Wednesday, September 27, 2006

NIE, Gibson & Williams, Lindorff and Iraq

If you need to laugh (who doesn't?), please read Cedric's "Bully Boy's bump and grind (humor)" and/or Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY PLAYS GYPSY ROSE LEE!" (a joint-post -- those will continue up to the election as both are now working on turning out the vote in their areas). Yesterday, I noted a program that aired today and it wasn't what I stated it would be. If you listened, I think you heard an equally worthy segment, but if you don't agree, I apologize. (C.I. covers this in "Other Items.") For Mike's thoughts, please visit Mikey Likes It!.

On the NIE, I'll note this.

"Network news coverage of declassified NIE fraught with misinformation, GOP talking points" (Media Matters for America):
In covering the September 26 release of
declassified portions of the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), ABC's World News with Charles Gibson and NBC's Nightly News uncritically aired President Bush's nonsensical non-responses to questions about the NIE, while NBC and the CBS Evening News presented misleading reports on the NIE's conclusions, both asserting that the declassified portion of the report at least in part backs up Bush.

Why? Because come Friday a certain radio program will, no doubt, once again tell us everything they feel Katie Couric did wrong at CBS this week. They will, no doubt, once again cackle and giggle over "ratings" (in parenthesis because they didn't know what they were talking about and their point was wrong when they made it yet they have failed to correct it). Media Matters notes Couric's errors. This is not to state that she doesn't make them. She does. They need to be noted. Media Matters covers all three networks. A program which airs in many markets on Friday has made themselves the unofficial Katie Couric watch. Apparently the only errors made during the evening news occur on CBS. I don't stand for "bash the bitch." If you've got a problem with errors, you treat everyone equally. The program doesn't. Which is why they turned bird-dogging Judith Miller into a cottage industry and presented only one view re: sources (that she should name them) but has never had the guts to go after the mythical reports from the New York Times' Dexter Filkins. The program has no guts and deserves no glory. It appears it exists only to fluff and play "bash the bitch." For a so-called left program, that is a problem.

If this is an issue of some people not making it to the networks (or at them) and having a little envy towards Couric, they need to get over it. They're embarrassing themselves. If it's a case of her moving from daytime to evening, it's very obvious that the program has refused to call out Charlie Gibson who made the same move. (Prior to joining Good Morning America, he dabbled in serious news. He elected to co-anchor fluff in the morning, to leave news for it. Couric worked her way up, there's a world of difference.)

Women don't need to cover up for other women, but they should be willing to insist (I'm willing) that women be judged be fairly. The nonsense over Katie Couric has gone far enough. If everyone can get over the shock that someone with breasts can deliver the news, maybe all anchors of the three evening news broadcasts can be held to the same standard?

Possibly, all the petty grudges and sexim could be instead fueled into covering something that truly matters such as what's the administration's plan with regards to Iran.

