Tuesday, March 28, 2006

March 26, 2005

Take The President's Advice

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 useful exercise.

At one of his 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 report “the good news.”

Bush furrowed his nodded in agreement and suggested (here's the truth part) that the lady turn to alternative sources for news, “like the Internet.” (He used to call it the “Internets,” so someone must has told him, like God, there's only one.)

When I heard him say that it struck me, of course – the Internet! Why have I been relying on reporters from 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 I learned four years ago that I can't believe anything the US government says about the war.

So I logged right onto the Internet and spent that day reading news posted by Iraqis themselves. Who would know better what day to day life is like now. Is there a civil war brewing? They would know. Are things getting better or worse? If I wanted to know if things were getting better or worse in my hometown, would I ask CNN or the White House? No. I'd ask my neighbors and the small business owners on Main Street, Sebastopol, Ca. US of A.

The President was right. I read dozens of March postings by folks living in US 'liberated”
Iraq, and now and it was time well spent. Thanks George for the tip, dude. Now I suggest you take your own advice. Here's sampler:

March 9: It was about 6PM 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.

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 cafĂ©. I see all that and more....Don’t you dare chastise me for writing about what I see in my country.

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 for ever, 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? I

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 mstained 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.

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 pre-planned, pre-fabricated 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 it’s 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 posting like those above. What I couldn't find was the “good news” Bush suggested the Army wife might find if she looked hard enough. Oh there were posting by US service men and women from Iraq, and some of them had nice things to say about the job they were doing there. But as a member of the US Marines during the Vietnam war I remember 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 that long, dismal war, they claimed their plan was “working.”

It was only some thirty years later historians got around to hearing from the Vietnamese themselves, particularly the North Vietnamese. If we had known during the war what we know now, about how the Vietnamese saw the war, how they were surviving day to day, and how they viewed us, we would have known we could not “win,” in any traditional sense of that term. We would have known that “the plans” - all of them - were fool's errands. And tens of thousands of lives would have been spared.

So, by all means follow President Bush's suggestion. Spurn the mainstream media for your news on Iraq. Go instead for your news on Iraq to the hundreds of blogs posted daily by Iraqis living the reality our moron President and his Mad Hatter's tea party gang cooked up for them.

And, to George Bush, a man who does not want to hear bad news and accuses those who deliver it of “aiding the terrorists,” read these blogs.. and then try to understand what he meant when one of the above blogger ended his report by warning:

“Don’t you dare chastise me for writing about what I see in my country.”