Friday, January 06, 2006

# Posted 10:30 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

RIGHT-WING FANATICS HACK INTO WASHINGTON POST: That's my best explanation of this morning's top story, which ran under the innocuous title "Insurgents Kill 140 as Iraq Clashes Escalate". Here are the opening grafs:
BAGHDAD, Jan. 5 -- The residents of Ramadi had had enough. As they frantically searched the city's hospital for relatives killed and wounded in bomb blasts at a police recruiting station Thursday, they did something they had never publicly done: They blamed al Qaeda in Iraq, the insurgent movement led by Abu Musab Zarqawi.

"Neither the Americans nor the Shiites have any benefit in doing this. It is Zarqawi," said Khalid Saadi, 42, who came to the hospital looking for his brother, Muhammed. Saadi said he hoped that sympathies in the city, considered a hotbed of support for the Sunni Arab insurgency, would turn against Zarqawi's faction.
What is this? One of Glenn Reynolds' wet dreams? But it's the lead story in the WaPo, so I guess that even liberals will have to accept it as basically true.

By the way, it's worth noticing that the attack occurred at a recruiting station where 1,000 men showed up to apply for jobs. In Ramadi. In Sunni-dominated territory. In the heart of the insurgency. Applying to be police. Even before the bomb went off.

And here's another anecdote from the post that's more than a little bit surprising:
Another group of people beat a doctor in the hospital after he told an Iraqi journalist that U.S. forces were to blame for the attacks.
Wow. That's sort of like Palestinians beating up a local doctor for saying that Israelis are responsible for the intifada.

Sometimes I wonder whether the Post's correspondents occasionally dish up a story like this just to make sure that they can hold onto to their centrist credibility. People like me read it, have our optimistic view of the occupation reinforced, and feel secure enough in ourselves to ignore the next six negative stories out of Iraq while blaming the NYT for its biased coverage.

Speaking of which, here's how the NYT led off its own lead story about Iraq this morning:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 5 - Attacks by suicide bombers killed as many as 130 people in Karbala and Ramadi on Thursday, rekindling fears of a return to mass sectarian killings after a relative lull and prompting Iraq's most powerful Shiite political faction to warn of retribution and indirectly blame the United States for the bloodshed.
Mass sectarian killings. Blaming America. There must be some sort of time warp at the southern end of the Jersey Turnpike which alters reality half-way between New York and Washington. Either that, or one of America's two greatest newspapers has departed from the reality-based community.
(21) opinions -- Add your opinion

cs, i'm waiting for you. ;)

I appreciate your patience. I'm just back from listening to and meeting with Cindy Sheehan. What a wonderful woman. Casey was lucky to have her as a mother for the short 24 years he was with us. She's warm and funny and her message is simple. Bring the boys home.

"People like me read it, have our optimistic view of the occupation reinforced, ..."

David, you are young and you evidently believe in this war. You should volunteer. You'd probably make a fine officer. But really you can't sit on the fence. Vote with your feet.

The chickenhawk thing again? It seems that every time someone who is fiercely anti-war doesn't have a real argument to make, they try to make it personal.

Although I appreciate your saying that I would make a good officer.
Please remember that there are more ways than one to serve your country in war-time and the wonderful thing about an all volunteer army is that it affords people that choice. Cindy Sheehan's son was no conscripted objector sent against his will, but one who had signed up voluntarily fully apprised of the risks of service.

Tending the homefires, drilling rivets (or whatever it is one does to them), or reporting on the more positive reasons for finishing what was started are all valuable activities that serve your country. The last one even more so when war, by nature, is such a costly venture and the temptation to cut and run is already high in even the noblest fights.

I don't think even Iraqis know what is going on. The situation is very confused and chaotic. Some Sunnis will get pissed off at the insurgents. Others may be secretly smiling.
There is probably no consensus.
Really, I do think you are basing your optimism on somewhat thin grounds.

