I Was Also Wondering
November 4th, 2006
Exhausted from covering J-Lo, T.O., Foley-o, and other uh-ohs, will the media ever find time for minor matters?
Such as that 8,000 Iraqi soldiers and police – volunteers all – have died in just two years, with 16,000 more wounded.
That Iraqi recruits still sign up to defend their country despite threats to their families.
That Baghdad has as many people as Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Fort Worth combined in area smaller than Fort Worth.
That more Americans are murdered in New York and LA than US troops die in Iraq in a year, 43 times as many commit suicide, 21 times as many die in drunk-driving crashes.
That less than ½ of 1% of American troops serving in Iraq have been killed and 97% haven’t been injured at all.
That American troops by the thousands volunteer to re-enlist and return to Iraq, while tens of thousands new recruits sign up year after year.
That Iraq went from tyranny to new constitution seven times faster than America did.
That Iraq’s prime minister has been in office less than six months (will network ratings and newspaper circulation turn around that quick?).
Though wearied from pursuing Paris Hilton, the media might ask why land mines were barbaric when Princess Di spoke but IEDs – causing half of American deaths – are no worse than Gangsta rap?
Since World War II’s the standard for some, they might ask if Baghdad should have been nuked, 16 million U.S. soldiers have served, 400,000 die in combat, 700,000 others be wounded? They could ask who was left to resist in Germany and Japan and with what?
They could probe why the NFL is more serious about steroids than the UN is about WMD. Players have to prove they’re clean, the NFL doesn’t have to prove they’re not.
Then why did the press say it was up to the US to prove Saddam had WMD when the UN decreed he had to prove he didn’t?
UN inspectors proved he produced WMDs. They proved he had been developing even more. Saddam couldn’t prove he’d destroyed them. He lied repeatedly. Take his word? Saddam?
But the UN only barked. Saddam could wait, keep scientists and technologies with zero sanctions, billions from Oil for Food, continue killing more people than have died in Darfur, and have Uday and Qusay waiting in the wings.
France promised President Bush it would send troops as part of a US-led liberation army. Colin Powell then went to the UN. France then went back on its word. Surprise.
Didn’t the press notice the Senate Intelligence Committee lied about what the UN found? That Senators Levin, Rockefeller, and Durbin doctored intelligence documents?
Why didn’t it stress that the UN refused U.S. security in Iraq, saw its ambassador killed, accused the U.S., then belatedly confessed the disaster was its fault?
The ambassador had cited Iraq’s “broadly representative” Governing Council as a “significant step” towards democracy, called it “an achievement to be recognized, applauded and nurtured,” “urged all Iraq’s neighbors to play their supportive role to the full, to embrace the Governing Council and provide it with whatever assistance it may request,” sought to “help facilitate and build consensus among Iraqis, and between Iraqis and the CPA,” discussed with Iraqis “the process of de-Baathification” and “the dissolution of the Iraqi army.”
Then Al Qaeda attacked. The UN ran.
Kofi Annan had said – before the bombing – that his ambassador was “working very closely with the Iraqis and Mr. Bremer to ensure that we do have this smooth transition from the Coalition to the establishment and creation of an Iraqi government down the line. And we are working very well together.”
Pooped from Martha Stewart reporting, the press also couldn’t emphasize that Ayatollah Al Sistani refused even to meet with Ambassador Bremer to rebuild Iraq and reconcile factions.
Bremer still sought Iraqi ideas, formed a Governing Council, wrote,
“The coalition wants them to exercise real power and will thrust authority at them,”
and asked in a broadcast address,
“What things are not working? What can we do better?”
Silence. From Sistani. From his followers.
How many fewer would have died if he hadn’t shut Bremer out? Would Sadr have surged, the domed mosque been bombed, oil fields attacked, electrical grids destroyed if Sistani – supreme leader to the Shia majority – had told Bremer, “These are our demands”?
But why worry about any of that?
We have all the news that’s fit to print.
Michael J. O’Shea