December 06, 2006
During the course of the interview, and after McGovern described his desire to see the United States pull completely out of Iraq within six months, Rick Martinez brought up the genocides of Shia and Kurds with weapons of mass destruction after the 1991 Gulf War, and then asked McGovern what we should do if the complete pullout led to a similar wave of genocidal killings.
I'm paraphrasing here, but McGovern's response was something along the lines of "it's not our problem," unless we get some sort of an international mandate to go back in to correct it.
As we are all well aware, the Rwandan Genocide saw between 800,000-1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus slaughtered over about 100 days in 1994. We are still waiting for McGovern's "international" action in Darfur, a slow-motion genocide that has been on-going since 2003, and which has cost 400,000 lives thus far, with no end in sight. McGovern knows any international action to an Iraqi genocide would be slow or more likely, non-existent.
What McGovern is saying is that he does not care if hundreds of thousands of Iraqismost likely Sunnisare slaughtered in Iraq as the result of the immediate U.S. pullout he calls for.
So much for multi-culturalism.
Confederate Yankee is officially a finalist for the 2006 Weblog Awards, in the category "Best of the Top 251 - 500 Blogs." CY was also a finalist in this category last year, and we face some vey tough competition again this year.
Nominees in this category include:
Blog readers can begin voting for 450 finalists in 45 categories tomorrow at the 2006 Weblog Awards. Be sure to vote for your favorites, and may the best blogs win!
December 05, 2006
Robert Gates got it wrong right out of the, er . . . gate on Tuesday in the opening session of his nomination hearing to replace Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense.
Gates declared that Iraq is "one of the central battlefronts" in the war on terrorism, but failed to note why. His omission compounded the biggest of President Bush's Big Lies: The U.S. didn't go to war in Iraq because it was awash with terrorists. It is awash with terrorists because Rumsfeld's horribly botched occupation opened the door to Al Qaeda and others.
Gates did get a couple of big things right: The U.S. is losing the war and the resulting mess may trigger a regional war.
His candor is a refreshing change, but I fear that Robert Gates is too little too late.
First, Gates never claimed that we were losing in Iraq. As a matter of fact he expressly said we weren't losing (nor winning, implying a stalemate). I invite Mr. Mullen to go back and re-read what actually happened, instead of printing what he apparently wanted to hear.
I'd also point out that prior to the 2003 invasion, several terror groups called Iraq home, that Saddam paid bounties to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, and that Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, and Abdul Rahman Yasin, the 1993 WTC bomb builder, all lived in Iraq with Saddam's knowledge and perhaps his blessing. In addition, Iraq's intelligence services were complicit in planning, financing, training, and executing terror attacks internally and regionally. Iraq had quite a stable of terrorists and terrorist-enablers prior to the invasion, and I frankly resent Mr. Mullen's patently dishonest mischaracterization that Iraq wasn't waist-deep in terrorism.
As the Man said, the stated objective of the invasion was "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people."
Mullen might not like those facts, but he isn't allowed to make up his own history in response.
I will agree that the post-war occupation (the war itself lasted weeks and was a decisive U.S. victory) has been botched horribly, but it wasn't all Rummy and Bush; State and other government agencies have proven to be every bit as much incompetent as the civilian leadership at the Pentagon, even if they aren't as visible.
Mullen also seems to imply that everything going wrong in Iraq happens only as a result of U.S. actions and/or inactions, a patently dishonest rhetorical position that flies directly in the face of reality.
His positionrancid "blame America first" pabulum echoed by far too many "serious" people who should know betterignores the fact that other regional actors such as Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, etc all have the capability to influence the situation within Iraq for good, or ill.
Sadly, most Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and others that could have a positive influence have adopted a mostly "hands off" policy, which had the Iraqi foreign minister today blaming them for not doing more. The two nations that have been making a concerted effort to affect conditions in Iraq have both been negative, with Syria supporting the Baathist insurgency and Iran supporting Shiite militias. It also ignores the free will of Iraqis, some of which (particularly some of the Sunni tribes in al Anbar) is self-defeating.
Mullens next-to-parting shot is ignorant along those same lines, another failure of shortsightedness.
He states a U.S failure could trigger a larger regional war. I've got a news flash for him and you as well; the war between western and Islamist philosophiesthe larger regional war, or if left unfinished soon, a probable world warhas been building in its latest incarnation for nearly 30 years. It is merely the latest iteration in a war over a thousand years old, and renewed conflict is a certainty. It will occur, regardless of the proximate trigger.
If we are very very lucky we will fight this as a regional war instead of a world war, and sooner rather than later. We should fight it before bare democracies in Iraq and Lebanon fall to the influence of Shia Islamists, and preferably before Iran completes and uses nuclear weapons on Israel, wiping out the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in the process, prompting a dying Israel to launch a nuclear counterstrike that will kill tens of millions of Iranians.
Robert Gates has a terminal weakness common to many realists, the inability to realize that the "other" does not think like us, or even necessarily opposite of the way we think. The term for this sort of failure is called mirroring, an it was such disastrous thinking that convinced the Japanese 65 years ago that a strike on the U.S Naval base at Pearl Harbor would knock us out of the war.
The Japanese did not understand the psychology of America then, just as Gates, Baker, and other realists make the mistake of misunderstanding how the apocalyptic Hojjatieh sect thinks now. The Hojjatieh sect ruling Iran is a branch of Shia Islam so extreme that Ayatollah Khomeini outlawed it in 1983. These are not rational Cold War Russians, but zealots hoping to expedite the return of their Messiah, and they are sure that they have the Allah-given mandate to bring the Madhi back to earth through nuclear fire.
We will fight this war. The only question is how high the butcher's bill will be, which is in part determined by howe much longer we procrastinate.
Mullen fundamentally misunderstands what the nomination of Robert Gates represents. He isn't "too little, too late." The realist school of foreign policy to which Gates subscribes created the problem with which we are now confronted.
Robert Gates may be a fine man and great public servant, but unless this leopard has changed his spots considerably, he is precisely the wrong man for the job.
