Media

The Wash Post's Battle Fatigue

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Original "Libertarian Democrat" and occasional Reason contributor Terry Michael lays into the Wash Post's recent house editorial on the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war (which the Post supported):

I live in Washington, DC. I know surreal when I see it. And I saw it in vivid blotter acid color this past Sunday on the editorial page of a paper that once helped bring down a president who also undercut America's moral authority several decades ago….

"It's tempting to say that if it was wrong to go in [claims the Post's editors], it must be wrong to stay in. But how Iraq evolves will fundamentally shape the region and deeply affect U.S. security. Walking away is likely to make a bad situation worse. A patient, sustained U.S. commitment, with gradually diminishing military forces, could still help Iraq to move in the right direction."

"Tempting" to say that "if" it was wrong? "Likely" to make a bad situation worse? "Could still" help Iraq move in the right direction? That's as bold as The Washington Post editors are willing to be, in their assessment, four years later, of a war to which they loaned the gravitas of the nameplate of the newspaper-of-record in the capital of the free world?…

Hopefully, it may just be a weak, but long overdue, effort of a great newspaper to restore its institutional credibility by moving a step closer to admitting it was wrong, and having the courage to call for an end to this mis-projection of American military might, now.

Whole thing here.

Original Post editorial here.

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  1. Perhaps they were providing “balance” for the total FICTION that they wrote about the demonstration/counter demonstration on Saturday 17 March 2007?

    When counter demonstrators outnumber deomostrators by a 3+:1 margin and have the demonstrators surrounded they report it as “equal numbers” or a bigger lie.

    I heard someplace on this board that “balance” was important when talking about the Global War on Terror. Perhaps this is the Leftie version?

  2. The more relevant question is whether anything at all can prevent a Hobbesian nightmare in Iraq. I’m afraid that anything we do is just delaying the inevitable.

  3. While I didn’t participate in any of the protests in Chicago (Mr. Steven Crane may have [ducks]), I did walk down Oak street (perpendicular to the northern point of the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave)), and noticed that there appeared to be, oh, all the Chicago PD deployed.

    Talking with one, who was really cool, she stated that she got a kick of watching the protesters and counter protesters – she noted that they didn’t cause any trouble: they just wanted to flap their arms and wave slogans on sticks.

    Besides all the cops – who were clean cut and friendly and polite – at Oak and State street, there’s a school parking lot/playground where some of the protesters were gathering.

    There I saw lots of USSR and Chinese flags as well as red flags with Che’s face on them (made me want to wear a Che t-shirt with the inscription, “He DESERVED to die”). There were some rainbow flags, and I did see one purple flag, but I didn’t see what it was for.

    I tried finding some counter protesters, but I nobody seemed to know where they were. Nor were people aware of the pro acid rain march.

    In all,it was an interesting experience. Mr. Crane did note that the protests didn’t really bring anything new to the discourse. If you’ve read “Passage to India”, think of Mrs. Moore’s experience in the Marabar Caves.

    All the sounds became “boum”

    hmmmmm.

  4. VM,

    Check http://www.gatheringofeagles.org for pictures of the DC gathering. Plenty of pictures that the press somehow missed, like from behind the fences showing the thin turnout of them vs. the strong turnout of “us”.

    Communism: the opiate of dumbasses.

  5. Everything’s the culture war to some people.

    Can’t admit that those damn dirty hippies were right, now can we, WaPo?

  6. Besides all the cops – who were clean cut and friendly and polite

    That’s probably the most controversial comment ever to be published on H&R. don’t you know that these are the same guys who do SWAT raids on people who just like to dress their toddlers in mini-skirts?

  7. Special events cops are different from SWAT units.

    You know, a little bit country vs a little bit rock n roll!

  8. That’s probably the most controversial comment ever to be published on H&R. don’t you know that these are the same guys who do SWAT raids on people who just like to dress their toddlers in mini-skirts?

    The counter-protest I joined a couple of years ago had the DC cops in “SWAT-lite” gear between us and the march, with uniformed FBI folk behind us (between us and their building) in regular street cop clothes and “tuning” sticks.

