A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Fallujah Update

Remember Fallujah? "Resistance Fighter" stronghold of the Sunnis where this happened and many assumed that this would be the result of our intrusion there. The doomsayers and critics of the Bush administration would make interesting historical constructs such as this:

The United States was once celebrated as a non-colonial, sometimes anti-colonial, power in the Middle East, renowned for more than a century for its educational, medical and charity efforts. Since the Cold War, however, the United States has intervened increasingly in the region’s internal affairs and conflicts. Things have changed fundamentally for the worse with the invasion and occupation of Iraq, particularly with the revelation that the core pretexts offered by the administration for the invasion were false. And particularly with growing Iraqi dissatisfaction with the occupation and with the images of the hellish chaos broadcast regularly everywhere in the world except in the United States—thanks to the excellent job done by the media in keeping the real human costs of Iraq off our television screens.
My emphasis added. To which I submit this:

"We're certainly not trying to turn this into the equivalent of an American city," says Williams. "But it will be first class for an Iraqi one and that's going to win the hearts and minds of the people." From the smiles, the thumbs up, the waves, and the cries of "Hello!" in Arabic I got from the children in even the worst parts of the city, I'd say they're being won.
And ask, "How many of these images of the rebuilding and thumbs up from the population are being seen ANYWHERE in the world thanks to the excellent job done by the media in keeping the real human improvements and accomplishments in Iraq off our television screens?"

Are things perfect in Iraq? No. Does the Bush administration deserve some significant criticism for their lack of post-invasion planning? Yes. But how come we aren't hearing and seeing more of this kind of story coming out of Iraq? Certainly there was enough coverage of the chaos and death in Fallujah before, during and after the late fall assault.

Conversely, how come atrocities in Zimbabwe, Dafur, and Uzbekistan aren't receiving much media or world political coverage at all? Well, not to worry. The International Criminal Court is revving up to do something about Darfur, at least. So, that's a relief. After all, it appears there will be a stern, stern, investigation:
Moreno-Ocampo will brief the United Nations in New York later this month about his plans to investigate Darfur.
Which must have Omar al-Bashir and the Janjaweed militia absolutely quaking in their boots in between killing and raping their non-Arab countrymen and women.

Labels:

Comments:
Good to see some thing positive happening in Iraq. Hopefully, it won't just fall back into chaos and bloodshed again. Honestly, I would like to believe that progress is, indeed, being made. But too often, pronouncements of progress and 'turning the corner' have been followed by increases in blodshed and destruction, while little permanent improvement has been accomplished.

While the writers of the quote may have been wrong, neither have Rumsfeld's "hearts and flowers" materialized. Suffice to say that out of all the predictions of the path of the Iraq war, the furthest afield are most likely the Administration's.

There's a pretty simple answer for the dearth of postiive news, Nick. There's not much positive happening. Reviewing the international news provides a far less rosy picture than the American news.

The passage you highlighted is most notable in that it is the most applicable portion of what you have selected to present. America's invasion HAS fundamentally altered the region for the worse. The supposed improvement of Fallujah aside, there is far more death and devastation occurring on a daily basis than prior, and the availability of power, water and sewage over the nation has never reached pre-war levels. In addition, the core pretexts offered by the Administration WERE false. Hussein did not present a danger to this country, he had no WMDs, and the idea of 'spreading freedom' was not presented as a primary justification until after the invasion.

Your argument, Nick, is with reality, not the media. If there is a lack of something to celebrate in the news, it just may be because there is a lack of something to celebrate.

Finally, ineffective and embarrassingly insufficient as it may seem, at least the ICC is attempting SOMETHING to address the horrors in Darfur; to date this is far in excess of anything proposed by our country.

Sorry Nick. Couldn't agree on this one. But you probably knew that.
 
Ok, first, of all, it’s war! No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.

Second of all, the international press is stridently anti-American. The BBC was so terrible that the British Navy stopped carrying the broadcast on their ships. That Italian communist reporter recently ransomed is reported to have said “I’m on your side, go kidnap an American solider” when the kidnappers grabbed her. The world press? No thanks.

Third of all, every hysterical prediction by the world press and anti-war crowd has been wrong.

Fourth of all, the Wall Street Journal (opinionjournal.com) publishes a weekly article listing all the good, positive news coming from Iraq and Afghanistan. This has been published for months now.

The passage you highlighted is most notable in that it is the most applicable portion of what you have selected to present. America's invasion HAS fundamentally altered the region for the worse. The supposed improvement of Fallujah aside, there is far more death and devastation occurring on a daily basis than prior, and the availability of power, water and sewage over the nation has never reached pre-war levels…

BS. You cannot back this claim up with a factual, unbiased source.

