Thursday, August 25, 2005

Consider the communis rixatrix.

Okay, that enough. Spotty says did you notice the penetrating, predatory eyes? Or the no-nonsense visage or the somber plumage? You can't see the feet in this picture, but the feet of communis rixatrix are covered in sensible sheathings.

Now listen for the raucous, scolding call. It's easy to identify; it's the loudest one in the forest. There it is.

You know that's funny. The call has kind of a plaintive quality this morning, almost like communis rixatrix was desperate somehow. Perhaps she is digesting something that doesn't agree with her. Spotty suspects that it is the increasingly poor food supply of information about the war in Iraq. Let's see.

Spotty was right! In her Thursday column The big picture in Iraq tells quite a different story, Katie tells us how the mainstream media is missing the boat altogether in Iraq:
The major media's love affair with the Crawford protest is no surprise. It's consistent with the focus on body counts and funerals we've come to expect: "Troop Carrier Flips; Four Dead,"Roadside Bomb Kills Two." The media rarely give us the context we need to understand the fighting that produces these casualties -- the purpose and outcome of the missions the lost soldiers were engaged in. When that information is given, it's often buried in articles that focus on death.
Those darn headlines about dead soldiers (it's a good thing there aren't many reports about the thousands more maimed for life!) really give the public a such a bad taste in its mouth about the war. It is so good that there are people like Katie around to propagandize the record straight!

Katie give us some context:
To evaluate the war in Iraq, like any war, we need to understand what our troops are attempting and achieving, as well as how many of them are being killed. Take the 14 Marines who died in Haditha in early August in a much-publicized roadside bombing. Army Lt. Colonel Steve Boylan, a military spokesman I contacted in Baghdad, explained that they were laying the groundwork for Operation Quick Strike: a campaign to destroy the insurgency by depriving it of its bases and shutting down its "rat lines" -- infiltration routes running from the Syrian border to the heart of Iraq.

The Marines' mission was to undercut the insurgents' freedom of movement, and thus -- among other things -- to increase security for the Iraqis' constitutional process.
Katie does not tell us that Operation Quick Strike has made a huge and helpful difference, of course. Facts are not context unless they help Katie make her point.

Oh, and the constitutional process? It is about to enshrine Islamic law as paramount, something George Bush and Scott McClellan and others in the administration assured us would never happen. Katie's mate, the communis rix David Brooks, has a column in the NYT today telling us this isn't so bad after all. It's not? Ask the women of Iraq if they all agree.

Katie give us more context:
Here's a glimpse of that bigger picture: According to government and policy organization sources, Iraq today has a vibrant free press, with roughly 170 independent newspapers and magazines, up from zero under Saddam Hussein. Thousands of schools have been constructed or refurbished, and more than 200 water treatment projects are underway or have been completed.
What about Iraqi public opinion about the occupation? Headed south, of course, because in most cases things are still worse than before the invasion started. Again, facts are not context unless they are helpful to Katie.

Katie has one thing right:
The result of a media obsession with body counts can be defeatism. The Vietnam War's 1968 Tet Offensive provides a sobering example.
It should be a sobering example to you Katie. There were watershed events in that war, Tet and the Cambodian bombing campaign conducted by President Nixon, for example, when public opinion made significant swings against the war. Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey are making a similar impact on public opinion. The right wing knows it, and is scared to death by it.

Spotty's an old dog, and there isn't a thing in Katie's column that couldn't have been taken from pro-war editorials in 1968, 1969, 1970, well you get the picture. Wingers like Katie are beginning to see that the Fighting Cowboy's presidency is going to wind up on the guano heap of history, just like another Texas president's, Lyndon Johnson.


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