web counter Media Lies: December 2004

Friday, December 31, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

The whole ball of wax

Voter fraud, politician's incompetence and media dissolution all rolled in to one.


Liberalism hoist on its own petard

Victor Davis Hanson writes about how impossible it will be for liberals to keep up their front as the changes now taking place in the world progress.
What has happened? Sometime around the 1980s, the Right saw the demise of the Soviet Union as an opportunity to evolve beyond realpolitik to promote not just anti-Communism but grassroots democracy, coupled with free-market globalism from Eastern Europe to Latin America and Asia. In contrast, the hard Left stayed in its knee-jerk suspicion of the West and continued to give a pass to authoritarians from Cuba to Iran who professed socialism, thinking that the world was a static zero-sum game in which somebody's gain spelled another's loss - oblivious that real wealth could be created by a change of mentality and technology and not mere exploitation.
In the interest of progress, Hanson offers the left some New Years resolutions.
As the old politics lie in ruin from hypocrisy and incoherence, the Left needs to get a new life. Here are a few more suggestions:
  • Remember that multilateral inaction - whether in the Balkans, Rwanda, or Darfur - is often calculated, selfish, and far more lethal to millions than risky interventions like removing the Taliban and Saddam.
  • Quit idolizing Europe. It was a far larger arms merchant to Saddam than was the United States; it supplied most of Dr. Khan's nuclear laboratory; it financed much of the Oil-for-Food scandal; and it helped to create and tolerate the Balkans genocide. It has never freed any country or intervened to remove fascism and leave behind democracy - silly American notions that are to be caricatured except when it is a matter of saving Europeans.
  • Stop seeing an all-powerful United States behind every global problem. China is on the move and far more likely to disrupt environmental protocols, cheat on trade accords, and bully neighbors. The newly expanded Europe has a larger population and aggregate economy, stronger currency, and far less in trade and budget debts than does the United States - and is already using that economic clout for its own interests, not global freedom from dictators and autocrats.
  • Don't believe much of what the U.N. says anymore. Its secretary general is guilty of either malfeasance or incompetence, its soldiers are often hired thugs who terrorize those they are supposed to protect, and its resolutions are likely to be anti-democratic and anti-Semitic. Its members include dozens of nations whose odious representatives we would not let walk inside the doors of the U.S. Congress. The old idea of a United Nations was inspiring, the current reality chilling.
  • Stop seeing socialists and anti-Americans as Democrats. When a Michael Moore compares beheaders to our own Minutemen and laments that too many Democrats were in the World Trade Center, he deserves no platform alongside Wesley Clark or a seat next to Jimmy Carter or praise for his pseudo-dramas from high Democrats. Firebrands like Al Sharpton and Michael Moore are the current leftist equivalents of 1950s right-wing extremists like the John Birchers. They should suffer the same fate of ostracism, not bemused and tacit approval.
  • Ignore most grim international reports that show the United States as stingy, greedy, or uncaring based on some esoteric formula that makes a Sweden or Denmark out as the world's savior. Such "studies" always ignore aggregate dollars and look at per capita public giving, and yet somehow ignore things like over $100 billion to Afghanistan and Iraq or $15 billion pledged to fight AIDS in Africa. These academic white papers likewise forget private donations, because most of the American billionaires who give to global causes of various sorts do so as either individuals or through foundations. No mention is made of the hundred of millions that are handled by American Christian charities. And the idea of a stingy America never mentions about $200 billion of the Pentagon's budget, which does things like keeping the Persian Gulf open to world commerce; protecting Europe; ensuring that the Aegean is free of shooting and that the waters between China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan are relatively tranquil; and stopping nasty folk like the Taliban and Saddam from blowing up more Buddha monuments, desecrating Babylon, or ruining the ecology of the Tigris-Euphrates wetlands.
Action and results, not rhetoric and intentions, are what matter. Cease blaming others for declining popularity. There is neither a Karl Rove conspiracy nor an envisioned red-state theocracy. No, the problem with our Left is what killed the dinosaurs: a desire to plod on to oblivion in a rapidly evolving world.
Happy New Year.


Religion of peace?

This is disgusting. Picking and choosing the victims upon which you bestow your charity? This isn't religion. This is hatred, pure and simple. Will we ever be able to integrate Muslims into the international community? (Hat tip to lgf who has republished the relevant sections in case the Muslims remove them and then deny they were ever posted.)


Planting the seed

There's been some speculation that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas might be considered for the position of Chief Justice if Chief Justice Rehnquist retires. This article seems exquisitely timed (or should I say "cynically timed"?) to undermine any effort to promote Thomas for the position. (They were already worked into a lather over his $500,000 book advance.)
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has accepted tens of thousands of dollars' worth of gifts since joining the Supreme Court, from $1,200 worth of tires to valuable historical items and a $5,000 personal check to help pay a relative's education expenses.

Justice Thomas has reported accepting much more valuable gifts than his Supreme Court colleagues over the last six years, according to their disclosure forms on file at the court.

Among the gifts was a free trip aboard a private jet to the exclusive Bohemian Grove club in northern California that was arranged by Harlan Crow of Dallas, a wealthy real estate investor who has helped run an advocacy group that filed briefs with the Supreme Court. He is the son of Dallas real estate executive Trammell Crow.

Mr. Crow also gave Mr. Thomas a Bible once owned by the 19th-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass, which Justice Thomas valued at $19,000.

Those and other gifts were disclosed by Justice Thomas under a 1978 federal ethics law that requires high-ranking government officials, including the nine Supreme Court justices, to file a report each year that lists gifts, money and other items they have received.
Of course this has always been public information, and Justice Thomas has been on the court for thirteen years, so it seems particularly peculiar that the media has "discovered" this information right now.

Furthermore, listing many of the larger gifts he's ever received without any reference to the time frame within which they've been received leaves the reader with the impression that Justice Thomas has just recently been gifted with great largesse and is not at all bothered by the impropriety of it all. How different would the readers' perspective be if they knew that Justice Thomas received no gifts in 2003? (His 2004 disclosure statement won't be filed until April, 2005.)

Naturally, the attacks on Justice Thomas will begin immediately.
But in October, an American Bar Association panel called for tightening the rules to forbid judges to accept expensive gifts, free tickets and other valuable items, regardless of the donor.

"Why would someone do that - give a gift to Clarence Thomas? Unless they are family members or really close friends, the only reason to give gifts is to influence the judge," said Mark Harrison, a Phoenix lawyer who heads the ABA's Commission on the Model Code of Judicial Conduct. "And we think it is not helpful to have judges accepting gifts for no apparent reason."
You can't get much more cynical than Mr. Harrison. Who gets to decide the criteria for "family members or really close friends"? What exactly is the influence the giver is supposed to have? Mr. Harrison never says. He just implies that it's impossible for a judge to receive gifts without returning the favor somehow.

The cynic in me can't help but wonder if Justice Thomas would receive all the criticism that he has if he were white instead of black. It seems that liberals simply can't stand it when "one of their own" goes "off the reservation". The possibility that Justice Thomas just might be an extremely intelligent man who can think for himself and come to different conclusions than liberals do never seems to enter their mind.

Justice Thomas, despite his critics, has had a distinguished career and has served ably on the Court. The folks at the Volokh Conspiracy certainly think Thomas would make a great Chief Justice, and who am I to argue with them. :-)


World Relief Day

Captain Ed has named January 12, 2005 World Relief Day and is asking all bloggers and readers to participate by donating their earnings from one day to the relief effort for Southeast Asia. Donations may be made at any time, of course, but January 12 is the big day. Considering the size and scope of this tragedy (now over 121,000 dead and still rising) and the imminent danger that those who remain alive are in (starvation, dehydration, disease) it seems a small thing to donate one day's income to the relief effort.

All donations will go to World Vision, an organization renowned for its parsimonious use of donated funds for administration and its generosity to all the suffering of the world.

Won't you please join us?

UPDATE: Indonesian authorities expect the death toll to exceed 400,000. An entire city, consisting of 150,000 inhabitants, appears to have been wiped out and helicopter surveillance has revealed no signs of life at all. Several inhabited islands have disappeared. Authorities in India are being accused of underestimating the death toll.

This is by far the most devastating tragedy in recorded history.


I sure got a chuckle....

....out of this story from Tbone. Maybe if you haven't served in the military it won't seem quite as funny, but it sure made me laugh.


