TCS Daily

We Won... Again!

By Stephen Schwartz - October 17, 2005 12:00 AM

We won again! For a second time, the Iraqi people proved the Western mainstream media, Islamist radicals, self-righteous and nihilistic war protestors, disaffected Democrats, and neo-isolationists wrong: the referendum on the new constitution was successful. The Sunni minority participated in the polling and those among them voting "no" were swamped by the positive outcome.

Iraq will have its new constitution. The transforming intervention led by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair will succeed. The global sweep of bourgeois revolution will continue, centering on Iraq's neighbors: monarchical Saudi Arabia, statist Syria, and theocratic Iran.

But how long will the Western media get the post-9/11 story wrong before they understand that they, the MSM, are a major part of the problem?

For many months, the MSM and their assorted political allies have indoctrinated the world in despicable lies:

        · That the Wahhabi terror in Iraq, financed by and recruited 
        among radical Saudis, was an "insurgency" or "resistance" caused by the 
        actions of President Bush.

        · That the Sunni Arabs in Iraq backed the alleged insurgency, were 
        uniformly opposed to the constitutional process, and would prevent 
        its completion.

        · That anti-Shia blandishments by Saudi and other Sunni rulers would 
        seal Sunni opposition to the new reality in Iraq.

In recent weeks heightened discussion in Washington, and in centers of Islamic debate I visited, such as Jakarta, focused on these claims. Muslims knew the Sunnis would prefer to take advantage of their new right to vote, and would favor a constitutional order in Iraq rather than continued violence. The meddling of the Saudis was considered gross and embarrassing. Muslim leaders I met were more interested in the future of the "Shia-con" phenomenon, i.e. of Iraqi Shias aligned with the U.S. neoconservatives.

What does it mean to be a "Shia-con?" Nothing very different from what it means to be an ordinary neoconservative: bedrock belief in governmental and personal accountability, entrepreneurship, popular sovereignty, and a place for religion in public life. Sunni intellectuals with whom I met pointed out that "neocon" has become a term of abuse in the Muslim world no less than in the West. But when exposed to the foundations of neoconservative thought, they expressed approval.

Nonetheless, moderate Sunni Muslims who tried to tell Western media and government the facts about the probable outcome in the Iraqi constitutional election were ignored. Instead, numerous MSM reporters applied the practice they have pursued since the Sandinista era in Nicaragua: they found radicals and marginal, anonymous grumblers, and presented their clich├ęs as the voice of all Iraqi Sunnis.

Egregious, incorrigible examples of the Stalinist dialectic in the MSM continue even after the Iraq vote. The London Guardian, on Sunday, October 16, published a "news salad," tossed and retossed with vinegar and oil: a sequence of paragraphs seeking to perpetuate the Sunni issue as the sole topic of interest in Iraq. It tried to portray the Sunni vote for the constitution as contributing to further violence in Iraq. The argument, as convoluted as a tantric Yoga exercise, went like this: Sunnis voted, but against the constitution (actually, only some of them voted that way); although they voted in a process to accept the constitution they will not accept it; supposedly, all Sunnis are aggrieved about the share-out of petroleum revenues... blah, blah, blah. A "news salad" is the journalistic equivalent of "word salad:" according to a dictionary, "a jumble of extremely incoherent speech as sometimes observed in schizophrenia."

The pattern is no different from the nonsense reported about Nicaragua, which was supposed to vote for Sandinismo in 1990 but didn't; about Milosevic and his Serbian thugs, who purportedly would fight to the end if confronted by NATO forces, but also didn't; about Saudi women, who supposedly are happy not to drive cars, but aren't.

Regarding the Saudi/Wahhabi utopia, the kingdom south of Iraq still harbors hundreds of clerics inciting violence on the northern side of the border. The sermons of these clerics are posted on websites daily. Some are made public by Western-based Saudi dissidents. But they are mainly ignored by the MSM.

To put it more bluntly, how long will the devotion to disinformation of the MSM continue? Will MSM "journalists" ever be called to account for their consistent misrepresentations?

In dealing with the constitutional process in Iraq, and many other aspects of the present global crisis, Western reporters and commentators should moderate their tendencies towards complicated predictions, especially when they know so little about the religion and culture with which they are dealing. Islam and the Islamic world are much simpler than they think:

        · Muslims have middle-class values. Even those who are refugees because 
        of war and terror maintain such attitudes.

        · Those who are frustrated in their middle-class ambitions, in such countries 
        as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, may turn to radicalism.

        · Most, however, will repudiate extremism in the interest of personal 
        security, which happens to be a fundamental principle of Islamic governance.

These are the lessons of the Iraqi constitutional vote. Now let's have some reporters and commentators put aside their prejudices and start with such simple matters, and learn what they can about them. The result would be no news for Muslims, but might be Pulitzer Prize material in the West.


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