if the new york times was really bothered by u.s. military proganda efforts aimed at the iraq media why are they running a column by someone who should have been a red flag for them?
backstory: i made c.i. mad today. c.i. had a title for a feature for sunday's the third estate sunday review. c.i. told me the title and i said 'oh, that's a title in the times.' now c.i.'s trying to think up a new title. (c.i. wasn't really mad.) but we were talking about the op-eds, or i was because c.i. avoids them, and i mentioned i was getting real tired of all the men.
i offered that it had paul krugman and thomas friedman and 1 other. c.i. said 'only 1?' i said yeah and c.i. goes, 'that must have been an important op-ed for them to just 1 more.' i mention the name and c.i. says, 'don't you know that name?' i didn't.
i told c.i. to write about it but c.i. doesn't cover the op-eds and told me it was mine.
so, 1st off, 3 op-eds on friday, all men.
the guest op-ed? a stay the course piece of nonsense by a man named seth moulton.
do you know the name? i didn't.
but if you click at this wall street journal op-ed, john r. guardiano writes (in december, 2005):
The latest Iraq "scandal" the politicians and the media have discovered is the U.S. military's alleged covert purchase of favorable articles in the Iraqi press. This alleged "propaganda campaign . . . violates fundamental principles of Western journalism," reports the New York Times.
[. . .]
The U.S. military wisely has decided to pursue the latter course of action. But contrary to the Times and other self-anointed paragons of journalistic virtue, this is nothing new. I know because while serving as a Marine in Iraq in April 2003, I volunteered to write newspaper articles and radio and television scripts for dissemination in-country. Yes, I was a not-so-covert Iraqi journalist.
I say not-so-covert because everyone--U.S. Marines and Iraqis alike--knew who I was and what I was doing. It was not a secret. But I seriously doubt that anyone in Washington knew of our activities. We never sought high-level approval. Ours was a tactical decision made on the ground in response to the threat that we faced.
[. . .]
The radio clips were given to the local radio station in Al Hilla, which aired them as they saw fit. As for television, an enterprising young Harvard graduate and physics major, Marine Corps Lt. Seth Moulton, founded his own television show, "Moulton and Mohamed." (Lt. Moulton, incidentally, is no conservative, but he was a fine Marine Corps officer. His presence in the Marines may show that there is more ideological diversity within the U.S. military than on the typical college faculty or newsroom.)
he founded his own television show?
that's not how wbur's here & now put it:
We speak to producers of a program for Iraqi television in the months following the American invasion. The program was produced under the auspices of the U.S. military. Guests: Former Marine Seth Moulton, Interpreter Mohammed Fawsi
it was made, according to the op-ed, to combat that pesky reality and, according to wbur, it was 'produced under the auspices of the u.s. military.' which is why the op-ed mentions it with the scandal over government propaganda (though the op-ed, it did appear in the wall st. journal, doesn't see it as propaganda). so the question i'd ask is would the new york times also run an op-ed by armstrong williams?
in their bio with the column, the new york times notes: 'seth moulton was a marine infantry officer in iraq from march to september 2003 and from july 2004 to october 2005. he is writing a book about his service.' but they don't note that his original media work was paid for by the u.s. military. if he's writing about the military, shouldn't they note it?
and, 1 more time, would they run a column by armstrong williams?
moutlon can write whatever he wants. he can be paid to write it by whomever wishes to pay him. but if the new york times is going to run the column and he previously was funded by the u.s. military for press work, it seems like that should be noted.
when the times dealt with the government monies going to fund these happy talk pieces, they noted this:
In addition, the document called for the development of ''alternate or diverting messages which divert media and public attention'' to ''deal instantly with the bad news of the day.''
some might conclude that government programs which, as the wall st. journal column noted, included the following were part of what the new york times was writing of above:
One day they reported that fresh medical supplies had arrived at the hospital. They visited a destroyed elementary school that had been rebuilt. They monitored a town council meeting where Iraqis discussed how to increase the availability of electricity. They reported on the 300 new jobs Americans had provided to local Iraqis, charging them with cleaning up Babil province.
seems like an alternate or diverting message. they were farmed out to iraq television stations.
the times article didn't address tv or radio, just print. from where i sit, it was a propaganda campaign and i don't believe that anyone participating should now be given a platform. at the very least, since the times made such a big deal out of these attempts, the bio should note the past participation in these types of programs.
here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'
Friday, September 15, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq and among the dead are US troops; the count of discovered corpses in Baghdad continue to rise, meanwhile the latest US 'answer' is "Castle!"; war resister Darrell Anderson prepares to return to the United States; and Camp Democracy continues in Washington, DC.
