Re: al-Maliki

1
"If we come to an agreement, it is not evidence of a defeat, but of a victory, of a severe blow we have inflicted on al-Qaida and the militias."

I don't get this, exactly. I'm not disagreeing with you or Josh, but I don't understand what a blow against al-Qaida has to do with "winning" in Iraq.

Not that pointing that out helps McCain in any way.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:07 PM
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The media either loves John McCain or wants a horse race so that the members can keep their jobs. This race should have been done after the Dem primary. I have a hard time believing the media won't find a way to equivocate on this. Maybe, "Maliki to Obama: Let me help you, o' brother through the Koran. "


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:09 PM
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2 made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:16 PM
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I don't understand what a blow against al-Qaida has to do with "winning" in Iraq.

I assume he means the insurgent group known as "Al-Qaeda in Iraq".


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:16 PM
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Right, but any way you slice it the presence of a-Q in Iraq is evidence that the U.S. invasion was a fucking disaster. Even if we (the US and/or Iraq itself) manage to get rid of a-Q in Iraq, we're still the ones who invented the freaking problem to begin with.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:18 PM
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It's so cute when you model 2006's narrative, B.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:28 PM
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5: Sure, but "victory" at this point has nothing to do with that or any other catastrophe created by the invasion. It's bullshit, obviously, but the evidence suggests they know their audience, at least here in the US. At this point, if we leave something resembling a stable Iraq (or more to the point, something that can be spun as a stable Iraq), enough people will be willing to call it victory and pretend that the cost in lives and money was worth it. And some of those people will insist that it vindicates Bush's foreign policy, and they'll run foreign policy in the next Republican administration.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:43 PM
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B, if you slice it that a-Q was in Iraq *before* the invasion - because Saddam Hussein was supporting terrorists and was responsible for 9/11, remember - then the presence of a-Q in Iraq just means that the US is fighting a-Q there so it doesn't have to fight a-Q in the US.

Of course you have to be dumber than a rock to believe that, but unfortunately there's no IQ test on voting.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:44 PM
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Spackerman: But the age of empire is over.

Optimism!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:44 PM
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unfortunately there's no IQ test on voting.

That really is too bad, though of course IQ tests take a long time to administer. Maybe it should just be a literacy test.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:45 PM
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Spackerman has a smart outh on him.

Unfortunately there's no IQ test on voting.

Sorry guys. Like literacy tests, poll taxes, or property requirements, an IQ test would help Republicans and hurt Democrats. Voter discouragement by every means possible is a central Republican tactic.

Most Republicans are be stupider than you and me, of course, but a lot of them are bright normal or brighter than that. Why they are the way they are is a long story, but IQ isn't the answer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:52 PM
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"mouth"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 4:52 PM
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2: Thanks for the laugh, because I have no doubt that it is going to go down something like that and make me cry in the end. Right now I am sure McCain, the pundits, Fox, the right-wing blogs and the whole freak show apparatus is lying low waiting to see what the best way to spin this is going to be. If Maliki persists I suspect the most extreme version will be that Maliki always was a rat-bastard Shiite who was really controlled by the Iranians, and then the High Broderists will weigh in with some mild version of the same, cautioning what a rookie mistake it is for Obama to "fall for it".

What I think they want is a distraction such as any kind of hint of "criticism" of Bush, the US, the war (or McCain) to come out of this trip so they can crank up the tired old "don't criticize when you're out of the land" trope. In other words; the times, I don't see them a-changin'.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 5:05 PM
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Hey wait, Ackerman's posting from Austin!

Why were we local residents not warned that he is loose amongst us??


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 5:31 PM
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||
I read Kit Seelye's piece on Gore's appearance at the Netroots Nation with great interest given her role in his savaging 8 years ago. She played it straight all the way through including this concluding paragraph.

As a reminder of the flap caused years ago -- when he got tagged with having said he "invented" the Internet, although he had not used that word and had, in fact, helped legislatively to create it -- he smiled at Mrs. Pelosi's comments and said, "I think I'll refrain from saying it."

My goodness, however did Al Gore ever get "tagged with that I wonder?

