Friday, December 29, 2006

Don Williams New Column

Big media should be ashamed

Let's call it the war cycle. Hawks among our leadership send out the alarm that another country is committing acts of war. Big media repeat those alarms on Page One without double-checking for accuracy. Our leaders quote the stories they planted in The New York Times and others as proof that our enemies are up to no good.

Then, what do you know, Americans catch senior military operatives from some axis-of-evil country doing something dreadful - it's even worse than we thought, they tell us - and the media report this exciting follow-up news. Soon bombs are falling on Baghdad.

This column is about Iran, but let's consider Iraq. Our government said al-Qaida was in cahoots with Saddam Hussein. Without bothering to confirm it, the media parroted that big lie. Next thing you know, Colin Powell is quoting a senior al-Qaida operative at the United Nations, suggesting it's even worse than we thought. Saddam is training al-Qaida in the use of weapons of mass destruction, Powell told the world. American media reported that so-called link.

You'd think reporters and producers would grow more skeptical.

The New York Times is almost as guilty as Fox News in spreading lies that fooled Americans into supporting the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq. Yellow-cake uranium, aluminum tubes for making centrifuges, mobile laboratories for producing anthrax, aerial drones for spreading anthrax across the Eastern Seaboard. These and dozens of other falsehoods led to the sad situation we find ourselves in now.

Well, get ready for Act Two. The same tired drumbeat for war - this time against Iran - is beginning to echo in the land. We in the heartland, where so many of our young sign up for military service, shouldn't be fooled again into supporting unnecessary wars that put our youth at risk and add to the world's misery.

Case in point: Page One reports in The New York Times on Christmas parroted government allegations that American forces caught several Iranians in Baghdad helping radical Shiites plan attacks. You likely paid no more attention to those reports than you did four years ago when the Times, Fox, ABC and others were spreading falsehoods about yellow-cake uranium and Saddam's alleged al-Qaida connections.

But trust me. Your congressmen and senators are following this so-called news. In odd moments away from fund-raising for their next campaigns, they're reading briefs from advisers about what the Times, ABC and Fox are reporting. This passes for getting educated about Iran, apparently, and it's a poor education indeed.

The Times' reports are all too typical of war- cycle journalism.

Pardon me while I barf. This is disgusting journalism. It's sensational warmongering that plays into the hands of those who would like nothing better than to see us dropping lots of bombs on Iran. Sure, there are Iranians in next-door Iraq. I'd wager there are Tenneseans in Kentucky. Certainly, some Iranians are aiding their Shia brethren in Iraq.

That's what happens when you blow the lid off places with porous borders and unruly governance. But The New York Times should be ashamed for playing these stories at all - much less Page One - without verifying just what an Iranian "senior military official" is, the exact nature of those videos, photographs and maps, and providing context. So what if Iranians are in neighboring Iraq? What would you expect? Most of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. So what?

We in the media and many in government pay lip service to peace, but what motivates most reporters and politicians is the adrenaline rush of the big story. War sells papers, glues us to our TVs and increases the worth of weapons stock. But one of the many problems with war-cycle journalism is that it humiliates and discredits those working for peace.

It ensures that hardliners will take charge of nations we designate as evil. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and makes future wars inevitable. Please, don't be a party to it. Question. Write letters. Read a book about the history of Iran. Tell your congressmen to get educated and not become part of the war cycle that threatens to end our world as we know it.

More later.

Don Williams is the founding editor of New Millennium Writings. You may write to him at P.O. Box 2463, Knoxville, TN 37901, e-mail him at or phone him at 865-428-0389.


Micki said...

Bush Administration Plans for a US War vs. Iran by Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich cites several mainstream news outlets in this September 2006 letter as reporting on U.S. efforts to destablize Iran. With all due respect to Don Williams, I think it's unprofessional -- and counterproductive -- to paint the media negatively with such a broad brush. Do they always get it right? Of course not. Newsgathering is not an easy task. Responsible journalists seek several sources for validation before committing their reporting to print or broadcast.

Timeline on the Uranium Imbroglio, as reported by ABC News

The above timeline was reported on October 1, 2003 -- now granted, bush's War of Choice on Iraq was already underway, but if anyone thinks that ALL media were sloppy in their pre-war reporting on the yellowcake claims, I respectfully disagree.

I think we should be more concerned with the bush administration's anti-democratic efforts to usePRIOR RESTRAINT on the media than on second-guessing and maligning the reportorial skills of journalists who try, with due diligence, to get the story right.

I totally agree with Don Williams that we citizens should voice our opinions to our elected reps, local newsppaper editors, etc.

