I'm not sure how liberals get away with calling themselves "reality based" in light of recent events. Ted Kennedy's quagmire description (evidently any situation more dangerous than bailing out of a sinking car) can't be applied to Iraq by any person with reasonable command of the facts - something that takes about 2 hours of Chrenkoff and milblog reading to acquire. He has personally managed to avoid that, but blog readership is way up, which is certainly good news for conservatives. General Casey tried to speak truth to power but I don't think Kennedy got it.
Congressional Reps visited Gitmo, Sheila Jackson Lee for the third time. (They really enjoyed the food, by they way.) Baldilocks debunks the concept that our troops tidied up the party mess before mom and dad came home, and the idea that "progress" has been made in reducing prisoner abuse. If Lee saw abuse worth reporting on her first two visits, where were the headlines then? The vast right wing media conspiracy must have covered it up.
And finally, Ellen "I'm not a lawyer but I saw one on TV," Tauchser certainly sets the standard for what I'd expect out of my congressional representation. You betcha.
I have to say, I'm really looking forward to seeing how the Dems do in the 2006 and 2008 elections. As Shrek said, they're going the right way for a smacked bottom.
Posted by Laura Curtis at June 27, 2005 10:05 PM
The trackback entry for this page is : http://www.inthehat.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/969
|# June 27th, 2005 10:24 PM Juliette|
|Thanks for the link.
Got a link to Lee's other visits? I want to post an update.
|# June 27th, 2005 10:52 PM kris|
|You know, there's a few insane Dems out there that could suffer, but most of them are from incredibly liberal districts. That's what their constituents want.
I think the Republicans in 2006 and 2008 might be hurting, because, at this point, they are going to be heading into an election campaign with precious little to show in the way of accomplishments. They DIDN'T get all the Presidents nominations through, they've accomplished nothing on Social Security. They haven't cut spending. It seems like so far all they've done is pass some Schiavo-related legislation and a silly flag burning Amendment.
When the Republicans you elect don't act like Republicans, then I think, as a voter, you can reasonably assume that the two major parties are alike and it doens't matter WHO you elect. When the voters feel like that, they're more inclined to get rid of the do-nothing guy and give someone else a chance, even if that someone else is a Democrat.
|# June 27th, 2005 11:09 PM kris|
|Oh, I forgot to add the latest accomplishment: threatening MLB if Soros buys the Nationals. |
|# June 28th, 2005 3:29 AM Laura|
|I agree the Republicans are letting us down. We give them a majority, they give us battered wife syndrome. I really wanted to vote Constitution party last time but couldn't quite bring myself to do it. Maybe next time I will... I did read an article a while back that detailed sucessess of the first 100 days of Bush's second term, but I can't find it now.
Juliette, I'm looking, if I find anything I'll email you. But the fact that nothing comes up for searches on '"Jackson Lee" prisoner abuse' and '"Jackson Lee" Gitmo' and '"Jackson Lee" Guantanamo' other than the stuff this week is telling. She didn't say much or it'd be out there.
|# June 28th, 2005 3:50 AM jonts|
|Bush has doubled the deficit- was 5 trillion when he came to power and its now 10 trillion because of his massive 'lets increase the size' of government program and he has his head stuck in the sand when it comes to realities of war.
Now, im a liberal i used to vote dem, but now bush fits the profile pretty darned well.
|# June 28th, 2005 3:58 AM Laura|
|A rare point of agreement with you, jonts - the massive government increase under Bush is a major disappointment. He was reputed to be a Reagan disciple, but that certainly doesn't apply to his government spending habits. |
|# June 28th, 2005 9:21 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
|Good news in Iraq? So far, I haven't seen anything in Chrenkoff's blog about:
- Reporters (or anyone else not in an armed mass) willing to go outside the Green Zone
- Electricity being on 24x7 in every (or any) major city
- Insurgent attacks -- and deaths resulting therefrom -- irregularly but steadily increasing (http://www.lies.com/wp/2005/06/24/esmay-on-us-deaths-in-iraq/)
- etc., etc.
