Sunday, April 30, 2006
Deep in the Heart of Delusion
It is still possible that we could fail in Iraq, but we certainly haven't failed yet. The key moments will arrive on the first couple of occasions when that country makes a peaceful transition from one elected government to another. If the Iraqis make those transitions successfully, we will be able, I think, to label our policy in that country a success. Even if they don't, and an authoritarian regime ultimately controls the country, it could still be a vast improvement on the virulently anti-American and pro-terrorist Saddam Hussein.
See? Even if we wind up with a theocratic, authoritarian near-failed state plunged in civil war, it'll still be a grand victory, and America will be much safer for it.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
In a position to confirm
And even if Priest didn't answer, don't you think it would have been worth a try to ask her?
Instead, we get this bewildering response from the reporter in an online chat:
Tokyo, Japan: Hello, Ms. Linzer-You said earlier "we don't know exactly what was said and to whom ". That isn't entirely correct. Dana Priest would know the nature of her contacts with McCarthy, and Dana Priest is a Washington Post reporter. Why can't she just tell us? After all, she seems to feel comfortable exposing secrets. What are the ethics on this?
Dafna Linzer: Hi, you're up late. The compact reporters enter into with sources for information that they wouldn't get otherwise is often one of confidentiality, especially on issues of national security. That is the pact that Dana entered into with her sources.
To which Maguire notes:
But... but... if Ms. McCarthy was *not* a source for Dana Priest, then there is
no compact, yes? Why can't Ms. Priest simply say, "Although I will never
discuss my sources, I will occasionally discuss my non-sources; in this case,
Mary McCarthy was not a source to me in my Pulitzer Prize winning secret prison
I think that's right on.
Monday, April 24, 2006
No more need be said
As they say in some quarters, indeed.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Who am I, really?
The response from a Power Liner?
Kos yearns for the army of his youth -- the one that helped him "bulk" up, learn
German, and see Europe without making him fight
Really. How low can you go? As Jason Zengerle points out:
That's some tough talk--especially from a guy who (judging from his online bio appears to have spent the Vietnam years holed up in Hanover and Palo Alto. What did you do in the class war, Mr. Mirengoff?
Zuniga joins up to serve his country. This enrages Paul Mirengoff, who wishes the man were put closer to harm's way. Par for the course.
UPDATE: Norwegianity offers its own unkind thoughts toward Mirengoff.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
So here's the drill. We'll dip into the cosmic-significance pieces from the MSM, followed by my own carefully reported chronicle of McClellan's resignation, and then dive into the blogosphere. (Hint: Liberals are near-ecstatic and conservatives are being businesslike.)
Now, that goes along nicely with a recently developed Post narrative about lefty blogs, so I'd be expecting to hear some crazy-assed stuff from said ecstatic blogs. But what do we get instead from Kurtz? A "yawn" from lefty Americablog, more cynicism than ecstasy from John Nichols at The Nation, An "eh" from Daily Kos, and et cetera.
And the rightie blogs are businesslike. Curious.
Me write's sooper gud
Almost unbelievably, the Times' article didn't even mention the name Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. Not even once. (And shockingly, when it does mention the Sulzberger family, it misspells their name, twice referring to them as "Ochs-Sulzburger."). The piece goes out of it's way to emphasize that the vote withdrawal had to do not with any desire on Morgan Stanley's part to have the company sold, but rather, "to eliminate the company's two classes of stock.
Note to Gal Beckerman. The possessive for "it" does not take an apostrophe.
UPDATE: Beckerman responds to my post via email, but has not yet said whether I can use said response, so I'll wait to post. Suffice it to say that I am not comparing The Times's admittedly boneheaded error with Beckerman's, only to say that when one is writing a post on someone else's typographical slip-up, one should probably be extra carfeful in the copy-editing of their own piece.
And it should be noted that the error is still on the CJR website, a full two days after I pointed it out and Beckerman acknowledged it.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Just so we're all clear here
This has prompted respectable -- ahem -- places like the National Review's Corner and InstaPundit's Glenn Reynolds to announce his trip and point their readers to his site, apparently approvingly (I can only assume so, since nary a word is mentioned of his writing-for-hire past). He's there to report the truth. Or whatever it is somebody is paying him to report.