Later in the day, Mr. Gore, who suffered some embarrassment this year when he took credit for the development of the Internet, [Seelye—December, 1999]
|>
Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 5:32 PM
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It's so cute when you model 2006's narrative, B.

You're such a sweet-talker, Labsy.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 5:51 PM
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10: Even literacy tests are annoyingly complicated to administer (the person giving the test typically has to be able to read, for instance). Poll taxes are totally the way to go.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:06 PM
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13.1: It won't have to be that complicated. Something as simple as, "Americans shouldn't look to the leaders of Islamic nations for advice on how to craft our foreign policy," will do the trick. Which I guess is just a paraphrase of Tim's 2.

And can I just say, this country is totally fucked. At least for the moment. A deep thinker, that's what I am.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:09 PM
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Poll taxes aren't going to work; too much potential for fraud and people just *stealing* the money. What we really need is just to limit the franchise to property owners again, and be done with it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:12 PM
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this country is totally fucked

You are not making me feel better about buying a house, here, Ari.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:14 PM
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Ari, come on, Obama's not an idiot. If his ad says "Iraqis want us to leave. We want our troops back home. It's time" instead of "This unshaven guy wants me to be President. You should too" it's totally clean-up time. Don't pee on my optimism.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:17 PM
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If you do pee on his optimism, ari, at least have the decency to lie and tell him it's raining.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:19 PM
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I meant: it's raining.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:23 PM
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IS Maliki Iranian, al-Qaeda, or Taliban? I can't tell those guys apart.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:27 PM
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Labs, for months now I've been saying that Obama's going to win 300+ electoral votes. And I know that Tim was being facetious in 2. Still, I don't think he's far off. And I also don't think Obama's going to win this election at all if it comes down to an argument about foreign policy/imperialism/CIC. Actually, that's how he'll lose. And stories like Maliki only highlight that dimension of the disagreement between the two candidates. Speaking of which, Josh also noted (yesterday?) that Bush is basically offering up a Nixonian Secret Plan to win the war, with which he'll inoculate McCain from any lingering unpleasantness about Iraq. I'm not sure such tactics will work. But I'm certainly not sure they won't. Because, in the end, no matter how many times McCain talks about the strategic significance of Czechoslovakia, or lets slip that Obama's going to be re-grouting showers at Forward Camp 127 in the Anbar Province on Tuesday, or whatever other unbelievably stupid thing that ancient fuck mumbles, the majority of Americans will trust him more than the seekrit Muslim when it comes to leading the military.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:28 PM
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I suspect 13.1 gets it right. The Republican narrative has always been that although we need the Iraqis to take charge of their own country, they may not know how best to do that, for Iranian influence is pernicious, and it will be only according to *our* judgment, thank you very much, that we will endorse their fitness for the job at hand.

A variant on what 18.1 said.

It's interesting: according to this narrative, "winning" is not constituted by a shaking of hands and a collective "Whew! Thank god that's over! Carry on!" but rather requires, always, a form of tough love, a wagging of the finger.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:29 PM
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I should note, too, that it doesn't matter what Obama's ad says on the subject. It matters what the Republican 527s' ads say about it. Because, for some reason, most people will take those ads more seriously than anything Obama puts on the airwaves.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:30 PM
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You're so cynical, Ari. It's morning in America! Again!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:32 PM
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Ari is prejudice against America.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:33 PM
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That's because he's a Jew.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:34 PM
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A Canadian Jew. The worst fucking kind.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:35 PM
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Leonard Cohen. Mordecai Richler. And that shitass Saul Bellow.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:36 PM
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OT: Hey, John. I just came home from work to see your book arrived. Reading!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:36 PM
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Do you hate Bellow? Me, too. I can't stand him. And I've never been able to understand why other people like his crap-ass writing. Cohen and Richler, though, that's pretty good company.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:38 PM
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For Canadians, they're pretty good.

Of that generation, I like Roth and Ellison. I dislike Bellow and especially Updike.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:39 PM
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Hope you like it, Stanislaus. Lots of variety.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:39 PM
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23: M'tch, that hurt me.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:42 PM
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25:ari is completely right in 25.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:48 PM
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37: That's payback for what you did to Ackerman with your SuperKoranic Fist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:58 PM
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As far as the topic, just, well, enjoy, but, ya know...

