9/18/07

Lakoff Disagrees With BooMan & Rude Pundit

And I disagree with them too.


I am not one for framing debates. Much like BooMan, I think that there is an inherent dishonesty in playing with people's emotions and minds in order to score a political point. But that still does not change the fact that I see things that "they" are doing and could not disagree with "them" more. And my gut tells me that we have to hit meet them head on with a loud and resounding "HELL NO!" And, IMHO, that has nothing to do with framing... It has to do with reality.

The other day BooMan posted this:

I've been trying to find the right words to describe the MoveOn.org advertising fiasco on General Betraeus. I think The Rude One found the right balance.
Obviously, the Rude Pundit doesn't believe in the Bob Shrum/DLC school of cautious political rhetoric, where you try real hard not to piss off the other side 'cause they might hit back. The language of inclusion, though, need not be the language of capitulation. Let's put this in historical perspective: You're Tom Hayden. Let the Rude Pundit and others be Abbie Hoffman. Out here in the blogworld, we can say shit like "Petraeus/Betray Us" because, well, shit, that's what we do. Let us be the dirty fuckin' hippies.

We need you to be mainstream, MoveOn. We need you to be the grown-up. The mainstream media is distracted by shiny objects. Don't actually try to dangle a sparkly charm in front of them.

Yeah...basically.

Sorry dudes... I heartily disagree with both the idea and the reasoning. Here, Lakoff gives his position on this and for a change it has less to do with framing an issue, and is more about the cold hard reality:
MoveOn Ad Exposes the True Betrayers

(excerpt from page 2)


"The issue is this: Who has been betraying the trust of the American people -- including our troops -- in bringing about the American invasion of Iraq and in continuing the occupation? What were the acts of betrayal and with what consequences? And is a betrayal of trust still going on, and if so where, how, and by whom?


I have developed a deeper look at these issues. You can read that in my new article Iraq and the Betrayal of Trust. But meanwhile, let's talk about one of the traps we should stay out of: The Politeness Trap.


Bush took advantage of certain conventions of etiquette and politeness when he sent Petraeus to testify before Congress. Those conventions hold that one does not criticize the symbolic stand-in for the military, even when the uniform-wearing stand-in is on an overt political mission that is at the heart of the Administration's continuing betrayal of trust. Decorum can be put to political use, and Bush did just that.


Bush was using a familiar right-wing tactic: identifying himself with a military uniform and the stature of the military in general, when he had no military stature himself. Rudy Guiliani used the same tactic in his ad in Friday's New York Times: by associating himself with Petraeus' rank and role, hoping some of the stature of the military would rub off on him. The implicit message is an attack on MoveOn: in pointing out Petraeus' deception, MoveOn, so Giuliani implies, was being disrespectful of the military itself. This is a typical right-wing attack on progressives, and progressives shouldn't stand for it. They should not be allowed to hide behind the troops. The troops themselves have been betrayed."


Here is the political reality as I see it today:


MoveOn was right. They didn't write any facts that most reasonable Americans would dispute. Did they use harsh words in a flaming sound byte? Yep... And rightfully so. These harsh GOP tactics deserve nothing less than to be hammered with facts.


It is an outrage that these neocon wannabes would get their panties all twisted in a knot over MoveOn pointing out the obvious and, even worse IMHO, is having some Dems run from the facts.


This "polite" political tactic may cut it with the hardcore vote-Dem-until-they-die crowd, but the rest of the political nation is going to point out the absurdities of the Dems playing this game of footsie under the table, and playing it by the GOP rules. I am very disappointed, to say the least, with the repeated wishy-washy mixed signals sent by Dems. Someone has to stand up to the bullies in the GOP, and the Dems aren't doing it.


Forget about "Mommy" Democrats and "Daddy" Republicans and fuck thinking about the god-damned elephant and to hell with being polite about it all... The lefty-Bloggers are the ONLY adults and the Dems are the little kids that can't/won't fend for themselves. And, for a change, MoveOn got something right.


The truth is that all that Petraeus adds to the debate is nothing more than another layer of bush propaganda and lies, and the sooner you act on these facts the faster an honest debate on Iraq policies will begin.

Previously brewed in New Milford:

Connecticut's very own JR. Senator, Joe neocon Lieberman, bloviates in another WSJ propaganda hit piece claiming that "advocates of withdrawal risk making the exact same mistake" (Which mistake Joe? Of being completely and totally correct and making you and your warmongering republican brethren look like total failures and lunatics AGAIN?) and, meanwhile, support for the continued occupation of Iraq is slipping even further both in Iraq and the USA to the dismay of Republican operatives currently hitting the airwaves to share their rosy propaganda pictures.

