Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Hate The War

Since this is the 'bonus' entry we can start it in anyway so I'll start with: I was sooooo wrong. A friend was the first to reach me and say, "Was it a joke?" No, I honestly thought ZNet was published (and I thought it had its servers) in Canada. I was wrong, 100% wrong, completely wrong. (See today's snapshot.) My mistake. No one else's. I will be wrong many times again as I was in the snapshot today. I'll include this in tomorrow's snapshot to correct my error. My apologies for my error. It'll also provide an excuse to run all the links to ZNet's WikiLeaks coverage again.

A few hours ago, the White House announced: "The Vice President today chaired a Cabinet-level meeting on Iraq to discuss the status of negotiations on government formation. Ambassador Jim Jeffrey provided a political update and General Austin noted that the security situation is steady and that the Iraqi Security Forces are performing professionally. This meeting is part of a regular series of senior-level discussions on Iraq led by the Vice President."

And actually we're back to my apology. I really don't see a way to comment on the following without referencing it -- and I hate self-referential. Nor am I plugging myself. If I know how to take responsibilty for my errors (and that may be one of the few things I'm good at doing), it's because my family taught me how long, long ago when I was a little kid. The smartest thing you can do when you make a mistake is admit you made it, offer your apology and continue with life. Again, I hate self-referential and if anyone's being praised by me, it's my grandfather and my mother specifically because they were very wise and taught all of us how to take accountability. Which is why there's a brief paragraph we've all seen at the top.

And I bring that up because I'd read Sabrina Tavernise's quote (actually it was read to me over the phone) from the New York Times' At War blog and I had wanted to include it this week but didn't have time or space in the snapshots. So as I'm going through the e-mails and flipping screens and looking for a topic to write on, I remember Tavernise and that others were answering questions as well.

We noted in one of the snapshots (probably Monday or Tuesday) that the paper was taking questions on their WikiLeaks coverage and Tavernise was replying to a question. So I'm looking over it a second ago to see if I can work something in here and James Glanz -- who has done excellent stories on contracting in Iraq -- answers one question and Tavernise answers another and I'm curious to see who else answered questions.


There's only one other question. (And I know they received a ton of questions because I already heard about that from a friend at the paper.) Why did they only run three questions?

Maybe because James Glanz replies in a brief paragraph and Sabrina Tavernise replies in a brief paragraph but the third person? Gabby John F. Burns.

He replies in multi-paragraphs. I'm counting 11 (check my math).

He uses 1287 words (that's via word count in Microsoft Works' Word) to reply. He's replying to a question that's only two sentences long. It's not an essay question. ("Why did John Burns write the 'hit piece' on Julian Assange in this weekend's NYT? Why did the editors allow him to publish rumor and innuendo about Assange?")

1287 words? That would be excessive under any circumstance. If he made a mistake, he should be able to take accountability in far less time. Burns doesn't feel he made a mistake. And yet he yammers away for 1287 words.

If you're not getting how awful that is, let's provide context.

The article he's being asked about?

It was 2014 words.

Check my math, but I believe he's only 727 words away from meeting that in his 'explanation.'

An article that requires an 'explanation' that lengthy? It would appear to indicate that -- regardless of Burns' claims to the contrary -- there were problems with the articles.

And that it comes from Burns who just can't stop, just can't find a period and a stopping place?

I'd argue that's suspect behavior and that most would find it odd and make inferences as a result.

We've called Burns out all week for his drama. He's gone on The Takeaway and To The Point supposedly to talk about the revelations in the papers WikiLeaks released. But he's turned the interviews -- turned the entire release of the documents of torture and abuse of Iraqis -- into The John F. Burns Story and made himself the leading character -- a poor, suffering soul right out of Susan Hayward film.

Around the time he's insisting that bloggers are out to get him and academia as well, you honestly expect to let loose a scream and then utter a garbled, "I Want To Live!" or maybe "I'll Cry Tomorrow!"

Drama Queen may be too mild a term.

Is he a reporter or a personality?

Who knows, but he's attempted to hijack the story of what was done to Iraqis -- a topic he showed damn little interest in when he was stationed in Iraq (what did he says about tailoring his coverage to US tax payers?) -- and make it all about him.

Has no one ever explained to him: "You are not the news. You cover the news but your yourself are not the news."?

The vanity involved in his rendering the suffering of Iraqis invisible to climb up on his cross yet again and play the victim -- it's unbelieveable.

The next time he uncorks another lengthy whine, Rupert Everett needs to sweep in and declare, "The misery, the exquisite tragedy. The Susan Hayward of it all. I can just picture you there, sitting alone at your table in your lavender gown" (My Best Friend's Wedding, written by Ronald Bass).

This is apparently the sad way in which Burnsie goes out.

No great loss and rather fitting because he was a lousy reporter, he did everything but report while in Baghdad -- everything, and he's more responsible than anyone else at the paper for rendering Iraqi women invisible over and over and over. He refused their stories, he refused to tell these stories. While Iraqi society fell apart and Iraqi women were targeted and lost significant legal rights, Burnsie looked the other way.

How fitting that in these brief years before he's put out to pasture, instead of earning accolades, he's basically become Helen Lawson -- without the guts to walk out of the ladies' room after Neely O'Hara flushes that bad wig.

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 week, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4429. Tonight it's [PDF format warning] 4430.

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