Friday, March 31, 2006
By Stephen Pizzo, News for Real
Posted on March 25, 2006, Printed on March 31, 2006
I bet you guys didn't really listen to President Bush this week. Too bad, because for once he told the truth. I listened, heard the truth and checked it out. And, as he promised, it was a real eye-opener.
It happened at one of Bush's fake "town hall meetings" this week. An Army wife asked Bush why the mainstream media only focuses on "the bad news" from Iraq and never reports "the good news." Bush furrowed his brow and nodded in agreement. Earlier in the week the administration launched a Vietnam-era-style "blame the media" campaign to explain plummeting public support for both the war and Bush himself.
The woman's question offered Bush an opportunity for another anti-media riff on that theme. He sympathized with her distress and suggested (pay attention -- here comes the truth part) that she should turn to alternative sources for news, "like the internet." (He used to call it the "internets" until his handlers informed him that, like God, the internet is not plural.)
Whoa! When I heard Bush say that, it struck me. Of course! The internet! Why have I been relying on the New York Times and Washington Post and CBS, NBC, CNN to tell me what's really going on in Iraq. Hell, they don't even speak the language. And, of course, we learned four years ago we can't believe anything the U.S. government says about the war.
So I took the president's advice. I logged right on to the internet and spent the rest of that day reading firsthand reports posted by for-real Iraqis. Who would know better what life in is like today in Iraq? Is there a civil war brewing or not? They live there. They should know. Are things getting better or worse? If I wanted to know if things were getting better or worse in my hometown, would I check with CNN or the White House? No. I'd ask my neighbors and the small business owners on Main Street, Sebastopol, Calif., U.S. of A.
So I checked with Iraqis to see how much "good news" I could find. I read dozens of March postings by folks living in U.S.-'liberated' Iraq. Bush was right. It was time well spent. CNN, MSNBC, FOX, eat your hearts out. These postings are a revelation. And, hey, big dude -- thanks for the tip, George. Now I suggest you take your own advice and do the same.
Here's a sampler and some links to get you started on your search for all the "good news" from Iraq that the scheming evil U.S. media is hiding from you.
From A Star from Mosul:
March 9: It was about 6 p.m. last night when dad's mobile rang, dad was in the mosque, my aunt was calling him and so mom picked up the mobile instead. Mom's emotions on the phone only led to one conclusion: Someone is dead. … Mom put the mobile aside and said: "Uncle S is dead." … Yesterday he was shot by Americans on his way back home, and he died. Like many others, he died, left us clueless about the reason and saddened with this sudden loss. He was shot many times, only three reached him: One in his arm, one in his neck and one in his chest. But they said they're sorry. They always are.
From Healing Iraq:
March 16: Black-clad Mahdi army militiamen drag the body of Sheikh Ghazi Al-Zoba'i, the imam and preacher of the Al-Sabbar mosque around a street in Husseiniya, a mixed suburb north of Baghdad. … Someone shouts: "Drag the Wahhabi," while another describes him as a "bastard." … Then they dump him on the side of the road. Another militiaman suggests they bury him. "What do you mean bury him?" the gang leader snaps back with indignation. "Leave him here to the dogs." Then they joke about his underwear and cover the corpse with a cardboard that life looks absolutely normal in the surroundings. You can see children running about, stores open, religious holiday flags and even a traffic jam. Perhaps Ralph Peters will happen to drive by with an American army patrol and enjoy the scene of children cheering for the troops, while wondering where his civil war is, dude. I see people blown up to smithereens because a brainwashed virgin seeker targeted a crowded market or cafe. I see all that and more. … Don't you dare chastise me for writing about what I see in my country.
From A Family in Baghdad:
March 14: The situation in Iraq now is the worst that can be, since Baghdad fell in April 2003, meaning three years passed since the war, and the results we reaped were destruction, ruin, killings and bloodshed … billions of dollars were robbed, thousands of souls perished, our cities and villages destroyed, and there are some who are pulling the people apart, pushing them to a sectarian civil war. There is an occupation army filling the streets, doing what? We do not know … they build military bases which spell the message -- they want to remain forever, that they do not care for our souls, and that everything that is happening to us pours into their interest and is a reason for them to stay …
* Iraq is torn apart …
* Iraq is ruined …
* Iraq became a heap of debris …
* Is this what they want?
* Was this their aim in this war?
This is what I want to say to the American people, I want them to know the real story of the war, not the story they hear in their biased media, financed by the government and its friends … I want the people here to stand up and face their responsibility for what is happening in Iraq … Do they join their government in its crimes against the Iraqi people? Or are they against her?
March 20: Death and killing in Iraq become a daily event and apprehension of death is a concomitant issue with every person. The Iraqi politicians who fight for the power, their hands are stained with the blood of the innocent Iraqis … Iraq, as the rest of the world, is much better without Saddam but much worse in every other aspect, especially the security.
March 19: I don't think anyone imagined three years ago that things could be quite this bad today. The last few weeks have been ridden with tension. I'm so tired of it all -- we're all tired.
Three years and the electricity is worse than ever. The security situation has gone from bad to worse. The country feels like it's on the brink of chaos once more -- but a preplanned, prefabricated chaos being led by religious militias and zealots. I'm sitting here trying to think what makes this year, 2006, so much worse than 2005 or 2004. It's not the outward differences -- things such as electricity, water, dilapidated buildings, broken streets and ugly concrete security walls. Those things are disturbing, but they are fixable. Iraqis have proved again and again that countries can be rebuilt. No -- it's not the obvious that fills us with foreboding.
The real fear is the mentality of so many people lately -- the rift that seems to have worked its way through the very heart of the country, dividing people. It's disheartening to talk to acquaintances -- sophisticated, civilized people -- and hear how Sunnis are like this, and Shia are like that … To watch people pick up their things to move to "Sunni neighborhoods" or "Shia neighborhoods." How did this happen?
I could fill hundreds of web pages with snippets like those above. What I couldn't find was any of the good news Bush suggested the mainstream media is supressing and that the nice Army wife might find if she looked at "alternative sources of news."
Oh, there were postings by U.S. service members serving in Iraq, and some of them had nice things to say about the job they were doing there. But as a member of the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War, I recall that back then you could throw a dart at a company of Marines serving in the war zone and get opinions that ranged from "We should nuke these little bastards" to "Get me the hell out of here" to "Hey man -- got any weed?"
Back then the government also assured us they "had a plan." (Nixon even had a "secret plan.") And at any point during the dozen years that war raged, whatever plan was in effect was always "working."
Some 30 years later, historians got around to hearing from the Vietnamese themselves, particularly the North Vietnamese. And, had we known then what we know now about how that enemy saw the war, how they were surviving day to day and how they viewed us, we would have known that the so-called plan was really just a monumental fool's errand. Had we realized that early on, hundreds of thousands of lives would have been spared.
So, by all means, follow President Bush's suggestion. Ignore the weekend talk shows, the editorial pages, the news. Instead do as Bush suggested and turn to the hundreds of blogs posted daily by Iraqis who are actually living the reality created by our moron president and his Mad Hatter's tea party gang.
Stephen Pizzo is the author of numerous books, including "Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans," which was nominated for a Pulitzer.