Iraqis currently overwhelmingly oppose the presence of coalition forces to the point where the support of violence against the occupying coalition forces is rising.
Seventy-nine percent of Iraqis oppose the presence of coalition forces in the country, essentially unchanged from last winter – including more than eight in 10 Shiites and nearly all Sunni Arabs. (Seven in 10 Kurds, by contrast, still support the presence of these forces.)

Similarly, 80 percent of Iraqis disapprove of the way U.S. and other coalition forces have performed in Iraq; the only change has been an increase in negative ratings of the U.S. performance among Kurds. And 86 percent of Iraqis express little or no confidence in U.S. and U.K. forces, similar to last winter and again up among Kurds.

Accusations of mistreatment continue: Forty-one percent of Iraqis in this poll (vs. 44 percent in March) report unnecessary violence against Iraqi citizens by U.S. or coalition forces. That peaks at 63 percent among Sunni Arabs, and 66 percent in Sunni-dominated Anbar.

This disapproval rises to an endorsement of violence: Fifty-seven percent of Iraqis now call attacks on coalition forces “acceptable,” up six points from last winter and more than three times its level (17 percent) in February 2004. Since March, acceptability of such attacks has risen by 15 points among Shiites (from 35 percent to 50 percent), while remaining near-unanimous among Sunnis (93 percent).

Kurds, by contrast – protected by the United States when Saddam remained in power –
continue almost unanimously to call these attacks unacceptable.

Acceptability of attacks on U.S. forces also varies by locale, peaking at 100 percent in Anbar, 69 percent in Kirkuk city and 60 percent in Baghdad, compared with 38 percent in Basra and just three percent in the northern Kurdish provinces.

Remember that one of those things that the lying Surge ESCALATION supporters are touting are the successes in Anbar. Anbar, where there is a 100% acceptability among locals of killing American and other coalition force occupiers.

Remember that speech just last week from the preznit about the successes in Anbar?
Bush said he was encouraged by the update he received today from Petraeus and Crocker and touted recent progress especially in the Anbar province.

“I was pleased with what I heard,” the president said. “The strategy we put in place earlier this year was designed to help the Iraqis improve their security so that political and economic progress could follow. And that is exactly the effect it is having in places like Anbar.

Bush said continuing this progress is vital to meeting the strategic interests of our nation.

“We can’t take this progress for granted. Here in Anbar and across Iraq, al Qaeda and other enemies of freedom will continue to try to kill the innocent in order to impose their dark ideology,” Bush said.

“I am going to reassure them that America does not abandon our friends. And America will not abandon the Iraqi people. That’s the message all three of us bring,” Bush said.
If Anbar is the success story, then it is obvious that bush is looking to replicate this 100% support for killing coalition forces across Iraq as a "key to a secure, stable Iraq." As you watch "All three" of them - Bush, Petraeus and Crocker - feed their propaganda and lies to Congress in the next week, remember these successes they had previously been touting in Anbar.

And take note of the fact that the warmongering set have refused to back up any of their supposed successes with real numbers, nor do they appear to have a credible way to support the validation of any numbers they might claim.
In fact, as near as we can tell, a lot of the numbers, the key metrics about what's actually happening on the ground remain classified.

And not just the numbers themselves.

A few days ago we flagged Karen DeYoung's piece in the Washington Post about critics questioning the alleged decline in violence in Iraq. And one key point she focused in on is the methodology that the folks in Baghdad are using to derive their numbers. Is it really true that it matters how a person is shot (in the front of the head or the back) for whether or not they get counted? Is it true that we're not counting Sunni-on-Sunni or Shia-on-Shia deaths? Or even killings by the folks we're now allied with in al Anbar province?

The best we can tell the methodology Petraeus's staff is using to tabulate the numbers also remains classified.

In other words, it's not just a matter of getting the numbers from Petraeus and his staff and deciding whether you believe them or not. They won't even tell us what the numbers are -- let alone how they came up with them.

There is little wonder why more and more Iraqis are asking us to leave as time goes on. The death count numbers are bleak even if they may be skewered by bush fuzzy math:
The AP reveals that a “briefing chart prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency says what Gen. David Petraeus won’t. Insurgent attacks against Iraqi civilians, their security forces and U.S. troops remain high.” Most of the insurgent attacks in Iraq continue to be focused on U.S. forces, as the chart shows:

Attacks are up, or have remained pretty much the same, even when you take into account the manipulation of data by the liars that are spewing them out as their idea of success. The only decline? Iraqis have figured out how to avoid killing Iraqis and shifted their focus, and sharpened their aim, on to coalition forces. The Iraqi puppet regime has figured out that the real numbers of casualties are hurting the failed bush administrations' quest for eternal war, so the neoconservative hands up the Iraqi governments asses are are playing the "hide the truth" game from the UN by denying the UN access to Iraq Health Ministry stats:

One of the most credible Iraq-casualties tabulations, crunched by the United Nations, was lost this year after the Iraqi government, embarrassed by the high reported death toll, refused the U.N. access to Health Ministry statistics.