Would *you* want to live there?
Of course it is not true that no good is happening. But Chrenkoff has -- and admits to -- the same-size blinders on that he accuses the media of. Your suggestion that things in Iraq are peachy-keen (by taking to task somebody who disagrees) is equally disingenuous.
|# June 28th, 2005 9:47 AM kris|
|Since the MSM totally emphasizes problems in Iraq, Chrenkoff's purpose isn't to provide a balanced view with both good and bad news. He's providing good news to balance the deluge of bad news from everyone else. |
|# June 28th, 2005 1:20 PM Laura|
|So anything less than perfection fails to qualify as good news? That's a pretty high bar to set. Electricity exceeds pre-war levels and continues to improve. As does sanitation, health care including vaccinations, education, and a host of other things. Michael Yon and other folks are reporting outside the green zone, if you look you will find them. Also Iraqi bloggers are an invaluable resource if you want something other than IED news. How about a successful election - in spite of all the predictions of failure, chaos, low voter turnout? My main complaint here is that the standards for Iraq and Afghanistan are being set unnaturally high. Compared to the post WWII occupation of Germany until 1955, we are doing phenomenally well. Don't you think all the doom and gloom is disingenuous? |
|# June 28th, 2005 2:59 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
|No, I think the statement about there being more electricity now than before the war is simply false.
From the blog of Dahr Jamail, an Iraqi, dated 5/30/05:
"Yesterday the Iraqi government announced that it may decrease subsidies for fuel and electricity, despite a severe shortage of both in the country, according to the electricity minister who warned Iraqis to prepare for more blackouts this summer.
Ongoing fuel, electricity and drinking water shortages persist, and only 37% of Iraqis have a working sewage system. "
Or from Baghdad Burning, what is now the current entry:
"The electrical situation differs from area to area. On some days, the electricity schedule is two hours of electricity, and then four hours of no electricity. On other days, it’s four hours of electricity to four or six hours of no electricity. The problem is that the last couple of weeks, we don’t have electricity in the mornings for some reason. Our local generator is off until almost 11 am, and the house generator allows for ceiling fans (or “pankas”), the refrigerator, television and a few other appliances. Air conditioners cannot be turned on and the heat is oppressive by 8 am these days."
OK, so those don't show comparison to what was there before the war? (I hear you already. :) ) Try this one:
"So, to summarize the good electricity news: Due to lack of maintenance, electricity production fell from 9000 MW in 1991 to 4400 MW before the war. Since then, there have been many announcements of improved generating capacity and production has fallen further to 3560 MW."
|# June 28th, 2005 3:08 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
|May I also point you to the Brookings Institute's Iraq Index:
On page 25 you'll find a breakdown by month of power generation, for Iraq as a whole and for Baghdad specifically. Baghdad's estimated prewar electrical generation capacity: 2500MW. As of April of this year, the last available figures: 854MW.
|# June 28th, 2005 5:05 PM Laura|
|That, I really appreciate that you took the time to assemble the info you did. And I definitely do agree that all Iraq is not Michael Moore's kite-flying utopia. But here's the latest info I could find on the electricity situation in Iraq:|
USA Today: Posted 6/27/2005 9:54 PM Updated 6/28/2005 10:23 AMI noticed some interesting things in the Brookings report - the huge increase in telephone and internet subscribers, from 0 to 170 independent newspapers and magazines, almost another million kids in school, and apparently Iraqis themselves, even Sunnis, feel that things are going in the right direction. Water service went from 70 to 79%, but satisfaction with electrical service went from 7 down to 4%.Support for the use of violence towards political ends is down from 9% in August to 4% in February and the idea that the armed national opposition might improve things is down 12%. Support for the coalition is up 6%. More than 60% of Iraqis disagree that life was better before the war.
