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Even the politicians get it

Another group of members of Congress have had a press conference after their return from Iraq. It seems quite telling how nearly every US politician, Republican or Democrat, find the ‘ground truth’ different from what they are hearing day after day from the Palestine Hotel bar.

If even a politician can see what is going on, what does this say about the intelligence of journalists?

31 comments to Even the politicians get it

  • Dave O'Neill

    After reading some interviews with soliders last week, I am still wondering what the Congress persons were *really* shown.

    There seems to be some, porbably understable, shell games going on.

  • Dave O'Neill

    Ummm… ok… now I’ve read the transcript, I’m not sure this contradicts anything the press are saying but speaks volumes for the perspective the Representatives had of Iraq prior to the invasion.

    It was a brutal dictatorship. It was not Afganistan. Reading some of the comments on womens rights they seem to have missed that.

    I seem to recall, for example, that Saddam had no problem with female scientists, especially those in charge of his bio-weapons programme.

  • H. Myers

    It’s not a question of intelligence. It’s a question of integrity.

    And I don’t really think it’s a question of integrity any more. We know the answer. They’re liars.

  • “Libertarian” agrees with politicians returning from the Iraqi Potemkin Village.

  • George Romney

    Correct Mr. Raimondo. It’s Viet Nam all over again. They’ve been…brainwashed, all of them.

  • John J. Coupal

    That doesn’t say anything about the intelligence of journalists.

    It is about the biases of journalists.

  • Luther

    Our problem was with Afghanistan and Al-Queada, not the whole Middle East! This Imperial venture constructed by Republican Social-Democrats benefits Likud and the House of Saud and that slime-ball in Pakistan. Now we have American taxes funding Socialist in Israel, Egypt and Iraq. This is becoming a bigger social welfare program this country has ever seen and the most expensive failed assassination attempt in military history!

    For Omar
    by Karen Kwiatkowski
    Whose War?
    A neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interest.
    by Patrick J. Buchanan
    DO NEOCONS EXIST?
    Don’t attack neoconservatives – it’s a ‘hate crime’!
    by Justin Raimondo
    The Return of Fusionism
    by Ryan McMaken
    An Introduction to Neoconservatism
    by Gary North
    We’ve Been Neo-Conned
    by Rep. Ron Paul, MD
    Big government vs. Bible and Constitution
    by Marvin Olasky
    Are your ready for WW IV?
    by Paul Craig Roberts
    Wisdom Of The Father, Folly Of The Son
    by Paul Craig Roberts
    The Axis of Hubris
    by Paul Craig Roberts
    What’s In A Name? The Curious Case Of “Neoconservative”
    by Paul Gottfried

  • Charles Copeland

    Luther,
    You’ve done these Samisdatarians a great favour. Thanks for the links to genuine libertarians — those who are opposed to the ultrastatist neoconservatives who seem to have infested the site.

  • What it says about the Press is that they’re a bunch of socialist, anti-American swine, regardless of nationality.

    And Mr. Copeland, isolationists like Buchanan, Raimondo and Paul C. Roberts are to libertarians as pig swill is to food: related, but just barely.

  • Luther

    Boy, do you get around Kim! (or WE get around?)

    Anyway, I believe there will be a battle, within the Republican Party, over the view and relationship of the individual and the state.

    The longer this mess in Iraq drags more and more of us on the Right are going to lay blame where it belongs–the failed Neocons. They lucked out by having a trusting man like Bush Jr. He is slowly realizing they are not friends.

  • Mike

    Just when I begin to think libertarians are not absolute, complete fantasists, I read comments like Luther’s – and my faith is restored!

  • R. C. Dean

    the failed Neocons

    Who are the neocons?

    Its a little early to be claiming that we have lost the war with radical Islam, seeing as we have won all the battles since we went to war on 9/12, so I am curious as to the basis for claiming that the “neocons” have failed.

    Don’t be shy, Kim – tell us what you really think! :-)

  • Do journalists even HAVE intelligence ??