Ngo Dinh Diem

There are several moves left for Bush that might not get McCain the Presidency, but could keep us in Iraq for another decade.

I'll relax when I'm dead.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:37 PM
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There is no chance the lead story come November is not the economy. Well, there's one chance: Bush invents replicators like in Star Trek.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:42 PM
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I just have this huge cognitive dissonance between what Bushco was asking for in the SOFA and what is the perceived "inevitable" reality on the ground.
And of course, that "inevitable" reality includes a foreign policy humiliation of historic proportions for the Repubs, and a landslide in November.

Maybe. Copacetic. Party hearty.

They are freaking ghouls, vampires, slavering beasts. I worry. Sue me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:55 PM
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Am I the only person who thinks about seaweed when I hear this guy's name? Mmmmm...seaweed.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:07 PM
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Well, there's one a few chances: Bush invents replicators like in Star Trek. a terrorist attack, "peace with honor" and the start of the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, a major bombing campaign against Iran, etc. And those and just the plausible ones. Especially "etc."


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:19 PM
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40: From the article about Diem: Upon learning of Diem's ouster and death, Ho Chi Minh is reported to have said, "I can scarcely believe the Americans would be so stupid."

Uncle Ho is still laughing. I thought we had learned a thing or two from that little adventure back then.

Thinking Obama has his election wrapped up is crazyness. Lots of (probably nasty) things could happen.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:31 PM
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A major bombing campaign against Iran gives Obama a Reagan in '84 sized victory. When gas hits $8/gallon, nobody is going to give a shit about how scary the Iranians are. The only way the Republicans can make anything other than the economy be the top story is a coup d'etat. In the United States.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:36 PM
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a coup d'etat. In the United States.

Are you offering odds? Because I might be a player.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:45 PM
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47: Ari's going to foment a coup d'etat? I can scarcely believe the Americans would be so smart.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 10:24 PM
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A player as in Telly Savalas. You doof. But yes, that was poorly worded.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 10:34 PM
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When gas hits $8/gallon, nobody is going to give a shit about how scary the Iranians are

And if a different type of gas takes out a big office building or if Wall Street gets a dose of radiation no one is going to vote for the new kid.

I don't think a coup is gonna happen just yet, Blackwater isn't quite big enough and doesn't have enough air.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 10:54 PM
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Willie Brown on Obama vs Obama.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 11:01 PM
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I've changed my mind. I think there should be a crap test on voting. Voters should be presented with a big steaming bowl of crap, and if they're not willing to swallow even one mouthful, then they can vote.

That should eliminate all the Fox News voters.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 2:47 AM
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45: Thinking Obama has his election wrapped up is crazyness. Lots of (probably nasty) things could happen.

Reason #8 why this election will be close and why we will all want to put our eyes out by the end of the campaign (via Daily Howler):

FINEMAN (9/21/00): I don't think the media was going to allow, just by its nature, the next seven weeks, the last seven or eight weeks of the campaign, to be all about Al Gore's relentless, triumphant march to the presidency. We want a race, I suppose. If we have a bias of any kind, it's that we like to see a contest and we like to see it down to the end if we can.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 3:38 AM
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Via TPM, an Iraqi spokesman Dr. Ali Al-Dabbagh is saying Maliki was misquoted. I am sure the wires are burning between Washington and Baghdad. It should be noted that the press release came from Centcom, not the Iraqi government, so I am sure further developments are coming, possibly in the area of accuracy of the statements attributed to Al-Dabbagh.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 3:54 AM
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I hope Maliki is still alive.

Most media did not note that the original statement came from Maliki and the denial from someone else, much less that the press release came from Centcom.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 4:09 AM
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32: Lorne Greene!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:07 AM
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Lorne Michaels.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:15 AM
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Look, Glenn Reynolds finds the follow-up to be conclusive, so who are we to judge?

