Thursday, December 01, 2005

Idiocity at the AP

I usually go to Yahoo Sports! to get some up to date sports news that doesn't require alot of graphical uploading (ie; I'm looking at you,, your site sucks) and have annoying popups. In order to get there, I have to go through Yahoo News, which basically culls reports from all over the place. That in itself, is fine, but the reports usually come from Reuters, the AP, and UPI. And all are staffed with morons who pretend their journalism degree means a damn, and play the role of analyst.

Case in point:;_ylt=Ah4imk.bf4xadhy1ubCeYE1X6GMA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

That's possibly the most asinine article I've read in years. It's replete with wishful thinking, pulling facts out of context, and wrapping it all up as thought it's actual news, and not their finger up their nose.

Two of America's allies in Iraq are withdrawing forces this month and a half-dozen others are debating possible pullouts or reductions, increasing pressure on Washington as calls mount to bring home U.S. troops. Bulgaria and Ukraine will begin withdrawing their combined 1,250 troops by mid-December. If Australia, Britain, Italy, Japan, Poland and
South Korea' name reduce or recall their personnel, more than half of the non-American forces in Iraq could be gone by next summer.

Yes, Bulgaria and Ukraine are removing their forces from Iraq, and that's been in the works for a while now. Ukraine in particular, after last year's Orange Revolution, were almost assuredly going to step down, with their new gov't not wanting to continue pretty much ANY policy that the previous (Russian-oriented) gov't had. That's understandable, and ultimately, has very little to do with Iraq. But the writer, Mr. William J Kole, doesn't bother to go into that. As for Bulgaria, I'm not sure why they're leaving, so I won't go into that. But the Ukraine did the right thing- stayed for another year before their withdrawal would not hurt anything. He also misses THAT point. Oh, and increasing pressure on Washington? They've known about this for a while, Mr. Kole. And what part of the 403-3 vote in Congress didn't you get, sir? That pretty much shut the Dems who were playing political footsie with Iraq up.

And the second part is what really riles me up. Yes, if the coalition forces left Iraq that's exactly what would happen. But the way he is framing it is telling me that he's not interested in any factual evidence (there's no rumblings about those countries' leaving Iraq), but rather a snide way of pretending that his wishful thinking- that he wants people to cut and run from Iraq- is actually news. It isn't, Mr. Kole, and your editor should have slapped you down for it, or told you to get hired to do editorials. Damn shame they didn't.

"The vibrations of unease from within the United States clearly have an impact on public opinion elsewhere," said Terence Taylor of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington. "Public opinion in many of these countries is heavily divided."
Although the nearly 160,000-member U.S. force in Iraq dwarfs the second-largest contingent — Britain's 8,000 in Iraq and 2,000 elsewhere in the Gulf region — its support has shrunk substantially.
In the months after the March 2003 invasion, the multinational force numbered about 300,000 soldiers from 38 countries. That figure is now just under 24,000 mostly non-combat personnel from 27 countries. The coalition has steadily unraveled as the death toll rises and angry publics clamor for troops to leave. In the spring, the Netherlands had 1,400 troops in Iraq. Today, there are 19, including a lone Dutch soldier in Baghdad.

Guess what, Mr. Kole? The Iraqis are standing up, and their numbers are far larger than the coalition's forces could be. Yes, in the months after OIF there were over 300K soliders, but that was for COMBAT OPERATIONS, you fucking moron. Those troops were increasingly not needed for police work, which is what they would then have to do- and only the Japanese, Polish, British, Australian, and South Koreans are really trained to do that. And he proves me right, becuase they're "non-combat" personnel. Which means that they're increasingly not needed. Why would the Dutch leave 19 soliders in Iraq, but pull out the rest of their forces? Does that make any sense, other than from a pure logistics standpoint? No, it doesn't. That reflects a "what-is-needed-in-the-country" mentality instead. If they wanted to pull out, they'd pull out like Spain did, or even like the Ukraine is. I guarantee that those 19 soldiers that they have there are for essential tasks- and that the rest of them were removed because, Iraqi soldiers and police forces stepped up to take over.

And the first part pisses me off. He cites a think tank that is predominantly run by European and UN military analysts and experts. They may be located in Washington, but I don't think that they think like the US military or Coalition forces, at all. What he's attempting to do is to try to use their statements to present a factual side to his arguements, without having to post any evidence up to support it. That's not evidence, Mr. Cole.

