Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Hate The War

In today's snapshot, I said of Tim Arango's New York Times report, "Arango doesn't deal with the US Congress. That's not a liability or error. He's based in Baghdad. I wouldn't expect his article to address the Congressional issue." And I wouldn't but several friends thought I was responding to FAIR's criticism, by Peter Hart, of Karen DeYoung's Washington Post article.

Of the FAIR crew, the only one I have any respect left for is Peter Hart. I think those friends assuming it was a comment are correct. I was going to avoid the topic but let's jump in.

Karen DeYoung's the national security correspondent for the Washington Post. When you read Peter Hart's criticism of her, do you grasp that?

I don't.

To me, Peter Hart might as well be reading Stephen Holden's review of the soundtrack to the new Harry Potter and whining, "Why didn't Holden mention the costumes!!!!" Well . . . because he was reviewing the soundtrack. Because he writes about music.

Karen DeYoung noted that the delay in an answer from Nouri regarding whether or not to extend the US presence in Iraq beyond 2011 leaves Barack "with an ever-shorter timetable to complete the withdrawal or manage the politicall fallout from staying."

And Peter Hart snapped: "It's not clear why this is a serious problem. The deadline has been well-known for some time; no one is shortening anything."

Is he that stupid? Peter Hart? He used to have a brain, a sense of humor and be worth reading. He's taking on the Washington Post so presumably he's expecting to get more eye balls than the drivel he wrote where he laps Keith Olbermann's penis and takes both of Keith's testicles into his mouth. Truly, FAIR never called out the non-stop sexism of Olbermann. They really need to stop praising that ass. Whether it was Paris Hilton or Hillary Clinton, Olbermann has preached violence against women over and over. It's disgusting and so is Keith. FAIR degraded themselves by refusing to call out sexism in 2008. (Petey knows all about that, CounterSpin offered one sentence on sexism during the entire Democratic primaries, Ava and I noted it here.)

Why would this be a serious problem, Petey asks confused.

Karen's article ran in Sunday's paper. I know Peter Hart, like so many others in Panhandle Media, doesn't read Arabic but you can check the archives for Saturday's entries and you'll see that we were noting that Jalal Talabani was saying there would be an answer in two weeks on what they'd do: Ask for an extended stay or not.

What deadline has been well known for some time, Peter?

The December 31, 2011 'deadline'?

You stupid idiot. I just want to scream every curse word when I encounter this stupidity. In November and December of 2008, it got so very tiring explaining that the SOFA was a contract and could be followed as written, could be modified or could be replaced. It wasn't much better explaining that in 2009 and 2010. But always, there was the hope that when 2011 rolled around and reality demonstrated I was accurate in my analysis of the SOFA, we wouldn't have to constantly review it anymore.

The only thing December 31, 2011 is a "deadline" too is to that SOFA. It can be extended, it can be replaced with a new agreement. If you can't grasp this at this late date, I don't know if you ever will.

Time is running out. Not for the reasons we generally here: Oh the logistics!

Time's running out because Congress is about to get pissed at the administration.

When Bush did the SOFA, Congress was enraged. It'll be real easy for dishonest partisans -- maybe Peter Hart among them -- to whine, "Oh, Republicans are objecting now because Barack didn't submit the agreement to the Senate but they didn't say anything when Bush did it!"

Uh, yeah, they did. And we covered it here. There was, in fact, pretty much unanimous agreement on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that what Bush was doing required Senate approval. We covered the hearings on the administration saying they wouldn't submit the SOFA to the Senate for approval. Those were hearings in the House and Senate. FAIR doesn't cover anything. They originate nothing. So possibly they completely missed the hearings. But I didn't miss those hearings and Republicans were calling out the Bush administration. Do you honestly think they won't call out Barack? Republicans won't call out Barack?

And then you have the Democrats in Congress. There are five who told me they were told to drop the issue of the SOFA. For those who've forgotten, Barack Obama and Joe Biden's official position was that the SOFA had to be submitted to the Senate or the Constitution was violated. That was their official position and then they got elected. And walked away from that. And asked members of Congress to stop their own objections. Again, I spoke with five members of Congress about that in real time. Four are still in Congress. I asked them, "If you drop it now and Barack doesn't end the Iraq War and does the same thing Bush did, what are you going to do?"