Be very wary of the bush gang and its increased attacks on the media -- PRIOR RESTRAINT will be the name of the game to silence the free press.

bush and his boyfriends want us to hate the media -- don't help them in their game.

DEN said...

Micki, the Bush gang has perfected the misinformation machine and Faux news the mouthpiece for that, with most of the lessor minds receiving their input from them, they believe crap hook line and sinker. Spew crap and they will come.

How can folks distinguish filtered news from propaganda, who speaks the truth and how would you know truth if you saw it?

Right now truth is a more precious commodity than gold, increasingly more difficult to find and priceless when told.

O'Reilly said...

Most of the bloggers at Dancing With Fools don't trust the BUsh perspective of the Bush adminstration in matters of foriegn policy. It is for the simple reason that their judgemnet and decision-making in the Iraq debacle was dead wrong and they haven't demonstrated any understanding of what is so clear to us.

Whether the NYT got corroboration for thier news about Iranians captured in Iraq planning attacks is a reasonable question. If it is not obvious from the article, write the editor, better yet, write the public editor and ask whether they will publsh a description of the corroborating source. You can explain why this journalistic detail is so important to the readship in light of the distortion of facts in the run up to the Iraq war.

The concern is reasonable. Me thinks the NYTs is more likely to share that concern than not.

The problem is the Bush administration. Contact your senator and representative and tell them you don;t want to see the same bullshit, march to war, propaganda coming from 1600 Pennslavania Ave. If there is a case for war, it should be made honestly. (I don't think I can be made... honestly.)

I thinnk it would be

Carey said...

I'm having some trouble with the computer this morning. Nothing serious. I haven't read this mornings posts yet but wanted to get this out. This article will be followed by the quote I wanted to accompany it.


David S. Larsen
3000 soldiers fighting for the American army are dead, and the world is a better place for it. It's hard to understand. I don't really believe it inside myself, but it must be true, because the President said it is so. 3000 dead, and the world is a better place. And no matter how many more die, it's going to be okay, because that's the price we're willing to pay to capture a 75 year old scapegoat and put him in a cage, and kill him.

Of course that's only one small part of the payment. We've also paid with the blood of what may eventually exceed a million other people, few of whom could have been considered an enemy, but whose surviving friends and relatives must certainly be enemies now.

Yes, Saddam Hussein became ever more valuable, like the vanishing natural resource his country symbolizes. As his life grew shorter, the cost in blood and treasure spiraled exponentially higher. We have made him that valuable.

Just how valuable was Saddam? What exactly are we to pay for the pleasure of having one old man in a cage like a captive bear, kept alive for his bile, only to be killed when his bile proved not to be the cure for what ails us? Well, whatever we've had to pay, it must have been worth it. The Secretary of State has said it is so.

America's credibility. No country in its right mind can believe anything that comes out of Washington anymore, and only time will tell if this is the beginning of a long slow decline for America, or whether it will be able to remember the things that made it great, and by imitating its past somehow restore the patina of goodness that has always enabled its plans for guiding the unfolding of the world.

America's credibility, spent to make Saddam the most valuable man in the history of the world. Thank goodness we possessed him however briefly. He was a jewel of infinite worth, if it costs 3000 troops, and 600,000 civilians, and America's credibility. But, it is surely worth it, because the Secretary of Defense has said it is so.

Will we ever be able to tally just how valuable a man was Saddam Hussein? Probably not. Probably it will be a point of argument forever, a point where friends agree to disagree, but we can state with certainty that in order to put this man on our mantle, we've gladly spent our moral authority. Once the world leader in human rights, we didn't think twice about snuffing out the light that guided the world, we just did it. We discarded our respect for human rights and the rule of law, and we embraced kidnapping and torture. To get a guy that valuable, it was all worth it. The Attorney General has said it is so.

Human rights, America's credibility, 600,000 civilians, and 3,000 troops. And one more thing, a trifling consideration really, and the least of the costs, but just to be accurate it must be added into the total. Two trillion dollars, to be paid in the form of stumbling blocks handed out at birth to future generations of Americans. Add it all up, and it's hard to understand with your brain how the world could be a better place, but when the President speaks, I don't go with my brain, I go with my gut. Don't you? 3,000 soldiers dead, and the world is a better place.

Carey said...

“If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone 'America died from a delusion that she had moral leadership'.” ---Will Rogers

Carey said...

I really think the import of Williams' column is that the drums are beating to invade Iran. All systems seem on the ready. We've known for a long time that this might happen. It seems that hour is near.

The Iranian officials arrested in Iraq were invited in, so claim Iraqi officials. I can see huffing and puffing on both sides of the coin here (Iran and the U.S.). It is definitely, however, an indication, just like pre-Iraq techniques, that the administration is planning the worst.