In addition, the core pretexts offered by the Administration WERE false. Hussein did not present a danger to this country, he had no WMDs, and the idea of 'spreading freedom' was not presented as a primary justification until after the invasion.

More BS. Saddam used WMDs on his own people. He tortured and slaughtered hundreds of thousands, including children.
 
From tc:
There's a pretty simple answer for the dearth of postiive news, Nick. There's not much positive happening. Reviewing the international news provides a far less rosy picture than the American news.

I'll admit that's a simple answer. Doesn't mean it's an accurate one. I think it more likely that good news is underreported for two reasons: 1) It isn't good copy. As the old newsroom saying goes, "If it bleeds, it leads." 2) Many, not all, of the media, both here and abroad, still think the war in Iraq was wrong and dislike President Bush, which inevitably colors their coverage.

tc again:
America's invasion HAS fundamentally altered the region for the worse. The supposed improvement of Fallujah aside, there is far more death and devastation occurring on a daily basis than prior, and the availability of power, water and sewage over the nation has never reached pre-war levels.

Well, the death is a bit less systematic than before, but I think the Kurds would likely say things are a bit better off then when Saddam was gassing them by the thousands. At any rate, I would maintain that, bombings aside, things are improving, and as more and more security is shifted to Iraqi forces, it will continue to improve. And beyond Iraq, I don't see how you can question that the region, ie., the greater Middle-East, is not better off now than pre-invasion. Syria is out of Lebanon, Egypt is moving towards open elections, Afghanistan is making steady progress, and Iran now has a democracy on its Eastern and Western fronts to go with a significant opposition party within its own borders.

As to the rest. The info on WMD's was incorrect, yes. Would you have preferred that we ignore our intelligence on the chance that it was incorrect rather than taking a more prudent approach and giving the benefit of the doubt toward Saddam having WMDs? Hold the CIA accountable for bad intelligence, but don't risk the country because you think the intelligence might be inaccurate.

At any rate, time will tell. The administration has done a pretty good job of messing up Iraq after the invasion, but despite their best efforts, the country still seems headed in the right direction. Not that we'd know that from reading the NYT or watching CBS.
 
Actually, my last statement isn't entirely true. Check out the Arthur Chrenkoff, et al, column listing good things happening in Iraq in The New York Times at: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2005/05/12/opinion/20050513_opchart.html

Chrenkoff is a nearly indefatiguable chronicler of what is good in Iraq. Check out his regular installments at his blog: http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2005/05/good-news-from-iraq-part-28.html
 
Ah, Nick, so darned reasonable. Looks like it takes media bias or idiotic local government to rile you. :->
 
JH-

I've seen that I won't be able to disagree with youy John, you know what you know: when I've writtent things in the past, you claim there's no evidence; when I've provided evidence, you've sniggered at the 'link'loading'

Oh well....

BS. You cannot back this claim up with a factual, unbiased source.

http://www.iraqbodycount.net/press/
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F60E12FB3C5D0C7A8DDDAC0894DD404482
http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/files/roberts_et_al_2004_.pdf
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0602-23.htm
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8101422/site/newsweek/
http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2123/stories/20041119005613300.htm
http://newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=345


I know, I know, biased all.

I'm not expecting you to acknowledge them, or change your mind.

I would just hope for you to be aware that there are significant numbers of people of intelligence and knowledge that do not share your views. There is a world beyond Powerline...
 
Honestly, Temporary Costello, I'm starting to wonder why you bother. But then, you always enjoyed a good fight more then me. I know that fire that rages deep in your soul, and I think I know some of what fuels it. Stay after them, and cleave to the Lorax quote that you've tossed at us all for so long. It's right, and true.

I don't know who he is, but John H. is so completely full of shit that it makes me gasp. His are the worst, but most of the other comments make me hang my head in despair.

And yes, Nick, I know. I'm not keeping an open mind, and I've become inflexible. Sure. I guess that's that way it has to be. Perhaps it's my karma. It may be hard for your to fathom, but I'm perfectly comfortable with that.

I find these discussions, and almost all of the other ones that you all have linked me to (even TC's), to be drivel. It's not your content, Nick. I find it to be better on balance than a lot of it. But, I'm elitist. I'm liberal. I'm am resistant to external control. I've been reading for some time now, but I'm signing off.

I'm being distracted from my search.

Just thought I should say a few words before I stopped responding.

Enjoy the banter. I'm sure it's a healthy thing.
 
