging strikes on Iran" (McClatchy Newspapers):

Nor is it clear from the evidence the administration has presented whether Iran, which has long-standing ties to several Iraqi Shiite groups, including the Mahdi Army of radical cleric Muqtada al Sadr and the Badr Organization, which is allied with the U.S.-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, is a major cause of the anti-American and sectarian violence in Iraq or merely one of many. At other times, administration officials have blamed the Sunni Muslim group al Qaida in Iraq for much of the violence.
For now, however, the president appears to have settled on a policy of stepped-up military operations in Iraq aimed at the suspected Iranian networks there, combined with direct American-Iranian talks in Baghdad to try to persuade Tehran to halt its alleged meddling.

[. . .]
A senior Iraqi official in Baghdad said the Iraqi government received regular intelligence briefings from the United States about suspected Iranian activities. He refused to discuss details, but said the American position worried him.
The United States is "becoming more focused on Iranian influence inside Iraq," said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss private talks with the Americans. "And we don't want Iraq to become a zone of conflict between Iran and the U.S."

But by all means, let's all pretend Judith Miller was the only one 'reporting' and that she's still the most important topic today and ignore Gordo's work selling one illegal war and pushing a second.

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