What AP appears not to grasp is that the most serious questions about its credibility are already in the minds of millions of people, thanks in part to the bloggers, but also to the few mainstream media organizations that have covered the growing controversy.
What is most puzzling about the AP reaction is its failure to do the one thing that would instantly put the critics in their place - produce Capt. Jamil Hussein. If he is in fact an Iraqi police captain, it is impossible to understand why he cannot be produced and his credentials verified.
"Captain Jamil Hussein" is but one of 14 Iraqi-sounding names of sources quoted by AP that U.S. military officials say cannot be verified as credible sources.
Produce Jamil Hussein. Brilliant!
By this point, the Associated Press has almost assuredly tried to contact Jamil Hussein to come on camera, in uniform, in his police office to prove that he does in fact exist, thereby shutting down this gathering storm.
Just as assuredly, the present silence from the Associated Press on the matter indicates that they have likely failed to produce their source for over 60 news stories.
To give you an idea of the scale of this apparent fraud, consider the case of veteran freelance photojournalist Adnan Hajj from earlier this year.
Hajj was exposed for tampering with a photo from the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, where he added dense smoke to a picture to make an Israeli bombing seem more intense than it actually was. Shortly thereafter, another manipulated photo was uncovered, and other photos came under intense scrutiny. Reuters, who had worked with Hajj for over a decade, responded by disassociating itself from him (effectively firing him) and removing all 920 photos he had for sale.
Hajj was just one reporter, caught manipulating images that most would agree over-dramatized and mis-characterized events, but images that would not have been significant news on their own if they had been real.
The story that brought into question the existence of Jamil Hussein is a much larger scandal in the making.
The allegation that six men were pulled from a Sunni mosque (one of four Sunni mosques the original story claimed were burned and blown up) by Shiite militants and then burned alive is a horrific story on multiple levels, one that media cited as a key example of how brutal sectarian violence in Iraq had come. And yet, there was an in a problem; a lack of evidence that any of the violence claimed actually took place.
Not a single one of the four mosques claimed blown up in the AP story actually were. Only one mosque could be verified to have any fire damage, and the minor damage confirmed by the Iraqi government to one mosque was consistent with unverified Shiite militia accounts that a molotov cocktail had been thrown into the building and quickly extinguished. There is zero evidence that a mosque door was blown open by an RPG as the Associated Press claimed. There is no physical evidence that six men were pulled into the street by militiamen, doused in kerosene, set on fire, and then shot in the head.
There is no physical evidence of burning men, nor bullet-scarred streets where anonymous eyewitnesses claimed the men were shot in the head once they had quit moving. There are no bodies, and no graves. There are only two named sources, one of which has recanted his story. The other named source for the AP story? Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein.
Unlike Adnan Hajj who only manipulated comparatively minor photo elements and who might have gone unnoticed were it not for sharp-eyed bloggers, this AP story was immediately carried and reprinted around the world as fact. We now know that the events described may have been entirely fictionalized as part of an insurgent propaganda campaign, one foisted upon a complacent news organization with very few checks and balances for accuracy on their stringer-based reporting methods.
We also know that Jamil Hussein has consistently been a source for at least 60 news stories over two years, and that Jamil Hussein is just one of many apparently fake sources that has driven Associated Press reporting in Iraq.
This presents us with the unsettling possibility that the Associated Press has no idea how much of the news it has reported out of Iraq since the 2003 invasion is in fact real, and how much they reported was propaganda. The failure of accountability here is potentially of epic proportions.
When producer Mary Mapes and anchor Dan Rather ran faked Texas Air National Guard records on 60 Minutes, it was undoubtedly the largest news media scandal of 2004, and yet, it was an isolated scandal, identified within hours, affecting one network and one show in particular.
This developing Associated Press implosion may go back as far as two years, affecting as many as 60 stories from just this one allegedly fake policeman alone. And Jamil Hussein is just one of more than a dozen potentially fake Iraqi policemen used in news reports the AP disseminates around the world. This does not begin to attempt to account for non-offical sources which the AP will have an even harder time substantiating. Quite literally, almost all AP reporting from Iraq not verified from reporters of other news organizations is now suspect, and with good reason.
Instead of affecting one show on one network watched by 14 million viewers as Rathergate did, "Jamilgate" means the Associated Press may have been delivering news of questionable accuracy to one billion people a day for two years or more. In this evolving instance of faux journalism, "60 Minutes" is now potentially 60 billion false impressions, or more.
A principled, professional news organization owes its consumers the truth. To date, the Associated Press, as voiced by comments from officers international editor John Daniszewski and executive editor Kathleen Carroll, has refused to address the rampant inconsistencies in the "burning men" story, produce physical evidence proving their allegations, or produce star source Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein. Arrogantly, they attack the messenger (both U.S military and Iraqi government sources and bloggers), and insist we must believe them, even though they give us no compelling reason to do so, and many reasons to doubt them.
They have not proved their claims with facts, nor produced the police captain they have cited as a source on multiple stories over two years.
Their continuing failure to substantiate their story with evidence runs directly counter to these stated principles:
For more than a century and a half, men and women of The Associated Press have had the privilege of bringing truth to the world. They have gone to great lengths, overcome great obstacles and, too often, made great and horrific sacrifices to ensure that the news was reported quickly, accurately and honestly. Our efforts have been rewarded with trust: More people in more places get their news from the AP than from any other source.
In the 21st century, that news is transmitted in more ways than ever before in print, on the air and on the Web, with words, images, graphics, sounds and video. But always and in all media, we insist on the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior when we gather and deliver the news.
That means we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions. It means we will not knowingly introduce false information into material intended for publication or broadcast; nor will we alter photo or image content. Quotations must be accurate, and precise.
It means we always strive to identify all the sources of our information, shielding them with anonymity only when they insist upon it and when they provide vital information not opinion or speculation; when there is no other way to obtain that information; and when we know the source is knowledgeable and reliable.
The Associated Press is guilty of using a terminally flawed newsgathering methodology that makes their news organization an easy target for those desiring to insert of propaganda as news. What's worse is that their leadership clearly doesn't care.
