Saturday, October 30, 2010

Arthur Brisband self-destructs in public, US pulls strings in Iraq

At the New York Times, Arthur Brisbane -- of the noted journalistic family, not of the Mel Brooks film, weighs in on the WikiLeaks issue but does so ill-prepared and slap dash. It's an embarrassment and we're noting that at the top and not playing favorites. It's embarrassing and it's shameful. Here's the most problematic section, the one undermines everything else Brisbane writes:

Thomas E. Ricks, author of "Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq" and now contributing editor to Foreign Policy magazine, believes The Times put those in the field at great risk, with little public gain.
"What you have here is thousands of, basically, the equivalent of telephone logs, situation reports," he said. "These are not policy statements. These are not Rumsfeld ordered 'X.' It is one officer said this or heard this. It is the lowest form of information. It is crappy information being given a status it doesn’t deserve, and it carries great risk."

You want to be taken seriously? Don't come of like an idiot or a whore. It was incumbent upon Brisbane, now the public editor, to write an even-handed piece. He has not done that as the above excerpt demonstrates. Thomas E. Ricks is a public embarrassment at this late date but he can shout all the crazy he wants, few bother to listen.

Thomas E. Ricks' ravings aren't the issue themselves. The words aren't the issue.

The reason for them is. Tom-Tom Ricky isn't a reporter anymore, he's not even a journalist. He belongs to a think-tank. He belongs to the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) -- home to the homegrown terrorists in charge of counter-insurgency. Brisbane either doesn't know that fact or else he's whoring and hiding that fact. SO Tommy repeats the Pentagon says. That's surprising because? Michele Flournoy does what in the administration? She's the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (and being pushed as one of the leading nominees to replace Robert Gates when he leaves the post of Secretary of Defense). What did Michele start? Oh, that's right, she started CNAS. With Kurt Cambell, you know, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacifica Affairs. CNAS, Thomas Ricks? You don't think you need to identify his connections?


Again, it's either ignorance or it's whoring but, regardless, it discredits everything else in the article, it undermines everything. The identification should have been made by Brisbane, his failure to do so destroys every other word he wrote.

CNN reports that King Abdullah of Suaid Arabia is calling for Iraqi politicians to meet up in Saudia Arabia ("after the Hajj pilgrimage in November") to attempt to end the political stalemate. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) quotes the king stating, "It is well-known to everyone that you are at a crossroads, a fact that necessitates your uniting the ranks, rising above your wounds, distancing the shadows of differences, and extinguishing the fire of abhorrent sectarianism," said the king, as reported by SPA. Our hands are outstretched to you. Let us work together for the security, integrity and stability of the land and brotherly people of Iraq." Arab News adds, "He said the talks would be held under the auspices of the Arab League in order to seek solutions for all outstanding problems that stand in the way of forming a unity government in Baghdad, adding that it would be a good opportunity for reconciliation to restore Iraq’s security, peace and stability."

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and twenty-three days and still counting.

Nawzad Mahmoud and Rawa Abdulla (Rudaw) reports, "One of the major Kurdish political parties broke away from the larger Kurdish alliance on Friday evening, ending and undermining the united political representation of Kurds whose role is decisive to shape Iraq’s future government. By taking this decision, Gorran, the greatest and most influential opposition party in the northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan, deepens its political divergence with the two ruling parties over almost everything here in the most stable region of Iraq." Gorran -- "Change" -- is backed by the US and has received a huge amount of money from the US government. That detail is left out of the report but it is probably the most pertinent detail.

In today's violence, Reuters notes an Abu Ghraib attack in which 2 Iraqi soldiers were killed and five people injured, a Kirkuk drive-by in which one police officer was injured, a Baghdad sticky bombing which claimed 1 life, a Rashid grenade explosion which claimed the life of an 8-year-old boy and injured two members of his family and a Mosul roadside bombing which left three people injured.

Lastly, today's insanity in DC is nailed by Vast Left at Corrente.
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