Look beyond the headlines, continued

Look beyond the headlines, continued

: In today’s Times, John Burns and Edward Wong write a piece reported by Iraqi reporters under the headline Some Iraqis Optimistic About Sovereignty. I think I’m seeing a trend here, following Jennifer Eccleston’s story on CNN last night finding the progress that is occurring in Iraq. But just as in that story, they could not report good news as balance to all the bad — or as an attempt to find the clearer picture of what is happening — without throwing in more bad.

Here is Burns’ lead:

When Shaker Assal was approached in his butcher’s shop on Tuesday and asked what he thought about life in Iraq a year after it resumed formal sovereignty, he responded with a blast of invective as heated as the sunbaked sidewalks in his Baghdad neighborhood of Ghazaliya.

But read down six paragraphs and you’ll find this:

But in an informal survey of opinions across Baghdad conducted on Tuesday by Iraqi reporters on the staff of The New York Times, the butcher’s outburst was a relatively rare case of untempered hostility for the Americans and the Iraqi governments they have worked with in the past year….

And read down two graphs more:

But perhaps more striking, considering the huge gap between the hopes stirred when American troops captured Baghdad in April 2003 and the grim realities now, were the number of Iraqis who expressed a more patient view. Among those people, the disappointments and privations have been offset by an appreciation of both the progress toward supplanting the dictatorship of Mr. Hussein with a nascent democratic system and the need for American troops to remain here in sufficient numbers to allow the system to mature.

And if that was the essence of the story, why wasn’t it the lead?

Take these two episodes together with Bush’s speech last night (which I didn’t get to watch live thanks to a business call; I read it in the paper this morning) and we continue to see that the war at home is a war of PR. Now I know that many couldn’t stand when I cast the Bush execution of his policy and the Downing Street Memo in the light of PR. Fine. But the impression of the war in Iraq — the bad news and good news, the perception of progress or lack of progress, the enmity or optimism of the Iraqis themselves — obviously has a very direct impact on the support for the war here, witness the polls, and thus the execution of it in Iraq. What we see in these two stories is an inability to report progress — which itself is a form of balance to all the car-bombing stories — without balancing the balancing with more dark clouds. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Ethan

    “What we see in these two stories is an inability to report progress — which itself is a form of balance to all the car-bombing stories — without balancing the balancing with more dark clouds.”
    Huh? These reporters are after an accurate picture of what is going on in Iraq. Obviously the entire picture can never be reported; but the good and the bad have to be covered. There’s no more reason to report progress as there is to report despair. Great reporters–and I think Burns is a great reporter–are not beholden to anyone’s agenda.
    FURTHERMORE, the story as written simply makes for good copy. I would argue that it’s more refreshing to hear about progress when directly contrasted with some guy cursing about life. It simply seems more believable, a more accurate description of life in Iraq, the bad and the good.
    Finally, not sure what you mean by “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Are you saying bad war reporting–or maybe what you construe to be anti-war reporting–is actually undermining the war? I don’t think that’s an argument you really want to take. But maybe I’m wrong!

  • Thomas

    I’m guessing you will now drop everything you’re doing and head off to Iraq and report on what you see….right Jeff?

  • jeremy in NYC

    Well, I agree with one point Ethan makes – the lead makes colorful copy, much more than somebody happily going about their business.
    Ethan – I’m just curious – if the story were about a targeted series of bombings across Iraq, would you think it normal if they led with a guy saying how great he thought the Americans were? I would – I usually look to the lead to signal what’s coming in the story.

  • Ethan

    Jeremy–the answer to your question is yes, provided that a) it made for good copy, and b) the reporter in question didn’t have a reputation for pushing one agenda or another. Since Burns is a great writer, and as fair-minded as anybody, he has some license in this area. But honestly, if Neil Cavuto led off the news on some horrific day when multiple coordinated attacks killed dozens with a tidbit about a girl baking cookies in Baghdad, I’d throw a fit. But Cavuto isn’t remotely fair minded and as dumb as a doornail.

  • Mike

    Ethan, Jeff’s point is totally lost on you. He is referring to what has been the constant negative news stories coming out of Iraq about car bombs and growing insurgencies and how bad we’re doing there and looking for some balance to those stories. When we finally get what looks like a positive story, the reporters can not help but throw in something negative.
    If you are looking for balance in every news story, fine, that’s all well and good. But then how about asking for some balanced coverage about the negative news reports then? Because you don’t find anything positive in the stories about car bombs.
    On a side note: you recently called me out for calling people I disagreed with idiots (you) and morons (Pataki). Well it’s nice to see you apply those high-minded sensibilities to yourself:
    But Cavuto isn’t remotely fair minded and as dumb as a doornail.

  • Ethan

    No, you miss the point Mike. Journalism isn’t about acheiving some false balance. There are “constant negative news stories” about Iraq because, guess what, the news is constantly negative. Journalism, speaking very broadly, is about transmitting the truth in a readable, reasonable way. And don’t generalize by seeing Burns as being indicative of “reporters.” Burns is one of the best in the business.
    As for the doornail comment: I called you out for subjective, petty name-calling. The Governor of NY is a “moron?” That’s ridiculous and impossible to demonstrate, whereas Cavuto’s “dumbness” is as close to fact as character descriptions get.
    Finally, you recently said something about “shooting the messenger.” Well buckaroo, Criticizing the war reporting of John Burns is like firing a shotgun at the messenger.

  • Eileen

    “There are “constant negative news stories” about Iraq because, guess what, the news is constantly negative.” I don’t think so, Ethan. Just because its all we’ve been fed doesn’t mean that’s the only diet that exists. Good news is soft news so we don’t hear it. MSM is anti-Bush and anti-war so we don’t hear it. But that’s not to say good news in Iraq hasn’t existed from day one.
    As Jeff says, the constant focus on the negatives – over time, in Chinese water torture fashion: drip, drip, drip – becomes its own self fulfilling prophecy. MSM’s collective crime is failure to present fair, balanced reporting of ALL the ‘news’ in Iraq, both good and bad, and instead intentionally attempting to shape outcomes through one track emphasis and a decided emphasis on the negatives. It is this bias that conservatives like me object to so vehemently. And it is why we’re turning our backs on MSM in droves.

