Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Revisionist in Chief

President Bush keeps telling the same fairy tale: once everything was going well in Iraq, then those nasty terrorists who hate liberty and democracy blew up a mosque and all went to shit. Today he gave his latest rendition of that story:

The vast majority of Iraqis have made it clear they want to live in peace. After all, about 12 million of them went to the polls [in 2005] -- a feat that was, again, unimaginable in the mid-1990s....

The terrorists, recognizing that this country was headed toward a society based upon liberty, a society based upon an ideology that is the opposite of what they believe, struck. And they struck by blowing up the Golden Mosque of Samarra [in February 2006], which is a holy shrine, a holy site. It's a site that a lot of people hold dear in their heart. And they were attempting to provoke retaliation by a segment of that society -- the Iraqi Shia. And they succeeded. And the result was a tragic escalation of violence.

And in the face of the violence -- in other words, there was reprisal, people said, we're going to get even, how dare these people do this -- and in the face of this violence, I had a choice to make. See, we could withdraw our troops from the capital of Iraq and hope that violence would not spiral out of control, or we could send reinforcements into the capital in the hopes of quelling sectarian violence, in order to give this young democracy time to reconcile, time to deal, with the politics necessary for a government that can sustain itself and defend itself to emerge.

Bush recounted this story in the speech he gave in January announcing his so-called surge. After that address, Anthony Cordesman, an analysts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (and no softie), provided a devastating deconstruction of Bush's speech on The New York Times op-ed page and covered Bush's blatant revisionism. Here's a section:

Bush: When I addressed you just over a year ago, nearly 12 million Iraqis had cast their ballots for a unified and democratic nation. The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement.

Analysis: The elections were anything but a "stunning achievement." The system used virtually ensured that Iraqis would vote by sect and ethnicity and that the outcome would further divide Sunni Arabs and Shiites, compounding the tensions created by American efforts to make Iraqis draft a new constitution.

Bush: But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq - particularly in Baghdad - overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made.

Analysis: This statement reinvents history. The level of sectarian violence had built up steadily during 2005. The rise of sectarian and ethnic conflict was a major factor long before President Bush announced his previous strategy at the end of 2005, before the attack on one of the Shiites' holiest sites, the Golden Mosque in Samarra - an event whose importance the administration sharply played down at the time

Bush also said today there are "encouraging signs" the surge is working. But if he gets his history wrong, can he be expected to get the present right?

Posted by David Corn at April 10, 2007 02:35 PM


Gerald said...

I have this strong belief that America is the terrorist nation in Iraq. I am tired of reading and listening to Bush's psycho babble.

The Iraq war is wrong and immoral!!! A wrong and an immoral government continues to slaughter humanity. If you believe in America and in this war you believe in the vaporization of human flesh against the side of buildings and on the streets across our planet.

O'Reilly said...

Corn, please continue to write about the war, about the fight over war policy in the legislature and executive, about the politicization and corruption of the DOJ, about the suspension of habaes corpus and the torture act but please don't write about meaningless politics on the campaign trail; no, write about meaningful campaigning issues.

David B. Benson said...

Spiegel Online has an interview with Dr. James Hansen today.

Worth your time...

capt said...

Brave new world

In a universe of camera phones, iPods and online videos, what gets posted on the Web - unlike Vegas - doesn't stay on the Web. Once information and images on the electronic superhighway generate a buzz, satellite and cable channels amplify the hum to sate the appetites of their 24/7 audience.

Before you can say, "Newt Gingrich called Spanish `the language of living in a ghetto,'" the story is part of mainstream publications and broadcast news reports.

It's interesting to note that Gingrich's apology for the above statement, made at a Republican women's forum, was offered in Espanol by the former House speaker - on YouTube.

Just as traditional media companies are wrestling with how to be more out-front and less reactionary in this new media environment, so too are seekers of public office.

The multiple candidates making the 2008 run for the Rose Garden are finding that not only what they say or do in once-private moments ends up being very public, but that supporters are creating online ads that might be harming more than helping.

Take the "Vote Different" series that promotes Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama's official campaign Web site using decidedly unofficial messages about challengers Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain.

In one ad, Clinton is characterized as the leader of a mindless cult. A second one paints her as unfit to serve as commander in chief: "If she can't control her husband, how can she lead the nation?"

