The Ironical Chronicle

June 13, 2004

The Poop Keeps Rising


On March 26, 2004, after two years of polluting the mental space of the United States with lies, the Flagship of the US Propaganda Flotilla, having foundered on the rock of the Iraqi Resistance and with the decks awash, decided it was time to start the pumps. This was the lead paragraph:

Over the last year this newspaper has shone the bright light of hindsight on decisions that led the United States into Iraq. We have examined the failings of American and allied intelligence, especially on the issue of Iraq's weapons and possible Iraqi connections to international terrorists. We have studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype. It is past time we turned the same light on ourselves.

The GHQ of the world's biggest propaganda apparatus is about to confess to lying for the state it serves???

In doing so — reviewing hundreds of articles written during the prelude to war and into the early stages of the occupation — we found an enormous amount of journalism that we are proud of. In most cases, what we reported was an accurate reflection of the state of our knowledge at the time, much of it painstakingly extracted from intelligence agencies that were themselves dependent on sketchy information. And where those articles included incomplete information or pointed in a wrong direction, they were later overtaken by more and stronger information. That is how news coverage normally unfolds.

"Painstakingly extracting information" from an agency of the state which is notorious for disinformation in the service of the state. Sure. Articles that "pointed in the wrong direction" is a euphemism for lying. "Overtaken by stronger information" is a euphemism for the condition where the lies were no longer sustainable.

The reason Bush was in such a hurry to declare the war over was that each day it continued brought the day of reckoning closer. Unfortunately for the current occupant of the Oval Dictatorship, the one thing he couldn't control was the Iraqi Resistance and it was this, rather than any commitment to truth that forced the damage control operation.

The enormous fear of this eventuality led to the implementation of the CIA's methods of torture as a means to defeat the resistance. That has also failed and the day of reckoning is at hand. Each of the criminals in the conspiracy is now fending for himself, with the favored alibi being to blame someone else. As professional liars, they know that, even as they try to lie themselves out of their predicament, they need to admit to something. This strategy is known as the "limited hang-out." In this instance the limited hang-out is that they trusted sources who, though they seemed like nice people at the time, turned out not to be entirely reliable.

Coming from a cabal that rose to the top in a culture of back-stabbers, where paranoia is the key to survival, this story is as credible as their original lies.

The Times wants us to believe that they are in the process of a rigorous examination of their errors, that the new Times will be rigorously objective in their reporting. The days of approaching every story with the mindset of the state are supposedly over.

Let's see if there is cause for optimism.

The appended story is loaded with bad news for the American forces which invaded Iraq and the Quislings who have agreed to provide a facade of legitimacy to the military occupation. The story reports that the cultural affairs officer of the Education Ministry was killed by members of the Iraqi Resistance.

The Times reports it as, "Gunmen killed a senior Education Ministry official..." My dictionary defines a "gunman" as:

  1. a man armed with a gun, especially for criminal purposes; armed gangster or thug.

To the Times, a person who resists an illegal invasion of his country, even an invasion rationalized by lies, is comparable to a criminal, a gangster, or a thug when the invading country is the United States. This is precisely the language of the Nazi propaganda ministry in its descriptions of the resistance forces in the countries invaded and occupied by the Wehrmacht on Hitler's orders and brutalized by Himmler's SS death squads.

Here's another revealing passage:

The assassinations of the two Iraqi officials underscored the dismal security situation in Iraq, especially in relation to Iraqis who are seen by insurgents as collaborators with the American-led occupation.

Why is the phrase "seen by insurgents as" necessary in this sentence. Are they or aren't they collaborators with the American-led occupation? It is clear that the Times is psychologically incapable of calling anyone who collaborates with the US a "collaborator."

What is going on here?

In grade school, once a day, every American child faces an American flag and recites, "I pledge allegiance to the flag and to the country for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The key word is "allegiance." My dictionary defines it as:

  1. the relationship of a vassal to his feudal lord.
  2. the duty of being loyal to ones ruler, government, or country.
  3. loyalty; devotion, to a cause, person, etc.

It's tempting to characterize the Times management as a collection of adults in a state of arrested development, i.e., that, mentally, they are still boys and girls who recite the pledge of allegiance every day, but, at the same time, preside over staff meetings, do performance evaluations, hire and fire, allocate raises, set goals, argue for and meet budgets, make presentations to senior management, and collect their bonuses.

There are at least two very obvious things that speak against such a characterization. First, they don't write like children and second, the allegiance pledged by children is altruistic. The Times, as a capitalist enterprise, is anything but altruistic. In cruder terms, their allegiance is opportunistic and it pays them well. In another time and another place, say Japan or Germany in the 1930's, it is unthinkable that their allegiance would have been to any country but the one in which they were embedded and from which they derived their profits.

So, what is the likelihood that we will see a new New York Times, one that is rigorously impartial and rigorously independent of the state? Repeated protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, absolutely zero.

