Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Hate The War

I don't like whores and I don't like stupid. If we're talking face to face and you say something stupid, I'm not going to pounce. If you lie, I'll even justify it to others with, "Sometimes a lie is more important than the truth for some people -- and more revealing."

But that's in casual conversation.

When you're a journalist, when you're a reporter, I expect you to tell the truth.

Roy Gutman has a real problem with the truth. He gets caught snickering at Helen Thomas' fate on The Diane Rehm Show and wants to try and lie his way out of it. (See Ava and my "Media: Let's Kill Helen!" if you're new to the attacks on Helen.) He can't get things right in January (but Robert Dreyfuss of The Nation attacks Nizar Latif and spares the US' Roy Gutman). Then in July, reporter Roy Gutman offers that the US needs to stay in Iraq. That's a policy decision and as we heard over and over in the lead up to the Iraq War, reporters covered what happened, they didn't offer opinions and government policies weren't things they could comment on. Remember, that was the excuse given for their silence. That may have faded from memory but it happened. (Of course, when they're endorsing a goverment policy, it's never a problem. Chris Hedges gets written up by the New York Times for speaking out against the war. Reporters for the paper endorse it and they don't get written up.)

I'm guessing Sahar Issa did a lot of leg work to get an original story, Parliament's reaction to Nouri's down payment of $1.5 billion dollars for 18 war planes. And good for Sahar, that is the strongest part of the story.

And then Roy thought he'd round it out. He's either not done the work required or he's lying. And with his past rap sheet, it's really difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt. A follow up order? Not really news. Bloomberg was reporting that days ago.

Let's note some of the key problems with the article (all are direct quotes from the article):

The chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq said in the context of the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces by the end of this year, Iraq had taken a major step forward.

"The F-16 is a good example of them taking a step to reinforce their sovereignty, increase their self-reliance and deal with one of those security gaps that they still have," Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan said.

Concerns about Iraq's lack of air defense capabilities had been one reason some have advocated that the United State leave substantial numbers of troops in Iraq after the Dec. 31 pullout deadline.

But Buchanan said Iraq had made a number of advances toward regaining full sovereignty over its airspace after eight years in which the United States exercised control.

[. . .]

What Iraq has lacked "is the ability to defend their airspace," Buchanan said. The F-16s will provide help provide that.

"It gives them a very robust capability right now, where they currently have none." He said that one squadron of F-16s could cover the entire country. He acknowledged that this was likely to be a first installment. "Could you do more with 36 than 18? The answer would be yes, he said.

Right now?

Only a f**king moron or a damn liar would have waived that into print without telling the readers the truth.

Right now?

Lockheed Martin's not going to be delivering them 18 until . . . 2014.

How do you not know that?

From Tuesday's snapshot:

And, of course, yesterday the Iraqi government put down $1.5 billion dollars to purchase war planes. Yesterday, speculation was that the full cost for the order would be $3 billion. Today Viola Gienger (Bloomberg News) confirms that the planes will cost Iraq $3 billion. Yesterday, we noted that unless something had changed, the order would mean the US Air Force would be needed in Iraq beyond 2011. That has not changed. Geinger explains the first planes from the order will not begin arriving in Iraq until 2014.

How do you not work that into your damn article? Let's get Geinger's exact wording in here:

"The first batch will arrive in the country and fit into place in early 2014," Iraqi Staff Lieutenant General Anwar Ahmed said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

I'm sorry I'm just not in the mood for the lying or the whoring. And the 2014 was always expected. It's been reported on by other outlets because this deal didn't just emerge this week.

Yet Gutman allows a US military flack (Buchanan) to presenta a false scenario in which Iraq gets these planes immediately ("right now"):

What Iraq has lacked "is the ability to defend their airspace," Buchanan said. The F-16s will provide help provide that.

"It gives them a very robust capability right now, where they currently have none."

How do you print that when you should know it's a lie? How do you not print that the planes won't arrive until 2014?