    The DC cops had to spend time keeping the Che army from crossing the barrior toward us, but never saw them have to push any of our guys off the barrier. Not that none of our guys were getting too close, some of us were doing the self-policing and reminding folks to stay off the rail.

  9. frankly, i can’t think of anything dumber than “counter-protesting”. the me-too aspect is just a little derivative; and furthermore, what exactly is the point of going out and protesting FOR the status quo? “hay u guys are dorks” is not an agenda, and counter-protestors are NOT a story.

    remember the google-bomb incident of a few years back, where thanks to the tireless efforts of people with nothing better to do, searching for “miserable failure” turned up GWB’s page? yeah, that. it was worth a brief chuckle for chutzpah but was, you know, pretty dumb. counter-protesting is the equivalent of the conservatard reaction to that googlebomb incident, which was to make michael moore the SECOND result. once again: derivative (this is the only thing that’s only funny once) + what’s the point.

  10. Well spake, Hr. Crane. Well spake.

    reading accounts of the counter protests in DC (in “der Standard”), seeing some of the signs they chose to show in their paper, the “counter protester = knuckle dragging moron” was upheld. The reporter mentioned seeing several signs that equated Iraq with the WoT.

    The latter point is the important one. That’s still an active theme, it appears.

    It seems that what we have is “Harry Slept in Seattle French Kiss with Sally” meets “Lethal Weapon LXVIV”

  11. Christopher Hitchens is still defending the Iraq War in Slate:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2162157/

  12. ROFLMAO! You really believe that Iraq has nothing to do with the War on Terror (badly named, I agree)?

    Whatever

  13. Iraq : War on Terror :: Nixon’s Wage and Price Controls : War on Inflation

  14. Guy- Did you think Hitchens rocked when he wrote for The Nation?

  15. wait, is this the “all the terrorists will flock to iraq and we can kill them there” meme?

  16. I suppose, if you take the view (and I do) that our invasion of Iraq has provided a terrorist recruitment and training facility vastly larger, more effective, and better-funded than anything they could have created on their own, you could reasonably claim that Iraq today is a part of the Global War on Scary Badguys.

    This is not, however, the same as saying invading Iraq in the first place was appropriate from either a strategic or tactical viewpoint.
    Nor does it mean that shutting down this particular training facility would be a bad idea.

  17. “Mr. Steven Crane | March 21, 2007, 12:16pm | #
    wait, is this the “all the terrorists will flock to iraq and we can kill them there” meme?”

    what a clever plan. What a stroke of realpolitik.

    also…

  18. damn, VM.

    i don’t know what that is, but it ain’t formula 409.

    i’m about to pour myself a vernor’s ginger ale and get out the pretzel sticks.

    mufuckin’ straight outta parma.

  19. outta parma is corned beef on raisin bread!

    it’s mofo laffy taffy.

  20. ROFLMAO!

    This is the most cogent argument for the war I’ve seen in the last four years.

  21. Guy- Did you think Hitchens rocked when he wrote for The Nation?

    Yes, he was the only writer there that I could stand.

    I began reading his stuff a long time ago and liked it even if I did not agree with him on a particular topic.

    Check out his interview with William F. Buckley, Jr. (it is somewhere on the web, was both of them being interviewed) and they were in substantial agreement on most things. This was long before he ever thought of leaving The Nation IIRC.

  22. I suppose, if you take the view (and I do) that our invasion of Iraq has provided a terrorist recruitment and training facility vastly larger, more effective, and better-funded than anything they could have created on their own, you could reasonably claim that Iraq today is a part of the Global War on Scary Badguys.

    They were doing pretty good before and there is no longer a training camp for terrorists to practice storming airplanes there. Makes it easier to wipe out that training camp Iran is running now too, as soon as they get a few more terrorists concentrated over there.

  23. You really believe that Iraq has nothing to do with the War on Terror (badly named, I agree)?

    Well, “liberated” Iraq is a maelstrom of chaos which is unhelpful to the War on Terror. So there is some indirect relationship, yes.

    But usually people who equate Iraq with the WoT have a different relationship in mind. It’s still a commonly held belief that Iraq was behind 9-11. That’s no straw man – people really do believe that. And for reasons that are quite logical, too! Because if Iraq was not behind 9-11, then what was the Iraq War about? Just a lark? Many people are not willing to believe that their beloved Christian President started a war just because he could.