  • Jacob

    Dale,
    Do you have a good idea about what is going on in Iraq?
    I don’t.
    I’m reading all I can find, I’m using my insticts and knowledge, and experience, and I’m trying to figure out what goes on there. I have, still, no clear picture.
    I offer these two points:
    1. Don’t trust the politicians. Maybe they know something, but Iraq is not one of those things. They go there for a couple of days, meet some people in pre-arranged meetings, and come back and go blah… blah… blah… as usual. Just because they say what you like to hear (and I) doesn’t make them trustworthy.
    2. Dito about most journalists, whether they file positive or negative reports (usually negative).

    So what is the truth ? I don’t know. I suppose you don’t either. Let’s hope it will turn out ok, but the problem isn’t an easy one.

  • Captain Holly

    I haven’t been there, but my brother just recently returned from three months in Baghdad.

    He agrees with the Eeevil Neocons and Brainwashed Congressmen (and women): Conditions in Iraq, while not perfect, are far from the chaos and mayhem portrayed in the media.

    And he is pretty confident that things are going to get much better.

  • Luther

    George W. in trouble
    Robert Novak

    Of Mice and Men by Karen Kwiatkowski
    Bush Seeking a “Decent Interval”? by Pat Buchanan

    Isolationism was a wise American tradition. We had learned from the different Europian Imperial powers. The Necon’s lust for Imperial America is careless and un-American.

  • Luther

    Well the five soldiers in my family are saying something very different.

  • Captain Holly

    It would be interesting to know what unit they are with and where they are stationed, and what rank they hold.

    An infantryman in Fallujah, for example, would have a different perspective than an engineer in Kirkuk. And a private in a transport company would have access to different information than, say, a major in a tank battalion.

    But in absolute military terms, there is no way one can claim that Iraq has been, or is becoming, a defeat. In the entire 9 months of war, we have suffered less than 300 KIA.

    That was an average monthly total in Viet Nam.

  • Whilst it is invidious to use the statistics of casualties for comparison, an examination of the tragic loses in WWI might put Iraq into perspective.In some battles the casualties were higher than those in Iraq in minutes.The British alone suffered a million casualties in Flanders over four years.
    Some of the battles of WWII and the American Civil war had horrendous casualties and would have still been regarded as victories.
    Tragic though the loses in Iraq are it is not a military disaster.

  • Michael Hiteshew

    “In the entire 9 months of war, we have suffered less than 300 KIA. That was an average monthly total in Viet Nam.”

    “… the tragic loses in WWI might put Iraq into perspective…”

    Thank you, Cap’n & Pete, I was beginning to think no-one knew their history anymore. Our losses in Iraq are less, on average, than the deaths experienced on Interstate-95, I’d wager. Nobody’s screaming to shut down the Interstate Highway system. That would be inconvenient. Can’t have that.

    Like many, I’ve also been fascinated that virtually everyone who returns from Iraq, regardless of their position going in or their political stripes, returns with a radically different viewpoint than that portrayed in the Big Media. Oddly, or maybe not, I’ve seen many examples of the same disparity between a media image and reality here in the US. Most remarkable are from immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. All seemed mildly stunned that their own Big (plug-in-a-nationality) Media painted pictures of life in the US and stereotypes of Americans were completely at odds with what they discovered here. Why should the pictures painted of Iraq be any more accurate.

    Journalism, as practiced in the big leagues, isn’t about balance, or accuracy, or understanding; it’s about the Big Story that day, and getting YOUR name on that byline. It’s about glamour. Is an accurate picture of Boston painted by a story on a gory murder? Is that the big picture of life in Boston? Isn’t the big picture that 99.99% of the people there had a perfectly normal day? That houses were under construction, people were working, having babies, etc. Is that what’s in the NYT? Or is it the murder? Which picture is real? They both are, of course. But which is really representative of the larger, more universal reality?

    I think the folks recently returning from Iraq are answering that question for us.

  • Luther

    It is not about the number of dead, but what those soldiers are dying for. If the cause was just and right millions could die and we would accept the cost gladly!