  • patm

    That John Burns, what a hack!
    The nerve he has to include “bad news” about Iraq in a story that also has “good news” about Iraq. Doesn’t he know our news from Iraq needs to be segregated, so we can ignore the stuff we don’t like? I mean, would it have been so hard to just quote the optimistic Iraqis? Damn him, I want to hear about progress and progress only, for God’s sake. Keep them “dark clouds” to yourself, liberal media.
    Thank God for Arthur “no dark clouds here” Chrenkoff.

  • Ethan

    I find that sentiment–this “self-fulfilling prophecy” idea–to be deeply disturbing. The press or the “MSM” are not responsible for the war. John Burns specifically has no agenda to push–if you have evidence that he does, to quote Jeff, “out with it!” The events that they report on are the consequences of decisions made by others. Of course there is good news, but there is also bad news. A desire to see emphasis placed on good news is a desire to see something other than credible journalism. At that point you are calling for propaganda, nothing more, nothing less. To assert that the press is responsible for the worsening conditions in Iraq deprives Bush as well as the Iraqis of responsibility. I can point my camera at whatever I want and write whatever I want. If people change their behavior, that’s their decision, not mine.

  • Syl

    Ethan, it seems obvious to a casual reader here (me) that you find it abhorrent to even report good news because you don’t believe it. You believe that the majority of news out of Iraq is bad and reporting ‘good’ news is somewhat dishonest.
    I’d like to know why you have this belief? What other sources do you have for your opinion other than the MSM and democratic political talking points? Seems to me you’ve been a bit brainwashed.
    What one wishes for and reality are two different things.

  • whodat

    Ok you went a little schizo in your last post Ethan. Also, nice use of “Buckaroo”. It reminded me of Richie Cunningham.
    “The events that they report on are the consequences of decisions made by others.” Perhaps. But there are many events from which to choose.
    “A desire to see emphasis placed on good news is a desire to see something other than credible journalism. At that point you are calling for propaganda, nothing more, nothing less.” I don’t think anyone was calling for emphasis, just more balance.
    “To assert that the press is responsible for the worsening conditions in Iraq deprives Bush as well as the Iraqis of responsibility.” I don’t think anyone was making that point. I think they were more referring to our country’s state of mind.
    “I can point my camera at whatever I want and write whatever I want. If people change their behavior, that’s their decision, not mine.” That’s an apology for propoganda, isn’t it? Viewers/readers need the chance to see it all.

  • Ethan

    per usual, wingnuts take things to illogical extremes to justify what is an illogical war, as everyone in the country save for those brave warriors of the keyboard now knows!
    “Ethan, it seems obvious to a casual reader here (me) that you find it abhorrent to even report good news because you don’t believe it.”
    Please, show me where that was remotely implied! A good childhood friend is currently in Iraq. If it were all good news all the time, I would be a very, very happy man.
    >The events that they report on are the >consequences of decisions made by others. “Perhaps. But there are many events from which to choose.”
    Eh…that’s not really an argument, is it? What are those events?
    >A desire to see emphasis placed on good news is >a desire to see something other than credible >journalism. At that point you are calling for >propaganda, nothing more, nothing less.”
    “I don’t think anyone was calling for emphasis, just more balance.”
    Nope. You’re calling for precisely the OPPOSITE of balance. The article in questioned is balanced and fair, and Jeff et al are irritated because it leads with a rather negative anecdote! What you want is GOP propaganda. What I believe in is journalism.
    >I can point my camera at whatever I want and >write whatever I want. If people change their >behavior, that’s their decision, not mine.
    “That’s an apology for propoganda, isn’t it? Viewers/readers need the chance to see it all.”
    Propaganda means intentional distortion of facts to support a viewpoint. I am talking about the necessity of pointing your viewfinder at events and then transmitting them. You are not.
    You want propaganda. Crazy as it may sound, I believe in John Burns.

  • Angelos

    What is good news? That a car DIDN’T explode today? That some Iraqis are trying to lead as normal a life as possible?
    You mean like the Israelis have been trying to for how many decades? When every trip to the store, every bus ride, could be the last one?
    This is a victory? This was one of our goals?
    Creating another Russian Roulete nation?
    Are you Iraq Hawks nucking futs?
    Or, as I asked in another thread, are your standards for success really that low?
    Hey, I didn’t rape anyone today. Alert the media!!!
    (I had to misspell Roulete to get it past the spam filter. Not very effective, considering 99% of span uses intentional typos.)

  • Linda Edwards

    It occurs to me that we could have used more of this “balanced” reporting of the news BEFORE we committed ourselves to the invasion.
    I heard little if none of the complaints coming from the extreme right when the headlines were blaring:
    WMDs
    MUSHROOM CLOUDS
    ANTHRAX
    CONNECTION BETWEEN SADDAM AND AL-QAEDA
    WE WILL BE GREETED AS LIBERATORS
    IMMINENT THREAT
    Nothing from the MSM saying, “Gosh, does any of this make sense?”, (which … it didn’t) or “Gosh, do you have any credible evidence of that?” (which … they didn’t).
    If there had been more “balance” reporting, we may not have gotten ourselves into this mess in the first place, and we wouldn’t now be having this conversation.