I was told by those five Democrats that they would be loudly objecting. Will they or won't they? I have no idea but I haven't forgotten those conversations.

If Barack breaks his promise (he's going to, there's the new agreement avenue to extend the war and occupation and there's also the put it all under the State Dept and pretend like that makes it different), there will be fallout. I don't know how much. No one does.

But a friend no longer in Congress does agree now that the smart thing to do would have been to draw a huge line between himself and Barack Obama. In 2010, Dems in tight races who could draw a line won. Dems who couldn't, lost. If 012 begins with US forces still in Iraq, if the election year of 2012 begins that way, you're going to see a lot of Democrats in Congress and Democrats not in Congress but running for it, offering some of the harshest criticisms of Barack yet.

The bulk of them can't embrace the Iraq War. Not only would it be a problem for their consitutents, they'd be begging Republican rivals to run advertisements showing them making statements about ending the war. They'll look like the biggest liars in the world.

So there are number of political issues for the US Congress. Since they failed to use their power and do their duty and end the Libyan War, I don't see them actually taking action against Barack if he bypasses them on a SOFA or SOFA-like agreement. But I do see them get very vocal to make sure that their constituents know they're not in agreement (they won't do a damn thing to stop him, but they will speak out).

Karen DeYoung wrote an article about Iraq. There's nothing wrong with her article. It's not an opinon piece. Most of Peter Hart's criticisms would apply if it were an opinion piece. In other instances, he's got problems with reality and wants to pin that on the writer.

I'm sorry that Peter Hart hasn't had time to pay attention to Iraq. I'm sorry that he's so foolish and has even lost his ability to be bitchy which once could carry his work on a bad day. But those aren't Karen DeYoung or the Washington Post's problems. Those are his and his alone.

When this site started, the thing that used to infuriate me the most when I'd hear from friends in the press was the whining. MSM press. The non-stop whining. I never said anything nice (did they miss all the praise I gave the NYT tsunami coverage?). Blah, blah, blah. It was as ignorant and uninformed as Peter Hart's criticism of Karen DeYoung's article. Over time MSM friends came back with stronger criticism including that I take the MSM to task but never do the same with Panhandle Media. That was a valid criticism. (We'd already, by that point, taken on CounterSpin for its sexism in bookings of guests and we'd taken on The Nation magazine which, in 2006, ran 491 male bylines and only 149 female ones.) And there have been so many more about my work here. A valid criticism isn't a bad thing. It can open new vistas. It can help you reorient.

Maybe Peter Hart will find that to be the case because otherwise he should just skip the topic of Iraq because he truly has nothing to contribute. As we noted in 2006, you can't go several months ignoring Iraq and then try to check in for a brief moment. Too much will have taken place, you will have missed too much. FAIR -- in all its mutations -- has ignored the Iraq War for sometime. It was the AP, after all, not FAIR that issued a memo reminding that just because Barack said he had ended combat operations did not mean that they were over or that US troops were suddenly safe. FAIR would have done that . . . under a Republican president. But they disgraced themselves in 2008 and have never made it back. The Iraq War became less important to them than Barack Obama. Serving his needs were more important to them than campaign finance reform. They failed to call him out for putting homophobes on stage. Repeatedly, the alleged media critic couldn't say a word. In 2008, as the watchdog refused to bark, we saw that they were willing to whore everything they'd once claimed to treasure just to elect a dubious and questionable politician.

It takes a lot of gumption to show up after that and think you're going to give Karen DeYoung or anyone else a lecture on ethics and how to be fair. No one expected FAIR to play by a set of rules someone else set up, they just expected FAIR to follow what they'd for so long preached. When they failed to do that, they're rank hypocrisy ran off what was left of their audience. Maybe before they launch their next criticque, they could offer up a self-inventory, explain how what happened happened and what steps they intend to take to ensure it never happens again?

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4472. Tonight it remains [PDF format warning] 4475. Morning entries may be late, I'm very tired and we flew back yesterday evening.

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