Sunday, August 21, 2005

It's Saturday Night: "Army Planning for 4 More Years in Iraq" or "Hey Cindy Sheehan: FUCK YOU."

IT'S Saturday night, and the U.S. military has quietly released this massive little article.

It's going to slip by most people, and by Monday the Right Wing spin doctors will have the game plan devised to sell this insanity to the echo-chamber attack puppies of da G-G-G-GOP Unit!!!

Then they'll sell it to the rest of us and won't hear any different: the exact same information and analysis with minor variations and gentle criticisms will be confirmed across multiple Right Wing sources, so it has to be right. The acolytes have done enough homework to argue in nuances by checking with everyone they trust, including proven liars like O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter...

Tomorrow morning Mega-Churches will erupt in joyous mournful praise at the President's courage and willingness to fight as long as it takes to protect America, and to take the jihad to the infidel - er, crusade to the rag-heads.

Preachers will preach obedience to the Lord and Lord Bush, and organize to viciously attack non-believing heretics who want to destroy America. Their entrenched and defiant ignorance will continue with Biblical proportions, their enemies and paranoia increasing as they feel the Liberal Media is persecuting them by daring to question their collective insanity, and they'll attack anyone who disagrees with Jesus and George using new lies as justified by God's Will.

It's staggering to think the military doesn't know what they're doing here, but it's not true: they do and they don't.

Just because they publicly announced something doesn't mean the smartest guys were for it, many of the top Generals like Shinseki, Taguba, Byrnes and others were highly critical of everything so far: and with damned good reason. But, anyone who disagrees with Rumsfeld gets fired, so that's that. Guess the same idiot is still at the wheel of the burning bus careening down a hill...

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart the other day with some interesting inside observations. The Iraqi Constitution is a public relations joke, just like the elections were: has anything really good happened? They sold it as the beginning of the end with anecdotes like "a woman voted!", skipping the fact that there is no country to vote anything for with 90% of it controlled by the "insurgency". (Or "people").

The whole system is corrupt and the American government is bribing certain Iraqi's to get what they want. Unfortunately the rest of Iraq knows this, and they're not happy. There's no point of forming a centralized government since the army has no control outside of the Green Zone in Baghdad, and more bad news: while it's a bit quieter (while still deadly) right now, intelligence sources suggest the Iraqi "insurgency" (or "people") may have penetrated the Green Zone, and may be planning their version of the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive - or an overwhelming attack on Baghdad.

Here, see for yourself:

http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_daily_show/videos/celebrity_interviews/index.jhtml

Why do I trust him?

Well he's been doing this for 40 years and bravely speaking truth to power; he won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting the brutal My Lai massacre by American soldiers in Vietnam; and ironically broke the Abu Ghraib prison-torture scandal in Iraq recently.

So, he's been around the military-industrial block, he's clearly not a bad journalist to last this long and command this much respect, and he's got guys on the inside who are telling him their version of the truth behind closed doors. Many good people frustrated at the ineptitude and corruption fostered by the Bush Administration and believe the public has a right to know about it, and since they're more secretive than any other U.S. administration in history this is a priceless commodity.

Also, despite a clear analytical style backed up by insights, anecdotes and facts that embarass most news coverage of Iraq, (or perhaps why,) what Hersh does isn't making him rich and famous - the odd appearance on Jon Stewart's show notwithstanding. I'd wager he has a fraction of the $7 million salary and name recognition of say, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly. Reporting the truth won't get him the same, but I bet he sleeps better at night, and I haven't heard him sexually harass co-workers with loofa's and falafal's.

Why don't his sources come out publicly?

First, the simple matter of losing a job you like, and one you may be unable to find anywhere else; possible reluctance of others to hire a "whistleblower"; and related money and family obligations. Next, the difficulty of bringing charges against the U.S. Government, the most powerful adversary on the planet who also happens to control of the arbitration, and no guarantee of mass media leverage with the number of scandals they are actively ignoring.

Many whistleblowers have come forward, including FBI translator Sibel Edmonds and FBI agent Collen Rowley who both spoke about how the administration wouldn't let the FBI investigate Al-Qaeda. While the press mentioned their stories they've ignored a bunch of others, and won't see them through anyway: 15 minutes of fame and infamy is what you can expect by way of support. As a bonus, the Bush Administration is extremely vindictive against many of their enemies, with retaliation ranging from character assasination to the olde fashioned kind...

