Sunday, March 18, 2007

The New York Times At Their Most Irresponsible and Disingenuous

Sunni Militants Disrupt Plan To Calm Baghdad.

That is today's lead headline in the New York Times. It is accompanied by an editorial claiming the Iraq war is lost and that we need to immediately leave Iraq.

Leaving the editorial aside for the moment, the clear message of the headline is that the surge is not succeeding.

Murders must be up in Baghdad. Casualties must be rising. Obviously, there must be significant facts for the NYT, the newspaper of record, to make the claim that the surge in Baghdad has been disrupted. But, in short - no, there are no such facts.

I had to read the article three times. The NYT’s only two factual underpinnings for their headline are that, one, a car bomb exploded Saturday in Baghdad killing two people, and two, in February, there were 44 car bombs exploded in Baghdad. That is the sum total of the NYT's evidence that Sunni militants have succeeded in derailing the surge. The NYT provides no other factual information about the surge. Indeed, the NYT does not even provide information about the damage caused by the 44 explosions in Baghdad during the entire month of February, nor does the NYT deliniate how many of those 44 explosions occurred in Baghdad after the surge began. And still on that same topic, the NYT does not address how many car bombs have occurred thus far in Baghdad during March.

The NYT, in the remainder of the lead article, discusses how al Qaeda in Iraq is switching tactics to emphasize car bombings. But the NYT does not document how car bombs in Baghdad have somehow derailed the surge. It gets yet more disingenuous, because the NYT does not even give the facts and circumstances surrounding the detonation of the one specific car bomb they cite in support of their headline, the car bomb that occurred in March and that killed the two people in Baghdad.

Car bombs are aimed at high density targets – the suicide bomber is shooting for a market or mosque packed with people. For there to have been only two people killed – and no mention of other casualties – one of two things had to have happened. Either there was an unplanned early detonation, OR . . . the bomber was stopped at a checkpoint in Baghdad and just went ahead and detonated. In other words, it could very well be that the two casualties count as a success in evaluating the surge. And given the prevarication in this article, I strongly suspect that to be the case.

In sum, given NYT's clear insinuation of failure of the surge in the headline, given NYT's lack of factual underpinning for the headline in the body, and given the NYT's omission of any of the wealth of salient facts available to assess the success of the surge to this point, it is fair to say that never before have I seen or read anything so disingenuous as this lead article in today's NYT.

Quite literally, every news report on the surge that looks to actual facts discusses how the violence in Baghdad is significantly down. No one is willing to claim the surge a success yet, but what you hear at every turn are the words "cautious optimism."

For example, this is a report from two days ago, a report by a U.S. Brigade in Baghdad:

Moving coalition forces out of big forward operating bases and into smaller community-based combat outposts as part of the Baghdad Security Plan has reduced violence and helped to stabilize northwestern Baghdad, a senior Army officer serving there said today.

Murders are down by more than half since January in the densely populated 93-square-kilometer area controlled by the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, said its commander, Army Col. J.B. Burton. His troops have found only 10 planted improvised explosive devices this month. That’s down from 36 in January, when 89 IEDs were detonated. So far this month, there have been only 21 IED detonations, Burton reported. . .

You can read the report here. It is typical of all the news coming out of Baghdad since the start of the surge. You can also look at here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. That is actually only a partial list going back to 1 March.

What you will find in every one of those links are facts indicating that the surge has succeeded in lessening the level of violence throughout Baghdad. By any measure, deaths are down, security is up.

And what is going on outside Baghdad is equally as important – but of course also omitted by the NYT. For example, it is critical that al Qaeda in Iraq is now targeting not U.S. or Iraqi soldiers, but Sunni civilians in Anbar province. Within the last two days, al Qaeda has set off three suicide bombs in Anbar, each including chlorine gas, injuring over 350 Sunni civilians.

Why is that important? Because it means that al Qaeda in Iraq has or is about to find itself homeless and hunted by the locals of Anbar. I would say that is pretty critical in evaluating our success in Iraq at this point. Mohammed, from Iraq the Model, himself a Sunni resident of Baghdad, explains:

With this series of dirty chemical bombings a war between al-Qaeda and the tribes in Anbar is no longer a possibility. It just became a fact.

I've read at least two very optimistic reports from al-Almada in the last week about purported victories of the tribes and police over al-Qaeda in Ramadi and Fallujah. I was reluctant to trust the accuracy of the reports which sited unnamed sources but now seeing the reaction of al-Qaeda suggests that the action of the tribes was so painful that al-Qaeda retaliated in the way we see today.

Al-Qaeda's terrorists-whom AP insists on calling insurgents-expended three suicide bombers and precious resources against their supposedly sympathetic civilian Sunni hosts instead of American and Iraqi soldiers and Shia civilians; their usual enemies.

If this indicates anything it indicates that al-Qaeda's is reprioritizing the targets on the hit list. The reason: al-Qaeda is sensing a serious threat in the change of attitude of the tribes toward them and perhaps the apparently successful meeting of the sheiks with Maliki and the agreements that were made then was the point at which open war had to be declared.

The tribes in Anbar are stubborn and they have many ruthless warriors. That's a proven fact and it looks like Al-Qaeda had just made their gravest mistake—their once best friends are just about to become their worst enemy.

Read Iraq the Model here.

But wait, there is still more news applicable to the surge that the NYT is deliberately ignoring. You will find it nowhere in this lead article, nor gracing any other page of this sorry rag. The news is from a poll. I quote from the article below and leave it to you to decide whether any of the information therein is important to ascertaining whether Sunni Militants Disrupt the Plan to Calm Baghdad.

[A]n opinion poll conducted on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq has found a striking resilience and optimism among the inhabitants.

The poll, the biggest since coalition troops entered Iraq on March 20, 2003, shows that by a majority of two to one, Iraqis prefer the current leadership to Saddam Hussein’s regime, regardless of the security crisis and a lack of public services.

The survey, published today, also reveals that contrary to the views of many western analysts, most Iraqis do not believe they are embroiled in a civil war.

Officials in Washington and London are likely to be buoyed by the poll conducted by Opinion Research Business (ORB), a respected British market research company that funded its own survey of 5,019 Iraqis over the age of 18.

The 400 interviewers who fanned out across Iraq last month found that the sense of security felt by Baghdad residents had significantly improved since polling carried out before the US announced in January that it was sending in a "surge" of more than 20,000 extra troops.

The poll highlights the impact the sectarian violence has had. Some 26% of Iraqis - 15% of Sunnis and 34% of Shi’ites - have suffered the murder of a family member. Kidnapping has also played a terrifying role: 14% have had a relative, friend or colleague abducted, rising to 33% in Baghdad. Yet 49% of those questioned preferred life under Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, to living under Saddam. Only 26% said things had been better in Saddam’s era, while 16% said the two leaders were as bad as each other and the rest did not know or refused to answer.

Not surprisingly, the divisions in Iraqi society were reflected in statistics — Sunnis were more likely to back the previous Ba’athist regime (51%) while the Shi’ites (66%) preferred the Maliki government.. . . .

The poll suggests a significant increase in support for Maliki. A survey conducted by ORB in September last year found that only 29% of Iraqis had a favourable opinion of the prime minister.

Another surprise was that only 27% believed they were caught up in a civil war. Again, that number divided along religious lines, with 41% of Sunnis believing Iraq was in a civil war, compared with only 15% of Shi’ites.

The survey is a rare snapshot of Iraqi opinion because of the difficulty of working in the country, with the exception of Kurdish areas which are run as an essentially autonomous province.
. . . .
This weekend comments from Baghdad residents reflected the poll’s findings. Many said they were starting to feel more secure on the streets, although horrific bombings have continued.

"The Americans have checkpoints and the most important thing is they don’t ask for ID, whether you are Sunni or Shi’ite," said one resident. "There are no more fake checkpoints so you don’t need to be scared.

"The inhabitants of a northern Baghdad district were heartened to see on the concrete blocks protecting an Iraqi army checkpoint the lettering: "Down, down with the militias, we are fighting for the sake of Iraq." It would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. Residents said they noted that armed militias were off the streets.

Read the entire article here. Too bad this receives no mention anywhere in today’s New York Times, including in their lead article on the surge.

Bottom line, the New York Times is lying to America. This lead article is beyond spin. It is a scandal redolent of Joe Wilson's omission of fact in his now infamous op-ed.

But, the NYT are not done. In their editorial, The "Army, After Iraq," the NYT makes this assertion:

Exiting Iraq with America’s forces, credibility and regional interests intact is now, understandably, the nation’s most immediate concern. But in the process, crucial lessons need to be absorbed from this unnecessary, horribly botched and now unwinnable war.
That paragraph is the main point for the editorial. The rest is of the editorial is not but window dressing for that paragraph.

Does anyone believe anything other then that the sole lessons the NYT wants us to learn from its reporting this day and its editorial are that the war is lost, the surge has failed, and that evil incompetent republicans should never be elected to office. These jokers are beyond unreal - they are dangerous.

What can we do?

1. Notify the New York Times of your displeasure with their lead article.
(Try not to use the word bulls**t, nor terms like "you sorry m*****f****** c***s******* left wing sh**eating political whores" when expressing your sense of outrage. In other words, do exercise something close to superhuman restraint. We do not want to come off sounding like one of the Kos Kids):

To send comments and suggestions (about news coverage only) or to report errors that call for correction, e-mail or leave a message at 1-888-NYT-NEWS.

The Editors

2. If you have a subscription to the New York Times or New York Times Select, cancel it.

3. Make absolutely sure that your elected representatives know what the New York Times has done and ask your representatives to publicly challenge the Times for this abomination. If you are represented by Democrats, tell them too - and make sure that you appeal to their (nonexistent) ethics. Perhaps some of even our elected Democrats might feel a sense of outrage at this latest NYT stunt. At any rate, I recommend contacting our representatives because the worst thing conservatives have done over the past few years is let things like this pass to the public with no shouts of outrage from our elected officials. This by the NYT today is scandalous. It needs to generate nationwide outrage.

Your Senators

Your Representative

Sorry for my rant, folks, but this is too much. The NYT has declared war on the truth. It cannot stand.

1 comment:

Purple Avenger said...

The NYT reports from some alternate universe out of Sliders.


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