Sunday, February 26, 2012

And the war drags on . . .

What is it with the Associated Press lately? Is it bound and determined to discredit itself and demonstrate that they write in service of the US government and not in service of the public? We already suffered through Lara Jakes' embarrassment last week (opening pargraph insists al Qaeda in Iraq is responsible for Thursdays bombings and second paragraph says it's an al Qaeda "linked" group). Now they want you to know that the remains of the last missing US service member (from the Iraq War) have been discovered. (If you're wondering, Lara Jakes is also the author of the AP piece were knocking right now.) They're hardly the only ones self-embarrassing. Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) repeats the party line on Staff Sgt Ahmed Altaie. Michael M. Phillips (Wall St. Journal) plays parrot as well.

It's all a bunch of spin and useless crap. Allam comes closest to the truth when she notes Altaie went to visit his new bride in Baghdad which was against military rules. She 'forgets' to note that it was also against rules for him to marry her. He didn't tell his superiors, "I'm serving here in Baghdad and there's this woman I'm going to marry. Yeah, she's Iraqi. I'll be visiting her and using my leave for the two of us to go on our honeymoon. Yeah, I'm going to treat a combat zone like it's a Fort Lewis military base. Anything wrong with that?"

Of all the reports, the most offensive is by Luis Martinez (ABC News). The others can plead stupidty and, the state of the US press being what it is, do so convincingly. However, Martinez claiming the last missing US service member's remains have been recovered?

It was just nine days ago that Luis Martinez was reporting on Major Troy Gilbert? Who is he? The man who died providing cover for US service members on the ground who were under attack. His plane crashed and his body was taken from the plane and turned up, a year later, in a propaganda video. Martinez was all caring and heart when he was reporting on Major Troy Gilbert February 17th but I guess that was all an act. I guess New Journalism teaches crocodile tears?

Until the remains of Troy Gilbert are recovered, the last missing US service member from the Iraq War has not been recovered. A tiny dollop of tissue was discovered in the plane and the US military used that to justify not searching for Gilbert's body. The family is fighting the classification and met with the Pentagon about that last week.

Imagine for a moment that you're Troy Gilbert's sister or parents and you see a headline proclaiming that the remains of the last missing US service member lost in the Iraq War have been recovered.

It's really offensive for Martinez to have written what he wrote today. Yes, in paragraph 12 he does remember Troy Gilbert. A shame he couldn't when writing his opening statement and the first eleven paragraphs.

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, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4487. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4487.

In some of today's reported violence, Aswat al-Iraq reports an Iraqi soldier was shot dead and that a Baghdad bombing left six people injured, a Baghdad armed attack left a military colonel wounded and his brother dead.

At POLITICO, Joel Brinkley has a lengthy column on the current situation in Iraq which includes the following:

After Bush negotiated an end to the U.S. military presence in Iraq near the end of his term in 2008, his politicians and generals began warning of three large potential problems: growing Iranian influence in the Iraqi state, increasing sectarian violence and the possibility that Al Qaeda in Iraq “will continue to grow in capacity,” as Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, who commanded U.S. forces there, put it during a news conference last fall.
In interviews, several former officials and experts acknowledged that most, if not all, of that has already happened, in just the few weeks since the last American troops left. Last week, for example, Iran agreed to increase the electric power it supplies to Iraq by as much as 30 percent.
Some Sunni leaders, under sometimes lethal pressure from the Shiite-controlled government, have begun talking about breaking away from Baghdad and creating their own state. That has started talk of a possible civil war. And in the past week alone, about 70 people have died in bombings and other attacks.
But no one seemed to anticipate what is arguably the biggest problem: The nation seems to be relapsing rapidly into brutal dictatorship.
“There’s an incredible consolidation of power in the executive,” said Jason Gluck of the United States Institute of Peace. During the war, he worked in Iraq for the National Democratic Institute, among other agencies. “The parliament has been rendered extremely feeble, with little ability to stand up to the executive.”

It's filled with information and probably the most important Iraq article in a US publication this month. It's also a world away from what the New York Times has been 'reporting.'

Thug Nouri, remember when Nir Rosen insisted publicly in 2010 that Nouri was what Iraq needed, that they needed an authoritarian who'd show little respect for the Constitution? Well that's what Iraq got and it's going to hell before the world's eyes. And the disgraced Nir Rosen? Still pimped by sad little outlets. We hoped to tackle that at Third but didn't have time. New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest goes up in a minute.

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