The New Yorker Magazine is also notorious for their extensive fact-checking, cross-referencing their serious charges throughly in case they're ever subpoenaed. Bush Administration offical Richard Clarke once threatened to sue them over a Hersh story, then backed down quietly and quickly. Hersh has safely made staggering allegations against the government, and those with photo evidence like Abu Ghraib landed him "expert" interviews on CNN among other networks.

While he gets less exposure, that's still impressive against an administration that brought CBS News to it's knees over Bush's military service records, and Newsweek to tears over a Koran that may or may not have been flushed down a toilet. The fact is he's about a year ahead of what's been happening in doing "an alternate history of the war in Iraq", even with stuff that he couldn't prove at the time like hearing about videos of young boys and girls screaming as they're raped by soldiers at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

He didn't have copies a year ago, but he spoke to horrified people on the inside who'd seen them and mentioned it as keynote speaker of an ACLU Conference. There is no secret here: even Rumsfeld was quoted early on as saying the evidence he saw from the prisons showed acts that were "blatantly sadistic" - among other spoken indictments, and we've all seen shots of the less "blatantly sadistic" photos in mainstream news around the world. Despite a Freedom of Information Act ruling by a judge ordering their release, the Army has refused to release them: that's the character of the people we're dealing with here.

Hersh's book (now in paperback) is called "Chain of Command", suggesting the hierarchical structure of the military traces responsibility for prison abuse right up to the top. As the Evil Bush cherry on the sadistic sundae, documents show Rumsfeld took the Abu Ghraib pictures to the Office of the President in a rush as soon as he first heard of them: a full 4 months before they were made public.

AND THEY DID NOTHING.

AND THEY'RE DOING NOTHING.

AND EVERY EXPERT A WHILE AGO...

AND I MEAN "EVERY" EXPERT A WHILE AGO...

LOUDLY STATED: "YOU DON'T GET GOOD INTELLIGENCE FROM TORTURE."

AND THEY OBVIOUSLY AREN'T: THE WAR IS GOING TERRIBLY.

THE TORTURE IS NOT WORKING ON ANYONE EXCEPT US:

WE'RE GETTING USED TO IT.



(...)


It makes no sense to trust the official story and discredit those who question it: the whole thing is a sick joke that's morphing into a new reality.

The army tightly restricts information and is hungry for good PR, yet they can barely comes up with table-scraps for the Embedded Press Corpse lap dogs. You can see they report almost no progress in any city save for Baghdad, where they cower in a heavily fortified warehouse unable to travel a mile outside their compound without a military escort. They're so far from winning it's unreal, and they're finally finding ways to spin it. The "4 years" target is great: this is being turned into a non-issue for the 2006 mid-term U.S. elections.

They've been flip-flopping on the war for months, keeping us off-balance and unable to have a consistent opinion on how it's going, this despite the fact that it hasn't gone well since "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED". The mass media dutifully report Military Spin with little editorial recourse, and various admonitions are quickly neutered by possible pull-out plans that appear and disappear arbitrarily to control confused political opinion. Plus, Carlyle and Halliburton are reaping massive under-reported profits off the "$87 billion!" increases in military spending, increasing the ex-CIA and ex-Republican private power and influence off the backs of the American taxpayer and deaths of the Iraqi people. I implicitly trust their opponents because they'd have to morally fall staggeringly far to appear even remotely as deceitful.

Sometimes these neo-con-jobs make absolutely no sense at the exact same time, Dick Cheney recently said: "The insurgency is in it's last throes" while Rumsfeld was saying: "It could last 5, 10, maybe 12 years... who knows? You can never tell with insurgencies!"

Oh c'mon...

Can we trust news organizations selling what they're telling us straight?

Can we ask news organizations to provide some context for their statements?

Can we find news organizations that do?

We're now pretty numb to their proclamations anyway, we know that war is: a) an unstable situation, if you're common-sensibly charitable; or b) they lie to us every single day, if you're uncommonly honest.


Check the article below fresh from Yahoo! News, see your anger disappear around 17 paragraphs into it, your fatigued approval around paragraph 35, and your exhausted relief at it's conclusion in paragraph 43. While you won't understand it, you'll assume there's reasonable justifications based on their historic integrity as a revered institution, and the unique situation only they understand. Please, leave them alone while they support sons and daughters bravely fighting for a "noble cause" for the next 4 years, and ignore anyone who tells you otherwise.

And let more innocent people die.

And over the next 4 years, a lot more innocent people will die.



(...)


"By the way, Cindy Sheehan, grieving Gold Star mother who lost her only son Casey to the illegal war in Iraq? George W. Bush, the President of the United States of America, has finally agreed to speak with you."