The leaders of the Associated Press seem to have little interest in living up to their own stated values and principles, and in doing so, have betrayed that essential trust that they must have to survive.
Noted photojournalism expert, author, and professor David Permutter of the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications at the University of Kansas noted during the height of the journalistic controversies of the Israeli-Hezbollah war in Lebanon:
The Israeli-Hezbollah war has left many dead bodies, ruined towns, and wobbling politicians in its wake, but the media historian of the future may also count as one more victim the profession of photojournalism. In twenty years of researching and teaching about the art and trade and doing photo-documentary work, I have never witnessed or heard of such a wave of attacks on the people who take news pictures and on the basic premise that nonfiction news photo- and videography is possible.
I'm not sure, however, if the craft I love is being murdered, committing suicide, or both.
The wounds, in this case, are assuredly self-inflicted.
In nearly every conversation, the soldiers, Marines and contractors expressed they were upset with the coverage of the war in Iraq in general, and the public perception of the daily situation on the ground. The felt the media was there to sensationalize the news, and several stated some reporters were only interested in blood and guts. They freely admitted the obstacles in front of them in Iraq. Most recognized that while we are winning the war on the battlefield, albeit with difficulties in some areas, we are losing the information war. They felt the media had abandoned them.
During each conversation, I was left in the awkward situation of having to explain that while, yes, I am wearing a press badge, I'm not 'one of them.' I used descriptions like 'independent journalist' or 'blogger' in an attempt to separate myself from the pack.
December 04, 2006
For those of you who might have forgotten how this got started, it went a little something like this:
Six burned alive in Iraq
The Associated Press
BAGHDAD, IRAQ -Revenge-seeking militiamen seized six Sunnis as they left Friday prayers and burned them alive with kerosene in a savage new twist to the brutality shaking the Iraqi capital a day after suspected Sunni insurgents killed 215 people in Baghdad's main Shiite district.
Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in Friday's assault by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia or subsequent attacks that killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same neighborhood, the volatile Hurriyah district in northwest Baghdad, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.
Most of the thousands of dead bodies that have been found dumped across Baghdad and other cities in central Iraq in recent months have been of victims who were tortured and then shot to death, according to police. The suspected militia killers often have used electric drills on their captives' bodies before killing them. The bodies are frequently decapitated.
But burning victims alive introduced a new method of brutality that was likely to be reciprocated by the other sect as the Shiites and Sunnis continue killing one another in unprecedented numbers. The gruesome attack, which came despite a curfew in Baghdad, capped a day in which at least 87 people were killed or found dead in sectarian violence across Iraq.
In Hurriyah, the rampaging militiamen also burned and blew up four mosques and torched several homes in the district, Hussein said.
Residents of the troubled district claim the Mahdi Army has begun kidnapping and holding Sunni hostages to use in ritual slaughter at the funerals of Shiite victims of Baghdad's raging sectarian war.
Such claims cannot be verified but speak to the deep fear that grips Baghdad, where retaliation has become a part of daily life.
President Jalal Talabani emerged from lengthy meetings with other Iraqi leaders late Friday and said the defense minister, Abdul-Qader al-Obaidi, indicated that the Hurriyah neighborhood had been quiet throughout the day.
But Imad al-Hasimi, a Sunni elder in Hurriyah, confirmed Hussein's account of the immolations. He told Al-Arabiya television he saw people who were drenched in kerosene and then set afire, burning to death before his eyes.
Two workers at Kazamiyah Hospital also confirmed that bodies from the clashes and immolation had been taken to the morgue at their facility.
They refused to be identified by name, saying they feared retribution.
And the Association of Muslim Scholars, the most influential Sunni organization in Iraq, said even more victims were burned to death in attacks on the four mosques. It claimed a total of 18 people had died in an inferno at the al-Muhaimin mosque.
That is how the story was reported by the Associated Press, and yet, much of what was stated in this article is unsubstantiated. In fact, this may be a story that never was.
We know several things about this original article are categorically false. We know that though the Associated Press article claims four mosques were burnt and blown up, that simply didnt happen. One mosque had its doorway set on fire which was extinguished, and graffiti was painted on the building. Limited fire damage and spray paint on one mosque is a far, far cry for four mosques being blown up.
We also know that "police Capt. Jamil Hussein," who was the key witness leaning credibility to the APs allegations, simply does not exist. The Iraqi interior ministry has confirmed that they have no employees by the name of Jamil Hussein, as a police captain or otherwise and yet, the fictional Captain Hussein has been a source in no fewer than 61 AP stories.
al-Hasimi (alternately al-Hashimi), the Sunni elder who is credited with witnessing the attack in the original story, now says that he did not.
Even the most key element of the story, that six men had been burned alive, seems to be false.
Nevertheless, the AP circled the wagons and continues to insist the story is real, despite the overwhelming evidence that mosques were not burned and blown up. 18 people did not die "in an inferno" at the al-Muhaimin mosque, for the al-Muhaimin mosque was never destoryed, just as six men were never pulled into the street, doused in kerosene, and set on fire.
This entire series of events is an apparent fiction from which the Associated Press will not back down, and a lie to which the new York Times seems unwilling to seriously question.
There are no charred bodies numbering between 6-18, nor four blown-up mosques, nor a police captain named Jamil Hussein who has been cited in 61 media reports. In one of the most graphic images of sectarian violence manufactured in the Iraq war yet, this incident seems quite entirely fabricated out of thin air. No other news organization will back the Associated Presss account of burning mosques and men. Even Rueters cannot find the artificial police captains or anonymous sources to back such a claim.
If the Associated Press produces evidence that Jamil Hussein exists, or else admits that they were duped as part of a long running insurgent propaganda campaign, we can at least say the Associated Press got the wrong facts via an honest attempt to report the news. They can then go back and see if they can verify if the other 60 stories they wrote consulting the imaginary captain were real, or also part of a work of extended insurgent fiction.
