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9/11: The Media Still Does Not Get It
9/11: The Media Still Does Not Get It
Sun Sep 11th, 2005 at 13:50:11 PDT
Today is the fourth anniversary of the day that, in an act of heinous barbarism, Osama bin Laden and his terror network, al Qaida, launched the most despicable and devastating attack against Americans on U.S. soil since the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. On this day, the Orlando Sentinel, a newspaper owned by the Tribune Company, chooses to publish a column by one John Hinderaker, yes AssRocket himself, on, get this -- Media Bias Against the Iraq Debacle:
It is clear that public support for the Iraq war is eroding. Some of the polls supporting this claim are faulty in various ways, but the basic point cannot be denied: Many Americans, possibly a majority, have turned against the war. This should hardly be a surprise. On the contrary, how could it be otherwise? News reporting on the war consists almost entirely of itemizing casualties.
Headlines read: "Two Marines killed by roadside bomb." Rarely do the accompanying stories -- let alone the headlines that are all that most people read -- explain where the Marines were going, or why what strategic objective they and their comrades were pursuing, and how successful they were in achieving it; or how many terrorists were also killed.
. . . The sins of the news media in reporting on Iraq are mainly sins of omission. Not only do news outlets generally fail to report the progress that is being made . . . they also avoid talking about the overarching strategic reason for our involvement there: the Bush administration's conviction that the only way to solve the problem of Islamic terrorism, long term, is to help liberate the Arab countries so that their peoples' energies will be channeled into the peaceful pursuits of free enterprise and democracy, rather than into extremist ideologies and terrorism.
This piece is breathtaking in its mendacity and stupidity. Assrocket well knows that the reasons that we were told to fight in Iraq were a pack of lies from the Bush Administration -- WMDs, mushroom clouds, greeted with flowers, Shinseki wildly off the mark, etc. But to tell these lies on September 11, when the BIGGEST lie told by the Bush Administration was that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11, is a disgrace and an affront to the near 3000 people who lost their lives four years ago on this date. The Tribune Company should be ashamed. But shame is wholly lacking in this country in these days of Republican rule. The Death of Outrage indeed. Assrocket is oblivious to the shame he should feel of course -- read these words:
One wonders how past wars could have been fought if news reporting had ignored strategic and tactical goals, and instead consisted almost entirely of a recitation of casualties.
. . . How about the Battle of Midway, one of the most one-sided and strategically significant battles of world history? What if there had been no "triumphalism," as liberals sometimes call patriotism, in the American media's reporting on the battle, and Americans had learned only that 307 Americans died -- never mind that the Japanese lost more than 10 times that many -- without being told the decisive significance of the engagement?
What a disgrace. The Battle of Midway, fought against the country that ACTUALLY ATTACKED us, Japan, was one of the most stunning and admirable triumphs of American intelligence work, led by Joseph John Rochefort, in the history of our nation. It also was marked by the great leadership of one of our greatest naval heroes, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and one of our greatest Presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It is blasphemy to even compare Iraq to Midway.
We are conducting an experiment never before seen . . .
I agree - we are experimenting with the possibility that we will squander American Exceptionalism by having the worst President in the history of the Republic, placed in power in large measure due to the complicity of a supine Media.
What could have been Iraq's Midway? At least symbolically? Tora Bora. But we have no Chester Nimitzes or FDRs today:
Well past midnight one morning in early December 2001, according to American intelligence officials, Osama bin Laden sat with a group of top aides - including members of his elite international 055 Brigade - in the mountainous redoubt of Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan. Outside, it was blustery and bitterly cold; many of the passes of the White Mountains, of which Tora Bora forms a part, were already blocked by snow. . . . Captured Qaeda fighters, interviewed separately, told American interrogators that they recalled an address that bin Laden had made to his followers shortly before dawn. It concerned martyrdom. American bombs, including a 15,000-pound "daisy cutter," were raining from the sky and pulverizing a number of the Tora Bora caves. And yet, one American intelligence official told me recently, if any one thing distinguished Osama bin Laden on that cold December day, it was the fact that the 44-year-old Saudi multimillionaire appeared to be supremely confident.