Let's be brutally honest. All thank you can take from this story is that one resident of the America blamed 'Al-Zarqawi' (that guy seems to spring up everywhere doesn't he?). That amounts to.. very little.

Moreover, hoping that 'sympathies turn against al-Zarqawi's faction doesn't mean that the man quoted hopes sympathy turns towards the occupying forces. There are plenty of Iraqis who want to see ALL foreigners gone without delay, and polls on the occupation are still firmly negative.

The fact that insurgents still manage to obtain shelter and logistical support from residents in these areas despite the obvious consequences is rather more telling in my opinion. Once American troops start recruiting lots of Sunni informers eager to shop their neighbours, then I might start to believe the tide is turning.
Err.. I meant to say 'one resident of the area'. I think.
I appreciate your very WSJ op-ed page like concern about the lack of positive stories out of Iraq, but it seems a bit misguided. Please, read Night Draws Near and Assassin's Gate and tell me there is a biased press. It can't happen.
"Sometimes I wonder whether the Post's correspondents occasionally dish up a story like this just to make sure that they can hold onto to their centrist credibility."

Are you kidding me? This is the difference between journalists and bloggers. Journalists (good ones anyway) do not sit around thinking ok I just saw X but boy I really have every once in a while I have to throw a bone to the idiot idealogues in my audience who simply won't believe it. (Though I'm certain their editors may try to get them to from time to time). It's not a game. You don't say "you know I've really been filing a lot of positive stories and hey the situation remains positive but I should "balance my reporting". Credibility is getting the story right, not having it fit into some perception of what you think your audience wants to hear.

There is more out there than spin. really.

You seem to be reading newstories like a professor grading papers: postive stories true/non biased/centrist, negative stories false/biased/anti-Bush. What I don't get is where the lens comes from? Is it intuition? Are you getting briefed by tha CIA - wait they are biased/anti war too, are you being briefed by the Iraqi oil ministry? Have you been to Iraq? Or do you just trust the administration?
Gee, Stress, I see where your name comes from. And, FYI, even though journalists never report about the pressure they feel from conservative critics, "pushback" efforts have led them to change their reporting.
The WaPo is much less offensive to Republicans than the NY Times, and there is no question in my mind it just naturally warms up to the party in power in Washington, especially when the party has been in power for some time and seems likely to remain in power considerably longer. On the other hand, it is obvious Iraq has "tipped," and the war will probably cease in 2006, so the Ramadi story is credible. The sunni are now in the process, and the "government of national unity" is under construction. Bush has won again, and at some point his critics must begin to wonder if his policies are not superior to those of his predecessors.
Were these articles the ones that the DoD has been paying for?
Uh, how exactly was I making a 'chickenhawk argument' ? Two of my brothers have been in the Air Force and the Navy. Two of my cousins have been in the Navy and Army, one is still a DI. My uncle was in the Army. My brother in law was a Marine. And my best friend went to West Point, or as he says, a small East Coast liberal arts school. I could go on.

I would 'personally' recommend a military career, especially for you since you really believe in the war. Myself, I'm against it but I distinguish the military from the war.

BTW, I'm glad to see that the exguru thinks that the Mission will be Accomplished again in 2006. Hopefully we can re-accomplish it on a regular basis because we are having so much fun. In the meantime, he might want to contemplate the French experience in Algiers and the Russian experience in Afghanistan.

In case he doesn't remember Afghanistan, that was the war where the CIA helped Osama bin Laden and friends oust the Soviet invaders. You can look it up:

You can keep betting against the United States as long as you want to, cs, but it hasn't been a very profitable thing to do over the past 216 years... Not sure, but I think I heard Gen. Casey say the 1,000 would-be policemen got in line again at Ramadi after the bomb went off. This resolve on the part of the Iraqi man in the street has to impress you, whichever side you are rooting for.
Chris, I think you missed the point. I wasn't questioning your military credentials. You were questioning mine, saying that I have to vote with my feet if I believe in fighting the insurgency -- in other words, that I am a chickenhawk.