  • Eileen

    Ethan says: “Propaganda means intentional distortion of facts to support a viewpoint. I am talking about the necessity of pointing your viewfinder at events and then transmitting them. You are not.”
    Propaganda also means focusing on one set of facts to the exclusion of other relevant, existing facts to the point of distorting reality. If you want us to provide examples of good news and developments that would be hard to do, as MSM basically hasn’t covered any. One can, however, visit Iraqi blogs, milblogs and other non MSM outlets to find it.
    Please stop twisting words. As indicated, no one here is espousing only airing good news. Several of us do, however, point out that news of positive developments or progress is generally excluded. That’s why the CNN and Times pieces are ‘noteworthy’ and ‘newsworthy’ to begin with, albeit peppered with obligatory dire.
    As for your view that this is an ‘illogical’ war, Carsonfire’s recent post below – which was just retired from the main page – bears repeating in its entirety:
    “Quoting: “Those 20,000 jihadists. The reason they’re there (when they weren’t there Bush invaded), is because Bush invaded Iraq without a plan to secure the country.”
    Praise Allah! The infidel Bush has invaded Iraq without a plan to secure the country. Now’s our time to strike!
    It’s funny hearing about credible (note: credible) evidence and desperate rants from people on the left. Terrorists have attacked and menaced innocents as far back as the 70s, long before Bush the elder was even elected, yet the left’s constant refrain is that terrorism is simply a biproduct of putting dopes like Bush and Rumsfeld in charge.
    But the violence didn’t just start on 9/11. There is a long history of international terrorism, and it is indeed the heightened level of violence that has prompted some of us to decide that taking proactive action is the right course, as opposed to the old method of sitting back and letting terrorists run roughshod over the globe in perpetuity.
    From the 70s to the 80s to the 90s to now, terrorists have progressed from hijacking planes to taking large groups of people hostage to bombing small ships to causing massive, coordinated destruction. Do the facts point to A) global inaction allowing terrorists to work out bigger and better ways of killing innocent people, leading to greater tragedies in the future, or B) oh, maybe they’ve finally got it out of their system, the little scamps?
    So far, the left is opting for B, while humorously calling itself the “reality-based community”, and oddly crying “Bush Lied!”, as if imperfect data and plans for probable eventualties means that international terrorism is simply fiction.
    Credible facts — history — demonstrate that the problem is escalating. And yet, the answer from the left is to bug out! Abandon the aggressive military solution and go back to pretending there’s no problem apart from wascally wepublicans! To go lalalalalalalalalala every time somebody tries to remind them what happened on September 11. Oh, you right wingers are just trying to scaaaaare everybody! 9/11 didn’t happen! All those people who leapt to their deaths from that inferno that used to be the World Trade Center probably deserved it since they were filthy capitalists! You’re just making sh*t up when you say there was a connection between Saddam and terrorism, even though he was opaquely handing out cash rewards to Palestinian terrorists! Joe Wilson determined that terrorism isn’t really real over a drink with some guy! We’ve heard all of this “credible” stuff over and over, and it demonstrates not a grasp of evidence and history, but a disgruntled, latent hate, that simply is not excused by little tales of past offenses and tribulations.
    It is your right to disagree with the path the rest of us have taken, but your best arguments so far are: Bush is a boob (opinion); war is an orderly process where every detail is carefully mapped out ahead of time (wha?); and Bush is a boob (we heard you the first time). We have not heard any credible arguments on this, but we continue trying to be polite, anyway.
    In the end, despite all other arguments, you have to make one case: terrorism is not about compelling infidels to bow to extremist religious views, but the result of BusHitler’s horrible policies. It is this inane fairy tale that winds up aligning the left with terrorists — their fairy tale, not the right’s. The right wouldn’t even think to suggest such an alignment if not for constant leftist speech to the contrary. It was leftist darling Michael Moore, after all, and not a Republican, who said that the terrorists hit the wrong people on 9/11, suggesting that Democrats and terrorists alike would be better off without Republicans.
    The left cannot credibly make that case, though, that terrorism is a response to American conservatism. They are merely indulging in some sort of hateful projected wish; a totalitarian desire, I suppose, to be able to do to their political enemies, in a free society, what terrorists do to their enemies.
    That is not a fact, of course, but speculation. But if not that, then what? The muslim extremists’ views run especially counter to liberalism in almost every respect. So why do you do it? These extremists stand for oppressing women and killing gays; they are undemocratic; they stand for killing those who do not submit to their views; they do, in fact, kill at will, destroy at will. While you criticize Bush and the military for not protecting a museum, you ignore a subversive movement that proactively destroys history and people alike. If terrorists were to invade the US in mass numbers, liberals and leftists would be the *first* against the wall (or with their heads on the block, as the case may be). If muslim extremists show the left any preference at all, it is because they recognize that the left is their best conduit of naivety, their best “useful idiots”. Yet the left defends them at every turn, with the silly and nannyish complaint that they would fight them better, but if Bush wasn’t around, they wouldn’t have to, anyway, because it’s only because Bush exists that the terrorists do what they do. Hear the pretty birds chirping and the sun bounding off the mountains like a rubber ball!
    Don’t talk about credible evidence until you begin relying on it yourself, instead of arguing from the myopia of political hatred.”
    Posted by carsonfire at June 29, 2005 12:33 PM

  • Ethan

    “The left cannot credibly make that case, though, that terrorism is a response to American conservatism. They are merely indulging in some sort of hateful projected wish; a totalitarian desire, I suppose, to be able to do to their political enemies, in a free society, what terrorists do to their enemies.”
    This sort of thinking is deplorable, grossly irresponsible and should not be taken seriously.
    Furthermore, if you’re going to slander a signifcant portion of the American populace, you really should get a better grip on the facts. Terrorism did not start in the 1970’s. Unless the Haymarket Square incident was concocted by that damn liberal media! And also: when feigning authority, you should remember to spell “byproduct” correctly. Really, it’s not that complicated. It ain’t “biproduct.” If the 101st Fighting Keyboarders had read more than Glenn Reynolds, perhaps they wouldn’t make so many glaring grammatical and spelling errors.

