Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007.


The “Surge” Just Failed

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Bush Administration, Iraq War

Cenk Uygur:

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has put the last piece of straw on the poor camel called Iraq. And its back is about to break. …

… After that snake Ahmed Chalabi talked to him, he has put the word out that he will not back the de-Baathification program (this NYT article explains it best). That means Sunnis will not get the stable jobs that would give them an incentive to join the Iraqi government. That means they will feel alienated and fight back against a government that completely excludes them. The insurgency will grow. The civil war which has already begun will now spiral out of control.

The Sunnis no longer have any incentive to make a deal. The only place where they think they might make gains is on the battlefield (I believe they are also sorely mistaken in that belief). So, it’s on. Iraq no longer exists.

By the way, in case you missed it — yes, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani makes the most important decisions in Iraq. The real power in Iraq runs through Sistani. He decided who would be elected to the Iraqi government in the first place when he selected the religious Shiite bloc that won the 2005 elections. George Bush handed Iraq over to a Grand Ayatollah. Brilliant work. Genius. Is it possible to be more incompetent?

So, now the rest of this will play out predictably. The Sunni insurgency will not let up at all. At some point, either we will start to withdraw and be replaced by Shiite militia (by the way, where is the Iraqi army, do they still exist?). That’s the best case scenario.

Expect the MSM “pundits” to figure this out in six to eight months.

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Journalists Should Not Be “Disinterested” About Truth

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Congress, Iraq War, News Media

I’m a little late commenting on the bogus charge that John McCain was heckled by Michael Ware, but it’s been weighing on me so I’ll comment anyway.

I sometimes wish videos of President Lyndon Johnson’s press conferences were available on the web (if they are, let me know). As I remember it, at some point after the Vietnam War began the Washington press corps began to hound LBJ mercilessly. The press became openly antagonistic to Johnson, and I won’t say he didn’t deserve it. When reporters began to treat Richard Nixon the same way they’d treated LBJ, Nixon sent out Spiro Agnew to stir up faux outrage against the nattering nabobs of negativism and whine about liberal media bias; thus a myth was born. The fact is, as I remember it the press was a shade gentler to Nixon than it had been to LBJ. And by the time Reagan came along they’d become sufficiently defensive about “”liberal media bias” that reporters generally treated Reagan with kid gloves compared to the way they’d treated presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter. And in comparison to the press corps in Johnson’s day, today’s White House reporters are a neutered and toothless lot, indeed.

I thought of LBJ’s press conferences yesterday after I saw this post by the Instaputz:

DISINTERESTED JOURNALISM: John McCain heckled by CNN reporter.

Ah, professionalism.

UPDATE: Hard to argue: “Michael Ware’s behavior here is flat out unprofessional. If CNN keeps him on staff after this incident, that says something, doesn’t it?”

ANOTHER UPDATE: John Tabin: “Heckling at a press conference is very rude, and wouldn’t be acceptable even from an opinion journalist (I wouldn’t dream of laughing in Nancy Pelosi’s face during a press conference). That said, isn’t it better when guys like Ware let their biases hang out, rather than embedding them in reports that are ostensibly objective?”

Wouldn’t it be better still if they just did an honest job of doing, you know, their jobs?

Later, Raw Story posted videos of the alleged heckling and, um, it wasn’t heckling. And to be fair, several rightie bloggers, including Reynolds, retracted their allegations.

But I want to address the part about reporters being “disinterested,” which means objective or neutral. Objectivity and neutrality are splendid. But “neutrality” and “objectivity” don’t translate into “pretending not to notice when a politician is lying his ass off.”

“Objectivity” used to mean that one shouldn’t allow personal biases to get in the way of telling the truth. Now it seems to mean one mustn’t tell the bare-assed truth about what politicians are up to, especially if they’re Republicans, because it makes the politicians look bad.

Regarding John McCain’s stroll through a Baghdad market (accompanied by 100 troops and two Apache helicopters), Kirk Semple writes in today’s New York Times:

A day after members of an American Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain pointed to their brief visit to Baghdad’s central market as evidence that the new security plan for the city was working, the merchants there were incredulous about the Americans’ conclusions.

“What are they talking about?” Ali Jassim Faiyad, the owner of an electrical appliances shop in the market, said Monday. “The security procedures were abnormal!”

