Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dover Beach and Iraq

I don't know what's going on in Iraq. Neither do you. Each of us must rely on information that is gathered by others, condensed by others, and presented by others. Even if you're visiting this blog from a laptop in the Green Zone, you don't really know what's going on 20 miles away.

For months, though, we've been promised that we will be getting a status report from General Petraeus. While I didn't really have high hopes for the impartiality of a report that amounts to a self-evaluation, I was at least looking forward to a report that would be a military assessment instead of a political argument. After 4 plus years of rightwing cheerleaders telling us how wonderful things are, and 4 plus years of lists of dead American soldiers every week, it would be nice to have someone in command stating his view of where things stand militarily.

We learned earlier this week that the Petraeus Report will not happen. There will be no Petraeus Report. The White House will write the report. And it's even worse than that. The White House will write the report "with inputs from officials throughout the government," which means that we will get a thoroughly vetted and processed version with every spun nuance to be found within the Bush Regime.

This morning, I am as disgusted by our federal government as I've ever been. From Powell's bogus photos of chemical trucks during the marketing campaign to the embedded reporters at the beginning of the war to the suppressed photos of coffins and casualties all the way up to the White House Report (f/k/a Petraeus Report, and any news outlet that refers to the "Petraeus Report" after this news will be playing along with an Administration lie), the American public has consistently been denied access to the unvarnished truth.

I am not an informed citizen. You are not an informed citizen. When you vote, you do so based upon deeply flawed and biased presentation of controlled information. If you're a rightwinger, you might believe that the mainstream media are the source of misinformation. If you're a progressive, you believe that the Bush Administration is lying to us.

We're both correct, and Matthew Arnold comes to mind:
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Welcome to Dover Beach.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous mainstream said...

Very well said, Dan. I am deeply offended as well.

It unbelievable that the Administration can consistently get away with this behavior.

8/16/2007 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous Me said...

You just now figuring that out, Dan? This has been so from the beginning of the Republic, perhaps from the beginning of time. It's the nature of government, and the nature of human beings.

The only salvation is this, what we do. Write, think, express. If they ever shut down free expression, we're in real trouble.

That's when that dry powder may come in very handy.

8/16/2007 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Doc said...

"I am not an informed citizen. You are not an informed citizen."

...at the meta level, you may well be right: correlation does not necessitate causality.

...at the functional level, you are dead wrong: Current Occupant and minions DID lie and cause others to lie in his stead in order to illegally invade and occupy a foreign sovereign state. The gross amount of already court-determined illegalities promulgated since May of 2003 by Current Occupant and his administration make both the Nixon and Reagan regimes (both notably venal) pale by comparison – and that is just what we are aware of.

That being true, were it not for the out and out cowardice and self-serving nature of the last 2 Congresses, both Current Occupant and Dick “I shoot all my friends in the face” Cheney would have already been impeached.

The acts referenced in the prior paragraphs have been well documented, time and time again, both by the courts that have ruled on these illegalities, as well as by the world’s leading newspapers. To suggest, as you have, that the Iraq invasion, occupation and its current ‘state’ is merely a matter of perspective is not, as you seem to think, a nuanced argument: it is –at worst- irresponsible sophistry such as practiced by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and other idiots. At best it is the disconsolate musings of an absinthe user.

I had previously thought you were neither.

8/16/2007 9:00 AM  
Anonymous gigi said...

Hells bells, Dan. Welcome to the current world of all of us...to some degree or another. Parents are on the battle field everyday trying to make wise and healthy choices for their children, and themselves...this toy thing with China (not to mention all the other imports we live with that are poisoning our food.)

Life is a mine field in ways that it never was before. The enemy just might be lurking in your toothpaste tube this a.m.

The more sophisticated our gov't becomes, the more anxious we become. Sure, we have all the modern conveniences...but peace of mind?? It isn't all happening over 'there'....we are in a war over here on several fronts...SS, Health Care, Education, Food supply, etc., etc., etc. Is anyone keeping a body count for those who fall victim to failures in any of these systems?

Death can happen to the mind and spirit also.......certainly the war over there causes great angst. My son-in-law just got back from Iraq...he was one of the lucky ones (except for all the baggage he may have to live with as a result of the environment he was in.) I am concerned about his three little girls...the lead the baby has been ingesting...and whether or not the school will serve a hot lunch with botulism or e-coli.

You are right!! we are NOT informed citizens....here or over there....until we are informed after the fact. As my daughter told me so often in her struggle here as a single parent...the war has become 'background noise' to everyone and it is as if it isn't happening. As I tried to reassure her...I often thought to myself, it's no wonder...we are all the walking wounded in one way or another, and our minds and nervous systems can't take much more.

8/16/2007 9:05 AM  
Blogger les said...

While a dismayingly large chunk of our citizenry is ill- or mis-informed, I don't think it's because information can't be found. From the very beginnings of this misbegotten war, through the illegal and unconstitutional regime, if you were willing to work--or even, in many cases, simply pay attention and think, you---we--could know. Bill Moyer's show on the selling of the war said a lot--while most of the media sold the lies, McClatchy (then Knight Ridder) looked behind the lies and published information, buried in the middle pages but there. Joe Wilson, the UN, others. McClatchy is still on the ball; check Juan Cole for Iraqi reality; etc. The point is, the root of the problem isn't a total lack of info, it's laziness and the efficiency of the Big Lie Machine. The only thing this admin does well.

8/16/2007 9:45 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Dan said, "Each of us must rely on information that is gathered by others, condensed by others, and presented by others."

What makes you think the LA Times article is any different?

8/16/2007 12:31 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

http://www.politico.com/blogs/thecrypt/0807/Petraeus_and_Crocker_to_testify_publicly_on_Iraq.html

8/16/2007 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Scptt said...

No Dan, I DO know whats going on in Irag.
I have been there. I am in communication with people there.
And we could win this but the media are determined that we won't.
Do you think leaving Iraq will end the conflict?
No, it will just enable them to do more.

Of course you are a lawyer, and you don't even know what going on here. When the former President of the Bar Associaion can loan money to a judge and just get "admonished" I would say the Kansas legal community has lost all credility.

8/21/2007 6:32 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Scott - you know what you have seen, and what a few people are choosing to tell you, but you don't know what's going on in Iraq beyond that. You don't know what's going on as recruitment for terrorist organizations, you don't know what's going on in intra-Iraqi conflict, and you don't know what's going to happen next. Assuming that you were a soldier instead of a mercenary, thank you for your service, but it doesn't make you an expert.

As for credibility, go research a little more, and come back and tell me what Kansas has to do with the loans.

8/21/2007 6:40 AM  

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