"Bush War III: Going to War to Save His Own Ass" (Dave Lindorff, Truthout):
War talk is in the air again, and because of the looming November election, it has to be taken extra seriously.
The latest to warn about a Bush War III is former Democratic senator and failed presidential contender Gary Hart, long an expert on national security issues, who says that targeting drones and Special Forces targeting specialists are already operating over and inside Iran, sizing up and locating as many as 400 targets for US cruise missiles and bombers. This is in anticipation of an aerial strike which my own investigating suggests could come as early as late October (See the article
"War Signals" in The Nation.).
Of course, this could all be bluster - a Karl Rove/Dick Cheney strategy to get the public all worked up they way they used to get over color-coded terror alerts, until that strategy wore out its effectiveness through overuse. But the actual sending of Special Forces units into harm's way in Iran, and the preparation of Navy battle groups for deployment to the Iran Theater, make it more probable that an actual attack is in the offing. Word that regular military units are being prepared for third tours to the region, that the administration is changing the guidelines to make longer call-ups of National Guard units for longer and more frequent overseas tours of active duty, and that units in Iraq are being given stop-loss orders to delay their return home also suggest something major may be in the offing. Otherwise logic would lead to the expectation that the administration would be announcing a reduction in troop levels in Iraq before Election Day, as was past practice.
Ordinarily one would say that the real sign of an imminent attack would be a convening of Congress to approve a use of force authorization, or perhaps an attempt in the United Nations to win endorsement for an attack from the UN Security Council, but clearly this is not happening. And for good reason. Bush would never succeed in winning Security Council approval for a military action against Iran, particularly after insulting the council members by the massive package of lies that he and Colin Powell presented the last time he sought such a vote - for an attack on Iraq - in 2003. Nor would he likely be given the go-ahead by Congress this time around, with all of the House and a third of the Senate facing re-election on November 7 by an electorate that has grown weary of war, angry at a half trillion dollars wasted, and sick about the thousands of flag-draped coffins and broken GIs returning home, with nothing to show for it all but two dysfunctional, war-torn former countries in the Middle East.
The problem is that Bush, who has trashed the Constitution to the point that it is now little more than a historical artifact, doesn't think he needs approval from the UN or even from the Congress to embark on his most dangerous, bloody and immoral war yet.

