Friday, April 13, 2007

The Seattle Times Shills for the Enemy

Today the Seattle Times published one of the most ridiculous excuses for surrender in Iraq that I've ever seen. Using this single photgraph ((c) 2007, Seattle Times), seemingly without context, they opined:

The image in Tuesday's newspapers was of a sea of Iraqi flags, as tens of thousands of Iraqis paraded in Najaf against the occupation of their country by the United States. If anyone were looking for an Iraqi answer to the "surge," it is in that photo.

There are those in America who still believe that a measured increase in manpower could bring about order and safety in Iraq. To them, we say: Look at the photos from Najaf. There is what they think of your idea. Ponder that crowd. See how many flags are in it. Think of the last time you saw American flags flying everywhere — what event had just happened. That was 9/11. Recall how people felt then. That is Najaf now. "Death to America," the crowd said. Thousands said it.

There is no arguing with a force like that.
The piece went on to argue that leaving with our tails between our legs was perfectly honorable, and not a surrender at all because we weren't giving our troops up as prisonoers.

Daring to, in fact, "argue[] with a force like that," I wrote the following letter to the editor. I've included links in this version.
Editor, The Times:

Your absurd editorial, “The Flags of Najaf,” represents perfectly the complete disconnect between the reality of Iraq and the head-in-the-sand leftist media vision of it.

You paint a picture of a popular uprising, a spontaneous demonstration from everyday people who just want America to leave so they can get back to their lives and businesses. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, you claim there were “tens of thousands” of demonstrators, when in reality, the numbers were closer to 5 – 7,000. Even the protesters themselves only were able to claim 10,000 – at most half of your claim. Either this is a sloppy oversight or flat dishonesty.

Second, you fail to mention that the demonstration was orchestrated by murderer Muqtada al Sadr from his hiding place in Iran, likely with logistical support and funding from Iran itself. This demonstration is actually a profound sign of this villain’s weakness, not strength. When the best he can do is get a few thousand people to waive flags as opposed to besting joint American/Iraqi forces in the field, things are definitely looking up. This was a failed attempt at enemy propaganda, and it takes a willful blindness to see it as anything other than that.

Finally, you laughably argue that leaving on a timeline demanded by those who have sworn to destroy our nation is not a surrender, as if Iraq is locked away in its own little hermetically sealed bubble. No serious person believes that leaving Iraq won’t have deadly consequences for the brave Iraqis still risking their lives to form their democracy, or for the safety of the United States itself. Iran’s fingerprints are all over the Najaf “protest” – does anyone seriously believe they aren’t a threat to us?

I urge the Times to stop going out of their way to shill for the enemies of America. Your readers deserve facts, not false jihadist propaganda.
I'm looking forward to their correction, of course.

Update: Shockingly, the Seattle Times didn't print my letter, or even include it in the "online only" letters. Oh, well. I suppose I understand, though - they had to make room for the guy informing us all about "Halliburton and the other fattening merchants of war" and "The unborn generations of Americans whose future has already been mortgaged by the Bush administration".

Journalism at its finest.


Nick said...

"No serious person believes that leaving Iraq won’t have deadly consequences for the brave Iraqis still risking their lives to form their democracy, or for the safety of the United States itself."

True, but can any serious person ignore the deadly consequences American troops and Iraqis are experiencing with each extra day of the war? The question is not whether or not people will die if we leave Iraq, it is whether or not more people will die if we remain. From that perspective, arguments for withdrawal certainly have some weight.

Orrin Johnson said...

Do anyone seriously think it will get LESS bloody if we leave? We proved otherwise already in Southeast Asia, to our everlasting national shame. And the despots in Vietnam and Cambodia were content to kill their own people, as opposed to suicide bombing the Zionist entity on top of it like our current enemies have done and have promised to do if we leave.

One of the enduring myths from leftist circles is that Americans are the ones causing the Iraqi deaths. But most of the Iraqis who are dying in Iraq are being killed by one of two fascist factions - Sunni jihadists or Iranian backed Shi'ites (the later are the people who were marching in Najaf). Of course those "protesters" want us to leave - how else are they going to kill those who blaspheme against Islam by daring to vote on their own laws when Allah has already given His? (Sadr's view of democracy)

The Iraqi police are improving and are bravely fighting those murderers, but they still need our help there. Without the bullwark we provide, the slaughter would be beyond imagining.

Even if one's only measure of strategy is how to prevent the most death, then there is no question that we must stay. But when one considers that the Jihadists will not stop at the borders of Iraq if we leave, the arguments for withdrawal are simply untenable for all but the Neville Chamberlains of the world.

Orrin Johnson said...

Consider this dispatch from an American civilian contractor who works with those everyday Iraqis that the Seattle Times claims are demanding our withdrawal.

Anonymous said...

Consider this story:

and this poll:

Those two things indicate that the situation is not improving, and that Iraqis do not want us to stay.

Orrin Johnson said...