I'm happy to concede that Maliki is doing some domestic posturing here as long as I get to note that he's doing it because if he doesn't the more anti-US political operators are going to clean his clock, which says something about the facts on the ground.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:22 AM
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I'm expecting Petraeus to say that he has every confidence in Maliki and kiss him on the cheek.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:25 AM
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It's just business, Nuri. Nothing personal.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:35 AM
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I really don't understand the media coverage, or lack thereof, of this story. At this point, WaPo seems to be all but explicitly devoted to getting McCain into office, and NYT appears not to want to end the race. I can't see a reference to the statement on WSJ, and BBC doesn't appear to be doing much with it either. Having just survived blowing their credibility on the run-up to the war, are the major media really fritter what little they have left on McCain's campaign? Or--all too possible--is there some important part of the story I'm missing?

At least the LA Times is giving it big play. For gawd's sake, Fox News is covering the story.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:45 AM
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61: is there some important part of the story I'm missing?

The part where al-Maliki is a colonial puppet and nobody in Washington gives a shit what he thinks.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:57 AM
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61: Page 8A in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, with nary a mention of the fact that Maliki has repudiated Bush and McCain's line.

62: But that's the whole point: when even your puppets are telling you to fuck off, something's gone badly off the rails. I mean, really.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:05 AM
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53 proves that the '84 election was close, and yet it wasn't. The American people are not the puppets of the media. They are fuck-ups that don't know Presidential material from a gaping open axe wound, but they don't do the bidding of CNN either.

Since al-Maliki committed the Kinsley version of a gaffe, I'm sure he'll be walking it back. But now we know that when Obama is elected, the end of our involvement in Iraq is near.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:08 AM
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I expect a pale, trembling Maliki, flanked by two Rangers, to be reciting a memorized statement any hour now.

Puppets often do show independence in switching sides, though. Maliki's freedom of movement is slight, but it's not nonexistent.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:15 AM
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It really is quite strange: this seems like big huge news to me, but the WP site has zero mention of it, at least on the front page. They do, however, have room for chapter 7 of Who Killed Chandra Levy?: Crisis in Condit Country.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:44 AM
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66: I think it was her husband, but I got an email saying that it might have been Obama (and McCain said he wasn't sure whether or not that was true, so...).

Why bother enfranchising landowners? There's so damn many of them now. We could just have a Committee decide.


Posted by: babble | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:58 AM
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QUIT YOUR WHINING YOU LITTLE BITCHES, WE'LL LET YOU KNOW WHEN THERE'S ANY REAL NEWS.


Posted by: OPINIONATED MAINSTREAM MEDIA | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:11 AM
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64: 53 proves that the '84 election was close, and yet it wasn't. The American people are not the puppets of the media.

You are right they are not puppets of the media, but the narrative is a very significant factor. Several points:

1) You will notice that I said Reason #8.
2) You should take note of the side of the election on which the more progressive candidate was/is in each case.
3) The 1984 media is not the post-1992 media.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:32 AM
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Obama is at the country club looking for the real killers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:35 AM
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70: Exactly where was Obama that night?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:14 PM
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The media is totally going to cover this up. Their excuse will be that the public doesn't care / doesn't want to hear about Iraq. Pretty amazing.

If he wants coverage, Obama will have to shove it down the media's throats by constantly making a point of it in speeches.

We're going to see in this campaign whether Obama understands as well as Hillary did that the media is part of the VRWC, and has to be taken on.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:53 PM
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He has to, doesn't he? Jesus.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:57 PM
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71: Does the glove fit Obama?

Why does Obama refuse to try on the glove that didn't fit O.J.?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:59 PM
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We're going to see in this campaign whether Obama understands as well as Hillary did that the media is part of the VRWC, and has to be taken on.

You mean like when she had lunch with Richard Mellon Scaife? Or went on O'Reilly? (My god, I can't help myself. I'm so easily trolled it scares me. Okay, I'm willing to admit it: I have a problem. I need help.)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 1:50 PM
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69: But the empirical evidence is that the outcome of the popular vote in Presidential elections is predictable based on structural factors. It's structural factors that gave Reagan a blow-out in '84, and it'll be structural factors that'll give Obama the win this time. If it were close, the media could throw it to McCain, but it's not going to be close.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 1:57 PM
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Can the structural factors be specified before the election, or do you just choose them afterwards?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 2:04 PM
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The Sisyphus Shrugs lady just destroyed Jonathan Chait again.

