As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reading Progressive Blogs Is Like Going In A Time Machine

The "news" doesn't catch up until a week or so later.

More than a dozen Iraqi lawmakers, U.S. officials and former Baathists here and in exile expressed concern in interviews that the law could set off a new purge of ex-Baathists, the opposite of U.S. hopes for the legislation.

Approved by parliament this month under pressure from U.S. officials, the law was heralded by President Bush and Iraqi leaders as a way to soothe the deep anger of many ex-Baathists -- primarily Sunnis but also many Shiites such as Awadi -- toward the Shiite-led government.

Yet U.S. officials and even legislators who voted for the measure, which still requires approval by Iraq's presidency council, acknowledge that its impact is hard to assess from its text and will depend on how it is implemented. Some say the law's primary aim is not to return ex-Baathists to work, but to recognize and compensate those harmed by the party. Of the law's eight stated justifications, none mentions reinstating ex-Baathists to their jobs.

"The law is about as clear as mud," said one U.S. senior diplomat.

Of course, this tracks with what I wrote 10 days ago about the Iraqi de-Baathification law, which was obviously bogus from the moment it was announced.

Obviously this was something spearheaded by the Shiite majority in the Parliament, otherwise it could not get done this quickly. What I did not know until reading deeper into the reports is that the law was actively opposed by the Sunni minority who you would think would be precisely those to benefit from its implementation. And the prime movers were the Sadrists, not likely to be those interested in unity and reconciliation [...]

The Sadrists had demanded that the De-Baathification Commission not be dissolved, but would accept a change in name for it. They had demanded that the Baath Party remain dissolved, and that the high-ranking members of the party be forbidden to enter the new political life or serve as bureaucrats. The Sadrists had also insisted that any high-ranking Baathists presently employed by the new Iraqi government must be fired!

The headlines are all saying that the law permits Baathists back into public life. It seems actually to demand that they be fired or retired on a pension, and any who are employed are excluded from sensitive ministries.

You didn't have to do a lot of digging to understand the truth here. But our media decided to swallow Administration bullshit (as they have been wont to do since before the war began, on 935 separate occasions) for a week and a half and give the mindless defenders another propaganda victory. And with an opposition party standing mute, there was nobody disputing the incorrect myth of progress.

The delay from the traditional media makes it nearly impossible to convince the public that this law was useless and indeed counter-productive. The impact is that the Administration narrative becomes the first to market, and impossible to dislodge.

Labels: , , ,