Sunday, July 15, 2007

Media lies & American impatience
with war nothing new

Below is a link to an editorial that cites the similarity between Lincoln and Bush, and their battles as a President isolated from an impotent Congress, a biased anti-war media, and an American public spoon fed on defeat.
Comes another op-ed by Jim Clark in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza that makes it quite clear that Presidents sussing out the current problems via war tend to not win popularity contests. Or, as Mr. Clark to aptly puts it, "... Presidents who focus on solving the most serious threats get dumped on by the American populace.".

The Associated Press reported recently that President Bush's public approval rating dipped to 29 percent. They went on to compare this showing with other recent presidential approval ratings and the all time winner was Harry Truman whose approval rating sunk to 22 percent as the bloody Korean War raged. Peace talks had been agreed to but they bogged down over delegates' seating arrangements at the talks.

This was a war that Truman plunged us into without even asking Congress, it resulted in over 50,000 U.S. military dead and the consequent funk that gripped the nation convinced Truman not to run for a second full term as President of the U.S.

And yet if he hadn't made the bold decision to resist the invasion of South Korea by North Korea the world would be a different place today.

Historically, we are a spoiled nation, accustomed to the good life and "instant gratification". Yet in the past, as is now, we have had a few elected leaders grappling with issues that follow their conscience, and not polls. And thank heavens for that. Indeed, our power, strengths and freedoms could be very different had Lincoln succumbed to public opinion instead of standing resolute.
In the interim, we have the press jumping all over Maliki's latest statement that the US coalition troops can leave anytime, and Iraq (using the NYTs interpretation of the statement) is "capable" of it's owns security (more on this below). Russert on MTP this AM wastes no time perpetuating this mythical bit of report - further oozing inherent misrepresentation while interviewing Lindsey Graham in order to drive home his unbiased agenda, saying that after 4.5 years, the Iraqi government still isn't effectual.
Interesting statement as the Iraqi's didn't even vote for a transitional assembly gov't until Jan of 2005 - almost two years later. (See Think Progress' Iraqi Timeline here) They ratified their draft Constitution in October of 2005, and elected their current Iraqi assembly in Dec of 2005. No matter how you look at it, Iraq hasn't had any form of government - transitional or permanent - for more than two and a half years. This from a country who has never known any form of self-governance in it's history. Exactly what does Russert and ilk expect from such a fledgling government?
As for Maliki's comment. In the wake of a cowardly Congress, panicky about their 2008 power grab (both parties...), what would one expect him to say? Shall he strike fear, panic and resentment into his assembly and citizens by saying they cannot survive without the US coalition?
With Iraqis watching America flirt with cut and run - knowing that the current President with convictions has a time limit and may be replaced with a poll-driven politician - any such belief that they cannot survive without the US not only injures their pride, but will drive them to the radical power of choice. They will have to pick the lesser of evils with which to side merely to insure survival under the next radical regime. It will, in effect, put a halt to any political progress because everyone will be hopping the democratic ship currently in place.
Fact is, the US has always said that when the Iraqi government asked the US to leave, they would.
However Maliki's government is not asking us to leave. He is just reinforcing the confidence of Iraqis in their elected government. Period. To play that as anything else is despicable spin.
In fact, since they so love to parse words... ala the meaning of "is... is"... let's examine the NYTs headline and Maliki's statement.
Richard Oppel's Headline: Iraq Chief Says His Forces Are Able to Secure Country
Maliki statement as foundation for headline: “We say with confidence that we are capable, God willing, of taking full responsibility for the security file if the international forces withdraw in any time they wish.”
Such a glaring misinterpretation... Maliki says they are capable of taking full responsibility for the security. Taking responsibility for the security is entirely different than saying they are "able to secure" the country. Taking responsibility implies no success or failure... just that they will step up to the plate in American Congressional abandonment, and fight to keep what they have already accomplished.
From a real perspective, if they thought they could do so well without the US troops now, they'd formally be asking us to pack up and go home... and we would.
And we wonder why polls on Iraq or so negative? It's blatant lying, agenda driven BS journalistic practices such as this. "Unbiased" my ass...

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