Instead of looking for the truth, however, Kathleen Carroll seems to be rallying the troops around a "fake, but accurate" defense.
That response hasn't worked out too well for Mary Mapes and Dan Rather, and I suspect that it won't work much better for Kathleen Carroll, and the curiously incorporeal captain, Jamil Hussein.
* Not that it matters, but my vote goes for "Imaginary Friendgate."
The NY Times has published an article with the apparent goal of trying to generate sympathy for a terrorist.
Shocking, I know.
And before you ask, yes, the Times is quite willing to help his defense team work on a new angle.
Now lawyers for Mr. Padilla, 36, suggest that he is unfit to stand trial. They argue that he has been so damaged by his interrogations and prolonged isolation that he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and is unable to assist in his own defense. His interrogations, they say, included hooding, stress positions, assaults, threats of imminent execution and the administration of truth serums.
Just one problem with that angle:
A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Todd Vician, said Sunday that the military disputes Mr. Padillas accusations of mistreatment. And, in court papers, prosecutors deny in the strongest terms the accusations of torture and say that Padillas conditions of confinement were humane and designed to ensure his safety and security.
His basic needs were met in a conscientious manner, including Halal (Muslim acceptable) food, clothing, sleep and daily medical assessment and treatment when necessary, the government stated. While in the brig, Padilla never reported any abusive treatment to the staff or medical personnel.
Jose Padilla, the violent gang-banging ex-con Muslim convert from Chicago who attempted to murder and maim his fellow Americans in a dirty bomb attack, is once again painted as the victim by the New York Times.
Color me unimpressed.
Update: For the record, for my "netroots" visitors...
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the Executive Branch does have the legal right to hold Padilla. I'm sorry that your "reality-based" worldview won't accept it, but the courts have already decided that the President does have the authority to militarily detain:
...a citizen of this country who is closely associated with al Qaeda, an entity with which the United States is at war; who took up arms on behalf of that enemy and against our country in a foreign combat zone of that war; and who thereafter traveled to the United States for the avowed purpose of further prosecuting that war on American soil, against American citizens and targets.
That narrowly defines that the Executive does have the legal, quite Constitutional right to make specific detentions.
That narrow definition should also belay the squawkings of the hyper-emotive, Chicken Little leftists that still insist, against all factual evidence to the contrary, that Bush can through anyone in jail at any time, for any reason, without hope of a trial.
It won't, of course.
Little things like facts and court decisions just get in the way of their essential "truthiness" that President Bush is a big old evil fascist, and that what really matters, facts be damned.
Anyway, Brian at Iowa Voice just accidentally graduated and is blegging for dollars to help him through until he lands a job. If you enjoy his blog and have a dime or two to spare, consider helping him out.
December 01, 2006
I've just read MSM bias: "Everybody knows ... from the Alabama Liberation Front (via Instapundit, which touches on the ficticious story of six men "burned alive" in Baghdad and the AP's refusal to back down from the story, and the dangers of "groupthink" and so-called conventional wisdom. I then read Dr. Sanity's Systematic Subversion and the Ultimate Triumph of Freedom, which I think was supposed to optomistic about the ultimate triumph of freedom over tyranny, but it's stopping points along the way, highlighting how terrorists support Democratic politics becuase they indeed share some of the same goals (if not for the same reasons), the impression of anomie upon the American people by a mindlessly self-destructive media and the majority of our political leadership, and questions about whether Islam was compatible with freedom, and what the answer to that question meant for the future, left me rather emotionally exhausted.
Toss in my own continuing, pre-existing disgust with a media machine more focused on profit and spreading (and dictating) conventional wisdom than doing it's job, the apparent resurrection of foreign policy realism (the same incompetent, political-party spanning philosophy that did much to create the conditions favorable for the rise of terrorism), the overly war-like actions of Iran and Syria that every nation on the planet seems to see, but chooses to ignore, and you might understand why I'm getting a headache trying to make sense of it all.
But is there any sense to be made?
Kathleen Carroll, Executive Editor of the Associated Press, is going to bat and supporting a story that actually has less credible evidence that the Dan Rather/Mary Mapes fiasco, with anonymous reporters, anonymous witnesses, no physical evidence and one named witness, who it turns out, is not who he claims to be. Carroll even goes to the absurd extreme of saying that since they've used the fictional Captain for numerous stories, that he must be real.
We've been feeding you stories from someone who doesn't exist for months, and now is too late to complain about it seems to be her defense, and curiously, (or perhaps not), no other news organization wants to tackle this, and for a very telling reason: the methodologically flawed stringer-run, faith-based, virtual reporting exposing the glaring weaknesses of Associated Press news-gathering efforts here are the norm among news organizations in Iraq. They news gathering techniques used in Iraq are fatally corrupt, easy for enemy propagandists to exploit, and worst of all, it is all but certain that media organizations such as the Associates Press are well aware of these flaws, but have chosen not modify them becuase these reporting methods were yeilding the "common sense" reporting that they desired. Top media management supports inaccurate stories, devoid of facts, because these stories fit their preconceived ideas of what they expect should be happening, even if the events themselves are false.
It's psychic newscasting, where they forecast what the events should be, and tailor a story to match it. It's a lot of things... but it isn't honest, it isn't credible, and it isn't news, and those who "stand for nothing and fall for anything" aren't confined to an incurious and lazy media.
As Pat Santy's post notes, those Islamic terrorists who seek our deaths, refer to one of poltical parties in brotherly terms. Leaders of top terrorists groups openly rooted that same poltical party in the 2006 midterms, just as Osama bin Laden's push for an American withdrawal from the War on Terror in 2004 was so similar to that party's own views, that their candidate attributes his loss to Osama's tape, a tape which exposed their too similar views.
Vasko Kohlmayer outlines the similarity between the chosen party of terrorists and the Islamofascists themselves quite specifically in World Defense Review:
Given all that the democrats have done, the affection in which they are held by our foes is neither unjustified nor surprising. They have more than earned it by systematically subverting this country's war effort while simultaneously proffering assistance to those who have pledged to destroy us.
