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April 27, 2009

Obama the Peace-Bringer

Obama has brought peace to the world.

At least according to the media.

They don't say that, exactly. But note how their coverage has shifted. Under Bush, we were not only fighting two wars, we were losing them both, supposedly. The coverage drove home the notion that we were a nation at war.

And losing.

And now? By not mentioning the two wars we're in, the media gives the impression that we are in fact no longer at war at all. The deadliest string of bombings in a year in Iraq gets a short mention, but no prominent play, and certainly no questioning about whether Obama's strateries are helping or hurting.

Twin suicide bombers struck outside the gates of the holiest Shiite site in Baghdad on Friday, killing at least 60 people and wounding scores more, according to preliminary reports from police officials.

The blasts came a day after the single deadliest day in Iraq in more than a year, and punctuated a deadly outburst of violence in recent weeks.

On Thursday three suicide bombings — one in Baghdad and two in Diyala, the restive province northeast of the capital — killed more than 80 people. In barely 24 hours, five bombings have killed at least 140 people and wounded 240.

Thursday’s deadliest bombing destroyed a restaurant in the city of Muqdadiya, killing at least 47 people, most of them Iranians traveling in buses. On Friday, a morgue official said the toll had risen to 56 killed, Agence France-Presse reported from Diyala’s capital, Baquba.

While violence overall remains far below the worst years of the war here, a string of attacks so far this month has raised concern that insurgents, terrorists and other fighters have regrouped themselves with the intention of inflaming sectarian tensions and weakening Iraq’s government and security forces as the Americans reduce their military presence on the ground in advance of a full withdrawal at the end of 2011.

It should be noted, of course, that the media lost interest in Iraq as The Surge won that war, for all intents and purposes, and that curious loss of interest occurred when Bush was President.

But even as the media refused to report on the success in Iraq, they would rouse themselves to push stories about bombings in Iraq. And of course the less they covered Iraq, the more they covered Afghanistan, which they assured us was all but lost. Because, of course, Bush had "taken his eye off the ball."

Did we suddenly win in Afghanistan? Is there some reason the media is no longer warning us about the imminent threat of the Taliban winning?

Odd, seems to me that the real risk is no longer the Taliban winning in Afghanistan, but winning in nuclear-armed Pakistan:

A resurgent Taliban in Pakistan's northwestern Swat valley on Monday vowed to enforce Islamic laws across the country while ruling out

the possibility of laying down arms following the implementation of Sharia in the region. ( Watch )

The Sharia or Islamic law regime approved recently by President Asif Ali Zardari will not be confined to Malakand division, which includes Swat, and the Taliban wants the system to be enforced in other parts of Pakistan, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said today.

"(Sharia) is not only for Malakand division, it is for all humanity, for all Muslims. So we will go more for implementation of Quran, Shariah-e-Muhammadi, not only in Malakand division (but) other parts of Pakistan also," Khan told Dawn News channel in an interview.


Asked about Sufi Muhammad's assurance that the Taliban in Swat would surrender their weapons once Sharia is enforced in the region, Khan replied: "We don't know about that because we are Pashtuns and any Pashtun has a gun".

He indicated that Taliban would lay down arms only if the Islamic courts in Swat asked them to do so. "If the Sharia regulation will call (on) us that Taliban you keep your arms, we will keep (them). If the order from Qazi courts is no, we will say no," Khan, who spoke in broken English, said.

The Taliban spokesman questioned why no one was asking for the disarming of "US forces" who were allegedly in Pakistan and killing Muslims.

"We are Muslims. If somebody is coming to kill my brother, we will stay... in Afghanistan and the Pashtun areas. You are asking me to lay down my arms and nobody (is) asking the Americans. Why?" he asked.

Supposedly the US has a plan to "enter" (whether by invitation or by invasion) Pakistan to capture the nukes should Al Qaeda and the Taliban take over, but I doubt the leftist Obama would approve of such a thing. And further, I don't know if it's even achievable. Pakistan has 170 million people, after all.

And yet, looking at the stories pushed by the media, it seems to me that our only current concerns are economic and domestic. Somehow, by the simple act of becoming president, Obama ended two wars, apparently in full victory.

It's not as if there are no mentions of war in the media. But when Bush was president, the war dominated the coverage. War was omnipresent. Even if you wanted to tune out, the media wouldn't let you. Every week brought some new horror, a horror that actually occurred or one that was likely coming just around the bend.

And now? Unless you look for the coverage, you don't find it. The media is quite willing to allow you to believe we're at peace now, if that's your inclination.

Obviously the vast majority of Americans are not first-hand witnesses in either theater and rely upon the media to inform them of what's happening there. But the media has decided to opt out of that responsibility, because informing the public would require them to ask difficult questions of Teleprompter Jesus, questions he might not know the answers to.

It's just easier, all around, to follow "No Drama Obama's" lead and pretend that we're not in the middle of two shooting wars, with Pakistan possibly on the brink of full and complete Talibanization.

If the worst happens, I'm sure the media will cover it. After the fact. And they'll ask lots of difficult questions of President Prissypants, like "How do you feel about the unfairness of President Bush leaving you in a no-win situation?"

But for now -- don't worry, be happy. The world is at peace, at least until it's not, and you can praise Obama for that.

Dissent No Longer the Highest Form of Patriotism, Part 6,388: Jonathan Alter, who for years allowed his shiny dome to be used as a nest for a family of ferrets, declares it's "not patriotic" for Cheney to call Obama "weak" on national security.

Funny, I seem to remember it having been a moral imperative, which only True Patriots (TM) undertook, to criticize Bush relentlessly for making this country more unsafe.

And now? "Not very patriotic."

He was on Olbermann, of course. Note how Alter has to walk back the unhinged Olbermann from suggesting Dick Cheney actively desires a new 9/11. [Nope: Ed tells me that's not fair, that Olby was trying to clean up Alter's loose language. And, reading it again, I agree.]

ALTER: Because what he is betting on – and this is the sick thing to me, Keith – is that if there’s another attack that he will then be back as a huge and important figure who predicted that this would happen if we stopped torturing. And this is his bid for historical resurrection.

OLBERMANN: Well, I, I`m, I hope that`s not the case. Even with my attitude towards these people, I hope that can`t possibly be the case, that he would want to see that happen for justification-

ALTER: No, no, he doesn`t want to see, he doesn’t want to see an attack. Don`t misunderstand me. If there is an attack. Of course, not. But what he`s positioning for, himself for, by calling the President weak, for a former Vice President to say that, that`s not a very patriotic thing to do. He is positioning himself to say "I told you so" should we be attacked again.

Hmmm... positioning himself to say "I told you so."

What a novel idea. Strange it hasn't been tried over the course of the last eight fucking years.

Thanks to AHFF Geoff and JackStraw.

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posted by Ace at 03:08 PM

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