S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Iraq is still broken


As we know the situation in Iraq remains critical. Watching the news reinforces how broken are the mid-east dreams of the Bush administration. Both houses of Congress are struggling about what to do now. Each day I look for news, ideas, insight or inspiration from thoughtful people about what might be happening.
What they are saying - Yesterday's S/SW post featured links to several of my favorite women on the internet. I quote the question I asked:
Why do we admire people we do not know because of what they write online? We might feel as if they are "kindred spirits." Or is it purely a matter of writing skill. They change our minds or inform us in new ways. Following are a few [writers] that make me glad our virtual paths have crossed.
The question is the same today as yesterday, except that today I feature some of my favorite journalists/bloggers/writers who happen to be men. Each of them is well-respected. Each is very dedicated to his work, intelligent and well informed. They all shed important light on the troubled Middle East:
Juan Cole at Informed Comment posted, "Bush's Top Ten Mistakes in Iraq during the Past 4 Years" (3/20/07). His post garnered some very interesting comments, including this little gem:
At 4:16 PM, Thomas Boogaart said...
It must have been excruciatingly difficult to winnow that down to ten!

Steve Clemons at The Washington Note posted "Understanding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's Game Plan" (3/18/07) featuring Al Jazeera journalist Yosri Fouda's take on KSM's possible motivations for confessing to so many terrorist acts.
Richard Engel, MSNBC's Iraq correspondent blogs about his (3/21/07) television docmentary (video) at War Zone Diary blog. The following bullets catalog what others say about last night's important TV event:
  • Aaron Barnhart, TV critic for the Kansas City Star, at "TVBarn" wrote an interesting review, from which I quote,
    It's not the last time on this sobering one-hour special that Engel dwells on his own demise. After a hostage is beheaded, Engel confides that he has come up with a plan if he is kidnapped: Run away. "Better to die running away," he reasons, "and be shot in the back than be beheaded." Even more chilling is Engel's list of "four stages of stress" he's observed for reporters covering this bloodbath. In the first stage, you feel invincible; the second stage, you feel threatened; the third stage, you feel you are cheating death; and in the fourth phase, as Engel puts it, "I've used up all of my nine lives and I'm definitely going to die." He admits to being "definitely in stage three and some days, stage four."
    There are unusual and touching moments, too, like the friend who faked his own kidnapping; the girls at an orphanage desperate for affection (one calls Engel's cameraman "Daddy"); the sight of American troops relaxing and playing cards after a harrowing day on the streets; and Engel recounting his estrangement from his wife back home.
  • Mark Finkelstein at Free Republic posted this "No One's Bothered to Explain War to Troops," from which I quote,
    Judging by the excerpt Tucker Carlson played on his MSNBC show this afternoon at about 4:15 PM ET, Richard Engel's War Zone Diary is a powerful and moving documentary of the NBC reporter's experiences in Iraq. To his credit. Engel has accompanied troops on many combat patrols. Among other clips, we saw particularly compelling footage Marines on a night mission in the mean streets of Ramadi, in Anbar province, searching for - and finding unharmed - one of their comrades who had gotten separated during an earlier patrol there.
    Speaking of combat, Engel even mentioned at one point that "it is very brutal but after some time you do start to see things from their [U.S. soldiers' and Marines'] perspective."

  • Inside Cable News "Richard Engel interview" exerpts an interview by Stephen Battaglio of TV Guide.

  • "Sultanist" at Internet Infidels Discussion Board - "A journalist's video diary of the War in Iraq" - includes a set of links to additional quotes, including another good Engel interview about his documentary.
The unfortunate irony about the war in Iraq is that more I learn about it from my favorites, the less the failed policy changes. As the soldiers dig in around the neighborhoods of Baghdad, so does the current administration. As the actual funding for the war comes up for renewal, Congress is unable to reach consensus on how to intervene in ways that will change the war policy. As we learn more and more of the truth, our current president continues to make misstatements about the policy that is, in fact, no real policy at all.

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