Aim Higher

Genhardt
I recieved an email this weekend.

Its a photo of a US Servicement holding a little Iraqi girl.

The caption accompanying the photo was oh so very telling

"Why isn’t this all over the news?  If he had done something wrong, it surely would be!"

Unfortunately, the discourse over the war has been reduced to swapping emotional images and lamenting the PR battle. It saddens me, because it shows how far we have fallen from grace.

To answer the emailer’s question, it is not all over the newspapers because its not news. The good guys are supposed to do things like this. Its only news when the bad guys do this.

The good work of a US Military officer, a small kindness in a war zone — thats what is expected of us. We are Americans, and in case you forgot, we are the GOOD guys. We are expected to do good deeds — it is who we are.

We saved the world from anarchy in the early parts of the last century, from Fascism in the middle of the century, from Communism later in the Century.

The United States has time and again saved the world from evil — and yet never before have any of us complained about the "PR" of our actions  Our list of global accomplishments and good deeds goes on and on. There was a concern for the results, not media imagery. This is a subtle but important point.

Can you imagine partisans whining that US Servicemen had freed the camp victims at Auschwitz — but there wasn’t enough coverage, it wasn’t front page news?  That rebuilding of Germany and Japan after WWII wasn’t getting enough airplay? The foodlifts to Africa, the inventions of life saving medicines, the racing to comfort earthquake victims, tsunami survivors, disasters anywhere on the planet neneded to be exploited further? Back then did anyone cry "Hey, where’s our credit?!"

Absolutely not — you shut your mouth and you got the job done. The results mattered more than the image.

That was a different era. We had leaders of great intellect, courage,
and judgement. They surrounded themselves with the best and the
brightest. They purposefully kept aides around them who challenged their views,
thought strategically, mapped out all possible consequences, believed
in Science. They were pragmatic, not idealogues; they were experienced
experts, not partisans.

Too many people have lowered their standards to a point that is absurd. Hey, everyone, we repainted a school in Baghdad!

Talk about the soft prejudice of low expectations. Is that what our measure of greatness has become?

I regularly appreciate all of the great deeds done by US Servicemen, working with insufficient equipment under a great hardship. We’ve donated old cell phones to servicemen, participated in raising money for armor. Do not misinterpret this as anything but supportive of the troops in harm’s way.

But recognize who we are talking about: These are the US Marines, the greatest fighting unit in the history of mankind! These are Air Force officers, flying the most sophisticated and powerful weaponry know to the planet. US Army personnel, Navy sailors — these aren’t just any military — these people make up the Armed Forces of the United States of America! Does the emailer complaining about the lack of media coverage understand the history of these institutions, what they have accomplished over the past 2 centuries? I think he does not. Because if he did, he would not be as concerned about a single gentle kindness, about the imagery, about the PR, rather than the actual war itself.

The Marines understand war and their obligations within a conflict; that’s why Semper Fi — Always Faithful — is their philosophy. The Air Force says "Aim Higher" — because their philosophy is to achieve greater and greater results, as opposed to media spin. 

No, my dear emailer, you have forgotten who we are and what we are all about. A good deed by a US serviceman is what WE DO ANYWAY. In case you didn’t know, we are the GOOD GUYS. If this not being in a newspaper is what upsets you, than you NO LONGER GET IT. This is what the United States is all about. This is what is expected of us. This is the standard we aspire to. This is who we are.

Follow the advice of the Armed Services. Worry less about the PR, and more about what really matters. "Aim Higher."

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Mike M commented on Feb 19

    Yes, our troops are the good guys. Our politicians who sent them to this mess, well…..

  2. Eric Bloodaxe commented on Feb 19

    Of course cynical old me, wonders if this was posed for propaganda. American service men in Iraq are killing and raping the Iraqis, with absolutely no excuse for invading their country.

  3. PC commented on Feb 19

    I am sick to the stomach. This is repulsive.

  4. Carl commented on Feb 19

    Barry, we need reminded of the little acts of kindness that take place in horrible situations. If we do not remind ourselves of them, then in a way we become little different then those responsible for the horrendous acts to begin with. To blame an emailer for sharing the tenderness of being human and suggesting that it should be in our consciousness, is in itself a tacit form of guilt and evil. The Marines do understand their calling, for the most part. The power of the internet gives an ability to shares images that 20 years ago would have remained out of our consciousness. The picture is not just about one Marine—it speaks to the best of what humanity has to offer.

  5. alexd commented on Feb 19

    Eric,

    You seem to have your head in a bad place. Terrible, awfull , and unlawfull things happen in war, but the way your statement is presented makes it seem as if everyone one who fights, commits those horrors. You are just as bad as the person who says why not more of this in the press. Okay I am sorry you are much worse. Since by lumping all the service people in one statement you condemm them all. If it was a statement that was specific to an incident you would have been on solid gorund. If you made a statement that had the logic of ” collateral damage is another way to say inadvertant murder of civilians” and then presented a range of figures you would have had me working with you. But you did not.

    And yes I am a so called bleeding heart liberal, who thinks the war is wrong and conducted badly, but I try to see what is really going on, without gross distortions and the presentation of those distortions as if they were fact rather than one person’s distortion.

  6. Idaho_Spud commented on Feb 19

    Thanks for rebutting that snivelly crap Barry. I get spam like this all the time, and it’s all misallocated patriotism in blind support of an unsupportable war.

    Ya gotta wonder about the *source* of these emotionally catchy things though, don’t you? ;)

  7. Barry Ritholtz commented on Feb 19

    Carl,

    I am attempting to remind people that these acts of kindness have taken place throughout the past in all manners of wars and conflicts. There have ALAWAYS been tremendous acts of kindness and bravery by our fighting men throughout time. I do not seek to denigrate that at all.

    What is different this time is the “complaints about the lack of media coverage of these small kindnesses.”

    What are the motivations of those who complain about the lack of good coverage, the dearth positiver Press for all the good things we are doing in Iraq? There are many subjects worth debating dicussing, analyzing, but the one that gets the emailer’s goat is “HEY, WHERES THE COVERAGE OF ALL THE GOOD NEWS?

    It is not cynical to question the people whose biggest issue about the War in Iraq, who think the problem that warrants our attention the most is the PR aspect.

    Now THAT is cynical.

    Mind you, I do not misunderstand the motivations of these people. In my experience, they are shrill
    partisans, all too happy to take advantage of the emotional power of a photo while
    ducking the rest of the broader story.

    Note the original email — it wasn’t to praise the Air Force personnel for their acts of kindness, it was to whine about “Why isn’t this all over the news? If he had done something wrong, it surely would be!”

    That is little more than a cynical attempt at manipulation — and to be blunt, I am sick and tired of being manipulated by fears of terrorism, by war mongering, by accusations that anyone who questions the war is unpatriotic.

    Far too many times during the war, we have seen attempts to blame the messengers, to “work the refs,” to duck responsibility for a poorly planned, poorly executed military strategy.