By Rod Nordland
Newsweek
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8101422/site/newsweek/

You got me here, TC, the dude's opinion clearly states services are down. I can find no direct evidence that his opinion is wrong.

However, go here:
http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110006724
Massive utility reconstruction efforts are underway, by several countries.

All right, an article on the "Common Dreams News Center, News and Views for the Progressive Community" site, by health consultant César Chelala. Sorry, I just can't take that seriously.
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0602-23.htm


http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2123/stories/20041119005613300
I couldn't get the above link to work.

http://newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=345
The People Behind PeoplesNetWorks & The NewStandard
This article confirmed a lot of the MSNBC information. However, this is another liberal page, with all its personnel coming from liberal media backgrounds.

http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/files/roberts
I couldn't make this link work either.

I have to say, TC, I saw nothing but opinions on these links. True, I couldn't contradict your statements, but they remain unsupported.
 
Well, John, i would say that since Nick's original link was also an Opinion, that contrasting opinions would be permissible. Otherwise, it would seem that we are at an impasse.

However:


http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0607/p09s01-coop.html

Please note, sir, that this is reporting from an internationally acclaimed newspaper, based on the information published jointly by the UN (I know, I know) and the Iraqi Ministry of Planning and Development.

Two parties, regardless of the meme of the day, that are gravely concerned with making true progress in Iraq.



Side note to Jack- I'll miss you, always felt you had my back. But as you noted, tilting at windmills is a passion of mine.

Hope to see you occasionally on my blog.
 
I've got to chime in on this one. First, there is positive news from Iraq, it just generally doesn't get airtime or headlines. There are plenty of things to celebrate regarding the reconstruction of Iraq, and you can find weekly updates from USAID's website (http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/updates/). Other sources work as well, you just need to look. For example:

Iraqi businessmen optimistic (http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/041223/2004122330.html).
Marine Corporal talks about what he sees in Iraq versus what is reported (http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050105/EDIT02/501050331/1021/edit).
Iraqi man leaves al-Sadr's militia and runs for parliament to help those in Sadr City. (http://washingtontimes.com/world/20050103-114813-4366r.htm).
Sadr City has improved greatly since the initial uprisings (http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-01-11-cover-usat_x.htm).
Bookstore owners state, "I don't just see light at the end of the tunnel, I see light at the start and throughout the tunnel," and "We must live like other people. Let a million of us die. That's the price of freedom. Have you heard of any society that gained freedom without sacrifices?" (http://www.wtnh.com/Global/story.asp?S=2845949)
Iraqi reconstruction is speeding up - over 20,000 new Iraqi businesses registered (http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20050119-053552-9335r.htm).
Oil production reached 2.4 million barrels per day by mid-January (http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/050114/2005011421.html).
Reconstruction is having positive effects on security (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2005/n01192005_2005011907.html).
$100 million for Kirkuk reconstruction (http://www.kurdishmedia.com/news.asp?id=6086).
Dahok courthouses get $300,000 for renovations (http://www.portaliraq.com/shownews.php?id=751).
Iraq's Ministry of the Interior is setting up a trade and reconstruction event (http://www.portaliraq.com/shownews.php?id=758).
The Vatican is going to meet to discuss how they can help the reconstruction (http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=34797).
In just over 60 days, one Seabees battalion renovated 23 schools, three banks, two fire stations, two power company facilities, two post offices, two bridges, a children's orphanage, an agriculture department building, a railway station and a courthouse (http://www.sunherald.com/mld/thesunherald/news/local/10653089.htm).
Seebees build a school for Iraqi nomads (http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/01/26/military/iraq/65209.txt).
U.S. Military helps Najaf with electricity (http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,usmc2_012405.00.html).
1st Infantry Division rebuilds sewage system in Bayji (http://www.1id.army.mil/1ID/News/January/Article_39/Article_39.htm).
1st Infantry Division helps small businesses near Tikrit (http://www.1id.army.mil/1ID/News/January/Article_63/Article_63.htm).
FRSS teams (mobile military surgery units) help both Marines and Iraqis in need of immediate care (http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/health/feeds/hscout/2005/01/18/hscout523455.html).
Paratroopers rally to help Iraqi get surgery and get rid of his leg brace (http://www.noticias.info/Archivo/2005/200501/20050123/20050123_45809.shtm).
Army Reserve Captain uses veterinarian skills to help Iraqi animals (http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2005/01/17/local/doc41eaf5865074f401784236.txt).
Terrorist wants revenge against terror network (http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-01-24-suicide-bomber-revenge_x.htm).
Najaf doing well (http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/01/21/military/iraq/23_44_011_20_05.txt).
Iraqi defense forces are dramatically improving their capabilities (http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-01-14-voa6.cfm).
Iraqi defense forces grew from one operational battalion to 21 in one year (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2005/n01252005_2005012505.html).
U.S. setting up forts for Iraqi border defense (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/01/18/iraq/main667456.shtml).
Slovakia sending military advisors to Iraq (http://www.spacewar.com/2005/050119141958.rsshuk8g.html).
Iraqi man helps to thwart an IED attack (http://www.centcom.mil/CENTCOMNews/News_Release.asp?NewsRelease=20050162.txt).
Locals helping to find terrorists who killed governor (http://www.centcom.mil/CENTCOMNews/News_Release.asp?NewsRelease=20050156.txt).
Iraqis notify Iraqi defense forces of terrorist weapons cache (http://www.1id.army.mil/1ID/News/January/Article_67/Article_67.htm).
Multi-national forces defuse roadside bomb (http://www.noticias.info/Archivo/2005/200501/20050126/20050126_46165.shtm).
Tips from locals help 24th MEU capture terrorist and weapons cache (http://www.noticias.info/Archivo/2005/200501/20050126/20050126_46173.shtm).
Iraqis use text messaging on cell phones to send tips to U.S. and Iraqi forces (http://www.noticias.info/Archivo/2005/200501/20050126/20050126_46173.shtm).
Zarqawi's chief bomb-maker captured (http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=604290).
1st Infantry Division discovers another weapons cache (http://www.1id.army.mil/1ID/News/January/Article_41/Article_41.htm).
Ukranian Security Service stops $800 million arms deal (http://www.rbcnews.com/free/20050117172344.shtml).

