Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Iraq, pouring gas on the fire and Bully Boy's got the match

Good evening. Moving straight to Democracy Now!

Iraqi Accuses U.S. of Massacre At Shiite Mosque
Iraqi officials are accusing the U.S. military of massacring at least 16 Shiite worshippers during a raid on a Shiite mosque Sunday night. The Guardian newspaper reports the killings have opened the biggest rift yet between the United States and Iraqi Shiites. Shiite leaders have suspended talks over forming a new Iraqi government. Iraq's Interior Minister called the U.S. raid unjustified and horrible. The leading Shiite governing alliance is urging the U.S. to return full control of security to Iraqis. The Baghdad provincial governor has suspended all cooperation with U.S. forces. "The occupiers should be bought to account for this despicable crime,” said Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Shwaili. “It is committed by the occupiers against unarmed worshippers and we urge the Iraqi government to take an honest and positive stand towards this vicious attack against Islam and the worshippers Despite the political outcry, the U.S. military defended the raid on Monday. One official described it as a "hugely successful" operation against an insurgent hideout. The U.S. has denied its troops killed any Iraqis and said the massacre was staged.

That's called tossing gasoline onto the fire. After two or three weeks of fretting endleslly whether or not Iraq was in the middle of a civil war or merely almost in the middle, this is what's going on in Iraq. Get the idea that Bully Boy wants a civil war? Civil war, he'll argue, means "We have to stay."

You know this "Pottery Barn" talk is really getting on my nerves. "You bought it, you broke it" isn't even the Pottery Barn policy. But let's say it's the policy somewhere. Let's say it's the policy at Toys R Us. Now would Toys R Us let you keep hanging around the store if you kept breaking everything? No, they'd kick you the hell out.

Which is probably why polls show that so many Iraqis want us out of Iraq. Can't blame them for that.

New York Times Finally Reports On Secret UK Iraq Memo
In Washington the White House is denying reports that President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed in January 2003 to attack Iraq regardless of whether diplomatic efforts at the United Nations succeeded or whether inspectors found weapons of mass destruction. According to the contents of a once-secret British memo, Bush penciled in the start date of the invasion to be March 10. The contents of the memo first became public almost two months ago in the book "Lawless World" by British international law professor Philippe Sands. But the memo received little attention by mainstream media in this country until Monday when the New York Times ran a front-page article. Earlier this month, however, attorney Phillipe Sands appeared on Democracy Now in one of his first U.S. interviews to discuss the importance of the memo: "[I]t confirms the absence of evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Why would the British prime minister and the American president be talking about the possibility of provoking a material breach if they had clear and compelling evidence? But more importantly, it also confirms, as some have thought and some have said, that the road to a second resolution was a sham. The decision had already been taken that already, by the end of January, a start date for the war was penciled in and the decision was set in stone and that both Bush and Blair had agreed."

I saw that C.I. noted the link to the interview Amy Goodman did so Elaine and me are doing the same. I liked C.I.'s take on this ("NYT: Bully Boy did want to go to war (despite lying to Helen Thomas last week)") and Rebecca's ("will the helen thomas attackers apologize?"). If you remember, Helen Thomas asked Bully Boy last week, "Why did you really want to go to war?"

Bully Boy denied it in his hem-and-haw way but he did want war. He wanted war all along and before he came into office (I'm reading James Risen's book, State of War, right now). But did you hear the media pick up on that? Nope.

Phyllis Bennis talked about that on CounterSpin last week. I listened to it because of the fact that Ruth wrote about it in her Ruth's Public Radio Report. So Bennis spoke about how instead of addressing issues, like Helen Thomas was trying to do, the press turned it into a "Oh Bully Boy showed he can handle the press!" sort of fan club thing.

Here's a quote from Bennis that Ruth noted:

What was evident from this press conference is that Helen Thomas remains the dean of the White House press corps and really the only one with guts in this crowd. The other thing that was so striking was the number of lies that Bush was able to tell in very quick succession, right at the beginning, in answering Helen Thomas's question. It starts with, as you mentioned, his claim that Saddam Hussein had kept US inspectors out of Iraq. Well that was certainly not true. The inspectors were on the ground and the heads of both UN inspections teams had actually already said that they were getting full compliance from the Iraqis and, indeed, that they just needed a couple more months to finish their work. Bush lied about some other things too. His beginning statements were all about Afghanistan which was really interesting given that the question was all about the war in Iraq, because he was answering about how 'they' attacked 'us.' He said, 'They attacked us, Helen, and after September 11th, everything changed.' And she said, "Mr. President, we're talking about Iraq, not Afghanistan.' And he gestured to her with a shaking finger as if he were a third grade teacher an unruly student and I must say that I found it interesting that none of the other journalists responded to that.

