Monday, May 5, 2008

Or, How Not To See It

A classic example of how the media continues to get Iraq wrong was in yesterday’s New York Times Op-Ed page. Nine contributors were asked to offer their views on "How To See This Mission Accomplished.” Here’s the intro:
For the fifth anniversary of President Bush’s declaration of the end of “major combat operations” in Iraq, the Op-Ed page asked nine experts on military affairs to identify a significant challenge facing the American and Iraqi leadership today and to propose one specific step to help overcome that challenge.

Nine contributors. Nine “military experts.” Let’s meet them, shall we?

• Nathaniel Fick, former United States Marine Corps officer, now with the Center for a New American Security.

• Anthony H. Cordesman, former National Security Assistant to John McCain, now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

• Frederick Kagan, pro-Iraq War booster and “surge” architect, now at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute.

• Paul D. Eaton, retired Army general in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004, now an advisor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

• L. Paul Bremer III, former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, loyal Bushie and the guy blamed with screwing up the Iraq occupation.

• Danielle Pletka, Ahmad Chalabi’s BFF and pro-Iraq War booster at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute.

• Richard Perle, Neocon and PNACer, and loyal pro-Iraq War booster, now at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute.

• Anne-Marie Slaughter, pro-Bush Administration booster and dean of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.

• Kenneth M. Pollack, the pro-Iraq War booster at the Brookings Institution.

The vast majority of these nine contributors are people who have all been horribly, hopelessly wrong on Iraq. They are almost entirely people who beat the pro-war drums from the beginning, then offered “clap louder” lies and disinformation as it all disintegrated into a pile of shit from which no pony has yet to emerge.

And all nine of these people offer just one viewpoint on Iraq: the military viewpoint. There are no peace activists. There are no human rights activists. There are no diplomats. There are no energy policy experts or even economic policy experts.

It’s atrocious enough that the “liberal” New York Times would deliver an Op-Ed piece on the Iraq War and provide a predominantly pro-war, pro-Bush Administration slate of opinion writers. Failure to ask even one peace activist, UN official or diplomat their views shows how one-sided this “conversation” really is.

But like most news outlets they cover war from a solely military angle. War isn’t just a military exercise. It’s a human exercise. It's involves the entire nation, the entire world. There is far more to the story of war than just what the Pentagon has to say. If we're going to discuss how to "accomplish the mission," asking only a bunch of pro-war people doesn't give us the complete picture.

I’m tired of hearing from the Generals. I’m tired of hearing from Paul Bremer, Richard Perle, Kenneth Pollack and the buffoons at the American Enterprise Institute. These people have been wrong for too long. Why the New York Times continues to give them column space when they’ve yet to be right about anything is a mystery to me.

Let’s hear from some of the people who were right about Iraq for a change. Maybe we'll finally learn something.