Saturday, January 03, 2009

US military shoots journalists, Leila plays Evillene

Waleed Ibrahim, Missy Ryan and Tony Austin (Reuters) report that US forces shot Hadil Imad, an Iraqi news "producer for Biladi television stations," wounding her and her condition remains critical. When? Iraq and the US only wanted to get honest about it today but it took place January 1st -- remember that? The day of the big 'transfer,' the big 'transformation.' Hadil remains in the hospital and, not only is she a journalist, she'd gotten married the week prior. The Iraq War, it's all about . . . Spreading love . . . Spreading love . . .

Turning to yesterday's bombing, Anthony Shadid and Saad Sarhan's "Peacemaking Event Is Attacked in Iraq" (Washington Post) notes:

Ahmed said Friday's gathering was convened to foster reconciliation between Sunni and Shiite tribes in a region once so violent that residents had nicknamed it the Triangle of Death. The Sunni tribal leader who was host of the lunch, Mohammed Abdullah al-Qaraghouli, was among the wounded, Ahmed said.

How many are dead? We'll go with 30 and with one-hundred and ten wounded but, as Timothy Williams and Riyadh Mohammed (New York Times) note, those numbers can't be confirmed. The reporters sketch out the attack:

Around 1:30 p.m., after lunch, some of the tribal leaders lingered, drinking tea, while others began to leave, said several guests, who would speak only on condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation.
It was about then that one of the tribe's members, Amin Ahmed Edan Hasoon, who is well known in the neighborhood, entered the yard without being searched by guards, guests said. Moments later, he detonated an explosive vest he was wearing.
"I heard a horrible and shocking explosion, and there were people who had been standing in the yard and suddenly, no one was standing -- they were on the ground," said Abu Khalid, 33, a teacher and tribal leader who had gone to wash his hands when the bomb went off.
At Yarmouk Hospital in Baghdad, where many of the wounded were taken, the sound of sobbing men and women filled the corridors.

Ned Parker and Ali Hameed (Los Angeles Times) provide the following:

Saleh wanted the tribe's Shiite and Sunni members to find common ground, said tribesmen who attended the meeting. The tribe is predominantly Sunni, but, like many Iraqi clans, counts members of both sects.
Some said the idea had been broached of forming a political bloc at the meeting. The tribal leader did not suspect that one of his own relatives, a teenager named Amin Ahmed Qarqouly who sometimes slept at his house, would blow himself up as dozens were exiting, said Iraqi army Col. Akram Hamidawi. He said Amin, in a show of affection, used to refer to Saleh has his grandfather.
Saleh, the head of Yousifiya's Sons of Iraq, Sunni paramilitaries fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq, was not among the dead, relatives and Hamidawi said.
Amin, who lived in Saleh's neighborhood, had been considered unlikely to attack his immediate family. He used to stop by the house so frequently that no one frisked him Friday when he came in through the back entrance, where women had been cooking. His mother and sister were among those attending the party.
Amin's father left before his son's attack and was wanted for questioning, Hamidawi said.

It is already the story of the month. It's violence. A large death and wounded toll making it one of the most violent attacks in recent months. The first big attack of the year. Taking place where alliances may have been formed ahead of the upcoming elections. (Provincial elections scheduled for January 31st -- which the UN has warned will see an increase in violence as they approach -- a warning echoed by both the US State Dept and Dana Perino at the White House.) The meeting was monumental prior to the attack, a coming together that no one would have expected until recently. So it has all the elements to be a huge story.

So you know McClatchy's all over it.




Uh, sorry, the dog ate their homework. Leila doesn't like unpleasant news. She's morphed into Evillene insising, "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News!" So Adamn Ashton turns out some bad garbage about the air space. And tosses out factoids like, "On Friday, a Swedish air carrier landed a European commercial plane at the Baghdad International Airport for the first time in 17 years." That's what they're focused on. Can't cover reality. Can't cover the violence. And yet they still want to pretend they do something that makes a damn bit of difference. Still want to point to the days when they were Knight-Ridder and didn't fall (totally) for the spin in the lead-up to the illegal war. The longer Leila fails to do her job the more likely it is that we'll revist the great myth -- pushed by the usual liars of Panhandle Media -- about Knight-Ridder's total bravery in the lead-up to the illegal war. If Leila Fadel intends to get away with sinking the reputation of McClatchy, we're more than happy to help her out.

I'm not joking about correcting that little fable -- or at least fleshing it out. A number of friends at other outlets are really ticked off that I never tackled that and I've side-stepped it for some time. But we can go there now. And, if we do, there are numerous editors and reporters at other papers that will be happy to contribute examples of how the myth isn't reality and Knight-Ridder won more praise than they actually earned.

Trade talk. Did you hear about the correspondent angling for another job? Interviewing left and right. No word yet on any offer but, sad news for them, their current employer knows about the interviews and is pretty steamed since they'd been led to believe they and the employ had a long and bright future in store. Here's the cosmic joke, prepare to laugh, while the news oulet now knows that ____ was applying everywhere, desperate to get out of their job, _____ still has no idea the current employer knows.

And staying with humor, Iraq's first prime minister after Saddam, Iyad Allawi, is in the news cycle. Khalid al-Ansary (Reuters) reports that "Former U.S.-installed Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi" is offering a savage critique of the White House occupant and Nouri al-Maliki. "Utter failure," is how he characterizes the Bully Boy's policies. al-Ansary notes:

Maliki's government was characterised by "weak performance, erected upon political quotas, major government corruption and infiltrated state agencies," he said. "Four years passed ... and they can't build the police, army, national institutions."
"Ending Saddam's regime was essential, but replacing the Saddam regime with extreme chaos was not right," he said. "I did not imagine the political process would eat itself from inside or that it would abandon the rule of law and establish political sectarianism."

Did anyone hear Barack's radio address? Who wrote that thing? It's (unintentionally) hilarious. I'll save it for Third but we could do paragraphs and paragraphs on it right now, right here.

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