  • http://jarrarsupariver.blogspot.com Jeffrey — New York

    John Burns is a fine reporter but he has often let his biases weight his pieces one way or the other. I researched the story of the looting of the Iraq National Museum for around a month. Here are a couple paragraphs from that essay:
    >That Saturday, in her lead paragraph for the Associated Press, Hamza Hendawi wrote that the Iraq National Museum had been emptied and all that remained was broken pottery and shattered display cases. The BBC News online world edition reported that looters had removed thousands of pieces from the museum. And John F. Burns, writing for the New York Times, claimed that the museum had been looted over a period of 48 hours and that they had taken away ìat least 50,000î artifacts. Later that evening Burns would rewrite his lead. Instead of 50,000 artifacts being carried away by looters, he inserted, ìwith at least 170,000 artifacts carried away by looters.î (1)

    >Months later, when the truth finally surfaced and people began to ask how the reporters had made so many basic mistakes, John F. Burns would confess to Andrew Lawler that he and the other journalists were ìdisposed to believe the worstî and that ìpassion got the better of us.î John F. Burns, to his credit, was one of the few people involved in this story to admit that a mistake had been made. (21)
    If you would like to read the entire article, go here:
    Iraq Antiquities Revisited.
    I consider it a very even-handed and well-researched look at how the media covered the looting story.
    *

  • hey

    ethan, “terrorism” didn’t start in the 70s, but islamic terrorism with global conquest as its intent did. plo in the 60s was a soviet construct, and didn’t become jihadi until later.
    the simple facts is that liberals and leftists want this war to fail. they don’t believe in western civilisation and only see personal advantage in the failure of bush, the us, and the west. MSM reporting shows this bias and they will be in serious trouble if the war breaks out into full on conflagration, as there is significant chance in europe.

  • Ethan

    “liberals and leftists want this war to fail. they don’t believe in western civilisation…”
    Yes, I don’t believe in “western civilization.” And you guys take offense at what Dean says!
    This is ridiculous!

  • Angelos

    Hey, what a load of shit. Any way to support your “simple facts”?
    We dont “want this war to fail.” We didn’t want to invade Iraq to begin with, we wanted to finish the job in Afghanistan.
    We do, however, see the war failing, in plain sight. And we believe that corrective measures would be appropriate. But the administration has committed to the head-in-the-sand, no-problems-here position. Thus guaranteeing failure. That, sport, is all your side’s doing. Not ours.
    And, if you’d opened a history book now and then, you’d realize that liberalism is what made the American version of “Western Civilization” great. We’d like to keep it that way, and not revert to the theocracy for the wealthy that Georgie is trying to create. Hey, if you enjoy serfdom, be my guest. Just not in my fucking country.
    Interesting point you close with though. When war breaks out in Europe, which you imply will be a direct result of Bush’s war (yay, we started WWIII!!!), the liberals will be sorry.
    What the hell does that mean!?!?!
    Well, as the College Republicans have proven, the Chickenhaws and the 101st Fighting Keyboarders sure won’t be there. They have “other priorities,” as you know. Useless is as useless does.

  • monkeyboy

    Angelos:
    “we wanted to finish the job in Afghanistan.”
    “Well, as the College Republicans have proven, the Chickenhaws and the 101st Fighting Keyboarders sure won’t be there. They have “other priorities,” as you know. Useless is as useless does.”
    So I suppose those two statements mean that you are emailing from a .mil in Afghanistan?

  • whodat

    Ethan-
    Your posts continue to support the claims from some here that you are immature. Railing on a misspelling? Man. It’s funny, I have never posted anything remotely resembling an ad hom or name calling post. But as soon as a point is made counter to the liberal view, man–watch the posts with the derogatory names for those who lean right start flying. Wingnuts, etc.
    You ask what events? I work in news media (big deal I know) but it does make me privy to some of the decision of what gets aired. There are a lot of “events” that could be reported.
    Angelos–Afghanistan? You still need to clean up Bubba’s mess in Kosovo.

  • syn

    “Liberalism is what made the American version of “Western Civilization”
    Yeah, but then Liberalism was hijacked in the 1960’s by LSD-driven anti-American Marxist radicals evolving Left into a Collective-wide Conscience of Thought Police believing Evil is Good riding around in an old beat-up, smog-producing, anti-humanity sticker-laden Magic Bus, banging the drum of “give me all your money” while chanting “Death to Capitalism.”
    This is what defines today’s “Western Civilization” Liberalism.

  • Ethan

    If you’re going to act authoritatively, spell words right. If you don’t know how to spell, why should I think you have any background in the subject?
    And accusing me of lobbing ad homs and then distancing yourself while lobbing one at me–indirect ad homs, I guess–“some claim you are immature”–is just pathetic. The idea that correcting spelling is more offensive than telling half the populace they “don’t believe in Western civilization” and “want to see the US lose” is high comedy.
    And you still can’t provide examples. Tapdance around the subject all you want, but an excuse is an excuse, and your’s is as clear as day.
    But hey Jeff: where’s your righteous indignation about the slander perpetuated on your own blog? Only if a Democrat says something offensive, right?