    That is why I wanted to remind people of Behaviors that we should expect, that should not be news. Things that are, in a word, American.

    Cynical? Perhaps. But far less than the egregious behaviors we have some from the powers that have mishandled the war and lashed out against any criticism of it.

    Just one man’s opinion . . .

    Barry

  8. JWC commented on Feb 19

    Barry, thanks for the post. I expect you will get some grief over it. I agree completely with what you said, and your followup comment.

    I wonder if the author of WHERE IS THE COVERAGE? has the same sense of outrage about the way we are treating our injured troops when they come home, see the latest in the Washington Post by Dana Milbank. There is something terribly wrong, and I am very afraid for my country.

  9. cynical with good reason commented on Feb 19

    “It’s hard for me, living in this beautiful White House, to give you an assessment, firsthand assessment.”

    – George W. Bush, U.S. President, at a February 14, 2007 White House news conference, when asked about a recent National Intelligence Estimate report that some of the conflicts in Iraq amount to civil war.

    [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-070214bush,1,3617189.story?page=2&cset=true&ctrack=1&coll=chi-news-hed]

  10. Jed commented on Feb 19

    I would humbly suggest that the complaints about our troops making news only when they misbehave is a reaction to those in the media (e.g., Wm Arkin) whose overblown coverage of the inevitable bad behavior of a few soldiers evidences their belief that we are NOT the good guys.

  11. Bob Johnson commented on Feb 19

    Barry,

    Thank you – as individuals and as a nation we will be judged and remembered by our deeds, not our words. As citizens we all need to rise above the horrible cynicism of our present society and recall the principles which have formed the basis of our nation since its inception. Because those principles have never been perfectly followed does not mean that they are valueless.

    (BTW, lest anyone mistake the above for mindless patriotism, I firmly believe that George Bush should be impeached – and the sooner the better.)

    Bob Johnson – ex USN
    Claremont, CA

  12. M.Z. Forrest commented on Feb 19

    That was a different era. We had leaders of great intellect, courage, and judgement. They surrounded themselves with the best and the brightest. They purposefully kept aides around them who challenged their views, thought strategically, mapped out all possible consequences, believed in Science. They were pragmatic, not idealogues; they were experienced experts, not partisans.

    This is the only part I have a real quible. I know you have a hobby horse in believing that people today are science averse. It doesn’t help that the liberal studies departments keep calling what they do science. For whatever reason, the art of diplomacy is taught in political science. Nevermind that the societies we would consider to have most eschewed the myth, superstition, and folklore of the past were the societies responsible for the most reprehensible attrocities.

    Regardless, the present circumstance in Iraq is not logical extension of forgetting science. Rather it is the product of an ethics that views the world homogenously. It presumes that the greatest desire of men is for free elections and the ability to accept foreign money for building capital projects. For the liberal, add all the women’s rights issues, as if a woman with a newborn in Baghdad is grossly concerned over whether she will have to have a burkha. Our former ethical system was quite simple. It assumed that men wanted their children to grow to live a better life than they did; it assumed that men wanted to be secure in their homes and community. In short, the differences are found in philosophy, not science.

  13. Max commented on Feb 19

    To call this a PR issue misses that many people get all the information that forms their views solely from negative coverage and opinion of all things America (or Amerikka).

    In WWII everyone knew someone in the war and everyone knew the story of the war. It was common knowledge and shared experience.

    That shared experience of the American military doesn’t exist as widely as it once did. The result is a significant number of people whose opinions are formed entirely from the relentlessly negative line fed to them.

    Some of the comments here are so vile I know that the common knowledge about America the Good is not so common. These are people who will go on to make political decisions for this country based on delusion.

  14. Richard commented on Feb 19

    barry i think you’re taking the email a bit beyond it’s intention to make your own points. good news never gets coverage like bad news as it doesn’t sell papers. PR wars seem more intense today due to the quickness and diverse information sources than in the past.

    whether the war was ill-conceived or not, this doesn’t change the core of what us as americans espouse when confronted with such challenges, reported or not.

  15. DD commented on Feb 19

    delusional is to think that this country is moving in the direction of the principals it was founded on…

  16. Mr. Flibble commented on Feb 19

    All this pleading for good news reminds me of a scene from Blackadder [as best I can recall it]…

    [King Richard IV of England is playing with model horses on a map of Europe, plotting with one of his nobles how to conquer various countries; Messenger enters]

    Messenger: Your majesty, news…Lord Wessex is dead.

    King: I like not that news.

    Messenger: Pardon?

    King: I do not like that news!

    Messenger: Pardon?

    King: I LIKE NOT THAT NEWS! BRING ME SOME OTHER NEWS!

    Messenger: Yes, my lord!

    [Messenger leaves; King resumes playing with his horses. One second after leaving, messenger returns]

    Messenger: My lord, news! Wessex is NOT dead!

    King: Ah, good news! Let jubiliation reign!

    Put another way, there is something darkly hysterical about people demanding propaganda to sustain their will as they continue to pour good money after bad.

  17. fiat lux commented on Feb 19

    @Max — “some of the comments here are so vile” — what planet are you living on? It seems a reasonably, rational discussion wherein some people have different opinions but nobody yet has been even remotely rude or vulgar, and certainly nobody is being hateful about America, unless you’re of the crew that thinks any criticism is unpatriotic.

    @Barry — do read the WaPo piece on wounded Iraq vets and the shameful treatment they’re getting here at home.

  18. Bob A commented on Feb 19

    The picture has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the poeple who started this war and continue to run it are incompetent morons and need to be replaced…the same way an incompetent CEO of a corporation would be replaced, or a crooked CEO like Ken Lay, or Dennis Koslowski, or Bernie Ebbers, would be removed, tried and sent away.

  19. Estragon commented on Feb 19

    Thinking on the original question… the lack of publicity for acts of kindness, I can’t help picturing Marlon Brando’s explanation of the true horror of war in Apocalypse Now.

    He describes the “pure genius” of the enemy having hacked off the arms of children recently vaccinated by US forces.

  20. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 19

    This might be a little complicated for some of you guys but a good exercise might be a thoughtful analysis of Baathist Socialism and it’s pan-Arab fantasy, Islamic fundamentalism and Shiite messianism which, by the by, all come from that particular part of the world. WMD may not have been found in Iraq post invasion although we KNOW they were there, since they were used against locals prior to the invasion. There is a twisted ideology motivating the three groups over there which, if let loose, will make 9/11 and the Iraq War look like a school recess. All the US and her allies have done is create the possibility for a civil society among the Iraqi people. Without Sadaam Hussein, the Shia and Sunni would have killed each other off long ago. Since Sadaam pretty much limited his exterminationist policies to the Kurds, are you implying that the Shia were happily ruled by the Sunni minority which supplied the ‘nomenklatura’ for the Baathist thugs? That part of the world, sorry to say, will need to be cleaned up sometime. Why not now?