Army Planning for 4 More Years in Iraq

By ROBERT BURNS,
AP Military Writer
1 hour, 7 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The Army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq — well over 100,000 — for four more years, the Army's top general said Saturday.

In an Associated Press interview, Gen. Peter Schoomaker said the Army is prepared for the "worst case" in terms of the required level of troops in Iraq. He said the number could be adjusted lower if called for by slowing the force rotation or by shortening tours for soldiers.

Schoomaker said commanders in Iraq and others who are in the chain of command will decide how many troops will be needed next year and beyond. His responsibility is to provide them, trained and equipped.

About 138,000 U.S. troops, including about 25,000 Marines, are now in Iraq.

"We are now into '07-'09 in our planning," Schoomaker said, having completed work on the set of combat and support units that will be rotated into Iraq over the coming year for 12-month tours of duty.

Schoomaker's comments come amid indications from Bush administration officials and commanders in Iraq that the size of the U.S. force may be scaled back next year if certain conditions are achieved.

Among those conditions: an Iraqi constitution must be drafted in coming days; it must be approved in a national referendum; and elections must be held for a new government under that charter.

Schoomaker, who spoke aboard an Army jet on the trip back to Washington from Kansas City, Mo., made no predictions about the pace of political progress in Iraq. But he said he was confident the Army could provide the current number of forces to fight the insurgency for many more years. The 2007-09 rotation he is planning would go beyond President Bush's term in office, which ends in January 2009.

Schoomaker was in Kansas City for a dinner Friday hosted by the Military Order of the World Wars, a veterans' organization.

"We're staying 18 months to two years ahead of ourselves" in planning which active-duty and National Guard and Reserve units will be provided to meet the commanders' needs, Schoomaker said in the interview.

The main active-duty combat units that are scheduled to go to Iraq in the coming year are the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Ky., and the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas. Both did one-year tours earlier in the war.

The Army has changed the way it arranges troop rotations.

Instead of sending a full complement of replacement forces each 12-month cycle, it is stretching out the rotation over two years.

The current rotation, for 2005-07, will overlap with the 2006-08 replacements. Beyond that, the Army is piecing together the plan for the 2007-09 switch, Schoomaker said.

With the recent deployments of National Guard brigades from Georgia and Pennsylvania, the National Guard has seven combat brigades in Iraq — the most of the entire war — plus thousands of support troops.

Along with the Army Reserve and Marine Reserve, they account for about 40 percent of the total U.S. forces in Iraq. Schoomaker said that will be scaled back next year to about 25 percent as newly expanded active-duty divisions such as the 101st Airborne enter the rotation.

August has been the deadliest month of the war for the National Guard and Reserve, with at least 42 fatalities thus far. Schoomaker disputed the suggestion by some that the Guard and Reserve units are not fully prepared for the hostile environment of Iraq.

"I'm very confident that there is no difference in the preparation" of active-duty soldiers and the reservists, who normally train one weekend a month and two weeks each summer, unless they are mobilized. Once called to active duty, they go through the same training as active-duty units.

In internal surveys, some in the reserve forces have indicated to Army leaders that they think they are spending too much time in pre-deployment training, not too little, Schoomaker said.

"Consistently, what we've been (hearing) is, `We're better than you think we are, and we could do this faster,'" he said. "I can promise you that we're not taking any risk in terms of what we're doing to prepare people."

___

On the Net:

Schoomaker's official biography at http://www.army.mil/leaders/csa/bio.htm

SOURCE - http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050821/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/army_chief_interview


(...)


Then again: the mainstream media is apologizing and asking for our sympathy.

Poor corporations: you've really gotta feel sorry for them.

I guess destroying their credibility is destroying their ad revenues.

Before you accept: think about it.

And remember: there is no "Liberal Bias".

If there was: they wouldn't need to apologize for this.

Go find real Liberals: you'll find real news.



Mainstream news media suffer collateral damage from Iraq war

By Ron Hutcheson,
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Fri Aug 19, 3:47 PM ET

WASHINGTON - As the battle for Iraq's future plays out half a world away, the American news media are caught in the crossfire at home.

War supporters accuse journalists of undercutting the troops by highlighting problems and ignoring progress in Iraq. War opponents also are unhappy. They say the media failed to question the need for war and sanitize the conflict by refusing to show gruesome scenes of carnage.

Military mom Cindy Sheehan, who got extensive media coverage for her anti-war protest outside President Bush's Texas ranch this month, voiced the view from the left in a conference call with supporters Aug. 10.

"Thank God for the Internet or we wouldn't know anything and we would already be a fascist state," she said. "The mainstream media is a propaganda tool for the government."

