kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Our friends at Move On

Here's the story: Petraeus testifies before Congress, supporting the surge and indicating that the Bush strategy for Iraq is a good one. Move On runs an ad with Petraeus's picture, captioned "General Petraeus/Or General Betray Us?" Immediately, Move On is said to call Petraeus a liar, all sorts of things are said about the group and its ad, and nowhere does anyone seem to note that underneath the question--which is a question, although perhaps to be interpreted as a rhetorical question--is text. For those interested in what the ad actually said (this seems to eliminate virtually every media outlet, print and electronic, that I have encountered), I thought I would quote it here, in full.

General Petraeus is a military man constantly at war with the facts. In 2004, just before the election, he said there was “tangible progress” in Iraq and that “Iraqi leaders are stepping forward.” And last week Petraeus, the architect of the escalation of troops in Iraq, said, “We say we have achieved progress, and we are obviously going to do everything we can to build on that progress.”
Every independent report on the ground situation in Iraq shows that the surge strategy has failed. Yet the General claims a reduction in violence. That’s because, according to the New York Times, the Pentagon has adopted a bizarre formula for keeping tabs on violence. For example, deaths by car bombs don’t count. The Washington Post reported that assassinations only count if you’re shot in the back of the head — not the front. According to the Associatedwill not admit what everyone knows: Iraq is mired in an Press, there have been more civilian deaths and more American soldier deaths in the past three months than in any other summer we’ve been there. We’ll hear of neighborhoods where violence has decreased. But we won’t hear that those neighborhoods have been ethnically cleansed. Most importantly, General Petraeusunwinnable religious civil war. We may hear of a plan to withdraw a few thousand American troops. But we won’t hear what Americans are desperate to hear: a timetable for withdrawing all our troops. General Petraeus has actually said American troopswill need to stay in Iraq for as long as ten years.

Today, before Congress and before the American people, General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us.

Thus, the accusation is really that Petraeus, to use the overused term, "cherry picked" (and massaged like an enormous piece of Kobe beef) the data from Iraq to support the Administration's strategy. To omit various things and to interpret various things in a misleading way is to lie, at least by omission. Did Petraeus do this? Is it fair to ask?

A couple of questions:

What if Petraeus's "independent" report came out and said "The US is in an intractable spot, making it more difficult to fight terrorism, is exacerbating the violence in Iraq, and is making Iran stronger and much more dangerous"?

What would the Bush administration's response have been?

Why has the considerably more nuanced report from the Pentagon received so little attention, relative to the Petraeus report? One story on it from the Washington Post summarizes the Pentagon report this way:

Security Took 'Turn for Worse' In Southern Iraq, Report Says

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 18, 2007; A14

Security is deteriorating in southern Iraq as rival Shiite militias vying for power have stepped up their attacks after moving out of Baghdad to avoid U.S.-led military operations, according to the latest quarterly Pentagon report on Iraq released yesterday.

"The security environment in southern Iraq took a notable turn for the worse in August" with the assassination of two governors, said the report, which covers June through August. "There may be retaliation and an increase in intra-Shi'a violence throughout the South," it said, whereas previously the violence was centered in the main southern city of Basra.

Iran has intensified its training and funding of the Shiite militia, and Iranian-influenced militias are believed to be responsible for killing the two governors, as well as for a nearly 40 percent increase in attacks using lethal weapons known as explosively formed projectiles, compared with the mid-February to mid-May period, the report said.

The growing violence in the south is one factor making it unlikely that Iraq's leaders -- hampered by a "zero sum" mentality -- will make headway in the fall on key political resolutions, the report concluded. "In the short term, Iraqi political leaders will likely be less concerned about reconciliation than with consolidating power and posturing for a future power struggle," it said.

We don't hear quite as much about this as we do about the surge "working."

Somebody asked me the other day to summarize the President's most recent speech, which I actually watched. My summary: "Stay the course. Hand over the problem to the next President. God Bless America."

One other thing the media hasn't found nearly as fascinating as OJ memorabilia and tasering students in Florida is the oil deal the Kurds recently signed with Hunt Oil, run by a very big pal of George W. Bush, indicating that the Kurds, at least, are either turning their back on a potential political solution, or betting that it simply isn't going to happen. This seems to be sort of important, but Paul Krugman seems to be one of the few talking about it. I mean, really--OJ got arrested. Surely that trumps everything else in the liberal media, and FOX, and wherever an informed citizenry hopes to find information. Right?


Blogger Bazarov said...

Yes, OJ trumps all.
The quote from MoveOn was either messed up in the copy/paste move, was poorly written, or I'm not able to read properly at the moment.
So someone actually used the Betray-Us rhyme, huh? First thing I thought about when I heard that guy's name was the obvious rhyme. If you haven't seen the Bush crying to leave Petraeus alone (mocking the Britney thing) then you're missing an easy laugh.
And writing of which, how could you forget Britney's botched performance!?!?! Surely that outranks OJ fighting in Iraq with a taser!
Was this what it was like during the Vietnam War? I'd imagine a lot of the same lying, manipulation, and non-sensical horseshit was around in approximately the same amounts.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Willard says in "Apocalypse Now," about Viet Nam, the bullshit grows so fast you need wings to stay above it.

Draw your own conclusions about Iraq.


3:44 PM  

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