The reason for the season

You thought I was referring to Christmas? No. I'm referring to New Years Day. The day when Lincoln freed the slaves. You didn't know that? Steven Vincent did, and he sees many parallels between that war, that so shaped the heart of America, and the war in Iraq.
As Martin Luther King declared a century later, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

A month from now, we will witness that arc and see where it will bend.  We can only pray the the Iraqi people rise to the occasion, and meet its call.  It is not a sure thing.  Although the freedom train eventually reaches the station, the passage is difficult and the schedule unclear--and many wait their lives in vain.  Federal troops may not have given a hardtack biscuit for Confederate slaves, but their sacrifices led to the freedom of those African men and women.  From the ashes of the World Trade Center to dusty palm groves of the Sunni Triangle to places yet to come, Americans--soldiers and civilians alike--are making the same sacrifice for the same cause of freedom.  And, God willing, we shall prevail.
May we never forget the sacrifices made by our brave men and women, and may we as Americans rededicate ourselves to the cause of freedom and human rights.

Not the bogus cause championed by liberals and socialists, but the true cause led by our founders. The cause that does not ask a man to trade dictatorship of the tyrant for dependence upon an evermore-demanding government, but instead asks him to raise his eyes toward the light and stand on his own two feet, making his way as he sees fit, without interference from a state that attempts to regulate his every move. The cause that beckons, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."


The light at the end of the tunnel

Iraqi special forces, training with ours, are taking the fight to the terrorists.
Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds are working together to protect their homeland. And they're trained by American soldiers to do it.

FOX News spent a few days watching the unit train to become part of Iraq's security force, which currently has 120,000 members and a small-but-growing number of skilled fighters from all parts of the country.

The school teaches the Iraqi soldiers to handle raids, ambushes and light infantry tactics.

"I feel good because we are fighting the terrorists," said one Iraqi commando.
I hope the Iraqis are the ones that capture Zarqawi, or, better yet, kill him. That would be a great coup for them, and I think would unite the Iraqis more than ever in the drive toward democratic rule.

If the Iraqis know their terrorists, why does the media still call them insurgents?


There's something....

....mildy disconcerting about this.


How do you say "pompous ass"....

....in French? âne pompeux?

The Brits have already one-upped them. (But no boasting about it apparently.) But why isn't Tony Blair "insensitive"?
he said the prime minister had no plans to end his family holiday in Egypt early in response to the disaster, and added that he spoke to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan on Wednesday.


So you think you're smart?

On a day when more than 100,000 people died, very few animals did. Apparently, unfettered by modern concerns and distractions, animals could sense something was coming and they fled for higher ground.

Maybe we've evolved too far?


Was I blind?

I missed this completely, and yet I read the stories several times over the past few days.
I didn't catch Bush's remarks yesterday on relief efforts to aid victims of the horrific earthquakes and tsunamis in South Asia. But Papa Bear drew my attention to a phrase that was conspicuously absent from Bush's speech: "United Nations".

Bush spoke of "building an international coalition", and having "established a regional core group with India, Japan and Australia to help coordinate relief efforts."

No mention of working through --- or with --- the U.N. at all. Not even a little bit.

The President of the United States doesn't make such an omission by accident, especially in a prepared speech like this one. And while we've certainly seen some obvious disdain for the U.N. from Bush and his administration before, this is about as blatant a snub as I can think of short of actually telling Mr. Annan to pound sand.
You know this has to piss some people off royally. In fact, Captain Ed has already found one.

To which I reply, "Good!" And I suggest a slogan for the Bush administration. "President Bush - pissing liberals off for another four years".

Dare I hope? Get US out of the UN NOW!!


CAREful what you send

Blackfive has the greatest story from a Marine mom about CARE packages, Marines' playing around with package items in ways you'd never imagine and how a "mistake" saved a Marine's life.


Thursday, December 30, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Out with the old. In with the new.

Wretchard writes a piercing analysis of the blogosphere and its impact on the world of the old media. I've written about this before and predicted that the blogosphere will replace the old media.
What we are witnessing in this election is the death throes of old media. Exacerbated by their extreme leftward bias, their overweaning desire to see Kerry elected has made them prone to error and unlikely to correct it. Yet their decision to "toss a bone" to the online audience by placing their content online has exposed them to the same "open source" error correction that new media embraces. The result has been embarassing. None moreso that the recent CBS collapse.

Perhaps twenty years from now the "alphabets" will no longer exist. For news, you will switch on your tv, which is connected to the internet, and browse the sites that carry news that interests you. Gone will be the days when millions see the same thirty minutes of pablum. News will be as personal and focused as you choose to make it. When something "big" happens, it will seep in to your world because "real" stories spread like prairie fires on the Internet. Stories like the Laci Petersen story that has so dominated old media will be relegated to that corner of the internet voyeurs reside, and those of us who thrive on substance will no longer have to deal with them.
Now Wretchard demonstrates that this is already occurring and perhaps even more rapidly than I had anticipated.
The advent of cheap consumer digital cameras capable of recording sound coupled to the proliferation of internet connections meant that in addition to the analysis cells which manifested itself in 'instant punditry', the Internet was developing a sensory apparatus to match. To the 'instant pundit' was added the 'instant reporter' -- the man already on the spot, often possessed of local knowledge and language skills. These came suddenly of age with the December 2004 tsunami story. Survivors with a videocamera or even just an email or web browser connection 'filed stories' which were vacuumed up by the the instant pundits hovering over their RSS subscriptions and launched into the global information pool.
Wretchard seems to think that the old media may be able to find a way to take advantage of the new system.
The real challenge facing traditional media is how to graft themselves onto this burgeoning evolutionary system by providing services to it. Google is possibly the best known example of a company which understood this trend perfectly, providing services to this growing organism and profiting from its expansion. But there are others. Less famous companies are profiting by facilitating online payments, advertising services, auctions, trading and other services. Glenn Reynolds links to a story which notes that the classified ads market has already departed traditional newspapers, probably forever.

Lastly, this emerging neural network of analysis cells and sensory apparatus is largely self-aware. It has developed meta-ideas about itself and can actually guide its own development, mimicking a primitive lifeform.

In summary, bloggers are nothing special. They are neither better human beings nor inherently cooler than anyone. It is simply that they have embraced one aspect of a superior paradigm and have benefited thereby. Blogger 'cool' comes from neural network 'cool'. This should be good news for Mr. Coleman. He's just as good as any blogger. The bad news is that, like them, he has to get a day job.
I disagree. They will be replaced, just as Microsoft is being replaced (even though many still can't see it happening), and they will no longer exist. The problem with old media is their myopic view of the information business prevents them from seeing the changes taking place right under their noses. If they ever do realize what's going on, it will be far too late to adjust. Like the dinosaurs, their days are gone. They just don't know it yet.


Hot air versus hot pursuit

The Washington Post criticized President Bush for not being more "inline with other foreign leaders" because he didn't jump to a microphone to pontificate on the tsunami disaster and he didn't rush back to Washington to make it look like he was doing something. In their sick world, words and "proper behavior" are so much more important than actually doing something useful. Is it any wonder that hundreds of thousands of black Africans die while the leaders of the world wring their hands and speak all the right words?

Bush, in his typical style of candor and honesty responded, "Actions speak louder than words." His actions include the dispatching of two carrier battle groups to the striken area, the pledging of $35,000,000 in immediate aid and a promise to stay in for the long haul to restore the area from this devastating disaster.

If journalists actually understood what Bush said, they might have a clue as to why they are held in such high disregard and their work is routinely ignored by people in the know.


Iraqi bloggers get noticed

The Dallas Morning News reprints an LA Times story about Iraqi bloggers. When I read this, I tried to imagine what it would be like for someone reading it who had never heard of blogs before.

I would imagine it would be confusing. The article never even explains what a blog is or even how it works. Fortunately there are links to some Iraqi blogs, so the reader could at least click on them (or type them in to their browser if they're reading the print edition) and try to find out more on their own.

Of course, the Times has to get in their obligatory shot at the war.
Unlike Iraq the Model, many of the blogs are critical of U.S. policy and policy-makers' spin. In A Family in Baghdad – the War Diary, the blog spluttered: "I don't know how these people think???" The blogger is Faiza Jarrar, a fortysomething engineer and mother of three. "Do they live like this in America?? People killing, looting, and committing all sins, is this really The Freedom??"
At least they admit that blogs fill a void that the media vacated and is unable to refill.
In its December issue, Foreign Policy journal calls the war in Iraq blogging's coming-out party, saying Pax and "myriad other online diarists, including U.S. military personnel, emerged to offer real-time analysis and commentary."

"I get the sense that one reason the Iraqis blog is that they don't feel that their lives and reactions to what is going on are understood in the outside world," says Rebecca MacKinnon, a research fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. "They know the world's listening."