Monday, April 17, 2006
March of the strawmen
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Well, it's a funny thing. I asked one reporter about [the embedding process], and there was kind of the impression left that, "Well, if you got embedded then you were really part of the problem instead of part of the solution and you were almost going over to the other side," argument. I think that's an inexcusable thought, and I don't know if that's the case.
Who is the reporter Secretary Rumsfeld? Name him or her. But you won't, will you, because what you really want to do is to mount another cowardly, sick, smear against a nameless, faceless press so that no one will actually be able to respond, or rebut the accusation.
And what's this "...kind of the impression left that"? What kind of construction is that? Your own fevered imagination of the conversation? What did that reporter actually say? Who was it? Be a man. I'm not hopeful, though.
Super duper cognitive dissonance
The fact is that terrorists are emboldened by the extreme left-wing media. As the saying goes at LGF, the Media is the enemy.
You see, the results of the reporting encourage more bombings to occur. If the media just didn't report on bombings so much, then the terrorists wouldn't think that they were succeeding, and then they would eventually give up.
As we have pointed out here many, many times, this creates -- how shall we say? -- problems for the anti-media avengers when the next attack on America comes. Hell, it creates problems for the response to 9/11 in the first place, when bloggers made their reputations by, yes, exploiting the tragedy and crowing about their hit counts in the aftermath. The logic, I think, goes like this: the terrorists would not try to attack us again if we just didn't talk about all those thousands of people dying and buildings getting destroyed in 2001.
Don't they realize that the terrorism will go away if everyone just stops talking about it?
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Talk about getting ahead of the facts
BILL SAMMON, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: It's starting to remind me of theTawanda [sic] Brawley case from 1987 when a 15-year-old girl claimed that she had been raped by a bunch of people, including a cop, a white cop, turned out to have been all made up.
HUME: This was up in New York State?
SAMMON: Al Sharpton came to prominence by exploiting this case and later had to pay defamation damages, along with two other guys, to a prosecutor that they had called a racist during this controversy. This is starting --
SAMMON: There's a lot of people in the community, the professors, some of the students, seem crestfallen that the DNA evidence has proven negative because they were already off to the races on investigations into lacrosse culture and sexism and racism and the athlete culture on campus and how athletes always get their way. And you have to understand that Duke is a notoriously politically correct university, like a lot of elite universities and this kind of stuff runs rampant. So I'm wondering now that it looks like the case is falling apart, will the Duke University president apologize to the team for canceling their season, rehire the coach? Will charges of perjury be brought against this woman if indeed it proves that she was making up a story to accuse innocent people of something they didn't do? I doubt it. I don't think we should hold our breath in a place like Duke University for that kind of action to actually happen.
Get it? It was deeply irresponsible to talk about the guilt of Duke's lacrosse players [something with which I agree] , but it is equally, deeply responsible, minus any facts whatsoever, to talk about the accuser as a potential Tawana Brawley. It is also deeply responsible to not so subtly suggest that she's a liar and that perjury charges should probably brought against her.
Does Sammon even understand how much he sounds like a nitwit?
UPDATE: RealClearPolitics has the transcript.
Nights in White Satin
Didn't the Washington Post just start...? Yes, they did. Within the past month, they started a conservative blog on the website, and their readers and the left wing fringe threw a hissy fit, and the liberal Washington Post buckled just as fast as a bunch of congressmen in front of an immigration protest, and they concocted some phony excuse that the guy that they had hired was a plagiarist and that they didn't know it.
So he was gone inside of two weeks. He probably created more attention and hits to that blog at the Washington Post than any other liberal bloggers. But they couldn't handle the heat from the left. They couldn't offend their audience, and so they had to get rid of the conservative blogger, and at the same time they had to put out a bunch of garbage to impugn his character and reputation at the same time.
That's a pretty accurate assessment of what really happened. For the violently insane.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
War from 30,000 feet
Contrary to what you may hear in the media, there is no "civil war"! I fly over every inch of this country both day and night. Is there serious political tension? Yes. Is there sporadic sectarian violence? Yes. Are there those who are willing to blow themselves and innocent Iraqis up in order to prevent a democratic Iraq from becoming a reality? Yes. Should that be the determining factor as to whether we throw up our hands and give up? Hell, no!