What really interested me was this: In the past year and a half, has your household been directly affected by violence in terms of death, handicap, or significant monetary loss? 77.5% said no. That would seem to agree with the statements we've heard from Bush and Co. that most of the country is stable and doing well, and only a small part is affected by the insurgency.
Now, given all the facts in the Brookings report - not 100% positive but overall very good - and given the fact that you can hardly claim they have a conservative bias, don't you think that things are going better in Iraq than the daily news would have you believe? Isn't calling it a quagmire rather ridiculous?
|# June 28th, 2005 5:10 PM Laura|
|By the way, I realize you did not call it a quagmire - I meant Kennedy is ridiculous. |
|# June 28th, 2005 8:11 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
|While I would not use the word myself, to me "quagmire" would mean we've been stuck there for a while. So it doesn't apply so far because I don't think we've been there long enough yet to qualify. If we still have, say, over 70K troops (half the current force) there in another two years, and we're still taking casualties at our current rate of better (?!?) than two a day, ask me again. :)
But I would also not use the term "very good." "Improving in some significant areas", perhaps. But not improving at all in others, and even backsliding here and there.
"Almost another million kids in school" -- that is certainly a good thing. But I would expect that comes from women going back to school, something that was discouraged under Hussein, rather than any improvement in infrastructure.
"Huge increase in telephone and internet subscribers, ... newspapers..." -- again, because the opportunity is now there, something that was not before.
The polls about the direction of movement are, indeed, very good news. But contrast them with the assertion that 54% of Iraqis believe all Americans would mistreat prisoners like the happenings at Abu Graib, and 61% believe nobody will be punished for the events. A plurality, 33%, blame the "difficult situation in Iraq" primarily on the multinational forces. Over 70% still oppose their presence.
And your 77% of "directly affected" -- those are such weasel words! If your next-door neighbor dies, that doesn't count... if your imam is "detained" by being dragged out of his house with a bag over his head, that doesn't count... the story recounted in the blog entry I cited above ("Saved by Carrots") about the guy who turned back to the other side of the street because his mother asked him to buy carrots, and thus was spared from being hit by a car bomb -- that doesn't count either.
And I notice that you skipped over, on the same page as the number of schoolchildren, the doubling of hepatitis rates... the typical length of a gasoline line (a mile!) ... the difference between the stated goal for commercial air traffic (200 departures) vs actual (45 departures)... and not one of those factors have I heard about in the MSM either.
|# June 28th, 2005 9:05 PM Laura|
|Based on the length of time we were in Germany and Japan post WWII, is another two years really a reasonable expectation?
Overall very good, in context to what life was like for the average Iraqi, is a fair statement in my opinion. The fact that the million new students, etc. is part of my point - we are doing a good work in providing the environment where people can go to school, and we also have spent millions upgrading, rebuilding, and resupplying their schools. Chrenkoff has a lot on that over the last couple of years.
The Iraqis who are outraged about Abu Graib were also bombarded with daily photos, long after the military had intervened, stopped what was going on, investigated and prepared to prosecute the perps. If they had received balanced media coverage, they would have been mad, but understood that the American military as a body are not their enemy, and that we were already dealing with the situation appropriately. The 61% are quite simply wrong but I have no expectations for the media to correct their wrong impressions. That is unless they think we're going to punish our own troops who engaged in criminal activities worse than we treat out of uniform combatants who purposely blend in with civilians; in other wars punishable by death right on the spot. If that's what they expect they need to get their priorities in order.
As to the 77% - you have to draw the line somewhere in defining "affected" and I don't think that's a bad place to draw it. Otherwise the line can be so blurry that it's practically meaningless.
I did engage in a certain amount of cherrypicking, but honestly, don't you find it at all significant that there was so much positive news inside a report by an organization that is in no way carrying water for the Bush administration? That was my point - that a careful reading of the facts out there gives us a great deal more good news than one might expect. And the headlines and MSM articles do not generally include those details.