Because of safety limits, "it's harder and harder for journalists to get out in the field and interview Iraqis," says Ms. MacKinnon, a former CNN bureau chief in Beijing and Tokyo. "The Web can get these voices out easily and cheaply."
Frankly, I don't think that it's that hard for journalists to get out in the field. They just don't want to. Steven Vincent wandered around Iraq for over a year, interviewing Iraqis. Others have done it as well. The fat cat media journalists just don't want to risk their big paychecks and 401Ks for the potential of being kidnapped or shot at.

Their forfeit of the field of action is haunting them now, as more and more people turn to the web and blogs to get their news, abandoning the "hard" journalists who no longer even tell the story, much less tell it accurately.


Interesting news out of Syria

Greg over at Belgravia Dispatch notes some very interesting news out of Syria. It seems the democratic stirrings in neighboring Iraq have infiltrated across the border.
The Iraqi election next month may be evoking skepticism in much of the world, but here in northeastern Syria, home to concentrations of several ethnic minorities, it is evoking a kind of earnest hope.

"I believe democracy in Iraq must succeed," Vahan Kirakos, a Syrian of Armenian ethnicity, said recently. "Iraq is like the stone thrown into the pool."

Though Syria's Constitution grants equal opportunity to all ethnic and religious groups in this very diverse country, minority activists say their rights are far from equal. They may not form legal political parties or publish newspapers in minority languages. More than 150,000 members of Syria's largest minority, the Kurds, are denied citizenship.

Minority issues remain one of the infamous "red lines," the litany of forbidden topics that Syrians have long avoided mentioning in public.

But in the year and a half since Saddam Hussein was removed from power in Iraq, that has begun to change, with minority activists beginning to speak openly of their hopes that a ripple effect from next door may bring changes at home.

And here in Syria's far northeastern province of Hasakah, which borders Turkey and Iraq, there are signs of a new restlessness...
Greg is more cautious than I am about events in that part of the world, but we certainly agree on the direction that things seem to be headed.
Still, if policies are put in place that ease such democratization along, rather than brutishly force it down people's throats (risking nationalistic and/or Islamic backlashes in the process), it is possible to see (particularly in conjunction with an Arab-Israeli peace) the beginnings of a New Middle East ten or so years hence. Rosy Shimon Peres-like dreamy talk? Yes, to a fashion. But at least something is happening in the region to stir movement--and the catalyst is Iraq, of course.
I would be inclined to say that real change in the Middle East before Bush leaves office. In Syria? I think that's not as likely unless real pressure is brought to bear, but that can't be done while we're still embroiled in Iraq. Two years hence? That's anybody's guess.

In any case, the direction events are heading has to be extremely disappointing to bin Laden et. al.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Stingy is....

....as stingy does.
The United States supplies more than one-fifth of the United Nations' total budget (and 57 percent, 33 percent and 27 percent of the budgets for the World Food Program, the Refugee Agency, and Department of Peacekeeping Operations, respectively). We've been the United Nations' biggest donor every year since 1945. Taxpayers reluctantly agree to such largess because we're told of the good works the United Nations does. And yet, whenever there's a catastrophe, Uncle Sam is asked to dig deep into his pocket for more money.

This is the global equivalent of when the Interior Department closes down the Washington Monument whenever it faces budget cuts of a few percentage points. Nobody wants the Monument to be closed down, so the bureaucrats make it the department's most vulnerable expenditure.

Nobody objects when the United Nations helps victims of natural disasters, so U.N. defenders always use disaster relief and peacekeeping as their chief tool for fundraising. The problem is that the United Nations is not an impartial philanthropic organization. It is a political institution where a broad coalition of nations hope to curtail the power and influence of the United States. France uses the organization to leverage its relatively meager power by rallying African and Arab nations against us. Kofi Annan uses his megaphone to decry the moral and legal legitimacy of American foreign policy. Its Human Rights Committee is festooned with torture states, but it seems capable of issuing only condemnations inconvenient to the United States. And we foot the bill.
Can we please get US out of the UN?

UPDATE: There's more from FoxNews.
"We gave $2.4 billion last year; 40 percent of total contributions by all countries," said U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Andrew Natsios. "We are by far the largest donor -- no one even comes close to us."

In dollar terms, the United States leads the world in foreign aid from government sources. But individual and corporate charity from the United States also exceeds that of any other developed nation, and those donations exceed official government expenditures. Last year, Americans donated billions to international causes.

"Americans give $240 billion overall each year to charity. Only 2 percent of that money is for international causes, so we're talking about $5 billion," said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Philanthropy Association.


The blogosphere....

....is having a field day with a bozo from Minnesota. It's kind of pitiful to watch, but he brought it on himself.


What were they thinking?

Via Captain Ed comes this amazing story of some very foolish terrorists who thought they could take on the US military head-on. The results were predictable.
The attack began about 3:45 p.m., when insurgents armed with a car bomb tried to blow down the concrete barriers of the combat outpost, which is manned by a small force of soldiers. An armored military vehicle then sped to the outpost.

The armored vehicle "found itself pretty much in the middle" of a improvised car and roadside bombs that had been set up to attack any American vehicles coming to the aid of the outpost, said Lt. Col. Paul Hastings, a military spokesman in Mosul, using military acronyms for improvised roadside bombs and car bombs. The armored vehicle, he said, fired its .50-caliber machine gun to explode or disable the bombs, and proceeded to the outpost.

There, the American troops were attacked by a coordinated force of about 50 insurgents who fired rocket-propelled grenades and semiautomatic weapons. At that point, two F-18 and two F-14 military jets swooped down on strafing runs and also fired Maverick missiles, wiping out much of the insurgent force. "That's when the close-air support came in and did a job on them," Colonel Hastings said.
One can only hope they try this new tactic repeatedly.


The last Mohican

Joe Lieberman, traveling through the Mideast, put a stake in the heart of the negapussses crying for election delays in Iraq.
In a telephone call from Tel Aviv, Israel, the Connecticut Democrat said conditions in Iraq, including an increase in trained Iraqi security forces, have improved since his last visit in July. And he said the escalating violence aimed at intimidating Iraqis to postpone the election or not vote is not working in most of the country.

His comments came just days after Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) called for an election boycott, and after the largest Sunni Muslim political party announced its withdrawal from the election because of security concerns.

"Senator Lieberman and I had a pretty clear indication from the deputy prime minister and a couple of his associates that at least some of them may be wanting to find a reason to postpone the election," said Sen. Mark Dayton (news, bio, voting record), D-Minn. "We emphasized that we thought it was imperative that the election be held as scheduled."

Lieberman added that the deputy prime minister told them that postponement would present a greater risk.

"Postponement would be taken as a victory by the terrorists and it would be an infuriating result for the majority of the country that wants to vote," Lieberman said. "Nobody thinks this is going to be perfect or neat, but it will be a beginning, a very credible beginning."
I can't figure out why Lieberman isn't a Republican. He sure can't be a Democrat.

Who knows what might have happened in November if the Democrats had nominated Senator Lieberman instead of the bozo from Boston. (Hat tip to Captain Ed.)


To all the media....

....who have tried to make political hay on the story of wounded soldiers and amputees, stick this in your pipe and smoke it.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, who salutes the flag, serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC
The freedom we enjoy was bought and paid for with the blood of men and woman just like Tammy, who consider it a privilege to serve their country and take lightly the price they pay on our behalf. The media should keep that price in mind every time they put pen to paper.



And it could be over 100,000! My God! It's impossible to comprehend! The human tragedy is overwhelming.


Faint not, nor let your heart be weary

With today's news of more murders in Iraq you might be depressed about the future. Don't be.

Mohammed posts God bless all the lists (the permalink isn't working, so scroll down if you read this after 12/29/2004), a survey of the preparations for elections and the attitudes of Iraqis toward elections. After reading what Mohammed has to say, you'll feel a whole lot better about the future of Iraq and the potential for success in the elections.
The situation here indicates that a great percentage of Iraqis are WITH the elections and are looking forward to participate in the process and truly I don't know why the media insists on showing the voices that oppose the elections that represent parties swimming against the majority's current and chose violence and terror as a way to deal with the people and this is a striking evidence for their failure because if they were representing the general will of the people we would've seen peaceful activities in which the sons of Iraq take part, the thing that didn't happen because Iraqis are certain that the elections fall into the interest of the whole population (except of course for the terrorists and the remnants of the dead regime).
Iraqis' response to terror was so clear; after the terrorists, or the so called insurgents threatened to slaughter anyone who participates in the elections, 7200 Iraqis rushed to announce their candidacy. YES, 7200 Iraqis representing more than 200 different political parties and I believe this makes the image clearer for the viewer.

