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Iraqis? What Iraqis? (Digby)

Read the whole piece, please. Once again the media do what they do best, ignoring the point of view of the rest of the world.


Marc Lynch has a great piece in Foreign Policy pointing out the odd fact that nobody who's talking about the Iraq anniversary has bothered to ask the Iraqis what they think about it. Interesting, no?

And it's a problem:

Myopia has consequences. Failing to listen to those Iraqi voices meant getting important things badly wrong. Most profoundly, the American filter tends to minimize the human costs and existential realities of military occupation and a brutal, nasty war. The savage civil war caused mass displacement and sectarian slaughter that will be remembered for generations. The U.S. occupation also involved massive abuses and shameful episodes, from torture at Abu Ghraib Prison to a massacre of unarmed Iraqis in the city of Haditha. The moral and ethical imperative to incorporate Iraqi perspectives should be obvious.

The habit of treating Iraqis as objects to be manipulated rather than as fully equal human beings -- with their own identities and interests -- isn't just ethically problematic, it's strategically problematic. It helps to explain why so many American analysts failed to anticipate or to prevent the insurgency, why the political institutions the United States designed proved so dysfunctional, why Washington drew the wrong lessons from the Anbar Awakening and the surge, and why so many analysts exaggerated the likely effects of a military withdrawal.


Let's not let a little failure get in the way of a ripping tale of All American know-how. I'm sure we'll be doing the same thing for quite some time. The bipartisan national security consensus says that we may have blundered in the beginning, but we recovered nicely and perfectly executed the dismount. Too bad it's bullshit.

Lynch concludes with this:

Want to understand what went wrong in Iraq in all its complexity and chaos? The Internet is full of Iraqi academics, journalists, NGO leaders, and political activists with interesting perspectives on the invasion. It might also be useful to hear from the refugees, the displaced, and the families who lost everything. They will disagree with each other, have little patience for the pieties of American political debate, and refuse to fit comfortably into analytical boxes. On the 10th anniversary of the invasion, we should be hearing a lot more from them -- and a lot less from the former American officials and pundits who got it wrong the first time.

No kidding.

Deficits are the new Iraq - David Atkins - Hullabaloo.

Happy to find somebody who says what I have been thinking again and again while watching the coverage of the 10 year anniversary of the Iraq War.


I mentioned a few days ago that the failure to prosecute the crime of the century in defrauding the world to invade Iraq is a moral stain that will never fully wash out of the fabric of society until justice is done. It impacts the trust of the military in civilian leadership; it harms the trust of voters in the statements of their government; it destroys the credibility of the nation in eyes of the global community; and it creates an entire generation of new terrorists determined to attack the industrialized world.
To truly learn the lesson of Iraq is to ask oneself what critical policy issue of the day carries the same force of conventional wisdom and marginalization of contrarian voices. What issue of the day is incredibly divisive among normal American people, but has nearly unanimous consensus in the Beltway? What contrarian belief on a matter of major policy earns the same quiet, amused contempt from centrists and conservative Democrats? What policy disagreement earns the outraged ire of conservatives normally designated for enemies of the state? On what subject is it allowed for straight journalists to unequivocally state support for a policy position without the need for a credible opinion from the opposing side? On what topic would a Nobel-prize-winning expert on the subject in question be mocked in person on television by a panel of low-rent pseudo-journalists and failed former Congressmembers as if he had called the moon landing a hoax? On what public policy does the widely accepted conventional wisdom in Washington also very neatly align with the interests of influential corporations and the world's wealthiest individuals?

I speak, of course, of the bipartisan march toward deficit reduction and the bizarre exclusion of Keynesian or countercyclical solutions from acceptable discourse on the economy. It's not the only issue of its kind, but it's the most important.

Make no mistake: find the major issue that creates that creates this uncomfortable dynamic, and you will find the new Iraq. In 2003 it was foreign intervention. In 2013, the issue on which conventional wisdom is so neatly aligned against all reason is deficit reduction. In 2023 it will likely be something else.

But the real lesson of 2003 has far less to do with the rush to war in the Middle East, and far more to do with the rush to exclusionary conventional wisdom among the Very Serious People in Washington.

The danger of using Twitter irresponsibly. NECN announces Patrick's running for a third term.

This one is simply ridiculous, and the fact it was tweeted and retweeted as many times is a pretty good sign that people do not take the time to think and react too quickly.

The idea that Patrick would use such an informal setting to reverse his position on not running for a third term is ludicrous, particularly after he has said so many times he would not run for a third term or run for another elected office. but the person tweeting it is somebody working in a news organization, NECN, and was taken seriously by others.


Does anyone truly think Deval Patrick would announce for a third term at a routine appearance in the middle of a Wednesday?

Yet that's exactly what an unnamed NECN staffer thought -- and prompted tweeted -- to thousands of followers. The resulting firestorm reinforces the wisdom of the old journalism rule "if your mother says she loves you, check it out."
So when he told at audience at UMass-Boston that "Thank you very much for the warm welcome and for hosting us today and for the setup to the announcement that I’ve come here to make, which is that I intend to run for a third term as your Governor" it seemed real enough to at least one person.
Twitter has proven to be a marvelous tool for staying informed -- as long as the tweeps are responsible. You learn who is and isn't by trial and error, and NECN has dinged its brand as a result of the unfiltered reaction.