Most of what's going wrong - less electricity and water than needed, consequently less hygiene, more hepatitis, and car bombs, etc. are attributable to insurgents. We are now making a very pragmatic effort to separate the Sunni and foreign insurgents, and when that happens, we can reasonably expect even more success in Iraq as they will have a much easier time identifying friend from foe. They don't like the foreign insurgents any better than we do - you've heard about the beheadings, enforcement of sharia, etc. in Fallujah, Iraqis don't want that.
All in all, I see quite a lot of encouraging news - I'm not asserting that things are perfect by any means, just that it's not a quagmire or Vietnam, that it's ridiculous to talk about cutting and running, and that we have every reason to expect to win. I suspect we're actually a lot closer on this issue than we are apart.
|# June 28th, 2005 10:04 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
|Late so I'll only hit top point, more later: I would have called Germany and Japan "quagmires" if we were still losing people to combat and insurgencies after four years, yes. :)
I do agree that what good news there is (though on whether that constitutes "very good" we will have to continue to disagree) doesn't get a lot of airplay. But again, look at the local news of any big city: "If it bleeds, it leads."
|# June 29th, 2005 8:16 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
|Again I am in haste, sorry -- my house is going on the market so I have lots to do...
I am not buying the "few bad apples" argument about the prisons. If there were a few, they were higher up, and they certainly haven't been exposed yet. This belief comes from several points: that for the first time in our history we have kicked out international monitoring; that abuse has occurred in widely separated prisons; that "extraordinary rendition" is taking place; that those few bad apples would have had to encompass everyone who saw the prisoners: guards on all shifts, doctors, interrogators, administrators... I could go on. I think this is a reasonable view and I don't blame the Iraqis for sharing it. It will continue until the investigations are made public, international monitoring takes place, and even such a simple thing as publishing a count of people being held, much less their names and suspected crimes...
77%: So you're saying that out of every four houses -- yours, both your next-door neighbors', and the one across the street -- out of every block of four houses, one person has suffered a loss... your block of houses, your brother's block, your cousin's, your best friend's, your boss' (if you are lucky enough to work), everyone's... you think that doesn't count as being "affected"??? Disagree -- too high a bar.
"Most of what's going wrong... are attributable to insurgents." This is true by definition, not exactly a support to your argument. :) I certainly agree that if everybody there were interested in helping the US rebuild we'd be a lot farther along, and that one very quick explosion can ruin the work of weeks or months. But that's the measurement that has to be made: results, not including the amount of work lost.
Of course the idea of quitting and pulling out now is unacceptable. We broke it, we fix it. What I object to is the rosy glow of unfounded belief. I (so far) think we will get there, in time (and even faster if we can quit getting Halliburton and K-whatever-whatever to quit ripping us off, but that's another story.) I just don't think we've hit the halfway point yet, maybe not the 1/4 mark... and certainly not the "last throes."
|# June 29th, 2005 10:06 AM BrianH|
|"I am not buying the "few bad apples" argument about the prisons. If there were a few, they were higher up, and they certainly haven't been exposed yet."
I suppose you also don't buy the argument that Oswald was the single shooter.
" that "extraordinary rendition" is taking place"
Can you define this please, perhaps you mean something other than I'm about to reply to?
Some of the people who have been captured fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq are not from those countries. Our choices regarding these people are:
1. Hold them.
2. Send them back to where they were captured.
3. Send them back to their home country to which they are citizens.
Option 1 is not acceptable to us. We don't consider these people a serious long term threat and don't want to hold them. Do you want us to hold them longer?
Option 2 is not acceptable to Afghanistan or Iraq. These people are not citizens of their country and it is believed they will cause additional problems. This won't happen.
Option 3 is the only one left, unfortunately it's being called a "Human Rights Vioaltion" by people who also aren't happy with option 1.
So your choices are hold them or send them back to their country of origin.
|# June 29th, 2005 11:54 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
|> I suppose you also don't buy the argument that Oswald was the single shooter.
