Wednesday, May 19, 2004
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Iraq and the media
Mickey Kaus and Glenn Reynolds have posts up on the difficulties of finding a coherent narrative in evaluating the situation in Iraq. Kaus points out that this is particularly true of those of us not in Iraq and have to rely on the Internet. This includes even well-known area experts as Juan Cole. Kaus also points out:
This ties into a different point made by Reynolds in his post:
Indeed, Josh Marshall made this very point (without the motivation) earlier this week in discussing a Washington Times excerpts of Bill Sammon's new book, Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry and the Bush Haters::
My centrist instincts want to place a pox on both Bush and the mainstream media's houses -- the latter for not stepping back and looking at the big picture, and the former for thinking that excessive coverage of Abu Ghraib taints all negative media coverage of Iraq. It should be asked, however -- which is the greater sin? The media, for reporting the truth but not the whole truth? Or Bush, for ignoring distasteful parts of the truth because the whole truth is not being reported?posted by Dan on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM
“What's most bothersome to me is that the anti-Bush stance adopted by most media organizations makes their reporting less useful to those of us who are trying to figure out what's going on, and makes the Administration, and its supporters, tend to tune it all out, possibly causing them to miss important information.”
I totally agree with this assessment. The major media are so biased that I am personally compelled to take anything they say with a huge grain of salt. And why shouldn’t I? If one has been repeatedly betrayed, why continue to trust them? And yes, there are inevitably instances when they are right on target. But is it my fault that normally they are so unreliable? I don’t think so.
I consider the NY Times, Washington Post, CBS, and other liberal news organizations as secondary news sources. My first instinct is to find out what the intelligent blogging community says about a particular story. Why is Dan Drezner blaming the Bush administration for also being so cautious? That doesn’t make any sense.posted by: David Thomson on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Reads to me like Dan is blaming Bush in particular for using his special way of "filtering" the media message to both glean and screen his info.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I think the news media has been kowtowing to Bush for nearly three years now.
To cite just one small example, why do most americans think that Saddam was involved with 9/11. Because the news media discussed the facts behind Bush's reasons for invading Iraq?
No, because the media consistently rolled over for this president.
If now the media coming back towards actually assessing the facts about Bush's administration and it's actions, I say: way too late and not nearly enough. They still roll over for Bush far too easily.
You say they're biased against Bush. I say they've been biased in favor of him and still are most often. The fact that the situation on the groud is too dangerous for reporters to go merrily out to cover the painting of a schoolhouse for fear of being abducted or blown up doesn't mean they're leaning over against Bush. They're just in fear of their lives.
Keefposted by: keef on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I would presume the President is getting his Iraq info from intelligence briefings, not Peter Jennings. If he is ignoring Iraq unpleasentness, it's not because the Prez hates Peter or Dan Rather.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Speaking of Juan Cole, I most certainly distrust his analysis. Is he consciously dishonest? Nope, I doubt that very much. I see no reason whatsoever to question his integrity. Instead, we simply look at the Middle East from an entirely different perspective. I am a follower of Bernard Lewis and consider much of the Arab world to be mired in self pity and victimization. These people, even sometimes those who are rather moderate, are embittered that the West dominates the world stage. The Israeli/Palestinian situation, for instance, is a convenient scapegoat so that the Arabs can continue indulging in self deceit. These people have essentially only themselves to blame for their second class status. We would more readily grasp this cold fact if we weren’t so inclined toward political correctness. It is unfortunate that the Arabs are not blue eyed and blond haired. Things would be so much simpler. Juan Cole, on the other hand, is a lot like the late Edward Said. I also see that Mickey Kaus seems to share at least some of my concerns regarding this University of Michigan professor.posted by: David Thomson on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I'd say it's much more important to listen to people who don't agree with you,on the off chance that they are,sometimes, right.I think Reynolds is being a little disingenuous here.Nobody is ´making´ him "tune out" anything.posted by: Jussi Hämäläinen on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Most news is in about one to three lines in story. If you take the time to skim them, it's easy to extract. There's just no need to immerse yourself in the stuff, especially when there are better sources. I seem to be about a 2 days to 2 months ahead of the networks.