  21. DD commented on Feb 19

    well yeah…when the last time presidential hopeful colin powell showed his face…

  22. DD commented on Feb 19

    who is to say its to us to do the cleaning?the fact that we are “good”? means we have to go fight with some extremely crazy arabs? let them clean themselves up…or hack each other to bits…that’s the argument…not whether they were happy or not before we got there…

    and shi’ite are a very small minority in the arab world anyhow…

  23. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 19

    Because, if you’re an infidel/American, they don’t like you and would prefer to kill you.

  24. DD commented on Feb 19

    I am just saying that if we used more expensive bombs to level them we would have an excuse to buy new ones!! i just want to spend tax payers money for the good of awful monetary policy and inflation. the more money we create the less we will have to pay back later! is a wonderful f’n system…only genius’s like central bankers can come up with a system that works so well…anyhow…its easier to buy bombs then soldiers…those guys are catching on quick..and it seems like they are somehow emotionally attached to their limbs..not sure why…chances are you only lose one arm or leg…you still have another one…but chances are these days they will send you back in to lose the other one as well.

  25. brion commented on Feb 19

    Good post Barry and good call.

    “The Media”….

    Like the communists they claim to despise, american right wingers seem to hate a free-press, seem to love propaganda…

    We ARE supposed to be the good guys which is why the Bush administration has made me sick these last 6 years.

    I leave you with a bit of the Bible…
    Proverbs 6:16-19 (New International Version)
    16 There are six things the LORD hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:

    17 haughty eyes,
    a lying tongue,
    hands that shed innocent blood,

    18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
    feet that are quick to rush into evil,

    19 a false witness who pours out lies
    and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

  26. DD commented on Feb 19

    aahhhh…bible freaks….hide….

  27. Kevin Rooney commented on Feb 19

    When pictures such as this are passed around with comments such as “the media is neglecting the good news”, they attempt to convey two unspoken untruths.
    1) That such small good deeds, although noble, are significant in the overall balance of our impact on Iraq. Tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died in the war so far. Unfortunately, comforting embraces are dwarfed in importance by this.
    2) That what we think is in our hearts is significant in the overall balance of our impact on Iraq. We may think we are kind people. We may be kind people. With so many Iraqis dead and so much of damage to Iraq’s infrastructure, our kindness or lack of it can not matter all that much to Iraqis. To think otherwise is narcisism.
    We are the good guys and should be held to the higher standards of the good guys. Most of our troops do us proud and I thank all them for putting their lives on the line for us. But when our leadership uses our troops for a project out of keeping with our goodness, then that large evil overwhelms the good intentions and good acts of those who must carry it out on our behalf.

  28. Mike Huff commented on Feb 19

    I’m disappointed that this site that I enjoy seems to be home to nothing more than liberal bloggers. I have questioned over the years whether your bearish positions on the economy would be the same if there were a Democrat President, but your arguments for the most part seemed based in reason and not biased by politics. I have now come to a different conclusion.

    The point your reader was making on the photograph was addressing the undeniable negative coverage given to the war by our mainstream media, which is the direct opposite of what the soldiers and people on the ground in Iraq are reporting. There are good things happening there that SHOULD be a part of this story and are newsworthy.

    ~~~

    BR: Mike,

    There are far too many misstatements in your post to cover them all, but let’s try a few:

    1) My positions are neither liberal nor conservative — I am a realist. I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

    2) I was Bearish in January 2000, while there was a Dem in the WH; I was Bullish in Oct 2002, March and June 2003 while the GOP was in the WH.

    3) The media coverage for the first 2.5 years of the war was toothless and effete. It was only after the situation became so awful — and Katrina revealed the incompetance of the powers that be — that the press rediscovered their collective spines.

    4) Regular readers of this blog know that the spectrum of posters here are broad and varied — hardly one sided politically.

    5) How do you know of all these good things? Most of the country is not safe to travel in; You need an armed escort to leave the green zone. Where does your info come from? OR ARE YOU MAKING THIS UP?

    6) IP address 68.213.46.221 has published under the names Ben and Mike Huff; this is the 4th comment.

  29. Andrew commented on Feb 19

    Barry, great post. It takes courage to trust that your readership can take a nuanced view of a war we’ve been brainwashed to believe requires a black/white interpretation. And, a lot of the comments on your post added valuable color to the argument.

    I think emails like the one sent to you really do originate from a place of love…people trying to play a positive part in something that is beyond their control. I think — and I’m too young to know for sure — that the successful wars in our past (if you can attribute “success” to war) are wars which the American people felt an undeniable righteousness in fighting. There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the motives and aims of this war, and I think the quibbling about what makes the news is symptomatic of that uncertainty.

    There have been times, as you suggest, when our leaders were attuned to the fears and uncertainties of the citizenship, and addressed them with well-reasoned, clear arguments that withstood the deepest scrutiny. Lincoln and JFK are examples that come to mind.

    Now is simply not one of those times. Still, if we survived Grant, Hoover, and Nixon, my guess is that we’ll survive Bush (The Decider).

    Anyway, great post, I share your exasperation. People seem to have a need to shame each other, and since the only guy we could justifiably shame in this episode was hung two months ago, we’ve taken to shaming one another.

    Tom C.: that was pretty complicated sht you dropped there. I had to read it over, like, three times and I still didn’t get it! Then again, that might be because your comments were disjointed and had nothing to do with Barry’s post.

  30. DD commented on Feb 19

    holy shit their merging….

  31. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 19

    Andrew-

    I was responding to the ‘war bad, Bush a moron’ tone of some of the earlier comments. It’s a complicated topic but I’m sure you can figure it out.

  32. Bob A commented on Feb 19

    “Why isn’t this all over the news? If he had done something wrong, it surely would be!”

    And while the White House Office of Propoganda (aka Fox News) tries to blame the ‘Liberal Media’ for failing to emphasize the ‘Good News in Irag’… rather than do that themselves… they run countless hours of Greta Van Sustern talking about Anna Nicole Smith.

  33. mla commented on Feb 19

    I disagree. There is a pretty adversarial relationship with the media; they try to find any possible criticism of the war.

    Within that context — with the sense that the media is not all that excited about “winning” the war — it’s important to have information and images that tell the other side.

    Yes, we’ve always done great things…but in the past, the press largely believed that too. They don’t any more. That’s the difference.

  34. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 19

    What the press believed in the past isn’t what matters, it’s what their assumptions are now. Guess what those assumptions might be.

  35. Mr. Flibble commented on Feb 19

    …undeniable negative coverage given to the war by our mainstream media, which is the direct opposite of what the soldiers and people on the ground in Iraq are reporting. There are good things happening there that SHOULD be a part of this story and are newsworthy.

    Yes. Things are just going peachy in Iraq. They love us there. Meanwhile, in the real world, this just in:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/19/world/middleeast/19cnd-iraq.html?ex=1329541200&en=d9c06bda42a3d065&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

    Seriously, I could care less about the feel-good stuff when it is having no effect whatsover on our success at stablizing the situation there. Quite the opposite, actually, if it deludes the credulous into thinking that the war is worth further blood and treasure.