Kerry: Policymakers 'toy' with oceans by not addressing climate Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs


Secretary of State John Kerry said during a Monday speech in Washington, D.C., that policymakers have "the responsibility as human beings" to combat climate change in defense of oceans and aquatic ecosystems.
Kerry called climate change an economic and national security issue — as well as an environmental one — because it affects oceans, aquatic ecosystems and the food they produce.
“Climate change is coming back in a sense as a serious international issue because people are experiencing it firsthand. The science is screaming at us, literally, demanding that people in positions of public responsibility at least exercise the so-called ‘precautionary principle’ to balance the equities and not knowing completely the outcomes at least understand what is happening and take steps to prevent potential disaster,” Kerry said.
Kerry made the comments at National Geographic Society’s Ross Sea Conservation Reception, where former New Zealand prime minister and current Ambassador Mike Moore and Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr also spoke.
Kerry has spoken often about climate change in his first weeks at Foggy Bottom. He commented Monday that President Obama has put the topic “back on the front burner where it belongs.”
Kerry referenced fossil-fuel energy and climate change in developments that are negatively affecting aquatic ecosystems. He pointed to ocean acidification, pollution, ice melt and sea level rises.

The Good, Racist People - TA-NEHISI COATES


Last month the actor Forest Whitaker was stopped in a Manhattan delicatessen by an employee. Whitaker is one of the pre-eminent actors of his generation, with a diverse and celebrated catalog ranging from “The Great Debaters” to “The Crying Game” to “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.” By now it is likely that he has adjusted to random strangers who can’t get his turn as Idi Amin out of their heads. But the man who approached the Oscar winner at the deli last month was in no mood for autographs. The employee stopped Whitaker, accused him of shoplifting and then promptly frisked him. The act of self-deputization was futile. Whitaker had stolen nothing. On the contrary, he’d been robbed.


In modern America we believe racism to be the property of the uniquely villainous and morally deformed, the ideology of trolls, gorgons and orcs. We believe this even when we are actually being racist. In 1957, neighbors in Levittown, Pa., uniting under the flag of segregation, wrote: “As moral, religious and law-abiding citizens, we feel that we are unprejudiced and undiscriminating in our wish to keep our community a closed community.”

The idea that racism lives in the heart of particularly evil individuals, as opposed to the heart of a democratic society, is reinforcing to anyone who might, from time to time, find their tongue sprinting ahead of their discretion. We can forgive Whitaker’s assailant. Much harder to forgive is all that makes Whitaker stand out in the first place. New York is a city, like most in America, that bears the scars of redlining, blockbusting and urban renewal. The ghost of those policies haunts us in a wealth gap between blacks and whites that has actually gotten worse over the past 20 years.

But much worse, it haunts black people with a kind of invisible violence that is given tell only when the victim happens to be an Oscar winner. The promise of America is that those who play by the rules, who observe the norms of the “middle class,” will be treated as such. But this injunction is only half-enforced when it comes to black people, in large part because we were never meant to be part of the American story. Forest Whitaker fits that bill, and he was addressed as such.

Have A Cookie, Huckleberry - Esquire - Charlie Pierce

Shorter version: Sen Graham : We need AR-15 to protect ourselves against bad black and brown people.


Have A Cookie, Huckleberry
By Charles P. Pierce
at 9:30am

Honest to god, somebody's either got to turn a fire hose on Lindsey Graham, or get him a Thorazine the size of a hubcap. Of all the hypothetical scenarios flying like bats under the Capitol dome yesterday, and there were quite a few of them, Graham decided to go for the gold with an old reliable --Roving Battalions Of Heavily Armed Brown People beyond the social pale.
Well, I'm afraid that world does exist. I think it existed in New Orleans, to some exist in Long Island, it could exist tomorrow if there's a cyber attack against the country and the power grid goes down and the dams are released and chemical plants are discharges. [...] What I'm saying is if my family was in the cross-hairs of gangs that were roaming around New Orleans or any other location, that the turn effect of an AR-15 to protect my family is better than a double-barrel shotgun but the Vice President and I have a disagreement on that.
While I admit (as a man confident in my masculinity) that the vision of Huckleberry Closetcase, barechested with crossed ammo belts and wearing one of those Rambo head-bands while blazing away from behind the honeysuckle on his veranda is a compelling one, and one that resonates historically with why the Second Amendment was so clumsily written in the first place, it's sad that we have come to this again. The roving gangs of armed black people story is one of the enduring myths of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, even given all we've learned about how the actual roving gangs who wandered New Orleans, shooting up innocent people, generally wore badges. That Graham would cite it now, eight years later, and so casually, is one more indication that he's having a full-blown anxiety attack. And, no, you don't need the Enigma Machine to decode what he's up to this time around.

Read more: Have A Cookie, Huckleberry - Esquire http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Panic_In_The_Mind#ixzz2MrtK5Cqn
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