Here's a thought I put down this morning which I've had for about a year. Let's see if it shows up this week.
Last night I watched a good portion of the foreign relations committee on the future of Iraq from yesterday. I hope that I’m over reacting, but I am appalled by Joseph Biden’s closing comments. He emphasized his desire to put a ‘New International Face’ on the transition in Iraq. With his well spoken, but flawed, logic, he stated the transfer of authority from coalition participants to NATO or, more specifically, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and Belgium was necessary for success in Iraq. Implicit was that the US occupation was unpopular in Iraq rather than occupation in general. I believe this is not only wrong, but given his apparent depth of knowledge, a lie. While the coalition has focused on the transition of governance to Iraq, this would undermine that process. The effect would be to delay transition and continue occupation by simply changing the name and would also subject Iraq to more outside interests during a critical time in the development of their nation. The Iraqi’s desire for the US to leave does not seem to be from broad hatred of the US but from desire for independence, pride, and honor. I think this is short sighted; Iraq has much to be proud of, and independence is more than a thought and a word. Hundreds of years passed before there was a movement for freedom in America. It took six years of war. It took another six years for our constitution to be ratified. It took another 217 years for our country, government, and constitution to evolve into what they are today. It took more than symbolic gestures. Iraq’s government hasn’t even fully formed yet and its progress and achievement are already a great threat to its (well armed) authoritarian neighbors. The nation looks to be more progressive than ours was 40 years ago in many ways. We must remember that we did not invade Iraq to free the people of Iraq. We invaded Iraq because it was in our interest to free the people of Iraq. The major coalition participants know this. The free nations of the coalition have the strongest growth economies and Iraq now has much of the same potential. It is in our interest, the interests of the coalition, and Iraq’s interest for the nations that committed so much to the freedom of Iraq to interact with Iraq and share in the their development. Iraq IS in debt to us; they owe us their friendship.posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Ernest Hollings has just spoken what many liberals really think: invading Iraq was done to satisfy the Israelis. I wonder how the major media will try to downplay this latest outrage:
“Of course there were no weapons of mass destruction. Israel's intelligence, Mossad, knows what's going on in Iraq. They are the best. They have to know.”
Isn’t he a friend and comrade of John Kerry? I wonder if there will be demands for Hollings to resign? This is going to be a real test for the liberal media.posted by: David Thomson on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
This is parody right? Just a couple of days ago the president of the IGC was assinated, in the green zone. You guys did hear that right? 45 days before a handover, the head of the puppet government was assinated. WHAT GOOD NEWS? Dan, you, yourself reported that CPA officials are saying that Iraq is hopeless (Larry Diamond comes to mind). The Guardian and AP have both reported that the CPA is filled with unqualified idiiots. I saw Diamond speak on the CPA and he basically gave the exact same number -- 1/3 are useless appointees. Reynolds, in his normal wingnut manner ignores all evidence that doesn't toe the party line as a "pre-emptive democratic attack". Surprise, surprise!
Although you mgith not be followign the Abu Gharib story, its turning itno a gigantic scandal. Multiple sources and reports now all seem to indicate that this is going straight to the top levels of the civilian leadership at the pentagon. Moreover, there are links to the J.D. lieing to the Supreme Court (a mere 8 hrs before this story broke).
And why are we so fubared? You hint at it, but don'ts ay it -- cause BUSH DOESNT READ A DAMN NEWSPAPER. He's getting his advice from teh guy that put us in this position -- Rummy.
aaron -- Everyone wants to internalize it except the winggnuts. I'll refer you to John Abizad's comments for the details.posted by: Jor on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Do you have any examples of the media not looking at the big picture? Or not reporting the whole truth?
Any at all?
