I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Dog and Pony Show

Think Progress reports that Katie Couric reported that things look better in Iraq but admits that all she saw was a dog and pony show.
She said that Petraeus believes there “really is a trend” of success on the security situation in Iraq and believes President Bush’s escalation “needs to continue.” She also recounted “signs of life that seem to be normal” at a market she visited, but then conceded that the positive aspects of her report are based on “what the U.S. military wants” her to see:
Well, I was surprised, you know, after I went to eastern Baghdad, I was taken to the Allawi market, which is near Haifa, which was the scene of that very bloody gun battle back in January. And, you know, this market seems to be thriving. And there were a lot of people out and about. A lot of family-owned businesses and vegetable stalls.

And so, you do see signs of life that seem to be normal. Of course, that’s what the U.S. military wants me to see, so you have to keep that in mind as well. But I think there are definitely areas where the situation is improving.
Of course poor Katie is not alone and at least she recognizes that she doesn't see anything they don't want her to see. The dog and pony show is a long running event and a major part of the spin machine.
What They Did on Summer Vacation
Even by the shabby standard of the Congressional junket — fact-finding missions that are really hunts for self-aggrandizing sound bites and video clips — this summer’s swarm to Iraq does not look good.

More than two dozen lawmakers went there during their vacations, ostensibly to see the war firsthand. What they mostly got were a couple of days’ worth of meetings with people the administration wanted them to meet, and armored car rides through the Green Zone.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who is a member of the Air Force Reserve, upped the ante with a two-week turn in fatigues, a pistol photogenically belted to his hip. That earned him a press clipping calling Mr. Graham, a former military prosecutor, the only member of Congress to “serve in Iraq.” He did not, of course, participate in actual missions.


And a report in The Washington Post reminded us how political the whole thing is. The article recounted a tour by three House members. Before each meeting, American and Iraqi officials and uniformed soldiers were given thumbnail biographies of their visitors that helpfully included votes they had cast in Congress on the war and, at least for the Democrats, tendentious quotes about the war effort and President Bush.

There were also notations about the lawmakers’ religion and military records. That last bit of irrelevant information seemed intended to plant a seed in the minds of soldiers whose lives are on the line. It sure planted one in our minds. Do these trips have the slightest value?
Anyone, politician and notable talking heads who go to Iraq and say they saw improvement are delusional, liars or both. All they see is the prestaged spin of power point presentations in the Green Zone and brief trips to an area that is temporarily quiet - probably because of a sudden and temporary show of force.

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