TCS Daily


Defeat the Defeatists!

By Stephen Schwartz - December 16, 2005 12:00 AM

The successful completion of the parliamentary election in Iraq represents a multiple victory for the faith of Islam, the people of the Middle East, and global democracy, and an obvious defeat for the enemies of responsible religious and civic values -- everywhere, in the U.S. as well as in Mesopotamia.

Voting was so popular with the Iraqis that the terrorists of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi effectively observed a ceasefire during the balloting. The Western mainstream media (MSM), with their usual ignorant obtuseness, completely misconstrued this remarkable development. To the MSM, Zarqawi called off his murderous lackeys to encourage his Sunni constituency to elect representatives to defend their interests.

In reality, the decision of the Zarqawi gang to let the process go forward without a horrific orgy of bloodshed had nothing to do with a sudden access of democratic and electoral enthusiasm in the mind of the terrorist chief. Rather, it embodied the clear demand of the Iraqi masses, Arab Sunnis no less than Shias and Kurds, that nobody interfere with their right to exercise a political choice. Zarqawi and Co. knew that if they were to fight the vote with bombs and bullets they would lose what little credibility they retain among Iraqi Sunnis.

In terms of Islamic theology and ideology, however, this tactical setback for the terrorists was much more: it represented a confession that their jihadist strategy has failed, and is thoroughly bankrupt.

Zarqawi's terrorism, as seen in the battle for Fallujah and elsewhere, has rested on three pillars, all drawn from the doctrines of the Wahhabi sect, the state religion in Iraq's southern neighbor, Saudi Arabia:

  • Hatred of Shias, condemned by Wahhabis as heretics;

  • Rejection of popular sovereignty, especially of voting and contested elections, in the name of a pure Quranic governance that has been a topic of controversy, and seldom realized, throughout Islamic history;

  • Enforcement of Wahhabi canons of conduct, including bans on Sufism, or Islamic spirituality, long established in Iraq and especially its Kurdish zone; music; and any form of female attire short of the all-covering Saudi abaya. Zarqawi had Sufis, music lovers, and women caught with their garments too short to cover their feet, executed in the streets of Fallujah. That was one reason the Fallujans, including many who opposed the U.S.-led intervention, turned against Zarqawi.

By acceding to Sunni participation in the parliamentary election, Zarqawi and his mob of killers admitted that they cannot impose their bogus theory of Islamic political science on their alleged adherents. Sunnis elected to the parliament will sit alongside Shias and cooperate with Kurdish Sufis in the construction of the new state, economy, and society.

Zarqawi and his criminals may continue their terrorist spree, thanks to financing, incitement, and recruitment by the Wahhabi clerics of Saudi Arabia. But I predict the onslaught will soon end. It would end within days if President George W. Bush were to telephone Saudi King Abdullah and back him in ordering his pro-Wahhabi royal peers to sever the link between the state and the extremist sect.

Let me add another prediction, as easy as looking out the window and checking the weather. Peace and reform will prevail in Iraq, even with U.S. and other coalition troops still on the ground, but the story will end for the MSM. I will never forget the comment of the then-city editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, who I will spare embarrassment by preserving anonymity, after Violeta Chamorro, leader of the anti-Sandinista civic movement in Nicaragua, won that country's presidential election in 1990. "Nicaragua is no longer a story for us," the editor declared. Without violence that could be blamed on the U.S., there was no news. In reality, there had been little news from Nicaragua in the Chronicle for some time, because the paper, like an overwhelming majority of MSM organs in the U.S. and Canada, erroneously and smugly forecast that the Stalino-Sandinistas would sweep the vote. They were wrong.

"If it bleeds, it leads," is an MSM cliché. But I have to add that the bloodshed is only relevant when the MSM can use it to boost their individual fantasies about Vietnam and thus propagandize against the U.S. Atrocities in Iraq count more than atrocities in Chechnya.

The degree to which the MSM, academia, and other members of the Western intelligentsia live in a fantasy world of narcissistic self-righteousness is extraordinary. But the phenomenon is not new. It first became visible during the Spanish civil war of 1936-39, the original exemplar of what I call a theory of "two wars, two worlds." The Spanish war as experienced by the people of that tormented country, involving deep-going social issues, unresolved history, and the impact of what we now call globalization, was entirely different from the war as it was experienced by intellectuals -- mainly leftists -- in place s like London and Manhattan. For this reason, when George Orwell published a veridical account of the war, Homage to Catalonia, it sold few copies in Britain, although it is now considered one of the greatest political works of the 20th century.

