Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dang Liberal Media, Part 1,371

Glenn Greenwald writes today about Michael Gordon's latest pro-war p.r. job:

The New York Times' Michael Gordon -- a long-time, vigorous proponent of both the Iraq War and the Surge while masquerading as a "reporter" (he was once publicly admonished for admitting his pro-Surge views) -- has an article today lambasting Democratic candidates for advocating an end to our occupation of Iraq. Citing pro-war arguments from both anonymous military officers and his standard list of pro-war Serious Experts (Michael O'Hanlon and Anthony Cordesman), Gordon argues that the Only Serious Option is to remain in Iraq for a long, long time, and any politicians who refuses to accept this is being -- for that reason alone -- irresponsible and Unserious.

After recounting all the embedded assignments he had with the military in Iraq, Gordon declares that "the generals and the politicians seem[] not to be talking about the same war[.]"
Gordon -- citing the pro-war O'Hanlon -- then goes on to detail what he perceives to be the serious flaws in the pro-withdrawal arguments of Clinton, Obama and Edwards[.]
To achieve the vaunted journalistic virtue of Balance, Gordon, almost as an afterthought, also criticizes the Republican candidates for being insufficiently specific about what they would do when remaining in Iraq, and criticizes Giuliani for using the term "victory." The theme of the article, however, is that the only Serious Option is to stay, and to stay for a long, long time.

Of course, as Glenn notes, the same right-wingers who criticize 'one-sided' reporting at the NYT and elsewhere when a journalist dares to go beyond the official transcript have nothing but praise for Gordon, who, they say, "really work[s] hard to get the Iraqi story right."

Glenn also links to a must-read op-ed in today's Washington Post by Andrew Bacevich, who contends that the "surge" has succeeded in the only way it was truly meant to succeed:
In short, the surge has done nothing to overturn former secretary of state Colin Powell's now-famous "Pottery Barn" rule: Iraq is irretrievably broken, and we own it. To say that any amount of "kicking ass" will make Iraq whole once again is pure fantasy. The U.S. dilemma remains unchanged: continue to pour lives and money into Iraq with no end in sight, or cut our losses and deal with the consequences of failure.

In only one respect has the surge achieved undeniable success: It has ensured that U.S. troops won't be coming home anytime soon. This was one of the main points of the exercise in the first place. As AEI military analyst Thomas Donnelly has acknowledged with admirable candor, "part of the purpose of the surge was to redefine the Washington narrative," thereby deflecting calls for a complete withdrawal of U.S. combat forces. Hawks who had pooh-poohed the risks of invasion now portrayed the risks of withdrawal as too awful to contemplate. But a prerequisite to perpetuating the war -- and leaving it to the next president -- was to get Iraq off the front pages and out of the nightly news. At least in this context, the surge qualifies as a masterstroke. From his new perch as a New York Times columnist, William Kristol has worried that feckless politicians just might "snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory." Not to worry: The "victory" gained in recent months all but guarantees that the United States will remain caught in the jaws of Iraq for the foreseeable future.

Which brings us back to Glenn's original point: that this is precisely what pro-war reporters like Gordon and neocons like Michael Ledeen believe should happen.

No comments: