September 26, 2004

Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Liars? (Yet Another Iraq Edition)

Michael Froomkin channels Uggabugga:

Discourse.net: Shameless: Quoted from uggabugga:

Remember June 28? Here is how PBS' News Hour reported what happened that day: (emp add)

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq transferred sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government two days ahead of schedule, in an effort to avert possible insurgent attacks.

The unexpected handover ceremony came at mid-morning Baghdad time, the middle of the night in the U.S. The event was convened hastily and secretly inside Baghdad's heavily guarded green zone.

Sounds grim, doesn't it? But here is what Bush had to say about it in today's radio address: (emp add)

We're making steady progress in implementing our five-step plan toward the goal we all want: completing the mission so that Iraq is stable and self-governing, and American troops can come home with the honor they have earned.

The first step was achieved on June 28th, not only on time, but ahead of schedule, when the coalition transferred full sovereignty to a government of Iraqi citizens.

Not only was it "ahead of schedule" but it was done in such a manner that the people in Baghdad were not inconvenienced. Since the handover was performed "secretly", that meant no traffic jams or other problems that a public event would have caused. But somehow Bush failed to mention that this morning.

Is anyone prepared to defend this by arguing it depends on what the meaning of "lying" is?

Posted by DeLong at September 26, 2004 04:00 PM | TrackBack
Comments

http://yglesias.typepad.com/matthew/

I read the news today....

"U.S. Arrests Senior Commander of Iraqi National Guard"

"Killings Surge in Iraq, and Doctors See a Procession of Misery"

"Violence in Iraq Belies Claims of Calm, Data Show"

"Latest wave of violence kills 5 U.S. troops, 15 Iraqis"

"Powell says Iraq worsening, but elections will be held in January"

"Top U.S. Military Commander for Iraq Predicts Flawed Elections"

Posted by: lise at September 26, 2004 04:58 PM

Soon Bush will start spouting the "flypaper theory" as a justification for war on Iraq.

Posted by: Sean Hurley at September 26, 2004 05:07 PM

So the coalition transferred full sovereignty to a government of Iraqi citizens? Really?

Posted by: Dubblblind at September 26, 2004 05:29 PM


Dear Mister DeLong,

Last night I was sitting in an Indian restaurant in rural Japan, as I am want to do, in a group composed of eighteen gai-jin and a half dozen Japanese. After we had all dined on fine sub-continental cuisine, one of the Americans got up to give a little speech and a New Zealander yelled out, ?Who are you voting for??
The American replied, ?Kerry!? and before too long was involved in a heated discussion with the waiter who was of the opinion that, ?Bush has Muslims running scared.? I had to break them apart using verbal ju-jitsu.
Now I may be jumping to conclusions, but it seems to me that when Indian waiters in rural Japan are willing to argue with their American customers over who they are voting for because they fear Kerry will not be tough enough on a certain religious group, then it seems to me that the battle for presenting the War on Terror as a war on terrorists and not on Muslims has been lost. This is a pity.
I hardly feel qualified to give my own opinion about Mr Bush and his War on Terror, so I shall merely say that in general I am against killing people on account of how some of my best friends are human.

Yours sincerely,

Ronald Brakels

Posted by: Ronald Brakels at September 26, 2004 05:43 PM

President Bush doesn't lye. He simply engages in careful phraseology.

Posted by: bncthor at September 26, 2004 06:12 PM

"President Bush doesn't lye."

That might explain why he leaves a stain wherever he goes.

Posted by: Penon at September 26, 2004 06:21 PM

"President Bush doesn't lye. He simply engages in careful phraseology."

I say the result is the same. So I tell draft-age people:

When we were thinking about war with iraq, many people believed that Bush sid iraq was about to get nukes.

But it turns out that Bush never said that.

And many people believed that Bush said iraq supported al qaeda.

But it turns out that Bush never said that either.

And people believed Bush thought it would be an easy war.

But Bush never said so.

Now there are a lot of people who think that Bush would not call up a draft.

Why do they think that? Did Bush tell them he wouldn't?

Posted by: J Thomas at September 26, 2004 07:28 PM

The most frightening thing I've ever read about Bush was the cover article from Time magazine a few weeks ago.

The gist of it was that Bush will stay the course, no matter how wrong he is, no matter how many people die, no matter how broke the country goes, no matter how much the environment gets destroyed,or how many American-hating terrorists we create around the world, and on and on.

He truly doesn't care or have any interest in listening to what people who know something might think.

He believes staying the course is the only virtue.

As we all know, the course he has us on is leading the US down a steep hill.

I'd be surprised if we can -ever- climb back up.

When we look back, his legacy will be the destruction of a once great nation.

We're witnessing some serious history here folks.


Posted by: PaulO at September 26, 2004 08:29 PM

Hindus really hate Muslims, and Bush _is_ likely to kill more Muslims than Kerry would.