And to remove the fog and debunk the claims about the Sunni population being against the democratic process, I want to point out that tens of the political parties come from the Sunni population. Moreover you almost can't find a single list that lacks Sunni candidates in it, even lists from She'at, Kurdis, Christian or liberal parties.

Iraq is bigger than the small tension spots that you hear about from the news. If you take a look at the map you'll find that 13 provinces are enjoying peace and almost a normal life while people in the remaining 5 provinces are also practicing a normal life in wide regions of these provinces. The troubles and the poor security situation are localized to certain regions in the cities and some suburbs around the cities.
That's why we must not impose one fact over the whole larger story.
Even FoxNews has found good news in Iraq, despite all the violence.

Perspective makes all the difference in the world. Without context (IOW following the old media) things look really bad. With context there is great hope for Iraq's future.


The Power of One

People often do nothing because they think they can't do enough to make a difference. When they see a problem, they feel powerless to help because they don't think they have the resources or they don't think they have the time. They fail to recognize the power of one. If each person helped one person, and that person helped another person, how many people would be helped? Everyone!

And so it is that a beauty spa in Plano, Texas helped one Sgt. Johnson to give his wife something special for their anniversary, even though he's thousands of miles away in Iraq.

You too can help one soldier. And even one dollar will help Southeast Asia.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Satellite images of Sri Lanka

You can view satellite images of Kalutara Beach, Sri Lanka and see the changes wrought by the tsunami. The power of nature is astounding - far beyond anything you can imagine.

Interestingly, NBC news this evening (local channel 5) implied that an entire section of housing had been wiped out, but if you view the images and compare the same reference points, you quickly realize that the tsunami has added tons of sand and material to the beach, extending it quite a way from where it was.

For example, compare these two images; before and after. In the right center area of the photos, you will find eight orange semi-circular objects just below what appears to be a large hotel with a swimming pool. You'll notice that all the buildings are still there in the after photo, but the beach is quite a bit larger. Rather than wiping clean a large swatch of buildings as the news reporter implied, the tsunami added a huge area of beach to the island.

These comments are not meant to imply that this wasn't an awful disaster. It was. And is. Tens of thousands of people died in a matter of minutes. Perhaps half of them were children. Yet even in this disaster, the news media can't seem to keep the facts straight, and they "err" in the direction of exaggeration. Considering there's no political agenda (or is there?) associated with this tragedy, how much less should we trust what we see with our own eyes on TV news when there is a political agenda?

UPDATE: Digitalglobe.com moved things around, so the pics I pointed to above no longer work. You now have to go to their site and download a pdf file that shows a series of before and after photos. My point about the damage on Kalutara Beach is still valid, however you should also view the pdf of damage to Banda Aceh.

When you look at those you will see extensive damage including entire portions of the landmass that have disappeared. It's no wonder that Indonesia is now reporting more than 80,000 dead just in Indonesia. The extent of the tragedy is well beyond my comprehension. In some areas one out of every four residents are gone.


A 50,000 foot view....

....of the war on terror. This is definitely worth reading and very thought provoking. (Via Winds of Change.)


I couldn't agree less

Tech Central published an article today that I completely disagree with.
It appears to have become a consensus among congressmen, opinionados, and the like chatterers that the training of Iraqi soldiers is the key to victory in Iraq. What started as a harmless idea to create the seeds of an exit strategy while giving Iraqis a sense of empowerment has morphed, at least in the public perception, into a central strategic plank of the actual waging of war in Iraq.
Exit strategies are for losers. We should banish the term from our language.

I don't recall anyone in the administration ever mentioning an exit strategy, so where does the author, a philosophy professor, get this idea from?

Common terminology. It's accepted wisdom these days that you don't go into any conflict without an exit strategy - a rancid leftover from the Vietnam war. Planning an exit strategy is a euphemism for preparing to fail. The only exit strategy America should ever have is the complete and unconditional surrender of the enemy.
This newfound significance of the otherwise nice idea of training Iraqis is both silly and dangerous.

It is silly inasmuch as the trained Iraqis are not going to be a replacement for the American military. If our military has not been able to crush the insurgency as yet -- though doubtless great strides have been taken - it's unlikely a late-fangled Iraqi contingent will not do the trick.
Who said the Iraqi military was supposed to replace the American military as opposed to complementing it? Eventually, however, the Iraqi military must replace ours. Otherwise we would have to have a permanent large presence in Iraq, and I don't know anyone who is in favor of that.

Furthermore, the Iraqi military can do things that the American military could never hope to do - such as work intimately with the local population to extract intelligence that leads to the defeat of the terrorists. I expect to see the Iraqis moving more and more to the forefront as they develop into a cohesive force.
At the moment, we offer a three-week training program for those brave Iraqis willing to join our effort. I am a thirty years old male in good health; but if you started training me on New Year's Day, I will not make the most impressive soldier by January 22nd. Certainly not impressive enough to reestablish law and order in Iraq.
Once again, ignorance of the military leads to incorrect conclusions.

Do you know how long my Navy training was? Thirteen weeks. And the final four were "extra" because I was a member of the Bluejackets choir. "Normal" boot camp was nine weeks. The first four weeks were spent in basic training - force discipline, basic physical training, military customs, etc. Three weeks is more than enough time, if the training is intense enough, to whip a force into shape and build espirit de corps. The rest of the training can be done "on the job". Eating, sleeping, patrolling and living with US troops in the field is probably the best training the Iraqis could possibly get.

Furthermore, there are a number of different force types with different training regimens, so it's trivializing to say "they" get three weeks training.
At this stage in the game, what we need to train is not an Iraqi army, but an Iraqi police force. The Iraqis we train could not conceivably take on the hodgepodge of angry militants in Mosul, Fallujah, and half a dozen other soft targets. Not if we cannot.
Ah, but we already have. And so have the Iraqi forces. In Fallujah. And the Iraqi forces have been serving admirably in the al Anbar province, patrolling with the Marines and arresting terrorists.

And we've been training police for over a year now.
Nor does the Iraqi nation need the United States to create its army. In fact, such a US-created army is bound to lack legitimacy in Iraqi eyes. The new Iraqi army will have to be created by the Iraqi nation when the Iraqi state regains stability. But bringing the Iraqi state to stability is our own mission. Nobody can do it but the United States Armed Forces.
Apparently the good professor has not even read about the pride that Iraqis feel when they see their own forces in action.
The danger is that we start thinking of those trained Iraqis as our ticket out of Iraq, as many among us appear to have already done. The trained Iraqis can battle petty thievery and, on a day of glamour, armed robbery. They cannot finish the job the American military is struggling to accomplish. The American military will have to finish that job, whether or not there is an alternative Iraqi force in its wing, and then we can leave Iraq.
The American army is not "struggling to accomplish" their mission. Where did you get that idea? Obviously you bought in to the idea that the war would be quick and easy. This despite the fact that the President has said it would be long and difficult, and Rumsfeld has called it "a long, hard slog".
So our ticket out of Iraq is simply the completion of the mission we have taken upon us: to replace the murderous despotism of Saddam Hussein with a democratic government (or at least a government that is otherwise answerable to the governed) that rules over a relatively stable Iraq. That is our ticket out and the only honorable way we can bring our troops back home.
Finally something we agree on! But look at the conditions you articulated - a democratic government and a relatively stable Iraq. The first will occur in 35 days. The second could easily happen by the middle of 2005.
As American casualties mount, and the American public starts wondering why we are doing this, there is a temptation to sell to the public a fairytale about an American-trained Iraqi military that will soon take over, replacing American casualties with Iraqi ones.
Who's been selling us this fairy tale?
To the extent that this is sheer deceit, it is wrong. But it is even more dangerous if it is meant in earnest. For it may lead eventually to a public upheaval that culminates in a demand to act on such a plan, with disastrous implications for Iraq and consequently American credibility.
My goodness, the hyperbole here is almost overwhelming.
If we get out of Iraq before the job is done because we cannot accept the death toll, we will have confirmed Bin Laden's diagnosis that we don't have what it takes to take on such grand projects as we have initiated in Iraq. And we can forget about reforming and reshaping the Middle East, the sort of reshaping that is the only genuine cure for the malady of terrorism.
Again, I agree.
It is time for the nation's leaders, starting with the President, to say so clearly and unambiguously. We must accept the possibility that by the time we leave Iraq 5,000 of our best compatriots will have died; that we cannot leave before we ourselves restore law, order, and stability to the reemerging Iraqi state; and that no collection of hurriedly trained Iraqi soldiers, however courageous and devoted, can complete that task in our stead.
I disagree with the 5000 figure. At the rate that we are losing troops now, it would take four more years in Iraq to reach that number with no change in the levels of violence. I simply don't see that as being sustainable on the part of the terrorists. They don't have enough bodies left to inflict those kinds of losses on us, and we are getting smarter all the time. As more Iraqis troops complete training and join the fight, our intelligence will improve and the terrorists will lose even greater numbers.
Rather than indulge in the fantasy of seeing our troops soon replaced by non-American soldiers, one would do better this holiday season to make a donation to Operation Gratitude, the Wounded Warrior Project, USO, and other organizations devoted to supporting our troops in battle and beyond -- with a clear-headed determination to stay the course.
Now that I can wholeheartedly agree with.