That's not the view from the right.

"If you believe the liberal media's reporting on the American military effort in Iraq, you're almost forced to be ashamed of America," the Media Research Center, a conservative media-watchdog group, said in a recent message to potential donors.

In return for a donation, the organization will send a specially inscribed military-style dog tag to a soldier in Iraq. "Don't believe the liberal media!" the dog tag says. "I'm just one of millions of Americans who realize that powerful elements in the media are undermining the war effort."

Army Capt. Sherman Powell reinforced that view with his comments during an interview Wednesday with "Today" show host Matt Lauer in Baghdad. Lauer wondered how troop morale could be so high, given the problems in Iraq.

"If I got my news from the newspapers also, I'd be pretty depressed as well," Powell replied. "Those of us who've actually had a chance to get out and go on patrols and meet the Iraqi army and the Iraqi police and go on patrols with them, we are very satisfied with the way things are going here."

Experts on the media and war coverage aren't surprised to find news outlets in the crosshairs. Some of the criticism directed at the media echoes complaints from the Vietnam era, when war supporters accused journalists of undermining support for the war, and, by extension, the troops.

"It's the tension about whether a reporter covering the war is supposed to be a patriot or a cheerleader, or just a reporter," said Daniel Hallin, the author of "The `Uncensored War': The Media and Vietnam," and a communication professor at the University of California, San Diego.

Hallin and other researchers who've studied media coverage of the Vietnam War dispute suggestions that negative news stories turned public opinion against the war. Clarence Wyatt, the author of "Paper Soldiers: The American Press and the Vietnam War" and a professor at Centre College in Danville, Ky., said war support declined almost in direct correlation to the number of casualties and the number of troops deployed.

"News coverage is one element among a whole solar system of elements that shapes how people react to public events," Wyatt said. "It doesn't take a news organization to tell you that your son or daughter or husband or wife has been deployed. It doesn't take a news organization to tell you that the kid who used to deliver your newspaper is now in the local cemetery."

Defining reality in a war zone is always tricky, but Iraq is particularly difficult because of the security problems. Reporters stationed in Baghdad can't venture outside the fortified Green Zone without risking their lives. Yet some parts of the country are peaceful.

"War is a complex thing, and you're going to have different realities from different perspectives," said Steven Livingston, an Army veteran and political communication professor at George Washington University in Washington. "What you see depends on where you stand."

Opinions about media coverage split along party lines. A nationwide poll by the Pew Research Center in October 2003 found that a solid majority of Republicans - 55 percent - felt that the news media were "making the situation in Iraq seem worse" than it really was. Only 28 percent of Democrats and 34 percent of self-described independent voters felt that way.

Back then, the death toll for U.S. troops was about 38 a month. It's now averaging more than 70 a month, and August is on track to be one of the deadliest months yet.

Even the war's most ardent supporters, President Bush included, acknowledge that the effort to transform Iraq into a democracy faces enormous challenges. The military insurgency shows no sign of abating. On the political front, Iraqi leaders missed their Aug. 15 deadline for a new constitution and are struggling to meet their fallback deadline Monday.

Despite the Media Research Center's harsh criticism of the coverage, Richard Noyes, the organization's research director, expressed uncertainty when he was asked whether it accurately reflects the situation in Iraq.

"The daily attention to the negative might obscure the big picture, or it might be the big picture. My gut tells me it is too negative," he said. Noyes said he'd like to see more stories about the successes in Iraq - new schools, signs of normal life and other positive developments - along with the stories about car bombs and death.

He also worries about the impact on public opinion from negative stories.

"What is the enemy's strategy? It's to sap the public will by nibbling away at it," he said.

Media experts note that the journalist's job is to report what's happening and why, not to rally support, and that news judgment requires assessing which facts are most important. If schools are being rebuilt, that's a news story, but if the society they're in is being blown apart by civil war, that's a bigger news story.

"If events go well, that's what you report. If things are going poorly, that's the reality," said GWU professor Livingston, who's lectured at the National War College. "If bombs blow up and bombs kill Marines and kill soldiers, that's an important story, and covering that is not bias."

U.S. journalists will always focus on lost American lives, media experts said, because that's the most direct link between Americans at home and the war overseas.

"That's the nature of journalism. And it's the nature of combat," Wyatt said. "To criticize the media for covering combat in wartime is like criticizing the sun for coming up."

SOURCE - http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2270&ncid=2270&e=5&u=/krwashbureau/20050819/ts_krwashbureau/_bc_usiraq_media_wa_1