Sunday, April 19, 2009

And the war drags on . . .

The New York Times proves how out of touch and embarrassin git is with a story on Iraq which makes the front page of the news section today, Rod Nordland's "Feeling Secure Engouh to Sin, Baghdad Returns to Its Old Ways." The headline is insulting and rather frightening when you consider what the 'old ways' included (gassing the Kurds, for example) but Nordland's not responsible for the headline. He is responsible for the text of his report. And here's the opening sentence: "Vice is making a comeback in this city once famous for 1,001 varieties of it." What a little prig and how embarrassing for the paper. Vice. Vice?

Apparently the paper's gearing up for the editorials calling for vice raids to be brought back in NYC. I understand women smoke cigarettes at Time Square . . . in the open! And they serve booze . . . openly!!!!! Oh my goodness. Bring back the vice raids! Bring them back!

If you're not getting how insulting, patronizing and, for the matter, stereotypically right-wing Christian fundamentalist the article and it's approach is (from a Jewish owned paper, no less), it gets worse. Are they going to mention it? You know they are. You know they can't not mention it because they're being moralistic prigs. So the question is how far in?

Four paragraphs, opening sentence. Sodom and Gomorrah. And, no, there's no indication that anyone knows anything beyond the really bad movie made on it. (Again, though, Jewish owned paper.) This is such a disgusting and insulting article and you really have to wonder how the papers intends to out-do it because you know they're planning that.

As a reporter at another paper (equally offended by this article) said on the phone tonight, "Well I guess they're trying to ease back in the notion of prostitution . . . for personal reasons." Indeed.

So on the front page, the vice is prostituion -- listed second. Sandwiched in the second paragraph between night clubs and booze. And while prostitution might be back in the open, as the New York Times knows so very well, it never left Baghdad, not once. As the paper knows so very, very well. (Did an Iraqi refugee in Syria really pitch a book this month about her adventures in the Green Zone with certain journalists? Did she really? You'll Never Give Byline In This Town Again.) Considering everything that went down in the Green Zone over the last six years, for the Times of all papers to hop a high horse on the front page is ridiculous.

While the Times clucks and makes a fool of itself, Jim Muir (BBC News, link has text and video) reports on the real crimes going on, such as the attacks on the LGBT community:

Grainy footage taken on a mobile phone and widely distributed around Baghdad shows a terrified young Iraqi boy cowering and whimpering as men with a stick force him to strip, revealing women's underwear beneath his dishdasha (Arab robe).
"Why are you dressed as a girl?" roars one of the men, brandishing his stick as the youth removes his brassiere.
The sobbing boy, who appears to be about 12, tries to explain that his family made him do it to earn money, as they have no other source of income.
The scene, apparently filmed in a police post, reinforced reports of a campaign against gay men in Iraq which activists say has claimed the lives of more than 60 since December.

BBC is offering real news and NYT is longing for the day when Cecil de Mille managed to fill seats. How very sad and how very telling.

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, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4272 and tonight? 4274. In some of the violence reported over the weekend . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reported Saturday a Baghdad bombing that left two injured, a Baghdad roadside bombing which wounded four, and a Baghdad missile attack on the Green Zone. AP's Brian Murphy states this is the first attack on the Green Zone in approximately three months. Today Kadhim and Sahar Issa report a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured five people, a Mosul car bombing which injured seven (including a small child) and a Mosul roadside bombing which injured one person. Reuters notes a Baghdad mortar attack which left two people injured.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reported Saturday that Ministry of Interior Intelligence's Haider Hadi Mahdi was assassinated in Baghdad and the "owner of exchange currency business" and one employee were shot dead in Basra. Today Kadhim and Sahar Issa report three people were wounded in a shooting assault on Baghdad jewelry shops and Police Lt Col Abdul Rahman Ibrahim was shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 police officer shot dead in Mosul in an attack on a checkpoint, 1 Iraqi soldier shot dead at a Mosul military checkpoint, 7 people shot dead in Baghdad in an attack "using silencers at a gold shop" (this is an update on the gewlry shops McCllatchy noted). Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports that the murders of hte 7 "gangland style" has already led al-Maliki to create his own "gangland style" police unit. No word on whether the creation came so easy (less than 24 hours!) because so many "gangland style" -- possibly even the robbers-murders -- already work for al-Maliki.


Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Hilla ("Sunni Arab militiamen").

December 23rd, the Iraqi Parliament Speaker was ousted. Mahmoud Mashadani had been the speaker. Four days shy of four months, they finally have a Speaker. Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reports Iyad Al Samirrai was elected today. Sly glosses over the ouster. Mashadani was ousted. Even the US State Dept admits that. See their report released last week [PDF format warning] "Iraq Status Report." It doesn't get much clearer than, "The COR has yet to reach a consensus on appointing a new Speaker since Mahmoud Mashadani was ousted on December 23, 2008." His political party had to sue to prove he was eligible to run. Why? Liz Sly mentions the rumors that the Parliament has been planning a no-confidence vote in al-Maliki for months. (Ahmed Chalabi has spoken publicly of that and noted that such a vote, if taken, would be procedural and Constitutional and not, as al-Maliki has insisted, a "coup.") To no one's surprise, al-Samarrai is another Iraqi who fled the country ("spent nearly a decade in exile in Britian"). Wonder why so many see the puppet government as just that? How would you like to be ruled by a ton of cowards who only came back in the country after the US invaded? BBC reports the vote was 153 votes in favor (out of 232 votes cast). UPI quotes MP Izzat Shahbandar stating, "This is a strong challenge to the prime minister because he didn't want this party to take the office. It shows that the prime minister derives his power from the people, not from Parliament."

New content at Third:

Truest statement of the week
Truest statement of the week II
A note to our readers
Editorial: Media Whores and Medea Whore
TV: Broken or fixed?
Tea Parties
Papers and David Carr Stuck In The Box
Civil Rights history including 'Now!'
The Shirley goes to . . .
Greta Garbo
Lt. Muthana Shaad's Gay Boy Chronicles
Yesterday's Morning Glory Naomi Klein
Matthis Stands Tall April 21st

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. The e-mail address for this site is

the new york times
rod nordland
the los angeles times
liz sly

mcclatchy newspapers
hussein kadhim