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July 08, 2007


speaking of newspapers:


In a remarkable column today, Clark Hoyt, the newly arrived public editor at The New York Times, charges that the Times in recent weeks has too often gone along with the new drive by the White House and the military to blame insurgent attacks on al-Qaeda. The column arrives on the same day the paper calls for a U.S. pullout in Iraq. .

E&P last week had noted the same tendency in the Times in the reporting of Michael R. Gordon and others. A top Times editor admits to Hoyt that the paper's reporting in this regard has become "sloppy."

"on Independence Day, a McClatchy newspaper in a region with a heavy military presence came out for withdrawal."

Seems as if the McClatchey group is breaking the Bush era mold before all the rest.

Not all McClatchey's publications have expressed contempt for this war and the administration that perpetrated and now perpetuates it, but they seem to be one of the first to actually report the REAL NEWS that the Cheney/Bush administration wants to hide from us.

And your observation that newspapers tend to reflect a slow-motion or delayed-response version of the predominant local attitudes is very perceptive, particularly in terms of Iraqi war coverage.

As the letters to the editor AGAINST this war stack up, mountain high (particularly the threats of subscription cancellation if they won't print the truth) these newspapers and their neocon wannabe publishers and editors have no choice but to capitulate to the ever-more popular unpopularity of this awful war.

I'm glad to see more newspaper editors come out in favor of an honest assessment of our war in Iraq. But I think it's open to question whether Mr. Bush's goal there was ever to install a Western-style democracy. That was his rhetoric, but he also claimed that he invaded Iraq to prevent it from releasing a mushroom cloud over Main Street, USA.

In reality, Bush quickly dismantled Iraq's existing govt. He suppressed what expertise and plans we had which might have helped Iraq become that democracy. (Remember Rumsfeld throwing out several volumes of State Dept plans and his Douglas Feith not hiring experienced Middle East experts because they were Arabic-speaking Middle East experts?) He relied on Chalabi and few other Pentagon appointed exiles to remake Iraq into whatever image he really had in mind. The administration's efforts to manage practical, on the ground needs - order & security, food, water, healthcare and jobs - which might have delayed or forestalled the descent into civil war, were stalled in lieu of changing Iraq's laws so as to favor foreign/US investment.

That sounds much more like an effort to install a junta that would be friendly to our oil interests, just as former administrations used our Marines to help Latin American "democratic govts" become more friendly to our fruit, coffee and extraction industries.


I am reminded of Homer Simpson where he goes to pick up a donut and bangs his head, and then repeats and repeats the scene. Duh!!!

Mr Bush thinks because his stated purpose was good (To rid Iraq of a terrible Dictator, and bring Democracy and Peace to the Mid East) and because we have the greatest Military in the world that he could then do as he pleased. Not only that but he could do it with less troops than anyone else, as well as do it with in such a way as to have major tax breaks at the same time..

The classic tale of a little boy eating his cake and still having it. Duh!!! Another Homer Simpson moment!

The administration is exploiting the fact that the map is not the territory. If you look at their public pronouncements about the purposes of the Iraq War in contrast to what is actually happening, you'll see something akin to this map of the route you would take when driving from San Francisco to New York City:

SF ------------------------------------> NYC

The more newspapers don't dig into the details, the more this "map" is used to explain our current circumstances. It just so happens that we now have enough people talking about how that map doesn't seem to be working very well. Good thing that this state of affairs is making the press now, but there's still a lot of dismantling of discourse that needs to be done.

Couple of comments: the Iraqi staffers for McClatchy in Iraq blog about daily life here. Highly recommended if you can stand to know what it is like to try to stay alive and function in the hell we've created. No wonder their reporting is relatively good.

Also, not an editorial, but an oped in today's Boston Globe that I think we'll admit in time was prescient. Robert Malley and Peter Harling of the International Crisis Group describe Iraqi reality.

...violence has become a routine means of social interaction used by political actors doubling up as militiamen who seek to increase their share of power and resources. In other words, perpetuating the same political process with the same political actors will ensure that what is left of the Iraqi state gradually is torn apart. The most likely outcome will be the country's untidy break-up into fiefdoms, superficially held together by the presence of coalition forces. ...

Iraq is in the midst of a civil war. But before and beyond that, Iraq has become a failed state -- a country whose institutions and, with them, any semblance of national cohesion, have been obliterated. That is what has made the violence -- all the violence: sectarian, anti coalition, political, criminal, and otherwise -- both possible and, for many, necessary. Resolving the confrontation between Sunni Arabs, Shi'ites, and Kurds is one priority. But rebuilding a functioning and legitimate state is another -- no less urgent, no less important, and no less daunting.

Our disaster may still be in early days.

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