    It is the fact that men are dying for a “sociological theory of federalism” a belief that is attempting to place our government as a social engineer of Iraqis. Soldiers are dying for the Pax-Americana the Neocons opine about. Many soldiers in Iraq are dying unnecessarily and unjustly. If it was 10, that would have been more than what Hussein was worth. The Iraqi’s get the leader they deserve.

  • Michael Hiteshew

    “Many soldiers in Iraq are dying unnecessarily and unjustly. If it was 10, that would have been more than what Hussein was worth.”

    This war isn’t about the intrinsic worth of Hussein.

    “The Iraqi’s get the leader they deserve.”

    So for you, there’s no moral dimension to this? You’re a Realpolitik kinda guy? Ok, fine.

    Let’s consider this from a civilizational perspective. The US has a considerable interest in the status quo of the global order: economic, political, military. Iraq represented a threat to that order for the following reasons:

    1. The US fought a war in 1991 against Husseins’ regime to protect the global petrol supplies. The consequences of allowing that supply to fall under the control of that regime were enormous. Those consequential benefits for Hussein were: political, economic, military.

    2. Hussein was in breach of a number of ceasefire and UN (Chapter 7) requirements and showed no signs of accomodating them.

    3. The sanctions were increasingly untennable, unenforcable and were always ineffective to some large degree; hurting the population disproportinately.

    4. Saddam was unique in his demonstrated willingness to use WMDs.

    5. The increase in Islamo-fascism is a direct result of political repression in the Arab/Muslim world. Saddams regime was the worst of the worst.

    6. The US was recently on the receiving end of Islamo-fascism writ quite large.

    7. A secondary or underlying cause of that attack was the positioning of troops in Saudi Arabia. There, of course, to deal with the Saddam problem.

    8. Saddam had recently taken up the cause of supporting terrorism in general, a la PLO payments and bases for Ansar al Islam.

    9. Our intel, Brit intel, in fact everyones intel showed lots of bioweapon/chemical weapon stuff unaccounted for. It now appears it was destroyed or hidden. Maybe he should have been more cooperative. Too bad he wasn’t. Tough, that.

    10. The nexus of ALL NINE of those things IN A SINGLE REGIME. That made him exceptionally dangerous.

    But, being a Realpolitik kinda guy, I’m surprised you’re apparently unaware of all that. And also, of course, we agreed at the start to leave the moral dimension out altogether. Wouldn’t want to burden or confuse anyone with that.

  • Luther

    2. Hussein was in breach of a number of ceasefire and UN (Chapter 7) requirements and showed no signs of accommodating them.

    Since when have any conservatives, in the U.S., concerned itself with U.N. suggestions?

    3. The sanctions were increasingly untenable, unenforceable and were always ineffective to some large degree; hurting the population disproportionately.

    This is a reason to sacrifice American and Iraqi blood? Violating sanctions are now our standard for war?

    4. Saddam was unique in his demonstrated willingness to use WMDs.

    It seems he used them against his own people and when we didn’t care. If Ronald Reagan didn’t see the urgency to wage war when he murdered all of the Kurds why did Bush see fit to invade Iraq when he wasn’t wiping out his people whole sale?

    5. The increase in Islamo-fascism is a direct result of political repression in the Arab/Muslim world. Saddams regime was the worst of the worst.

    Where is it in the US constitution to ensure a world without Islamo-Fascism?

    Pakistan and Saudi-Arabia fit that description yet you are not arguing to invade and occupy those nations and they were more involved in 9-111 than was Iraq.

    It is not our responsibility to nurture federalism in the Middle East.

    7. A secondary or underlying cause of that attack was the positioning of troops in Saudi Arabia. There, of course, to deal with the Saddam problem.

    So you are arguing, now, that we should listen to the demands of Islamo-Fascist? Was that not one of the demands of Bin Ladden?

    8. Saddam had recently taken up the cause of supporting terrorism in general, a la PLO payments and bases for Ansar al Islam.

    That is Israel’s problem not ours. Israel might consider being a better neighbor, especially since it is surrounded by those who are not to hot on it’s being there. (Except the House of Saud) I think we coddle and baby that socialist state a wee-bit much.

