Monday, December 05, 2005

Like spectators to a man on a building ledge

Joe Gandelman posts on this AP report via Editor and Publisher: AP Shocker: Iraq VP Disputes Bush on Training of Forces and suggests that this will add to the credibility troubles for Bush.

Well, Bush is wrong about everything and everything is his fault no matter what, so why not. Bush could take three straight weeks, 24/7, explaining policy in the utmost detail and advocacy groups like AP, Reuters, or the NYT will find something to publish to show he 'glossed over' or 'ignored' so that he can be portrayed as misleading the country or, worse, out of touch. So Bush sees progressionand al-Yawer sees regression here. I see it as amazing that The Shi'ites hadn't massacred half the Sunni population by last January considering the amount of carnage they, predominately, perpetrate, aid or abet.

The US will be leaving long before the last scandal occurs in the history of this modern Iraq, whether corruption in a ministry, voting irregularities, or a bad segment in their military. And, of course, the measurement of our success in any endeavor there will always fall short of someone's expectation, just as al-Yawer's does now vis-a-vis Bush's. Where's the utopia, guys?

It is amazing that somehow Bush's credibility is the one being questioned in this specific regard, but what good is reasoned analysis if it gets in the way of a good headline for AP (which I'd note has been changed by AP for the same report, here unless that is E&P's own headline) or The Moderate Voice. But I'll ask where is al_Yawer's credibility rating? Where's AP's? I don't see that AP points to any interview transcript. Mightn't they have skewed al_Yawer's responses? And what, exactly, were the questions asked? I'd love to see those. (And I love AP's bed-spooning phrase "... he said in an interview with The Associated Press and a U.S. newspaper at a conference here ....", as if it has to be some huge secret when they'd jump at the chance report a name if it weren't one of colleagues.)

Here's two assertions al_Yawer, I have to say, threw out there without substantiation and I say, "I have to say" because either he didn't or AP left out that substantiation:

In addition, some Iraqi military commanders have been dismissed for political reasons, rather than judged on merit, he said.

He said the army — also dominated by Shiites — is conducting raids against villages and towns in Sunni and mixed areas of Iraq, rather than targeting specific insurgents — a tactic he said reminded many Sunnis of Saddam Hussein-era raids.
Gve me examples and maybe I'll believe them but if the first turns out to be just a question of perception, let me decide. And if the second is primarily general or specific references to the combined Coaliton-Iraqi operations that Bill Roggio has been reporting on for months, I'll say al-Yawer has to do a lot more narrowing than that.

Finally, I'm a little disgusted with the superficial weighting of "Bush is playing politics" and "al_Yawer is correcting the record" in both E&P's and The Moderate Voice's playing of this story. I suppose they know that al_Yawer would never play politics or try to skew the perception of the Iraqi military's progress, only Bush does.

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