Saturday, May 03, 2008

Ignorance Is No Excuse

Having had the interesting experience of watching an interchange on Newshour on Afghanistan that featured a complete divergence of information received, understanding and cultural awareness between their invited authorities on the subject.

Those were Informed Comment's Barnett Rubin (a source I have used several times here) and David Ignatius. Rubin actually has done background work, Ignatius had been taken around by our military 'experts'. I am delighted to note that this a.m. Mr. Rubin comments again on the official military propaganda point of view that totally ignored facts in order to justify its failures.

Washington Post "reporter"/government stenographer David Ignatius claimed that "the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy has begun to get some traction." In a subsequent post, in addition to criticizing the helicopter tour/PR handout school of "journalism," I cited data showing that in the first quarter of 2008 attacks by anti-government elements in the east had increased 30 percent over the same period last year.
Marton cites U.S. military claims (relayed by Anne Marlowe) that the attacks are concentrated in smaller areas. Combined with the above data, the conclusion seems to be that U.S. efforts have confined the same or slightly greater effort by the insurgents to a smaller area. Given the nature of guerrilla warfare, which places a premium on mobility, surprise, and strategic choice of targets, this does not seem like much success.
I wrote my correspondent in Kabul that "It's nice to know that when the government collapses in Kabul, at least Khost will still be secure." He wrote back to say, "You gave my my first laugh of the day, and it's 7 PM here." But he who laughs last....

The failure to make the effort to gather independent information and accept the worst administration ever's lies has made the media a bad joke. It's responsible at least in part for the U.S. loss of standing in the world.

This a.m. yet another WaPo editorial practitioner expressed total ignorance, citing the Iraqi successes - although those are rapidly tattering visibly, and goes on to make claims about Sen. Obama's Iraq policy of withdrawal that exhibit no comprehension at all of what is actually going on there. The acceptance of dogma from a demonstrably misleading military propaganda machine, and the occupied White House, are a totally indefensible way to report the news.

More serious work is needed by our government that has been shredded apart for political purposes, and the media that has failed its own function - finding out what's happening, and reporting it without bias.


My comment at WaPo, at that editorial site, where there are several comments that show much greater knowledge and judgment than was exhibited by the staff of stenographers:

jocabel wrote:
A new zenith in ignoring facts. Where is this 'successful counterterrorism' supposed to represent a model for action in Somalia? Fifty deaths of our troops is a failure, even if you write ignorant editorials. And the 'international' backing of the Somalian government is really jerry-rigged, the U.S. backed Ethiopian invaders are all that is keeping the western version of a government even nominally in operation, in the capitol. Why don't editorial practitioners at WaPo read the excellent reporting in the news section? We are in the process of meddling in another country that is refusing to allow another puppet that colludes in murders of citizens - who have a right to their own country. Your criticism of Sen. Obama's policies assumes that his government would continue the mis-administration that has gone on with the editors' blessings for almost eight years. On the contrary, he has shown every indication that a new, culturally adaptable, diplomacy is one that his administration would immediately put in place. Openness to other cultures is what is desperately needed, and its lack has come close to destroying this country, its operability in the world, its economy, its military, and its justice system. Claiming that Sen. Obama lacks the same capacity to make rational decisions and act in the interests of this country is pretty amazing. It shows the editorial writers' inability to exercise judgment, an inability that has led it to approve of the war criminals that have taken over high offices in the worst administration ever. This editorial is unique in its blindness to fact. Or rather, it carries that quality to new levels. Ignorance is not a great quality for editorial writers. Time for WaPo to give its editorial department the proverbial 'shave' that Herblock gave Nixon when he assumed the presidency. I fear it would do no more good, that the essential reforms would not be carried out by the recipients of the shave.
5/3/2008 5:34:00 AM

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Blogger Chuckling said...

I think the problem with your analysis, and similar ones that are so often linked to around the lefty blogosphere, is that it is based on a failure to understand the actual function of either media or government.

Sure, they are miserable failures if their function is to find out what's happening and report it without bias; or to uphold the constitution and serve as a shining beacon of democracy for freedom strivers everywhere.

But that's just the fairy tale. To see the reality, it's necessary to analyze it from the perspective that, based on their criteria of success, they are not making the same mistakes over and over again. They are actually repeating behavior they've found to be successful. Then you can ask, "successful at what."

In that question lies the beginning of understanding.

5:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the opportunity to watch last night. I was dumbstruck by the fact that it is a total fearful industry of lemmings.

Then, the experts on experts came on to reiterate the expertness of the experts! It showed that the American Dream is nothing more than a continuation of a 3 year old's game of "Simon Says". I guess we can all say so much for those highly regarded words...
'Home of the FREE and the BRAVE'!

I'll never feel lessened again by declaring the stupid and their stupidity. In fact, I think I will become an Expert along with you and my fellow bloggers. We shall all become Media Experts and Political Experts.

Hold on. Don't even think about disagreement. I'm the expert now.


6:03 AM  
Anonymous ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Nice post, Ruth. I've been avoiding the WaPo lately (I alternate between wanting to throw the verbal brickbats at them, and denying them any page clicks).

But they're still there, lying, after all.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

The thing we need to keep repeating to the traditional media, over and over until it sinks in, is "The 'Surge' is over!"
We tried it, that tactic is now used up, we have to pull a new trick out of the hat.
Has "Saint" "Genius" Petraeus had a "successful counterinsurgency"? Sure looked that way for awhile. But "The 'Surge' is over!"

6:56 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

The experience of watching, and reading, people who hold offices in which they exercise authority and speak with the expectation that they are aware of the facts which we are all familiar with - and they blatantly lie - has publicly discredited these war criminals totally. Only way to believe them is to be in so deep that you're afraid to face the truth because it convicts you.

Thanks for your comments.

10:09 AM  
Blogger filkertom said...

Good piece, Ruth. Truly, these idiots cannot see the forest for the tacky, half-collapsed billboards.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Harry R. Sohl said...

Chuckling said...
They are actually repeating behavior they've found to be successful. Then you can ask, "successful at what."

In that question lies the beginning of understanding.


Which is exactly why George Tenet received a Presidential Medal of Freedom - he performed the job (as expected by his bosses) in an award-winning fashion.*

It's a slam dunk case!

*In August 2007, a secret report written by the CIA inspector general was made public (originally written in 2005 but kept secret). The 19-page summary states that Tenet knew the dangers of Al Qaeda well before September 2001, but that the leadership of the CIA did not do enough to prevent any attacks.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Peter Principle said...

To see the reality, it's necessary to analyze it from the perspective that, based on their criteria of success, they are not making the same mistakes over and over again. They are actually repeating behavior they've found to be successful.

Chuckling gets it. What liberal bloggers think are "bugs" in the corporate media system are actually "features." Hiatt, Ignatius et. al. are doing EXACTLY what they are paid to do. And to expect them to do anything else is to fundamentally misunderstand the system we now live under.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Steve J. said...

On the contrary, he has shown every indication that a new, culturally adaptable...

What's ironic about this is that Edmund Burke, one of the forerumners of modern conservatism, made a point to emphasize the strictly cultural issues that need to be taken into account in politics and war.

5:46 PM  

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