The biggest question is: With what? Our military is devastated.

If your looking for motivation, obviously, as David Corn pointed out, it can't be oil. But that may be attributing too much intelligence to Bushco. I think Seymour Hersh's idea that it's all about Bush legacy crap is more on the button. Remember how Bush views himself, as God's gift, God talks to him and Bush does his bidding.

I agree with Micki that the press is culpapble in many ways, but one should not bad-mouth them too often. They do hard work and they're not very good at policing themselves. Reason: It's all corporate BS--profits alone rule.

Carey said...

I haven't been a fan of LA Times editorials since the Chicago Tribune company purchased the paper. It used to be a little less to the right. Sometimes they surprise me. Here's a little background on the new oil law for Iraq being proposed in Congress.

Iraq War is "War For Oil"--Los Angeles Times

Carey said...

I'm sure most of you have probably read this, but I just saw it and was delighted. Gerald, you are in good company.

Wayne Madsen

December 28-31, 2006 -- It is not often when this publication publicly thanks Fox News. On December 19, Fox News provided a list of quotes from individuals who have likened the Bush administration to the regime of Adolf Hitler. This editor was included on Fox's list. But what a list! Fox's inclusion of this editor on a list with Al Gore, John Glenn, Nelson Mandela, Julian Bond, Garrison Keillor, and Linda Ronstadt is taken as a gracious compliment.

Carey said...

Saladin posted this on AR and it's well-worth reading. It's a little hard on Dems, but I have to admit I harbor these fears. Iraq is such a sticky situation and the Repugs have painted a very thory road for Dems. Now, factor in Iran and, lo and behold, everybody's f&%*ked.

Sell-Out Democrats Have Walked
Right Into A Bush Trap On Iraq

By Dave Lindorff

The Democratic Party and its feckless leaders in Congress are about to fall into a trap. The trap is being sprung by President Bush and his too clever brain trust, but the sad fact is that it was actually laid by the Democrats themselves.

Taking over the Congress on a wave of popular revulsion at the twin catastrophes in Iraq and Afghanistan, Democrats could have issued immediate calls for an end to those wars, a return of the troops, and investigations into the criminal causes of those costly fiascos. They could have initiated efforts to halt funding for further war and foreign occupation. Of course, taking such stands and actions would have opened them to charges of being "soft on terror," but the public clearly isn't buying that crap any more. With a little courage and leadership they could have handled it, and come out winners.

Instead, they took what they thought was the easy road, condemning not the criminal policies themselves, but only the administration's handling of the wars. This led some to call not for an end to the wars, but for more troops.

Now, Bush has called their bluff by proposing just that: more troops for Iraq (the so-called "surge" option), and a major expansion of the army over the longer term--the better to allow the president to invade other countries even as the nation is already mired in two losing wars.

And what are the Democrats in Congress going to do? Devoid of any principles, their chance to demand an end to reckless imperialist military adventures squandered, they are likely to fall in line and vote to fund both an escalation of the Iraq War and an expansion of the military.

It's a double win for Bush. He gets the funding for more war right through the end of his second term of office, allowing him to hand the Iraq quagmire to the next president, making it someone else's job to take the blame for the eventually unavoidable loss. And he gets a bigger defense budget and more troops to play with--perhaps as much as a 10 percent increase in total combat troops.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the allegedly liberal, allegedly anti-war incoming speaker of the House, and incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry "send-in-the-cavalry" Reid can kiss their much touted "First 100 Hours" progressive agenda goodbye. With all the new money that will have to be thrown into the Pentagon sinkhole, there won't be a dime for domestic spending.

The Pentagon budgeters claim deceptively that every increase of 10,000 new troops adds another $1.5 billion in defense costs, which makes a 50,000 increase in troop strength sound like a manageable $7.5 billion extra--a drop in the bucket of a $500-billion defense budget. But this figure is grossly misleading. First of all it doesn't include the back-end costs of pensions, benefits and support costs, and the interest on the debt, which taken together at least double the figure to over $15 billion a year. But more importantly, it doesn't factor in the costs when those extra troops are actually sent into battle, where the costs of support, equipment, equipment replacement, medical and long-term care can explode. And make no mistake, the purpose of adding troops to the U.S. active-duty roster is to use them for further war-mongering and further imperial adventurism.

Singer John Fogerty had it right: this is déjà vu all over again.

"Surge" is the new escalation, and we're set to repeat this tragedy, with Democrats (the new "sucker"), who had a chance to call a halt to the nonsense, instead stupidly joining the mad charge.