    9. Our intel, Brit intel, in fact everyone’s intel showed lots of bioweapon/chemical weapon stuff unaccounted for. It now appears it was destroyed or hidden. Maybe he should have been more cooperative. Too bad he wasn’t. Tough, that.

    It seems to be the case that many in the intelligence community knew the claims being made by Rummy’s office were wildly exaggerated.

    10. The nexus of ALL NINE of those things IN A SINGLE REGIME. That made him exceptionally dangerous.

    Maybe, but not to us.

    (Whoa, just realized Mr. Raimundo posted, thanks for the essays.)

    I think we are baby-sitting to many theives in the Middle east as it is.

  • toad

    Ah yes the intelligence of journalists. My view of the “Media Majors” while in college and shared by others of my acquaintance when we were arguing about what it took to be sucessful in the various majors, was not good. They had a very narrow education. It was supprising the number that did not take a foreign language, political science, economics, or history course outside the minimum required to get a degree in Texas. As for even a survey course of science or statistics, “fugedabotit.” One’s girl fiend (that is no mispelling) said she couldn’t understand why he was taking jounalism when she had to do such extensive correction of his papers. Etc.,etc., and etc.

  • Bryan C

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the typical journalist is a slapdash writer with delusions of competency. It’s been said many times, but pick a topic you personally know something about and try to find a single journalistic example that doesn’t get important aspects completely wrong. Apply that lesson to things you know less about and assume about the same level of accuracy.

  • Captain Holly

    In the same vein, I note that there hasn’t been much resistance during the “Day of Resistance” declared by the Saddamites.

    I have more comments on the the significance of that development over at the Warren.

  • Dave

    What I find more interesting is the press *not* reporting the US casualty figures for October. Its an interesting exercise to compare them to previous months…

  • Dale Amon

    Dave: You must be reading different media than I, because it seems every article I read adds the line, “x US soldiers were killed when something happened somewhere, bringing the total to y since the end of major combat.”

    The numbers are also available on a web site, with details. I’ve not time to dig it our right now, but you’ll find it on my article last month.

    I will at some point update my graph from last month. I simply haven’t the time right now, but hope to find it some time this week. You have to recognize that I live by my wits doing consulting work, have no steady income, and every week is a scramble for bare survival. I do this in moments between study and marketing and dickering for work. I’ve had no major contracts since JUNE, and things are pretty grim scratching for little ones.

  • Dave

    Dale, no problem. I’d be interested in seeing that graph though.

    I did some tally’s yesterday and, to be frank, it made grim reading. After months of lowering numbers, the figure I arrived at for October was over 30.

    November hasn’t started well.

    The media seem highly inconsistent in the way they announce those figures, although a simple montly number would be interesting.

  • Cobden Bright

    Let’s clear up one thing – journalists, as a group, aim to sell stories/papers and get as many viewers/readers as possible. That’s all. They don’t exist to present the truth, give both sides of the story, rigorously pursue facts, be objective, or any other idealistic nonsense like that. Equally, politicians aim to win elections. Most US politicians don’t need to know anything about Iraq to do that. In both cases they are just responding to the demands of their constituencies – media consumers and voters. If journos and politicos are stupid, then so are our electorates and societies.

    Also, the idea that anyone knows exactly what is going on in Iraq is rather far-fetched. I bet even Paul Bremer doesn’t really know the half of what is going on, and he has all the resources of the US military and intelligence services at his disposal. One random grunt on the ground, let alone some armchair warrior back in the West, is hardly going to have a comprehensive view of the situation.

    Because of the lack of reliable information, there is an enormous temptation to put one’s personal spin on anything coming out of Iraq. 99% of what is written about Iraq consists of nothing more than people desperately trying to dig up whatever new shred of evidence has emerged that might serve to rationalise their political position before the war.

    The reality is that we’ll be able to judge the results of the occupation only after the coalition has been there for a few years, not a few months. Right now, the truth is that nobody knows whether in the end the occupation will be a success or a failure. Anyone claiming otherwise is just blowing so much hot air.