Poor Ayoub

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New at Reason: Botched raids, al fresco murders, dueling Imams, Green Zone hacks, bombs all over, and a whole lot more. From Iraq, Nir Rosen gives 1,001 reasons to despair.

NEXT: The Myth of the Two Americas

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  1. I assume that, after reading this article, the hawks and doves will all find validation for whatever their prior stances were, and blast away at each other with the same old arguments.

    yawn…

  2. btw, I read the article, and I found it informative. Whether it confirms or disproves any of my previously held positions, well, each side can lecture me on why it does or doesn’t.

  3. thoreau,

    I think it is what is to be expected.

  4. thoreau,

    Given the historical experience, it is what is to be expected.

  5. You’re as “guilty” as the others, thoreau.
    We all repeat ourselves here.
    We wouldn’t be crackpots if we didn’t.
    Right, joe?

  6. You’re as “guilty” as the others, thoreau.

    You’ll get no argument from me on that point.

  7. Nir Rosen ??? Surely this is a Reason joke, and Tim Cavanaugh is having us on. Many of Rosen’s previous efforts were published by the same people that sponsor Robert Fisk’s fantasies. Notice how the American soldiers are portrayed as simplisticly brutish, while the author has all the best inside information about what Iraqis of all stripes really believe about various Shiite and Sunni leaders.

  8. You exaggerate. Rosen mentioned two leaders – Muqtada and Sistani – and described some very believable viewpoints regarding them.

  9. Nir Rosen ??? Surely this is a Reason joke, and Tim Cavanaugh is having us on. Many of Rosen’s previous efforts were published by the same people that sponsor Robert Fisk’s fantasies. Notice how the American soldiers are portrayed as simplisticly brutish, while the author has all the best inside information about what Iraqis of all stripes really believe about various Shiite and Sunni leaders.

    I was just about to complement Nir for being the next Robert Fisk — this libertarian thinks Fisk is dead on.

    Great article — I’d like to see more of this from Iraq than punditry.

    ‘Brutish solidiers’? No way. I don’t believe it. I suppose he should describe a bunch of 19 year olds who had nothing better to do than join the army as Rhodes Scholars.

  10. > Nobody in the US (and certainly nobody in Iraq) even cares much about the American soldiers dying daily, as long as the numbers on any given day are low.

  11. Thoreau

    I’ll just be happy if I don’t have to hear your Big Wedding story one more time.

  12. Andrew-

    In the thread “The Myth of the Two Americas” I tell a shorter, less bitter, and funny wedding story.

  13. This is great! Now I can find out what ‘The Nation’ thinks without having to go to their webside. Groovy.

  14. Notice how the American soldiers are portrayed as simplisticly brutish…

    It seemed like standard behavior of soldiers (American or not); soldiers aren’t “gentle souls” (indeed, they aren’t supposed to be).

  15. You’re a good sport, thoreau.

  16. Maybe your correspondent can go take a tour of North Korea under Kim.

  17. Matthew Cromer,

    So let’s see, because a situation is bad under a tyrant who rules North Korea, that excuses any negatives that exist in Iraq today?

  18. What most of the story focuses on seems not irrelevant, but a little off the center. What he mentions at the beginning– the streets alive again, the commerce and the interactions between people– seem MORE important.

    As in Lebanon– where there is also an occupier, armed faction and deeply divided religious communities…but life has gone on.

  19. Where did you find this lunkhead… Even 60 Minutes and Newsweek had stopped peddling the “Sunni/Shiite civil war” theme by the end of last year

  20. Andrew,

    You mean he doesn’t focus on your pollyannish outlook regarding Iraq? Yes, I suppose that’s right.

  21. Well, that could be because I was in Baghdad with Peter Arnett, with whom I am well-acquainted going back to Viet Nam. Except that in Baghdad, he was working for CNN, while I was working for ABC News. After the 1991 war, I worked for CNN in Baghdad, but resigned because of the way they went soft on Saddam to retain access. I wrote two columns on the subject for the Washington Times. You can find them in Google.

  22. So, Nir, this your first war, eh, boy? You shoulda been in Viet Nam. I was there four years. Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was fun, too. 107mm rockets landing all over the city, day or night, markets, schools, hotels. Random death all the time every day. It’s okay. Been in Baghdad, too, six times, under Saddam. You’ll get used to the sound of the boom-boom, just like the Iraqis who stayed at home and watched the soccer game. Don’t take it too seriously, boy. You are exaggerating and displaying your fear in every line. You need to get out of town for a few days. Just chill, take a break over in Tel Aviv. Check out the sabras on Dizengoff Street. Get laid. Get your head screwed back on right. Then go back to Baghdad, and you’ll see it’s just a war.

  23. aah, a vietnam comparison, cuz that war went real good for us.

  24. http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/5/1/160050.shtml

    …is a good write up of Peter Collins
    and why he left the “news” business
    because he was a journalist.

  25. Peter,

    Your comment reminded me of the way Peter Arnett was portrayed in “Live from Bahgdad.

  26. sum yung guy,

    Actually tthe Vietnam war went real well for us. In Vietnam. You can look it up. Right after Tet the Northern leadership was in despair. Then they started getting news reports from America and found that instead of a great defeat on the battlefield according to the Americans they had won a great victory.