Posted by: s at September 26, 2004 08:50 PM

PaulO:
So what late Roman or Byzantine emperor would you compare him to? There must be one, but I don't know my late emperors that well.

I thought the Newsweek cover picture was very strange -Bush as Hulk, except he wasn't green, but I got green looking at it and reading the article. I didn't see the cover until over a week after it was out, so I finally understood some very funny editorial cartoons that I had seen in the previous days.. Ben Sargent had a hilarious one at the NY Times internet edition.

Posted by: jml at September 26, 2004 08:52 PM

Ronald Brakels:

Many people are strongly against "Jihadis" or "Extreme Militant Islamists" around the world Remember, the vast majority of people killed by Al Qaida linked networks are not American, even if you include 9/11. I am sure that the waiter you talked to was refering to "Extreme Militant Islamists" or "Jihadis" rather than muslims. (Even if they used the word "muslim". Still, it is clearly wrong to use the word muslim in this way.) I have yet to meet a Buddhist, Jain, Sikh or Hindu Indian that would not pray at Mosque, not describe Mohammed as a great spiritual saint, or object to having muslim friends.

Several Pew research polls have found that the "War on Terrorism" is far more popular than America in most of the world.

The perception that America is soft on Terrorism remains arguably the single most widely held criticism of America in the rest of the world.

Posted by: Anand at September 26, 2004 09:06 PM

Ronald Brakels:

Many people are strongly against "Jihadis" or "Extreme Militant Islamists" around the world Remember, the vast majority of people killed by Al Qaida linked networks are not American, even if you include 9/11. I am sure that the waiter you talked to was refering to "Extreme Militant Islamists" or "Jihadis" rather than muslims. (Even if they used the word "muslim". Still, it is clearly wrong to use the word muslim in this way.) I have yet to meet a Buddhist, Jain, Sikh or Hindu Indian that would not pray at Mosque, not describe Mohammed as a great spiritual saint, or object to having muslim friends.

Several Pew research polls have found that the "War on Terrorism" is far more popular than America in most of the world.

The perception that America is soft on Terrorism remains arguably the single most widely held criticism of America in the rest of the world.

Posted by: Anand at September 26, 2004 09:07 PM

jml -

That's a very good question, and sadly, above my skillset.

But I have been doing some reading on the fall of empires, and interestingly have noted historians pointing to two common elements that cause a collapse:

1) Overextraction of resources by the ruling class from the lower classes.

2) The development of the belief that an empire got to be so not because of its actions or good fortune, but because of some inherent greatness, or the belief in a blessing by God.

These two conditions seem to be met these days, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: PaulO at September 26, 2004 09:09 PM

And also PaulO, in the case of the Roman Empire, an economey teetering over because too many resources were diverted into entertainment and consumption rather than into production and infastructure.

Oh yes, and the lead poisoning too.

Two more parallels I'd say.

Posted by: Nabakov at September 27, 2004 12:38 AM

Given that the turn over of "sovereignty" happened two days early, and that Bush is now crowing about "being ahead of schedule", I will not be especially surprised when the elections occur a couple of days ahead of schedule too.

Posted by: David Gould at September 27, 2004 02:24 AM

Why, of course the elections will be held early. Why not? Just like the turn over of "sovereignty", things will continue to get worse anyway, but the media will once again use the excuse to forget about Iraq and go back to celebrity trials and/or sex scandals. And neither they nor their public will feel the slightest guilt in doing so.

Posted by: modus potus at September 27, 2004 02:54 AM

Commodus. That is Bush 100% especially the desire to kill while he is protected.

About the Muslims and Hindus: when India and Pakistan were divided by the Brits into the two countries they now are, over a MILLION people were butchered in mass riots.

Now both countries have nukes and have threatened each other with nukes. One possible flash point for WWIII is the disputed lands between both.

Posted by: Elaine Supkis at September 27, 2004 03:10 AM

Leaving aside the laughably thin preinvasion case 'official' Washington proffered for its preemptive invasion of Iraq, the most comic part of THIS aspect of their tragic 'game' is the way they spurned all early, postinvasion offers of help with their butchering of Baghdad....

-------------

Iraq Occupation

Part 1

Plans for Post Invasion Iraq

If both the Bush Administration and the Blair Government misrepresented to their legislatures and peoples, the grounds for their unlawful Invasion of Iraq, at least the Bush Administration was fairly blatant about its post war intention to confine the United Nations to a humanitarian relief role and to carry out an asset stripping exercise in Iraq so as to create a "new Iraq" under US economic and political domination.

The Blair Government had to be more circumspect. While the Neoconservative Republican Right in the USA is virulently anti-UN, the British Labour Party supports the principles and authority of the United Nations. So when Blair sold British participation in the US-led war coalition to the UK Parliament (if not to the British people), he stated during the debate on the war powers resolution that the UN would play a key role in the post war governance of Iraq:-

"There should be a new UN Resolution following any conflict providing not just for humanitarian help but also for the administration and governance in Iraq. That must be done under proper UN authorisation."