And it's not hard to see why: here are the 2006 numbers from the U.N., month by month, versus an AP-reported month-to-month breakdown of figures compiled from the Iraqi ministries of defense, health and interior.

Jan 06: 1700 UN -- 549 Iraqi ministries

Feb 06: 2100 UN -- 545 Iraqi ministries

Mar 06: 2250 UN -- 769 Iraqi ministries

Apr 06: 2200 UN -- 686 Iraqi ministries

May 06: 2669 UN -- 932 Iraqi ministries

Jun 06: 3149 UN -- 885 Iraqi ministries

Jul 06: 3590 UN -- 1062 Iraqi ministries

Aug 06: 3009 UN -- 769 Iraqi ministries

Sep 06: 3250 UN -- 1099 Iraqi ministries

Oct 06: 3600 UN* -- 1288 Iraqi ministries

Nov 06: 3400 UN -- 1846 Iraqi ministries

Dec 06: 2800 UN -- 1927 Iraqi ministries

If I've made any mistakes in compiling this, I'll adjust as necessary. But here you can see the discrepancy in determining how many Iraqis died each month in 2006 alone.

Is there any doubt that the bush numbers for 2007 are even more dubious? The Iraqis that manage to survive this colossal failure can see the death count around them on a daily basis. There is little doubt why they want us to leave Iraq. But...

How badly do Iraqis want us to leave Iraq?

So much so that less and less Iraqis care about the incompetent and corrupt Iraq security forces and the failed puppet regime government being propped up and aided by coalition occupiers:
"How long do you think US and other Coalition forces should remain in Iraq?"

The autumn 2007 poll reflects growing disillusionment with the occupying forces' presence in Iraq. There is a growing consensus among respondents that coalition troops should leave the country immediately.

Some 47% of respondents now back an immediate withdrawal, compared with 35% in February.

The poll also shows dwindling support for troops remaining in the country, even in support of the Iraqi government and security forces. Only 10% of those surveyed favour coalition forces remaining for that purpose.


Iraqis want us out... So much so they overwhelmingly support killing us in order to get that message across and they really don't care about the disaster that bush and the neocons failures will leave behind. In other words: Don't let the IED hit you on the ass on your way out!

But how do Americans feel about all of this?

Check out this key number buried in today's New York Times/CBS poll:

As you may know, a report about the situation in Iraq by General David Petraeus, the Commander of U.S. forces, and others is scheduled to be released next week. If the report says that the situation in Iraq is IMPROVING, what should the U.S. do next: should the U.S. increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, keep the same number of U.S. troops in Iraq as there are now, decrease the number of troops in Iraq, or remove all its troops from Iraq?

Increase 6%
Keep the same 32%
Decrease 39%
Remove all troops 17%

So, even if Petraeus says that the surge is improving things, a solid majority -- 56% -- will still favor removing some or all of the troops. Of course, this number could be related to the fact that in two polls now -- by The Washington Post, and by Gallup -- solid majorities say they don't expect Petraeus to honestly assess the success of his own performance. So no wonder majorities are saying his testimony won't affect what they want for Iraq.

Hey! Americans are starting to get used to the fact that anyone associated with the bush administration will lie to anyone that will listen to them when it comes to keep their endless war alive.

Today General David Petraeus will, reportedly, get up in front of Congress and ask for more time to continue this complete and total disaster:
General Petraeus will go before Congress this afternoon to argue that the surge is working -- that sectarian killings and attacks against Iraqi and U.S. forces are substantially down. The military's secret numbers will serve as support for those conclusions, even as numbers from within the government (e.g. those collected by the Defense Intelligence Agency) dispute them.
If Petraeus does this and continues to cite the kind of success that has been previously reported he will be lying to Congress, and doing so at the behest of the bush administration given the fact that we know they were to write what was purported to be his report. Apparently, now, they are afraid to put these lies on paper and will not actually file a report. We only have their "good word" to go on now. This will be just another in a long line of impeachable offenses to add to the bush resume if he carries through on this, also, leaving Petraeus open to legal problems of his own.

General Petraeus, lying to Congress is a crime.

Let's just repeat that fact over and over. Because that's what Petraeus is planning on doing on Monday, as Karen DeYoung (in an article buried on page A16) explains clearly. Go read the whole article, closely, for a description of the many methods of the Administration's hocus pocus. But I'd like to focus on one particular tactic.

