Saturday, January 26, 2013

I Hate The War

Let's blame the very bad article with Tim Arango and Yasir Ghazie's byline on the New York Times.
I have a hard time believing that they would write a report on today's vote barring Nouri from a third term as prime minister and not include obvious background for the piece. 

Otherwise, the two reporters would have to be labeled "whores."  The New York Times clearly is and is comfortable being one.

Let's offer the context that the paper didn't.  Surprising because protests took place yesterday -- Nouri's military launched a massacre in Falluja -- and the paper seems unaware of that too.

From the Monday, Febrary 7, 2011 snapshot:

Over the weekend, Nizar Latif (The National) reported, "Protesters who stormed government buildings and a police station in a small, poor southern Iraqi town on Thursday continued their demonstrations yesterday, despite a crackdown by security forces." You can refer to Thursday and Friday's snapshots for more on the Diwaniya protests.  Saturday, Alsumaria TV reported, "Hundreds of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad on Friday in protest against unemployment, freedom restrictions and other demands. Demonstrators waving the photo of late Argentinean revolutionary leader Che Guevara said they had no one to represent them in Iraq. Iraqi demonstrators urged to change the policies in Iraq and accused Parliament of shortcoming." Al Rafidayn noted that they marched on Muntanabi Street, activist, young people and intellectuals, demanding improved services. Al Rafidayn reported Sunday that approximately 250 people demonstrated in Baghad over the continued problems with basic services with some protesters carrying a coffin upon which the term "services" was written and demonstrations took place in Basra. On the Basra protest, the paper quoted a protester who states, "My children and I depend entirely on food rations and will die without them. " The man is a construction worker who gets temporary jobs and he wonders, since they have been unable to afford kerosene, if the government wants his family to burn each other to stay warm? Ramdi and Mosul also saw demonstrations Sunday according to Al Rafidayn. Xinhua reports the Baghdad protest had 3,000 participants. Al Mada notes that the Basra protests demanded that the provincial governor resign. The UK Morning Star quotes professor Nidal al-Sarmad speaking at the protest Sunday in Basra, "The people feel they have been deceived, they are frustrated.  The change the Americans brought has brought us a new set of thieves, a new set of dictators, not justice and freedom."  Al Mada also features an essay which notes protests in Falluja as well and stresses that these protests are not an attempt to "imitate" either Egypt or Tunisia, that this is the Iraqi people -- with their proud heritage -- demanding that basic services be provided and demanding that the "cake" stop being eaten by politicians while the people starve.

Protests very similar to the ones taking place today.  The above covers Friday, Feb. 5, 2011 through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2011.  With the protests as a backdrop, Nouri made a series of public promises. ("And, starting Friday, Nouri al-Maliki made a series of statements, including that the rations programs would be increased, that there would be no more rations shortages in the provinces, that he would cut his salary in half and that he wouldn't run for a third term. Of course, he's already dropped the last one, insisting he was misquoted. Now his stated position, per his spokesperson, is that he will not run if he is not successful. But, as is apparent from the fact that he ran after his first term, Nouri's definition of 'success' is free floating and highly elastic.") Saturday, February 6, 2011, Sammy Ketz (AFP) interviewed Nouri al-Maliki:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday that Egyptians have the right to democracy and pledged not to seek a third term in power himself.Maliki also backed constitutional term limits on his office in an interview with AFP, with his remarks coming amid nearly two weeks of protests in Egypt demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's three decades of rule.
"The constitution does not prevent a third, fourth or fifth term, but I have personally decided not to seek another term after this one, a decision I made at the beginning of my first term," said Maliki, who began his second term by forming a government in December.
The premier added that he wanted to constitutionally limit his successors to two terms, which he said was sufficient to enact change. At present, Iraq does not limit terms for prime ministers or members of parliament, but its president is limited to two four-year terms.
"I support the insertion of a paragraph in the constitution that the prime minister gets only two turns, only eight years, and I think that's enough," Maliki said.

