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April 05, 2003
Parts and Minds
From Bill O'Reilly's syndicated column:
The following is what his email said: "The Third (31D) is making history here. In the past 48 hours, we have destroyed two (Iraqi) divisions, and six other divisions decided not to fight or have formally capitulated. Of course, this is never reported in the news. I do daily air recon in a Blackhawk escorted by Apaches, and we have probably killed close to 10,000 (Iraqi soldiers). We are continuously sniped at and receive periodic mortar fire. Bottom line, they shoot-they die. Every American soldier (here) is getting a chance to engage and kill the enemy.
"Iraq has these maniacs, death squad guys called Saddam Feddyen, DGS forces, IIS, and Ba'ath Party forces that we spend most of our day killing. They continuously make suicidal charges at our tanks, brads (fighting vehicles) and checkpoints. We are happy to send them to hell. You would not believe the carnage. Imagine body parts about knee deep, with hundreds of (Iraqi) vehicles burning, occupants inside. We fill up trucks with body parts daily.
"The plan is going exactly as scripted. The news is full of s---. We have almost total control. Don't know how much longer the division can keep up this pace, but we are prepared to do it."
That a colonel busy killing 10,000 Iraqi soldiers still has time to both watch and criticize the media coverage of the war shows you exactly how powerful our forces have become!
And I guess all those embedded reporters talking about the hard conditions in the desert (constant digging, sandstorms, no cigarettes, scant food rations) have been pulling one over on us. It sounds like this colonel has got cable, Internet access, and maybe even the morning edition of the New York Times.
Or maybe he has none of those things, and just figures that the media is misrepresenting things. But the truth is that mass Iraqi surrenders were well-covered in both print and TV in the first days of the war, and I've read plenty of articles that have put Iraqi deaths for specific battles at over 1000 each.
It is true, however, that the TV news reports haven't been showing trucks filled with body parts.
The colonel's implication is that such images aren't being shown because the media wants to portray the war as a failure, and if you ask me, he's got a point. In fact, I see this as the new measure of media patriotism: if you don't show trucks filled with Iraqi body parts, you're anti-American.
The really curious thing, though, is how O'Reilly acts as if he's not a part of the news media that the colonel is criticizing. After all, as the host of cable TV's top-rated news show, O'Reilly is theoretically in a pretty good position to show the American people the unvarnished, knee-deep-in-body-parts truth of this war.
And if he's deliberately declining to do that, as the colonel suggests, why? And why write articles about the news media's failure to cover the war when he has an hour on Fox News each night to cover it himself if he wants? All it would take is a call to Fox's Iraqi-based correspondents: "Get me footage of Iraqi body-part trucks!"
But for some reason, O'Reilly hasn't done this. For all his personal and professional shortcomings, I always figured him for a patriot. Now, however, I'm starting to wonder...
Posted by Greg Beato at 03:52 PM
April 02, 2003
The Sound of Hypocrisy
Steve Dunleavy, who, like Andrew Sullivan, appears to have a decades-long, forcefully passionate, but tragically unconsummated love affair with the United States, suggests that celebrities with anti-war views should be killed for expressing their opinions.
An unsigned editorial in the brazenly anti-American New York Post suggests that the apt penalty for making stupid anti-war remarks is execution by militia.
Several days ago in Florida, 61-year-old Ronald F. Mellor shot 33-year-old bar manager Evgeniy Conykevich (or "Komyakevich," as it is spelled in other reports), reportedly after arguing about the war. Mellor and his semi-automatic handgun were for it; the unlucky bar manager, a Russian immigrant, was against it.
Should Steve Dunleavy, the New York Post, and Richard Condon be charged as accessories to the crime?
Of course not!
But just as many Americans wonder why so few moderate Muslims, especially moderate Muslim-Americans, fail to regularly and emphatically condemn the atrocities committed by Islamist terrorists around the world, isn't it fair to ask why so few pundits are speaking out against crimes committed by advocates of the war?
Indeed, instead of speaking out against such incidents, many, like those cited above, are encouraging them. And many others are uncharacteristically mum on the subject. When some thug in Iraq kills a person simply for expressing his opinion, our liberty-loving ideologues can't say enough about the evils of Saddam's repressive regime, and how we must bring freedom to the oppressed people of Iraq. So when a similar incident happens in our own country, why the overwhelming silence?
Posted by Greg Beato at 10:57 AM
April 01, 2003
Evil Dictator Upgraded
A few days ago, Saddam's status had been downgraded by pundit Ralph Peters to "K-mart Hitler." However, Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clarke recently implied that he is the worst dictator ever: "The Iraqi people will be free of decades and decades and decades of torture and oppression the likes of which I think the world has not ever seen before."