How many times can one man be humiliated and still get up the next morning? What accounts for Martin Peretz's eerie power over people who might otherwise have been sane? Inquiring minds want to know.

It isn't his wife's money any more, because he's blown it all by now. Is it his schlong?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 2:22 PM
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63.2: Only if you actually care about the "nascent Iraqi democracy" stuff that McCain pretends to care about. Rhetorical nods in this direction were an empty formalism from before the boots hit the ground and are many times moreso at this stage, enough so that it's doubtful anything related to them will prove a devastating "gotcha" to McCain. The real, tacitly understood name of the game is finding a way for the US to save face.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 2:25 PM
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Has it already been noted that the NYT had Lee Sigel comment on the NYer cover for Week in Review?

"I liked how Obama wasn't wearing a ballcap."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 2:48 PM
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They are picked beforehand. It's things like "state of the economy six months before the election" and "length of time for the incumbent party". People hate it when the economy is bad, and they get tired of having one party in the White House after awhile. What's weird is that the models are more correlated with the outcome of the election than the polls six months before are. it's as if the way people are going to vote is predictable, but they just don't know it. (I actually have a neighbor who I think is like that. It seems perfectly clear to me that he'll vote for Obama -- he's not a racist, and he voted for both Kerry and Gore -- but he's going through a big show of "deliberating".)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 2:58 PM
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81 - Are you talking about the "Keys to the Presidency" model?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 4:10 PM
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79: Wait, are you saying that's the fact of the matter? Or what the press is covering? Because if it's the former, sure, I agree entirely. But if you're suggesting the latter, though, that would require me to believe that the press corps is capable of understanding a concept like subtext. And I'm not sure I buy that at all.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 4:29 PM
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82: There are a couple of different models, and sadly I run them all together in my head. (I'm not an expert on it or anything. Actually, I not an expert on anything, either.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 4:33 PM
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Walt Someguy revealed.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 4:41 PM
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Well according to this "BaZi" analysis (apparently published in December 2007), Obama will be the Dem candidate, will choose Edwards as VP and will beat McCain and serve two terms.

Unfortunately there are a lot of incompetent BaZi masters that have contributed to the perception that BaZi is not accurate and is religion related. But not this guy, so looks like we're in!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 4:47 PM
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Obama '08: More Gentle Method


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 5:03 PM
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83: The American press corps is more than capable of knowing what subjects the higher-ups in the political, media and business hierarchies aren't eager to see talked about in plain terms. Their coverage tends to follow this pattern.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:06 PM
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How dare you disparage American journalists? Wait, you're Vicki Gabereau, aren't you? I knew it all along.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:25 PM
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88: The real, tacitly understood name of the game is finding a way for the US to save face.

Right. It's just a question of whether the Obama team's (arg) narrative for this can or will win out over McCain's. And whether a discernible difference between them can be made out. And to whom this difference is presented: the American public, or the world at large? For lo, we also have a pesky financial crisis on our hands which requires international support to be gotten through.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:09 PM
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Instapundit does not "buy the vague quasi-denials of an Iraqi spokesman issued through CENTCOM." He knows very well what really happened; he just happens to be a dishonest and inhuman monster who likes to kill Moslems, especially innocent children.

Hopefully someone will beat him to death tomorrow with a baseball bat, whereupon he will spend eternity getting ass raped by Satan every hour.


Posted by: voice of reason | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:21 PM
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This NYT piece is unspeakably awful. Hed? "Iraqi Premier Steps Back on U.S. Troops Comment" Content?

But the interpreter for the interview works for Mr. Maliki's office, not the magazine. And in an audio recording of Mr. Maliki's interview that Der Spiegel provided to The New York Times, Mr. Maliki seemed to state a clear affinity for Mr. Obama's position, bringing it up on his own in an answer to a general question on troop presence.

The following is a direct translation from the Arabic of Mr. Maliki's comments by The Times: "Obama's remarks that -- if he takes office -- in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq."

He continued: "Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq."

I don't understand this. People hate this President. Why does the press continue to suck up to him?

We need to start fucking killing some reporters* so they understand there's more to fear in life than a mean phone call from Dana Fucking Perino.

