Tag Archives: iraq

63% of Republicans still think that Iraq had WMD in 2003 and that the president is not an American.

This should be a wake-up call to the grown-ups in the Republican Party. Fetishizing ignorance and demonizing education has led to two-thirds of the party’s members being morons. I can understand why some people are confused about global climate change and evolution—there’s been a well organized attempt to spread misinformation on these scientifici topics. But being wrong on these topics? It’s pure insanity, on the level of faking the moon landing or Elvis being alive. 

Links for August 19th

Links for April 28th

Podcast: My interview with photojournalist Ashley Gilbertson.

I interviewed photojournalist Ashley Gilbertson about the stunning rate of suicide among Iraq/Afghanistan veterans. It averages about 700 each month. More soldiers have died by their own hand after returning home than in country. Ash wrote “The Life and Lonely Death of Noah Pierce” for the current issue of VQR, the story of one 23-year-old vet who, after two tours in Iraq, killed himself a year ago July.

Trying to put the timetable genie back in the bottle.

After Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki endorsed Sen. Barack Obama’s plan for withdrawing from Iraq (“U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.”), Iraq is now desperately backpedaling, presumably after coming under intense pressure from the Bush administration. An Iraqi government spokesman is trying out a pair of excuses: that Maliki’s remarks “were translated incorrectly” by Der Spiegel and that statements by any member of the Iraqi government “should not be seen as support for any U.S. presidential candidate.”

Der Spiegel has already responded:

Maliki was quick to back away from an outright endorsement of Obama, saying “who they choose as their president is the Americans’ business.” But he then went on to say: “But it’s the business of Iraqis to say what they want. And that’s where the people and the government are in general agreement: The tenure of the coalition troops in Iraq should be limited.”

A Baghdad government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said in a statement that SPIEGEL had “misunderstood and mistranslated” the Iraqi prime minister, but didn’t point to where the misunderstanding or mistranslation might have occurred. Al-Dabbagh said Maliki’s comments “should not be understood as support to any US presidential candidates.” The statement was sent out by the press desk of the US-led Multinational Force in Iraq.

A number of media outlets likewise professed to being confused by the statement from Maliki’s office. The New York Times pointed out that al-Dabbagh’s statement “did not address a specific error.” CBS likewise expressed disbelief pointing out that Maliki mentions a timeframe for withdrawal three times in the interview and then asks, “how likely is it that SPIEGEL mistranslated three separate comments? Matthew Yglesias, a blogger for the Atlantic Monthly, was astonished by “how little effort was made” to make the Baghdad denial convincing. And the influential blog IraqSlogger also pointed out the lack of specifics in the government statement.

SPIEGEL sticks to its version of the conversation.

This leaves Sen. John McCain in a tight spot. For McCain to stick to his guns, continuing to criticize Obama’s withdrawal plan, he must now implicitly criticize Maliki and, by extension, Iraqi’s right to self-determination.

Talking heads controlled by the Pentagon.

An extensive investigation by the New York Times has uncovered that military analysts appearing on TV are being paid to parrot the Pentagon’s talking points, and have been doing so since the buildup to Bush’s war in Iraq. In the words of one former Fox News military analyst, “It was them saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.'” Analysts criticizing the Bush administration had their access cut off. Author David Barstow deserves a lot of credit. This may well win a Pulitzer in a year’s time.