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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Editorializing From A Standpoint Of Pessimism

Wow. Today the media did a decent job of covering the Iraqi elections. As our readers know, this has been the focal point of today's posts. Kudos to Sabrina for keeping up with the Pajamas Media updates.

What I didn't find surprising though were the editorials. I waited for most of the day before posting anything on this. Pessimism seems to dominate today's opinion pages. Below are some excerpts from a variety of sources. They include: The Guardian (linked through the New York Times), the LA Times, The WaPo, and the Boston Globe. To contrast them, I'll cite the Washington Times, last.


Yet violence should not detract from the significance of this election. The fact that it is being touted by the US - now flailing around for a way out of its Iraqi adventure - as a "milestone" event does not meant that it is not a genuinely important one. Doubters should listen to its vilification by jihadi groups as a "conspiracy of crusaders and apostates". And the most significant fact about it is that Sunni Muslims have learned from their mistaken boycott in January - which left the interim parliament in the hands of triumphant Shia and Kurds - and are now expected to vote in large numbers. That means that the powerful minority that lost most with the overthrow of Saddam and forms the backbone of a still deadly insurgency stands to play a far more proportionate role in the new full-term parliament and government.

That is not in itself a recipe for success. In recent months Iraq's bitter internal conflict has become steadily more sectarian, with cruel attacks on Shia mosques as well as policemen, and the routine murder and torture of Sunni prisoners by Shia security forces who are perceived as stooges of Iran. It will be hard, above all, for a workable political system to emerge without some waning of the insurgency: that will require negotiation, amnesties and a strategy of wooing the nationalist mainstream away from Islamist extremists. The Shia and Kurds will have to look beyond their narrow interests to understand that without flexibility on issues such as de-Ba'athification and the constitution, the Sunnis will not stay on board. Much will depend on the precise makeup of the new government, which is bound in any case to be dominated by Shia parties and politicians.

For all the posturing in Washington in particular about "finishing the job" and achieving "total" victory, it is clear that the US and Britain want to leave and that there will be significant troop withdrawals, probably whether or not Iraqi forces are really ready, in the course of next year. As a report by the Oxford Research Group argues, it is vital to establish a timetable, with Iraqi oversight, for ending the occupation as part of an integrated strategy of liberation.

That last part contains the money quote. Sure we want to leave, but we're not bolting until Iraq is ready to stand on it's own. The Iraqi forces WILL be ready when we leave to take over the protection and security of their nation. The Guardian's editorial writers are dead wrong. And there will be no timetable established that will be openly discussed. The president can't trust Congress to keep it's mouth shut, so such a timetable will be discussed, in private, with the president and vice-presidents elected by the new Parliament, and it won't be out in the open for our enemies to hide and wait for our withdrawal.

TODAY'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS in Iraq should represent a major step toward getting substantial numbers of U.S. troops out of the country — soon. Those elected will choose a government that is no longer transitional, one that will rule by a constitution (a flawed document, but subject to amendment) and, if the Iraqis are lucky, protect minority rights and hold the country together.

With more than 7,000 candidates vying for 275 seats, the results are unlikely to be known for days, perhaps weeks. Nor will ballots stop bullets; terrorist groups mostly observed a cease-fire this week but are expected to resume the killings within days. Yet a permanent, elected government should point to a future without U.S. forces. That's a future as desirable in Baghdad as in Washington. It will increasingly be up to Iraqis to enlist security forces and train them, obtain intelligence on terrorists and stop attacks on the oil fields the country needs to fund the government.

The U.S. dispatched more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq for preelection security. The Pentagon said this week that a post-election security assessment could include a recommendation to reduce the troop strength to well below the current 160,000. More than 2,100 U.S. soldiers have been killed, and President Bush said this week that about 30,000 Iraqis have died since the invasion more than two years ago. The war has had a fearsome economic cost as well; the Pentagon is reportedly looking for a boost in military spending next year that would push the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to nearly half a trillion dollars. The human and monetary toll hasn't bought significant progress, leading to a major erosion of support for the war and for Bush among Americans.

In the last of four preelection speeches defending his Iraq strategy, Bush on Wednesday asked Americans to be patient "until victory is achieved." He is right not to set a deadline for a complete U.S. withdrawal, but tens of thousands more soldiers should come home next year, replaced by Iraqis. This must not be an open-ended deployment.

More doom and gloom from the LA Times. I wonder what Michael Hiltzik has to say for this representation on the editorial pages of his newspaper. The first thing off the bat, and is repeated in this piece is "bring the troops home." I'm wondering if for every time this is mentioned, John Murtha gets a percentage of the newspaper revenues. It seems to be his catch phrase of late, and one the MSM is more than willing to pounce on. The Times calls the Iraqi constitution a flawed document. I disagree. It's not bad for a nation that's never had one. What did they expect, one like ours? And, of course, they have to highlight the fact that more death is on the horizon, and that this election isn't another nail in the coffin of the terrorists. According to the editorial staff, there's been no progress in Iraq. What war are they watching. We nailed Abu Abbas in the very beginning, we killed Uday and Qusay, we captured saddam Hussein, and we have a whole host of al-Qaeda people that have either been killed or captured. I'd say that's significant progress. The president's numbers have dropped because of the pessimism of the press in this country. How embarrassing for the LA Times to make an editorial blunder of this magnitude.