Tony said he was almost choked on his Frosted Flakes this morning. I go "Why?" and he goes he was reading C.I.'s thing on patsies. That was pretty damn funny so if you missed it, check out "NYT: Shane writes about patsies but may have forgotten to note all of them" -- and I'll give you Tony's favorite line, the one that made him spew his milk and cereal onto the computer screen this morning:

It's a brilliant con. Try to raise enough doubt about WMD to get some of the ones who've stopped drinking the Kool Aid to come back for the new, sugar free cyanide version and feed the press statements (unattributed) that allow you to also work your next power play and not only can you confuse the issue, you can also continue down the path of turning Russia into the new France! Why, it's only a matter of time before some Limbaugh loving diner is snapping at a waiter, "Russian dressing for my salad? No, sir! I want Liberty Dressing! Now!"At one point, Michael Scheuer laments to Shane that the release of the documents is a problem because "There's no quality control." That's a bit like complaining to the owner of a chop shop that someone stole your car stereo.

:D That was funny. I was nodding along this morning when I read it and I just now got how funny that was. I told Nina I was going to read it to her and she goes, "I read it this morning, Mi-chael." But she laughed when I read it to her.

Now where you going to go? Like Maria Said Paz. You know you wanna know what Elaine's thinking.

Now C.I. is on Rebecca and my butts about something. We've both noted Rory O'Connor before at our sites but C.I. told us that we both need to link to him on our blog lists. How come? Well he's got a lot worth saying but there's also the fact that he links to us. I didn't know that. (Rebecca didn't either. We both got calls about this topic last night, calls from C.I. We compared notes this morning.)

Rory O'Connor's blog is called Media Is Plural and, unlike me, he knows what he's doing and is real talented (and a journalist). So check him out. Here's a slice of something he wrote recently, from "CNN Responds:"

"One man's fact is another man's opinion."
That in a nutshell is Jonathan Klein's answer to the many questions and criticisms posed in this space recently
by me and you concerning CNN's coverage of the ongoing war in Iraq.
To the president of CNN/US, we're "naïve, highly partisan extremists," a "definite minority out on the fringe" whose tone is strident but whose criticism is insubstantial, and clearly out of step with "the vast majority of Americans who simply do not feel" the way we do.
After a lengthy negotiation with CNN publicists (see below) Klein and I finally spoke over the phone last week. While he declined to comment on CNN’s coverage of the start of the war, “since I didn't start working at CNN until December 2004," he was more forthcoming about his positive view of CNN's current war coverage, as well as his dismissive take on anti-war critics of the mainstream media in general, and CNN in particular.
"We're being very aggressive in covering the war at the moment," Klein began. "We have lots of people with lots of expertise on the ground in Baghdad now. Generally I think we’re doing a good job of daily reporting, and we also have the capacity to do in-depth reporting and documentaries. In fact we've aired five or six docs and specials already, including an hour-long look at WMD, two hours on how war is going, and so forth."
While praising his own, Klein was critical of his critics, saying, "It's naïve for otherwise intelligent people to assume CNN has any role other than reporting the facts. They may oppose the war -- but the conduct of the war is simply not up to CNN.
"Who is the 'anti war crowd?'" Klein asked rhetorically. "Many people now oppose the war -- but how many take such an extreme position vis-à-vis the mainstream media and complain about the war coverage? It's one thing to be opposed to the war; it's another to affix blame to the media. In any event, whether that is a valid point of view or not -- it's certainly not shared by the majority of Americans."

Here's one more thing to note, "Fmr. Democratic Senator and Presidential Candidate Gary Hart: 'Both Houses of Congress Belong to the President's Party'" and that's from today's Democracy Now! and is really worth checking out.

There's actually more I wanted to note but we've got a birthday in the family coming up and I promised my sister (youngest) that I'd go shopping with her this evening so we could go together on our gift.