And the press received it as gospel -- yes, that includes the New York Times.  Nouri will not seek a second term.  In the 24 hours after Ketz's piece was published, only two outlets acted like journalistic ones.  Liz Sly filed a real report for the Washington Post where she credited AFP for the interview (other outlets like  just printed it up as if they had interviewed Nouri) and' Ben Lando and Munaf Ammar (Wall St. Journal) reported that Nouri's spokesperson, Ali al-Mousawi, declared the day after the interview ran, "We would like to correct this article. Maliki said, 'I think that the period of eight years is adequate for the application of a successful program to the prime minister, and if he is not successful, he must vacate his place'." For over a week, US outlets continued to praise Nouri's decision and ignore the spokesperson's remarks.

So if you're writing about a vote on barring a third term and you're writing about Nouri, a real journalistic outlet includes what Nouri stated on the topic (especially one that once trumpeted Nouri's words on the topic).  I'll blame the paper and assume that as they move further closer to their own demise, they insisted on shorter and shorter foreign articles barring the two reporters from having the space to include the pertinent facts.

"I support the insertion of a paragraph in the constitution that the prime minister gets only two turns, only eight years, and I think that's enough."

That remark is honestly more important to the report Arango and Ghazi filed then the Forever Liar Sami al-Askari claiming that the vote in Parliament today was "unconstitutional." But if you're going to include al-Askari, you have to include Nouri -- at least if you want to be considered a news outlet.

And al-Askari? I thought he chocked to death on his own lies years ago and died.  That must have just been a very pleasant dream.

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!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

A few notes, community notes. The most important being, the public e-mail was hacked (others were as well but I'll let them disclose or not).  Mike noted that at his site Tuesday and Ava noted it Wednesday night when filling in for Trina.

If you sent something to the public e-mail, it may not have been seen by anyone intended to read it (Martha, Shirley, Eli, Heather, Dona, Jess, KeShawn, Ruth, Kat, Isaiah, Beth or myself).  If you wrote about something and it was never noted it here, it may not have been seen.

Some of Martha's personal information was seen and did go up here.  My apologies to Martha for that.  This account (the hacked one) was used to send the "Iraq snapshot" to this site every weekday.  I dictate it to one of three friends, they either type as I dictate or record and then type up, and send it to the site.  Using that e-mail address for sending (which is all you need to know to e-mail a post to Blogger/Blogspot), the hacker put Marth's information and a link to Fox News into an e-mail and sent it to the site.

Again, my apologies to Martha.

Why the Fox article? I have no idea.

We've changed the way Iraq snapshots are being done.  Not the dictated part, however.  If, over the next week, one seems shorter than normal, grasp that we're using a different system.  With the friend I dictate to who records, I do 25 minutes non-stop and he makes any edits for space needed.  With the other two friends who type as I dicate to,  generally the K is checked if it's seems like we might be too long.  We're now flying without a K check in the new program we're using.  Before, 90K was the goal for maximum.  Over that and it would bounce back and not post on the site.  Now we don't have the ability to track that as I dictate so you may end up with a shorter snapshot.

Lewis e-mailed to object that I didn't cover John Kerry's confirmation hearing when I was there.  Kat covered it. We covered, in Wednesday's snapshot, the Senate Foreign Relations hearing that day -- Hillary on Benghazi.  Due to the fact that the media immediately began to praise that embarrassing testimony/performance -- as well as some how-could-you-! e-mails -- we had to return to hearing in Thursday's snapshot.  There was a chance that it would go into Friday's snapshot but then Nouri's military turned on the protesters. Please grasp that the number killed and wounded created more victims than the Kent State shooting.  But was it reported as such?  No.

Mohammed Tawfeeq and CNN are the only ones without shame.  (Iraqi outlets reported very well, I'm referring to non-Iraqi.)  The events required that it be the bulk of the snapshot and it was.  I was already, since Wednesday, trying to work in political prisoner Lynn Stewart.  (Lynn would have made it in sooner, forced in if need be, had it not been that topic.  After my own cancer scare, it's the last topic I ever want to discuss here.  Lynn needs to be released immediately and allowed to seek the care from the physician she trusts.)