These 35 examples are all from January 2005 (except for maybe one or two from late December 2004). That may seem excessive, but I think that it does help to illustrate the point that there is good news about Iraq to be found. Don’t forget the old journalism adage that says "if it bleeds, it leads."

Second, regarding spreading freedom not being a primary reason until after the invasion, please read the speech that Bush gave to the U.N. on 09/12/02 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/09/20020912-1.html). The reasons that the President gave, in the order presented to the general assembly, were:

1. Repression of the people of Iraq and human rights abuses.
2. Failure of Iraq to release and return over 600 foreign prisoners.
3. The Iraqi regime's failure to renounce all involvement with terrorism, and permit no terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq.
4. Finally, weapons programs and weapons of mass destruction

WMDs were only one of the arguments against Saddam. The repressive Iraqi regime, human rights, prisoners from past conflicts who were unaccounted for, and harboring terrorists (i.e. Abu Nidal) were other strong arguments. WMDs received heavy coverage because it was one of the only reasons that was politically safe for detractors of the conflict to argue over.

Also, it is important to note that suspicion of Iraqi WMDs was used as a justification against Saddam’s regime prior to the Bush administration. When regime change in Iraq became the official policy of the U.S. in 1998 (Public Law 105–338), two of the primary reasons were WMD intel reports and the fact that U.N. inspectors, who were kicked out by Saddam in 1998, were pushing for greater access of Iraqi facilities on suspicion that the Iraqis had weaponized VX gas.

Third, since we're on the WMD subject, everyone needs to read the Duelfer report (http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/). While the report notes that no weapons of mass destruction were found, it also states that, "The events surrounding Iraqi WMD have caused too much turmoil to be reduced to simple binary discussions of whether weapons existed at one moment in time versus another. They deserve at least an attempt to look at the dynamics rather than a description of a single frame of a movie. It deserves calculus not algebra. This report will deny the reader any simple answers. It will seek to force broader and deeper understanding from multiple perspectives over time."

It also points out that Saddam used WMDs, or at least the world's perception that he had them, as a means to advance his goals. This was a leader who used over 100,000 chemical munitions against the Iranians and who used chemical weapons to smash internal resistance, not only in the 80s, but also shortly after the first gulf war. There was dual use technology in the regime that could be used to begin a WMD program. All-in-all, there were plenty of good reasons to believe that he had or good quickly make chemical or biological weapons.

Finally, regarding other hot-spots, we need the rest of the world to step up. Where is the U.N. on all of this? France has troops in the Ivory Coast that they have used against rebels in the past twelve to eighteen months. Why can’t those troops, or other French troops, be deployed to Sudan or other problem spots? We have militarily committed ourselves elsewhere. If the world community doesn’t want to wait for us to free up our resources before stopping these other injustices, then they will need to pool their own resources to do it themselves.
 
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