Since when has America been intimidated by bullies? We have a responsibility to the people of Iraq and our own greatness as Americans to finish this righteous cause. This is to say nothing of the myriad other reasons why it was a spectacularly good thing to get rid of Saddam Hussein and his rapist heirs.
Obviously, this F-16 pilot is much closer to the action in Iraq than I am; it is also unclear from this piece whether he has conducted any foot patrols (other than his visit to the hospital), so I'm not sure on what he bases his conclusions.
With that, I should note that I took a cross-country flight across America not too long ago, and I did not witness a single murder. [via Hugh Hewitt]
Monday, April 10, 2006
Breaking News: We won in Vietnam!
Michael Medved designates the "three big lies" that continue to poison our understanding and analysis of the war, arguing against common contentions: 1. That the Vietnam War represented an unconstitutional conflict based upon American imperialism and a desire for world dominance 2. That the military lost the war on the battlefield, and in the process committed horrendous atrocities...
That's absolutely true. We won every single battle we fought. And yet somehow we lost the war. [Via The Corner]
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Read it here in all its frightening detail. Bunker-busting nuke missile strikes. Eep.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Important Bill O'Reilly Update
- The New Yorker Magazine
- US News & World Report
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Not hard to figure out why he added The New Yorker -- Nicholas Lemann did a lengthy essay on him recently (I found it strangely complimentary, in a backhanded-kind-of-way. And the deconstruction of O'Reilly's revenge fantasy -er- "novel" is hilarious). But how about the others? Anyone.
Earlier, exciting list coverage here.
Hidden in plain sight
My only point is that, at the very least, people who complain that good news coming out of Iraq gets shuttered by the press aren’t crazy.
Well, maybe not crazy, but probably not very good users of the Google-ometer.
Why, look! Here's a story from the April 2 edition of the NYT. And they buried it on the front page, in the first column, above the fold. Here's what the print edition's headline (not available online) said:
CIVILIANS IN IRAQ FLEE MIXED AREAS AS KILLINGS RISE
TOLL AT 900 FOR MARCH
New Phase of War Further Splits Sunni and Shiite -- U.S. Deaths Drop
Now, one could argue that there's something of a negative spin on the article, and the "U.S. Deaths Drop" comes all the way at the end, but if you can't be bothered to read 23 words before you start screaming "bias!" then you probably don't have any business being a press critic. Still, maybe you read the story online, and they buried the decline in troop deaths all the way at the end! Well, here's the lede:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 1 — The war in Iraq has entered a bloodier phase, with the killings of Iraqi civilians rising tremendously in daily sectarian violence while American casualties have steadily declined, spurring tens of thousands of Iraqis to flee from mixed Shiite-Sunni areas.
The new pattern, detailed in casualty and migration statistics from the past six months and in interviews with American commanders and Iraqi officials, has led to further separation of Shiite and Sunni Arabs, moving the country toward a de facto partitioning along sectarian and ethnic lines — an outcome that the Bush administration has doggedly worked to avoid over the past three years.
The nature of the Iraq war has been changing since at least the late autumn, when political friction between Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs rose even as American troops began implementing a long-term plan to decrease their street presence. But the killing accelerated after the bombing on Feb. 22 of a revered Shiite shrine, which unleashed a wave of sectarian bloodletting.
About 900 Iraqi civilians died violently in March, up from about 700 the month before, according to military statistics and the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, an independent organization that tracks deaths. Meanwhile, at least 29 American troops were killed in March, the second-lowest monthly total since the war began.
And of course, one of the major reasons we're seeing less troop deaths? We're "implementing a long-term plan to decrease [our] street presence."
Well, that's all well and good, the lead story in the most influential newsapaper in the country. But what about all the other agenda-driven media who want the Iraq War to fail? Where is their reporting on the troop death decline?
How about the Washington Post? How about the Knight Ridder chain? How about Reuters? How about NPR? How about UPI? And on and on.
But see, when you work yourself into a blind rage about all that negative press coverage of Iraq, you tend not to see these things.
UPDATE: Also, should have linked to the Brookings Institute study on which the Insty emailer based his post. It's curious, though, that the blogger at MyElectionAnalysis uses this line [the numbers are trend lines from Brookings over the last several months]:
Okay, okay, so insurgents aren’t engaging us; they’re turning increasingly to car bombs then, right?