* Not really.**

** Yes really.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:36 PM
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I see now that my 92 is overwhelmed in civility by 91. Rats.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:37 PM
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I keep arguing that the problem is almost certainly higher up the chain of command, in the editors and publishers.

Reporters probably learn to write to demand, to avoid the nuisance of being rewritten and reprimanded, but the final form of stories is almost never the way the reporter delivered it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:40 PM
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I know, John. As long as you agree that the solution involves killing members of the media, I think we should consider ourselves on the same team.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:43 PM
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Actually, I note that there are 2 credited in the byline for the execrable story. What I've learned is that this probably means that one of them is a good reporter bringing facts to the table, and the other is a management suckup burying facts beneath boilerplate, faux-knowing "analysis," and weasel words.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:52 PM
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11 p.m. on Sunday is probably not the time to start one of my favorite rants, but it really is so frustrating how the incentives for media are set up. I blame it on (among other things and in no particular order):

- The professionalization of journalism, leading to a disproportionate number of middle/upper-middle class reporters
- The lack of an intuitive moral "ick" factor that would stop print reporters from trying to get themselves on TV.
- A perverted feedback loop that means that reader letters in favorite of good writing and against bad writing are less significant than the number of clicks/eyeballs on a given story.
- A normalization of the idea that reporters can socialize with the subjects of their stories.
- A general wussiness among reporters (see #1 above) which makes them unwilling to be disliked and afraid of being attacked.

I have all kinds of biases operating here, but one of them that I'll happily defend is the willingness not to be liked.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:59 PM
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a management suckup burying facts beneath boilerplate, faux-knowing "analysis," and weasel words

Ooh, where do I apply?

Really, though, were I not in lockstep with John about media capitulation to corporate capital, I might find this whole story confounding. As it is, it seems rather simple. Fortunately, I remain convinced that Obama's going to win regardless. Which keeps me from gnashing my terrible teeth, rolling my terrible eyes, showing my terrible claws, and getting a very upset tummy. Plus, I have a huge cache of jpegs of pandas rescued from the Chinese earthquake. And they're very cute. Once they're cuteness wears off, I'll just get another puppy.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:00 PM
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Has anyone ever noticed that Ari's very charming?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:18 PM
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I have.


Posted by: Kobe | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:20 PM
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Has anyone ever noticed that Ari's very charming?

No. And I really should have written "their cuteness" not "they're cuteness." Please don't tell W-lfs-n. Please.

Also, relevant. And that, by the way, is the part of this story that's making me absolutely crazy. (Peruses panda pics.) Okay, I'm better.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:22 PM
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95: I'm willing to lend you a bear or a hog.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:23 PM
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No.

I didn't mean to embarrass you, sir.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:27 PM
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Witt, I think that the professionalization of journalism has also led journalists to believe that they have expert knowledge that laymen don't, and that "he said / she said" journalism, or stenographic repetition of administration talking points, or the relaying of off the record rumors, for three examples, are all state-of-the-art expert professional reporting, the way it should be done.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:29 PM
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Don't worry, you just made me blush. Wanna come by my place and see my etchings panda pics?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:29 PM
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105 to 103. Though John, you're welcome to come by as well.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:31 PM
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105: My work here is done this evening! Also, your air circulation is to die for. Really, you seem a very sweet man. Sir.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:38 PM
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I'd hate to intrude.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:39 PM
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107: I didn't even mention our whole-house fan. Two speeds!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:40 PM
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86: While I have to give the author of that some props for getting the Dem nomination sorted out in 12/07, this undermines any credibility they might have had: John [McCain] is a frank and direct person. He is very transparent, has high integrity, and is above board in his dealings.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:46 PM
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107: Parsimon! Mon coeur! I am betrayed!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:09 PM
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98 gives the unit of analysis to measure time between now and January. How many new puppies will it take to get us from now to then? I'm guessing four.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 1:09 AM
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92: This NYT piece is unspeakably awful. Hed? "Iraqi Premier Steps Back on U.S. Troops Comment" Content?

