The Scotsman has some excellent breaking news, from Reuters:
Gunmen kill 29 Iraqi villagers
Twenty nine villagers were killed by men wearing Iraqi military uniforms who stormed their homes north of Baghdad on Monday, an Iraqi security official said on Tuesday.This is what they mean when they say "The surge is working." We've chased them out of Baquba and now they're only killing people in Duwailiya! Hooray for us and don't you forget it!
Colonel Raghib Rawi, spokesman for security operations in Diyala province, said a large number of gunmen surrounded Duwailiya village, north of the city of Baquba, on Monday afternoon and then opened fire.
There were four people wounded in the attack, which he blamed on militants fleeing U.S. and Iraqi security forces who last month launched a major operation in Baquba, the capital of the religiously mixed Diyala province.
Thousands of troops swept into Baquba to drive out an estimated several hundred al Qaeda militants who had turned the city into a stronghold. But U.S. commanders say that many of the most senior al Qaeda fighters departed before their net closed.
This is the sort of thing the president could use to his advantage, as TIME's Joe Klein pointed out last week.
The President's tragic addiction to broad-brush propaganda prevented him from telling his Cleveland audience the one bit of good news emanating from Iraq in recent months -- that the Iraqi version of al-Qaeda (AQI is the military acronym) is being rejected by its Sunni hosts across the country; that recent U.S. military operations have forced AQI from some of its most important sanctuaries, like the city of Baqubah; that many al-Qaeda operatives are on the run; that even horrific explosions, like the bomb that killed more than 150 in the obscure town of Amerli, north of Baqubah, are a perverse form of good news. A bomb that size was probably intended for downtown Baghdad but couldn't reach its destination because U.S. forces have blocked the routes south.You see? 150 people were killed in a single attack last week, but they lived in "the obscure town of Amerli" rather than one of AQI's most important sanctuaries, like Baquba, not to mention the world-famous utterly demolished city of Baghdad, so that's good news!
Who are we kidding? With a bomb that size, to kill only 150 people! That's excellent news!
Besides, a bomb that size was probably intended for downtown Manhattan.
The people of Baghdad generally don't understand how lucky they are, to have visiting American forces around who have blocked the routes south!! If only they understood how much good news is happening all around them, then they would be more grateful.
It may be hard to imagine but the implication is quite clear: some of the news coming from Iraq is fabulous, but you'll never hear about it. And why? Because the Liberal Media hates Bush and doesn't want you to know the good news? No; quite the opposite, in fact.
The president has to be picky; he can't share all the good news he gets, because then people might think we were winning!
And if we were winning we might have to go back home. As Joe Klein puts it,
The reason Bush didn't tout this success is byzantine: If al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia is on the run, if we have "turned a corner" against al-Qaeda, as a senior Administration official told me, then an argument can be made that it is time to begin planning our departure.Slow down for a second; let's take that statement apart. Picky? Maybe, but it shows how dangerous the truth is, and how many layers of insulation the lies need.
Look carefully at what the "senior Administration official" is saying here: it's not just that we can't leave; and it's not just that we can't plan to leave; and it's not just that we can't begin planning to leave; we can't even allow an environment to develop in which it would be possible to make an argument that we should begin planning to leave.
The danger of course is not in the leaving; it's in the argument. This is the danger to all Infallible Leaders; as soon as they lose one argument, their facade begins to crumble and by the time it stops crumbling there's nothing left. So we're not supposed to think of any of that; the real message, reading Joe Klein between the lines, is that we've got nothing to worry about because the president has more good news than he can possibly use.
Lest any readers think I'm being unfair to Joe Klein, I hasten to add that in this very piece, Klein catches Bush in a lie! It's not so hard to do, I know -- but Klein does it, and he says so, in the bluntest possible way: L-I-E. This used to be unacceptable, not very long ago:
Recently, in his desperation, starting with his speech at the Naval War College on June 28, [Bush] has been telling an outright lie, and he repeated it now, awkwardly, in Cleveland: "The same people that attacked us on September the 11th is the crowd that is now bombing people, killing innocent men, women and children, many of whom are Muslims, trying to stop the advance of a system based upon liberty."As Joe Klein points out, this is not exactly true. In fact, it's not even close.
But the debunking of one single Bush talking point seems more like political cover than real analysis. Because Joe Klein doesn't point out all the lies: in fact he laps 'em up! And he serves them back to his readers -- dressed to kill, as it were -- in a piece that, except for the passage quoted above, amounts to industrial strength bootlicking.
And it all starts this way:
"I want to talk about the war we're in," the President of the United States said in Cleveland, and then he sighed, an exhausted ahhhhh. "I didn't want to be a war President," he continued, and the stage was set for George W. Bush to say something real...Does Joe Klein mean the stage is set for Bush to say something real because he's just said something totally unreal? Apparently not.
Klein seems to think that telling the pre-screened bootlickers he never wanted to be a "war president" was Bush's way of saying, "Hey, chumps: Listen up! I'm gonna let you in on some inside stuff now." But that's not the case at all.
The fact, amply documented, is this: Bush wanted to invade Iraq even before he took office. Even if Saddam Hussein had died or resigned or been abducted by aliens, the US was going to invade Iraq, if George Bush -- meaning Dick Cheney -- had anything to say about it.
In fact, George W. Bush had decided to be a war president before he ever took office.
So it's probably a good thing for Joe Klein that he stuck to debunking the al-Q'aeda / Iraq lie and didn't mention everything else, because, of course, Bush can always brush off the al-Q'aeda / Iraq "blunder" as a misunderstanding, whereas it's a good deal more difficult to brush off premeditated mass murder.
And now that Joe Klein has not called George Bush -- or Dick Cheney -- a premeditated mass murderer, he's probably not on the Enemies List, and he's still free to phone the White House and remind everybody -- as if Fat Karl needed any reminders -- that today's news from Iraq is good!
And what's the good news about the 29 Iraqi villagers who were shot dead like ducks on a pond?
* They didn't live in Baquba!
* And neither did any of the 150 people who were blown up last week in Amerli.
* None of them lived in Baghdad, either.
So there you go. Three bits of good news from Iraq.
In comparison, there have only been two bombs today in Baghdad itself, leaving a total of merely 14 dead, and just 16 wounded.
Not bad! 14 is way less than 29! Not bad at all!!
You see? Baghdad is safer than obscure little towns like Amerli and unknown little villages like Duwailiya ... and so is Baquba!
And all this is evidence -- evidence the blinkered liberal defeatists will never accept -- that The Surge Is Working!
Hooray for us and don't you forget it!