Lewis, I would love to have written about the Kerry hearing.  I sat through it and had planned to include it.  I'm mad that the House hearing on Benghazi (Wednesday afternoon) didn't get included because there was never time.  I'm less upset over the Kerry hearing because I like John and I would've probably gone to that hearing even if I wasn't doing a thing online. But, yes, when I go to a hearing, the plan is that it gets reported on here.  Events out of Iraq made that impossible.  Those events were important and the right decision was made (to emphasize those events).

On the House hearing on Benghazi Wednesday, we will note a statement.  US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee until this month.  Republicans in the House impose term limits for chairs.  When she was Chair, she did raise questions about the Benghazi attack.  We'll note her statement from Wednesday's hearing:

“Madame Secretary, thank you for the positive working relationship that we have had during your tenure at the State Department. I request that I get written responses for the questions I am going to ask. First, why were you not interviewed by the Review Board investigators? And how can this Review be considered thorough when the person at the top, the Secretary of State, was not part of the investigation? That’s what was said in our open hearing when it was confirmed that you were never questioned for this report and I think that’s outrageous.
Also, the State Department was clearly allowing the false narrative that Department officials were being held accountable for what went wrong in Benghazi, for ignoring the threat, and it was perceived as fact. Look at these headlines: the New York Times, “4 Are Out at State Dept. After Scathing Report on Benghazi Attack”, not true. “Heads Roll at the State Department,” not true. Yet State did nothing to correct the record.
Here we are 130 days after the terrorist attack, why did you not take steps publically to correct this false narrative, even up to today? Even when your deputies, Burns and Nides, testified before us, they both said that steps were being taken to discipline those State Department officials, when in fact no significant action had or has occurred. There was just a shuffling of the deck chairs. Do you find it acceptable that State officials responsible for this lack of leadership and mismanagement, for ignoring security requests during the Benghazi attack and before, remain employed within the State Department?
Also, the Accountability report cites several systemic failures at the Department that cannot be overlooked or ignored. Given that State was aware of the dangerously declining security situation in Benghazi: the assassination attempt on the British ambassador, other attacks on Western interests. Why did State not immediately revamp our security protocols prior to the September 11th attacks? Did State fail to act preemptively because it ignored the threat, or did it fail to act because it was unable to recognize this growing pattern of violence? Either way State did fail to act.
These failures highlighted by the ARB report serve as a blueprint for terrorists on where our weaknesses lie, where we are vulnerable. So what actions have been taken to ensure that when another embassy, another consulate sounds the alarm on security threats, as it happened in Benghazi, that those requests are not yet again ignored? As we examine the willingness and capacity of host countries in the region, we must condition aid to these high threat posts based on their cooperation with the United States, I hope that we do that.
Further, regarding State’s request for more money, it is worth pointing out some State Department officials have stated that budget constraints are not to blame for the loss of lives in Benghazi. However, the State Department is notorious for wasteful spending and continues to have misplaced funding priorities. Between State, Treasury, and USAID, the fiscal year 2012 request for the Global Climate Change Initiative is over $1.3 billion dollars. What do you think is a higher priority and a better use of taxpayer money: national security or global climate change?
This money could have been used for embassy construction, for hiring more Diplomacy Security agents, and for providing our posts and personnel overseas with adequate equipment and training. There is more that I can’t get to, but certainly I would appreciate your written answers, including the 64 specific action items that you will be taking on the task force recommendation. Also, we look forward to getting a detailed report here in Congress explaining their justification, itemized funding layout, etc. Thank you, Madam Secretary, for your time.”

I had planned not to cover the House hearing.  I really don't want to again deal with Hillary's lies and evasions.  If next week slow, Iraq wise, we may end up dropping back to that hearing.  I have my notes, so that's not a problem.  Why may we drop back to it?  Because the media's acted like only one hearing took place.  Especially gas bags on NPR.

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