The end result of this betrayal of the electorate, which has made it clear it wants an end to the Iraq War, will be a collapse of the Democrats in 2008, with the party losing both houses of Congress and probably the White House too. It will be a richly deserved collapse.

While the hour is late, there is yet a slim chance for the public to rescue the Democrats from this course of political suicide and the nation from disaster. If masses of committed people from all walks of life take to the streets on January 27, when United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and Impeach for Change are planning a major demonstration against war and against the crimes of the Bush administration, maybe enough Democrats in Congress will realize the intensity of public opposition to further pointless mayhem and slaughter in the Middle East, and will realize the only option is to pull the plug on the president's imperialist megalomania--and to initiate impeachment hearings against the president.

I realize counting on Democrats to do the right thing, even in their own self-interest, is a thin reed on which to rest hopes for a return to national sanity, but we need to grasp it.

Carey said...

I knew this would be in Bush's Saturday radio address.

The President's Praise of Fair Trials and the Rule of Law

Gerald said...

Whenever Hitler Bush talks of fair trials and the rule of law, I puke, vomit, upchuck, barf, and throw-up.

When America declines into death, the tombstone will read, AMERICA DIED FROM A DELUSION THAT SHE HAD MORAL LEADERSHIP. Will Rogers


Gerald said...

Will we welcome in 2007 with 3,000 American soldiers killed in Iraq and over 10,100+ soliers so maimed that they will never have normal lives?

Gerald said...

Broken Promises

Gerald said...

A Draft Dodging Son of a Bush

Carey said...

Seymour Hersh posted this exceptonal article in a November edition of The New Yorker.

The Next Act

Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?

Excerpts include:

The view that there is a nexus between Iran and Iraq has been endorsed by Condoleezza Rice, who said last month that Iran “does need to understand that it is not going to improve its own situation by stirring instability in Iraq,” and by the President, who said, in August, that “Iran is backing armed groups in the hope of stopping democracy from taking hold” in Iraq. The government consultant told me, “More and more people see the weakening of Iran as the only way to save Iraq.”

The consultant added that for some advocates of military action, “the goal in Iran is not regime change but a strike that will send a signal that America still can accomplish its goals....

In the current issue of Foreign Policy, Joshua Muravchik, a prominent neoconservative, argued that the Administration had little choice. “Make no mistake: President Bush will need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities before leaving office,” he wrote. The President would be bitterly criticized for a preëmptive attack on Iran, Muravchik said, and so neoconservatives “need to pave the way intellectually now and be prepared to defend the action when it comes.”

The main Middle East expert on the Vice-President’s staff is David Wurmser, a neoconservative who was a strident advocate for the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Like many in Washington, Wurmser “believes that, so far, there’s been no price tag on Iran for its nuclear efforts and for its continuing agitation and intervention inside Iraq,” the consultant said. But, unlike those in the Administration who are calling for limited strikes, Wurmser and others in Cheney’s office “want to end the regime,” the consultant said. “They argue that there can be no settlement of the Iraq war without regime change in Iran.”

Once Gates is installed at the Pentagon, he will have to contend with Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Rumsfeld legacy—and Dick Cheney. A former senior Bush Administration official, who has also worked with Gates, told me that Gates was well aware of the difficulties of his new job. He added that Gates would not simply endorse the Administration’s policies and say, “with a flag waving, ‘Go, go’ ”—especially at the cost of his own reputation. “He does not want to see thirty-five years of government service go out the window,” the former official said. However, on the question of whether Gates would actively stand up to Cheney, the former official said, after a pause, “I don’t know.”

Cheney’s...saying that, whatever a Democratic Congress might do next year to limit the President’s authority, the Administration would find a way to work around it.

Such ways would be reminiscent of those used in the Iran-Contra scandal I presume, just less naive.

Gerald said...

Here is how I will welcome in the New Year in our forsaken land

Gerald said...

Then I will follow the breaking wind with!!!

Gerald said...

I am looking forward to a great New Year's Eve.

Micki said...

Impeachment: A Note of Caution

Micki said...

Poll: More Troops Unhappy With bush's Course in Iraq From The Military Times

Well, they may be unhappy with bush's course but...

"...Almost half of those responding think we need more troops in Iraq than we have there now. A surprising 13 percent said we should have no troops there. As for Afghanistan force levels, 39 percent think we need more troops there. But while they want more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly three-quarters of the respondents think today's military is stretched too thin to be effective...."

"...While approval of Bush's handling of the war has plunged, approval for his overall performance as president remains high at 52 percent. While that is down from his high of 71 percent in 2004, it is still far above the approval ratings of the general population, where that number has fallen into the 30s...."

Micki said...