We called out McClathcy when it mattered. We noted that a lot of 'reporters' were playing 'psychics' and telling us what would happen in 2011, presenting as fact, as early as November 2008. McClatchy's worst offender there was Leila Fadel. And because she worked for McClatchy, which no one can ever question, her lies carried more weight than someone writing for the New York Times. (Please note, Elisbeth Bumiller told the truth while Leila kept lying and McClatchy let her get away with it.)

And the lying continues. A goverment flack (and why the hell do the p.r. get titles? "Major General"? What? He battled with Der Speigel in the war over words over whether or not the US used DU in Iraq?) makes a comment that's an obvious lie. Not only is not called out -- which is pretty bad -- but it's included in the first place.

There was no excuse for that. The article is very misleading and, with Gutman's history, it's hard to imagine it being misleading by accident. Equally true, $1.4 billion? Every other outlet has reported $1.5 billion. And puzzling, we mention in the snapshot what Nouri al-Maliki declared about 'withdrawal' on TV today. But this McClatchy article that was published less than two hours ago doesn't even note Nouri's comments?

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 4480. Tonight it is [PDF format warning] 4481. Here's the screen snap:

9 29 dod

From today's snapshot:

A US soldier died today. AFP states, "The last US soldier to be killed in Iraq died on July 15 in the southern province of Basra, according to independent website Three American soldiers have died since then, but all in 'non-hostile' incidents."
First off, that silly website -- I'm not even going there. Second, today's death makes 5 deaths this month. But let's drop back to July because we don't insult the memories of the fallen by pretending one war death matters more than others. (And AFP is dead wrong when they say that since July 15th, three US soldiers have died?) July 18th military announces a death and July 20th the soldier is identified as Mark A. Cofield. That was the last reported death for July and on July 21st, we noted the count was 4477 US military personnel killed in the Iraq War -- and that's the Pentagon's official count. Unlike AFP, we're aware that every death matters. Unlike AFP, we're aware that Cofield's death left a lot of people mourning. We don't draw the line that the press -- apparently untouched by tragedy -- does.
In August, we are told, no US soldiers died. In September? No announcement's made but September 9th's official Pentagon count increases by one (and we've got the screen snap).
September 15th it increases by one again (and we've got the screen snap). September 22nd it increases by one (and we've got the screen snap) which should be Staff Sgt Estevan Altamirano who died Sept. 18th in Tikrit. A soldier died September 22nd, Andy C. Morales. He's not included until the most recent count (click here -- and we've already screen snapped it and will include it tonight). And don't give me any crap about that being today's death. The Pentagon released that count at ten this morning and they're not supposed to up the county until after they've notified the immediate family. So Andy C. Morales was four. Which means, counting today's death, five have died this month. I'm sorry that was too much work for the press -- work they are paid to do. Do you realize that in other wars -- talk to reporters who covered them -- they were required to keep their own counts? (Today only AP keeps their own count of US troops killed.)

"And don't give me any crap about that being today's death" resulted in an e-mail from a man who insists that it "must be." Actually no. And while you're right that I couldn't prove that this afternoon, I can now. As I noted, I don't say, "Oh, she or he was killed in combat, that one wasn't." I don't draw that line. I have no idea why the press is obsessed with it. (Shall we start drawing it for the US press fallen in Iraq? Jeep accidents aren't combat but damned if the press didn't try to wring everything they could out of their peers' deaths.)

I don't draw that line.

But a friend at DoD called to tell me I should. I didn't get what he was talking about and knew he couldn't go into this in too much detail. (DoD's got a clamp down on this month's deaths. They need not bother, I doubt many US outlets will note that there were at least 5 deaths this month.) So I was thinking about what he said, the riddle he was floating, and then it hit me.

Here's today's count:

9 29 dod

Here's the count we posted Sunday:


If today's death -- a combat death-- was the increase by one in the count, the "KIA" -- Killed In Action -- would have increased as well. But, as you see, it remained 36. "Non-hostile" moved up to 24 from 23. That's your proof that the combat death today is not yet in the count.

I have no idea why a bunch of useless, scared journalists supposedly in the business of informing have refused to cover the reality of the deaths for this month. But as usual, I got stuck being The Little Red Hen. They are paid to do a job. It's a real damn shame none of them can.

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