  24. “You really believe that Iraq has nothing to do with the War on Terror ”

    you believe it does?

    nuff said

  25. It’s still a commonly held belief that Iraq was behind 9-11.

    With who?

    The ONLY time I hear that one is when someone is making up an argument for one that does not exist.

    The administration repeatedly said there was no direct link.

    Now, just for starters, if you think it was fine for Iraq to shoot at our aircraft for 10 years, then okay I see your point and disagree.

    If you think that their hospital facilities were open for every freaking terrorist who could get there was fine, then okay I see your point and disagree.

    If you think that sponsoring suicide bombers was perfectly good behavior, then okay I see your point and disagree.

    If you think that ignoring and ducking IN resolutions is fine, then okay I see your point and disagree. (I would prefer no UN, but I am not yet King)

    On and on.

  26. it’s amazing how UN resolutions become meaningful when they’re against people we don’t like.

  27. frankly, i can’t think of anything dumber than “counter-protesting”. the me-too aspect is just a little derivative; and furthermore, what exactly is the point of going out and protesting FOR the status quo?

    At a guess, it’d be expressing support for the status quo being protested. It may strike you as like, so unoriginal, but it makes at least as much sense as the giant puppets. One group wants to show the public that there’s opposition to something. Another group wants to show the public that there’s support for that thing. Both are equally pointless or valid things to do.

  28. 1/2 B:

    right – Mr. Crane has mentioned that neither side is bringing anything new to the table. And, in fact, judging from the signs and banners and little slogans on sticks I saw, you really couldn’t tell what the protest was for! Just that there was a strong opinion involved. It was generic. So, in this case, probably pointless.

  29. it’s amazing how UN resolutions become meaningful when they’re against people we don’t like.

    So you don’t like them either? Good, drop them from my list and I will look forward to the day when nobody aginst this war advocates our troops be under UN command for anything.

  30. “Makes it easier to wipe out that training camp Iran is running now too, as soon as they get a few more terrorists concentrated over there.”

    That’s what I like to hear; hatefearmurder! War without end, amen.

  31. That’s what I like to hear; hatefearmurder! War without end, amen.

    Okay, you deliver the MREs and we can hold fire until you get back.

  32. It’s still a commonly held belief that Iraq was behind 9-11.

    With who?

    In polls taken around the time of the invasion, 70% of Americans thought it was likely that Iraq was behind 9-11. That number is certainly lower today, because people are more skeptical of Bush. But it’s still a common belief among Bush supports and people who don’t follow the news closely.

  33. I still wonder about that. I live in freaking Texas, and I’ve never encountered anyone here who thought Iraq was being 9/11. Maybe it’s a Yankee thing?

  34. In polls taken around the time of the invasion, 70% of Americans thought it was likely that Iraq was behind 9-11. That number is certainly lower today, because people are more skeptical of Bush. But it’s still a common belief among Bush supports and people who don’t follow the news closely.

    Let’s see, you first say that it IS a commonly heald belief, then you say it is “lower” now?

    You are yet another person making up a story in order to make an argument.

    I sure did see a lot of folks at that demonstration with signs saying that 9/11 was a US plot. I say that group of loons is larger than the one you have imagined.

    Yes, right after 9/11 I know about that poll. When the UBL information came out that crap went way down, except in the minds of folks like you.

  35. I still wonder about that. I live in freaking Texas, and I’ve never encountered anyone here who thought Iraq was being 9/11. Maybe it’s a Yankee thing?

    It is a joe thing. Making up facts, Fatibanksing, lying, fibbing, fabricating, etc.

    I am in the DC area and the ONLY time anybody says anything like that is in the same manner that Max said it.

  36. Correction: Fairbanksing

  37. Eric:

    my grandparents, who live in Florida and get most of their news from the Fox News Channel, believe that if we don’t stop the terrorists in Iraq, they’ll come over here and commit acts of terrorism. they did believe at one point that Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks (I don’t know if they still hold that belief).

    those people do exist outside of polls.

