Iraq War

Newspaper Ignores Real War Costs

What you rarely find in the relentless editorials about the gruesome Iraq occupation by The Daily Oklahoman is any mention of its real costs. So here they are:

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There have been 3,242 American soldiers killed and more than 24,000 wounded since the invasion.

Estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths range from 60,000 to 650,000. Thousands more have been wounded.

The financial costs stand at $411 billion so far.

These figures will grow immediately after this is posted.

The Oklahoman, in its most recent editorial on the occupation (“Pelosi’s victory: Anti-war vote won’t bring Iraq resolution,” March 27, 2008), criticizes a Democratic-sponsored House bill that puts a reasonable timetable on the country’s biggest foreign policy debacle in a generation, and then, ironically and with audacity, talks about the “costs” of that timetable.

Yet, as usual, the editorial doesn't mention the occupation’s death toll or how much taxpayers have spent on it.

The editorial rambles on about how Speaker Nancy Pelosi engaged in some “old fashioned skull cracking” (what clichéd, archaic rubbish) to get the bill passed, but doesn’t mention one dead soldier or one dead, innocent Iraqi citizen. Instead, it makes a standard GOP argument about the political costs for Democrats opposed to the war.

The newspaper’s continuing attempts to politicize, not humanize, the Iraq invasion and occupation are inexcusable. It hides the real costs of the war in a morass of clichés and distortions and omissions. When a news outlet intentionally and systematically omits the true costs of a war, it commits a grave injustice against those who have died in it and against those whose taxes pay for it.


Obsessed With The Big Lie

Bushbot Writing

The Daily Oklahoman remains obsessed about criticizing anyone who stands up against the gruesome, bloody Iraq occupation that has stretched on for four years now.

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Right now that means the newspaper's editorials about the occupation are consistently criticizing and even making fun of about 70 percent of the American people and, perhaps, 50 percent or more of all Oklahomans, according to polls and estimates. (The Oklahoma numbers are related to President George Bush’s overall approval ratings.) It also stands opposed to a majority of Iraqis who want the United States to withdraw its troops.

As Iraq spins into further chaos, the newspaper’s editorials about it have become louder, sarcastic, and even nonsensical. The newspaper runs an enormous number of editorials about the occupation. These editorials always support the Bush administration. They never address opposing viewpoints or fully acknowledge the American death toll or the staggering costs. They merely parrot the Bush administration’s lies. Of course, those who are opposed to the occupation are never given a full voice in the newspaper’s columns.

Overall, the newspaper’s editorials on Iraq raise these larger questions: What would happen to our country if all corporate media, such as The Oklahoman, continued to back the lies of the most corrupt presidential regime in the country’s history? (Many media outlets have recanted their initial support for Bush’s invasion.) Is this what American fascism would look like? Can we learn something politically significant about red states by exploring this one media corporation’s distortions and omissions about the most significant, heinous world event in a generation? How do the newspaper’s editorials help create, sanction, and inform the era of The Big Lie and The Imperial Presidency?

The newspaper’s most recent editorial, “General confusion: Democrats try new bid to cripple Iraq effort” (March 12, 2007), comes from the immoral stew of lies and distortions cooked up this week by the Republican Party. The editorial sarcastically calls Democrats “generals,” accusing them of micromanaging Iraq, because the party simply wants to pass some legislation to bring the occupation to an end in some sensible and reasonable fashion.

The editorial, referring to a House bill, goes on to argue, “The House version, a house of cards designed to placate rabid anti-war Democrats as well as those who don't fancy pulling the rug from under the troops in the field, is so convoluted the Keystone Kops might've done better explaining it.”

Note the word “rabid.” Actually, it’s the pro-war folks who should be called rabid since they continue to support a botched occupation responsible for the deaths of American soldiers and innocent Iraqis on a daily basis. They seem more “rabid” to me, for example, than those who will gather for the Spiritual Walk For Peace this coming Sunday in Oklahoma City. But the main point I would make about the quoted material is that it consists of nothing but cliché-ridden generalities and hyperbole. We have the “house of cards,” the “pulling the rug from under…,” and the “Keystone Kops.” There is nothing substantive here. There is no debate. The editorial only mocks prevailing political views now held by a majority of Americans.

The obvious omission in this editorial is this fact: The country voted Democrats into power last November to stop Bush’s debacle in Iraq. There is no question about this. Democratic legislators are listening to their constituents and trying to build a consensus on specific bills. That’s how democracies function. Maybe the newspaper’s editorial writers have forgotten about this concept over the last six years.

War Protests Scheduled

Two war protests in the Oklahoma City area are scheduled for this coming weekend. The events mark the fourth year of the Iraq occupation.

