Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Obama did an Iraq surge? What?

How can Americans be informed about the Iraq War when the media keeps lying? In some cases "lying" is a harsh term. But "stupidity" seems way too generous. Doesn't it?

We'll be kind and not name the local anchor woman. We won't be kind and let the service member go unnamed since he's a state representative and his comments are insulting (text here with video option).

Uninformed Anchor Woman: A local soldier who's still in Iraq says there are signs the surge is already working. We heard from Representative Scott Suder earlier. He's on his second tour in Iraq with the National Guard. He says the country has changed a great deal since his first deployment six years ago. He says there has been a visible change in the military efforts since President Obama announced a surge.

Scott Suder: In December, there were no military deaths in Iraq.

He continues to yammer on, but we'll stop him there. Scott Suder, there were military deaths in December. Stupid. They were 3 reported deaths in December of US service members in Iraq. Now you can say "no combat deaths" (although most intelligent people would wait until an investigation concluded with results released to characterize a death) but you can't say there were none. Stupid.

And how about that anchor woman. The surge? Obama's surge. Did the idiot sleep through the last years. The escalation was put forward by Bush -- against weak opposition from Congress (lots of grandstanding by Democrats, just no follow up). Obama never announced 'surge' in Iraq. The woman's an idiot. But hey, what about the other idiots at Wisconsin's WQOW? Or are we to believe there's no producer for the news and no one who writes the copy and it's all on the anchor woman?

Regardless, that 'report' demands multiple on air corrections. If this is what the news media presents as 'fact,' quit blaming the American public for their lack of awareness regarding the ongoing illegal war.

Better coverage of Iraq could be found on yesterday's Pacifica Evening News (broacast on KPFA and KPFK -- as well as other stations -- KPFA archives for 14 days, KPFK for 59).

Mark Mericle: Iraq's military seized a large cache of explosives and arrested suspected insurgents allegedly planning to target government ministries today in a crackdown across the capital that brought parts of the city to a standstill. The security measures demonstrated the ever present fear that insurgents will carry out more bombings like the ones against government buildings in past months that killed hundreds ahead of the March elections. The government's announcement that it had arrested 25 suspects and seized 400 kilograms of military grade explosives also set off bitter accusations from some Sunni politicians that the government had exaggerated the incident to burnish its security credentials. The deputy head of Parliament Security and Defense Committee said the insurgnents were explanning to target goverment ministries although he did not have details on which ones. There was now to independently verify the reports.

On the crackdown and claims, Liz Sly and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) report that Iraqi state TV immediately began announcing there was no military coup taking place in an attempt to calm the residents and that state TV then began broadcasting claims of an allegedly foiled plot. They report:

Whether the alleged plot has been fully thwarted is open to question, however.
The quantities of explosives uncovered would barely equal that of one of the recent bombs. The government did not specify whether the security forces had found the bombs purported to be circulating.
But the panic showed how jittery the city is as the elections approach. Though most roads were reopened by midmorning, schools were closed and some neighborhoods were sealed off into the evening. By nightfall, streets that would normally be bustling with traffic were almost deserted.
"People are feeling very nervous about the security situation and also about the political situation, which is getting more complicated every day," said Nabil Salim, a political scientist at Baghdad University.

Real violence continues in Iraq. Xinhua reports 1 person has been shot dead (a second wounded) in Baquba today while an Iraqi soldierw as wounded in a Sa'diyah shooting and "a roadside bomb went off near a U.S. military patrol near the city of Khalis". Press TV adds a bomber in Saqlawiya (Anbar Province) took his/her own life not far from a police station and killed 7 other people as well.

I'm noting Kelley B. Vlahos' "The COINdinistas: Last Years News" (Antiwar):

In high school, there are always the Cool Kids. In the Washington military establishment, there are always the Cool Kids. Walking conflict of
interest Tom Ricks loves to write breathlessly about Washington’s prevailing Gang with the Name – the COINdinistas – most of whom now roost in the Pentagon or at the Center for a New American Security, which hired Ricks away from a full-time job at the Washington Post to do just what he’s doing now: shamelessly promoting the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
But even the cool kids will eventually fall out of style. Like haughty Heidi Klum says, "In fashion, one day you’re in, the next day you’re out!" Perhaps that’s why Ricks’ latest Foreign Policy panegyric to his friends seems even more cringe-worthy and awkward than usual, mainly because this gushing yearbook entry – dated December 2009 – could have been written a year ago. Today, it tastes like slightly overdone steak. Stick a fork in it… you get the picture.
Under the subheading, "Who knows everything there is to know and more about counterinsurgency and its current role in U.S. military strategy? These guys," Ricks effuses:
"Pushed and prodded by a wonky group of Ph.D.s, the U.S. military has in the last year decisively embraced a Big Idea: counterinsurgency. Not everyone in uniform is a fan, but David Petraeus and the other generals in charge of America’s wars are solidly behind it. Here are the brains behind counterinsurgency’s rise from forgotten doctrine to the centerpiece of the world’s most powerful military…"
No. 1 on the list: Petraeus, or "King David," "who rules the roost," according to Ricks. He’s followed by John Nagl, the former Army officer and Rumsfeld aide who now "beats the COIN drum" and might find himself in a "top Pentagon slot in a year or two"; Australian COIN-whisperer David Kilcullen, currently one of McChrystal’s key eggheads, whom Ricks calls "the Crocodile Dundee of counterinsurgency"; Janine Davidson, a Pentagon policy-pusher who Ricks says is "now sitting at the adult table"; Dave Dilegge, editor of Small Wars Journal, which is "avidly read by everyone from four-star generals to captains on the ground in Iraq"; and Andrew Exum, another CNAS wonk, Iraq vet, and blogger, who "in his spare time has been known to play paintball against Hezbollah – no joke."

Use the link to continue reading and also for the links she's put in the article (I'm not including the links here). I would like to pull this into today's snapshot but I've been wanting to hit on this topic since last week and haven't had the time. We've noted here before (and at Third) that Vlahos is a conservative. For some reason, her political position has led Ricks in the past to believe she was 'open game' and he could write whatever he wanted about her -- true or false. He'll probably ignore the latest (which went up yesterday) because it's a depressing time for him. For reasons outlined in Vlahos' article as well as additional reasons. But that's what happens when you support War Crimes as Ricks has.

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oh boy it never ends