Monday, August 31, 2009

John F. Burns can't stop whoring for the illegal war

C.I. has an incredible entry up this morning and I'm cross posting it in full. Here goes:

The old War Whore John F. Burns pimps the illegal war again

Violence continues today in Iraq. Reuters reports a Baghdad roadside bombing ("targeting a U.S. military patrol") has injured five Iraqis, another Baghdad roadsdie bombing ("targeting a governmental convoy") also left five civilians injured and, dropping back to Sunday for all that follows, 1 woman was shot dead in Mosul, 1 police officer shot dead in Kirkuk, and 2 Mosul roadside bombings which left three police officers and one young boy wounded. While two roadside bombings in Iraq today targeted convoy's, Nouri has other convoy worries. AFP reports that out of concerns over traffic congestions, Nouri has banned convoys . . . unless it's his convoy, or convoys for Iraq's President or Speaker of Parliament.

Staying with Parliament, NPR's Deborah Amos (Weekend Edition -- link has text and audio) reports:

In parliament, lawmakers grilled the prime minister's security team. The parliament speaker is a Sunni Arab, Ayad al-Samarrai, who says Maliki has amassed too much power.
"Unless we have a strong parliament, more power would be in the hand of the prime minister," he adds.
These are first steps for opposition lawmakers, says Sam Parker, an Iraq expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace. In parliament, minority factions -- Sunni Arabs, secular Shiite politicians and others -- have formed coalitions to try to curb the power of the prime minister, who dominates Iraqi politics and many of the institutions of the emerging state.
The country's top Shiite political leaders -- minus Maliki -- formed the United Iraqi Alliance last Monday in a move that assures a contentious election season and raised questions of whether Maliki can win a second term.
With five months to go before the parliamentary elections, Iraq's new politics are a source of endless speculation. Will Maliki run alone? Will he join the Shiite alliance? What happens after another major bomb attack?
"What you are seeing in parliament is that a lot of factions -- Sunni, Shiite, Kurds -- all are finding what they have in common is a desire to limit and oppose Maliki," Parker says.
On a recent evening, Fadhil Abbass, 55, was among a group of men playing dominoes and backgammon at a Baghdad cafe. The men say they support a strong leader.
"Maliki will smash the others. He will win and reach the top," Abbass says.

That's one group of people. If their attitude predominates in Iraq (nothing proves that it does and nothing proves that it doesn't), it's an example of why outsiders can't make democracy. It can't be imported or exported. It has to come from the people themselves. If they don't want it, it's not going to take root and there's no point in a bunch of busybodies in a foreign government attempting to force them into taking the 'gift.'

We've covered this point many times before and often reference a track from Don Henley's Building The Perfect Beast, "You Can't Make Love" -- which Don wrote with Danny Kortchmar.

You can make money, you can make good friends
You can make mistakes and you can make amends
You can make it easy when push comes to shove, but-
You can't make love

And you can't make democracy. Love requires two people who want it. Democracy requires a majority of a populace who want it.

It's something that the US government and a huge portion of the US press refused to recognize and it remains the lesson unlearned from the illegal war. Doubt it?

Two of the biggest War Whores at the New York Times, more important than Judith Miller in selling the Iraq War*, were Dexy Flikins and his cock-knocking buddy Johnny F. Burns. And Burnsie's displaying his ignorance domestically to college audiences. Shelton Burch's "Pulitzer winner praises American values and freedom" (K-State Collegian):

In an event that lasted about three hours, Burns praised American values many times. There was a reception before and after Burns’ speech, as well as a period in which audience members were able to directly question him.
In the course of the speech, Burns, the longest serving war correspondent in The New York Times' history, talked about how America keeps the peace in other wars. This was a belief Burns’ father, who served in the Royal airforce in World War II, taught him.
"That was true then, and it is true now," said Burns.
In his speech, Burns compared the alliances between Britain and America during World War II to the alliance between the two now in the current Iraq War. Burns said this was a whole different war on a different scale than that of World War II. What makes this war different in Burns' eye is that America is the leader of a coalition that no longer really exists.

* People pin the entire damn illegal war on Judith Miller. That's not quite correct. First off, she believed the stenography she was taking. This was demonstrated by the fact that she commandeered a US military unit in Iraq, after the invasion, to look for WMDs. There were none. She was wrong, she was grossly wrong and needs to be held accountable for that, no question. She was not, however, the only 'reporter' attempting to get the US involved in a war. What she did is wrong and she's certainly taken some lumps publicly and deserves more. But she wasn't the only one pushing the US into war among the press.

But as damaging as what she and others did before the illegal war started, it was the GoGo Boys of the Green Zone, Dexy and Burnsie, who did the most to make the Iraq War a long lasting one. There were no WMDs. There was no peace. There was no 'victory' around the corner. But those two War Whores repeatedly lied in print. Dexy wants credit for being more honest in his speeches but who gives a damn what he says in public to a small crowd. He did tremendous damage in print and if Americans had known how awful the illegal war was going, before 2003 ended, you would have had a serious pushback. But liars like Dexy and Burnsie strung the public along with lies, deceptions and half-truths about what was going on in Iraq. They have twice as much blood on their hands as Judith Miller. She may have helped get the US into Iraq but it was the War Whores like Dexy and John F. Burns that kept the US military there.