  38. Guy:

    it could be a commonly held belief and still be lower than 70%, or lower than it once was

  39. it could be a commonly held belief and still be lower than 70%, or lower than it once was

    Yea, like a lot lower than the # of freaks that say Bush and Cheney did it on purpose?

  40. Oh yea, Rosie O’Donnell says it was an inside job now. Man the protest signs!

  41. whatever that means, Guy

  42. whatever that means, Guy

    I am not sure how you define a “common belief” but I say it needs to be a lot more than a bunch of fringe loons.

  43. There’s what look likes reliable poll information here regarding support for the war.

    I’ve yet to dig up info on how many nuts think the U.S. government was involved in 9/11 and how many nuts think Iraq was involved.

    Either way, there’s too many nuts out there.

  44. Bad link, sorry.

    Polling info here.

  45. 69%, 68%, 67%…49%, 48%,…40%

    all are lower than 70%, but still within the range of what most people would call a “commonly held belief”. I don’t know what the current number is, and that would help, but your assertion that it’s all “a bunch of fringe loons” is unsupported by any empirical evidence. just because Rosie O’Donnell believes something doesn’t make it right or wrong, nor does Rosie have a vast political following a la Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News Channel crew.

  46. all are lower than 70%, but still within the range of what most people would call a “commonly held belief”. I don’t know what the current number is, and that would help, but your assertion that it’s all “a bunch of fringe loons” is unsupported by any empirical evidence.

    And I have as much evidence for 2% as you have for 69%.

    Now, run out into the street and find ONE person who thinks Iraq sponsored 9/11. I bet I find 30 who do not before you find one.
    Yea, I know, not scientific enough. Whatever.

    BTW, NEITHER Rush nor Fox say that Iraq was connected to 9/11 and both FREQUENTLY say what I have been saying to you and Max.

    Good day sir.

  47. Guy, I love how you switch from troll to serious commenter at the drop of a hat.

  48. Guy, 70% of Americans (2003 poll – not “right after 9-11”) can’t be “loons”. In fact, this widespread belief is perfectly sane and logical, not loony at all. Merely wrong.

    Also, contrary to what you said, the administration has repeatedly tied Iraq to 9-11, most directly with the assertion that one of the hijackers met with an Iraqi government official (the “Atta in Prague” story. See http://www.computerbytesman.com/911/praguefaq.htm)

    Here’s a more recent (February 18, 2005) poll: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=544

    * 47 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001 (up six percentage points from November).

    * 44 percent actually believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis (up significantly from 37% in November).

    * 36 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded (down slightly from 38% in November).

  49. And somehow, the only people who can find anybody who thinks Iraq was behind 9/11 is a pollster?

    AMAZING!

    They should have been looking for the WMD. Oh yea, sorry, some WMD were found in Iraq.

  50. yes, some 10-year-old, leftover WMD were found, as opposed to evidence for active, productive WMD programs that we were told about, or evidence that Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks, as Cheney implied on more than one occasion.

  51. Guy, you’re not seriously suggesting that the weapons found in Iraq were anything like the kind the Bush administration claimed were a threat to the U.S., are you?

    And somehow, the only people who can find anybody who thinks Iraq was behind 9/11 is a pollster?

    What, exactly, are you implying here? I mean, the only people who find fossils and date them are paleontologists. What’s your point?

  52. And somehow, the only people who can find anybody who thinks Iraq was behind 9/11 is a pollster?

    Well, according to the Harris Poll link, the poll consisted of “of 1,012 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive between February 8 and 13, 2005.”

    Tell me Guy, do you know 1000 randomly selected people from across the nation well enough to ask them who they thought was behind Iraq? By “randomly selected” I don’t mean people bagging on your /. account either. If not, then STFU about “pollsters”. They may not be perfect but they are better than you.

  53. “I don’t mean people bagging on your /. account either”

    nice! expect some mumbling about “correlation causation.”

    hier
    “In a Knight Ridder poll, 44 percent of Americans reported that either “most” or “some” of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens. The answer is zero.