Well the heard you (not really). It now reads, "Comment Stings Maliki as Obama Arrives in Baghdad". So at least it no longer claims the untruth that Maliki really stepped back, but all of the content reinforces the point that it is the Bush Administration that is attacking "stung". The dreadful WaPo has nothing on their front page, just a misleading mention in the body of an AP report on Obama arriving in Baghdad.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 1:27 AM
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that is attacking "stung"

that is acting "stung".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 1:28 AM
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whereupon he will spend eternity getting ass raped by Satan every hour.

How many times does it have to be repeated? Hell rape jokes are NOT FUNNY!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 6:34 AM
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Wanna come by my place and see my etchings panda pics Butterstick?


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 6:47 AM
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How many times does it have to be repeated? Hell rape jokes are NOT FUNNY!

I wasn't joking; I really do hope someone beats Instapundit to death with a baseball bat, and I really do hope he gets ass raped by Satan for all eternity.


Posted by: voice of reason | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:33 AM
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I just looked at Google News. The Maliki statement, in any form, is not one of their twelve featured stories. If you search Obama + Maliki, it isn't even the first story you get.

In short, as someone said above, it's up to Obama's people to get the story out, because the professionals won't.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:59 AM
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85: That site is kind of genius.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 8:21 AM
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Jeebus. Here's the summary slug from WaPo that describes the story on Obama's meeting with Maliki:

After meeting, Iraq spokesman says government would like U.S. troops to withdraw by the end of 2010 -- eight months later than Obama's proposal.

An eight month difference in an explicitly flexible plan is the important part of this story?!? This, I take it, is meant to show that Obama is at odds with Maliki. At this point, can there be any doubt whatsoever that someone--the web editor, whomever--intends to do his part to ensure that McCain wins? Cripes. Genuinely sickening.

It would be great to know who was responsible for the parts of WaPo's coverage on this, because the paper clearly has some v. good reporters. This is exactly the same sort of thing that happened in the run up to the war, when good reporting in WaPo was buried behind bad reporting and bad editing. Surely someone there learned the lesson.

And, cripes, wouldn't WaPo's campaign for McCain be a good news story for some media reporter to, you know, report on?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 11:39 AM
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This column refers to what is probably one of the analyses that Walt is referring to in 81.

Instead, he has a simple "electoral barometer" that weighs together the approval rating of the incumbent president, the economy's economic growth rate and whether the president's party has controlled the White House for two terms (the "time for a change" factor). This laughably simple metric has correctly forecast the winner of the popular vote in 14 out of 15 postwar presidential elections.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:08 PM
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Cripes, WaPo's not even trying to hide it:

Iraqi leader's embrace of withdrawal timeline highlights Democrat's good fortune.
"Good fortune"? The phrase you're looking for is either "foreign policy chops" or "Democratic prescience on foreign policy." Or, hell, "sanity." And to think that WaPo's coverage of the run-up to the invasion, while deeply flawed and very spotty, was better than that of the NYT.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:14 PM
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im you can sill read he news? A sronger somach han I have. I've given up on reading any poliical coverage ha's no, basically, on liberal blogs. Haha, supid non-parisan media! Observe me, your failure!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:16 PM
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T t t t t t tt t t t

There.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:31 PM
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Lisen om some hings are jus oo imporan.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:52 PM
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Is it some sort of religious vow? I admire your sacrifices for your faith, Sifu.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:58 PM
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122: It really is incredible, you only have to imagine how it would be played if it had been reversed, "McCain Shows Again That He Knows How to Win Wars". The whole article is basically a whine about how the WaPo/Beltway narrative might still be right.

"His proposal to withdraw U.S. combat forces over a 16-month period still faces serious questions" ..."the curious turn of events " ... "Whether Obama can count on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the days ahead is another matter" ... "Beyond that, Obama's opposition to the troop "surge" that has helped quell violence and U.S. casualties -- and that McCain vociferously supported -- leaves plenty of room for further questions about his judgment at that moment." ... "demonstrating anew the combination of agility and good fortune that has marked his campaign."

Or imagine what one "Pakistan-Afghanistan border" gaffe would do to Obama (though you would hope he has been immunized by all of McCain's at this point). I would like to think that most people have just tuned these guys out.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 5:46 AM
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