Democrats' devious deeds are too numerous to be fully recounted, but here at least are some of the highlights:
- They have tried to prevent us from listening on terrorists' phone calls
- They have sought to stop us from properly interrogating captured terrorists
- They have tried to stop us from monitoring terrorists' financial transactions
- They have revealed the existence of secret national security programs
- They have opposed vital components of the Patriot Act
- They have sought to confer unmerited legal rights on terrorists
- They have opposed profiling to identify the terrorists in our midst
- They have impugned and demeaned our military
- They have insinuated that the president is a war criminal
- They have forced the resignation of a committed defense secretary
- They have repeatedly tried to de-legitimize our war effort
- They want to quit the battlefield in the midst of war.
While some may quibble over Kolhmayer's choice of wording, these factual acuracy of the postions he represents are all quite true, and heavily documented by the media, the pronoucements of liberal blogs, and the words of Democratic politicians, who to this very day support policies that seek to weaken America while strenghtening the hand of our enemies, supporting terrorism, even if accidentally.
To add to the Democrats on-going cohesion with our terrorist enemies, we have among us leaders on both sides of the political that ignore the increasingly obvious fact, that for their to be any hope of a stable Middle East, Iran and Syria must be forced out of their state sponshopship of terrorism.
These two terror-supporting states, who right now attempting to force the Lebanese government to step down peacefull now because they failed in their attempt to murder enough of Fouad Siniora's Cabinet ministers to enforce their coup d'etat at the barrel of a gun. Iran and Syria used Hezbollah earlier this year to instigate a nearly month-long war, that some defense analysts think was ordered by Iran to test Israeli military capabilities.
Iran has also been supplying both training and munitions to Sadrists to target American soldiers and destabilize Iraq, as Syria has supplied Sunni insurgents and allowed foreign fighters to inflitrate into al-Anbar province for these same reasons.
And yet, we have politicians and media elites purposefully ignoring the obviously correct course of action of killing those who target our soldiers for death. Instead, they propose establishing dialogue, as if talking with our moral enemies while they attempt to kill us is somehow an intelligent course of action.
Dr. Sanity seems convinced that in the end, that freedom with prevail. I hope for that outcome as well, but fear that our current moral cowardice in confronting those who boldly and mortally stand against us, will mean that millions more will die in that march for freedom than otherwise would have to perish with direct and decisive actions to end their threat today.
November 30, 2006
U.S. officials say they have found smoking-gun evidence of Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq: brand-new weapons fresh from Iranian factories. According to a senior defense official, coalition forces have recently seized Iranian-made weapons and munitions that bear manufacturing dates in 2006.
This suggests, say the sources, that the material is going directly from Iranian factories to Shia militias, rather than taking a roundabout path through the black market. "There is no way this could be done without (Iranian) government approval," says a senior official.
What say you now, James Baker?
Read both statements, press conference transcript where the story originated at Flopping Aces, where Curt has his own thoughts on the matter. I'll wait till you get back.
* * *
Frankly, I'm stunned at the outright arrogance of Kathleen Carroll, Executive Editor of the Associated Press, and statements that she made in her release thatin my opinionare willful, skillful, and purposeful subterfuge.
Carroll completely glosses over the fact that her news organization originally reported that four mosques had been burned according to their original story, an error for which she does not account for here, not one the Associated Press has ever printed a retraction for.
Carroll stands by the AP's reporting that states that six people were burned alive.
The AP is curiously unable to name five of the six alleged victims, even though they were reportedly killed in their own neighborhood. In this tightly-knit, often-interrelated communal neighborhoods, especially in what the AP itself describes as an "enclave," I find the inability of the AP's reporters to find witnesses who could name those who were reputably killed a most unlikely claim.
Carroll goes on to insist, though not by name, that Captain Jamil Hussein is too an Iraqi policeman, just not one approved to speak to the media.
That is also a deliberate deception, coming directly on the heels of MOI Brigadier General Abdul Kareem Khalaf Al-Kenani's statement that no Iraqi policemen by that name existed, in any capacity.
If Kathleen Carroll wants me to believe that the Associated Press knows better than the MOI who MOI employees are, she had better produce a (live) Iraqi Police Captain claiming to be Jamil Hussein to back her story. While she's at it, she can provide evidence that six people were burned alive, starting with their names, their graves, and any proof that these events were something other than an insurgent propaganda. No one else has evidence that these people ever existed or that they were burned alive, other than the two anonymous AP reporters.
The Associated Press is clearly attempting to duck the issue.
I want to see Jamil Hussein.
Michael Yon spent nine months with the "Deuce Four" Striker Brigade. Read through his site when you have the time (Get a brief taste here), and you'll have a much better understanding of the American experience in this war.
Pat Dollard spent seven months, and survived two IED blasts, while embedded with the Marines. He's just finished up a documentary series that promises to be raw, and brutal, and if I don't miss my guess, historically important.
I'm presently reading a review copy of We Were One by embedded historian Patrick K. O'Donnell, who was with 1st Platoon of Lima Company, 1st Marine Regiment, when they took on the worst of the fighting in Fallujah.
I've recently talked to USAF airmen just back from their fourth and sixth tours, Army soldiers back from their first and second deployments in Mosul and Ramadi, and via Central Command, interviewed two soldiers (MPs) working with the Iraqi police in Baghdad.
Because of all this contact with folks who actually know firsthand what is going on, I know the media is frequently inaccurate. The single word I've commonly heard from those who have been in Iraq as part of the military regarding MSM reporting is "lies."
Find someone on your own who has been to Iraq. As them if the media is reporting the truth. They'll likely tell you the same thing.
Iraq sucks. All wars suck. But in many respects things are not as bad as the media reports, just as in some cases things are actually worse. Better or worse, the majority of reporting is inaccurate.
