The Gospel according to the New York Times

Mr. Bookworm and I watched Obsession, the Movie Tonight, something that ought to be required viewing for all Democrats and, especially, for all members of the MSM (assuming any difference between the two groups). At the end, Mr. Bookworm acknowledged that, of course, radical Islam is a threat, but that my “beloved President Bush” (his words, not mine), is making the situation much worse. I should have held my tongue, but I didn’t.

Me: Well, the Surge is working.

Mr. BW: No, it isn’t. The NYT says so.

Me: But even Democrats are beginning to acknowledge it’s working.

Mr. BW: No, they’re not. The NYT says so. If you want evidence, what about that Times article by the seven soldiers?

Me (thinking to myself): (Oh, the one I blogged about and as to which I got a lot of information from military analysts?)

Me, to Mr. BW: I followed up on that. It turns out those guys are serving in one narrow sector that hasn’t yet seen the benefit of the Sur….

Mr. BW: You don’t know what you’re talking about. The NYT says the Surge isn’t working.

I have to admit that, at this point, I flounced off after having told him that, as long as he read and acknowledged only the Times, I didn’t see much point in discussing the matter. In 20/20 hindsight, I should never have taken the bait. After all, if you get between a man and his Gospel, you’re likely to end up on the hot end of the auto de fe.

UPDATE:  In a comment, DQ asked how one tells if the surge is working.  I bumbled on for a while in an attempt at a responsive comment, only to start my morning reading by discovering a couple of articles that are much better on that point than anything I could come up with.  Joseph Klein writes about the on-the-ground benefits of the surge, and the need to give the Surge more time to produce political benefits.  Deroy Murdock compiles a list of those Democrats who have honestly conceded that the Surge is changing the situation on the ground, although they are (for obvious reasons) less sanguine about its having any political ramifications.

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Comments

  1. Deana says

    Bookworm –

    I have to hand it to you. You must have the patience of Job to live with a man whose Gospel is the New York Times.

    Marriages between political opposites have always fascinated me. I am confident that I wouldn’t manage with as much grace.

    Deana

  2. GPC says

    My household is the mirror image of yours. I’m a conservative “Mr. Mom” whose wife is an unreflective liberal. I run a business from the home and take care of the kids, she goes off to work. Talk about role reversal.

    Anyway, she skates along the msm bubble for her information, never cross-checks information (“What are they saying? How do they know? and Is it true?”), and describes anything internet-related as a “chatroom”.

  3. Shingo says

    Let’s take a quick look at the surge.

    – More that 600,000 Iraqis have abandoned their homes since the surge began.

    – The Pentagon is having to pull troops from Japan to make up numbers in Iraq.

    – GOP Sen. John Warner looks like he will back a Democrat bill for troop withdrawals.

    – The numbers of violent deaths in Iraq is going up, not down. In fact, the numbers have doubled.

    – British troops say the war in Iraq cannot be won.

    – The Malaki government has almost disintegrated.

    By every measure of Patraeus’ own handbook, none of the requirement have been meant. B ut hey, the it’s not like the NYT has ever fed us lied now is it?

  4. Danny Lemieux says

    So, let me try to understand what you are saying, Shingo.
    – The military Surge, which began in June and is only now reaching full momentum, has resulted in increased violence.

    – Thanks to Clinton’s military cuts, we don’t have enough boots on the ground to do a surge without redeploying troops from a country that is at peace.

    – A few, very old Republicans are showing a loss of nerve.

    – There is a military surge underway, so violent deaths are going up. By this standard, the Normandy invasion was an abject failure.

    – The British (i.e., Eurabian) military, understaffed, underfunded and equipped with inferior equipment (http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2007/08/what-is-agenda.html) is retreating from the south of Iraq, beaten by rag-tag Islamicists, thereby demonstrating what will happen to the U.S. if the Democrats ever get ahold of our military and foreign policy again. I guess the marines and Iraqi army will need to clean-up there as well.

    – The Malaki government is working as well as we like, so Democrats (Shades of “Diem” in Vietnam) are advocating his overthrow of his constitutionally elected government. Meanwhile, there has been tremendous success developing government from the bottom up. (http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/the-ghosts-of-anbar-part-1-of-4.htm)
    By the way, just how many years did it take the first U.S. Congress to get its act together (or the current Congress, for that matter).

    I think that we should give the Surge a little more time than two months to show results, don’t you?