A Rally For Peace will start at 10:30 a.m, Saturday, March 17 on the South Plaza of the State Capitol. A Spiritual Walk For Peace will begin at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, March 18 at the Episcopal Center at NW Ninth and Robinson.

For more information, check out Blue Oklahoma.


Greatest Vote In A Generation

(Update: The U.S. House of Representatives voted 246-182 Friday in favor of a resolution denouncing President George Bush's escalation of American troops in the continuing Iraq occupation.)

"We owe it to the men and women of our armed forces to pursue a policy that offers them the best possible chance of success—not a plan that repeats past mistakes.”—U.S. Rep. Dan Boren.

Democrats will reaffirm America’s basic constitutional structures Friday in the most important political vote in at least a generation.

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The U.S. House of Representatives has been debating a short resolution criticizing Bush’s escalation of the gruesome Iraq occupation the last few days. This is a much needed discussion created by the November elections in which voters spoke clearly they want an end to President George Bush’s botched debacle. A vote on the resolution is scheduled Friday. Some Republican House members are expected to join Democrats in passing the measure.

The only Oklahoma Congressional member on the right side of history in this greatest vote in a generation is U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, a Democrat who spoke eloquently in favor of the resolution during the debate.

Adopting the modus operandi of their unethical leader, many GOP members are consistently lying in their presentations, using straw-man and red-herring arguments and, of course, presenting contradictory points. How did some of these illogical, angry corporate toadies, liberty-haters, and Bushbots become empowered in our democracy when they obviously stand against democracy as a basic concept and philosophy?

Let’s dissect some of the GOP lies in the debate:

GOP Lie #1: The resolution helps terrorists. Nothing in the resolution mentions our fight against terrorists throughout the world, and the only reason outside terrorists are in Iraq is because of the incompetent war planning by the Bush administration. The Bushies have also sided with a Shiite government in Iraq that is sympathetic to anti-American interests in Iran. Consequently, given our current occupation strategy, an escalation of troops only supports terrorists in organizations such as Al-Qaeda.

GOP Lie #2: By standing against the resolution, the GOP supports committing enough troops to stabilize Iraq. In fact, not a single Republican has come forward with a valid plan to institute a draft in order to deplore the half million troops needed to get the job done. It’s the GOP which lacks plans, not the Democrats. Many Democrats favor a phased redeployment. They realize the country citizens will not allow the government to establish a draft for the occupation.

GOP Lie #3: The resolution does not support the troops. But a majority of troops and their families, according to a recent poll, do not support the president’s plans for Iraq. They want to come home. They know the occupation will not work. The resolution very much supports a majority view of what the troops think about Bush’s handling of his misguided occupation.

GOP Lie #4: The resolution emboldens our enemies throughout the world. No, what emboldens our enemies is American quasi-fascism and neoconservatism. In the past six years, the country transformed itself from a democracy of checks and balances into an imperial-presidency form of government established to benefit war profiteers, such as Halliburton. That's how the world thinks of us now. But democratic debate and free speech will always be our country’s most important asset.

GOP Lie #5: The resolution is really an attempt to micromanage the war. This one is laughable. The resolution is staggeringly significant in terms of symbolic value, a first step back to a constitutional democratic republic, but it’s a nonbinding measure, and it does nothing to cut off or limit funding for the occupation.

GOP Lie #6: The resolution is just a meaningless political game because it’s nonbinding. This is another laughable point and contradicts the GOP Lie #5. The resolution has created the first open debate about the Iraq occupation in five years. It’s intellectually dishonest to call that meaningless. A majority of Americans disagree with Bush’s handling of the Iraq occupation, and they desperately want this debate. And so what is it? Is it micromanaging or just political crap? The Republicans want it both ways, of course.

GOP Lie #7: It’s wrong to even debate the occupation in the House and Senate because Congress shouldn’t ever question military decisions made by the commander-in-chief. But then what is the role of Congress? Why even have one? Each GOP member who speaks against debating all components of the bloody occupation essentially speaks against the core principles of our democracy.

The Republicans don’t want a debate because they have been so dreadfully wrong about the Iraq occupation for five years now. Of course they don’t want to be held accountable for the needless deaths of thousands and thousands of American soldiers and innocent Iraqis or the $370 billion already spent on the occupation. What’s the political gain in truth for these people? Better to risk it all, and, by extension, all of us, and our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.

America has not been so challenged by such reckless and blind presidential and Congressional leadership since the Vietnam War era. The November elections changed that. If America, using its democratic structures, can now correct its error—the Iraq occupation—it will be the greatest story of democratic affirmation and people power in a generation. That story is the best weapon against those who wish us harm, not bombs.