  36. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 19

    The NYT and the real world? ‘Earth to Mr Flibble, come in please.’

  37. DD commented on Feb 19

    Yes, I agree…the more of a positive spin we put on this war the longer we can keep it going…all these ppl complaining will only end it sooner…we need to profiteer some more here…not nearly enough yet…we must bleed every American citizen dry…brilliant plan…I knew I liked Connecticut…

  38. Mr. Flibble commented on Feb 19

    Tom,
    Are you disputing that the attack on one of our bases occurred?

    Oh, wait…sorry.

    BRING ME SOME GOOD NEWS!

    Okay, the attack on one of our outposts DIDN’T happen. It’s an NYT lie. All’s quiet in Iraq, and those suicide bombers and insurgent ambushers were actually bringing flowers.

  39. deflater mouse commented on Feb 19

    Barry, since you like contrary indicators, consider this headline in the NYT today:

    “No Progress in Midgle East Talks.”

    How is that news?

  40. DD commented on Feb 19

    there’s no point arguing with these people…just like the bible freaks that got us into this mess in the first place. We should just prosecute them and send them away…let the justice system work for something…lets bring liberty to ourselves before some strangers in the desert…who dont even like you bible freaks…just like you said TOM..they want you dead…and you are trying to help them? HAHAHAHAHAH…morons the whole lot of you…im moving to india…this has just gotten to crazy…

  41. deflater mouse commented on Feb 19

    Umm…”No Progress in Middle East Talks.”
    Still no news from the “Migdle East.”

  42. DD commented on Feb 19

    The reason for stalling peace talks Mahmoud Abbas told Al-Jazeera televion is that he will not deal with anyone darker then him.
    hows that for propoganda…im gettin good at this stuff… on a side note…President George W. Bush linked the U.S.-led war on terrorism on Monday to the country’s struggle for independence led by George Washington. HAHAHAHAH

  43. RP commented on Feb 19

    One wouldn’t show this picture, because it begs the question…where is this child’s mother/father, and what
    part did we play in the displacement (temporary or permanent)?

    I agree with the earlier posts that our service folks are great.
    This photo is just a sign that good people are trying to make the
    best of a bad situation (war)….and it reminds all how bad wars
    can be on locals.

  44. jp commented on Feb 19

    Interesting that you don’t care about the good we are doing over there, and only complain about the struggle.

  45. DD commented on Feb 19

    stop f’n saying that…we could be doing good in africa without killing anyone…

  46. Norman commented on Feb 19

    Barry,

    FDE (and his wife) are no doubt the mainstay of your comment: “We had leaders of great intellect, courage, and judgement.” Well, Barry, they did not lift a finger to prevent the Holocaust nor to save anyone from it.

    Among the 50 million dead caused by the Nazis were 6 million Jews, one-half of all Jews. Even when Jews tried to land on our shores they were repulsed (courage?). The NYT had news of the Holocaust on the front page 2% of the time. A warning that 250,000 Jews were to die in Warsaw within days made the 12th page. Courage, judgement? Not in my book.

    I wish we had George Bush as president in 1933. The mantle of ‘bleeding heart liberal’ belongs in the garbage. Screw intellect, as for me, give me action.

  47. Norman commented on Feb 19

    I meant FDR not FDE.

  48. DD commented on Feb 19

    i knew someone was going to get called a bad jew.

    hey norm…so that makes it alright to kill arabs now?

  49. bichevartz commented on Feb 19

    There is a twisted ideology motivating the three groups over there which, if let loose, will make 9/11 and the Iraq War look like a school recess.

    1) The same thing could be said of fundamentalist, evangelical, megalomaniacal democratically elected American presidents.
    2) What we’ve done there — the Iraq War — makes 9/11 look like recess.

    Without Sadaam Hussein, the Shia and Sunni would have killed each other off long ago.

    The Shia and Sunni have co-existed peacefully, violently, and by every gradation in between for hundreds of years prior to Saddam’s arrival. They will also do so after our departure from Iraq, no matter how long that takes or for whatever reasons we eventually leave.

    That part of the world, sorry to say, will need to be cleaned up sometime. Why not now?

    You call this cleaning up? Looks like a mess, and not a fleeting one, to me. It seems like you say that any price we make Iraqis pay for the expulsion of Saddam is worth it. You also assume that the price paid will be confined to Iraqis and to the coalition, which is a whopper. And, finally, that even though there might have been other ways to do “clean it up”, the why and how don’t matter for them or us.

    We’re lucky there are people like you to straighten things out for them, and for us. Thanks, Tom C.!

  50. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 19

    You’re welcome! Happy to help. Now, about that Islamist ideology and those Baathist thugs…

  51. Mike G commented on Feb 19

    “Why isn’t this all over the news?”

    Um, wasn’t the original picture scanned from a newspaper? Isn’t that ‘the news’?Given the un-newsworthiness of the picture (touching but otherwise unremarkable), it got a generous amount of coverage.

    If you want front-page coverage of every feel-good pic of kids eating ice cream, or minor officials announcing boosted production at tractor factories, the North Korean Central News Agency has a website.

    Well put, Barry – I am sick of the war apologists whose chief obsession appears to be bullying the media in the name of enforcing a shinny/happy PR image and coverage of the war.

    I get the feeling such people don’t care what a disaster the situation is, or may be, so long as their beautiful minds only see Disneyfied propaganda and they don’t have to think any unpleasant thoughts about it.

  52. foo commented on Feb 19

    Tom C. for predisnet!

  53. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 19

    War isn’t nice, pal. What bullied media? Having an opposing opinion is bullying? What propoganda? You disagree so it’s propoganda? The fantasy world seems to be yours.

  54. blam commented on Feb 19

    Let the Iraqi’s vote on whether they want America to stay or to go.

    We started this “war” with an indefensible attack on a sovereign country. We are stuck there, dealing with the mess that the neo-cons made in our name, just like we will be dealing with the economic mess.

  55. Gary commented on Feb 19

    I wonder if the children with their arms blown off or the wifes without husbands, etc., etc., etc think we are the good guys. War is always about power and money and history is always written by the winners. Iraq has oil we want it. I dare say it probably wasn’t neccesary to bomb Baghdad if we just wanted to take out Saddam Hussein. I suspect that could have been done covertly. It funny how every group of people believes they have the market cornered on morality. I’m sure the Germans thought they were the good guys too.

  56. Idaho_Spud commented on Feb 19

    I know what I’d be doing do if a bunch of Iraqis were occupying my country, brought down its government and were driving through my neighborhood in Humvees…

    And I really wouldn’t give a damn if one of them hugged some orphan.

    Funny, the photo doesn’t seem to have the same effect when the roles are reversed!

  57. Bob A commented on Feb 19

    Idaho_Spud.. in three years you’re the only other person I’ve heard mention that thought besides myself. Pretty pathetic isn’t it?

