The Surge Pushers
The Surge Pushers
The war in
But so fixated have many Times critics been on the WMD/ Miller saga, that they have failed to notice that across the past sixth months the Times has been waging an equally disingenuous campaign to escalate American troop levels in this doomed enterprises.
The prime journalistic promoter of the escalation -- it is time to retire the adroitly chosen word "surge" -- now being proposed by the White House is Michael Gordon, the Times' military correspondent, a man of fabled arrogance and self esteem.
Gordon's has been the mouthpiece for the faction --led by Gen. David H. Petraeus -- inside the U.S. military in Iraq that has been promoting the escalation. As Gordon himself triumphantly announced in the New York Times this weekend, Gen. Petraeus has been picked by Bush to lead the open-ended escalation of the war that Petraeus has long campaigned for.
Throughout his time in
On the face of it, the idea that the addition of some 25,000 to 30,000 troops will do anything more than add to the cumulative disaster is exactly the sort of crackpot realism "Crackpot realism" defined by the great Texan sociologist, C. Wright Mills in 1958, when he published The Causes of World War Three, also the year that Dwight Eisenhower sent the Marines into Lebanon to bolster its local factotum, Lebanese President Camille Chamoun.
"In crackpot realism," Mills wrote, " a high-flying moral rhetoric is joined with an opportunist crawling among a great scatter of unfocused fears and demands. .. The expectation of war solves many problems of the crackpot realists; ... instead of the unknown fear, the anxiety without end, some men of the higher circles prefer the simplification of known catastrophe....They know of no solutions to the paradoxes of the Middle East and Europe, the Far East and Africa except the landing of Marines. ... they prefer the bright, clear problems of war-as they used to be. For they still believe that 'winning' means something, although they never tell us what..."
Just as it seemed beyond the realm of possibility a month ago that the US could contrive a situation in which Saddam Hussein would be resurrected as a martyr, so now it still seems incredible that two months after an election on November 7 in which the voters punished Bush for the Iraq disaster by giving Congress back to the Democrats , Bush should be pressing for an escalation, backed by almost daily doses of crackpot realism in the New York Times.
A realistic appraisal of the situation in
On New Year's Day the Times ran a piece by John Burns and Mark Santora clearly dictated by US officials in
I have discussed here more than once the strenuous efforts over the past few months of the Times' military correspondent, Michael Gordon, to promote a hike in US forces in
Finding favor in the reporters' eyes was the military/policy-making faction urging the escalation ceaselessly promoted by their tool, Gordon,
Gordon managed to dodge the fall-out from the WMD debacle he played a major part in contriving. For example, he co-wrote with Miller the infamous aluminum tubes-for-nukes story of September 8, 2002, that mightily assisted the administration in its push to war, In the latter part of 2006 he became the prime journalistic agitator for escalation in troop strength.
On September 11, 2006, the Times ran a Gordon story under the headline, "Grim Outlook Seen in West Iraq Without More Troops and Aid". Gordon cited a senior officer in
When John Murtha -- advocate of immediate withdrawal -- was running for the post of House majority leader in the new Democratic-controlled Congress, Gordon rushed out two stories, both front-paged by the New York Times. In "Get Out Now? Not So Fast, Some Experts Say" (11/14/06) Gordon sought out the now retired General Anthony Zinni and others, who "say the situation in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq is too precarious to start thinning out the number of American troops," while "some military experts said that while the American military is stretched thin, the number of American troops in Iraq could be increased temporarily"
The next day, November 15, 2006, a second Gordon story was headlined "General Warns of Risks in Iraq if GIs Are Cut" Gordon cited Gen. Abizaid's warnings that phased withdrawal of troops would lead to an increase of sectarian violence, and that more troops might be necessary temporarily.
At the start of December, the infighting in
On December 4, with the Iraq Study Group about to issue its report, Gordon returned to General Zinni. In a story headlined, "Blurring Political Lines in the Military Debate" Gordon gave warm, supportive coverage to Gen. Zinni's plan for temporary increase of troops on the grounds that they are needed to offset Iranian influence. The story promoted the line that any precipitate withdrawal would destabilize Middle East and leave
On December 7, Pearl Harbor Day, Gordon was at it again, flailing away at Baker and
Reporter with a propaganda mission can always find the mouthpieces to say what they want. Gordon's "troop surge" campaign has been politically much more influential than the mad-dog ravings of the right-wing broadcasters.
One of the most famous lines in the history of journalism is William Randolph Hearst's 1897 cable to his artist, Frederic Remington, in
The Times helped furnish the 2003
In his syndicated column published January 2, Robert Novak reported that barely more than a dozen Republican senators favor escalation. The rest remain impressed by the November 7 verdict of the electorate and fearful of worse in 2008. the Democrats' leaders in Congress--Reid and Pelosi--waver. One day they profess to oppose any escalation. The next, they refuse to countenance any effort to cut off funds for the war. They need 20,000 Cindy Sheehans in their faces, day after day, reminding them forcefully that they have one prime mandate: to bring the troops home.