Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NYT’s Latest Iraq Propaganda Message

“Baghdad Starts to Exhale as Security Improves”, a headline in the New York Times boasted this morning. “Iraqis are clearly surprised and relieved to see commerce and movement finally increase, five months after an extra 30,000 American troops arrived in the country,” reporters Damien Cave and Alissa J. Rubin enthuse from Baghdad. But even the NYT had to admit, “The depth and sustainability of the changes remain open to question.” The reporters interviewed people who have returned to Baghdad. A few were quoted in the article. Mrs. Aasan has gone back to work in a library with two other women. Their children accompany them to work. It is “an oasis of calm,” the NYT article says. “A small library in eastern Baghdad, where on several recent afternoons, about a dozen children bounced through the rooms, reading, laughing, learning English and playing music on a Yamaha keyboard...Brightly colored artwork hangs on the walls: images of gardens, green and lush; Iraqi soldiers smiling; and Arabs holding hands with Kurds.” Of course, as the NYT reporters acknowledge, “It is all deliberately idyllic. Mrs. Aasan and the other two women at the library have banned violent images, guiding the children toward portraits of hope. The children are also not allowed to discuss the violence they have witnessed.” One of Mrs. Aasan’s children witnessed two dead bodies with their eyes gouged out, which has affected the boy enough to scar him permanently. However, if the children don’t talk about the violence and if no one else in Iraq talks about the violence and if no one in the United States talks about the violence, perhaps we can all forget about it and just go to the seashore. The NYT article says: “The security improvements in most neighborhoods are real. Days now pass without a car bomb, after a high of 44 in the city in February. The number of bodies appearing on Baghdad’s streets has plummeted to about 5 a day, from as many as 35 eight months ago, and suicide bombings across Iraq fell to 16 in October, half the number of last summer and down sharply from a recent peak of 59 in March, the American military says.” Oh great! And the NYT goes on to gush, “As a result, for the first time in nearly two years, people are moving with freedom around much of this city. In more than 50 interviews across Baghdad, it became clear that while there were still no-go zones, more Iraqis now drive between Sunni and Shiite areas for work, shopping or school, a few even after dark. In the most stable neighborhoods of Baghdad, some secular women are also dressing as they wish. Wedding bands are playing in public again, and at a handful of once shuttered liquor stores customers now line up outside in a collective rebuke to religious vigilantes from the Shiite Mahdi Army.” Oh wunderbar! Oh BULLSHIT!!!!! And one (this one...as in, ME) wonders: How much money did the Pentagon pay out to get a few people to move back to Baghdad? Surely not as much as General David Petraeus doled out from the backs of trucks when he loaded up plastic bags with untold wads of US dollars and gave them to whomever put their hands out—as in, members of armed militias, members of Al Qaeda, Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds...whoever the fuck wanted it and there was no accounting of it whatsoever. No, surely not as much as Petraeus stupidly tried to use as bribes and in the end enriched the enemy with. But it would be fun to know how much the Pentagon spent this time around. Oh, but let’s keep our mouths shut like those unfortunate children in Baghdad who are not allowed to talk about what they’ve seen. Let’s just shut our mouths and pass whatever bills George W. Bush wants passed to fund his idiotic Iraq war. And let’s read the NYT’s sunny reports of renewed life in Baghdad caused by the most recent influx of Bush administration troops, who, apparently are not getting killed anymore, but are beloved by the happy, laughing Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds who are dancing hand in hand together. Seashore, anyone?

1 comment:

Todd Dugdale said...

As far as I can see, the return of Iraqis is motivated by Syria kicking them out and banning any new refugees' arrival. It's not because of any improvement in Iraq. There are well over two million "internally displaced" (homeless) in Iraq, with 1.5 million of them in Baghdad.

Notice in the article it says that this librarian's family sees no one on the streets. Why is that, if the city is so safe and so many are returning?

The more Bush spins these tales of wonderful paradise, the more people say, "Great, let's get the hell out of there, then". It's not getting him any traction. The polls aren't moving. People want us OUT, not troop levels reduced to pre-surge levels...and we may not even get that.