  58. foofoo commented on Feb 19

    >I know what I’d be doing do if a bunch of Iraqis >were occupying my country, brought down its >government and were driving through my neighborhood >in Humvees…

    What if you despised your government? You’d still be against foreign occupation?

    Geez, I’d be happy to be occupied. Nationalism is silly. Death to dictators everywhere.

  59. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 19

    You guys are getting silly. You equivocate American troops in Iraq with Iraqi’s invading America? Hopeless.

  60. foofoo commented on Feb 19

    >You guys are getting silly. You equivocate American >troops in Iraq with Iraqi’s invading America? >Hopeless.

    Well… uh… yes… because all civilizations are equal, don’tcha know? Haven’t been to school in the last 20 years I guess. ;-)

  61. Jon H commented on Feb 19

    Richard writes: “barry i think you’re taking the email a bit beyond it’s intention to make your own points. good news never gets coverage like bad news as it doesn’t sell papers.”

    That picture isn’t “news” by any stretch of the definition of the term.

    As cute and nice as it might be, it is irrelevant. It will not change the situation.

    Furthermore – the fact that a US soldier is holding the child has very unpleasant implications – that child is probably without a family. No matter which faction is responsible for that, it is not “good news”.

    “Bad news” changes the situation. The “good news” that would be worth reporting would be things like wholesale disarming and surrender of insurgents in a town. Or a district swept of insurgents and held, peaceful, for six months to a year. Real progress.

    Too often the good news we get is that a town is cleared, but then the troops leave, and the insurgents flood right back in again. (Or, I suppose, once some Sunni or Shiite insurgents are cleared out, the other side moves in for some ethnic cleansing, hostage-taking, and drilling of holes in children’s bodies.)

    Painting schools and cuddling orphans does not help us achieve our goals.

  62. Jon H commented on Feb 19

    “I wish we had George Bush as president in 1933. ”

    Yeah, we would have invaded Spain after Pearl Harbor. Hey, Franco had ties to the Nazis (and thus Japan) vastly stronger than Saddam’s ties to Al Qaeda.

    The man’s an imbecile.

  63. Eclectic commented on Feb 19

    I am not Anna Nicole’s baby’s daddy.

  64. Eclectic commented on Feb 19

    …but she has a striking resemblance to you, you sweet savage.

  65. Idaho_Spud commented on Feb 19

    Well… uh… yes… because all civilizations are equal, don’tcha know? Haven’t been to school in the last 20 years I guess. ;-)

    Actually invasion and occupation are invasion and occupation… And that is an equality. Regardless of which ahem ‘civilization’ perpetrates it.

    And you define civilization how? By not torturing POWs (AKA the laughable newspeak “enemy combatants”)? These dittoheads crack me up!

    Nice to see you are able to so flippantly dismiss the viewpoint of the occupied. BTW since GW said “bring it on”, how many of our fine young *volunteers* (not evaders) died?

  66. foofoo commented on Feb 19

    >Actually invasion and occupation are invasion and
    >occupation… And that is an equality. Regardless
    >of which ahem ‘civilization’ perpetrates it.

    Agreed. And sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. Certainly you wouldn’t claim it’s *never* justified to one country to invade and occupy another, would you?

    >Nice to see you are able to so flippantly dismiss >the viewpoint of the occupied. BTW since GW said >”bring it on”, how many of our fine young >*volunteers* (not evaders) died?

    If Hitler ran my country, I’d want a better country to invade and occupy it. You would too, no?

    How is that dismissing those who don’t want to be occupied. Obviously everyone who wants the existing system would fight against occupation. So?

  67. Max commented on Feb 19

    “Yeah, we would have invaded Spain after Pearl Harbor”

    Actually Jon H, our first action after Pearl Harbor was to invade Morocco (what did they ever do to us?) and fight the French (Vichy).

  68. Max commented on Feb 19

    “Actually invasion and occupation are invasion and occupation… And that is an equality. Regardless of which ahem ‘civilization’ perpetrates it.”

    Well, spudly, does that include Andalusia? The people who use that name for Spain want it back in the caliphate. The current occupiers booted them out in 1492.

  69. Max commented on Feb 19

    “history is always written by the winners.”

    OK, Gary, who do you want writing the history of this war?

  70. Max commented on Feb 19

    “Let the Iraqi’s vote on whether they want America to stay or to go.”

    blam, did you miss that the Iraqis have had free elections to ratify a constitution and elect the current government? Voting isn’t a problem; the problem is the non voting factions that want to take over Iraq by force. Do you think the Iraqis could vote them out?

  71. Max commented on Feb 19

    In honor of Presidents’ Day, lets remember that Lincoln got the same abuse for his war from the same people.

    The Civil War went badly from day one. By 1863 Democrats in congress were calling for Lincoln to be imprisoned. Their platform in 1864 was to “end” the war which meant quit. We would have a much different country if the Democrats had won.

    While the official mission accomplished date for the Civil War was 1865 remnants of the insurgency were active into the 1960s burning churches and the like.

    Here we go again.

  72. lommy commented on Feb 20

    When I was living in France (2001-2002) the
    television programs had very graphic footage of the atrocities committed by Saddam (decimated villages from chemical attacks, etc.).

    I wish more that of that footage would be shown in the U.S.

  73. angryinch commented on Feb 20

    Norman wrote: “The mantle of ‘bleeding heart liberal’ belongs in the garbage. Screw intellect, as for me, give me action.”

    Hear, hear!

    My only question to you, dear Norman: If you want action, why haven’t you volunteered to go to Iraq? I hear the military is still hiring.

  74. angryinch commented on Feb 20

    Dearest Lommy,

    I agree that more footage of Saddam’s chemical weapon atrocities should be shown in the U.S.—so long as it is made clear that the U.S. provided him with those weapons of mass destruction.

  75. Idaho_Spud commented on Feb 20

    Andalusia? ROTFLMAO, Maxi. Can you bring up an event within the past half millennia?

    Sorry, but except for ghetto moral and ethical standards, unprovoked agression is considered, uh, wrong. Yes, even to get rid of a bad guy. In America’s past, the bad guy always made the first move – thus giving America the moral high ground.

    We have given up that high moral standard for a new low one. Soldiers hugging babies does not change that. I’ve also noticed in passing the most rabid about supporting the war are not the ones being called. I served honorably 1981-1987. You?

  76. foofoo commented on Feb 20

    >Sorry, but except for ghetto moral and ethical
    >standards, unprovoked agression is considered, uh,
    >wrong. Yes, even to get rid of a bad guy. In
    >America’s past, the bad guy always made the first
    >move – thus giving America the moral high ground.

    Okay, I see where you’re coming from now. And I
    generally agree with you.

    When you say it’s unprovoked agression to get rid of bad guys though, you mean the bad guy has to actually attack you? So if a dictator restricts his actions to his own country and performed widespread genocide, you think it’s unjustifiable to intervene? That would be unprovoked agression? He has carte blanche and only his own country is justified in deposing him?

