Wednesday, December 07, 2005

On pulling out the troops:

Kathleen Parker of the Orlando Sentinel contends all the recent news coverage given to Rep. John Murtha's call for a pull out of U.S. troops in the next six months is in stark contrast to the supposedly scant attention paid to Senator Joe Lieberman's Op-ED in the WSJ in which he contends two-thirds of Iraq is in "pretty good shape." Parker complains the "liberal media" isn't giving Lieberman's positive view of the situation in Iraq equal time and that this sort of media bias against the "truth" is why "newspaper circulations are down and FOX news dominates television ratings." Actually, FOX doesn't dominate television ratings, it only "dominates" a relatively small and stagnate viewership on the cable news channels and the circulations of newspapers have been going south for decades due to a number of factors financial and otherwise that have nothing to do with FOX "news," which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

In any case, the reason Lieberman's stay-the-course stance is not being as heavily covered probably has more to do with the fact that it mirrors the position of the administration, which is being quite adequately articulated already by the right wing spin machine, including FOX, and the White House press office---so you see, that's not news. What is news is that a Democratic hawk and a decorated Vietnam veteran, who strongly supported the war, has now come out and said it's time to go. If Parker needed to go to the "media watchdog" organization Media Research Center to find out that Murtha had expressed reservations about the war earlier in 2003 and 2004 that might tend to support the view of many in the anti-war crowd who say the media regularly ignores their point of view.

Parker asks, "Why, we might wonder, have the media---always so insistent on denying liberal bias---been so willing to play one story and not another?" I would ask why it's taken the media so long to play the anti-war story at all. Before the war even began millions of people in this country and around the world marched against this war---something that had never happened before---London experienced its largest protest in its history, congress was deluged with sacks of mail and e-mail and the volume of phone calls to Senators and Representatives was so heavy that it caused the phone lines to crash, but all of this was hardly noticed by the mainstream news outlets and when it was noticed it was dismissed merely as the desperate flailing of a small fringe movement on the extreme left.

Now, that a majority of Americans believe that the war was a mistake and the Bush administration deliberately misled us into it, despite the efforts of the right wing smear campaign to discredit its critics, the opinions of former supporters of the war, at least, are being aired---if not those who warned this was a disaster in the making from the beginning. Once credibility is lost it's hard to regain and Kathleen Parker and her ilk are now crying foul because the media that gave them a free ride for such a long time isn't listening to them anymore.

On the New World Order

Nassim Yaziji writes at mideastpolicy that he's shocked that some are proposing the US leave Iraq. "The United States, giving up, would blow up the reform movement and the liberal renaissance in the Middle East. Furthermore, that would also blow up the American interests and credibility in the region. Jeopardizing all that for political gain is something approaching treason."

First of all, what "liberal renaissance" is occurring in the Middle East? The Egyptian government is arresting and gunning down opposition voters, the Saudis are conducting business as usual, the Kuwaitis are still waiting for the democracy the first George Bush promised them and the Badr Brigade in Iraq is busily knocking off their opponents in an assassination campaign worthy of Saddam. If that's reform, George W. Bush is a Rhodes Scholar.

As far as American credibility in the region; that went out the window with Abu Ghraib and no matter how much W. may want to bomb al-Jazeera into the stone age, nothing can change the fact that the image of a naked Iraqi man on a Lindy England's leash is seared into the consciousnesses of every man woman and child in every Muslim nation on earth. All our bad press in that region and around the world is totally self-inflicted, no amount of rambling video messages from Osama could ever hope to do as much damage to the U.S. as we've done to ourselves. And yet, the administration keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over again and calls this a "strategy for victory." Some might say that continuing to do the same thing repeatedly and getting the same bad result is a form of insanity.

This is what those advocating the withdrawal of our troops in Iraq are saying. We can't keep doing what we're doing without damaging ourselves further. The contention that jeopardizing all the good work we've done so far merely for "political gain" reveals a fundamental misunderstanding our system of government. The American people are providing the men and women and the funding for this misguided war. When a majority of us come to the conclusion that enough is enough, it’s up to our representatives in government to respond. What's treasonous is to conduct a war under false pretences causing the deaths of thousands of our fighting men and women and then not to respect the will of the people when they say its time to cut our loses and focus on protecting us here at home.

Judging by the recent report by the former 9/11 commission on this administration's dismal record on preparing the country for another attack, four years after 9/11, I'd say George Bush and his bunch of misfits and nincompoops should be ridden out of Washington on rail.

"Winning" in Iraq is hardly a "requisite for ensuring the 21st century as an American century," especially when you consider the Chinese are paying for this war and the Saudis are taking the money from our gas tanks and giving it back to the terrorists. The 21st century is more likely going to be the Chinese century because they've already basically already put on down payment on it by loaning us the money to pour down the drain in Iraq. I believe the so-called "strategic center" Yaziji speaks of is moving east alright, to the far east. While we dither in a quagmire of tribal and religious infighting the Chinese are making inroads all over the world, including in our Mare Nostrum, the Caribbean, and using our money to do it with!

In closing, I'd like to ask Nassim Yaziji what he was on when he wrote, "The war is worth all the sacrifices that have been made, and victory is inevitable, and not so far away." Ask all those who have lost a young one, a mother, a father or a husband in Iraq and ask the tens of thousands of our soldiers and Marines who are now having to learn to walk with a proteases and the unfortunate ones who no longer have all their mental faculties, if setting up a Shiite dominated theocracy with the veneer of democracy a la Iran was worth their very personal sacrifices. "Victory" is a pretty grand moniker to attach to such a dubious outcome, particularly when one considers the rosy scenarios of Paris 1944 that were sold to the American people before the war. Back then it wasn't about the ensuring that the "dream of freedom in the Middle East" became "a reality," it was rather, about preventing Saddam's robot planes from dropping anthrax on New York City.

National security and the protection of the American people from another 9/11 plays in Peoria, not the "historic challenge" of the "development of the new world order." Such neocon drivel was never going to fly with the general public which is why it was replaced as a rationale for war with the immediate threat of Saddam's WMD. Fortunately, the veil has now been lifted and the American people with their innate common sense have finally seen through the lies and deception. The failed neocon academic exercise of a new world order has collapsed under the weight of reality, but this failed policy has cost this nation our reputation as a world leader has significantly weakened us both militarily and economically to the point where we may never fully recover.
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