Go here....

....to view the smoking remains of Bob Hebert. Jason's fisking of Hebert almost makes you feel sorry for Hebert, who is clearly outmatched.


Southeast Asia catastrophe

According to geologists, the earthquake that caused the huge tsunamis that have killed a now estimated 60,000!! people caused the earth to wobble on its axis, moved entire islands as much as 120 feet, and may have shortened the earth's day by three microseconds! Officials estimate that the death toll could double!! because of disease.

This has to be the most devastating natural disaster in human history.

Meanwhile, a stupid UN official from Norway calls the US "stingy" for "only" having pledged $15,000,000 (so far) for the relief effort and claims that US taxpayers would be happy to pay higher taxes to help in the relief efforts. I'm sure US taxpayers would just love to fund everybody else's underfunded problems. We're already playing policeman for the world because nobody else bothers to spend the money for armed forces (except for the British and Australians.)

I have a suggestion for this bozo. How about if we take our UN "dues" and use them for humanitarian aid? It's an absolute certainty that the money would be put to better use and more humans would benefit. In fact, let's just kick the UN out of the US entirely and send them to France, the land of equivocation and hand-wringing perturbation, where there is no France in team.


Monday, December 27, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

You tell me

Who's telling the truth about Iraq? The media? Or American soldiers? You know my answer.


This would be....

....beating a dead horse only if the media would stop beating theirs. Considering how long they were willing to beat the dead horse of Bush's guard duty, we'll probably be posting pro-Rumsfeld articles four years from now. {{{{sigh}}}}


I'm not the only one....

....that's really pissed at the media right now.


Words cannot express....

....the anger I feel toward the American press tonight. I came to this article at Mudville Gazette via one of Cori Dauber's articles. Cori points out that the Internet is more and more the source for not only up-to-date on-the-scene information but also almost instantaneous critique of the media coverage.
What makes the media environment in which this war is being fought so radically different is that for the first time troops inside the combat zone can also critique the media's reportage of events they themselves witnessed in this compressed fashion, and in a way that is widely, indeed globally, available. That's never before been the case, and as the ability to milblog becomes more widely known among the force, and the availability of milblogs becomes more widely known to the news audience, this is bound to have more of an influence on the way news coverage is interpreted.

Look at the additions to our knowledge and understanding of what happened at Mosul provided by milbloggers, helpfully gathered together in one place by Greyhawk.
So I went to the Mudville Gazette, and I read in full every article that he linked to. But when I read this comment, my blood boiled and I cursed the US media. This is their churlish response to the awful tragedy of the suicide bombing in the mess tent in Mosul.
An Army reporter visited us after the attack on the dining facility. She spent a lot of time here at the CSH talking to our Soldiers, medics, and doctors. The result of her wonderful efforts is found below. I think you will appreciate this as much as I did. SPC Victoria Castillo is one of the stellar medics we have working in our EMT (ER). SFC Daniel White is a senior medic/LPN/Assistant Chief Ward Master/All-around good guy. 1LT Sarah Kuehl is one of our outstanding, hard-working ward nurses. MAJ Simon Telian is our number one stud general surgeon; we have lost track of the number of lives and limbs that he has saved (in medical jargon there is a term "too numerous to count").

Coincidentally, she reports that she sent this out to almost 1200 newspapers. She only heard back from a few...  To me, THIS is news. Based on the overwhelming number of emails I have received, there are a lot of people out there who are interested in reading about this stuff much more often than reading about the daily reports of the numbers killed or wounded.
Those bastards! They have time, space and ink to tell the insurgents' story, but they can't even be bothered with the story of our troops? We should hang every one of them! What the hell is the matter with these people? How can they call themselves Americans? Why should we give them one more dime of our money? They make me so mad I could spit!

Well I'm publishing her story right here, in its entirety.
Medical heroics save lives in Mosul attack

By Spc. Blair Larson 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Many Soldiers at Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul will forever remember December 21 as the day an explosion ripped through the chow hall, interrupting their noon meal with a shower of shrapnel and thousands of tiny metal ball bearings. The American people will remember watching on television the most deadly attack on Multi-National Forces in Iraq since the war began. But the medical personnel at the 67th Combat Support Hospital (CSH) in Mosul that day will remember the scene at the hospital as huge numbers of casualties arrived and the harrowing hours they spent tending to their injured comrades.

Although the attack tragically took the lives of many Soldiers and civilians, the extent of the destruction could have been much worse. Were it not for the quick response of the Soldiers and medical professionals who began treatment immediately after the explosion, many more lives could have been lost.

Immediately after the dust cleared from the explosion, Soldiers began to bandage and move the injured to the hospital. Using tables as stretchers and shirts as bandages, the Soldiers on the scene instinctively performed the medical aid that every Soldier is trained to do in order to stabilize a casualty until medical personnel arrive.

The attack was reported by radio to the Soldiers at the CSH, who immediately began preparing for the arrival of the injured. An announcement went out over a speaker in the medical personnel living area, alerting the Soldiers who were on call. As they arrived at the hospital, the staff reported to their assigned areas, ready to put their skills to use.

"I walked through the door and saw patients everywhere; some were bleeding, some gasping for air," said medic Spc. Victoria Castillo.

It was a scene they had rehearsed many times before. The medical personnel from the 67th Combat Support Hospital have trained constantly to handle a mass casualty scenario, and in the past 11 months, they have responded to several incidents requiring treatment of multiple injuries.

Although the hospital has many well-trained specialists, the first moments after a tragedy like this are filled with everyone pitching in to help with basic life-saving procedures such as stopping bleeding and patching wounds. Even the support personnel were active participants, as the unit's mechanics, cooks and engineers carried litters and copied down vital information.

"During a mass casualty situation, everyone drops their individual skills and becomes a medic, focusing on the basic skills like making sure bleeding and breathing are controlled," said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel White, the Assistant Chief Ward Master.

As the patients arrived by the dozens, the medical personnel used a triage process to sort the more serious injuries from the lesser ones and began to stabilize and treat the casualties. Nearly 90 U.S., Iraqi and multinational casualties were brought to the hospital for treatment.

"When the patients arrived, they were evaluated by priority and sorted by how serious their injuries were. Surgical patients were identified and the worst were brought to the operating room," said Maj. Simon Telian, a general surgeon at the 67th CSH.

In a perfect example of organized chaos, the hospital came alive. X-ray technicians with portable equipment examined those with broken bones. A radiology specialist gave CT scans to those with abdominal and head wounds. The lab and pharmacy kept the patients supplied with blood and painkillers. Within the first eight hours, the medical staff had performed eight major surgeries and many more minor surgeries.

The injured were stabilized and some were evacuated by helicopter to larger hospitals in Balad and Baghdad. Several would eventually continue on to a military hospital in Germany.

During the evacuation and treatment of the injured, a barrage of mortar rounds hit the hospital. Even under those dangerous circumstances, the medical staff bravely moved the wounded to shelter and continued their treatment.

The hustle and bustle of the trauma center required the help of every staff member. For hours, the medical professionals hovered around the makeshift beds, stabilizing and comforting the injured Soldiers. "You just keep going non-stop without looking back," said Castillo.

Although some of the injured were civilians, the majority of the casualties were U.S. Soldiers. Treating fellow Soldiers can take an emotional toll on medical professionals. "It is more difficult to work with American Soldiers because you feel closer to them," said 1st Lt. Sarah Kuehl, a registered nurse at the 67th CSH.

For the medical Soldiers who deal with life and death situations, instinct takes over as they work. Their extensive training automatically kicks in, and they are focused completely on the person whose life is in danger. "Situations like that are overwhelming. You have no time to think, you just have to do your job," said Castillo.

An emergency can never be planned for enough. Though Soldiers use common scenarios when they train, there are always factors that change when a real emergency arises. The more than 90 casualties treated by the 67th CSH is the largest number of casualties any hospital in theater has seen at one time during the Iraq war. "If someone had told me we would be faced with this kind of situation, I would have told you that it's not possible," said White. "But we worked hard, and we worked as a team to pull it off."