70, 70, 70, 68, 30, 30
Civilians then. They’re just garroting poor civilians.
527, 826, 532, 732, 950, 446 (upper bound, two months before that were 2489 and 1129).
Look, I may not be a numbers-crunching blogger or a fancy Brookings Institute report-writer, but if anyone believes that the number of civilian deaths have declined in, say, the last month-and-a-half, well, I've got lots of landmarks for purchase. The NYT says in the article excerpted abovethat deaths have shot up from 700 to 900 in the last month.
The point is this: people who are looking for good news, any good news, will make themselves happy with these numbers. I remain deeply agnostic-to-pessimistic. If reporters are talking to commanders on the ground in Iraq, and those commanders are telling us that the war is shifting from insurgent-civilian attacks to civilian-civilian, then that's obviously a pretty bad sign. Yes, bombings may be down, insurgent attacks on civilians may be down, but a low-grade civil war is bubbling. People want to spin this as a good thing? That's delusional.
Piling up on the court, hugging and bumping chests, the Terrapins reveled in the youth that had been the biggest doubt surrounding them coming into the tournament.
Well, at least they didn't rip off their tops.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Interesting human catapult news?
Cops: Man shot into the air
Wow! Regrettably, the story has nothing to do with human flight or catapults at all, and is much less interesting than the headline would lead you to believe. Something about a man with a gun and whatnot.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Michael Yon: Iraq is in a civil war and it's getting worse
Nobody knows what the future will bring for Iraq. In my opinion, it’s already in a civil war, though many people seem afraid to say it. Actually, the reluctance is more likely ordinal in nature–-no one wants to be the first to say what many know to be true. Many now-stable democracies have suffered civil wars.
Democracy, despite its inherent nobility, is seldom easy or pretty. At its best, democracy is a reflection of the “people,” and we all know what “they” are like. - (Mission Impossible, Mission Accomplished 23 February 2005)
I wrote those words more than one year ago. Hatred that has been pressurized is a potent and malevolent fuel. Although I’d been in Iraq for just two months, I’d seen enough to know it was too late to talk about hiding the matches—a fire had broken out. The tangled briars of tribal enmities had overgrown, dense from decades of Saddam Hussein’s genocidal death squads. Wrenching that dictatorship changed the political landscape and in the process pumped fresh air into a smoldering fire.
Throughout 2005, I said in writing, on the radio and television that Iraq is in a state of Civil War. It had been in that state for decades. I’d point to all the kindling heaped around the country and point to the smoke on the horizon, but most people politely dismissed the warnings. Now the fire is bigger. Listen. Listen! Iraq is in a state of Civil War. Much bigger than it was a year ago, and next year it will be bigger still, if we do not recognize that there is a FIRE!
There is no reason why Iraq and its proud people cannot make it. There is nothing written in any holy scripture – so far as I know – that says Iraq cannot make it. Iraq can, but will it? Not if we don’t stop quibbling over definitions and just come to grips that the fire is growing. This is not a fire we can afford to leave to natural forces. Not in that tinderbox we call the Middle East.
This is from a man who has reported directly from Iraq for several years. He is a favorite of the right-wingosphere, who have lauded him for his big-picture context. What will Fred Barnes and Ralph Peters say?
It's a nice day
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Jill Carroll and the blogosphere
In people’s haste to be first, or different, or just plain ornery and contrary (all the better to get links and readers) a culture of “shoot first and ask questions later” has arisen in the blogosphere that quite frankly, is proving every bad thing that the MSM has been saying about blogs from the beginning. Many of us – including myself – have been guilty in the past of hitting that “Publish” button when perhaps it would have been prudent and proper to take a beat or two to think about what we just wrote and the impact it might have beyond the small little world we inhabit in this corner of Blogland.
That's about right. But it has happened before, and it will happen again.
My earlier thoughts here.
On sobriety in Iraq
Yes, the time for sobriety and seriousness and the end to the spin and bullshit is now, before it's too late. Again, the hackery and triumphalist imbecility must cease, and the sooner the better, so we can move forward clear-eyed about the real situation at hand, rather than laboring under rosy-lensed misconceptions like blind, hyper-Panglossian cretins. Or maybe people aren't blind, but worse, talk radio like partisans who have gotten accustomed to their cheery little echo-chambers, to their jingo-on-the-go adoring commenters, and to the juicy partisan traffic that comes their way as a result. But it's a sad, deluded little party, and they're the real losers, because they are lying to their readers, and they are lying to themselves.
