Blogs read in the halls of power

Blogs read in the halls of power

: For the second time (the first was in the NY Post, this is in the Wall Street Journal), Paul Wolfowitz is quoting Iraqi bloggers.

After a suicide car bombing killed Iraqi Interim Governing Council President Izzedine Salim and eight others on May 17, one Iraqi put that act of terror into a larger perspective for those who wonder if democracy can work in Iraq. His name is Omar, one of the new Iraqi “bloggers,” and he wrote on his Web log: “We cannot . . . protect every single person, including our leaders and the higher officials who make favorite targets for the terrorists–but we can make their attempts go in vain by making our leadership ‘replaceable.’ ”

Exercising his newfound freedom of speech via the Internet, Omar addressed what he sees as the terrorists’ fundamental misunderstanding about where Iraq is going. Terrorists–whether Saddamists or foreigners–“think in the same way their dictator-masters do,” failing to grasp that the idea of leadership by an indispensable strongman applies to totalitarian regimes–not democracies.

  • There’s a big difference between Paul Wolfowitz reading, and a staffer feeding him a quote that sounds good in a speech.

  • ludwig

    Or, that staffer constructing a quote…

  • Gee, you could always take ten seconds and look it up yourself, but I guess that would be wrong. Putz.

  • andrea/minnesota

    received 190,000 hits for the month of may!!!!!

  • putz

    My point is, sir, that the very blog itself could easily be a construction. As they say, “on the Internet, no one knows if you’re really an Iraqi blogger”

  • Omar’s picture was in USA Today. If you want to continue to deny reality, may I suggest a trip to the doctor is in order before you continue this debate. I hear they have several new drugs that can stop the voices in your head.

  • Wow. I know that it might not seem like it, but that’s a pretty fundamental shift in the news reporting dynamic. And we just watched it happen before our eyes.

  • Only some of us didn’t see it.

  • george peppard

    Omar’s picture was in USA Today.
    Mea culpa – it must be true.

  • And speaking of Mr. Villars, applause for his finally successful perseverence in getting readers’ contributions over to the brothers Fadhil, and hopefully to the other Iraqi bloggers soon. If there’s any spare change left over maybe he can buy Mr. Peppard a stylish tinfoil hat.

  • Bleah, I blew the link just above. (Post of 6/6, if it’s bloggered.)

  • George, I was going to continue the debate but instead I’ve decided to apply your style of logic and assume your posting was the rather unique and output of one million monkeys typing on one million computers.
    Please provide proof you are nothing more than the output of a lucky monkey.

  • TomK

    “Lucky Monkey” would be a hell of a comments sig.
    I may be forced to steal that one.

  • Howard Owens

    Or a great name for a blog.

  • Howard Owens

    Or a rock band.

  • Paul Wolfowitz (and his staff) ought spend a little less time on the Internet and more time on his goddamned resume. There must be a “Department of Dupe Studies” out there somewhere.

  • Mork

    Hmmm … as if that blog wasn’t already just a little too good to be true, it happens to be the only blog that Wolfowitz has ever quoted.

  • Hmmmmm….
    Four posters here don’t like what Omar says and so they think he’s imaginary.
    This from imaginary people with imaginary names: “Ludwig,” “putz,” “George Peppard” and “mork.”

  • Mork

    Who said I don’t like what Omar said? All I said was that he sounds too good to be true.
    And if you want to know who I am, feel free to email me. As long as you undertake to maintain my privacy, I’ll prove my identity to you any way that makes you happy.

  • mike

    Jeff – none of those posters gave any indication as to whether they agree or disagree with Omar’s blog – just its authenticity.
    p.s. I hope someday you’ll add “No ad hominems” to your rules of engagement.

  • Steve in Houston

    Only, by questioning the authenticity of the blog, they are also questioning the authenticity of the message.
    I wonder if the skepticism is equally applied across the entire blogosphere. What’s more, I wonder if the same “contributors” to the discussion are submitting “I doubt the authenticity” posts at every blog about every subject.

  • Michael Zimmer

    Perhaps a way to test the likelihood that such blogs are “authentic” is to see if there are any Iraqi blogs that are against or otherwise critical of the US presence. (I could understand some skepticism if ALL the Iraqi blogs are pro-American) Anyone know of such voices in the Iraqi blogosphere?

  • CharlesWT
  • Michael Zimmer

    Those are fascinating. But, of course, any good skeptic would have to question the source of any blog, both for and against American presence in Iraq.

  • Mork

    Let me ask this: would it surprise anyone if the provisional authority were paying one or more people to blog?
    I mean, it’s no secret that it runs newspapers and radio stations. And we probably pay for all sorts of other “marketing” of the occupation that is less obvious.
    I would almost be suprised it did turn out that none of the Iraqi bloggers is on the U.S. payroll. Not that there’s even anything wrong with it … it’s just that if you know that, you’ll consider the information in a slightly different light, that’s all.
    As for these guys, well, in my experience, it’s just that things that sound too good to be true generally aren’t.

  • Enough. Omar and the other bloggers are quite real and, in fact, brave to do what they are doing. Give them that respect, ferchrissakes.
    And if you think the CPA has its act together sufficiently to pull this off then, well, maybe they could run the country. Oh, yeah….

  • Mork

    The question is not whether he’s real, but who he is, why he’s writing and whether he’s being paid for doing so.
    Are you trying to suggest that these are not legitimate questions?
    You seem to apply your critical faculties on a very selective basis, Jeff. I get the feeling that your instinctive response that anyone who questioned the authenticity of Omar did so because they didn’t like what they read says more about you than the people you were addressing, only with you it applies in reverse.

  • No, Mork, I’m trying to be a bit careful about security.
    Kerry Dupont and I have both sent things to various of these bloggers and we know how delicate it is for them to have any contact with Americans.
    We each tried to make headway getting the proceeds of tipjars and contributions from blog readers to them and any suggestion about channels through American or British military because it could seriously jeopardize their safety. If you read back through their blogs, you will see instances when their safety has been jeopardized.
    The one who’s being casual here is you, “Mork.” You are glibly questioning their reality and sincerity and credibility from your comfort here.
    Why not accept that these people are saying what they think? I don’t hear you questioning River or Raed, just Omar.

  • Mork

    I don’t hear you questioning River or Raed, just Omar.
    Well, Omar’s the only one that you’ve mentioned here. I’d be happy to share my thoughts about the other Iraqi bloggers I’ve read, if you’re interested.
    As for “glibly questioning their reality and sincerity and credibility from (my)comfort here”, what’s your point here … that I should just accept that everyone who has a blog is who they say they are and that no-one has an agenda?
    Come on.
    You wouldn’t spend so much time promoting Omar if you didn’t think that what he had to say was significant. Any sensible person who doesn’t have an axe to grind is going to subject that sort of information to a little critical scrutiny before they accept it as gospel.
    I mean, you are a person who affects the most ostentatious displays of skepticism towards anything appearing in the pages of the New York Times – possibly the most transperent media organization in the world – and yet you’re telling me that I’m wrong to even contemplate that anything an anonymous blogger writes is anything less than the unvarnished truth.

  • I have quoted all the Iraqi bloggers quite frequently.

  • Mork

    By “here” I meant this post. I confess I don’t read everything you write.