  5. says

    Excellent point, DQ. As I understand it, the Surge’s goal is basically a very traditional one: to defeat the insurgents in battle. In other words, it acknowledges that, even though we toppled Saddam, which was one military goal, we did not plan adequately for post-Saddam warfare. The Surge is intended to defeat this second stage war. I understand that it is working in that, in areas where the extra American manpower has passed through, the insurgents are dying and retreating in numbers, ordinary people are safe on the street and ordinary people are gathering courage to prevent Al Qaeda operatives from setting up in their communities. Ordinary people are also more willing to cooperate with the US forces to turn over Al Qaeda and fellow travelers.

    This creates breathing room, both for the ordinary people and for the politicians. Although it wasn’t getting a lot of play, Iraqi politicians were getting assassinated left and right. Also, in a fiercely partisan environment, especially one driven by religious schisms, it’s impossible to lay down the plan for a stable government when you’re pretty sure the guy across the table has minions on the street waiting to kill you. The hope, therefore, is that by beating back the fighting in the streets, there’s mental, emotional and temporal time for stability to take root.

  6. says

    But, Bookworm, how do we tell whether the surge is “working”? Very specifically, what are its goals and how can we measure whether those goals are being achieved?

    Don’t you read blackfive.net or Greyhawk, Don? The MSM is not a reliable source of information for analyzing current, past, or future trends.

  7. says

    I have to admit that, at this point, I flounced off after having told him that, as long as he read and acknowledged only the Times, I didn’t see much point in discussing the matter.

    It doesn’t really matter where your husband gets his news, Book, since what matters is his inability to understand complex military tactics, strategy, and various other things contained in the Art of War, On War, etc.

    When Mr. Bookworm can recite specific lines out of the Art of War to you and explain how they apply to modern day warfare or historical warfare events, then he will be ready to hear you, Book.

    I don’t say recite lines out of Clausewitz because Clausewitz’s book isn’t based upon lines so much as orientations and facets of application. Sun Tzu covered the basic principles of warfare, to the extent that it still applies now. Clausewitz focused on conventional war, so it is kind of easy to take what a man said about conventional warfare and apply it to other conventional warfare. It is not a good test, although it is still not an easy test.

    - The numbers of violent deaths in Iraq is going up, not down. In fact, the numbers have doubled.

    You would expect that when terrorists are being hunted and exterminated, wouldn’t you. Oh, you wouldn’t, I see.

    - British troops say the war in Iraq cannot be won.

    That’s cause they are retreating. Obviously retreating armies say that the war they are leaving is unwinnable. Makes it easier in a way.

    - The Malaki government has almost disintegrated.

    Diem’s government disintegrated as well.

    By every measure of Patraeus’ own handbook, none of the requirement have been meant.

    You see what I’m talking about, Book? Even if a person reads the Art of War, the proper tests must still be administered. Shigu failed those tests, even if assuming the COIN manual was read by Shigu.

    By the way, just how many years did it take the first U.S. Congress to get its act together (or the current Congress, for that matter).

    Stop asking people questions that they have never studied the texts for, Danny. You are a mean teacher!$

    The Malaki government is working as well as we like,

    I wouldn’t say that, Danny. The truth is, whatever problems crop up, you can bet that most of them, if not all of them, were caused by the Leftist alliance with the Islamic Jihad, including the Iranian Revolutionary Corps. Still, those problems do exist and there are problems that are due to Maliki’s actions, rather than the actions of our enemies. Even with that, however, Maliki is constrained by both diplomatic as well as political considerations. He was after all, only PM because of Sadr’s power bloc, and Sadr’s power bloc inside the Parliament only existed because both the US and Maliki’s alliance refused to countenance the arrest and execution of Sadr and his loyalists. Six of those loyalists were actually MPs in the Parliament, before they left the government.

    Bookworm is apprehensive about us adopting the methods of Nazis, which comes down to grabbing a few innocent folks from a village suspected of aiding our enemies, and executing those folks. However, why do we need to grab some common stranger off the streets when we kno exactly where Sadr is and the identity of his loyalists? The only reason they grabbed innocent folks off villages is cause they couldn’t find or kill the insurgents that those villagers were helping. We are obviously superior to the Wehrmacht and the SS.

  8. Danny Lemieux says

    DQ – we’ll know that the surge has worked when Al Qaeda’s slaughter of civilians stops. When you commit to war, you keep fighting until it’s over and they have lost. Otherwise, your commitment is only half-hearted and the enemy will win.

    The objective of war is to break your enemy’s will to fight. If Al Qaeda is allowed to win, their will to fight (and ability to recruit) will be greatly enhanced. If they are defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan, it will be a huge blow to their moral – after all, this is not what Osama bin Laden had predicted (i.e., promised) would happen.

    On the other hand, if the Democrat/Left in this country gets its way, bin Laden will have shown himself to be prophet and America to be a weak horse. That would be big, big trouble not just for us, but for much of the rest of the world that is fighting the Jihadis.

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