    According to Mr. Kull of PIPA, there is a strong correlation between those who see the Sept. 11-Iraq connection and those who support going to war.”

    zwaa
    “An in-depth analysis of a series of polls conducted June through September found 48% incorrectly believed that evidence of links between Iraq and al Qaeda have been found, 22% that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and 25% that world public opinion favored the US going to war with Iraq. Overall 60% had at least one of these three misperceptions.”

    drei

    Poll: 70% believe Saddam, 9-11 link
    WASHINGTON (AP) – Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists’ strike against this country.

    Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it’s likely Saddam was involved.

    The belief in the connection persists even though there has been no proof of a link between the two.

    BUT!!!
    “”We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks,” Mr Bush told reporters as he met members of Congress on energy legislation.”

    “As recently as last Sunday, Vice-President Dick Cheney, refused to rule out a link between Iraq and 11 September, saying “‘we don’t know”.

    “We will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who’ve had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.” ”
    same BBC article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3118262.stm)

    Zogby:
    “Saddam Link to 9/11 Disputed

    Half of American voters (50%) say there is no link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terror attacks, while 46% believe there is a connection. However, just 37% of respondents in the poll agreed that Saddam was connected to the attacks and that the Iraq War was justified as retribution for his involvement, while 48% believed that there is no connection between Saddam and 9/11 and the Iraq War has diverted America’s attention from the War on Terror.”

    http://www.zogby.com/News/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1169

  54. So, did you people find ONE person who believes Iraq had anything to do with 9/11?

    I did not ask 30, I only asked 17 in a sports bar during a hockey game.

    “Was Iraq involved in any way with 9/11”: 17 NO; 0 Yes

    Only caviat, two women who work there said Saddam was supporting terrorism but was not involved in 9/11.

    Where are these people that you are surveying? In Liberal Arts departments? You can get 40% of them to say George Bush hired these guys to fly the planes and the Jews hid the checks.

  55. caveat.

    not to be confused with dick cavett.

  56. a sports bar during a hockey game!

    well that’s a random sample.

    in the immediately post 9/11 days, and then the run-up to war, the administration was certainly implying that iraq had a significant hand in 9/11 (the “atta in prague” meme, among others) – a convenient thing if you’re trying to gain support for the war you’re about to launch.

    Where are these people that you are surveying? In Liberal Arts departments? You can get 40% of them to say George Bush hired these guys to fly the planes and the Jews hid the checks.

    real liberal arts departments != david horowitz nightmares.

  57. Guy, if you bothered to read, I posted yesterday that my grandparents believed at one point that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks. not a random sample, but they exist outside a poll, and I know them personally.

  58. a paper that once helped bring down a president who also undercut America’s moral authority several decades ago.

    Terry Michael is apparently too young actually to remember those thrilling days of yesteryear; otherwise he’d realize that this is nothing new for the Post, that it took them a long time before they acknowledged the need to get out of Vietnam.

  59. Guy, if you bothered to read, I posted yesterday that my grandparents believed at one point that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks. not a random sample, but they exist outside a poll, and I know them personally.

    And if you bothered to read it is not the issue of people having believed it “at one point” it is the issue of them believing it now.

    Run along with your juvenile doublespeak.

  60. Right Steven Crane, the administration that endlessly stated Iraq had no direct connection to 9/11, after determining that there was non, was just using secret double-reverse psychology on everybody by making it perfectly clear that Iraq was not involved.

    Yep, whatever.

  61. Guy Montag | March 24, 2007, 9:11pm | #

    And if you bothered to read it is not the issue of people having believed it “at one point” it is the issue of them believing it now.

    Run along with your juvenile doublespeak.

    the reason I wrote “at one point” is because I haven’t asked them recently, so I can’t attest to their current state of belief. you, on the other hand, sound as though you’ve never encountered such a person, ever. as for juvenile doublespeak, you are the expert.

  62. Terry Michael is apparently too young actually to remember those thrilling days of yesteryear; otherwise he’d realize that this is nothing new for the Post, that it took them a long time before they acknowledged the need to get out of Vietnam.

    I believe the Nixon administration realized that too, shifting their efforts to an 8 year training plan for the South Vietnamese to defend themselves and an agressive plan of keepong the North Vietnamese out of the country.

    Contrary to the revisionists, it worked until funding for the South Vietnamese was cut off by the Congress, in a similar manner to what the current Congress is trying to do to Iraq.

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