THE IRAQI parliamentary election campaign has offered welcome evidence that the country could yet find stability under a democratic political system. Thousands of candidates and dozens of slates have been vigorously campaigning for the 275 seats in what will be Iraq's first full-fledged legislature. The country's most pressing issues, from the devolution of government power to the human rights violations of the current Shiite-led government, have been hotly debated. In contrast to January's election of an interim National Assembly, a large turnout is expected today in the Sunni-populated areas of Iraq where the armed insurgency is based. Unlike October's constitutional referendum, the parliamentary vote inherently strengthens the cause of a unified Iraq.

The election, however, will not provide a turning point toward stability and American success . . .

While he can't determine the election results, Mr. Bush can use the full weight of U.S. leverage to press the major Iraqi parties, beginning with the Supreme Council, to choose compromise and a unified Iraq over sectarianism and civil war. Should the administration fail in this objective, there may be no Iraq that American troops can defend.

The WaPo doesn't sound nearly as bad as the editorial malfeasance of the LA Times, but it's still more bad news. These people just have no optimism at all. And let's look at the contradictory statements. The first sentence of the piece, and the lone one in the middle. Which is it guys? Either the elections provide stability, or they don't. They can't have it both ways. And the last paragraph...Why would we level any weight against the Iraqis? We haven't yet, so why would we start. Prompting the Iraqis to take a more prominent role is not applying pressure. Lord guys, get over it already. They embraced their freedom, and thus far--from news trickling out of Iraq--it looks as though this will be a more secular-minded government. That is the government we wanted to see. One that embraces the freedoms and individual rights of the citizens, rather than quashing them.

TODAY'S PARLIAMENTARY election in Iraq cannot alone end the violent disorders there or the US occupation. Even if the turnout is large and the process peaceful and fair, the vote is not sufficient to bestow stability on Iraq.

Nevertheless, this election could become a prelude to the changes that are needed if Iraqis are to cease murdering each other in mosques and markets. For this to happen, Iraq's disparate parties and factions will have to engage in the messy, imperfect business of making compromises that cede minor advantages to safeguard major interests...

If the conflict between Iraqihood and sectarian or ethnic identity politics cannot be resolved by forming coalitions and pragmatically bartering for interests, new tragedies will descend on Iraq. The incipient civil war will expand, ushering in gruesome Balkan-style ethnic cleansing and inexorably drawing in neighboring countries...

To enable the Iraqi factions to forge a durable democracy and pluralist politics, sooner rather than later Khalilzad and his bosses in Washington will also have to begin discussing the ending of foreign occupation.

The election won't begin to bring stability to Iraq. They will have to learn to play nice together. If they don't a civil war will break out, and drag other countries in the region into their own internal conflict. Oh, and we're still foreign occupiers. Could the Globe paint a more bleak picture for it's readers? No wonder why the president lost so much in the polls; the MSM controlled this debate for too long, and now that the president has come out swinging, they're on the ropes, and trying to spin away from the haymakers. The election IS going to provide the groundwork for a stble, competent Iraq. They already know how to compromise and get along, for the most part. They've been doing it since January. (I wonder if the Globe remembers THAT interim government election?) There will be no civil war unless one side decides to incite one, and they know it's not wise to do it while we're still there. And occupiers subjugate those that they are overseeing; we haven't done anything of the sort. If anything, we have done everything we can to help the Iraqis. (I wonder if the Globe caught the photo taken by Michael Yon recently showing the US soldier cradling an injured child in his arms? Would occupiers do such a thing as care about those below them? None that I'm aware of ever did.)


President Bush has warned that setbacks are possible in today's Iraqi election, the third and most important of this year's Iraqi elections and the one in which voters choose the country's first full-term and fully constitutional legislature. But that was probably just caution speaking: In reality there is a very significant reason to be optimistic about this election, and that is the Sunni vote.

Sunnis are expected to turn out in droves this time around. This was the critical missing factor from January's otherwise highly successful vote. Back then, Sunnis obeyed fatwas by clerics to boycott the vote. But this time, as many as a thousand Sunni clerics have issued fatwas urging followers to participate. Turnout could top 80 percent in some Sunni areas...

But today, Iraqis raise the purple finger in salute to the ideal of democracy. Tyrants across the Middle East will shudder. Success for Iraqi democracy means their autocratic days are numbered.

See the contrast? The Times takes a look at the election as a glass half-full as opposed to the other's half empty views. They share the optimism of the people who were watching this election today, especially amongst the bloggers. The Globe, the Guardian, the LA Times, and the WaPo could take a page from the Times: It's one thing to report news, but try to stick to the facts, and don't be so damned pessimistic. At best, they should have been neutral, but they opted to go where they always go. That would be taking swipes at the administration, and even presenting a defeatist mentality to the Iraqis. If all the Iraqis had to go off was the editorials written by the aforementioned there might not have been the almost 80% turnout in Iraq.

It sickens me to see such a mentality come from the MSM. And if these were the editorials today, I can only imagine what tomorrow will show us.

Publius II

Addendum: Earlier today, I opined that the MSM should focus on the bloggers that covered this history-making election in Iraq. WE HAVE A WINNER!
Yes, the Seattle Times highlighted these bloggers. Kudos to the Seattle Times for approaching this day from a proper perspective.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another informative blog. President Bush wins another one and the libs can't stand that. Most of these editorial writers oppose Bush and the war on terrorism. Their negativism for freedom is disgusting. Rawriter

9:28 PM  

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