In his strategy for Iraq, announced Wednesday, President Bush said expanding international support was one of his goals. He also seemed to address the issue of more allies withdrawing. "As our posture changes over time, so too will the posture of our coalition partners," the document says. "We and the Iraqis must work with them to coordinate our efforts, helping Iraq to consolidate and secure its gains on many different fronts."

"expanding international support" on one hand, and then "seemed to adress allies withdrawing" on the other? Make your mind up, Mr. Cole. It can't be both, it can be one or the other. And what Bush is saying isn't that he sees his allies leaving, but that situations on the ground will change for everyone- Iraqis, the US, and the Coalition. That doesn't mean anyone will leave, add more troops, or whatever. What it does mean, is that Bush is trying to tell the media morons like Mr. Cole that Iraq will present different issues for the Coalition next year than it did this year: and everyone will have to change their plans accordingly. Mr Kole, nothing stays the same in military situations- if you'd have bothered to take Military History 101, you'd have learned this. That's what Bush is talking about. What Mr. Kole tried to do is to take Bush's statement out of context, wrap it around his own fancy wordplay, and pretend to say that "see? Even Bush is saying this!" Do that to a civilian Mr. Kole, and that's libel.

At least 2,109 U.S. service personnel have died since the beginning of the Iraq war, according to an Associated Press count. At least 200 troops from other countries also have died, including 98 from Britain. Other tolls: Italy, 27; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 17; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Slovakia, three; Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, two each; Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, one each.

It's kinda funny: I remember when the media refused to admit that there WAS a Coalition of the Willing, and that it was just the US, Britain, and a few bought allies. Guess that much got through to them. And the 2,109 mark is both correct and disengeuous. Ever since the OPENING of combat operations with OIF in March 2003, that's the overall number of combat deaths. But, when you bother to actually look at the numbers, there are over 300 combat deaths against Hussein's Iraqi Army. And then the leftover number includes not just combat fatalities, but also non-combat fatalities- sickness, suicides, traffic accidents, etc. That's not a unsubstantial number, folks, and soldiers that die of sickness or suicides would have pretty much died of it in the US or in Antarctica, so is that really a theatre of operations issue? No. Plus, traffic accidents are the fault of both the American and Iraqis, which is not a reflection of the theatre of operations, either. And of the leftover number there that includes both combat fatalities in offensive operations and also in terrorist attacks. For the former, fatalities are EXPECTED by the military in the very nature of offensive actions. So, in the end, we're left with how many dead? I haven't done the math, but it's less than 2,109. And btw, just for a reminder: we've captured over 83,000 terrorists in Iraq. And the number of KIA terrorists hasn't been fully itemized yet. And it's taken us from March 2003- December 2005 to get their faulty 2, 109 number......where we sustained more casualties on ONE DAY during World War 2. At OMAHA Beach, we suffered over 3,000 casualties, and at least 1,000 dead. And that was just at OMAHA Beach- there were 4 other Beachheads on June 6th, 1944. Is Mr. Kole to tell me that the D-Day landings were a horrific tragedy because well over 1,000 American servicemen died fighting there, and that we should have abandoned the beaches to the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS Panzer Divisions? Or better yet, how's this: Antietam remains the bloodiest single day of fighting for the United States Army. On September 22nd, 1862, the Union lost some 12, 410 casualties, with 2,108 killed, and the Confederates suffered some 13, 724 casualties with some 2700 killed. And that war would rage on until 1865, for 2 and a half more years. Historically, our casualties and fatalities are low in the Global War on Terror.

And I'm also sorry to report to Mr Kole, but it's a soldier's job to fight and die. They're well aware that they might be called into action and die for their country. They don't want to, but it's in their job description. And if you have a sword- you better use it, or you'll lose it. The French and British learned that the hard way in the run-up to the Second World War. And so did the Israelis in the 1973 War. And so did America on 9/11. So spare me the "oh no, soldiers are dying!" bullshit. It's their job. It's tragic that soldiers do die in battle, but this is what they're trained for. They're not little kids who need band-aids whenever they fall off their bikes. Don't treat them as such.

Struggling to shore up the coalition, Bush stopped in Mongolia on his recent Asia trip and praised its force of about 120 soldiers in Iraq as "fearless warriors."

I love his wording here. I could easily rewrite it to say "Giving thanks to the lesser known members of the coalition, Bush stopped in Mongolia on his recent Asia trip and praised its force of about 120 soldiers in Iraq as "fearless warriors". If you weren't working for the assclowns at the AP, you'd have been fired for that, Mr. Kole. Under my watch, you most certainly would have.