The problem with the general manner of Iraq war reporting was summed up quite well by another embed, Michael Fumento:
Would you trust a Hurricane Katrina report datelined "direct from Detroit"? Or coverage of the World Trade Center attack from Chicago? Why then should we believe a Time Magazine investigation of the Haditha killings that was reported not from Haditha but from Baghdad? Or a Los Angeles Times article on a purported Fallujah-like attack on Ramadi reported by four journalists in Baghdad and one in Washington? Yet we do, essentially because we have no choice. A war in a country the size of California is essentially covered from a single city. Plug the name of Iraqi cities other than Baghdad into Google News and you'll find that time and again the reporters are in Iraqs capital, nowhere near the scene. Capt. David Gramling, public affairs officer for the unit I'm currently embedded with, puts it nicely: "I think it would be pretty hard to report on Baghdad from out here." Welcome to the not-so-brave new world of Iraq war correspondence.
Vietnam was the first war to give us reporting in virtually real time. Iraq is the first to give us virtual reporting. That doesnt necessarily make it biased against the war; it does make it biased against the truth.
The overwhelming majority of international journalists "reporting" from Iraq have never ventured out of their hotels in the Green Zone, a small area in Baghdad, and yet try to convince us they are reporting facts from around the entire nation. Based upon what, precisely? They are only reporting what stringerslocal Iraqi and other Arab reporters, with sectarian, regional, and in some cases suspected insurgency-related biasestell them.
These Baghdad reporters have no way of knowing if these stringers are reporting facts or are relaying propaganda, if the witnesses quoted are reliable or coached, or if the photos submitted to them are an accurate visual account of the events discussed in a story.
As Fumento notes elsewhere:
The London Independent's Robert Fisk has written of "hotel journalism," while former Washington Post Bureau Chief Rajiv Chandrasekaran has called it "journalism by remote control." More damningly, Maggie OKane of the British newspaper The Guardian said: "We no longer know what is going on, but we are pretending we do." Ultimately, they cant even cover Baghdad yet they pretend they can cover Ramadi.
In short, we aren't questioning all of AP's stories based upon a single story, we are questioning a broken methodology that lead to such a story. There exists in the medias reporting in Iraq no effective editorial checks at the very root level of reporting, to verify that the most basic elements of the story are indeed factual, much less biased.
This is not just about one questionable story, or even one questionable source.
It's about one often-used and verified questionable source, among many verified questionable sources, including just this partial list for starters:
Lt. Ali Abbas; police Capt. Mohammed Abdel-Ghani; police Brigadier Sarhat Abdul-Qadir; Mosul police Director Gen. Wathiq al-Hamdani; police Lt. Bilal Ali; Ali al-Obaidi, a medic at Ramadi Hospital; police Maj. Firas Gaiti; police Captain Mohammed Ismail; Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the Interior Ministry spokesman (a.k.a. Police Brigadier Abd al-Karim Khalaf, Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, Brig. Abdel-Karim Khalaf); Mohammed Khayon, a Baghdad police lieutenant; police spokesman Mohammed Kheyoun (a.k.a. Police Lieutenant Mohammed Khayoun); Lt. Thaer Mahmoud, head of a police section responsible for releasing daily death tolls; police Lt. Bilal Ali Majid; police Lt. Ali Muhsin; police 1st Lt. Mutaz Salahhidine (a.k.a. Lieutenant Mutaz Salaheddin); Col. Abbas Mohammed Salman; and policeman Haider Satar.
Again, these men are just a partial list of questionable and potentially false witnesses used to lend an air of credibility to hundreds or thousands of news articles... and these are just from those sources claimed to be within the Iraqi Police and Ministry of Interior.
This is not to mention the dozens or hundreds of other witnesses in thousands of other stories that could have been either influenced in some way, or may be entirely fictitious, and far more difficult to prove false.
The flawed methodology that weakens the essential credibility of the news-gatherig process effects the overwhelming majority of stories printed and broadcast about Iraq each week. This weakness, this inherent and unchecked instability and inability to verify the core facts and actors in the most basic of stories, points out a methodological flaw in the news gathering efforts common to every major news organization reporting in Iraq.
After what was initially a spirited defense, the Associated Press has gone silent about the supposed existence of Police Capt. Jamil Hussein.
No one else seems to be able to find him.
He's also getting new gear, and incorporated as his own media company.
Following an intense assessment of U.S. policies in the war in Iraq, the Iraq Study Group will recommend that a "gradual but meaningful" reduction of U.S. troops begin "relatively early in the New Year," a source familiar with the group's deliberations told CNN.
The language in the report -- which was compiled at the urging of Congress -- is being fine-tuned before it is presented to President Bush next week, but according to the source the work on the findings is basically done.
In the bipartisan panel's view, Bush needs to insist on implementing strict timetables for Iraqi improvements and communicate to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that there will be substantial troop reductions beginning in January.
While not providing a specific timetable for withdrawal -- which Bush opposes -- the group suggests major combat units be deployed "over time" to what the source described as "out of the bull's eye."
Cut and crawl.
Nuance, kids. Impose impotence as foreign policy.
November 29, 2006
The Associated Press and U.S. Central Command are gambling, to different extents, their reputations on the existence of IP (Iraqi Police) Captain Jamil Hussein, with the Associated Press being much more at risk.
The AP has relied upon Captain Hussein as a primary source of information on many stories for months, and the news organization has effectively doubled-down by insisting he exists, and that their reporters have visited him in his office.
Central Command has reported that according to Iraqi Police and Ministry of Interior records, they do not employ a Jamil Hussein as any sort of police officer (much less a captain), nor as a MoI employee in any capacity.
If CentCom is wrong, their reputation will be tarnished, but only as much as relying on bad Iraqi record-keeping can be blamed.
If the Associated Press is wrong, then all the stories (including this one) that relied upon this expert witnessand potentially the dozens or hundreds of stories that relied upon 16 other IP/MOI "witnesses" that may not be legitimatecould go up in smoke.
The task for the Associated Press here is clear, immediate, and pressing: they must show, and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their Captain Jamil Hussein is a living, breathing, legitimate member of the Iraqi Police.
I'd suggest a simple test: have the AP reporters that vouch for Captain Hussein drive with him to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, where they can watch officials verify his paperwork and employment status. Central Command, of course, can have representatives on hand to witness the verification of Captain Hussein's credentials.