The anti-McCain offering hypes the Republican senator's support of the Iraq war as "wrong on defense, wrong for the nation."

Video viewers were directed to BarackObama.com, even though the Obama campaign denies involvement.

David Corn, a longtime political reporter and the Washington editor of The Nation, summed up this new media politics on his Web site, www.davidcorn.com: "This could change the usual dialogue, as witty and engaging ads (or over-the-top screams) catch fire. The good news: here's a role for citizen input in what has traditionally been a top-down endeavor: politicians speak, you listen. There is a down side: no accountability."

Of course, with the overflowing fount of information available on the Web, the message - whether presented by a candidate's official campaign or posted by a citizen activist - has to be sharp, professional and compelling or it won't gain any attention. The bad news for the candidates' hired help: The Internet world is just brimming over with talented techies who can publish with the push of a button.

The era when political parties and presidential candidates got to control the message is, as the young-uns say, so over.


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There is no stopping technology. That is if my router didn't go on the fritz!


capt said...

Benedict vs. the War Party

Neocon 'theologian': Benedict XVI is pope of the 'American Left'

The Bush administration is looking for a pretextany pretext – to provoke the Iranians, and thank God the Brits resisted sacrificing their sailors on the altar of the neocon war god. Yet this just shows how close we are to attacking Iran: as I've said before, U.S. troops in Iraq are but a border incident away from drawing the Iranians into a regional war that will be fought from Beirut to Bombay. In a horrific paradox, this is perhaps the key to finally stopping the Iraqi civil war and unifying the Shi'ites and the Sunnis – because an attack on Tehran will demonstrate to the entire Muslim world that Bush and his neocon courtiers aren't fighting a "war on terrorism," but a war on Islam. Sunnis and Shi'ites will drop their internecine blood feud and take up arms against a common enemy – the Crusaders conveniently stationed right in their midst.

These new Crusaders, however, are not Christians: they are pagans who worship Ares and celebrate the "warrior ethic" of the Spartans while disdaining the Sermon on the Mount. They represent a new theology of power that has claimed the allegiance of much of the secularized West, a kind of anti-Church Militant intent on usurping the gospel of Christ and replacing it with the gospel of – well, of Satan. Remember that Lucifer, the Light-Bearer, was cast down from heaven for the sin of hubris: he thought he was a god, rather than a mere angel, and aspired to challenge even God Himself – a delusion only slightly less megalomaniacal than the neoconservatives' Middle Eastern project.

The pope's bold statement is a sign of the rebirth of the resistance to the plainly evil forces that have had the upper hand until now. How appropriate that it happened on Easter, a celebration of regeneration and the resurrection of hope. Ah, but every bright cloud has a darker lining: as if to dramatize the biblical warning that the Devil often cites Scripture, we have the neocon theologian Michael Novak justifying America's unholy crusade – and where else but in that formerly pro-Catholic magazine, National Review? Novak writes:

"Benedict XVI's Easter Sunday remarks in St. Peter Square hit a low point, I would think. He said that 'nothing positive comes from Iraq.' This is a very skewed report on the realities on the ground. But it might mean that the message the Pope wanted to convey is that of the American Left: 'Whatever the good or the bad achievements, it is time to get out.' In other words, not an accurate description, but a prescription for the near future.'"

Yes, the pope, AKA Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the most conservative of Catholic theologians prior to his ascension to the papacy, is a shill for the American Left. What kind of incense is Novak inhaling? To Novak and the very few practicing Catholics who take him seriously, the Church's just-war theory is really just Marxism with a Catholic face, and the pope is a Chomskyite. Well, I say better a Chomskyite than a Trotskyite – or Trotskycon, as they're known these days.


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As always, Justin is a good read.


capt said...

Diabetics freed from insulin in radical therapy

PATIENTS with type 1 diabetes have been able to go without insulin for up to three years in a study of experimental stem cell transplant therapy.

The findings could lead to the end of insulin dependence for 140,000 Australians.

Fifteen patients aged 14 to 31 took part in the Brazilian study, which tested the stem cell therapy between November 2003 and July 2006.

Remission times range from six months for recent graduates of the trial up to three years for the first patient to have the treatment. As of February, 11 patients had not used synthetic insulin since undergoing stem cell transplants.


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A cure is closer by the day. That is very good news.


capt said...

New Thread!