After every patient was treated and stabilized, the reality of the situation set in. Twenty-two people were dead and 40 were evacuated to larger hospitals. The scene in the hospital was the worst any of the medical personnel had seen in the last 11 months. "At the end, we got together as a group after we took a last look at the patients to make sure everyone was stable. Only then were we able to relax and talk about the experience," said Telian.

Thanks to the dedication and determination of the medical staff, many Soldiers' lives were saved that day. The Army's highly skilled medical professionals perform heroics every day and are essential to the success of the Multinational Forces' mission in Iraq.
It's time for those of us who read blogs and understand the power of the Internet to rise up against the foul media in this country and call them to account. They are not just failing us. They are working against us and for the enemy.

They deserve nothing but the fullest and most complete condemnation.


Now I can agree....

....with this.
War is not about eliminating risks; it is about managing them. America should do everything it can to manage its risks in Iraq, and the military is constantly learning and adapting. So, however, are America's enemies - and they understand they can only win politically, not militarily. This in part explains the attacks earlier this month on Shiites in Karbala and Najaf, which killed 68 Iraqis and wounded about 175. It also helps explains last week's attack in Mosul; the insurgents knew the bombing would receive extensive news coverage in the United States, and they no doubt are aware of the results of recent polls that show rising opposition to the war among Americans. Why not try to divide Americans and Iraqis the way they are trying to divide Sunnis and Shiites?

The brutal reality is that the United States is fighting a "war after the war" that has already killed and wounded far more Americans and Iraqis than the war that drove Saddam Hussein from power. It is an intense war, with some 1,600 to 3,000 incidents and attack attempts a month. Troops are dispersed and sometimes vulnerable. All of this means more attacks are likely before Iraqi elections next month and constant fighting well into 2006. For months and years to come, insurgents and terrorists will continue to try to exploit every fault line in Iraqi society, in American politics, and in regional and international affairs as well.

There is no certainty that the United States will win in Iraq. The war after the war is a far more difficult one than the war against Saddam Hussein. If America overreacts to attacks and lets the enemy drive its agenda, losing the war in Iraq will become not just possible but almost certain.
Many Americans understand this, but far too many still do not. And with a media that willingly promotes the enemy's agenda the job of strengthening America's resolve is infinitely harder.


This is just one...

....of the reasons that Bush will be one of the greatest Presidents ever. Vision and foresight unparalleled in recent Presidential history - and all that from a lame chimp Rove puppet. If he keeps this up, the liberals are going to end up looking really stupid.

Oh wait.....


Sunday, December 26, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

So what exactly....

....is going on in North Korea?


Is this the straw....

....that broke the camel's back? I follow the Times (if but from a distance) because, well, you have to. It is, after all, still "the paper of record" and its influence in America is still very strong. But if they keep coming up with stuff like this, I may have to completely ignore them.
Now, the Times notices something about the tour, and makes a reasonable point:

One thing that was noticeable on this tour was that the entertainers were white while the audience was very diverse. Earlier this year, the U.S.O. put together tours that included performers like Ludacris. But the U.S.O. said it regretted that scheduling conflicts had kept a number of people from being on the tour.

and gets a reasonable answer:

U.S.O. officials said they had approached a number of black entertainers, including Jamie Foxx, star of the film "Ray," but that the stars had scheduling obligations.

The roster for 2004 had a number of leading black artists in shows in the United States and overseas, including some of the biggest names in hip hop: Ludacris was a monster hit when he appeared at a welcome-home show for the Fourth Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Tex.

But they just can't let it lie. They have to ask one of the troops, and you can tell from the phrasing here what they asked him:

"I came just to see John Elway," said Senior Airman Cedric Jackson, 20, from Atlanta, after the show in Baghdad. A member of the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron, Airman Jackson, who is black, said he was not offended by the absence of black entertainers onstage.

In other words, they didn't ask if he was bored, if he was interested in seeing white performers, they asked if it offended him. Why would do they always make that kind of assumption? If performers come all the way from the States to a combat zone to entertain you, but they aren't the correct racial mix, that might be offensive? Why isn't the question offensive?
I have a question for the Times.

Why should anyone bother to read your paper?


Rumsfeld encourages change

During his trip to Mosul, Rumsfeld encouraged American troops to work toward the day when Iraqis would take over their own defense.
His main message over a four-city tour was quite different: that the insurgency has staying power and a seemingly endless supply of weapons, and the time has come for ordinary Iraqis to realize that they - not the Americans - will ultimately decide who prevails in this conflict.
The answer to the "more troops" crowd is more Iraqi troops.
Earlier in Fallujah, the restive city that had been the insurgents' main haven until U.S. forces overran it last month - and are still rooting out holdout fighters - Rumsfeld used a simple analogy to explain his view that the time is arriving for Iraqis to take responsibility for their own security.

Faced with a chore like digging a ditch, a typical American, he said, will grab a shovel and start digging. In Iraq now, however, the task is to step aside and get the Iraqis to dig their own ditches.

He warned against allowing the Iraqis to become too dependent on the U.S. military. More independence is what's needed, he said.
The conflict in Iraq will not be over until the Iraqis decide that defending their country against terrorists is more important than personal safety. Furthermore, (and I hate to say this, but it's true) the more that Iraqis are dying in the defense of their country (and I do not mean being slaughtered like sheep - I mean fighting the terrorists), the more difficult it will be for the Arab nations to continue to support the terrorists. It will expose their hypocrisy in a way that cannot be easily swept away with platitudes.

American generals also realize it and are working toward that goal.
In that meeting, Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, the senior ground commander in Iraq, made a similar point. He said Maj. Gen. John Batiste, whose 1st Infantry Division essentially rules north-central and northeastern Iraq, and who was sitting in the same meeting, must stop thinking of that as his area of responsibility and instead get local Iraqi commanders to take it as their own.

Batiste agreed and said that within six months he expects an Iraqi National Guard division headquarters, with 15 battalions of guardsmen, to be ready to take control of his area. There already are 11 battalions in place, he said.

"We're on the verge of something great here," Batiste said.
This next part I could not resist including.
In his session with Metz and Batiste, Rumsfeld pointedly noted that some in Washington keep saying that American commanders in Iraq feel they need more troops, or that they're not getting the resources they need. He asked Metz: What has Batiste told you he needs that he has not received?

Metz made no mention of troop levels, but he said Batiste could use more specialized drone aircraft used for surveillance and reconnaissance, and that he needs more linguists because many of them have succumbed to the tactics of intimidation used by insurgents.
Many Iraqis have already made the choice to defend their country, but unfortunately, far too many have not. It's no surprise that people who have been oppressed for decades might not rise from slumber immediately, but the events of the past few months, bombings of mosques and worshipers and assassinations of election workers, should wake the Iraqis to the reality that they only have one choice - fight or die. The sooner the Iraqis realize this, the sooner the terrorists lose and the sooner we can bring our troops home - to prepare for the next conflict.


I added a new blog....

....to my blogroll. I encourage you to visit Iraq: Perspective and Truth a blog by one of our fine military men, "Tbone", who has served two tours in Iraq. (And I couldn't find anything about him bitching about two tours or about Rumsfeld's "failures"!)

Read his Open letter to all Iraqis. It's long, but well worth the read. He places the "blame" (if you want to call it that - I see it more as a call to arms) squarely on the shoulders of Iraqis who, for whatever reason - fear, insouciance, ignorance or deliberate action - aid the terrorists by not opposing them. And who suffers? The Iraqis do.

In Aggression or restraint? he bemoans the disgraceful "coverage" of Iraq by our prostituted media.

In War against Islamic terrorism Tbone pointedly places the blame for all the events of the past 20 years on the shoulders of the terrorists - exactly where it belongs. Yes, he points out that our government (and by extension that is us because we are still a government of the people, for the people and by the people) slept for too long and excused too much, but we are awake now. We must never sleep again.

UPDATE: I should have told you about Tbone's first post as well. Like all his others, it's good reading and will give you a different perspective on what's going on halfway around the world.


Is there an answer for this?

Clifford May writes about Iraq and makes arguments that, in my opinion, are irrefutable.
When the Army of Ansar al Sunna - a group tied to al Qaeda - attacks an American base near Mosul it should be apparent that Iraq is the front line in the War on Terrorism.

When Christian churches are bombed - as they were on the same day and in the same part of Iraq - and Shia mosques in Karbala and Najaf are targeted as well, it should be clear that the bombers are waging a most unholy war.