Captain Jamil Hussein must materialize, and quickly, or the credibility of Associated Press reporting in Iraq will suffer a tremendous blow.
See 5,000 years of history in 90 seconds, courtesy of Maps of War:
November 28, 2006
President Bush said Tuesday he is not ready to abandon the battlefield in Iraq to sectarian insurgents whose violent attacks on innocent Iraqis are part of a broad goal to overthrow governments and send coalition forces running.
"Extremists are using terror to stop the spread of freedom. Some are Shiite extremists, others are Sunni extremists, but they represent different faces of the same threat. And if they succeed in undermining fragile democracies and drive the forces of freedom out of the region, they will have an open field to pursue their goals," Bush said in a speech at the NATO summit in Riga, Latvia.
Insurgents "seek to convince America and our allies that we cannot defeat them and that our only hope is to withdraw and abandon an entire region to their domination," he said. "If we allow the extremists to do this, then 50 years from now history will look back on our time with unforgiving clarity and demand to know why we did not act."
I can hope that President Bush means what he says here. It would mean that he does, in fact, still understand the stakes of the larger conflict beyond the borders of Iraq, but what troubles me is his reluctance to publicly admit what he already knows, which is that those most responsible for the continued support and spread of violence in Iraq is not al Qaeda, but Iran and Syria.
As I've mentioned previously, a state of war exists between the United States and the governments of Iran and Syria, and that the question before us now is whether or not we chose to acknowledge this state of war that our adversaries have instigated, and if we will take the steps needed end this state of conflict with a minimal loss of life on all sides.
Bob Woodward's book, State of Denial, states that Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have been urging Hezbollah to train Iraqi insurgents on how to build and use shaped-charge IEDs to target American armored vehicles.
Woodward states (via NRO):
Pages 414-415: "Some evidence indicated that the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah was training insurgents to build and use the shaped IED's, at the urging of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. That kind of action was arguably an act of war by Iran against the United States. If we start putting out everything we know about these things, Zelikow felt, the administration might well start a fire it couldn't put out..."
Page 449: "The components and the training for (the IEDs) had more and more clearly been traced to Iran, one of the most troubling turns in the war."
Page 474ß: "The radical Revolutionary Guards Corps had asked Hizbollah, the terrorist organization, to conduct some of the training of Iraqis to use the EFPs, according to U.S. Intelligence. If all this were put out publicly, it might start a fire that no one could put out...Second, if it were true, it meant that Iranians were killing American soldiers an act of war..."
This same theme was picked up by today's New York Times, which reports:
A senior American intelligence official said Monday that the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah had been training members of the Mahdi Army, the Iraqi Shiite militia led by Moktada al-Sadr.
The official said that 1,000 to 2,000 fighters from the Mahdi Army and other Shiite militias had been trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon. A small number of Hezbollah operatives have also visited Iraq to help with training, the official said.
Iran has facilitated the link between Hezbollah and the Shiite militias in Iraq, the official said. Syrian officials have also cooperated, though there is debate about whether it has the blessing of the senior leaders in Syria.
While they would never dare to characterize it as such, the Times article verifies what Woodward and former FBI Director Louis Freeh has already told us: we are at War with Iran.
Iran builds shaped-charge IEDS, delivers those shaped-charge IEDS to terrorists that they have created and/or trained, for use against American soldiers. Iran is quite seriously at war with the United States. Why do we refuse to acknowledge that?
Michael Ledeen notes (my bold):
Thanks to Cliff, and to Dexter Filkins for getting someone to admit, once again, that Iran and Syria are all over Iraq.
Victor says we should first stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan, but that's skipping a step. It is impossible so long as the mullahs rule in Tehran and Assad commands in Damascus. It is a regional war. If we continue to misunderstand it, if we remain locked in this fundamental error of strategic vision, we will endlessly respond to our enemies' initiatives, playing defense in one place after another. Today in Iraq and Afghanistan, tomorrow in Lebanon, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopea and Eritrea (that is the mullahs' game plan), then in Israel and Europe, and finally here at home. We do not need intelligence agencies to know this, all we need to do is listen to our enemies, who announce it at the top of their lungs.
There is no escape from this war, and we haven't even begun to wage it. Once we do, we will find that we've got many political and economic weapons, most of them inside our enemies' lands. I entirely agree with Victor that Iran and Syria are fragile, brittle, and anxious. They know their people hate them, and they know that revolution could erupt if we supported it.
Of course, as Victor says, our leaders may be so demoralized that we could just surrender in Iraq and Afghanistan, as the realists and the antisemites desire. But that would only delay the reckoning, and ensure that the war will be far bloodier.
I stated in Kneecapping Snakes and other posts that the one sure way to end the state sponsorship of terrorism is to make that sponsorship extremely counterproductive for the nation/states involved. Assad in Syria and the Mullah's in Iran support terrorism in Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, and elsewhere, because this support is a cost-effective way for them to project their foreign policy goals.
Their goals--the humiliating defeat of the United States in Iraq, the destruction of Israel, their push of nuclear weapons and increasing regional control and influence--are quite clear, but then, so is the remedy to this problem; if President Bush and allied nations admit to and treat this as a regional war.
If we limit out goals in Iran and Syria to knocking them out of the terror game and don't try to rebuild their societies from the ground up, we can do so relatively easily by crushing the ability of Iran to threaten Persian Gulf shipping and by taking out its refineries. Ironically, Iran is oil-rich, but gas-poor.
Coalition air strikes targeting the Iranian Navy, refineries, and other key targets could bring the mullacracy to it's knees within weeks, without the significant use of U.S. ground forces, and only a (relatively minor) projection of air power. A U.S. Navy blockade of Oman would keep Iran from importing the gasoline it needs to survive.
Syria, minus Iranian support, would be even easier to destabilize.
Take Syria and Iran out of the terror game, and Hezbollah begins to falter in Lebanon, giving Lebanese democracy a chance. Take Syria and Iran out of the terror game, and Israeli citizens wouldn't have to worry about Hezbollah's ability to so quickly rearm and instigate another war.