    I’m not saying Iraq fits that case. I’m just interested in the broad principle you’re advocating.

    I don’t think I can go that far. I tend toward the isolationist camp, but we can’t ignore everything except direct attacks… that would simply be too late in many cases.

    Now whether are not you can actually justify mobilizing troops in a volunteer army in that situation, I don’t know… that’s a different question. But in many situations I do think it would be justifiable to intervene.

  77. lommy commented on Feb 20

    >Dearest Lommy,
    >I agree that more footage of Saddam’s chemical
    >weapon atrocities should be shown in the U.S.—so
    >long as it is made clear that the U.S. provided him
    >with those weapons of mass destruction.

    Agreed. Our attempt to defend Iraq against Iran by using containment was folly. Containment doesn’t work. We should have taken Iran out instead.

  78. lommy commented on Feb 20

    >stop f’n saying that…we could be doing good in >africa without killing anyone…

    There is a war going on there, you know. Which side do you support and how are you going to resolve it without deaths? You want to help them build a democracy?

    Or you mean just ship money to them?

  79. brion commented on Feb 20

    For Mike and Mia…. You really want information from “the other side”?

    then read this…

    http://www.riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_riverbendblog_archive.html#117192450286818012

    This war was an elective act of evil on the part of the Bush administration. And that can’t be absolved with an indivudual soldier’s act of kindness or softened with hollow displays of patriotism. The forces of destruction unleashed on Iraq (and our own society) mirror the temperaments of the war’s authors and cheerleaders. Ignorant-Arrogant-Greedy-Corrupt and Incompetant.
    Bush is Pandora. Iraq is his Box.
    The only difference is Hope will not fly out at the end of this story.

    (btw How stupid/gullible does an American have to be to compare Iraq with WW2 anyway?
    Ans: Pretty fucking stupid.

  80. brion commented on Feb 20

    “In honor of Presidents’ Day, lets remember that Lincoln got the same abuse for his war from the same people.”

    Max- you imbecile. Are you comparing Bush to Lincoln?
    You think this is all about Bush!!??
    Are you a member of that losers cult of personality or something?
    That was OUR civil war.
    We didn’t have occupying Mexicans in the middle of it trying to referee!

    Thanks to Bush’s oil grab the Iraqis now need to have their own civil/sectarian war.
    Bush Sr. was no Lincoln but he had more sense than his dumb-ass problem child.

  81. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 20

    brion- Your language pegs you as an emotional type ruled by feelings rather than facts. Ad hominem attacks on those you differ with is childish. If it makes you feel better about yourself, by all means, continue, although keep in mind how silly you appear. You’re not adding anything productive to the conversation by spewing.

  82. Mr. Flibble commented on Feb 20

    Tom,
    Kindly address the issues. The point of the thread is that the dwindling pool of GOP supporters want nothing but good news from Iraq, no matter how irrelevant it is to progress in the war and even if the information is government-produced propaganda of no credibility whatsoever.

    You proved the point when you questioned a story I posted about an attack on US troops reported yesterday in the NYT took place. And then you failed to reply after I told you “good news” (that the attack didn’t take place, it was an NYT lie, and that the attackers were really just delivering flowers). I wasn’t sure whether you thought you had “won” the exchange–i.e., you thought I conceded that the attack didn’t really happen–or gave up after realizing that you had rhetorically trapped yourself in denying a story that even FOX News is reporting. (See here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,252899,00.html).

    Just admit that you only want to hear good news, will not accept any bad news, and we can move on.

  83. Mike commented on Feb 20

    I loved the (very telling) point about how we saved the world from Anarchism, Fascism and Communism in the last century.

    Now we are being asked to save the world from Fundamentalism… but we can’t because we’re one of the most Fundamentalist cultures on the planet. Disgusting…

  84. Jason M commented on Feb 20

    Great post, Barry.

    And just to expand on it…

    It bears repeating, and often, that as the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD it only makes sense that we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

    That means that we treat terrorists with the same rights that we extend to our own citizens — right to a fair trial and the right to habeus corpus.

    The idea that this is a “different kind of war,” and that we can therefore suspend rules of the Geneva Convention when dealing with its combatants, is offensive. America’s authority does not come from our military superiority, but from fighting the good fight. The world looks to us — our standards MUST be higher.

  85. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 20

    Mr Flibble- I happen to be a Republican and the good news/bad news thing doesn’t affect my views in the least. I’m a ‘big picture’ guy.

    Regarding the NYT, their credibility has always been questionable to this long time reader. I think they, generally, have an agenda as water carriers for the reactionary, thoughtless left which doesn’t concern me in the least other than when they insist on their objectivity.

    Objectivity, of course, is the last thing anyone should expect from a news source.

    A nephew of mine has served two tours over there as a Navy Seal. From what I gather from him, the level of misreporting regarding the progress of the conflict, the attitude of the locals, and the nature of the enemy has been misreported to a large extent. So what? No surprises there. That’s the way it is for the post-Viet Nam era MSM.

    What I find amusing is the habit of those on the left to question everything while assigning the worst motives to anyone who disagrees with them. The conflict between the west and Islamic expansionaism has been going on for 1300 years. The domination by the west is a relatively new phenomenon going back to the the First World War and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Iraq, as I’m sure you know, was a creation of the allied powers and is an almost completely artificial entity encompassing peoples who have rarely co-existed peacefully unless they were coerced. The impact of the revenues generated through the oil trade in combination with almost uniformly regressive, clan dominated governing systems has made what was once a local concern into a global concern. That region of the world has become a new danger to the west and will need to be dealt with somewhere along the way.

    The current approach assumes free and open societies can be formed which will co-exist peacefully with the open societies of the west. I wish the current administration luck and success in helping the Iraqi’s to form such governing structures in that part of the world because, I believe, the alterntaives will be tragic for us and for them.

  86. Ken Strom commented on Feb 20

    Sheesh. Thank God that we didn’t have today’s media (and today’s platform for influential liberal New Yorkers’ views) when my dad was a private in the Marine Corps during WWII.

  87. Amanda commented on Feb 20

    Actually, I did see this on the news a few months ago(?). The little girl shown was the sole survivor after the rest of her family was murdered. The soldier held her as she slept due to horrible nightmares. The little girl was then returned to her remaining family members after her injuries were treated.

  88. Andrew commented on Feb 20

    I am not intimidated by war hawk implications that I am weak, or a bad American, because I am critical of this war. I am the stronger for it. It took me a long time to muster the courage to admit that I was wrong in initially supporting the war enthusiastically. I’ve thought long and hard about my position and I’ve done quite a bit of reading on the situation over there. It has nothing to do with the soldiers or their quality or valor, because they’re Americans and I believe in the strength of the American individual. I’m solid as a rock, so bring it on.

    (The above is my effort to communicate a nuanced opinion in the macho language and tone favored by our president and every other neocon who comes on to these threads trying to sound hard.)