When Iraqi election workers are shot dead in the streets, as they were last weekend, the murderers' hatred for democracy ought to be obvious.

Yet somehow the debate goes on about whether those fighting us are really enemies of freedom, about whether or not it is imperative they be defeated.

The charge that Americans came to Iraq to steal oil is not much heard these days. Instead, the suicide bombers and throat slitters are romanticized as "militants" -- or even "nationalists" and "patriots" -- who are "resisting American occupation."

When those "militants" do something particularly barbaric - summarily executing civilians, blowing up police stations, beheading aid workers - the conversation never dwells long on their crimes. Instead, controversy swirls around America's failure to control "the security situation."
What kind of mind is it, exactly, that when confronted with these realities will argue that there is no danger? That this is about oil? That we should leave Iraq immediately? That the mess in Iraq is America's fault?

Far too often it's the mind of an American - someone who, having been spoiled by living in the safety and extreme comfort of America - can no longer think clearly or honestly face reality.

May closes with this axiom - "Only when the kind of butchery we witnessed this week strengthens, rather than weakens our resolve, will the barbarians see that the road they have chosen is a dead end – figuratively and literally as well." (Hat tip to Instapundit.)


What would be different....

.....if the world focused on improving construction standards and safety, living conditions and work standards. 7000 people might not have died.

People like to take potshots at America and capitalism, but our wealth has benefits far beyond a nice house and lots of amenities and gadgets. Can you imagine a natural disaster taking over 7000 American lives? (More than double the number killed on 9/11/2001.)

No other system in the history of the world has benefitted the average citizen and the poor man as much as the American system has. When you hear the "air raid" sirens or you listen to weather warnings on the radio, when you watch TV weather news or look up the weather on the Internet, and you run down to the local stores to grab supplies, stock up on food, buy plywood to board up your house and jump in your car to get out of the path of a major storm, do you ever give any thought to the fact that the wealth of America has paid for those benefits? That you could be alive today because our system has built a number of safeguards to keep you alive? Do you think about the fact that policemen and fireman serve in every town and city in this country, often as volunteers? And do you realize that very few people have these same benefits? Much less take them for granted?

Imagine, for a moment, if the Islamofacists focused on building capitalist, democratic societies that benefitted all Muslims rather than dictatorial regimes that repress human rights. How much better off would the longsuffering Muslim common man (and woman) be?

UPDATE: The death toll is now over 11,000. A horrible tragedy of immense proportions.

UPDATE 2: Now its over 13,000. This is just awful. And to think that it's easily preventable makes it even more tragic.

UPDATE 3: The death toll has climbed past 22,000 and will probably go higher as more bodies are found.


It's a matter of perspective

Wretchard has been blogging heavily about the execution of Iraqi election workers and the photographs of the incident taken by an AP photographer. He's even prompted a reaction from Salon defending the photographer. I'm not going to plow the same ground as Wretchard, because I agree completely with the points he's making about transparency in the media.

However, there was one graf that I felt I needed to expand upon.
Yet ironically we do know Mr. O'Brien, who at least has a name, while we will probably never know the identity of the "brave Iraqi" photographer who captured the execution of Iraqi election worker on Haifa Street. Jack Stokes, the Associated Press director of media relations explained how that photographer was recruited.
Insurgents want their stories told as much as other people and some are willing to let Iraqi photographers take their pictures. It's important to note, though, that the photographers are not "embedded" with the insurgents. They do not have to swear allegiance or otherwise join up philosophically with them just to take their pictures.
First of all, they aren't insurgents. They're terrorists. By every reasonable definition of insurgent, they are not people who execute innocent civilians who are they're fellow countrymen.

The American Heritage dictionary defines terrorism as "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons." The act of executing election workers publicly in the street fits this definition to a tee. It's time for news outlets to stop lying about Islamofacism and use proper terminology if they want to retain any respect at all in the communities that they serve.

But that's not my main point. Jack Stokes states, "Insurgents want their stories told as much as other people....." I have no doubt that's true, but my question to AP is why do you feel compelled to tell their story? To put it another way, if a group in America was advocating the overthrow of the government and decided to execute some American election works publicly in the street, would you feel compelled to tell their story? Or would you simply report the facts? Would you notify the authorities that a murder was about to take place? Or would you withhold that information, making your photographer an accessory to the crime? Aren't Al Jazeera and other Arab propaganda outlets doing a good enough job of covering the terrorists' stories? Are there no stories of Americans in Iraq left to be told?

I discussed recently how writers carefully choose their words. It is equally true that news outlets carefully choose their stories. My blog is a perfect example. I read many stories that I never blog about. The things I blog about are the things that I think are important, the things that I feel compelled to comment on, the things that matter to me. The same is true of the AP and every other news organization. So I have to ask, why is the terrorists' story important to AP? Why does it matter more than the many other stories in Iraq that could be told? Why are public executions newsworthy, but many positive news stories are not? More to the point - why are terrorists' stories important, but American military men's stories are not?

UPDATE: Roger Simon joins the fray.


Saturday, December 25, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Support for Rumsfeld

National Review published two recent articles supporting Rumsfeld, one from John Hillen, who was a defense-policy adviser to the Bush campaign in 2000 and Victor Davis Hanson whose work I've admired for some time.

Hillen argues that transformation of our military and force end strength are two different issues and there is great danger in conflating those issues.
Nonetheless, Washington being what it is, things have a curious way of spinning out of control and you never know who will be a political casualty.

This poses a great danger to the important wave of change and reformation that Rumsfeld is pushing in the Pentagon. Many of his critics are lumping the transformation of the military in with their criticism of Secretary Rumsfeld. The failure of the forces in Iraq to immediately tamp down the counter-insurgency has led even some of his defenders to shift blame to "his way of war," i.e. transformation of the military.

While Rumsfeld has solidly identified himself with transformation and broken a good amount of Pentagon china in pursuit of it, this sort of analysis conflates two very separate issues and imperils the critical impetus of change for what is largely a Cold War military. It would be very unfortunate for American security if the transformation baby were to be thrown out with the Iraq strategy bathwater or even Rumsfeld himself.

Many critics, and even supporters of Rumsfeld, confuse transformation with a debate about the size of the armed forces. There are reports ad infintum about the "smaller," more agile force that Rumsfeld is pushing the military to build. More agile, no doubt, but smaller is by no means a precondition to transformation.
Hanson argues that the critics are completely off the mark and demonstrate complete ignorance of the issues Rumsfeld has to deal with every day.
Third, the demand for Rumsfeld's scalp is also predicated on supposedly too few troops in the theater. But here too the picture is far more complicated. Vietnam was no more secure with 530,000 American soldiers in 1968 than it was with 24,000 in 1972. How troops are used, rather than their sheer numbers, is the key to the proper force deployment — explaining why Alexander the Great could take a Persian empire of 2 million square miles with an army less than 50,000, while earlier Xerxes with 500,000 on land and sea could not subdue tiny Greece, one-fortieth of Persia's size.

Offensive action, not troop numbers alone, creates deterrence; mere patrolling and garrison duty will always create an insatiable demand for ever more men and an enormously visible American military bureaucracy — and a perennial Iraqi dependency on someone else to protect the nascent democracy. Thus if the argument can be made that Rumsfeld was responsible for either disbanding the Iraqi army or the April stand-down from Fallujah — the latter being the worst American military decision since Mogadishu — then he deserves our blame. But so far, from what we know, the near-fatal decision to pull-back from Fallujah was made from either above Rumsfeld (e.g., the election-eve White House) or below him (Paul Bremmer and the Iraqi provisional government).

In truth, the real troop problem transcends Iraq. Our shortages are caused by a military that was slashed after the Cold War and still hasn't properly recouped to meet the global demands of the war against Islamic fascism — resulting in rotation nightmares, National Guard emergencies, and stop-order controversies. The amazing victories in Afghanistan and Iraq not only set up unrealistic expectations about the ease of implementing post-bellum democracy among tribal Islamic societies, but also allowed the public, the Congress, and the president not to mobilize to confront the strategic challenges facing the United States that now pose a more serious threat than did the 1980s Soviet Union.
It would be redundant to say I agree with both these men.


The state of Iraq

Zeyad has posted some interesting informaiton about the condition of electricity supply as well as gas lines, and general conditions in Iraq (which are not that great) and has also posted about the upcoming elections. Iraq is a bit of a mess right now, as can be seen clearly from Zeyad's posts.

It's good to see him posting again though.

Meanwhile the brothers at Iraq the Model are saddened by the loss of so many Iraqis and coalition troops in recent days.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, US Marines have captured two top al Qaeda leaders in Iraq.