You don't measure progress by the number of bombings by Iranian agents desperate for the US to leave. (Or make the decision to accept their terms.) By that standard, the Battle of the Bulge was indicative of us losing the war in Europe in 1944-5 (a battle which, by the way, claimed about 6 times more American lives in two months than Iraq has in 4 years). Or, frankly, by the BBC which has been forced to admit their pervasive anti-American bias in their reporting in the past, and a British press that recently voted to condemn Israel and ignore Jihadists, all while Palestineans murder one of their own.

Or by polls with a 54% response rate in a country where a stranger knocking on your door, asking your opinion of Americans, and then writing down the answer could be a reporter, or could be a Madhi Army member putting your name on a list for later retaliation if you give the "wrong" answer. Even taking the poll at face value, comparing it to 2005 is the wrong piece of data to eveluate the surge. There's no question the situation deteriorated substantially in 2006 - but it's now rebounding by all accounts.

You tell people's actual attitudes about the future by their investments in them. Is the economy growing? Are people having more children? Are they risking their lives to vote for a constitution, despite death threats? Are they joining the government's legitimate security forces, despite the danger?

These numbers are much more directly indicative than a poll, especially one using methods which are inconsistently reliable in western countries without the additional dangers in Iraq. These kinds of stats are harder to manipulate, and show directly people's level of investment (read "hope") in the future. It's the difference between asking a few dozen stock brokers their opinion of a stock's value as opposed to looking at the ticker for price and volume.

So how goes it in Iraq?

The Iraqi economy is booming. The Iraqi Dinar is relatively stable and appreciating, through the Central Bank of Iraq's efforts called "commendable" by the IMF. Iraq's birthrate has substantially increased since 2003. And we know about the Iraqi's three trips to the polls, with participation increasing every time. The last time was 13 million people not just betting on the future, but rolling up their sleves to be a direct part of it and protect that investment.

What an Iraqi tells a pollster says a lot less about his true priorities and predictions than how he risks his money and his life.

But even if things aren't getting better, the strategic importance in the wider global war against the Jihadists requires that we stay. We have an important interest in helping Iraq grown, but we have other - and wider - strategic interests there, too, especially condsidering Iran's recent aggression. This isn't a choice between fighting or not, but between fighting now, there, or later (when the enemy is stronger and has a large, unmolested base of operations) here at home.

None of this is to say that it's all hunky-dory over there. The violence is an important factor, and must be taken into consideration when determining policy. But if that's ALL you look at or report, like ABC or the BBC or the vast majority of the MSM reports, you're definitely not getting a full or accurate picture. Critical thinking of the news - and the polciy issues they inform - requires more effort than simply passively ingesting the story.


Note: Here's the hotlinks to the story's Anonymous pointed us to:

BBC Story

ABC/USA Today Poll. Check the methodology details here.

Derek said...

If you want your opinion to be printed, perhaps you should avoid opening your "letter" with insulting rhetoric like

"Your absurd editorial, “The Flags of Najaf,” represents perfectly the complete disconnect between the reality of Iraq and the head-in-the-sand leftist media vision of it."

The economy is the 98th fastest growing economy in the world, between Uzbekistan and Suriname. The dollar is falling, and the us birth rate has hit an all time low...

so what does that say about the state of our country?;en=153c82093ad51c8a&%2338;ei=5088&

Orrin Johnson said...

Have you seen the usual level of rhetoric in letters to the editor? Absurd was the only adequate word for it. What can I say?

Derek, you're missing the point of the stats I provided. Like the Seattle Times, you're looking at small data points and not the larger picture they're a part of. It's about trends. Are they betting on the future? High growth suggests yes, low growth say no, especially when it's in relation TO WHAT THAT SAME COUNTRY was doing before.

In the US, which already has probably the most robust economy in the history of the world, 4.4% growth is incredibly high. Remember what it's a percentage OF. And it's by far the fastest growing economy in the industrialized world (except for S. Korea), as opposed to the developing world. 13% growth to a $4 billion GDP is not better than 4% to a $13 TRILLION economy.

Same thing with brith rates. When they INCREASE in the same country, people are betting on the future. They are undeniably optimistic, even if guarded about it.

And you're right - when birth rates drop, it DOES say something about our country, and something negative - especially in Blue America where birth rates are REALLY falling. Liberals have much fewer children than conservatives (especially when they live in liberal areas like Seattle), which to me says a lot about the soulessness and selfishness of liberalism ("I live for me, for The Now"), and the danger it poses to our culture and our civilization. (Especially considering that large socialized systems can only function with a growing population, but so ironically lead to the opposite.)

Europe is already doomed, because they're not willing to bet on the future - their populations (particularly native Europeans who carried the torch of Hellenic liberal society for so many centuries), and therefore their culture, are starting to collapse.

(Although I do note that your data about an "all time low" is from 2002. Newer stats show it rebounding.)

Derek said...

I guess I should have figured that stats prove your point, but are not adequate to prove another unintended point.

You are as wriggly as a supreme court justice, congrats!

Orrin Johnson said...

What "unintended point" do your stats show that I'm ignoring? Your stats actually validate my original point, especially when looked at in the context of the real world, instead of in individual bubbles.

Anonymous said...

Orrin - why can't you accept that this is the worst economy since Hoover?

Also, the debate is over on global warming.

You didn't happen to catch the fastest growing economy, did you?