Why do we glorify the military?

©¿rol said...

Micki, your Joel Wendland article was very good. It explains priorities, good sense and why an emotional outburst of jumping into impeachment is a loser.

Micki said...

Carol, well said!

©¿rol said...

Yes, why DO we glorify the military?

Alan said...

I'm home from UFC 66. Actually, I've been home awhile, but I caught up with the physics forum first, and now I'm checking in here.
UFC = Ultimate Fighting Championship
Any fight fans here? I've always been a fan of boxing... but this new shyt is exciting! Anything goes, 'cept kicking in the nuts and ripping eyes/lips/cheeks out.
haha *you damn ruffians got no class!!! lol

There were several knockouts and one submission (fighter taps out where the ref sees he's giving up). Thing is... this guy was in a choke hold and was literally unconcious before he could tap out. Ha!
A defenseless opponent is no opponent at all...

K, continue on with the politics... just thought I'd update you guys on a topic NOT EVEN connected. hey

Alan said...

O'Reilly, you hang at the 'other' site alot (alternate reality). Will you pass a message or two for me? Tell the wacko James I said "hey"... as crazy as he is, I still like the guy. Tell Saladin she's still full of it and not a thing she's said has come true yet. haha Her 'troothers' movement has collapsed even more since the 'old days' at david corn's site. Tell Capt he's still a pussy and would rather post quotes than face up to someone man-to-man. *laughs* If I ever met him in person I'd slap him like the bitch he is. hahahaha

*if it was a man you have a beef with, you'd use a fist... it shows a spot of respect, if only in an off-hand way... that others don't understand

hey Capt, you got my address... come see me if you don't like this post hahahahahaha

Jeanne said...

Hey Den,
I think we should do a week long thing on what we think is an important story of 2006.

DEN said...

Alan, you have a beef with the folks at AR?

Time out pal, better to address them directly.

Jeanne said...

Alan is this acceptable in your UFC?

Woman Charged With Malicious Castration

I think this woman needs to be locked up for many many years. Her impulse control is a little off.

Micki said...

While You Were at War . . .By Richard A. Clarke Sunday, December 31, 2006

A concise, but too long, list of opportunities lost because of the ineptitude, arrogance, and stupidity of the bush administration.

Are you better off than you were six years ago, world?

Micki said...

Interesting idea, Jeanne. 2006? Shall we be prescient and make it 2007?

Jeanne said...

Not only are we not better off when you consider the "War on Terror" but also global warming. It's December 31 and it's raining as I write this. I've never seen a season like this. It was warm last year but this year is like Kansas weather. I don't like winter but I like the alternative even less. Winter in MN is supposed to be winter. This reminds me of watching a impending storm approach. This isn't good.

Jeanne said...

Oh...Micki...I was watching John Edwards on C&L a few minutes ago. I even commented. I will vote for him. That guy knows reality and he understands what it is to be a strong citizen unlike the present who sleeps through the Saddam hanging.

Jeanne said...

I think the apt punishment for Cheney and Bush would be that they live long enough for all their damage to affect them. I'd like to see them live another 100 years.

Micki said...

Jeanne, as Mark Twain said, Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get -- and the weather we're getting is just not right.

Poor Earth.

BTW, where is Dr. B?

Micki said...

Jeanne, even before John Edwards got the veep slot on the Dem ticket last go 'round, I was attracted to his down-to-earthiness. He's smart as hell. What did you say @ C&L? I guess I can go look...

Micki said...

No good looking back and focusing on woulda, coulda, shoulda...but, if the Kerry "advisers" had utilized John Edwards abundant talents better in the '04 campaign, there would be two Johns in the White House right now.

Jeanne said...

Look what I just found. This is great. A UNION!!! I can tell my dad I'm a union person.

United Professionals

Guess who it was started by. Guess. Barbara Ehrenreich

I've already sent a letter to Congress. I think this is a really good thing. It was so good she got a grant to start it.

Jeanne said...

Micki, this is what I wrote.

John Edwards has my vote. The guy knows what has to be done. He for one looks at this nation in a healthy way. We are all a part of this nation. We all have a responsibility to make it work but at the same time we all must be there for each other. Who is working hard in this country to make our cities work? Look around in your communities. In my community many of the hardest working and the people most respectful of American values are the immigrants. They are cleaning up communities.

Another thing about what John Edwards said. The war effort doesn't just necessarily mean an Iraq war effort. We need to put the same energy into the energy crisis but also global warming. It's December 31 in Minnesota and I'm listening to rain. There is climate change. I don't want to hear about Denver's snowstorms. When it rains this consistantly in MN this late in the year WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

DEN said...