  • Linda Edwards

    Eileen, you rescued this from the archives dust-bin, eh? I assume since you rescued it, you agree with it. I’m surprised you’d want to be associated with it.
    Carsonfire, you really are stretching it to think you’re making any kind of point. I have to say I’m finding it more than a little dishonest. I find it disturbing that you are also all to willing to use 9/11 to make already discredited connections Iraq. That’s shameful.
    Terrorism’s been around thousands and thousands of years, not just since the 70’s. It’s as old as mankind. Different terrorists, different victims, different causes, different methods. You’re naive if you think you’re going to eliminate terrorism by simple “aggressive military action”, especially when it’s not targeted at the terrorists. Blundering into Iraq like a bull in a china shop as if you don’t have a brain in your head ain’t the solution. Now if you wanted to go into Saudi Arabia, WHERE THE TERRORIST WERE/ARE, well now there’s something to consider. Oh, but we don’t want to do that either, what with Bush’s best buds being the Saudi Royal family and all.
    I can think of a real good way to discourage terrorists from hitting you. Make an example out of them. If they mess with you, take them out. So where the hell was that “aggressive military action” when we needed it in Afghanistan. But nope, we did a half-ass job because our real ambition all along was invading Iraq. Who posed to imminent threat to us. And let the man responsible for attacking us get away. Nice message to send to the terrorists.
    In the meantime, North Korea, who really does have WMD and ain’t afraid to admit it or share with their friends, is thumbing their nose at us. And our “aggressive military” response was what? I mean, if Bush wasn’t afraid to invade Iraq because “they had nukes”, then he shouldn’t hesitate to invade North Korea. They’ve violated agreements, too. So take them out.
    Let’s see, our other friends, the Pakistanis. The head of their nuclear program sold nuclear secrets to terrorists. He was punished by being placed on house-arrest. Bush’s “aggressive military” response was, “Oh, OK. As long as you promise to keep him in his house”.
    And how is that “aggressive military solution” going to be possible now. Our military is so over-stretched right now, all we can do is pray that we don’t have a major incident that we’d be hard pressed to defend ourselves against. You’re verson of “aggressive military” action has left us vulnerable to same kind of attack again.
    “In the end, despite all other arguments, you have to make one case: terrorism is not about compelling infidels to bow to extremist religious views, but the result of BusHitler’s horrible policies. It is this inane fairy tale that winds up aligning the left with terrorists — their fairy tale, not the right’s. The right wouldn’t even think to suggest such an alignment if not for constant leftist speech to the contrary. It was leftist darling Michael Moore, after all, and not a Republican, who said that the terrorists hit the wrong people on 9/11, suggesting that Democrats and terrorists alike would be better off without Republicans.”
    We need no further proof that you have gone off the deep end. You are desperate. You are losing the argument. Americans are finally waking up to the realization that their Fearless Leader misled them into this debacle. Yeah, he lied. Apparently, you don’t seem to mind being lied to about reasons for going to war. But I have some self-respect and I resent it.
    “The left cannot credibly make that case, though, that terrorism is a response to American conservatism. They are merely indulging in some sort of hateful projected wish; a totalitarian desire, I suppose, to be able to do to their political enemies, in a free society, what terrorists do to their enemies.”
    As stated above, terrorism has been around a long, long time. Long before Americans and long before conservatives. And so you are “speculating” that those who demand the truth from their elected officials no better than terrorists. Right, and who got all pissed-off because of talk of Nazis?
    You conclude your rant in a very odd and scary way. I think you need to get a grip, or anger management.
    Oh by the way, those terrorists being paid off by Saddam, they were receiving $25,000 for suicide bomb missions in …. Israel. Oh, but isn’t this what so much of all this is about. Israel.
    Y’all need to read up on end-timers. Enlightening!

  • Linda Edwards

    Whodat, Kosovo was a NATO operation. And … it worked.

  • Syl

    oh grow up, Linda. You know darned well the war on “terrorism” is the war on Islamofascism. Don’t try to be cute. Criticize Bush, if you must, for not using the ‘proper’ word but remember using it would alienate all the muslims in America.

  • Howard

    Kosovo was a NATO operation. And..it worked….wowo. Dear, pick up America and the Age of Genocide and read the chapter on Kosovo.
    Also, there is a small difference between preventing Iraq from producing nukes, and going into a country withe nukes, particularly when a little burg called Seoul is just a wee bit down the road.
    Oh and your anti semitic jab: Perfect. I could not think of a better coda for your idiotic diatribe.
    I AM in Iraq and you truly need to buy a f’ing clue.

  • http://postwatchblog.com Christopher Fotos

    What is good news? That a car DIDN’T explode today? That some Iraqis are trying to lead as normal a life as possible?
    That most Iraqis are building a new life after decades of tyranny.
    Good news is physical reconstruction, women forming their own advocacy groups, new business, a nascent stock market, a stable currency, a reviving education system, growing businesses–not to mention the opportunity to build a free nation in a region filled with oppression. I can understand how anyone relying primarily on mainstream media doesn’t see this, but anyone with access to the web doesn’t have an excuse.

  • Rob Crocker

    The real problem is that you have this strong lead paragraph with a name and “a string of invectie” and you have to delve down five more paragraphs to find out that this is actually a minority view.
    Then they have to talk about “huge gaps” between “hopes and realities” when in fact the people in question seem to be being quite realistic about the situation.

  • Linda Edwards

    But Syl. I am cute.
    Howard, NATO conducted bombing to campaign to stop Milosevic from murdering masses of ethnic-Albanians in Kosovo. After 11 weeks of NATO bombing, Russian and European envoys meet in Belgrade, Serbia accepts peace plan. After Nato and Yugoslav generals meet, a UN resolution draft is agreed to, the Serbs withdraw, and Nato ends the bombing. Milosevic loses power, gets arrest, now is on a really, really long trial at The Hague, but will never see the light of day again.
    Number of U.S. soldiers killed? 0.
    What didn’t work, dear?
    Iraq had no nukes, was not producing nukes and in no way, shape or form had the billions of dollars it takes to put together a nuclear program from scratch, since the facility they tried to build was destroyed.
    Maybe you didn’t get the official reports. Here’s a summary for you.
    http://www.carnegieendowment.org/npp/iraqintell/nuclear.pdf
    Anti-Semitic? You’re a dishonest Liar.
    Just giving the facts, ma’am.
    P.S. Don’t even try it. My grandson was in Iraq last year, and he’ll probably be back there again next year. I have alot at stake, too.

  • Kat

    Yes, and little Serb children get bombed in schools and libraries and museums and trains from 30,000 feet and no one bitches.”Clark tried bombing Serbian military targets from 30,000′ for about a month and, seeing that not working, embarked upon a wholesale campaign of war crimes directed against Serbian civilians and their infrastructure hundreds of kilometers from any legitimate military target. Thousands of little slavic orthodox kids, amongst other civilians, were killed in these mad bombing raids, which included targets such as the bridge at the little market town of Varvarin, the Chinese embassy in Belgrad, and a television station. The idea was to make the lives of ordinary Serbs so miserable that they would somehow or other force Milosevic to hand the ancient heartland of Serbia (Kosovo) over to the KLA/AlQuaeda narco-terrorists.” (AP-1996)
    You targetted innocent Serb kids–that’s what didn’t work, Linda.

