Monday, January 31, 2005

Bay Guardian to the Iraqi people: Give up!

There's something almost endearing about how the SF Bay Guardian is consistently wrong about important issues. Their most notable local failure---which is ongoing---is on the homeless issue. And in the current issue their ill-timed pronouncements on the war in Iraq were refuted within days, as millions of Iraqis turned out to vote in defiance of homicidal Baathists and Islamic fascists.

The Guardian's political editor, Tim Redmond, thought the present situation in Iraq was completely hopeless before the Iraqi people showed him otherwise: "There is no effective Iraqi government and no hope that anything resembling normal elections can take place" (SF Bay Guardian, Jan. 26).

Inside there's an editorial with no byline that's both pompous and wrongheaded: "We've been hesitant to call for an immediate withdrawal of US forces from a country in chaos, but it's becoming increasingly clear: the United States is doing no good in Iraq and is only making a horrible situation worse. It's time to talk seriously about ending the occupation before the place implodes into civil war on the United States' watch."

President Bush no doubt appreciates the Guardian's statesman-like restraint in not calling for an immediate withdrawal earlier than last Wednesday.

If Redmond and Co. had waited a week to see how the election in Iraq went, they could have spared themselves a lot of embarrassment. That they didn't wait speaks volumes about their arrogance and ignorance about what's really going on in Iraq (a blog by Iraqis inside Iraq offers another view).

Are we going to see any self-criticism in the Guardian about their coverage of Iraq? Don't hold your breath. And how about the architects of last November's misguided Prop. N, which called for the immediate withdrawal of US troops? If the US had followed the advice proffered by our Board of Supervisors, the people of Iraq would never have had their historic chance to reject a social system based on terrorism.
In today's New York Times, Bob Herbert clings to the progressive line even after Sunday's historic turning point in Iraq: "Despite the pretty words coming out of the Bush administration, the goals of the US and the goals of most Iraqis are not, by a long stretch, the same...The desire of the US, as embodied by the Bush administration, is to exercise as much control as possible over the Middle East and its crucial oil reserves." At least Herbert will always be able to get a job at the Guardian if the gig at the Times doesn't work out.

The progressive line would have some credibility if they hadn't said the same thing about Kosovo ("It's all about oil, Rob." And "Refugees never get to go home, Rob.") and Afghanistan ("It's all about oil, Rob."). They were wrong about Kosovo and Afghanistan, and it looks like they're going to be wrong about Iraq, too.

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