Monday, August 20, 2007

The debate on Iraq is over

or should be.

If you don't think so, read these two pieces from the NYT:

In "The War as We Saw it," seven enlisted members of the 82nd Airborne provide much more than an account of their time in the war zone; they are far more perceptive than all most all of the experts and certainly all of the commentators and pundits. (It's not giving away too much to say that one of the authors was shot in the head while they were writing the piece.)

"Elegies from and Iraqi Notebook," is extracts from the reports of an unnamed (presumably to protect him or her with anonymity) Iraqi correspondent in Diyala Province.

Read these and you'll realize that the only question is the path to be taken to get American troops out of Iraq with the least cost to everyone involved.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper said...

Glad you found the enlisted mens' piece. I sent it to several friends. I am struck by not only the detail and the insights but the quality of writing as well. I just hope it doesn't get exposed as something ghost written by a professional journalist.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper said...

Elegies provides powerful anecdotal evidence of what the soldiers wrote.

The Old New Englander said...

Good point--as I was reading the article, I was surprised at how well-written it was, given that it was credited to a committee. One hopes that the Times would vet the piece and state if there were a ghost-writer at work. On the other hand, a certain amount of editing by the paper is legitimate.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper said...

I also thought of the the possibility that a professional writer/editor had a hand in this, since it was selected to appear in the Sunday Times, not a publication given to promoting or publishing a schlock piece.

However, if it's discovered that the words in the piece have been altered in any way, even for basic editing purposes like grammar, syntax and spelling, it would likely be claimed to be fraudulent on some level by the opposition.

What would help a lot would be some news about at least one of those soldiers as having some education and/or training in English and/or writing, or a statement that the Times writing professionals cleaned it up of a few grammar,syntax and spelling errors. Perhaps they don't need to get out in front of the critics on this, but you and I are likely not the only ones who picked up on this. There also are smart and observant people in the opposition.

I graduated from Amherst College with a BA in English, then went into the army, and there linked up with others with a similar background. But that was in the era of the draft. I had to satisfy a military requirement somehow.

The soldier/op-ed writers of this piece are, by definition, volunteers, airborne to boot(unintended but appropriate pun) and self-described enlisted personnel.

General Patraeous is also a volunteer, but an officer with a PhD.,(the exception that proves the rule, or the oxymoron "military intelligence"?).

Changing the topic a bit, but still on the subject of credibility for what is published:
at one point we were told that Petraous would appear before Congress and make a factual assessment of the Iraq situation, as he promised in his appearance before Congress. Later we were told that Ambassador Crocker would also be involved in putting together that assessment.

The sense of the message of Bush's original statement was that he would listen to the military leaders, and would abide by their assessments and recommendations.

The addition of Crocker(a political appointee in his capactity as Ambassador to Iraq) as a partner in the promised September address to Congress, reveals more subterfuge by Bush.

Now we're reading that the Patraeous September report(or will it be the Patraous/Crocker report?) will be written by people in the White House. All this can only be described as even more cynical "bait and switch" tactics.

TheRiver said...

It's been over for me, for 7-9 months now.

As soon as it became clear that there was a civil war, staying there didn't make sense.

And the "Surge", absolute nonsense.