  • Linda Edwards

    Kat,
    Groan! You have such an, oh, interesting way of re-writing history. Don’t you ever get even just a little bit embarrassed.
    Sounds like you’re best buds with your hero Milosevic, the genocidal maniac. Poor Milosevic, such an honorable man. How could he have been so misunderstood!
    Guess that says all anyone needs to know about you, Kat.
    Words of advise Kat (paraphrasing): Better to remain quiet and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
    I’m going back to my genealogy research now. I find researching dead people to be a whole lot more interesting than “listening” to your incoherent, belligerent rancor.
    Have a nice day
    XXXO

  • owl

    When you have to read the entire article to find the truth in the last paragraph, it stinks. Dishonesty, bias or inability to see the truth because of political views? It does not matter because the results are the same…
    And yes, I blame the MSM for the war. Yes, I blame the mouths saying they support the troops and then go on to support the enemy with every word they spout.
    The ONLY thing remotely similar to Vietnam is this horrible support of the enemy, with the constant drumbeat. The same old voices that were active then in spreading any little thing that would hurt the war effort, are doing the very same thing today. The VERY same people. Otherwise, how would sane people explain seeing pictures of Abu Ghraib plastered on our front pages for months? Why would our media publish something that is bad for us for months? Not a week or so with follow ups…..no…months of that trashing. You can NOT say you support our troops and cheer for that practice. I am still waiting to hear Democrats tell the MSM how disgusted they were and how that endangered our troops. No? I can’t hear ya….
    Why is no one offended that the American MSM has decided to be “world citizens” instead of Americans? I am very offended. I have names for such.
    Everyday the leads on my home page..just a few words that give an impression. I certainly never believe the first 10 words because you can bet your booties they are all just alike. They are either……anti-Bush….anti-Bush administration….anti-Republican…anti-war…anti-troops…anti-American. When Bush was re-elected, MSM should have received the message that half the population rejected what they were selling.
    You can hate Bush and the war as much as you like, but the facts are….America is at war. Do you hate so much that you are willing to lose a war? That is still the question, regardless if Bush personally lied to your Momma. If we killed Osama tomorrow, the terrorists are still coming unless someone does Something. Bush chose to gamble on Iraq changing the equation……So sue him if he’s wrong………but could you wait about 10 years? Could American MSM at least give those troops a fighting chance at success?
    I listen to the Quadmire People. How can you help but hear them when they control 90% of the media? I can turn to any channel and hear the Quadmire People 24/7. I see the Quadmire People on my homepage. I see the Quadmire People on the front pages of all the majors. I listen to the Quadmire People in the Senate (they easy to identify……the very same faces that were Quadmiring 30 years ago, leading their same old “America is the bad guy chant”).
    But hey, those Quadmire People support the troops! And the troops really, really appreciate it. If they live to be old, they will remember these Quadmire People’s support and how it helped the war effort.
    Don’t ever say old dogs can’t learn new tricks. Those old dogs learned to tell people to say “we support the troops” and do NOT spit.

  • Eileen

    It’s so sad.
    Americans(!) buckin’ for Americans to lose on every single ground. From the real battlefield to the contrived one. Drip…………drip………….drip.
    Amen, Owl. Sadly, amen. G’night.

  • Tony Alva

    “Sounds like you’re best buds with your hero “Milosevic, the genocidal maniac. Poor Milosevic, such an honorable man. How could he have been so misunderstood!”
    Linda,
    Substitute Saddam for Milosevic and serve yourself a nice big plate of crow with a side dish of foot.

  • Linda Edwards

    Me thinks thou dost protest too much. You should be ashamed of yourself for playing the “support our troops” card.
    If you really had cared about our troops, you wouldn’t have supported sending them into this conflict in insufficient numbers based on fanciful estimates and expectations, ill-equipt, and not being truthful with them about why they were sent.
    They’re still not being told the truth, though I understand perhaps that doesn’t matter. Our soldiers are the best in the world, in the best military of the greatest nation. They have a job to do, they’ve been given their orders and they must follow them. Their’s is not to question why. It’s up to us stateside to insist our officials do right by them. We must hold his admnistration accountable or we may as well say to our soldiers, “we don’t care”. I’ve never blamed our troops for the debacle in Iraq, and if that’s your insinuation, you’re a damned liar. I put the blame squarely where it belongs, with Bush and his henchment. Oddly, you seem to that’s that treasonous. I question your motives.
    Shame on you.

  • Linda Edwards

    Tony,
    You seem oblivious (deliberately?) to the fact that we went into Kosovo in a legitimate international effort. Ever hear of NATO? That’s why it was a success. We insisted on going it alone (ok, with our poodle Blair) in Iraq, with no reasonable plans for internationa participation for the post-invasion period, which endangered the effort.
    Now you can take your crow and shove …..

  • whodat

    Linda-
    Kosovo was Nato cuz Bubba wasn’t going to run it by the weak UN–which never would have approved it. It was primarily a U.S. decision, led by U.S. planes. NATO basically in name only.
    I also find it interesting that you point out about innocents being killed in Iraq and don’t acknowledge that with Kosovo. I think Tony Alva nailed it. The truth is it was also a failed mission in many respects, and it remains a very poor and unstable place.

  • melk

    As a Democrat, I have long become convinced of the fact that the Bush policy in Iraq has achieved and will reap tremendous benefits for the people of the region and for the security of the those countries threatened by Islamic terrorism. The changes in Iraq,Libya and Lebanon speak for themselves and it is obvious that hostile states like Syria are terrified of any potential US response. These things are so obvious that I no longer bother with the cretinous counter-arguments that one reads on this and other blogs.The New York Times.as Jeff implies,is trying to gently break the bad news of this progress to some of its denser readers.
    Fight the good fight,Eileen and others,I no longer waste my time with these people.