Which brings us back to Joe neocon Lieberman:
MoveOn has a hot new ad in today's NYT pointing out that Petraeus' statements differ from all the known metrics out there. And boy has it made Sanctimonious Joe pissed. Not surprisingly, Joe is trying to call in those chits he got for agreeing to caucus with the Democrats in January.

The personal attack on Gen. David Petraeus launched today by Moveon.org is an outrageous and despicable act of slander that every member of the Congress -- Democrat and Republican -- has a solemn responsibility to condemn.

General Petraeus has served his country honorably and selflessly for over thirty-five years. He has risked his life in combat and accepted lengthy deployments away from his family to defend our nation and its citizens from its enemies. For this, he deserves the respect, admiration, and gratitude of every American -- not the disgraceful slander of Moveon.org.

It has been widely reported that Moveon.org has worked closely over the past months with many members of the Democratic Party in coordinating their efforts to derail the strategy that General Petraeus has been leading in Iraq.

[snip]

As a member of the Senate Democratic caucus, I therefore call on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to denounce Moveon.org in no uncertain terms for its vile attack on Gen. Petraeus. General Petraeus deserves no less.

Mind you, Joe doesn't address the central allegation that MoveOn makes--that Petraeus is lying to Congress. Which he'd have to do to prove his own accusations about slander. Rather, Sanctimonious Joe says we've got to honor Generals, even if they lie to us.

Many of the recent words out of bush, Petraeus, Crocker, and neocon warmongering set mouths have already been refuted many times over. The GAO has already established the complete and total failure on achieving the benchmarks. And previous statements have already betrayed General Petraeus' willingness to spread propaganda for the bush administration:



But the difference this time is that he will knowingly be getting up in front of Congress to tell these lies, and we, the vast majority of Americans, all know it well ahead of time.



Although he has already betrayed the USA by spreading bush propaganda, much like the mistake Joe Lieberman has continually made, we will all be watching to see if Petraeus goes the distance in a typical bush fashion and perjures himself in his testimony to Congress over the next little while.

[update] ctblogger has more on the MoveOn addy and Joe's typical republicanism...
Ahh, the ol' 9/11 Iraq Al Qaeda card being used again by Lieberman and the war-mongers.


[update deux] Just a reminder of what the Surge ESCALATION was really about all along... "STAYING THE COURSE!"

Just how much of this is dressed-up "Stay the Course!" BS? Take a look at this graph showing troop levels past, present and future (If the incompetent bush gets his way):


WHOA! Is this a familiar pattern? And someone out there representing CT supports this rinse and repeat policy? Sure enough, Bush can always count on Joe Neocon Lieberman:
And lo and behold... We are right back to "STAYING THE COURSE" so that bush can try to punt his failure off on to the next administration. Bush got what he wanted with the last re-escalation, and I guarantee you that as soon as the few soldiers that come back after this most recent surge have finished their minimum time in the USA they will get another flight back to Iraq to RE-ESCALATE this Iraq hole even deeper than it has already been dug.

Rinse... Repeat... Rinse... Repeat... Rinse... Repeat... etc. ad infinitum

The Liberal Journal notes some other oddities in recent news:
Oh, just so you know the real end game if you haven't figured it out already: today's Wall Street Journal is revealing that the U.S. is planning to build a military base on the Iran-Iraq border.

Perfect timing--you probably won't hear that on tonight's nightly news.
Yeah... Perfect timing for the warmongering set.

[update trois] Chris Murphy responds to General Petraeus' testimony:
Dear Friends,


Today, General Petraeus attempted to put a positive spin on a failed policy. While the General highlighted some notable military successes, other credible reports underscore the lack of real progress we have made in Iraq. The Government Accountability Office’s report released last week shows the Iraqis have failed to achieve fifteen of eighteen benchmarks. General Jones’ report states that the Iraqis are far from being able to take over for their own security. And the daily news reports out of Iraq paint a grim picture. Our Armed Forces, stretched and deployed nearly to the breaking point, have done their duty bravely and courageously, but the ends to which they have been directed – the political stability of Iraq - are increasingly beyond their control.

This surge isn’t working and General Petreaus effectively admitted this today. This summer has been the bloodiest yet so far for U.S. troops in Iraq, with 264 soldiers killed. There is indisputable proof that this strategy has not accomplished the basic goal laid out by the President in January – giving the Iraqis breathing room to achieve political consensus. To grant this Administration an extension of this failed policy would not only put our soldiers at greater risk, it would put this country as a whole in a more perilous position.

I hope that today marks a new era in our national debate on Iraq. The President must face the facts - achieving military success will not lead to Iraqi political success.

Every best wish,
Christopher S. Murphy

Ain't nobody holding their breath on a reasonable response like Murphy's coming from the Lieberman warmongers' camp for lying republican children...

2 comments:

Zena said...

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Connecticut Man 1 said...

Thanks Zena! Much appreciated.