Friday, August 01, 2008

When the cake falls flat

Steven Lee Myers and Sabrina Tavernise's "Citing Stability in Iraq, Bush Sees Troop Cuts" (New York Times) and Ned Parker and Peter Spiegel's "A combat troop withdrawal from Iraq?" (Los Angeles Times) don't have a lot to offer. The New York Times looks foolish for their breathless 'reporting' in yesterday's paper (Treaty's coming! Bully Boy's speaking this morning! It's coming!) The Los Angeles Times handles it better today but they have Thursday as an example.

Tavernise and Myers offer real reporting at the end of their article:

The American military disclosed on Thursday that soldiers had killed three unarmed people during an operation northwest of Samarra on Wednesday, and injured a fourth. Ali Salih Jubarah, a spokesman for Salahuddin Province, the region where the killings occurred, said that Dahia Hussein and her two sons, Ali Jassim and Muhammad Jassim, all civilians, were killed during a raid on a house. He identified the injured person as Ms. Hussein's daughter, Sabeiha Jassim.
The military said that soldiers had been fired on from the area where the people were killed and had arrested a man who "admitted working with explosives," in the same area. It said that no weapons had been found with any of the Iraqis.
Earlier in July, American soldiers killed the son and nephew of the governor of Salahuddin Province, and last week, the American military acknowledged that three Iraqis killed on their way to work near the Baghdad airport in June were civilians.

You have to wade through the end and you have to get past a lot of nonsense. Bully Boy's talking about withdrawals! Nonsense like, "Still, he gave the clearest indication yet that conditions in Iraq would allow him to begin reducing the number of American troops there before he leaves office in less than six months."


Here's Bully Boy speaking yesterday:

The progress in Iraq has allowed us to continue our policy of "return on success." We now have brought home all five of the combat brigades and the three Marine units that were sent to Iraq as part of the surge. The last of these surge brigades returned home this month. And later this year, General Petraeus will present me his recommendations on future troop levels -- including further reductions in our combat forces as conditions permit.
As part of the "return on success" policy, we are also reducing the length of combat tours in Iraq. Beginning tomorrow, troops deploying to Iraq will serve 12-month tours instead of 15-month tours. This will ease the burden on our forces -- and it will make life easier for our wonderful military families.

It's the same thing he's always pushed which is why he says "our policy" -- that has been his policy. There is no turned corner, there is no 'win.' The war is illegal. I can type all of that and still acknowledge that Bully Boy's sticking with what he's said for some time now. There was no 'clear indication' or anything 'new' in his comments. Furthermore, Parker and Spiegel add this context: "He repeated what the Pentagon had already announced: Troops deploying to Iraq beginning today will serve 12-month tours, rather than the 15 months they were expecting."

Thursday was using whispers and rumors to tease out a story and it blew up in the New York Times' face. You'd think they'd have learned. Today's article indicates otherwise. Possibly having seen that embarrassment, Spiegel and Parker tone down the 'breathless' factor and are on a bit stronger ground.

As usual McClatchy Newspapers sets the benchmark. Leila Fadel's "Iraq is safer, but the war isn't over, U.S. commander says" (McClatchy Newspapers) covers the same big topics and also starts off at the start introducing a 'character' (as opposed to using unsourced 'sources' who add nothing to the 'report') -- Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III. From her article:

President Bush cited the reduced violence, as well as his belief that conditions in Iraq finally are turning around, at a hastily called news briefing Thursday in which he promised "further reductions in our combat forces, as conditions permit."
"The progress is still reversible," Bush acknowledged. "There now appears to be a degree of durability in gains."
"I think we're getting things right most of the time now," Austin told McClatchy on a Blackhawk en route to Diwaniyah, another one-time Shiite militant stronghold. Amara isn't friendly territory yet, but it's home to a U.S. base and five smaller combat outposts. "Our footprint of activity now extends from Mosul to Basra," Austin said, describing the improved freedom of action.

Ralph Nader is running for president (and he would end the illegal war).
Upcoming Nader events this weekend include:

Sat. August 2nd, 8:00pm
Nader for President 2008 Rally w/ Matt Gonzalez
Davis, CA
Varsity Theater
616 Second St., Davis, CA 95616
Contributions $10/ $5 student
(530) 554-8250 or
Map it
Sun. August 3rd, 1:30pm
Nader for President 2008 Rally w/ Matt Gonzalez
Sebastopol, CA
Sebastopol Community Center
390 Morris St., Sebastopol, CA 95472
Contribution $10/$5 student
(415) 897-6989 or
Map it
Sun Aug. 3rd, 4:30pm
Ralph Nader Book Signing and Speech w/ Matt Gonzalez
Healdsburg, CA
Copperfield's books
104 Matheson St., Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 235-1026 or
Map it
Sun Aug. 3rd, 7:30pm
Nader for President 2008 Rally w/ Matt Gonzalez
Kentfield, CA (Marin)
College of Marin- Olney Hall
835 College Ave., Kentfield, CA
Contribution $10/$5 students
(415) 897-6989 or
Map it

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