  • Linda Edwards

    With respect Whodat, how interesting that you’re not questioning Kat’s defense of Milosevic. Huh.
    We didn’t lie and deceive to get into Kosovo. We were’t dishonest. We used legitimate, internationally recognized channels. We didn’t go into it for the purpose of taking out their country’s leader and and trying to replace it with someone we liked better. Military plans weren’t based on unrealistically rosy expectations (greeted as liberators). The US didn’t conduct a full-scale, nearly unilateral, military invasion. We lost no troops.
    Nato’s goal was to stop the ethnic cleansing, and that’s what they achieved.
    I agree, it remains a poor and unstable place. Our mission wasn’t to improve Kosovo’s economic conditions. UN peacekeepers are in fact still there, and will be there for some time (as we will in Iraq, not weeks or months like some adm officials said), but we’re not the largest contingent. Our soldiers are not the targets.
    Please advise the “failed mission” aspects.
    FYI, if Iraq had actually been a humanitarian mission (which it was not), there are many of us who would have taken further serious consideration of our position about supporting the invasion with more international participation. The true purpose of Bush’s was regime change. He reasons were ideology, vengence and oil.
    Bush was advised by his own State Department that urban-style guerrilla war was likely, that’s when high civilian casualties occur,it was recklessly ignored. It’s not the soldier’s fault. Military accidents happen, no one does it on purpose, and only the most unrealistic hold the military responsible for 100% accuracy. That’s the point. But when the planners of the war give so little regard of potential civilian casualties that they were warned would happen, again, only the most extreme will attempt to justify it, for example:
    “Citing interviews with war commander Lt. Gen. Mike Moseley, the New York Times
    reports “Air war commanders were required to obtain the approval of Defense
    Secretary Donald L. Rumsfeld if any planned airstrike was thought likely to
    result in deaths of more than 30 civilians. More than 50 such strikes were
    proposed, and all of them were approved.”
    This was not a humanitarian mission, and the reasons given for an invasion were bogus. That undermines our credibility, that undermines everything. It makes us less safe. If this is a Global war on terror, we must have international cooperation.
    The long-term implications concern me. What’s going to happen the next time we really have an international crisis on our hands?

  • Angelos

    Owl, that was a great rant. Thanks for the morning laugh!
    You blame the media for the war? Interesting. Actually, I do too. If they had called Georgie on his bullshit much earlier, we wouldn’t be in Iraq. We’d have completed the original mission, to get OBL and crush Al Qaeda. Instead, we failed on two fronts, and made Al Qaeda stronger.
    Have you looked at a poll lately? Is there anything your boy has done that even gets 35% approval? Looks like only the hard-core, see-no-evil wingers are too stupid to open their eyes to reality. What a spectactular failure.
    Unfortunately, it’s too late. I wish more people had realized this in November. Now we have to defend our country from this crooked administration’s attacks on its people, its freedoms, and its Treasury for 3 more years.
    I’d suggest, if you want to support the troops, you write your congressman, tell him to send more equipment. Tell him to stop closing VA hospitals. Tell him to fix the VA budget deficit, so that the soldiers your war is maiming can come home to medical care. Tell him that his bankruptcy bill will put a lot of soldiers’ families out of their homes.
    But, DON’T tell me that the media reporting actual goings on is “bad for America.”
    Some of our soldiers tortured, abused, and killed prisoners. That FACT makes us look bad. Not the reporting of the fact.
    GWB and his henchmen, none of whom have any military experience, lied to justify their invasion of Iraq. And then they bungled that too! They ignored the military strategies presented to them by people with a clue. You know, generals? With stars? We don’t have enough troops there. We’ve entrusted too much work to private companies with clear political ties to the higher-ups, who have proven to be fiscally irresponsible (I guess that’s no surprise) and incapable of doing the work assigned. No-bid contracts and no results.
    Of course we’ve failed at rebuilding the infrastructure we destroyed during our invasion. Our soldiers can’t actually get any work done when they’re constantly ducking car bombs and other IUDs [as Chris Matthews put it :)].
    Pointing this out does mean I don’t “support” the troops. I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the incompetents who went in with no plan, and no ability to adust on the fly. Failure to admit mistakes only leads to more mistakes.
    It is the media’s job to report this. It is the media’s job to keep our politicians honest. But you probably weren’t complaining about the “liberal media” when they wasted 8 years covering all the non-scandals your party manufactured in hounding Clinton. 8 years, and all you got to stick was a blowjob. A blowjob that didn’t kill 1800 soldiers. You probably liked the media then, didn’t you?
    See, when your arguments are straight out of your party’s playbook, you look silly. Blaming the media for reporting your bullshit is Page 1, Item 1 of the GOP playbook. Tom Delay? Duke Cunningham? Coingate in Ohio? It’s not the media’s fault the wingers are such a corrupt and incompetent administration.
    You should be thanking your lucky stars that our press is free to report the truth. But I guess in a winger’s utopia, they’d only be free to print Scott McClellan’s spin and the White House’s prepackaged “news reports.”

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Interestingly, the Dallas Morning News has a side-by-side breakdown of the speech with key facts that it ignored.
    JJ: The first time I ran into ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ as an argument was in the MD savings and loan scandal. The minions of the S&L’s used it as an argument against reporting that they were overextended. Needless to say, they were, and the whole system collapsed.
    A friend of mine had to take her twins out of med school because all their tuition money was in Community S&L.

  • whodat

    I agree with Angelos on this: “I’d suggest, if you want to support the troops, you write your congressman, tell him to send more equipment. Tell him to stop closing VA hospitals. Tell him to fix the VA budget deficit, so that the soldiers your war is maiming can come home to medical care. Tell him that his bankruptcy bill will put a lot of soldiers’ families out of their homes.”
    Amen brother. Then Bush gives Putin a 124-diamond Super Bowl ring. Hmmm. How about giving it to the VA?
    Linda, I didn’t see Kat’s Milosevic post before. I don’t think she was defending him. Be that as it may, good points on the differences between the 2.
    I know that this Iraq war should have taken place later, under different pretenses and surely with better preparation and armament(Adequate supply and quality of vests would be nice). But I am still happy that Saddam is gone. The terror he dished out to his own people makes him far worse than Milosevic–to me. And there are some great things going on there. I do believe that, while not on the timeline some hope for, that the next generation of Iraqis will know true freedom.