Take Syria and Iran out of the terror game, and manpower, weaponry, and funding for al Qaeda in Iraq begins to abate, as the growing number of Sunni tribes embracing the Sahawa movement hunt down and kill foreign fighters. Take Syria and Iran our out of the terror game, and Muqtada al-Sadr, the thug-leader of Shiites in the Baghdad slums, suddenly finds his Medhi Army militia without new munitions, or training, or financial support, and as his capability as a military threat fades, so does his political power.
The greatest "secret" in the War on Terror is that we have the capability of turning the strategic war around on a dime, if only our leaders will lead.
What appears to be the most easily refutable charge brought forth in the WaPo article occurs in the lede:
The U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda's rising popularity there, according to newly disclosed details from a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that set off debate in recent months about the military's mission in Anbar province.
This contention, of course, seems directly challenged by the emergence of the Sahawa, or the Awakening, a movement among the major Sunni tribes of al Anbar against al Qaeda. Sunni tribes are increasingly leading the fight against al Qaeda and Sunni insurgents.
Fumento, who is on the ground in Ramadi and is reporting first-hand accounts, is buttressed by others who have or who are about to have first-hand experience in that province in Iraq.
Linzer and Ricks based their article on selectively-leaked excerpts for a classified Marine report and the words of anonymous "experts" in Washington, D.C.
Michael Fumento is there, on the ground in al-Anbar's capital of Ramadi, reporting the words of real people, by name, who are actively engaged in operations on the ground.
WASHINGTON Nov. 27 /Standard Newswire/ The National Commander of The American Legion called on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to apologize for suggesting that American troops would not choose to fight in Iraq if they had other employment options.
"Our military is the most skilled, best-trained all- volunteer force on the planet," said National Commander Paul A. Morin. "Like that recently espoused by Sen. John Kerry, Congressman Rangel's view of our troops couldn't be further from the truth and is possibly skewed by his political opposition to the war in Iraq."
According to Rangel, "If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career, or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq. If there's anyone who believes these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No bright young individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of some educational benefits," Rangel said.
Rangel was responding to a question during an interview yesterday on Fox News Sunday about a recent study by the Heritage Foundation which found that those enlisting in the military tend to be better educated than the general public and that military recruiting seems to be more successful in middle- class and wealthy neighborhoods than in poor ones.
According to the study, 97 percent of military enlistees were high school graduates versus 80 percent of Americans in general. The study also concludes that the average reading level of military personnel is a full grade level higher than that of the general population.
"I'm not sure I understand what is unfair about letting adults make their own career choices," Morin said as he visited troops in Korea this week. "Troops serving today have a higher education level than the overall population. Why another member of Congress is insulting our troops' commitment and education level is beyond me."
Morin said the American Legion applauds and appreciates the great sacrifices of those who serve - - many of whom have put civilian careers aside, college on hold or given up high paying jobs to enlist.
More and more troops say it's duty and honor before college fund that motivated them to join. Recruiting numbers have been met this year, but more importantly, servicemembers are reenlisting so retention within the armed forces is great, Morin explained. Not everyone holds the view that we should wait to be attacked again as a nation.
"These brave men and women lay it on the line every day for each and every one of us, for which I am very grateful," Morin said. "Their selfless commitment for the betterment of our world from radical extremists is beyond commendable. It's time for members of Congress to stop insulting our troops.
"While the American Legion shares the congressman's appreciation for education, the troops in Iraq represent the most sophisticated, technologically superior military that the world has ever seen," Morin said. "I call on Congressman Rangel to not only apologize to our troops but to also fight for pay increases and make significant improvements to the current GI Bill reserves and guard included, as he prepares for a party chairmanship in the 110th Congress."
Odds are that Rangle will either ignore the American Legion (as he has always consistently avoided the facts that those in the military are not overwhelmingly poor inner city minorities, but quite the opposite) or issue a John Kerry-esque "I'm sorry that you aren't smart enough to understand me" non-apology apology.
November 27, 2006
I know this, because this Reuters picture has all the earmarks of a crudely-edited PhotoShop, from the rather odd smudges and apparent artifacts around the heads of the two women on the left when the photo is enlarged, to the rather uncanny resemblance that one person in the picture has to someone I feel I should know.
After Adnan Hajj, Reuters wouldn't fall for this sort of stuff again, would they?
Its a good thing I can chalk this up to cough syrup. If not, I might have to start questioning the medias accuracy.
Update:Jeez. Take a little cough syrup, disappear for a few hours, and the world goes nuts. FWIW, some credible experts have said that the artifacts that I thought may be evidence of photoshopping may have been the result of JPG compression, and that any resemblence to the President was purely coincidental. I can live with that.
What I do have a harder time living with is the foul language of our left wing guests. As a result, comments are closed, and the most offensive comments have been removed.
This is hot on the heels of an investigation by Patterico that revealed that the L.A. Times may have relied on sources that may be (to be charitable) unreliable.
In both instances, facts and ethically-sound journalistic practices were in very short supply, as "journalists" apparently holed up at the bar in the al Rasheed Hotel breathlessly and uncritically reported what anonymous Iraqi stringers provided to them as news. That this practice of blind reporting is apparently widespread and accepted by the professional media should be very troubling to those who read major news site and make the (apparently erroneous) assumption that the stories being reported are based on objective, verified facts, not the whims of stringers citing sources that do not, in fact, exist.
It is increasingly apparent that the guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas may know about what is actually going on in Iraq than does his professional counterpart hunkered down in the Green Zone in Baghdad, due in no small part to the fact that the reporters in the Green Zone seem to swallow the uncorroborated reporting of Iraqi stringers of dubious allegiances and influences readily, and uncritically.
The media isn't necessarily willfully reporting false stories, they are simply too lazy to verify what they are reporting is comprised of actual facts instead of fantasy. They seem to have adopted a worldview that whatever act is the most depraved, must be the most infallible.
Call it "absolute immoral authority."
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