Thursday, May 12, 2005

Newsday in LaLa land

Newsday is essentially one of the usual followers of the New York Times, and as such, their articles are your typical arrogant and dismissive leftist tripe. Their prose is generally vapid, and distant, like their writers have never met a real human being in a very long tine. You'll never see an article in the news section actually coincide with centrist or right of center thinking. You might occasionally see a sop to the center/right with an article by Krauthammer or David Brooks, but that's the exception to the rule.

So, enter the 5/12/05 article "Iraq on edge of Civil War",0,4630319.story?coll=ny-top-headlines by Timothy M Phelps. I'm going to play with this for a while, so bear with me, folks.

"An unchastened insurgency sowed devastation across Iraq Wednesday as experts here said the country is either on the verge of civil war or already in the middle of it."

Wouldn't calling it an "unchastened insurgency" be an editorial slant, to begin with? I mean, you're dismissing the fact that they have had an absolutely horrid track record of late. Blowing up civilians in soft-target areas gets them nowhere, folks. And Newsday ignores Operation Matador's tactical and strategic worth, as well. And I'm pretty sure the lead there was your typical conclusion with an answer to follow stuff you see from the left these days.

"In the course of the day: Four car bombs detonated in Baghdad; a man wearing explosives at an army recruitment center in Hawija, north of Baghdad, blew himself and many others up; a car bomb exploded in a marketplace in Tikrit, north of Baghdad; and the country's largest fertilizer plant was heavily damaged by a bomb in the usually quiet southern city of Basra. Meanwhile, U.S. Marines were winding up a remarkable pitched battle against surprisingly well-equipped and determined insurgents on Iraq's western border. Some 76 Iraqis were reported killed and more than 120 wounded in the one day of violence."

This tells me that they have no intentions of actually TALKING about what's happening on the ground; instead, that they want to just tell you what they WANT YOU TO BELIEVE is going on. Notice their dismissal of Operation Matador in all it's forms. Hey, Newsday, hire a goddamn military analyst for once, will you? Ever think that the bombings that you're seeing are a reaction to Matador, and the fact that Zarqawi has almost been caught twice? Y'think? Oh, and since when was Basra quiet?

With security experts reporting that no major road in the country was safe to travel, some Iraq specialists speculated that the Sunni insurgency was effectively encircling the capital and trying to cut it off from the north, south and west, where there are entrenched Sunni communities. East of Baghdad is a mostly unpopulated desert bordering on Iran.

Name them if you can, and cite info. If not, shut up and move along. If you can't name them and you just rely upon the boogeyman of "anonymous sources" that means that you CAN'T verify your information and are just saying it to make it look like the guys who appear later in the article verify it for you. Oh, and why don't you ask the military directly about what's going on in Baghdad? Afraid you won't like their answer?

"It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time," said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon.

If Mr. Lang is such a high and mighty guy, why is he NO LONGER IN THE PENTAGON?!?!?! It wouldn't suprise me if he was a Clinton appointment who got shoved out the door when 9/11 happened. But since he's not in the Pentagon today, his views are suspect- as well as the reasons he's talking to Newsday. He would know full well what the Newsday reporter wants from him. Oh, and explain why the Sunnis are now flocking to join the military (I'll cite: Belmont Club, Chernkoff, Bill Roggio. Oooh! I did better than this article already!), the insurgents are mostly foriegn fighters and sunni baathists who are essentially just fighting in the sunni triangle area? Notice you rarely hear anything out of the Shi'ite and Kurdish areas? Gee, I wonder why. Maybe Mr. Lana Lang could give me an answer. But then again, he's no longer in the Pentagon and doesn't have contacts nor actionable intelligence.

Other experts said Iraq is on the verge of a full-scale civil war with civilians on both sides being slaughtered. Incidents in the past two weeks south of Baghdad, with apparently retaliatory killings of Sunni and Shia civilians, point in that direction, they say.Also of concern were media accounts that hard-line Shia militia members are being deployed to police hard-line Sunni communities such as Ramadi, east of Baghdad, which specialists on Iraq said was a recipe for disaster.

Again, name your sources, unless you're afraid I'll laugh at them. Oh, and "civilians on both sides being slaughtered"? The majority of the attacks in Iraq are in the Sunni Triangle - and the article essentially agrees with me, pointing to the "south of Baghdad" part. Get a friggin map, will you? That's the Sunni Triangle! Anything else is random. And military units have been used throughout Iraq- with very good results. The only reason that the Sunnis haven't had those military units in Iraq policing their areas is that they didn't sign up for the government to do so initially. They are now, and they're not complaining about the units that are there.

"I think we are really on the edge" of all-out civil war, said Noah Feldman, a New York University law professor who worked for the U.S. coalition in Iraq.He said the insurgency has been "getting stronger every passing day. When the violence recedes, it is a sign that they are regrouping." While there is a chance the current flare of violence is the insurgency's last gasp, he said, "I have not seen any coherent evidence that we are winning against the insurgency."

He's an NYU professor who may have had contact with the Coalition forces. I want to know what those contacts were. And I want to know who he voted for in November. Ten bucks says it's Kerry. And he's a law professor- get a military historian or actual strategist to do your military analyst work for you, not a law professor. I'm not saying that Mr. Feldman is not a great law professor- but that's his field, not military strategy. Get someone else with credentials next time.

"Everything we thought we knew about the insurgency obviously is flawed," said Judith Kipper of the Council on Foreign Relations. "It was quiet for a little while, and here it is back full force all over the country, and that is very dark news."The increased violence coincides with the approval of a new, democratic government two weeks ago. But instead of bringing the country together, the new government seems to have further alienated even moderate Sunnis who believe they have only token representation.

Who the hell is this? And let's not forget that the insurgents were quiet because the IRAQI PEOPLE VOTED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR HISTORY. IN RECORD NUMBERS. AND THE TERRORISTS WERE DICKLESS TO STOP THEM. And this lady somehow seems to think that the new gov't is alienating ethnic groups without saying how. That's once again, coming up with the conclusion before you have an arguement. Develop an arguement, please!

That is a joke," said Sunni politician Saad Jabouri, until recently governor of Diyala Province, in an interview here. "The only people they allowed in the government are ones who think like them," he said of the majority Shia faction, who mostly come from Islamic parties.Military and civilian experts said the insurgency seemed designed to outlast the patience of the American and Iraqi peoples.

And this is supposed to impress me? You quote a fringe Sunni politician, who acts like every other politician in the world and bitches loudly, and then slide in more anonymous sources?

"I just think this Sunni thing is going to be pretty hard," said Phebe Marr, a leading U.S. Iraq expert reached in the protected Green Zone in Baghdad. "The American public has to get its expectations down to something reasonable."Lang said there is new evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime carefully prepared in advance for the insurgency, with former Iraqi officers at the core of each group. They are well coordinated and have consistently adjusted their strategy, he said.

Lemme guess, Phebe Marr is a NGO person, right? Care to tell me what that person is DOING IN IRAQ? He sounds so phoney otherwise. I mean, he could be wearing a tutu for all I know. And it could also be a girl, and I'm screwing the gender up here. I apologize to all Phebe's out there for the misunderstanding. Won't happen again, I assure you. And then the author goes back to citing Mr. Lana Lang. Great. Can you keep your "sources" in order? And he's doing a piss-poor job of actually getting information, just conjecture that's taking the form of analysis. That's not analysis- that's babbling. I have not heard one thing that's actual evidence yet. Yawn.

Now the 140,000-plus U.S. troops in the country are mainly "a nuisance" factor in the insurgents' overall goal of preventing the new government from consolidating."They understand what the deal is here," Lang said, "to start applying maximum pressure to the economy and the government and make sure it will not work." Their roadside bombs are intended to keep U.S. forces inside their bases, he said.

Now I KNOW he was thrown out of the Pentagon, if he ever worked there. This crap is nothing but CRAP. The US military in Iraq goes where it wants to, when it wants to, and how it wants to. The IED's have been nuisances to the US military and they were generally there to hit convoys, not the US miitary itself. The insurgents can't get NEAR the US bases unless they're really lucky. Planting IEDs are done on main roads and throughways, generally, since they're bound to hit something, eventually. And it's hard to police those roads effectively. And the guy's basically reading page 1 from Guerilla handbook 101. Duh, of course the insurgents are trying to destabilize the gov't. But have they had ANY success in it? No, they haven't. The gov't is going about it's business regardless, people are joining the new gov't, and the insurgets- terorrists- have no alternative to the gov't. Not even a civil war. It's foriegn fighters and Sunnis fighting against Sunnis. That's not a recipie for civil war. That's an end-run attempt to subjugate a segment of the population to your will, in order to gain some level of support in order to destabilize the gov't. And it's not working. And this guy doesn't really give any real evidence as to any destabilization in Iraq- just conjecture and hearsay from so-called sources. That's not evidence, bubba.

All the while the insurgents are gaining strength, he said. "The longer they keep going on the better they will get," said Lang, a student of military history. "The best school of war is war."The Sunni insurgents could win the battle if they persevere long enough to sour U.S. voters, Feldman said.He said, "There is no evidence whatsoever that they cannot win."

Now we get to the point of the whole sordid piece, don't we? Mr. Phelps, please stand up, and realize that you just want to play your Vietnam fantasies all over again, kick Bush out of office, and pretend that the War on Terror never happened. Right? How else would we get a cheap shot of "sour US voters" in there, otherwise?

NOW Lang is revealed as a "student of military history"- he goes from being a former Pentagon bigwig to a "student of military history". What is Mr. Lana Lang precisely? Is he Pentagon lite, or is he someone off the streets? If you work in the Pentagon, YOU ARE A STUDENT OF MILITARY HISTORY. Why then, the need to say that? Maybe.....because he isn't? And that you need to remind yourself that he is? Or your writing sucks? If you can't keep your sources straight, you're a bad poker player.

It's an article rife with bad sourcing, no analysis that's worth a damn, does NOT talk to the US, Coalition, or Iraqi militaries on ANY LEVEL, and talks to fringe sources outside of the US and Iraqi gov'ts only. It's a pathetic attempt at passing off non-experts as experts, in order to make the conclusion that the author starts off with as valid, without really giving any arguement to any of them. It's utterly unconvincing, and frankly, it took me 20 minutes to eat it alive. Go back to journalism school, or better yet......go to Iraq. And as for the insurgents having evidence that they can't win, I'll give it to you:

El Salvador.
Afghanistan (after 2001).
Ireland (1970's IRA).
Jordan (early 1970's).
Philippines (1898-1902).
Confederate States of America (1861-1865).
FARC (Columbia).
German Civil War (1918-1919).
Algerian Civil War.


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