ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Reasons 1,428 and 1,429 to cancel a subscription to the Post-Dispatch

Check out this tidbit noticed by Jamie Allman of 97.1 FM Talk here in St Louis. One story from the NYTimes and reprinted in the St Louis Post-Dispatch completely leaves out the fact that the US is acting as the arbiter between the Sunnis and the Shiites, making sure that the Sunnis are at the table. One gets the impression that the NYTimes or the Post-Dispatch think it's better if they can promote the idea that the US isn't "engaged" in the negotiations.

(No, direct link to the post on the station's site, so reprinted here in full):

A Tale of Two Papers and One Story: NYTimes published story. Post took it and put it into their own paper with Times bylines but WITHOUT key contextual paragraphs that would have added some understanding as to the American role in brokering peace and the Sunni role in jeopardizing it. Why did the Post excise the two important paragraphs? Deleted from Post article: "The Americans said Saturday they had given up trying to broker an agreement after days of frustrating efforts to negotiate on behalf of the minority Sunnis. "We are not going to continue to be the messenger," said a senior American official in Baghdad who declined to be identified, invoking the customary diplomatic anonymity."

** Tim Poor, a Post editor, was nice enough to give Allman and Smash in the Morning a call back to help explain the tale of two stories. Tim says the New York Times prints its version and then sends down both a full version and an abridged version. Local papers can then decide which version to use depending on space. It still doesn't explain why the abridged version aborted all semblance of positive American influence in the constitution negotiations while continuing to include less important aspects of the story. It is amazing that the THIRD paragraph of a New York Times original would be that expendable.

Then, if you need reason 1,429, you can read this smarmy editorial that is off its rockers.
IRAQ: Milestone or millstone?
08/30/2005

IN THE FANTASY WORLD that President George W. Bush inhabits, the failure of Iraqi leaders to agree on a constitution is another inspiring milestone along the road to Iraqi democracy.
[I thought they just drafted a constitution and are sending it to referendum... what did I miss here???]

It's amazing how often these milestones whiz past. Only last week, the Iraqis' previous failure to reach agreement was hailed by the president as a "landmark." When failure is described in such soaring language, one wonders how the president would describe actual success.

Unlike January's elections, which had the desired effect of pulling Iraqis together, the constitution-drafting process has pushed them apart. Religious and ethnic groups are quarreling over oil, federalism, women's rights, the role of religion in society and the country's Arab character.
[But, they're quarreling as part of the political process - not through the use of guns. This is a remarkable achievement for the country and the region. That the Post doesn't recognize this is troubling.]

Ironically, it was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who brought the Sunnis into the constitution-writing process - a strategy that backfired as the Sunnis scuttled the talks.

[...]

Critics of Mr. Bush's war [as opposed to the US' war on terror...] should gain no satisfaction from the mess in Baghdad. Sunni opponents of the constitution paraded in Tikrit with pictures of Saddam Hussein and denounced the constitution in anti-Semitic terms. Saddam plus anti-Semitism is a toxic mix.

We wish Mr. Bush's fantasy were reality, that failure equaled success and wrong turns were landmarks. Both Iraq and the United States would be better off if the Iraqis could reach a consensus that could tamp down the insurgency and allow for a U.S. withdrawal. But wishing does not make it so, nor can hype turn failure into success. It suggests only the depth of the president's desperation.
[Does anyone really think that the P-D wishes things turned out well in Iraq? I mean, after 2 and a half years of ankle biting, we're supposed to think that they're on-board?]

With every absurd boast, it becomes more apparent that Mr. Bush has no idea how to lead the country out of the quagmire he led it into.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler