Friday, March 14, 2008

Another Chapter in the Glorious History

"Running on the efficiency and effectiveness of the failed state in Baghdad would be an extremely risky strategy if in fact the US corporate media were telling the American people the truth (or even just anything) about what is actually going on in Iraq and Iraqi politics." --Juan Cole, Feb. 29, 2008

Friday's ATC piece on John McCain begins with Melissa Block noting that "McCain said the liberation of Iraq would provide in his words 'another chapter in the glorious history of the United States.' "

Not a bad start. In fact you might expect a news show to use that little gem of a quote as a set up to show what a miserably ignorant, stupid, deluded, arrogant, violence-prone, and absolutely mistaken assertion that was by a man who now wants to run the country...(definitely a threat level of severe). But, alas, this is embedded public radio, and we are about to get treated to McCain's own spokesperson in residence at NPR, surgin' Scott Horsley.

Here's just a sample of the McMenu that Horsley offers up:
  • "Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina says of all the politicians who visited Iraq in those first months of the war, McCain was neither a hand-wringing opponent nor an uncritical cheerleader."
  • "McCain's opinion was not popular at the time...but military analyst Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution says history has vindicated the former Navy pilot turned politician."
  • "McCain told cadets at the Virginia Military Institute last spring, politicians could either bow to public frustration and accept defeat, or pay the political price to succeed in Iraq."
To back up his assessment of McCain Horsley lets NPR favorite, O'Hanlon, add a little punch to the nonsense of history's vindication. Talking about McCain's years of wanting more troops in Iraq, Mr. Hard Power O'Hanlon sees the wonderful "surge" as proving that ""McCain basically had it right...."

Horsley also trots out Andy Kohut of the Pew Research Center. Kohut drifts from talking about his area of expertise, polls - "there's a growing sense that things are improving in Iraq and about half the public now believes that US troops should remain" - to praising the fraud of McCain's campaign - "McCain can say, 'Look, my judgement about going to war may be different than yours, but the policies that I advocated about the way to pursue the war have been working and he can make the case...for being right to some extent." Consider the Juan Cole quote that opened this post and notice the circuitous nature of Kohut's argument: the public perception has changed and this means policies are "working" and are "right." Like NPR's coverage, McCain's "working" policy doesn't have to have any reference to what's actually happening in Iraq, but only how it's selling back home.


Porter Melmoth said...

M-words: Excellent and helpful analysis of the strategies now in play to keep the Iraq War deception intact, in order to segue into any sort of McCain Admin. I'm sure that NPR, gutless wonder that it is, wants to be on the winning side.

Adm. Fallon's departure from the scene is another victory for Bush/McCain Ventures, Inc.

Anonymous said...

If I were an attentive NoPR listener (and alas I did catch this little episode, about half) I'd suck on my thumb to complete the pacification process.

Here's Missy-poo: "Oooh, looka you, you cwute widdle NPR wistener! That's a good boyyyy!"

Gag me. And bleep them.

Anonymous said...

Please replace "attentive listener" in above post with "loyal supporter." I commend those of you who CAN listen attentively despite being repulsed by what you do hear.

Porter Melmoth said...

Yes b!p!f!(h!)b!, if it weren't for this here blog, I suppose I might have gone over the edge and into the Nationalistic Pothole Reservoir by now . . . . . Can you imagine the horror??

Anonymous said...

Yes, I noticed Cokie Roberts make a similar spurious use of the Pew report a few weeks ago when she was warning, seemingly for the gazillionth time, that there was a "danger" in Democrats criticizing the Iraq war too vociferously and seeming "weak" on national security. Like Horsley, Roberts seemed to regard the public's apparently favorable perception of the U.S. handling of the war as firm evidence that things were pretty hunky dory in Iraq. You don't want to get left behind yammering on about the war while the victory train is leaving the station! her point seemed to be. Perky Renee Montaigne didn't press the issue and tripped merrily on to the next matter at hand, leaving listeners with the impression that the surge has "worked," Iraq is on the mend, la vita รจ bella, case closed.

Hmm, I seem to remember that 10 years ago or so Cokie didn't regard polls as magical proof that a particular U.S. legislative or military initiative was a definite success or urge politicians to gamely fall in line when polls leaned in a particular direction. In fact, she engaged in a great deal of governessy scolding of legislators who seemed prepared, like a majority of the public according to polls at the time, to regard Bill Clinton's sexual indiscretions as peccadillos rather than mortal sins and let him off the impeachment hook. I guess really big important issues like the president getting blow jobs bring out the fearless maverick in Cokie. Polls be damned, brave Cokie exclaims when matters of grave national importance are at stake. Politicians should valiantly shape public opinion in these periods of national crisis, not simply kowtow to it! our Cokie will courageously aver. In the case of a fairly minor affair like a catastrophically mismanaged war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, Cokie's a little more respectful of polls, and a little less of a stalwart iconoclast. A little more respectful of pols too, for that matter! In fact I don't think I've heard a single censorious peep out of her for several years about those who are responsible for this unending bloodbath--she who waxed so eloquent about blow jobs and stained dresses and our sullied presidency and called for censure resolutions against the president. I guess that's because, according to the lunatic logic of Cokie and her beltway insider media cohorts, blowing a country to smithereens and sacrificing thousands upon thousands of lives and our national standing in the world in the process means "being strong on national security." Speaking out about a war that, despite certain recent improvements in the security situation in Iraq, continues to kill hundreds each month, place unsustainable strains our military, and cost billions and billions of dollars is "being weak." Can't have that! So when those polls come out showing folks think the war is going well despite abundant evidence to the contrary, wise Cokie sez: better fall in line, folks! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much NPR's position on Iraq as well.

Porter Melmoth said...

You have just outlined why Cokie & Co. are hardly worthwhile to take seriously as commentators on current events.

This (Mon.) morn, Lourdes Gar-Nav gave what sounded like a fairly objective report on the disaster that is Mosul.

Porter Melmoth said...

At least we haven't had to wade through Garrels & Tarabay's version of Iraq lately.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, thanks for the reminder on why my Monday mornings are just slightly less annoying since I've switched off. Couldn't quite put my finger on it. Coko the chirper, reciting from the signed and sealed Beltway Conventional Wisdom LLC talking points memo. Stale.