NiemanWatchdog.org — Dan Froomkin, Deputy Editor — has two new items that dare ask if the media is being too gullible when it comes to the Bush administration line on the war in Iraq.
Gen. William E. Odom, a former director of the National Security Agency, writes:
If I were a journalist, I would list all the arguments that you hear against pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, the horrible things that people say would happen, and then ask: Aren't they happening already? Would a pullout really make things worse? Maybe it would make things better.
Odom argues that we already have civil war, loss of U.S. credibility and lack of support for the troops. He concludes:
The wisest course for journalists might be to begin sustained investigations of why leading Democrats have failed so miserably to challenge the US occupation of Iraq.
Norman Solomon, media critic and author of the new book, “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death,” asks whether the administration's sudden talk of partial withdrawals has any credibility or whether it's just a feint aimed at the 2006 elections.
Like, you have to ask? Or worse, you need a foundation to get reporters to ask?
It's surely a measure of the alternate reality we inhabit — or that the US is finally being punished for the sins of the early colonists against Native Americans — that the first appearance of questions like these in a outer-circle-of-the-mainstream site like NiemanWatchdog.org is a sign of progress. In any healthy democracy we'd all have been talking about whether and how to pull out of Iraq since the last Democratic convention. And no one would believe anything the administration says about foreign policy (or the environment).
For the record, though, I do believe Bush sometimes. For example, when he talks about wanting creationism (AKA “intelligent design”) to be taught in public schools.
Partial withdrawal? Though there’s officially ABSOLUTELY NO PARALLEL with Vietnam, this is clearly the model. But there the Vietminh/Vietcong didn’t care about Americans as such; they just wanted power in Saigon. So when American soldiers became fewer, they weren’t automatically more at risk. But in Iraq, the main point of the insurgency is to drive out Americans. So fewer = more vulnerable. The better analogy is the French in Algeria, or British withdrawal from Aden. The whole army has to head for the boats at once, leaving local allies to fend for themselves (or more likely, not).
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“Gullibility” is a nice way of putting it. With reporters like Judith Miller and columnists like Robert Novak it is more like “culpability.”
Like any retreat you move to positions prepared in advance covered by our air force. This could be to the North, a safe territory, and towards Kuwait, which would be more problematic. Iran would want to give us a real black eye by proxy. I think we could operate out of the North for a long time. Logistics would be a bigger problem as the Turks would not be too pleased.
The problem would be disguising the preparations for retreat as this would activate even greater numbers of insurgents.
The Kurds would want us to protect them from the Turks, Shia and Sunnis’.
I think this kind of withdrawal is completley doable with few casualties. I hope. I hope.
Hey, I would just be happy if I thought he could explain what evolution is but honestly, what do you think are the odds that he could!