Underscoring mounting opposition in nearly all coalition countries, a poll published in Japan's Asahi newspaper this week showed 69 percent of respondents opposed extending the mission, up from 55 percent in January. No margin of error was given.

Reference one in order to try to reference all? That doesn't work that way. Prove that there are others, or shut the fuck up. Oh, and btw, how many governments have conservatives in power? And how many have liberals? Lets see, for anti-war liberals- France, Venezuela, Cuba, and Spain. Neutrals- Ukraine, Canada, Russia, China, Germany, Mexico. Conservative governments: all of East Europe, Italy, Germany, USA, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia. Voters have spoken, in that regards deciseively. Oh, and in the US, did you see the Poll that came out a week or so ago (I forget which one, will link to it when I get the chance to) in whicn 2/3rds of the country saw the Democrats as playing politics with Iraq, and that it was hurting troop morale? No wonder why the Dems voted along with the Republicans to vote against withdrawing from Iraq. They may be political opportunists and want to pander to the crowd, but they knew how the American voter thinks.

South Korea, the second-largest coalition partner after Britain, is expected to withdraw about 1,000 of its 3,200 troops in the first half of 2006. The National Assembly is likely to vote on the matter this month.

That's called standing down, and doing so in a way that makes sense both politically and militarily. It sends a signal that those troops aren't needed in the country. If South Korea wanted to pull out because of political issues- why leave over 2,200 troops in Iraq? That makes no sense, nor does Mr. Kole realize the plotholes of his arguement.

Italy's military reportedly is preparing to give parliament a timetable for a proposed withdrawal of its 2,800 troops. Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government has said it plans to withdraw forces in groups of 300, but in accordance with the Iraqi government and coalition allies.

Again, smart withdrawing plans. How does this hurt the Coalition, when they're standing down in accordance with the Iraqi gov't and Coalition allies?

Poland's former leftist government, which lost Sept. 25 elections, had planned to withdraw its 1,400 troops in January. The new defense minister, Radek Sikorski, visits Washington this weekend for talks on Poland's coalition plans, and the new government is expected to decide by mid-December whether to extend its mission beyond Dec. 31.
"Some formula of advisory-stabilizing mission could remain on a smaller scale, of course, and our commanders are prepared for several variants," Col. Zdzislaw Gnatowski of the Polish army's general staff told The Associated Press.

There probably will be a reduction of Polish troops, but they'll retain some force in Iraq. This basically proves me right about the Ukraine: the new gov't wants to change from what the old gov't was doing. Only here, Mr. Kole actually sees it. The fact that they're in DC to negotiate pretty much tells me that they're going to have some form of advisory/peacekeeping role still in play.

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, head of the Australian Defense Force, has said about 450 troops in the southern province of Muthanna could leave by May. Australia has about 900 troops and support staff across Iraq.

The southern portion of Iraq is pretty stable, and you hear very little from it. That's why they're probably getting sent back to Australia. Oh, and btw, the Aussies have sent MORE troops to Afghanistan in the time being. So removing them REALLY is nothing but "they're not needed".

Many coalition members have pledged to stay in Iraq for all of 2006; at least one, Lithuania, has committed to the end of 2007. And the coalition is still drawing new members, most recently Bosnia, which sent 36 bomb-disposal experts in June.
"We are getting letters of gratitude from the U.S. commanders for our peacekeepers' excellent service," said Ilgar Verdiyev, a Defense Ministry spokesman in Azerbaijan, which has 150 troops in Iraq and is one of the few mostly Muslim countries to contribute.

Ah, at the very fucking bottom of the article, comes this. There WILL be coalition forces in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, and they're sitll adding members to it. So, um, what was the point of the article, Mr. "I am a reporter! not an analyst!" Kole? Gee, you think it was to try to play the "let's pretend that Iraq is Vietnam" card? No, it must be some sort of unofficial Christmas gift to President Bush for the AP's thanks for helping free 20 + million Iraqis from the Husseni regime. And I think the Cubs will win the World Series next year. Right.

Bottom line is this: The AP is against Bush, against the Iraqi mission, and doesn't want to see reality. Articles like this are just case in point, a journalist who all of a sudden thinks he's a military-political analyst with years of research and training under his belt, just so that he can score a few brownie points at bashing Bush. Go to hell, AP. And Mr. Kole? I'll see you in class, one of these days. And promptly fail your ass.


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