And of course Iraq always matters. I called C.I. shortly after this went up and asked, "What happened to your plan to keep these shorter?" We both laughed (and supposedly that starts tomorrow). I've also recommended that Thursday's "And the war drags on" be delayed to Friday due to the fact that C.I.'s still recovering from surgery. (That idea was floated by Gina in Saturday's special round-robin. I agree with Gina 100%.) Before the snapshot, Sonny & Cher had a song entitled "Mama Was A Rock-n-Roller Singer And Papa Used To Write All Her Songs." It was one of their latest top 100 charting singles. That's noted to be sure you get a joke coming up in the snapshot.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, September 17, 2006. Chaos and violence contine in Iraq with
CBS calling it a "blood soaked morning in Iraq", a war resister turns himself in, Basra operations appear aptly dubbed as England lives out a fable, Bully Boy flashes the public but refuses to reveal all, Bill Clinton provides a cringe-worthy flashback in England, and the US military learns that just because they say so doesn't make it true.
Starting with the "blood soaked" day in Iraq where the violence and chaos continue.
Reuters reports that two roadside bombs in Baghdad took the life of one and left three wounded; while three police officers were wounded by a roadside bomb in Mussayab; four were killed by a roadside bomb in Baquba; and mortar rounds in Rashad killed two Iraqi soldiers and left three wounded. CBS and AP report that a police officer was killed in Baghdad by "a bomb hidden in his car". AFP reports that the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, William Caldwell IV, has stated that "this week's suicide attacks were at the highest leavel of any given week" apparently too busy checking the Eva Gabor wig catalogue to register the news reported earlier this month that so-called suicide bombers are not limited to people intentionally exploding bombs. (As reported earlier, those that have been classified as such also include unknowing persons who die when the bombs are exploded by remote control.)
Reuters reports that today's attack in Baghdad ("near a Sunni mosque" resulted in ten civilians being shot dead. CBS and AP report that two people were shot dead in Baghdad and an Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Karma. CBS and AP also report that, on Tuesday, two Iraqi soldiers were shot dead in Baghdad. Also shot dead on Tuesday, Reuters reports, was "Nima al-Yaseen, the sister of Shi'ite MP Ligaa al-Yaseen."
CNN reports that 17 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and that, since Sunday, 77 corpses have been found in the capital. CBS and AP note that nine corpses "were pulled out of the Tigris river" showing the now common signs of torture and, in addition, they report "the bodies of 23 men were found dumped in the streets" of Baghdad today..
In one of the day's most controversial events, the US military continues to maintain one point of view and everyone else another.
As the
US military tells it: "Coalition forces killed four suspected terrorists and wounded two others during a raid the morning of Sept. 27 targeting a terrorist tied to extremist leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq in Iraq's Diyalah and Salah ah Din provinces. As Coalition forces approached the objective, they received sporadic small arms fire from throughout the neighborhood and sustained small arms fire from the objective building. Coalition forces, through their Iraqi interpreters, announced they were in the area, whereupon the shooting ceased from most locations except the target building. Coalition forces killed two terrorists during this engagement. Due to the heavy volume of enemy fire from the target building, they also engaged the building with Coalition aircraft." Apparently the statement was written by an old Sonny & Cher fan who wanted to update an early 70s song to "Mama was a Jihadist Terrorist And Papa Used to Follow All Her Plans."
On a less musical note,
Reuters reported: "A U.S. raid and air strike killed eight people, including seven members of one family, and wounded two others in the town of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military and police said. The U.S. said the four men in the family of seven were suspected militants with links to al Qaeda." And Aileen Alfandary, KPFA's The Morning Show, noted that among those killed in the airstrike was a pregnant woman. Though initially weighting their report heavy on the official US military version, the AP now reports that family members "disputed the U.S. account"; that they "cried and consoled on another as the bodies of the women were taken away"; that Manal Jassim ("who lost her parents and other relatives in the attack") states: "This is an ungly criminal act by the U.S. solderis against Iraqi citizens"; and that the Association of Muslim Scholars call the air strike a "terrorist massacre."
In news of more successful propaganda efforts,
AP reports that the spin-meisters of the American-based Lincoln Group have been awarded a US government contract worth approximately $6.2 million after their bang up job planting 'Happy Talk' in Iraqi outlets (which, despite the continued focus on print was not limited to print and included radio and TV). In addition to continuing to play the mouth of Mary Sunshine of the illegal war (William Caldwell IV apparently having his hands full playing the Giddiest Gabor of the Green Zone), the $6.2 million also covers their "monitoring" of US domestic news outlets inclduing the New York Times. (Apparently in order to crown the new Dexter Filkins -- Sabrina Tavernise appears to be in the lead as the new go-to-guy for the US military when suggesting/planting stories.)
In military news,
AP reports on British troops in Basra and notes that their efforts are part of "the security drive . . . dubbed 'Operation Sinbad'.'' Those with longer memories than the AP my find that amusing for a number of reasons. Literally speaking, Sinbad hails from the epic The Book of One Thousand and One Nights -- a variety of epic tales with one told each night by Scheherazade, to her husband, King Shahryar, to stall her planned execution and allow her to live for another day. Is England attempting to suggest that all the troops are doing is forestalling and, in the end, will have to plead for mercy? A question worth asking because, though the AP sidesteps this, England first began "Operation Sinbad" in Basra on April 6th -- April 6, 2003. A smashing success, to be sure, just like Amara.