And if you don't grasp that or how disgusting Burnsie is (or even, yeah, let's toss it in, why the paper moved him to London after all those GoGo Boy rumors in Iraq), check out Dave Bergmeier's "Journalist talks about challenges America faces in war time" (Abilene Reflector-Chronicle) which documents the simplistic Burnsie reducing all of Iraq to either Shi'ite or Sunni and most importantly:

While Iraq may have been a war of choice, he also knows that dictator Saddam Hussein would have acquired weapons of mass destruction if he could and used violence against his own people. Burns said he does not count himself with the cadre of media members who believe the war in Iraq was a terrible mistake. Hussein, if he could, would have tried to acquire weapons of mass destruction. United Nations weapons inspectors were led to believe that Hussein had them and the dictator did nothing to try to diffuse that belief. Burns believed that he did have those weapons and he thought President George W. Bush did what he thought was right at the time.

Grasp the smug asshole that is John F. Burns. Grasp what a piece of s**t that asshole is. The UN didn't believe Saddam had WMD. Burns is a damn liar. A damn liar. And it's past time that people stopped saying Judy-Miller-Judy-Miller and started enlarging their scope. Liars like John Burns are why so many Iraqis and US service members are dead. Liars like him. The UN didn't believe that. That's why there was no UN authorization for war. (After the invasion, which the UN did not autorize, there was a UN authorization for the occupation.) The inspectors weren't even allowed to finish inspections which Burns damn well knows but choose to lie about nearly seven years later. Bully Boy Bush gave Saddam a get-out-town-by-sundown macho b.s. warning and the UN inspectors got out of the country.

Finally, a reporter talks about what is known. A columnist can traffic in opinions. John F. Burns does not know that Saddam would have this or that. John F. Burns is a damn liar and his damn lies cost so many lives that crowds should gather wherever he speaks just to spit on him. He has taken no accountablity for his lies, for the deaths his lies caused and he continues to lie.

He's a disgrace and he's a War Whore. And I understand the NYT employee who was fired for talking about all the alleged drinking, drugging and f**king around the married John F. Burns and Dexy Filkins were having in Iraq has been offered a book contract that would allow her to write about those heady days in a fictional form. A roman a clef. Be scared, Burnsie, be very, very scared.


The growing use of private armies not only subjects target populations to savage warfare but makes it easier for the White House to subvert domestic public opinion and wage wars.
Americans are less inclined to oppose a war that is being fought by hired foreign mercenaries, even when their own tax dollars are being squandered to fund it.
"The increasing use of contractors, private forces, or, as some would say, 'mercenaries' makes wars easier to begin and to fight---it just takes money and not the citizenry," said Michael Ratner, of New York's Center for Constitutional Rights. "To the extent a population is called upon to go to war, there is resistance, a necessary resistance to prevent wars of self-aggrandizement, foolish wars, and, in the case of the United States, hegemonic imperialist wars."
Indeed, the Pentagon learned the perils of the draft from the massive public protests it provoked during the Viet Nam war. Today, it would prefer, and is working toward, an electronic battlefield where the fighting is done by robots guided by sophisticated surveillance systems that will minimize U.S. casualties. Meanwhile, it tolerates the use of private contractors to help fight its battles.
Iraq offers a heart-breaking example of a war in which contract fighters so inflamed the public they were sent to "liberate" that when fighting broke out in Fallujah the bodies of privateer Blackwater's four slain mercenaries were desecrated by enraged mobs. This horrific scene was televised globally and prompted the U.S. to make a punishing, retaliatory military assault upon Fallujah, causing widespread death and destruction.
Just as the American colonists despised the mercenary Hessians in the Revolutionary War, Iraqis came to hate Blackwater and its kindred contractors worse than U.S. soldiers, who often showed them kindness, according to a journalist with experience in the war zone.
"It wasn't uncommon for an American soldier, or even an entire company, to develop a very friendly relationship with an Iraqi community. It didn’t happen every day, but it wasn't unheard of," writes Ahmed Mansour, an Egyptian reporter and talk show host for Qatar-based al-Jazeera, the Middle East TV network.
"It was also definitely not uncommon to see American troops high-fiving Iraqi teenagers, holding the arm of an elderly woman to help her cross a street, or helping someone out of a difficult situation…This was not the case with mercenaries. They knew they were viewed as evil thugs, and they wanted to keep it that way."
In his book "Inside Fallujah"(Olive Branch Press), Mansour says, "Mercenaries were viewed as monsters, primarily because they behaved monstrously. They never spoke to anyone using words---they only used the language of fire, bullets, and absolute lethal force. It was fairly common to see a mercenary crush a small civilian Iraqi car with passengers inside just because the mercenaries happened to be stuck in a traffic jam."

Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bernanked" went up last night.

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