What EXACTLY is not being reported and how did you find out about it (since it wasn't being reported)?posted by: GT on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I think to internationalize authority outside of coalition members is generally a bad idea unless the new parties put down large amounts of collateral.posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
The question is do you have any evidence of them looking at the big picture or reporting the whole truth.posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
posted by: Sam on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
GT -- This is part of an e-mail that came from a CPA administrator whose objectivity I trust:
Surely you would acknowledge that the resilience of Iraq's police forces has not been a consistent meme in mainstream Iraqi coverage.posted by: Dan Drezner on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
That's fine but I don't see how that email shows anything the media left out. The fact that police and anyone who is seen collaborating with the US are daily targets is widely known. The rebels have bombed several police stations, widely reported in the media. There have been many, many articles about how difficult it is for those in the police, how some must hide from theior families what they do.
And that probably explains why so many have been unwilling to fight on 'our' side and either defected or actually went to the other side.
I hear this "the media doesn't report things' meme a lot but it's the first time I read that from a respected academic (like you).
I am quite willing to be proven wrong. But I have yet to find any example of the media not reporting things or not having a big picture. It seems a day doesn't go by that the NYT or the WP doesn't have a 'big picture' analysis of Iraq.posted by: GT on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I'm not hearing how the terrorist aquire the munitions for their IED. I'm not hearing how pesticides are stored near weapons caches. I'm not hearing how most Iraqi's support the US presense. I'm not hearing where Sadr's support and funding are coming from. I'm not hearing about Sadr. I'm not hearing whether there was an increase in funding and support for terrorist, bathist, and gangsters like Sadr from outside Iraq since 3/11. I'm not hearing about the increase in casualties in Iraq since 3/11. I'm not hearing about the level of support for Sadr and locations. I'm not hearing about opposition to Sadr and other groups. I'm not hearing about clerics uniting against opposition groups and supporting cooperation. I'm not hearing about the non combat resolutions that have been achieved.posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I agree this must be a parody.
aaron, I guess you missed all the reporting about how there were untold numbers of weapons caches all over Iraq that the coalition wasn't securing. I'm also guessing you missed the recent polls in Iraq reporting that the overwhelming majority view us as occupiers, not liberators. As to Sadr, you must have your ear plugs in as it's been nothing but the man for the past serveral weeks and months. As to clerics uniting against opposition groups and supporting cooperation, there have been several stories about just that in the last couple of days.
You are either blind, deaf and dumb or you're simply making a huge joke at our expense.posted by: Hal on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
The coverage has been superficial and one sided. They have not highlighted who is supporting Sadr in and out of Iraq. Somehow the ghetto where he spends his money has become representative the face of Iraq.
You really should take a look at the formating of the surveys and questions. Yes, we are occupiers and not liberators if your attention span is less than one year. Do they consider the occupation necessary?
How come I haven't seen stories on how Iraqi's are finding weapons caches and selling munitions to terrorist. How come I'm not hearing about how Iraqi's search disposed caches to find unexploded ordanance. How come I'm not hearing any detail about the weapons caches and the problems with securing them.posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Hal, I've been shut in the last couple days studying finance and economics. I heard about all this stuff several day, weeks, and months ago. It's old news.posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I got to agree with GT, that the meme on Iraqi police forces has been reported in both the Post and the Times a few times. Now maybe you think it deserves more coverage, but given Rummy's gross exagerations of the police/security force a few months ago and their collapse in the insurgency, perhaps some skepticism is warranted?
aaron, you really have to be joking right? Out of your entire diatribe, the only part that can be considered good news is
"I'm not hearing about opposition to Sadr and other groups."
Which again, if you bother reading the newspapers is being reported. Sistani's attempts to diffuse the situation are very well known.
posted by: Jor on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Heh, you might notice that does Bush read the papers because he likes to spot the bull shit.posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Yes, I have short attention span. I stopped reading a lot of stuff from the times because it got very repetative. I don't have the patients for bullshit that Bush does. There are easier ways to find facts than reading four pages of propaganda.posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Do they want the UN to have a say in the structure of their government?posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I find this whole argument pretty baffling. The media is certainly myopic, but that's not an inherently political bias. In some ways it works in favor of Bush (or whoever is in power) and in some ways it works against him.