Meanwhile, on
KPFA's The Morning Show today, Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari spoke with Carl Conetta about the "General's revolt" and the growing resistance among top military brass to the 'leadership' provided by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The issues of concern for the military were the readyness of equipment and US forces both of which, it was argued, are in need of upgrading. The discussion addressed the further lowering of the bar for recruits in an effort to meet targets. Also in news of generals, today's AP report that two generals suffered from food poisioning after dining in DC last week: Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and Gen. John Abizaid -- the latter of which had to be hospitalized for three nights at Walter Reed Medical Center.
In peace news,
AP reports that war resister Agustin Aguayo turned himself at Fort Irwin last night. Aguayo self-checked out of the US military, from a Gernany base, on September 2nd after learning he would redeployed to Iraq (even if getting him there required hancuffing him). Adrienne Ziegler (Desert Dispatch) reports his self-checkout came as he was waiting for word on his appeal to be designated conscientious objector status and that his wife, Helga Aguayo, stated, "The greatest lesson he could teach (our daughters) is to stand up for what you believe in, and if you don't, you hurt the people around you. . . . If my husband can inspire one person to become a conscientious objector, then all this hassle was worth it." Like war resister Mark Wilkerson, there is no word on what, if any, charges Aguayo will face. War resister Ricky Clousing, who also self-checked out, has been informed he has been charged with desertion. (A technical charge that may not be levied against Aguayo who was gone for less than thirty days.) More information on Aguayo can be found at his official website.
his own web site, Mark Wilkerson recommends the film Jarhead and writes, "Speaking from my own experience in Iraq: Every day in Iraq was an inner struggle to keep from going crazy and just blasting away into the crowds that gathered around our trucks. I had to make a conscious effort to stay in focus and not use my MK-19 or SAW machine gun to level a whole city block."
Meanwhile, war resister Darrell Anderson intends to return from Canada to the United States on Saturday. If not arrested at the border, Anderson will then turn himself in at Fort Knox. The Purple Heart awarded Anderson was injured by a roadside bomb while serving in Baghdad and, facing a second deployment to Iraq, elected to self-check out in January 2005 and go to Canada. More information on war resisters can be found at
Courage to Resist and that includes information on Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Peace resister Bully Boy has his own problems as his efforts to clamp down on discussions of the effects that the (illegal) war in Iraq had on safety for the United States and the world proved unsuccessful. After releasing pre-selected pages (approximately three pages) of the approximately thirty page April NIE assessment,
AP reports that White House Fluffer Tony Snow Job dismissed cries to release the full report under the pretext that doing so would reveal the identities of intel agents and assests whom, apparently, embedded messages within the report such as, "Hi, I'm Jody. For a good time, call me at . . . " AP notes: "In the bleak National Intelligence Estimate, the government's top analysts concluded Iraq has become a 'cause celebre' for jihadists, who are growing in number and geographic reach. If the trend continues, the analysts found, the risks to the U.S. interests at home and abroad will grow." AP also reports the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined US Congress member Jane Harmon's request that the White House release another intel report that is apparently lying in wait to be sprung on the American public after the November elections.
While Bully Boy continues to insist that the US is "safer but not safe" and the "democracy" is taking root in Iraq, both
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) and Amit R. Paley (The Washington Post) have noted the reality of polls demonstrating that Iraqis overwhelmingly want the US out of Iraq. Look for a third Post, the New York Post, to attempt spin control -- possibly by claiming that the representative pool naturally favored "jihadists."
The results are not surpising (nor new, they reflect ongoing polling since the war started) and
Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reports on how neighborhoods of Bahgdad are turned into guarded barricades and quotes one resident, Ibrahim Abdul Sattar, as declaring, "We have been living together for 30 years. We've never had such tensions like this before. We are fearing for our future."
Obviously the so-called 'safer but not safe' effect hasn't reached Baghdad (despite the three-month-old 'crackdown'). The polls of Iraqis follow CNN's most recent polling of Americans (see "
Poll: Terrorism, Iraq very important to midterm voters") which found that, as with their polling in August, 59% of Americans oppose the Iraq war and, if you rank all those describing the issue as important to them (includes anti-war and pro-war and the categories about to be lumped together are "extremely important," "very important" and "moderately important") 96% of those polled ranked the Iraq war as important. If only the media shared the same view.
Finally, Bill Clinton went to England to prop up Tony Blair and, no doubt rankled many, with his effusive praise of Tony Blair ("
a stunning success") which may have many recalling that it was Clinton, not Reagan or Poppy Bush, that worked to rehabilitate the justly tarnished image of Richard Nixon. Republican presidents couldn't have done that because Tricky Dick was, rightly, radioactive, so they had to steer clear. It takes a village . . . healer? Though far more popular than the Bully Boy (but then who isn't?) in England, Bill Clinton's remarks ("ringing praise" exclaims Australia's Daily Telegraph) attempting to prop up the increasingly unpopular Blair and to promote prime minister wanna-be Gordon Brown ("brilliant ecnomic leadership") may not carry weight with British voters and, especially the citing of Brown, may lead to the already shaky Labour support growing even shakier.