Ah. So if one conspiracy theory is wrong, they all must be? No. I see smoke on this one, and I'm not yet satisfied that there is no fire.
"Extraordinary rendition": Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, was arrested as he was changing planes at JFK (from a trip from Tunisia to Canada) and was sent to Syria rather than Canada. (http://www.sptimes.com/2003/11/16/Columns/Delivering_people_int.shtml)
Not his home country. The government of Canada didn't have a say in it. This was just to get him off our hands? Not hardly. He's back in Canada now, having never been charged with a crime.
Want more cases? Just read Wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_rendition) Nobody's been even charged as a result, much less convicted, although some have disappeared.
And you'll notice these are not people who were caught on the front lines. These are people who we suspect of being friends of people we suspect!
This is not "a matter of convenience." This is not an "oopsie." This is just one of the many plain-and-simple no-buts-about-it violations of the Geneva Conventions being at best tolerated and at worst instigated by this administration.
|# June 29th, 2005 12:02 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
Just rereading messages: of course I wouldn't call Iraq a "quagmire" -- that requires water. :D
|# June 29th, 2005 9:39 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
The Wall Street Journal -- hardly a bastion of liberalism :) -- also disagrees with your comparison of Iraq to Japan and Germany:
"If we could transform Germany and Japan, then why not Iraq? Approximately 150,000 troops occupy Iraq, which has a population of 26 million and shares long open borders with sympathetic Arab and Islamic countries where popular sentiment condemns America. The Iraqi army was dispersed but neither destroyed nor fully disarmed. The country is divided into three armed nations. Its cities are intact.
In contrast, on the day of Germany's surrender, Eisenhower had three million Americans under his command--61 divisions, battle hardened. Other Western forces pushed the total to 4.5 million in 93 divisions. And then there were the Russians, who poured 2.5 million troops into the Berlin sector alone. All in all, close to 10 million soldiers had converged upon a demoralized German population of 70 million that had suffered more than four million dead and 10 million wounded, captured, or missing. No sympathizers existed, no friendly borders. The cities had been razed. Germany had been broken, but even after this was clear, more than 700,000 occupation troops remained, with millions close by. The situation in Japan was much the same: a country with a disciplined, homogenous population, no allies, sealed borders, its cities half burnt, more than three million dead, a million wounded, missing, or captured, its revered emperor having capitulated, and nearly half a million troops in occupation. And whereas both Germany and Japan had been democracies in varying degree, Iraq has been ruled by a succession of terrifying autocrats since the beginning of human history."
|# June 30th, 2005 4:03 AM Laura|
|That, I think your Mark Helprins WSJ editorial only serves to further my position - that the standards are being set unnaturally high where Afghanistan and Iraq are concerned. If all this is true about Germany, and we were still there as an occupying force until 1955, can we reasonably expect to be out of Iraq in less than 5 years, start to finish? I don't think so. But I do think that we will have a gradual pull out as the new government strengthens; that fits with stated Administration positions, the publics wishes, and common sense. My comparison of Iraq to Germany and Japan specifically referred to the length of time we were there post major combat operations - not to operational details.
Also, for an interesting bit of perspective, read this.
|# June 30th, 2005 8:50 AM BrianH|
|"Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, was arrested as he was changing planes at JFK (from a trip from Tunisia to Canada) and was sent to Syria rather than Canada."
I'm familiar with that case. Mr. Arar was on a terrorist list provided to the US by Canada. He happened to hold dual citizenship and was returned to the country of his birth, Syria.
The opinion piece you pointed to does include the bit about Canada telling us that he was a terrorist.
You'll notice most of the cases that fit your spin on "extraordinary rendition" occurred during the Clinton administration.
The other cases listed in the Wikipedia article were either not done by the US or fit into the "captured on the battlefield" group that I mentioned.
Again, do you suggest we hold these people forever or return them to their home countries?
|# June 30th, 2005 8:54 AM BrianH|
|That should be "does not include a the bit about Canada..."