Stay the course?
I wish that Mark Schoenrock would tell us where to find the "so-called" left-leaning media he talks about in his October 27th column in the Highlands Ranch Herald. He makes several sweeping claims about one-sided coverage of George W. Bush's war in Iraq, yet fails to provide a single example of bias. In fact, Schoenrock is the one who is biased, week after mind-numbing week. It is a favorite technique of the propagandist to make unsubstantiated claims that are used as the premise for a false argument, and Schoenrock is a true master.
When talking about the "global war on terror" it is important to remember that Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaeda's terrorist actions on September 11, 2001. The September 11 commission reported that there was "no credible evidence" that Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaeda target the United States, contradicting one of the Bush administration main reasons for invading Iraq.
Schoenrock says that we must "stay the course," but what course is that, exactly? The only course that we have seen out of the Bush administration is full of reversals and zig-zags.
On September, 17, 2001, Bush said that Osama bin Laden was the "prime suspect" in the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. On March 13, 2002, talking about Osama bin Laden, Bush said, "...I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him." If Bush doesn't worry about al-Queda, why should we?
In August, 2003, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said, "Let us be very clear about why we went to war against Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein's regime posed a threat to the security of the United States and the world. This was a regime that had pursued, had used, and possessed weapons of mass destruction." Weapons inspectors have since verified that there were no weapons of mass destruction of any significance in Iraq after 1994. The weapons inspectors said nothing about al-Qaeda.
In November, 2003, Bush changed his mind. WMDs and national security were no longer mentioned. Bush's war in Iraq was now part of an American obligation to extend freedom and democracy throughout the Middle East. Bush said nothing about al-Qaeda.
Dick Cheney is still claiming that Saddam Hussein and al-Queda had worked together, implying that Hussein was personally involved with al-Qaeda's terrorist actions on September 11, 2001, even though no evidence has been found to support this claim. But, there is no harm in stretching the truth, is there?
This week, Bush has a new reason. Bush wants to sacrifice American troops to keep Iraqi oil fields out of the hands of insurgents, even though he has insisted all along that oil had nothing to do with invading Iraq. Again, Bush said nothing about al-Qaeda.
The truth of the matter is that Bush and Cheney, et al, wanted to remove Saddam Hussein through any means necessary, and they justified their decision by fixing intelligence regarding terrorism and WMD. Those are the facts, and the "so-called liberal media" has done a terrible job of reporting them. Let's also not forget that high-ranking officials within the Bush administration committed treason in mid-2003 when they disclosed the name of an undercover CIA agent in a bungled attempt to silence critics of their Iraq war policies, and then tried to cover up their actions.
Schoenrock fails to mention that the language on Islam in the new Iraqi constitution gives male Muslim clerics heavy influence over legal matters. Such clerics have supported laws that allow men to beat their wives, give men more inheritance rights than women, and consider a woman's testimony to be worth less than a man's when it comes to legal disputes. That doesn't sound like good news for Iraqi women, does it?
Schoenrock tells us that 116 Iraqi military and police battalions are operational, whatever that means. Yet, America's top generals testified before the U.S. Senate just a couple of weeks ago that the war in Iraq is going worse than ever, and that only 1 out of 119 Iraqi army and security battalions can operate by itself in combat situations without U.S. military backup. This means that after 30 months of U.S. efforts, only 750 men out of 200,000 can be relied upon to operate and obey orders independently in combat situations. Does that sound like good news?
Schoenrock claims that opposition to Bush's war in Iraq is rooted in hatred of Bush himself. Unfortunately, most right-leaning pundits seem to have a double standard regarding dissent, depending on who is president at the time. Fox News' Sean Hannity (Hannity & Colmes, 4/6/99) expressed his opposition to the Clinton administration’s 1999 Kosovo actions by saying, "Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life." To the pundits, Hannity's remarks were responsible criticism of the government. However, when MSNBC host Phil Donahue (Donahue, 2/13/03) said of the Iraq war, "We're sending 250,000 of our young men and women to die so that somebody in Washington can prove they're tough. It's not us. We're not the ones that are going to die, they are." he was called disloyal, anti-American, and even treasonous.
In 1999, speaking about Bill Clinton's policy for Kosovo, Congressman Tom Delay said, "I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today." Who would have guessed that Delay was psychic, and able to see four years into the future? I am curious, though, about why he doesn't say the same thing about Bush's policy for Iraq today!
George W. Bush failed as a leader because he did not keep talking until his administration found a peaceful way to deal with Iraq. The lives of over 2,000 of our troops and the lives of nearly 30,000 Iraqi civilians have been sacrificed because Bush “ran out of patience.” Bush is supposed to be a religious man, but I think Bush would do well to spend more time with his Bible. From Proverbs 16:32, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city .” From 1 Peter 3:8-9, “Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing.” It takes a strong man to be patient and to love his enemies. Unfortunately for all of us, George W. Bush is not that man.
Schoenrock says that the media doesn't report the good news in Iraq because of media bias. The sad truth is that the media doesn't report the good news in Iraq because there isn't any good news to report.