Germany's Nobel laureate in literature, Günter Grass, has coined an aphorism which may be appropriate to the Times and its effort to check the graveyard spiral of its credibility and that of the government to which it pledges its allegiance:

It's like a stopped up toilet. You flush it and flush it and in the end the s--t comes right back up again.

The New York Times

June 13, 2004

Another Iraqi Official Is Killed; At Least 12 Die in Car Blast


BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 13 — Gunmen killed a senior Education Ministry official today and a powerful car bomb exploded in a neighborhood in southern Baghdad killing at least 12 Iraqis, 4 of them police officers, officials said.

The official, Kamal al-Jarah, the cultural affairs officer for the Education Ministry, was attacked as he left his home in the neighborhood of Ghazaliya. He died later at Yarmouk Hospital.

The assassination came a day after gunmen shot and fatally wounded Bassam Salih Kubba, a deputy foreign minister, in the first killing of a senior Iraqi official since the announcement of the interim government on June 1.

Two other top Iraqi officials narrowly escaped death today in what appeared to be a campaign to attack key figures in the new Iraqi administration as it prepares to take power June 30.

The deadly car bomb today exploded near a sewage treatment plant, an American military spokeswoman said. The explosion also injured at least 13 Iraqis, one of them a police officer. The bomb appeared to have been aimed at a police patrol in the area. Shortly after it went off, charred bits of metal littered the roadway, and Iraqi policemen set up traffic blockades in the area.

Also today, an American military helicopter crashed without causing any deaths, and an American soldier was killed and two others were wounded in an ambush near Taji, 12 miles north of Baghdad, officials said.

The American Army OH-58 helicopter was carrying a crew of two, who were "in good condition," according to the American military command. Officials said it did not appear that the helicopter had been shot down, but the incident is under investigation.

Mr. Jarah, 63, was in charge of contacts with foreign governments and the United Nations. The Foreign Ministry blamed loyalists of Saddam Hussein for the killing, news services reported.

"These assassinations are an attempt to stop the march of Iraq toward complete sovereignty," Industry Minister Hakim al-Hasni told Al-Arabiya television, The Associated Press reported. "They are not a resistance because they are resisting their own people. They are killing the highly qualified people. What kind of a resistance is this?"

In Washington, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," said American forces would "try to defeat these murderers," but he acknowledged that "it's hard to protect an entire government."

The two senior Iraqi officials who escaped their attackers were Maj. Gen. Hussein Mustafa Abdul-Kareem, chief of Iraq's border police, and Maj. Gen. Majeed Almani Mahal of the police. Mr. Abdul-Kareem was slightly wounded in a shooting in Baghdad. Mr. Mahal was hospitalized with wounds received in an ambush in Baqouba, 40 miles northeast of Baghdad, officials said, news services reported.

The assassinations of the two Iraqi officials underscored the dismal security situation in Iraq, especially in relation to Iraqis who are seen by insurgents as collaborators with the American-led occupation. Occupation officials have said the guerrilla war is likely to intensify as some powers are transferred to the Iraqis on June 30.

"There are some people who will be out to test the new Iraqi government, the sovereign Iraqi government, to see how durable it is, how capable it is," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, a spokesman for the occupation forces, said at a news conference.

Hajim al-Hassani, the minister of industry, said in an interview with the Qatar-based television network Al Jazeera that he believed Mr. Kubba was killed because of his role in the new interim government, not because of his past work with Mr. Hussein's government.

The Adhamiya neighborhood, a stronghold of Mr. Hussein's, remains turbulent after fierce battles there between American soldiers and insurgents in April. Many Sunni Arabs who had been supporters of Mr. Hussein and now feel disenfranchised under the American-led occupation live there. At Friday Prayers at Abu Hanifa Mosque, which serves the neighborhood, an imam called for former officers of the Hussein-era military to join the insurgency.

The killings of Mr. Kubba and Mr. Jarah followed several weeks in which insurgents have tried to assassinate prominent Iraqi officials.

On May 17, a car bomb killed Ezzedine Salim, then the head of the Iraqi Governing Council, near an entrance to the fortified American headquarters in Baghdad. Ten days later, gunmen shot at a convoy carrying Salama al-Khafaji, another Governing Council member, killing her 18-year-old son and chief bodyguard.

Violence has also continued against foreign civilians in Iraq.

A Lebanese diplomat said Saturday that insurgents had killed a Lebanese contract worker and two Iraqi colleagues who were kidnapped on Thursday in Baghdad, Reuters reported.

The kidnappers had slit their throats and dumped their bodies on the road between Ramadi and Falluja, a town about 30 miles west of the capital that has been a center of unrest in the insurgency against the American-led occupation.

Seven Turks who had been abducted in Falluja five days ago, however, were released on Saturday, a Turkish diplomat said.

In late April, the Marines gave up control of Falluja to a militia composed partly of insurgents and loyalists to Mr. Hussein, and the city has since become a haven for anti-American forces.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company