And the most amazing thing about his growing status, of course: he may not even be alive. Ever since the bombs started falling, he's been harder to spot than Blanket Jackson. But what if he really is still breathing, hiding out in his bunker, just waiting to make his triumphant reappearance as soon as we officially declare him dead, like the Freddy Krueger of evil dictators? Only Victoria Clarke will be able to put such a development in its proper perspective, I imagine...
(Link via Cursor.org.)
Posted by Greg Beato at 01:42 PM
The Size and The Shape of It
There have been lots of calls for Peter Arnett's head, and even more jokes about the size and shape of it, but according to Comrade Reynolds, Arnett is "not, technically, guilty of treason!"
And what is it, specifically, that "technically" acquits the big-headed para-traitor? According to the blog Is That Legal?, "The crime of treason also requires proof of an intent to betray the United States, and I can't see any evidence of that here."
OK, so what happens if you apply Reynolds' line of reasoning to other scenarios? Is he saying that if you don't actually kill someone and are thus not charged with murder, you've gotten off on a technicality?
You know, I hear that, technically, Reynolds is a law professor...
Posted by Greg Beato at 08:57 AM
March 31, 2003
With Enemies Like This, Who Needs War Plans?
The U.S. war plan has been under fire for its purported shortcomings and oversights, but how about the Iraqi war plan? I know as much about military tactics as, say, Aaron Brown knows about military tactics, so take everything I say with a sandstorm of salt. Nonetheless, I feel confident in asserting that if a group of military science professors were to assess the performances of the various combatants so far, they would break it down like this: pro-war demonstrators are leading the pack - completely outnumbered by their anti-war counterparts, they still manage to get a comparable amount of TV coverage. Placing second: the U.S. armed forces, who control the majority of Iraq after just a dozen days of combat. Barely finishing in the money: the anti-war protesters, who, despite boasting a worldwide coalition of forces that dwarfs the Coalition of the Willing, have essentially become an afterthought. Bringing up the rear: Saddam and his soldiers...
The Iraqis, of course, are technically overmatched. Their air force appears to have less hangtime than Utah Jazz hardwood-punisher Greg Ostertag. Instead of tanks, they use SUVs and taxis equipped with precision-guided martyrs. Despite growing unrest in neighboring Arab states, nature has been the Iraqis' greatest ally so far. Ultimately, their resources are so limited compared to those of the Coalition of the Well-Armed that weakness becomes their greatest strength. So far, however, they seem unwilling to wholly embrace this concept.
Indeed, when Iraqi forces took several American soldiers captive, they had had a perfect opportunity to generate worlwide support for their cause by treating their POWs humanely. Had they done that, their message would have been clear: we don't want this war; we don't understand why these American aggressors are destroying our country when we were cooperating with UN inspectors and disarming; but still, we'll treat these captured invaders fairly. Instead, they menaced their POWs on camera, and possibly killed some of them off camera, thus living up to their reputation as murderous evildoers who can only be dealt with via extreme force.
Their decision to incorporate civilian women and children in their battle plan has had a similar effect. Such tactics haven't increased their battle prowess - they've still killed remarkably few coalition forces, especially given the high number of casualties they've suffered themselves. Some people suggest that increasing combat effectiveness isn't even a factor in employing such techniques: they're doing it solely to increase the number of civilian casualties, and thus enflame public opinion against American child-killers. But if that's truly the case, it's simply another tactical error: civilian women and children are getting killed anyway, and if Iraqi forces weren't deliberately trying to manufacture such tragedies too, coalition forces wouldn't find it so easy to brush them off as a necessary cost of guerilla warfare. We're just two weeks into this war, however, and thanks to the Iraqi penchant for human shields, the idea of killing civilians, even women and children, already seems to be fairly acceptable.
While the Iraqis have shown a brutal willingness to do whatever it takes to not lose quickly, they have also acted with occasional restraint. So far, for example, the greatest weapon of mass destruction they've unleashed during this conflict is Peter Arnett. And even that backfired: however much Arnett may have boosted Iraqi morale with his musings about the failure of the U.S. war plan and the surprising strength of Iraqi resistance, he boosted American resolve even more. What the Iraqis failed to realize is that the only thing Americans hate more than oil-rich evildoers are liberal journalists. If the Iraqis know what's good for them, they will learn from this failure and resist any further urges to use weapons of mass destruction (Scuds, anthrax, or worst of all, a sympathetic interview with Michael Moore). Indeed, if they ever do resort to such tactics, "annihilation" is going to supercede "liberation" as the war's reigning mandate faster than you can say "Tommy Franks loves his tanks."
In the meantime, the atrocities they commit take the edge off accidental farm slaughter, set the mood for civilian-strafing, divert attention from concerns like the deployment of depleted uranium, and make our own questionable behavior seem tamely trivial in comparison. Short of the mass capitulators we were originally promised, you couldn't ask for a better enemy.
Posted by Greg Beato at 10:28 PM
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