Holy crap. Wonder if Glenn Reynolds links to this? I'm guessing no.
Reminds me of George Packer's brilliant little passage in Assasins' Gate, which dissected completely the irrelevence and stupidity of the partisan (both Left and Right) mud-slinging regarding Iraq:
From the prewar period to the invasion into the occupation and insurgency, an ascendant, triumphalist right, and a weakened, querulous left took more interest and pleasure in the other's defeats than in the condition of Iraq or Iraqis. In this country, Iraq was almost always about winning the argument.
Get it? This is not a game. We must get it right. If Iraq is spinning out of control, we must do something to stop it, and not pretend that all the problems are somehow manufactured by the Evil Media reporting All the Bad News.
Simpsons: The movie
Not sure what to think of this. I'll go, but I still think they should have killed the series off about five years ago.
Synergy run amok
Something's not right.
And then you think: who owns CBS? Why, Viacom. And what is a sister entity of CBS? Why, Paramount Studios. And who is producing Mission: Impossible III, set for a May release?
Please, people. I just want to watch a basketball game, and you are making me so not want to see MI:XXXLVI. Not that I've seen either of the previous two installments.
One final thing: To which basketball team is this a Mission: Impossible? They seem pretty evenly matched to me.
With 64 reporters now killed in Iraq, 45 of them Iraqis, there's no question that the war, by any measure, qualifies as the most hazardous, over a protracted period, that this generation of foreign correspondents has experienced. But as Ms. Carroll flies home, she would surely wish that she not be greeted with the garlands due to heroes. We, all of us, choose to be in Iraq, and are well rewarded, in terms of our experiences and professional rewards, for what we do.
And unlike the 27 million Iraqis who endure the conflict with no means of relief, we can always come home when we choose. As bureau chief for The Times, I tell every newly arrived reporter to face squarely the fact that assignment in Iraq carries a potentially fatal risk, and to heed the words of Robert Falcon Scott, the British polar explorer who was the last of his team to die on their epic return from the South Pole in April 1912. "We took risks, we knew we took them," Captain Scott wrote in one of his last diary entries before perishing in his tent. "Things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint."
He is a man. These people are not.
But, most of the lefty emailers -- and many bloggers -- took her initial statements at face value. I didn't. So far, it seems to me that I was right and they were wrong. I see no need to apologize. It seems to me the apologies should be coming from them.
That sounds to me like complete nonsense. Did anyone with half a brain not think for a moment that Carroll's statements were -- in all likelihood -- coerced?
And what was it that Jonah said earlier?
Jill Carroll is increasingly starting to bug me. The details are still murky and it's hard to appreciate what she's been through. And maybe JPod's right about Stockholm syndrome. And maybe the media's selectively choosing what to show of her statements. But it would be nice to hear her say something remotely critical of her captors, particularly about the fact that they murdered her translator in cold blood. I'm very glad she's alive, but I'm getting a very bad vibe. More, no doubt, to come.
Hmm. That's a lot of innuendo packed in there. What's the bad vibe Jonah? Why is she (not the story, mind you) bugging you? Why would it comfort you to hear her make statements about her translator?
And then later? You link to the transcript of her statement (we now learn she spoke these words with guns at her back) and state: "A weird transcript. The story will get weirder still." How weird? Why will it "get weirder still?" Why would someone think this?
No, Jonah, this fecal matter won't fly. You went off -- albeit not with all the transcendent idiocy of others -- but without all the context and without all the information, and without all the facts, and you exposed yourself as an ass and a fool. Now, when the facts come out, you have the temerity, the gall, to say that it is you who should be owed an apology.
ALSO: Podhoretz is just as contemptible. Apparently, he's Nostradamus now. Ridiculous. These phonies knew exactly what they were implying when they spoke of the story being "weird" and bound to get "weirder" the more we found out. Grow up. Be men.
AND: When even the majority of commenters at Little Green Footballs are humbly apologizing for their previous comments, you know you have a problem.