The Times which is often the poster paper of the "inherent liberal bias" in the media was on the forefront of spreading inaccurate information about Iraq's WMD.
I wonder if Bush detected Judith Miller's bullshit? Apparently not.
The political media is hobbled by its commitment to report "news" versus taking a more analytical approach. That's why we heard a lot about WMD, about Monica Lewinsky, about Abu Ghraib, about John Kerry's communion, and not so much about the bigger picture in these matters. But I don't think there's any good way to improve the situation. You should take everything you read with a grain of salt and weigh the claims against what you know from other sources and what you know about the myopia of journalism, and rely on sources other than newspapers and TV for the analysis of what all the "news" really means.posted by: Dave Adams on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
It is inherently biased, but that doesn't bother so much. What bother's me is that the last two years it has become increasingly myopic. I feel like I have been cut off from good reporting. I liked reading the times two years ago, it has gotten tedious the analysis weak.posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
aaron, you must be a big conspiracy theory buff. Somehow, the liberal 5th columists were holding back up until 2000 and then flipped their switch, activitating their press zombies into full blown liberal mode. They managed to infiltrate a zillion reporters, editors and lord only knows who else. Lord, I didn't know Soros had that much money!
I guess these wimpy, cheese eating, surrender liberals are a far more fomidable force than we took them for.posted by: Hal on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I agree that the media does have a bias - a lazy and dumb bias. Nonetheless, what we have is what we have. Insofar as Iraq the matter of the fact is that the media like the boy who cried wolf - or at least Quagmire in Afghanistan. The problem is that the media has hyped so many minor emergencies into major crises that we tend to distrust even when it happens to get the story right. The story right now is unfortunately that Sadr is getting more popular. We may take him or kill him, but only at the cost of creating a marytr. If we backed off, I think some Shiites would take care of him for us quietly but instead the Bush Admin is making another major blunder.
It's trying to pressure Sistani in order to move against Sadr, both to dispose of Sadr and to weaken Sistani by making him publicly move closer to the Administration's stance. However, this is a major folly. Sistani is a relatively anti-theocratic and modest cleric, and against anti-US military actions. By weakening him in order to try to control him, we literally empower the radical pro-Iranian actors like Sadr and co.
Sistani defied the Admin earlier about elections and now they're trying to undermine him, but the cost may be that Iraq cracks and shatters in the process. Thats the real news, and unfortunately you won't see it bandied about a lot.posted by: Oldman on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
David Thompson, you sound like someone...something...I've heard this before...
Joseph Sobran (Sobran's -- April 1997): The concept of envy -- the hatred of the superior -- has dropped out of our moral vocabulary ... The idea that white Christian civilization is hated more for its virtues than its sins doesn't occur to us, because it's not a nice idea. ... Western man towers over the rest of the world in ways so large as to be almost inexpressible. It's Western exploration, science, and conquest that have revealed the world to itself. Other races feel like subjects of Western power long after colonialism, imperialism, and slavery have disappeared. The charge of racism puzzles whites who feel not hostility, but only baffled good will, because they don't grasp what it really means: humiliation. The white man presents an image of superiority even when he isn't conscious of it. And, superiority excites envy. Destroying white civilization is the inmost desire of the league of designated victims we call minorities. Political correctness is a form of bigotry behind which cowards hide.
Georgie Anne Geyer (Americans No More: The Death of Citizenship -- 1996, pg. 49): Finally, in every case of breakdown, one discovers that the dominant society and leadership group waited too long to confront the divisive elements. It gives in and gives in--all the while destroying its historical self-knowledge, which endows a people with confidence--instead of standing on principle from the very beginning. It also gives in, thinking itself liberal and tolerant, to new and different interpretations of national commitment--of citizenship--that are at heart antithetical to the traditional beliefs and needs of the society.