  • Linda Edwards

    I truly hope, after all is said and done, you are right.

  • Angelos

    Zogby:
    And, in a sign of continuing polarization, more than two-in-five voters (42%) say they would favor impeachment proceedings if it is found the President misled the nation about his reasons for going to war with Iraq.
    Man, and he didn’t even get a blowjob out of the deal!

  • http://usliberals.about.com Deborah White

    I quoted and linked to you today about this post. I respectfully disagree with your approach to viewing US anger over the Iraq War.

  • owl

    I think these posts clearly lay out the differences in our country. I see absolutely no way we will ever unite again.
    I not only do not agree with several of the responses, I do not even understand how or why anyone could ever think that way. I consider it a very strange way to support anyone but the enemy.
    I say if you can’t bring yourselves to support your fellow Americans (at least half of us) you could at least shut up with the most vicious attacks. Kennedy/Johnson put us into Vietnam. No one seems to remember that little fact. No, I do not blame them and plenty of Republican soldiers died in that war. I understand civil discourse about wars. I do NOT understand the constant vicious drumbeat against your fellow Americans that support this war. Some of us thought this was the “prime real estate” in the mideast that had a possibility to change the invasion.
    Doing nothing was not an option. That had been tried for years. Look at Europe. Look at 9/11.
    And please, don’t start with the 9/11/Iraq nada stuff. Think bigger picture please. Our allies are no longer our allies. WHY? And no, I refuse to beat myself up, saying it is all my fault. They were taken over from within and have some very extreme elements that will put them into civil war, before it is over.
    And from these posts, we may have moved too far also to stop it. Otherwise, why would one side attack their fellow Americans constantly.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    “Otherwise, why would one side attack their fellow Americans constantly.”
    ?Indeed?
    Seeing the war as the issue, rather than ‘the other side’ as the issue, might give you a better start on the understanding process??

  • whodat

    Ripping Bush and throwing around blame and Rumsfeld blows and all that–unproductive, true or not. Arguing for the withdrawl of troops, better armament, etc. without name-calling and partisanship–productive. The war is indeed the issue. The troops are the issue.

  • Linda Edwards

    “Doing nothing was not an option”
    Owl, sometimes doing the wrong thing, is much worse than doing nothing.
    Here’s where you keep making your mistake. You prefer to think we wanted to do nothing. You assert this position simply because it suits your purpose, not because it’s true. You’re WRONG. We wanted to do plenty. Against the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11. Send a strong and clear message to any other terrorist that might be entertaining any similarly foolish idea. I believe that if we had utterly crushed those responsible for 9/11, we would be much, much safer today. And would have retained our international standing and credibility in order that we could more effectly lead and wage a global war on terrorism.
    Iraq has been a disasterous diversion. It has not make us safer, it has made us weaker.
    You complain that all we want to do is critizise and not offer up anything, but I’ve starting making some suggestions. First, the next time Rumsfeld submits his resignation … ACCEPT IT. It was under his watch that this got out of hand in the first place. We need someone with some new ideas. Staying the course that goes ’round in circles is not the solution.
    If Bush insists on keeping the troops in Iraq,
    then we need to get our story straight here. Is our strategy to attract the jihadists to Iraq, so we can fight them there (for now, we’ll ignore that Iraqis will have their homeland turned into a war zone), under the yet unproven assumption that it will prevent them from coming here.
    Or, is it our strategy to stop the flood of jihadists from entering Iraq, who are targeting innocent citizens and our troops. We’ve been telling Syria to seal their border, but if the borders are sealed, how will the jihadists come in so that we can fight them there.
    We need clarification on this first, because I don’t think anyone can proceed with devising an effective strategy until objectives have been established. Otherwise, it just looks like confused policy.

  • whodat

    Since when does someone need to accept your resignation in order for you to do leave? My last job: “I’m quitting.” “I wish you wouldn’t”. “Sorry I’m leaving”. “Well we’ll miss you.” “Thanks.”
    That’s all it takes.

  • Linda Edwards

    Rumsfeld told a congressional meeting last week that he offered his resignation to Bush twice, but both times Bush refused to take it.

  • Eileen

    I guess everyone ‘went home’ for the 4th weekend :)? I don’t know about you Guys, but when there’s a rousing thread and then no more comments for a few days I get a little bummed. It’s like expecting a call or letter.. Yeah, I have another life, but coming here is an excellent way to change the channel and read the passion all ’round.
    Anywho. Guess I’ll go finish off the 8 concert (Dave Matthews, yeah) and wish you ALL a happy weekend. Stay safe Howard and LT.
    Until we meet again..

  • Eileen

    ‘Again’ has arrived sooner than I thought ;)), after The Long and Winding Road led to Hey Jude. Heh and heehaa.
    As a few people around here know, I tend to invite people over for the holidays (witness Xmas). Believe it or not, I’ve actually hosted an international reunion as a result of global web ‘connections’. That said, you’re ALL invited to the pavillion at City Park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on the 4th at, say, 4 p.m. BYO Everything and I’ll cook it [formerly in law for 22 years, now a caterer; cooked for 500 in the last two weeks so yeah, I can handle it].. Fireworks from barges over the lake…it doesn’t get dark until 10:00 p.m. here…pristine…stunningly beautiful. Kind of like Old America, the place in our dreams. But it’s still reality where I landed 13 years ago.
    We could duke it out in person and find we’re actually friends. How perfect is that?
    Coeur d’Alene is where little Shasta Groene was just found, eh? Which proves that good news can IN FACT sometimes hit the wires (to tie back into the thread). Indeed.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Happy Fourth:
    Please see http://www.njagyouth.org/liberty.htm

  • Eileen

    Fabulous, Ruth! Thanks! I’ll be passing this one on to many..

  • Linda Edwards

    Cool. I love toys.
    Happy Fourth. Stay safe.