Starting with the violence (stick around for the 'answer'), CBS and AP report that five US troops died on Thursday ("making it a particularly bloody day for U.S. forces" -- well not to the New York Times) and that a marine has died today in al Anbar province. al Anbar? For those who missed it, Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported Monday that that Marine Col Pete Devlin's assesment "that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents." Today Will Dunham (Reuters) reports: "U.S. commanders in Iraq have demoted their long effort to subdue insurgents in Anbar province . . . 'Baghdad is our main effort right now,' Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the top U.S. operational commander in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters in a briefing from Iraq."
Staying with the violence.
A senior Interior Ministry official remarks to Reuters, on the continued discovery of corpses, "Forty bodies, 60 bodies -- it's become a daily routine." Friday started with Rebecca Santana (AP) noting the discovery of 30 corpses in Baghdad. AFP gives the announced figures for the last three days as 64 (Wednesday), 20 (Thursday) and 51 (last 24 hours). In addition to those corpses which were discovered in Baghdad, Reuters reports that in Mussayab a corpse "with a missing head" was discovered.
Reuters reports one person was shot dead and five others wounded in Baghdad. AP reports the incident: "In central Baghdad, a gunman opened fire from the top of an abandoned building in a Sunni Arab neighborhood, killing an Iraqi civilian and wounding five others, said police Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali."
Reuters reports a car bomb in Mosul that left nine wounded, while, in Mussayab, a roadside bomb "late on Thursday" left three police officers wounded.
In addition, Al Jazeera reports that a US soldier is missing after Thursday's car bombing in Baghdad that left two troops dead on Thursday and 25 others wounded. AP raises the wounded from that bombing to 30 and notes the missing soldier "has been reported as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown".
AFP reminds: "The United Nations has also warned that Iraq could slide into civil war as the daily bloodshed shows no signs of abating despire political efforts for national reconciliation." CBS and AP report that John Bolton told the UN Security Council yesterday "that Iraq's sectarian killings and kidnappings had increased in the last three months, along with a rise in the numbef of displaced people."
So where does it stand? Even John Bolton's sounding alarms, US troops are pulling out of al Anabar, Reuters reports that the 147,000 American troops in Iraq are "the most since January," and the violence and chaos continue.
But don't fret 'a new plan' finally emerges as the 'answer.'
It's being called trenches which is really implying something it's not. When people think of trenches, they tend to think of trench warfare. What's being described is more along the lines of a mote -- AFP reports that Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf described it this way, "We will surround the city with trenches. The entry to the captial will be permitted through 28 roads, as against 21 at the moment, but at the same time we will seal off dozens of other minor roads with access to Baghdad."
Quote: "We will surround the city with trenches." That's the 'new plan.' Baghdad goes from capital to castle. But not overnight. Al Jazeera notes "an operation of this scale would take months to complete."
In the real world, Cal Perry (CNN) takes a look at the wounded US troops ("more than 20,000" have been "wounded in Iraq") at the 10th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad.
In peace news, Courage to Resist has reported that war resister Darrell Anderson will return to the United States (from Canada): "Support is mounting for Darrell and his courageous stand. Two events are planned in conjunction with his return to the U.S. In Fort Erie on Saturday, Septemeber 30 at Noon there will be a rally in Lions Sugar Bowl and then supporters, including Iraq war veterans and military family members, will accompany Darrell as he crosses the border back into the U.S. over Peace Bridge."
Other peace actions are going on and will be going on including a three-day event in NYC that begins this evening at 7:00 pm, continues Saturday at 7:00 pm and concludes on Sunday at 3:00 pm. What is it? The People Speak directed by Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati. This is a workshop adaptation of Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's Voices of a People's History of the United States. The workshop will take place at The Culture Project's Bleecker Street Theater on 45 Bleecker Street. Tickets are ten dollars and can be ordered online here or here or purchased in person at the box office (box office does not take ticket orders). For those in NYC, or who will be during those dates, click here for a map. The presentation is part of the Impact Festival.
In Washington, DC, Camp Democracy continues, free and open to the public. Today's events have focused on Electoral Reform and include an 8:00 pm (EST) showing of the film Stealing America, Vote by Vote." Among those speaking today were Bob Firtakis. Saturday is peace day and will include Kevin Zeese, Nadine Bloch, Allison Hantschel. CODEPINK's Gael Muphy will report on the visit to Jordan at the start of last month to meet with Iraqis as well as the trip to Lebanon. And war resister Ricky Clousing will discuss the court-martial he's facing. (This may be the first major discussion he's given publicly on the topic since August 11th.)
And on Sunday, Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day. Among those participating: Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson. The camp has daily activities and admission is free. A complete schedule can be found here. Free and open to the public with daily activites.
Finally, in Australia, ABC reports that Brendan Nelson (Defence Minister) will be expanding their role in Iraq when "Italian forces withdraw at the end of next month." Reuters notes this will be 20 troops added to "the extra 38 troops announced on Sept. 4". The 58 need to be weighed next to the intent, as Dan Box (The Australian) reported earlier this week, the Australian government wants to up the army from 2,600 to 30,000 ("its biggest intake since the Vietnam war")
the washington post
thomas e. ricks