H. L. Mencken: The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.posted by: Neo-Troll on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Everyday media reports focus on what just happened on that day or at most the day before, that's why the "big picture" is not news, and thus it may indeed be under-reported.
The NY Times op-ed page has published a quarterly big picture review with lots of statistics indicating progress in Iraq. There was one of those just a few days ago. I don't know if they are online somewhere, but in any case the big picture was very much a mixed bag of some indicators showing some progress, others showing very little progress and yet others showing regress. Among the latter was Iraqi public opinion - it has turned against us in recent months.
The NY Times op-ed page also features Thomas Friedman's columns, which I have always found well argued and certainly looking at the big picture. Friedman has been a supporter of the war in Iraq - until last week:
"I thought the administration would have to do the right things in Iraq — from prewar planning and putting in enough troops to dismissing the secretary of defense for incompetence — because surely this was the most important thing for the president and the country. But I was wrong. There is something even more important to the Bush crowd than getting Iraq right, and that's getting re-elected and staying loyal to the conservative base to do so. It has always been more important for the Bush folks to defeat liberals at home than Baathists abroad. That's why they spent more time studying U.S. polls than Iraqi history."
Friedman also sees the big picture in connection with Abu Ghraib:
"Why, in the face of the Abu Ghraib travesty, wouldn't the administration make some uniquely American gesture? Because these folks have no clue how to export hope. They would never think of saying, "Let's close this prison immediately and reopen it in a month as the Abu Ghraib Technical College for Computer Training — with all the equipment donated by Dell, H.P. and Microsoft.""
That's the true scandal here.
So, comrade Neo-troll, how long before the great socialist jihad wipes the evil and sick American Satan from the earth? Comparing someone you disagree with to racist organizations, how typically left-wing of you. Franky will be so proud.posted by: Ptolemy on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
"Comparing someone you disagree with to racist organizations, how typically left-wing of you."
My political philosophy, as despicable as it may be to you, doesn't make my observation any less true. Or are all right-wingers morphing into subjectivist for "The Cause" you know the apocalyptic battle between good and evil, The West and The East, Liberal values and righteousness?posted by: Neo-Troll on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
qw, that is valid criticism, pretty objetive, and rare.
I think reporters tend to be biased in the information they seek out. Not often politically, but personally. It seems like most reporter try to chase the same story rather than exploring.posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I agree that it is very hard to get a sense of the big picture in Iraq, though I suspect it has less to do with a biased media than the sheer difficulty of doing so. In any case, though, one point that seems to be missed is that part of the reason the torture Americans have engaged in has received so much attention is because it is a major, critical event for the United States, as well as for Iraq. The Sadr crisis may indeed be more important for figuring out U.S. Iraq policy -- though I am not so sure -- but the Abu Ghraib crisis is more important for figuring out U.S. democracy and politics. Something along the same lines can be said about the war as a whole and particularly the debacle of its public justification. The whole thing is obviously very important with regard to Iraq, the region as a whole, and U.S. foreign policy. But the way the Bush administration led us into war, and especially its principal justification via WMD, is probably more significant with regard to the health of American democracy.posted by: Jeff L. on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
This discussion disappoints once again. I wish someone would provide some evidence for this staggering claim that the media is 'biased'. A study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting(FAIR) of major news networks [CBS,NBC,ABC,PBS "News Hour with Jim Lehrer"] in the week leading to the war and found that of 393 interviews done around the war, only THREE were with anti-war activists!
It is true that as the Bush policy in Iraq has headed into disaster, the media has spoken out against Bush. Indeed, it would take myopia beyond even American intellectuals to suggest that the American enterprise is proceeding smoothly.
Nevertheless, the media debate is well within terms of discourse. Take a simpel example: Iraqi casualties are never discussed. The 'liberal' newspaper the New York Times even wrote an editorial last year called 'counting the Dead' ... of course it counted only Western soldiers. From various sources(including a Medact survey), the Iraqi death toll has probably exceeded 50,000(soldiers & civilians included). Barring a single Kristof article a long time ago, I've never heard any such figure mentioned or discussed.
If someone believes the American media is biased, I would direct her to the British media. I would be stunned if the kind of articles that run in the Independent and the Guardian were *ever* to run in the New York Times.
A brief survey of media around the world will show that the American media is extremely patriotic and keeps its people remarkably ill-informed about the horrors of the occupation.
It would take a fanatic to mistake the criticism that the Times directs towards Bush as a sign of 'bias'. This is the most elementary, toned down criticism to be found in any of the world's newspapers. Harldy bias.
posted by: Suvrat Raju on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I was at the dentist yesterday, reading a 7-month-old Newsweek. Full of bias. Pro-Bush bias. All sorts of claims about WMD now seen as false were taken as gospel truth. Bush's re-election was seen as a near-lock.
The media rolled over for Bush for months after 9/11. How else could it be that 40% of America thinks that Iraqis piloted the WTC planes? Ahmad Chalabi's embed at the NY Times, Judith Miller, is not only reporting but actually orchestrating a mime show for the military where a Chalabi associate posing as a scientist points at places in the sand where he "worked" on WMD. (Tests showed no signs of any such thing.) Our coverage of foreign affairs is so lame only a small minority of Americans realize that an overwhelming majority of even our European allies opposed the war.
The pendulum has swung. The press can be lazy, and, yes, I think it's possible that balance is missing from the news, as reporters operate in a herd. Right now, the herd has woken up from a deep slumber to discover that nothing in Iraq looks anything like they expected when they fell asleep last year: 130K American troops in Iraq seemingly forever, three US soldiers dead every day, the puppet government not even set up yet, and armed rebellion at various levels in two-thirds of the country. Not, of course, to mention the fact that George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld secretly decided to withdraw the US from the Geneva Conventions (no more their right than cancelling habeas corpus—oh, wait! They've done that too!) Under the circumstances, I find it easy to see why the IraqWagmire stories are more attractive to reporters. They've been overlooked for so long, and the Repainted School puff-pieces haven't been.posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
What are these WMD claims?posted by: aaron on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
“All sorts of claims about WMD now seen as false were taken as gospel truth. “
Nothing could be further from the truth. Only a few days ago, a number of our troops were attacked by saran gas. The WMDs could have been easily shipped to Syria. Lastly, Iraq is roughly the size of California. We haven’t even begun to thoroughly search the whole country.posted by: David Thomson on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
“David Thompson, you sound like someone...something...I've heard this before...
Joseph Sobran (Sobran's -- April 1997): The concept of envy -- the hatred of the superior -- has dropped out of our moral vocabulary ... The idea that white Christian civilization is hated more for its virtues than its sins doesn't occur to us, because it's not a nice idea. ... “
I do not, unlike Joe Sobran, consider Western Civilization to be “white.” On the contrary, race has nothing to do with it. I agree with Matthew Arnold that Western Civilization is merely “"the best which has been thought and said in the world." Please note that I am encouraging people to imagine the Arabs as blue eyed and blond hair. My point is to eliminate the very notion of race from the conversation. It is my adamant conviction that our politically correct concerns regarding race inhibits our thinking on this issue.posted by: David Thomson on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Some people like Senator Ernest Hollings believe the United States invaded Iraq on behalf of Israel. What does Andrew J. Lazarus have to say about this argument? I just checked the front page of this morning’s online New York Times---and they do not even mention Hollings' remarks. Isn’t that strange?posted by: David Thomson on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
What Lazarus considers pro Bush simply means they don't call Bush a nazi or a moron every edition.posted by: Ptolemy on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Neo your destined for the same bitter end as the Soviets, Nazis, Tojo Japanese, France, and Sadr. All thought America the personification of evil and while they commited nothing but atrocities upon others America kept growing stronger and better until all those MILLIONS of fools failed or died. Have a nice life. I would just ask that when your dreams are also destroyed you won't mimic your heroes in the Arab world and turn to terrorism.posted by: Ptolemy on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
David Thomson: "I just checked the front page of this morning’s online New York Times---and they do not even mention Hollings' remarks. Isn’t that strange?"