In the view of many observers, that assertion was critical to the securing of quite a few hesitant votes.

However, the Blair/Straw/Blunkett troika, who had been ramming the US Neoconservative agenda on Iraq down the throats of a reluctant British Labour Party and public, knew or ought to have known at the time that this was a promise they were to be unlikely to be able to honour.

After all, the Bush Administration's intentions were no secret. They involved limiting the role of the United Nations to the provision of humanitarian aid...

http://www.eurolegal.org/mideast/meiraqrecon.htm

Posted by: Mike at September 27, 2004 03:30 AM

Maybe they'll hand over sovereignty early here too. Maybe it's already happened.

Posted by: dennisS at September 27, 2004 04:50 AM

Maybe not too, dennisS.

If this was all just a joke, the punch-line would be: NOT ONE of 'the players' in government (AND/OR the 'mainstream' media) who 'produced' this 'epic' has received so much as a slap on the wrist*.

Nevermind a pink slip.

And FUGGEDABOUT an indictment...

-------------

* Richard "Prince of Darkness" Perle, being the one POSSIBLE exception** to the general rule.

** George Tenet's 'resignation', since it was for 'disloyalty' (as near as I can figure it) NOT 'incompetence', doesn't count...

Posted by: Mike at September 27, 2004 05:09 AM

Did everyone read the nice human interest story in the NYT today on truck drivers in Iraq?

I wonder why the article did not discuss the Republican economics of the truck driver deals.
Iraq has around 50% unemployment and it would really help the country for the army to hire local truck drivers. We used German and Japanese drivers after WW II. We could hire an Iranian truck driver for about $25,000 a year. Rather, we pay Haliburton $150,000 to hire an American truck driver at $75,000 -- don't ask about what happens to the other $75,000.

Am I out of line to wonder what is wrong with this? Or, is the reporter so use to crony capitalism under Bush that he thinks it is not even worth reporting?

Posted by: spencer at September 27, 2004 05:34 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/27/international/middleeast/27convoy.html

Truckers of Iraq's Pony Express Are Risking It All for a Paycheck
By JAMES GLANZ

SAFWAN, Iraq - They go by names like Mac Daddy, Milkman and Tango One. When a snaking convoy of 18-wheelers is moving smoothly, they are cadillackin'. And when word crackles on the radio that the lead truck has passed from another impossibly rutted, kidney-bruising dirt road onto a stretch of asphalt, they are about to hit the hardball.

A few months ago, many of the truckers were driving for companies like Chick-fil-A and Office Depot. Now, lured by paychecks that are double or triple what they earned in the United States, these civilians are risking their lives - and occasionally losing them - to deliver things as mundane as detergent, spare parts, Froot Loops and fuel across hundreds of miles of hostile desert to the American troops in Iraq.

The scale of the operation is astonishing, with about 700 trucks on Iraqi roads on a typical day. The trucks deliver 40 million gallons of fuel a month, for example, and keep shelves stocked for half a million meals daily at more than 60 military bases across the country. And the fare at those bases is splendid, ranging from Omaha-cut steaks to deep-dish pizza to a respectable chicken Kiev. Whatever judgment history renders on this war, it will always be remembered as well victualed.

Many of the same convoys are heavily populated with Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Egyptians, Somalis and other drivers who receive their orders through translators in dusty staging areas but who take the same risks as the Americans. Few, if any, of the trucks are driven by Iraqis.

The motivations of the American drivers, who cruise the roads of Iraq and Kuwait listening to country music, Top 40 and the chatter on their radios, are not subtle.

"It's all about money," said Ben Gay, a 42-year-old trucker from Tacoma, Wash., who is trying to pay off some credit-card debt. "The main reason I'm over here is just to better my family and myself.''

In addition to a substantial increase in pay - one driver said he made $30,000 a year in the United States and more than $80,000 in Iraq - those who remain in the country for more than 330 days a year earn a sizable tax break as well.

Posted by: Ari at September 27, 2004 07:17 AM

Dubblblind got it correct; the lie is dependent on the definition of "full sovereignty."

Posted by: Ken Houghton at September 27, 2004 07:34 AM

http://www.juancole.com/

Adam Entous of Reuters is too polite to put it this way, but the conclusion is easily extracted from his article that Bush played fast and loose with the facts on Iraq last week.

Bush said that the UN electoral advisers are on the ground. In fact, there are only a handful there because it is so dangerous. Voter registration hasn't been conducted. Almost no preparations have been made, and the poor security situation may prevent them from being accomplished.

Bush spoke of 100,000 "fully trained and equipped" Iraqi soldiers & police.

In fact, only 22,700 Iraqi troops and police have received even minimal training, and only a few thousand are fully trained. The article is worth reading in full, and by the time you get to the end it is clear that Bush was either lying or ignorant, neither of these being a good posture for a president.

Posted by: Ari at September 27, 2004 07:38 AM