. . . Now, as the last major battle of the war in Afghanistan began, hidden from view inside the caves were an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 well-trained, well-armed men. A mile below, at the base of the caves, some three dozen U.S. Special Forces troops fanned out. They were the only ground forces that senior American military leaders had committed to the Tora Bora campaign.
More on the flip.
. . . Some six weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks and nearly two weeks after the bombing of Afghanistan began on Oct. 7, American military leaders - who had no off-the-shelf invasion plans, not even an outline, for Afghanistan - finally succeeded in getting the first forces in: a 12-man Special Forces A-team helicoptered in from Uzbekistan to the Panjshir Valley. There they joined forces with the Northern Alliance, an anti-Taliban militia that controlled only 10 percent of Afghanistan but to whom Washington delegated the ground war. The view prevailing among senior American military leaders was that overwhelming air power, suitcases full of cash and surrogate militias could win the war. The intricacies of Afghan tribal life appeared to elude everyone.
In late October or early November, according to Scheuer, American operatives went to see Khalis to seek his support. "Khalis said that he was retired and doing nothing now," Scheuer told me. "It was the last time" American intelligence officials saw him. "It was so bizarre! Didn't anybody know about Khalis's friendship with bin Laden? Or that Khalis was the only one of the seven mujahedeen leaders who remained neutral about, and sometimes even supported, the Taliban?" He shook his head and then went on: "And even after Sept. 11, indeed in spite of it, as soon as our bombing of Afghanistan began, Khalis issued a well-publicized call for jihad against U.S. forces in Afghanistan."
. . . By now, the Taliban's stronghold in Kandahar had fallen or, more correctly, had been abandoned by the soldiers of the regime. The Taliban retreat from Kandahar was emblematic of the war. None of Afghanistan's cities had been won by force alone. Taliban fighters, after intense bombing, had simply made strategic withdrawals. A number of American officers were now convinced that this was about to happen at Tora Bora, too.
One of them was Brig. Gen. James N. Mattis, the commander of some 4,000 marines who had arrived in the Afghan theater by now. Mattis, along with another officer with whom I spoke, was convinced that with these numbers he could have surrounded and sealed off bin Laden's lair, as well as deployed troops to the most sensitive portions of the largely unpatrolled border with Pakistan. He argued strongly that he should be permitted to proceed to the Tora Bora caves. The general was turned down. An American intelligence official told me that the Bush administration later concluded that the refusal of Centcom to dispatch the marines - along with their failure to commit U.S. ground forces to Afghanistan generally - was the gravest error of the war.
A week or so after General Mattis's request was denied, the turning point in the battle of Tora Bora came. It was Dec. 12. . . . American intelligence officials now believe that some 800 Qaeda fighters escaped Tora Bora that night. Others had already left; still others stayed behind, including bin Laden. "You've got to give him credit," Gary Schroen, a former C.I.A. officer who led the first American paramilitary team into Afghanistan in 2001, told me. "He stayed in Tora Bora until the bitter end." By the time the Afghan militias advanced to the last of the Tora Bora caves, no one of any significance remained: about 20 bedraggled young men were taken prisoner that day, Dec. 17.
On or about Dec. 16, 2001, according to American intelligence estimates, bin Laden left Tora Bora for the last time, accompanied by bodyguards and aides. . . . Tora Bora was the one time after the 9/11 attacks when United States operatives were confident they knew precisely where Osama bin Laden was and could have captured or killed him. Some have argued that it was Washington's last chance; others say that although it will be considerably more difficult now, bin Laden is not beyond our reach. But the stakes are considerably higher than they were nearly four years ago, and terrain and political sensibilities are far more our natural enemies now.
On September 11, remember Tora Bora. Remember that the perpetrators of the great atrocity were cornered and BushCo did nothing. And the Media applauded.
On this fourth anniversary of 9/11, Assrocket has the gall to complain that the Media does not clap loud enough. And the Tribune Company mocks the victims of 9/11 by publishing it. Despicable.