I just checked on Google News, and no major news outlet seems to be reporting Hollings' remarks. Not Fox News. Not the Wall Street Journal. I guess they must be biased in the same way as the New York Times?!
Look, if the Times actually had put Hollings' speech on the front page, you'd probably have been the first one here to complain that a liberal media outlet gives unfair front-page coverage to a rather ridiculous theory brought forward by a soon-retiring Democratic senator.
Incidentally, what Hollings really said was:
"Bush felt tax cuts would hold his crowd together and spreading democracy in the Mideast to secure Israel would take the Jewish vote from the Democrats."
I find this quite silly since even Bush couldn't possibly have expected democracy to not only take full hold in Iraq, but even spread from Iraq to other countries and to truly stabilize the Middle East within one year (i.e. before the election). This seems simply absurd to me and not worthy of reporting. (In retrospect, though, some of the arguments to go to war put forth by the administration, dutifully reported at length by the media, were almost equally unfounded and silly.)
On the other hand, Hollings' remark that:
"Of course there were no weapons of mass destruction. Israel's intelligence, Mossad, knows what's going on in Iraq. They are the best. They have to know."
... is slightly more interesting and worthy of consideration. Did our agencies consult with the Mossad? What was the Mossad's opinion on WMDs in Iraq? I wouldn't take Hollings' claim for granted that they knew there weren't any, but has this even been looked into?
Since we are talking about outrageous Senators, what about Inhofe? Where is the outrage from Republicans that one of theirs would play down the prison abuse scandal in Iraq and even suggest that the real scandal is that people think there is something wrong with sexually assaulting Iraqi prisoners?
David Thompson cannot die.
1. He doesn't belive anything that is printed in a newspaper or media that is different than what he wants to believe.
2. His obituary will be printed in newspaper.
3. He will not believe it
4. If he doesn't believe it already, it cannot be true.
5. Therefore, he cannot die.
Note, I am not urging or wishing that he will die. I am not threatening him in any way. I actually have come to appreciate his boneheaded insistance that Bush is somehow doing a good job. It reminds me that you can in fact fool some of the people all of the time.
Man, I hope that we don't get attacked with sarin gas. Did you get your gas mask yet, David? You must have - THEY HAVE WMD!!!!!posted by: mickslam on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
"It reminds me that you can in fact fool some of the people all of the time."
While many war hawks have moved to depression and anger (soem even reaching acceptance) David is stuck on stage one, denial.posted by: GT on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Yeah, David, try to move past this!!!
LOL!!posted by: mickslam on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
To borrow from Val Kilmer in Tombstone: Your hypocrisy knows no bounds.
posted by: Patrick Barnette on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I take it you have no problem with Neo's statement then Patrick? I didn't say he was the Soviets or Nazis only that he falls in the same failed path that they took in hating America. Obviously you have sympathies similar to Neo since you have nothing to say about his attack on David. We are going to win this war whether you and Neo like it or not.posted by: Ptolemy on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Daniel Drezner says more than he seems to have expected by blaming Bush for the fact that the media is biased.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
My pet peeve is hypocrisy. I was just pointing out that you, like a good hypocrite should, dismissed one person's arguments because he compared someone to a Nazi and then proceeded to liken him to Communists, Nazis, the Fascist Japanese, Arab terrorists, and the French. Is this not the definition of hypocrisy? For good measure, you label me anti-American, despite no evidence to that effect. Where, oh where, is the Ptolemy who (rightly) decried the labeling of conservatives as neo-Nazis?posted by: Patrick Barnette on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I love America and despise the fools who would lead her into dangerous and irresponsible positions...I only pray you are not as reckless with your immediate family as you are with you country.
I love America and despise the fools who would lead her into dangerous and irresponsible positions...I only pray you are not as reckless with your immediate family as you are with you country.
posted by: NeoTroll on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
David Thompson said:
"Nothing could be further from the truth. Only a few days ago, a number of our troops were attacked by saran gas. The WMDs could have been easily shipped to Syria. Lastly, Iraq is roughly the size of California. We haven’t even begun to thoroughly search the whole country."
It's awfully telling of the desperation gripping war supporters and war criminals alike that the discovery of a 20-year old chemical shell (which failed to deploy properly, imagine that) has suddenly brought WMD back to their warblog-obsessed minds and fingers. Pathetic.
-ahbposted by: ahb on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
Getting a little sour Holsinger now that the cracks are setting in the facade of public unity of the GOP and the always present anti-nation-building and isolationist sentiment is coming out again? Why? Just because your little world-conquest fantasies are going up like dry tinder in a furnace?
I guess you'll just have to put a indefinite postponement on your relished hopes of a Iranian and Syrian land invasion. We might nuke them, but sending in land forces was always a nightmarish fool's errand that only people like you could recommend.
The proper course to the WoT is the same as it always was - overhaul and reform the FBI& CIA, increase Border Patrol, increase IAEA inspections, update the non-proliferation treaty, and buy things like more translators, more human intel, etc.
Randomly invading countries where we have no idea what is going on at the ground level was never a viable way to fight this war from a sheer logistical perspective.
However the old saying that amateurs talk strategy and experts talk logistics has proven true once again. The madness of trying to prosecute a world-wide WoT using conventional armed forces without war-footing mobilization is just beginning to set in.
Cripes, would someone get this war-porn hacks a quiet corner where they can mutter their dire portents and ramble on about their war fantasies where it won't bother the rest of us?posted by: Oldman on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
You need to separate the apples from the oranges. We KNOW that the media is slanting the hell out of the news. You only THINK that Bush is ignoring "bad news" in Iraq.
Bush is getting news summaries every day. He is getting intelligence briefings every day. He is probably better versed on all the "bad news" than any of his critics here in the states.posted by: stan on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
"Bush is getting news summaries every day. He is getting intelligence briefings every day. He is probably better versed on all the "bad news" than any of his critics here in the states."
They have to be read to him...and considering he missed all the signs of Al-Queda being serious to attack (It was a historic document!) what makes you think his capacity for critical thinking has changed?posted by: NeoTroll on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
I still don't follow the everything in Iraq is falling apart theme. 80-90% of the country is peaceful. One of the worst ecological disasters in recent memory is being reversed (Marsh Arabs), Iraqi's are starting to hold local elections (not like the one where Saddam won damn near unanimously), Sadr is being ostracized and his "army's" is being alternately stomped and withered on the vine. Schools that teach about real history and freedom are open. Iraqi incomes are up. Trade is flourishing. Abu Ghareib was a damn shame, but the Pentagon was cleaning up that matter 4 months before any pictures came out. The neighborhood dictatorships and theocracies are very nervous and at least paying some lipservice to reform (women's rights, Voting, Libya foregoing WMD programs). It is a war, not game. Most of the critics of this effort would be saying what a great job was being done if it were a Democrat President. President Bush, Rumsfeld, and all of out troops on the ground are doing a f***king great job. I think the reason these comment blogs are so frustrating is that it does not seem like there is honest criticism. It's all Bush and his evil Christian, capitalist pigs cabal are screwing this up and leading us astray, and blah, blah, blah (you can all fill in the blanks for the usual complaints. I do notice that the people who defend the "old" media are also the ones who agree with the "old" media. You guys and gals ought to open your minds up a little, you sound like what you complain about.posted by: Chucks on 05.19.04 at 02:58 PM [permalink]
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