UDPATE 2: In Mosul, US forces detained 34 suspects and thwarted a car-bombing, and in Najaf authorities arrested the bombers who killed over 60 Iraqis last week.


Friday, December 24, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Too soon old - too late smart

There's been a lot of posts in the blogosphere about the demise of Steven den Beste, who has had to cease blogging for personal health reasons. I came to the blogosphere too late to make his acquaintance, but if this is an example of his work, the blogosphere has lost a great mind. If you too are unfamiliar with Steven's work, you can access what he considers to be his best work here.

So long as we have to suffer the likes of Juan Cole and Noam Chomsky, the den Bestes of this world will be sorely needed.

UPDATE: Pej explains it best.


Nailing the grey lady

Steven Vincent took issue with a NY Times editorial and used an analogy that is stunning in its simplicity and accuracy.
This analysis chills me. To understand the implications of the Times' position, imagine this editorial appearing during the Reconstruction of the post-bellum South.  Matters aren't going well:  confusion and uncertainty reigns; democracy seems hanging by a slender thread; masked "guerillas"--the Ku Klux Klan--are terrorizing the population in hopes of re-establishing the fallen Confederacy. What's the advice of the Times, and others with similar views?  Pay more attention to the "grievances" of deposed plantation owners, slave-traders and ex-Southern officers.  Put more pro-slavery leaders in the state legislatures.  Make amends somehow for the damage done to Atlanta, Vicksburg, Nashville.  And, most important, consider telling the millions of blacks that we wish to delay the process of your emancipation so as not to alienate the people who once kept you in bondage.  (The fact that last turn of events actually did occur only highlights the wrongheadness of the editorial.)
Time editorial staff - I believe that's your cue......


Man how I hate the media

Sometimes it gets so tiring having to plow through the garbage that "reporters" write. Instead of just reporting the facts, they constantly have to interject their personal opinions and biases. It's just downright irritating.

Today, the AP reports on Rumsfeld's visit to the troops in Iraq. Not content with just reporting on the trip, the "reporter" has to add his own bias to the story.
Hoping to bring holiday cheer to the wounded soldiers and demonstrate compassion for the troops' sacrifices, Rumsfeld landed in pre-dawn darkness and immediately headed for a combat surgical hospital where many of the bombing victims were treated after Tuesday's lunchtime attack on a mess tent. The most seriously wounded already have been transferred to a U.S. military hospital in Germany.
If Rumsfeld said that he hoped to bring holiday cheer and demonstrate compassion, then quote him. If not, then don't put it in the story. It's nothing more than your opinion, and it subtly implies that Rumsfeld has an agenda for visiting rather than a desire to see the troops.

In fact, just two paragraphs later, we read Rumsfeld's reasons for going.
In an interview aboard the C-17 cargo plane that brought him to Mosul, Rumsfeld said he'd been planning to visit U.S. troops here long before Tuesday's deadly attack, believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.

"The focus of the trip is to thank the troops and wish them a Merry Christmas," he said.
So WHY do we have to be subjected to your damn opinion?

Make no mistake about it. People who write for a living choose the words that they write. I've written professionally, and I can assure you that I have struggled over a single word at times, trying to make sure that I convey exactly what I want the reader to take away from my article. I have only once written an article, made no edits to it, submitted it for publication and had it accepted without changes. It is a rare occurrence when an article doesn't require numerous changes (both big and small) before it is submitted for publication. (That includes this blog.)

So when you read articles like this, you are reading exactly what the writer wanted you to read. This writer quotes Rumsfeld's own explanation for the trip. Why does he feel the need to "explain" it first? Because he wants you to think of the trip as a cynical political manipulation, not a long-planned visit by a SecDef who really loves the troops.

There's more.
Rumsfeld's stealth Christmas Eve trip came on the heels of several difficult weeks for the defense chief. Several high-profile Republicans have publicly criticized Rumsfeld, prompting President Bush to defend him Monday as a "good human being who cares deeply about the military and deeply about the grief that war causes."

Speaking for himself on Wednesday, Rumsfeld said he stays awake at night worrying about soldiers and their families and shares their grief over lost loved ones.
What's the purpose of mentioning Rumsfeld's "several difficult weeks"? Why choose the word "stealth" to describe his visit? Context. The "reporter" wants to make sure that you don't forget the context - this is an embattled man who is cynically visiting the troops to try and portray a positive image to offset his bad press.

Think about it. The past weeks have nothing to do with this visit. Remember, Rumsfeld said he had planned the visit "long before" the attack on the base. That would also be before the recent criticism. This kind of writing disgusts me. There's no excuse for it other than bias.

But our "reporter" is not done yet.
Rumsfeld has made several visits to troops in the region, most recently two weeks ago to a forward base in Kuwait. There, a handful of soldiers openly challenged him about inadequate equipment and long deployments. Rumsfeld cut off their complaints by saying, "You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have."

He faced another firestorm earlier this week because he was not personally signing condolence letters to the families of dead soldiers, as the president does. Critics fault him for poor postwar planning and for a steadily growing list of problems, from failure to strangle the insurgency to prisoner abuses in Iraq and Guantanamo.

Rumsfeld's shoot-from-the hip style drew a popular following during the successful military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, but postwar problems in Iraq have soured his standing with Americans. Half now say he should resign even though the president just signed him on for his second-term cabinet.
The first paragrah is an outright lie, as any objective reading of the transcript of the meeting will prove. Rumsfeld did not "cut off" the soldiers' complaints but answered them in full. The second paragraph is a lie as well. The fact is that Rumsfeld did sign some of the letters. He just didn't sign all of them.

The rest is true as far as it goes, but many of the problems Rumsfeld has have been manufactured by the same kind of blatantly biased writing as this "reporter" produces. If I ran a news agency and someone wrote like this for me, I would fire them on the spot.

What follows is an exact copy of the story with the biased and unrelated portions removed. You tell me. Is it the same story?
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, on a Christmas Eve visit with the troops three days after the devastating attack on a U.S. military dining hall here, told soldiers he remained confident of defeating the insurgency and stabilizing Iraq, while noting that to some "it looks bleak."

"There's no doubt in my mind, this is achievable," Rumsfeld, who flew here under tight security, told a couple of hundred 1st Brigade soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division at their commander's headquarters. He promised them that later in life they will look back and feel pride at having contributed to a mission of historic importance.

"When it looks bleak, when one worries about how it's going to come out, when one reads and hears the naysayers and the doubters who say it can't be done, and that we're in a quagmire here," one should recall that there have been such doubters "throughout every conflict in the history of the world," he said.

Out of concern for security, Rumsfeld's aides went to unusual lengths to keep his visit a secret prior to his arrival, with only a few reporters and one TV crew accompanying him on an overnight flight from Washington. In an interview aboard the C-17 cargo plane that brought him to Mosul, Rumsfeld said he'd been planning to visit U.S. troops here long before Tuesday's deadly attack, believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.

"The focus of the trip is to thank the troops and wish them a Merry Christmas," he said.

Rumsfeld has made several visits to troops in the region, most recently two weeks ago to a forward base in Kuwait.

At 72, Rumsfeld is the oldest defense secretary; he was also the youngest when he served for President Gerald Ford.
UPDATE: The folks at Powerline were just as irritated as I was.

UPDATE 2: Somehow, the AP "reporter" missed this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, how do we win the war in the media? It seems like that is the place where we're getting beat up more than anybody else. I've been here -- this is my third tour over here, and we have done some amazing things. And it seems like the enemy's Web sites and everything else are all over the media, and they love it. But the thing is, is everything we do good, no matter if it's helping a little kid or building a new school, the public affairs sends out the message, but the media doesn't pick up on it. How do we win the propaganda war?

RUMSFELD: That does not sound like a question that was planted by the press.


RUMSFELD: That happens sometimes. It's one of the hardest things we do in our country. We have freedom of the press. We believe in that. We believe that democracy can take that massive misinformation and differing of views, and that free people can synthesize all of that and find their way to right decisions.

Out here, it's particularly tough. Everything we do here is harder, because of television stations like Al Jazeera and al-Arabiya and the constant negative approach. You don't hear about the schools are open and the hospitals are open and the clinics are open, and the fact that the stock markets are open and the Iraqi currency is steady, and the fact that there have been something like 140,000 refugees coming from other countries back into this country. They're voting with their feet, because they believe this is a country of the future.

You don't read about that. You read about every single negative thing that anyone can find to report.
(Hat tip to Instapundit - heh.)

UPDATE 3: An eyewitness report of Rumsfeld's visit from a soldier in Iraq.