Now that we have that settled, you can respond to what was actually in my post...
Actually, exguru, I wasn't and don't bet against the United States. I do bet heavily against Republicans as a governing party:


And I don't think the Draft Dodger in Chief and the Vice Draft Dodger in Chief have demonstrated any military leadership. They were going to win the war on the cheap (!) and "be greeted as liberators." Casey Sheehan was killed wearing a green Vietnam era flak jacket.

"Not sure, but I think I heard Gen. Casey ..."


David, I wouldn't and didn't go that far at this point. The chickenhawk argument is a historical argument. I make it against the Draft Dodger in Chief and the Vice Draft Dodger in Chief as they actively avoided Vietnam and are quite hawkish. In your case, I really don't know your thoughts on the matter.

As to your post, this was what was listed on Google News for "Iraq" this morning.

"Four civilians, 8 US troops aboard downed helicopter in Iraq"
"US raid on Iraq mosque sparks Sunni Arab anger"
"Update 14: Attack on Iraq Interior Ministry Kills 29"
"Freed French hostage heads home from Iraq"
"Update 1: Statement Rips Sunnis for Voting in Iraq"
"Blair 'should be impeached' for Iraq conflict says general"
"Five NC-based Marines killed in Iraq over weekend"
"Foreign troops in Iraq 'a magnet'"
"Teen discusses dangerous trip to Iraq"
"US economist questions Iraq costs"

Your Right Wing Hackers apparently have their work cut out.
lets see, bloggers say that the stream of contextless MSM headlines gives a false picture of the war, and someone responds by giving list of contextless MSM headlines. Hmmm?

I saw the headline the other day about the big bombing in Ramadi, and was discouraged. Now I see that that was an attack on Iraqis being recruited into the army in RAMADI. So i think thats interesting.

Oh, and I looked into joining the military in October 2001. Unfortunately i was too old.
"Draft Dodger in Chief" is not an appropriate term, nor civil. Do you realize Dubya was in the TANG for six years, and actually spent twice as long in uniform as John Kerry? Besides, everyone got out of those tedious Reserve meetings if he could, and especially at the end of a six year enlistment.
Do your math.

Suppose that W was in for 6 years, protecting the Texan skies from invasion by Oklahoma. A weekend a month plus two weeks yearly training:

(2*12+24)*6 = 288 days

Except that he didn't even finish his commitment. He was 'absent' from duty from 1972 to 1973, and was suspended from flying after missing a required physical examination and drug screening.

John Kerry volunteered, served, was wounded in action.

3 years > 288 days. It isn't even close.

The Draft Dodger in Chief was in the vaunted Texas Air National Guard because his family got him there in order to avoid the draft. And the Vice Draft Dodger in Chief received 5 deferments, the fifth of which was for getting his wife pregnant. Yep, "Dick" Cheney fucked his way out of service in Vietnam.
You do months of continuous duty at the beginning of a NG or Reserve stint, ("basic training"), and you go for weeks at a time in the summers--as well as the weekends. Kerry got an "early out," by faking some wounds, and though I can't recall exactly, I think he served for about one year. You can't count the time he was smooching in Paris with the enemy. (It's possible nobody knows how long Kerry served, because of the difficulty about his discharge, which had to wait for the Carter amnesty). But 6 years in the NG was a long slog, and nobody ever mentions it. Bush was so bored he volunteered for Vietnam, but they weren't flying his plane there. Your drugs accusation is part of the stuff Mary Mapes, Dan Rather, and the full resources of CBS couldn't prove, despite five years of effort. Bush checked in often enough in those final years to avoid getting into trouble, which betrays some responsibility even back then. BTW, when will John Kerry release his medical records? He said he would hundreds of days ago, and there is a right-wing blogger who keeps a calendar running on this.
As I said, do your math. And read your source matierials.

If you "can't recall exactly" provide a link to a reputable source.

For the record, Kerry served two tours in Vietnam, serving from 1966-1970, winning 3 Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star.


I believe that W won the Distinguished Chicken Hawk award.
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