The delegation arrived at the market, which is called Shorja, on Sunday with more than 100 soldiers in armored Humvees — the equivalent of an entire company — and attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior American military official in Baghdad said. The soldiers redirected traffic from the area and restricted access to the Americans, witnesses said, and sharpshooters were posted on the roofs. The congressmen wore bulletproof vests throughout their hourlong visit.

“They paralyzed the market when they came,” Mr. Faiyad said during an interview in his shop on Monday. “This was only for the media.”

He added, “This will not change anything.”

At a news conference shortly after their outing, Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, and his three Congressional colleagues described Shorja as a safe, bustling place full of hopeful and warmly welcoming Iraqis — “like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime,” offered Representative Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican who was a member of the delegation.

McCain and Pence and everybody else who staged that little stunt in support of the war deserved whatever razzing they got from the press. The fact that we are still being told about the soldiers and helicopters is not “media bias“; it’s “what a free press looks like.”

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Fertilizing the Roses

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Bush Administration

The President is scheduled to throw another public temper tantrum in the Rose Garden at 10 a.m. today. Apparently Harry Reid stole the presidential rubber ducky, and Bush wants it back.

I’ll watch and let you know how pathetic it is.

Update: Make that 10:10 a.m.

Here we go. Bush just said he met with General Pace and the joint chiefs of staff. He’s claiming the surge is working just fine, although it will be early June before the entire surge is in place. Having an impact, making a difference, he says.

It has now been 57 days since I requested emergency funds. Instead of passing a clean bill, the politicians have passed bills that undercut the troops and substituted the judgment of politicians in Washington for commanders on the ground.

[Update: See Think Progress about the 57 days.]

He’s playing the pork card. Democrats are bad and have left Washington for spring recess without finishing the work. How dare anyone but Bush take vacations. Dems are making a political statement. He wants the bill quickly so he can veto it, and then Congress can get down to work and do what he wants.

He’s still claiming that if the bill isn’t enacted by mid-April the troops will suffer. I have debunked that claim in earlier posts.

Blah blah blah; units will be extended, blah blah, if Congress does not act, blah blah. You’ve heard this before. I’m waiting for him to say something new.

He’s answering questions. He’s worried there are “a group of people” who don’t think we should be in Iraq (like, most of the American public) and he has “listened patiently” to their complaints and has decided he is right and they are wrong. Basically that’s all he says; I think I’m right, so I’m going ahead and do what I want to do.

He’s saying that the solution to Iraq is more than a military mission, which is why he sent more troops to Baghdad. (Yes.) He wants to provide “breathing room” for the Iraqi government to work.

He is afraid if we fail in Iraq “the enemy” will find a “safe haven” from which to plot future attacks on America, and if we fail in Iraq the enemy will follow us here, and SEPTEMBER 11 SEPTEMBER 11 SEPTEMBER 11. So there.

Have I ever mentioned how much it bothers me that the creature smiles at inappropriate times? I believe I have.

David Gregory is now “dancing man.”

Gregory said Congress is trying to exert more control over foreign policy, and isn’t that what the voters wanted? Bush says no, the voters want Congress to support the troops. And now he’s complaining about the pork again.

He’s basically dismissing what Congress passed as a political game, and he wants Congress to stop playing politics and get down to business, i.e. resume the role of rubber stamp.

He keeps harping on Congress for taking a week off at a time that’s inconvenient for him.

People have to understand what will happen if we fail, he says, grinning broadly. Oh, please, the radicals are being emboldened again. Please. And they will recruit more terrorists. Like they aren’t doing that now.

Defeat them there so we don’t have to defeat them here SEPTEMBER 11 SEPTEMBER 11 SEPTEMBER 11. And the way to defeat their ideology is by a competing ideology, one that respects human rights. Yeah, that’s what Democrats are trying to do.

Somebody is asking him about being isolated from other Republicans, especially in Congress. He is baffled by the question. He says that once Congress is brought to heel passes his supplement bill the way he wants it, from then on everybody will get along just fine. And he opposes tax increases.

Somebody is questioning the “they will follow us home” scenario. Bush is brushing it off. SEPTEMBER 11 SEPTEMBER 11 SEPTEMBER 11. I don’t know how they’ll do it, Bush says, I just know they will.

He wants the Middle East to change into a part of the world that will not serve as a threat to the civilized world. Then he changed civilized to developed.

It’s over, thank goodness. Now Chris Matthews says Bush is just trying to hold on to his base. Matthews also says that if the “surge” isn’t working by August, Bush will finally be out of time. Earth to Tweetie: Bush will never admit that he is out of time.

Well, that’s it.

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