    It was lost when guys like Kerry talked me and many others into giving up. Then came Cambodia, re-ed camps, boat people. Here were the guys Kerry assured us were for the people killing their own in mass numbers. Here were the people who had promised no reprisals doing just the opposite.

    It may or may not be true that things are bad in Baghdad. I can tell you if Americans leave now they will be responsible for the following massacre. Been there, done that, got the stain on my soul to prove it. Never again.

    BTW how does the per capita death rate in Baghdad compare to DC? I have heard DC is worse. By a factor of two. That report was from a few months ago at the peak of the attacks so it is quite possible things are worse now.

  27. After you read what the Arabs are up to:

    http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=0F845116-0EF2-4C11-90F1A12AF8FC4A45

    You will realize America has lost the war.

    Time to pack up and go home.

  28. I’m just disappointed at the missed opportunity to hit the headline out of the park with “Blue Ayoub.”

  29. Everybody thinks that Iraq is the tough nut to crack, but it isn’t. Afganistan is. We won round 1, that has historically been the easy round over there. Round two is coming, and the key is to not show a weakness. In Afganistan, while you are winning you have few enemies, but as soon as you start to lose or show weakness, enemies come out of nowhere.

  30. Mark Bahner, I’m with you 100% in criticizing the wanker who wrote “‘Brutish solidiers’? No way. I don’t believe it. I suppose he should describe a bunch of 19 year olds who had nothing better to do than join the army as Rhodes Scholars.”

    What elitist, arrogant and offensive words. Those 19 year old soldiers compare favorably to the 28 year old forever-students at berkley, harvard, etc. who haven’t done a damn thing for anyone else or for their country. Spur, you should be ashamed of yourself. you suck.

    That article is very negative. The author obviously hates Americans and American soldiers in particular. I don’t believe it’s the entire story from Iraq. If there aren’t enough arabic speakers, then I have to partly lay the blame on the universities, who should be using their tax dollars to train linguists to serve the government, rather than churning out more academics getting post-hole-diggers in useless subjects.

  31. To make a point I happen to agree with, Mark Bahner disagrees with my use of the word “war” to describe what is happening in Iraq.

    He says, “What is going on in Iraq is mainly that criminals are killing people…mainly civilians, in fact.” Quite true, although relativists would claim (falsely, in my opinion) that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” I doubt that many of the GI’s who are defending themselves as well as Iraqis against these murderous attacks would quibble with the use of the word “war.”

    I used “war” as a way of saying to Nir Rosen: bad things happen in an armed conflict; bombs go off, rockets explode, people shoot others. It’s tough on the emotions, and reporters–like anyone else–tend to get caught up in that. I’ve covered six nasty wars, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan I (1979-80), Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Chechnya I (1995-1996), not to mention Baghdad both before and after the Gulf War.

    Unlike soldiers, reporters are lucky in that they can take a break at almost any time. Occasionally they should, so that they can come back to the conflict with a clear head, and serve their readers better by writing calm, dispassionate copy–insofar as that is possible during a war.

  32. “‘Brutish solidiers’? No way. I don’t believe it. I suppose he should describe a bunch of 19 year olds who had nothing better to do than join the army as Rhodes Scholars.”

    Virtually everything I’ve read or heard from U.S. soldiers in Iraq has impressed me. I would certainly put their courage, character, and wisdom up against any group of “Rhodes Scholars” (especially if our former president is an example of the courage, character, and wisdom displayed by a typical Rhodes scholar).

    It really annoys me when people who probably have never served a day in the military–let alone have ever been shot at or bombed–criticize U.S. troops.

  33. Peter Collins writes, “Then go back to Baghdad, and you’ll see it’s just a war.”

    With all due respect to Mr. Collins (and I really mean that), I don’t see how what’s going on in Iraq qualifies as a “war.”

    “Wars” occur between governments. “Wars” have soldiers fighting in groups. “Wars” have leaders.

    What is going on in Iraq is mainly that criminals are killing people…mainly civilians, in fact.

    As Nir Rosen points out, “Though clerics from both sects are assassinated weekly, the culprits are unknown…”

    “Unknown culprits” assassinating unarmed clerics isn’t war. It’s murder. Once again, with all due respect to Mr. Collins, there IS a difference.

  34. > Ambassador el-Ashaal is doubtful that an agreement on reform will be reached, because he says it is against the interests of the authoritarian regimes in the Arab world.

  35. I think the reporter’s description of sectarian tensions, the comparison of Iraq to Bosnia, preparations for civil war at mosques, and recruiting of local neighbourhood armies are a bit farfetched and betrays his ignorance of Iraqi society. Personally, I haven’t heard anything of the sort. He seems surprised that clerics from both the Sunni and Shia sect hate each other, and to the fact that they publish defamatory periodicals and fliers against each other when that has been the case for decades. There is nothing new about that, and both Sunnis and Shi’ites make fun and jokes about that practice. Healing Iraq: Advancing to the next level

  36. A journalist called Nir Rosen has wrote a long story about the situation in Iraq at, and he says he is living in Iraq since April 2003 , the story is so gloomy that any one would ask ?why he is still there????For me as an Iraqi person who is living in Iraq since 1967 which is the birth year of mine, I would say that he is exaggerating and telling one side of the truth and ignoring all similar situations in many other countries nowadays including countries like Egypt, England, Spain, USA, ???etc. Iraq & Iraqi’s: Gloomy

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