  89. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 20

    Easy, butch. Don’t bust your girdle while you ‘nuance’. You’re an American, you have the God given right to be wrong.

  90. John F. commented on Feb 20

    Tell me this, Barry:

    If you’re taking the time to report that this is NOT news, shouldn’t you also use your forum to propagate what, by your definition, IS news? I’m speaking, of course, of things like:

    – Soldiers returning from Vietnam were never spit on. [Slate magazine]

    – Today’s soldiers are spoiled mercenaries. [William Arkin, WaPo]

    As a taxpayer, these are things I’d really like to know–much more than all the crap in your weekend linkfests. When are you going to start giving us ALL the news?

  91. jp commented on Feb 20

    dd: double dumass…we ARE doing good in africa…spending has quadrupled under this president for Aids and other humanitarian causes.

  92. jp commented on Feb 20

    john H: interesting that we declared war on Germany after Pearl Harbor….though the Germans didnt really attack us either did they? but they posed a danger to the world, and were attacking our friends, just as saddam did to the Israelis, by funding suicide bombers…

  93. Patrick commented on Feb 20

    The Red Army, not the Allies, liberated Auschwitz.

    See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/27/newsid_3520000/3520986.stm

    In one sense, this is only an oft-repeated factual error, and one with a resemblance of truth since America did liberate some death camps. On the other hand, it evidences sloppy thinking and a nationalist bias that blindly inserts America into the role of historical good guy (which in the case of WWII, we were). A better, more accurate judgement would begin by getting the facts straight.

  94. Max commented on Feb 20

    “Andalusia? ROTFLMAO, Maxi. Can you bring up an event within the past half millennia?”

    Obviously spudly, you didn’t get the memo. I’m not the one bringing up Andalusia. It’s those other guys who want a return to the fifteenth century or earlier. Any land that was ever Islamic is to them, always Islamic. Know your enemy.

  95. DD commented on Feb 20

    jp: Try insulting without typos, it takes all the bite out of it. You are defending the wrong people. I can assure you of that…also take down your site it is embarrassing and annoying. http://americansforfreedom.blogspot.com/
    I repeat embarrassing and annoying.
    President George Bush has falsely claimed that his administration has already “tripled” assistance to sub-Saharan Africa over the past four years. In fact U.S. aid to Africa has not even doubled. The total of all forms of U.S. aid to Africa has increased only by 56% during the period 2000-2004. Nearly all of the increase was for emergency food aid, emergency HIV/AIDS funding, and emergency assistance for post-conflict relief in Liberia and southern Sudan. Hardly any of the increase was for official development assistance, which contributes to sustainable development as opposed to humanitarian and emergency relief operations. If you think these people are going to get rid of the threat of Islamic fundamentalists you are sadly mistaken.

  96. Idaho_Spud commented on Feb 20

    foofoo – In response to your broad question: No, a country should not stand by idly and wait to be attacked. However the reality is that no sovereign nation would dare to attack the US.

    That is why nations are using terrorists to do so. Unfortunately the nations supporting/providing these terrorists are not the one we chose to topple.

    There are times when military intervention is justified. Removing Iraq (an invader/occupier, hahaha) from Kuwait certainly qualified. I consider Clinton’s failure to intervene in the genocide in Rwanda due to his obsessive concern for political popularity to be a huge mistake.

    By that same token, not every US military intervention is necessary and/or good. It’s difficult for a lot of people to get beyond their parochial black and white outlook. Every situation is different, and there are thousands of possible responses – most of which don’t involve massive killing of non-combatant civilians.

    Speaking of black and white, if my country is “good”, how is it there are pictures of our servicemen torturing prisoners in their care and custody?

    Where is the moral outrage of this war’s supporters over that? (Hint: look to ghetto ethics, where might makes right).

  97. brion commented on Feb 20

    Tom C, your language pegs you as an arrogant Bush ass-licker. And, as an arrogant Bush ass-licker, your “spewing™” would not not be complete without some typical right-wing hypocracy…..

    “Easy, butch. Don’t bust your girdle while you ‘nuance’..”

    Sounds a little ad hominem to me there Tom C.(unt). from Stamford….

  98. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 20

    Oohh, tough guy. I thought it was an appropriate response to your previous solopsism. Sorry to offend your precious sensibilities.

  99. alexd commented on Feb 20

    This current war seems to be alot more like Vietnam than WW2.

    Look sorry but this is not decreasing the possibilities of terrorism. Police action is counter terrorism a flexible response to a flexible assault. This is inappropriate force.

    If any of your think this is a good response to 911 then you would have us invade Saudi Arabia since that is where Bin
    Laden is from (I though we were going to get him) and I believe 15 of the 19 hijackers. I do not recall any of the dammed hijackers being Iraqi.

    We have cut a deal with the terrorism of Libya for money. I think that tells us what remedy for terrorism our current administration thinks is best.

    The war was over when Bush stood on that deck of the aircraft carrier and announced it.

    Then we became the occupiers.

    The elected government is long gone from
    Bagdad. Who elected the current crop or the ones before them?

    Democracy is not always superior or appropriate. Who told you that? What works is appropriate.

    By the way we have lost habeus corpus, our government can literally lock any of us away and not let us see the light of day if they choose. There are people on both sides of Congress working to reverse that.

    Power is like weapons and cigarettes, you got em, you smoke em.

    Let’s ask the Iraquis if they want us there. That should have been the last question on the election ballot.

    This is not a rant agaisnt our service people, it is against the armchair warriors who sent them there as an ideological response to an action unrelated to the country we invaded. We have become waht we fear the most.

    Whether we like it or not bombs going off in areas where there are civilians are acts of terroism just like 911. It does not excuse what in human acts Sadam commited, but we willingly let innocent people be murdered by our own actions.

    If any of you had some one you loved murdered would you care if it was via a jet liner or a 2 ton bomb. Would that make a differnce?

    We are saved by our good actions not our horror.

  100. brion commented on Feb 20

    Tom C-
    i piss on quisling amerikans like you from a great height….

  101. Jon H commented on Feb 21

    jp writes: ” interesting that we declared war on Germany after Pearl Harbor….though the Germans didnt really attack us either did they? but they posed a danger to the world, and were attacking our friends, just as saddam did to the Israelis, by funding suicide bombers…”

    Tom C kindly pointed out already that Germany declared war on us first.

    See, unlike the fictitious ‘Axis of Evil’, Germany-Japan-Italy was an actual Axis, formed by pacts between them (this use of Axis itself was coined by Mussolini, not some Washington speechwriter trying to be clever.)

  102. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 21

    Quisling? Amerikan? You sir, are an ass. Perfect example of what I meant by ‘thoughtless, reactionary left’. Feelings trump historical reality. You piss on..? Neat trick for a retromingent.

  103. Mike Huff commented on Feb 21

    To name a few BR:

    Here’s a few of the positives that occurred in Iraq during the first two months of 2006 alone. See if you have read any of these in the print media or viewed a news report about these events…

    The GDP in Iraq grew by 2.6 percent in 2005.

