September 24, 2003


Most of the news out of Iraq is bad news, which at least keeps the anti-US propaganda industry happy. It’ll be interesting to see how much coverage this new Gallup poll receives:

After five months of foreign military occupation and the ouster of Saddam Hussein, nearly two-thirds of Baghdad residents believe the removal of the Iraqi dictator has been worth the hardships they have endured, a new Gallup poll shows.

Despite the systemic collapse of government and civic institutions, a wave of looting and violence, and water and electricity shortages, 67 percent of 1,178 Iraqis told a Gallup survey team that within five years, their lives will be better than before the American and British invasion.

Only 8 percent of those queried said they believed that their lives would be worse as a result of the military campaign to remove Saddam and his Baath Party leadership from power.

Robert Fisk is a joyful blur as he races about tracking down those eight-per-centers. The Independent's go-to guy for jihad jizz is having the time of his life:

"I saw the Americans flying through the air, blasted upwards," an Iraqi mechanic with an oil lamp in his garage said - not, I thought, without some satisfaction. "The wounded Americans were on the road, shouting and screaming."

Even as I left the scene of the killings after dark, US army flares were dripping over the semi-desert plain 100 miles west of Baghdad while red tracer fire raced along the horizon behind the palm trees. It might have been a scene from a Vietnam movie, even an archive newsreel clip; for this is now tough, lethal guerrilla country for the Americans, a death-trap for them almost every day.

Fisk writes this not, I think, without some satisfaction. He’s an admirer of Iraqi street art, too:

I couldn't help noticing the graffiti on a wall in Fallujah. It was written in Arabic, in a careful, precise hand, by someone who had taken his time to produce a real threat.

"He who gives the slightest help to the Americans," the graffiti read, "is a traitor and a collaborator."

Bob’s in no danger, then.

(Thanks to Zsa Zsa for the Fisky link.)

UPDATE. U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), a Vietnam combat veteran, weighs in on the debate:

On Sept. 14, I flew from Baghdad to Kuwait with Sgt. Trevor A. Blumberg from Dearborn, Mich. He was in a body bag. He'd been ambushed and killed that afternoon. Sitting in the cargo bay of a C 130E, I found myself wondering whether the news media were somehow complicit in his death.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 24, 2003 09:57 PM

This quote is telling: "It might have been a scene from a Vietnam movie." Real life is so dull.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 24, 2003 at 10:16 PM

Fisky is so happy over American deaths that he is peeing in his pants. He probably jerks off fantasizing about dying Americans.

Posted by: perfectsense at September 24, 2003 at 10:29 PM

I also got a distinctly jerk-offy vibe from Fisk's description of the "real threat" written in Arabic. Sounds like he jerks off thinking about "collaborators" getting offed.

Posted by: kid charlemagne at September 25, 2003 at 12:09 AM

"for this is now tough, lethal guerrilla country for the Americans, a death-trap for them almost every day."

That's it. We can declare victory. Punching-bag-Bob has said that all is lost and that we are in a quagmire. That means there are three gorrillas escaped from the zoo and a humvee lost its hupcap. Can we all remember his memorable report from the Stalingrad-on-the-Euphrates:

"The road to the front in central Iraq is a place of fast-moving vehicles, blazing Iraqi anti-aircraft guns, tanks and trucks hidden in palm groves, a train of armored vehicles bombed from the air and hundreds of artillery positions dug into revetments to defend the capital. Anyone who doubts that the Iraqi Army is prepared to defend its capital should take the highway south of Baghdad.

How, I kept asking myself, could the Americans batter their way through these defenses? For mile after mile they go on, slit trenches, ditches, earthen underground bunkers, palm groves of heavy artillery and truck loads of combat troops in battle fatigues and steel helmets. Not since the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War have I seen the Iraqi Army deployed like this; the Americans may say they are “degrading” the country’s defenses but there was little sign of that here Wednesday."

Posted by: LB at September 25, 2003 at 12:14 AM

Heh, thanks for making me laugh, LB ;)

Posted by: mo skrilla at September 25, 2003 at 12:37 AM

I wouldn't expect any coverage on SBS television. 'Dateline' reporter Bronwyn Adcock says "Everyone acknowledges the stark reality of what this has become - an unwelcome occupation."

Posted by: Softly at September 25, 2003 at 02:05 AM

I've never been to Nam, but I have been to Thailand and Iraq, and I'm pretty sure that Iraq and Viet Nam bear little or no resemblance to each other geographically.

Posted by: Kevin at September 25, 2003 at 04:26 AM

I doubt Iraq has Vietnam's lovely "rotting garbage and old sweat socks" smell, at any rate...

Dust,hot, would be my guess.

Posted by: mojo at September 25, 2003 at 05:24 AM

Here is a good read:

It's an excerpt from a book from a NYT man. It tells about how he believed the Media was reporting falsely during the war.

Posted by: Dom at September 25, 2003 at 06:53 AM

There's a small but funny mistake in the NYT article; The say that nearly 2/3 approve, but then later give the actual number, 67 percent, which is slightly over 2/3. I guess the positive news was just too much for them to take.

BTW, this is about what I predicted last March, that most Iraqis would approve of overthrowing Saddam, even if it took a war. For details, see my site.

Posted by: Jim Miller at September 25, 2003 at 07:37 AM

"It might have been a scene from a Vietnam movie"

But which Vietnam movie, Bob? I looked up "The Scent of Green Papaya" on and it said:

Genre: Drama
Plot Outline: Mui goes to live with a pianist who has a fiance. The pianist and Mui have a relationship, and he teaches her to read.

And what's Bob hangin' out in oil lit garages for? Lookin' for another Afghani-style "Fight Club"?

Posted by: JDB at September 25, 2003 at 08:02 AM
I found myself wondering whether the news media were somehow complicit in his death.
Quit wondering, Rep. Marshall - the answer is YES. Posted by: Barbara Skolaut at September 25, 2003 at 08:27 AM

. I'm getting tired of the shitty, biased reporting coming out of Iraq. A lot of US units haven't had enemy-induced casualties since May, yet drooling idiots like Fisk try to paint it like its armageddon.

The tide is starting to turn, however, with a lot of quiet admissions in the US media this week that, "gee, you know, maybe its not as bad over there as we've been telling you." Furthermore, even some US Decmocrat congressmen are starting to call bullshit on the media.

Posted by: Tim in PA at September 25, 2003 at 02:01 PM