    The first class of cadets for the new Iraqi army graduated from the Iraqi Military Academy Al Rustamiyah under the year long Sandhurst-modeled curriculum on Jan. 19.

    The Al Basrah Oil Terminal had been protected by coalition forces since operations in Iraq began in 2003 but the Iraqi Navy’s marine unit took over protecting the platform on Feb. 7.

    The Iraqi Navy consists of two squadrons – a patrol boat squadron and an assault boat squadron. The patrol boat squadron uses Predator class patrol boats to conduct 24-hour security operations and sector patrols around the oil terminals and in Iraqi territorial waters. The assault boat squadron has 24 fast assault boats that routinely patrol the inland waters and approaches of the Kwar Abd Allah up to the port of Umm Qasr, which is Iraq’s largest and only deep water port.
    In the Al Muhawil muhallah a new water treatment plant opened on Feb. 6. One million cubic liters of water will pump through the Al Muhawil station on a daily basis. A similar project on the other side of town in 2006 will bring clean drinking water to more than 20,000 residents for the first time in many years.

    About 250 reconstruction contracts worth more than $250 million have been awarded to women-owned businesses in Iraq over the past eight months.

    As of Jan. 30, there were approximately 6,000 actual projects started with a program value of $2.5 billion. Currently there are 2,200 projects ongoing with a program value of $3.2 billion. About 3,700 projects have been completed with a program value of approximately $2.5 billion.

    Iraqi firms are doing the majority of the work in Iraq including school renovations, health clinics and hospitals, border forts, police and fire stations, public buildings, water treatment units and plants, water supply facilities, sewer networks and more.

    The Baqubah General Hospital renovations are complete. The hospital has a new incinerator and reverse osmosis water treatment system, plumbing and sewer system upgrade, architectural renovation, emergency backup generator and repair of existing elevators. The hospital is a 331 bed hospital with surgery and consultation clinics that see 400-500 patients daily.

    The Northwest Regional Control Center is under construction in Northern Iraq. The NRCC is a $4.9 million system developed to improve the reliability of the country-wide automatic monitoring and control system for the National Electric Network.

    There are 434 electricity (generation, transmission, distribution and monitoring and control) projects planned in Iraq. 132 power related projects are ongoing and 123 have been completed.

    On January 29, 2006 the Iraqi Air Force made history when it flew its first C-130 flight with an all Iraqi crew outside of Iraq.

    The Iraqi Army’s 5th Brigade, 6th Division, assumed control of a base in central Baghdad from the US 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team on January 31, 2006.

    More than 15 new well projects have been completed in villages within the Ninawa Province. These wells provide pure drinking water for more than 12,600 Iraqis. The water these wells deliver does not require additional treatment.

    The Kovak Primary School in the Dahuk District was completed in January 2006. The 12-classroom school was built from the ground up. It will house 36 teachers and about 825 students.

    Tal Afar’s police department opened the new Al Salam Police Station in January. The new police station building features a holding cell, an arms room, investigation and intelligence cells, an interrogation room and an information desk. Currently 180 Iraqi Police Officers are assigned to the station with an additional 60 officers scheduled to be added.

    A water pipe system was completed in small communities southeast of Baghdad. The system brings water to families that have never had running water in their villages, much less in their homes.

    Baquba Maternity Hospital in Mosul is open and delivering babies. The facility houses 229 beds and serves a local population of approximately 350,000.

    More Iraqis have access to sewage collection and treatment now than in 2003. More than 4.5 million people have access to a standard level of service. In 2003, less than one million Iraqis had access to sewage collection.

    Thirty-five government sites in Baghdad, the Central Bank of Iraq and two state-owned banks are now connected via the Wireless Broadband Network. MH

  104. brion commented on Feb 21

    So Comrade Mike, our 5-year-plans have all exceeded expections wildly for a glorious rebirth of Iraqi Freedom?
    Let a thousand sand flies bloom in the face of our glorious successes!!!!

    Propaganda and piddling “achievements” …
    (the Iraqi Air Force made history when it flew its first C-130 flight with an all Iraqi crew outside of Iraq. -Whoopdee freakin’ doo!)_ Why, you’d hardly know Iraq was one of the most dangerous places on earth!

    WOW! 15 new well projects! Those 1 1/2 million iraqi refugees are sure gonna wish they’d stayed home now huh?

    O.K., let our troops come home then if everything is going so swimmingly

  105. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 21

    “Whoopee freakin’ doo!” Pithy.

    Iraq IS still a dangerous place. Particularly for foreign jihadists. Certainly safer for the average man. With the exception of Baghdad and the shared frontiers with Iran and Syria it’s almost normal. Talk to the Kurds in the north. Do they count? Were they safer before the Americans came?

  106. Nomen Nescio commented on Feb 21

    That child should have been in the arms of his/her mother.

    It was probably the American invasion and the consequent Iraqi resistance that led to the child being separated from his parents and perhaps orphaned.

    This soldier’s kindness in no way justifies America’s lawless invasion. No people will tolerate a trigger-happy alien army in their midst.

    The argument that we freed Iraq from a brutal dictator is also a self-serving one, since President Hussein he was no less brutal over decades when he was in our favor and enjoyed our support in all kinds of ways.

    Mr. Ritholtz – perhaps you should stick to your core competence.

  107. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 21

    Children were seperated from their parents on a regular basis under Sadaam, arbitrariliy and without cause, particularly if they were Kurds. Often they were gassed alongside their parents in experiments with sarin gas on the more recalcitrant tribes. Occasionally, parents were made to watch as their children were murdered before their eyes. No matter. The Iraqi’s would be better off under the Baath Party of Sadaam than under the evil Amerikan imperialist.

    What world do you people live in?

  108. brion commented on Feb 21

    Nomen-Barry is one of the good guys.
    As far as i can tell, he’s a competant mensch as well as beng financially savvy.

    Now Tom C. on the other hand, is an incompetant menstrual rag.

    now you know.

  109. Tom C., Stamford,Ct. commented on Feb 22

    “whoopee freakin’ doo!” The twelve year old opens his mouth and out comes a ‘menstrual rag’. Shocking.

  110. brenda commented on Jun 28

    Barry, I know this is an old thread, but I only just ran across your blog and this piece. Thanks for writing it, it’s a great piece. Even though I am much, much further to the left than you are, you did truly speak for me here.

    I’ve had a small bumper sticker on my car since January 2004, big yellow ribbon in the middle, ‘Bring Them Home Now’ on each side. The yellow color is all washed out now, and the sticker is getting grubby and worn around the edges. But I can’t bring myself to replace it. There were only about 325 dead then, and maybe 1,000 so badly shot up that they might think twice about whether life is still worth living. This is An American Tragedy, writ large.

  111. Ksie commented on Jul 11

    In Buddha Teaching, we believe that all human being are kind by nature. This picture is a really a masterpiece to his beliefs. Let try to work towards peace and love for the mankind.

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