A many-sided paradigm was established in Spain. The populace saw themselves fighting desperately and unrelentingly for a radical, even libertarian view of freedom, which is why they held out for three years. But their authentic voices were seldom heard; by contrast, foreign leftists projected the view that the harmless Spanish were defending peace against German and Italian aggressors. In this way, the American vs. European conundrum on which I have written elsewhere -- defense of freedom vs. the quest for peace -- was also manifested.

In Spain, the foreign left, and such avant-la-lettre paragons of the MSM as Herbert Matthews of The New York Times, presented Stalin as the best friend of the antifascists when in reality, as immortally chronicled by Orwell, the Muscovite tyrant's secret police minions worked to undermine their Iberian allies. When the Spanish war became a conflict between Franco and Stalin, it was lost for the left, since the Spanish workers and peasants would not risk their lives for the Kremlin dictator. But a legend about Spain had grown up among the Communists of Brooklyn, who were then numerous, and it remains the dominant narrative about the Spanish war for non-Spanish intellectuals. It is a "second Spanish civil war" that has almost nothing in common with the real war in which real people were killed.

The phenomenon was repeated in Nicaragua and the former Yugoslavia. The genuine conflict between Sandinistas and contras in the Central American post-revolutionary republic was utterly unlike the propaganda war between the two sides' supporters in Washington. The contras, indigenous Nicaraguan peasants who fought for little more than beans and rice, were portrayed in the U.S. media as mercenaries incited by Ronald Reagan to loot and rape. But more violence was committed by the armed bodies of the Sandinista regime, instructed by East Germans, than by the contras. In the end, the Nicaraguan people voted for Mrs. Chamorro, whose party was associated with the contras. Once again, reality on the ground had nothing to do with the verbiage in the North American and European media.

In the Balkans, local victims of air bombing, artillery fire, pillage, rape, and other terror crimes witnessed extensive aggression by the Serbian fascist regime of Slobodan Milosevic. But a large section of the Western media, led by the London Times, but also supported, in my experience, by such papers as the San Francisco Chronicle, preferred to report abstractly on "the collapse of Yugoslavia," to proclaim moral equivalence between the Serbs and their victims, or to recycle Serb claims that they were avenging Nazi acts committed three generations before.

So the MSM, after getting several major chapters in modern history wrong, from Spain through Central America and the Balkans, have now gotten Iraq wrong. They have developed an apparently incurable weakness for totalitarianism: for Stalinism, Sandinismo, Serbianism, and now for the "slaughterers," as Zarqawi's fanatics style themselves.

When will it end? Perhaps never. One thing is certain: the MSM, which has impudently demanded accountability from the Bush administration for errors in Iraq, will not admit its own errors. They will move on to the next iteration of their fantasy about Vietnam, and continue seeking fame as defeatist scandal-mongers. Defeatism is all that leftists have to offer today. But in Iraq, and elsewhere, defeatism will be defeated!

Stephen Schwartz is the author of The Two Faces of Islam.
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11 Comments

Access the MSM wants access to the likes of Zarqawi
The MSM is about entertainment and so they love their Walter Durantys who will write anything to get access to Stalin or Sadaam or Zarqawi. An interview with Zarqawi would make the reporter and instant celebrity. It is as if one could believe anything that Stalin or Sadaam or Zarqawi would say. People like that are not even worth talking to since you know no more after they speak than before.

I laugh at news services sending there supposedly best news people sit in press conferences with politicians. I guess that takes a great deal of talent to raise your hand and yet “Mr. President, Mr. President”. The MSM is a joke look at how they botched the Katrina coverage.

Sshh ... Don't wake the dreamers
Asia Times, December 16, 2005 -- A Shiite militia has drawn up plans to kill prominent Sunni leaders and eliminate a nascent Sunni political party, according to a document obtained by Asia Times Online from a person close to the Iraqi resistance. The document, which has not been officially acknowledged, carries the letterhead of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the political party of which the Badr Organization is the armed wing . . . According to contacts that Asia Times Online spoke to in Iraq, THREE DOZEN FORMER IARQI AIR FORCE PERSONNEL HAVE BEEN KILLED. The Iraqi resistance is sure that the Badr Organization is behind most of the killings, having been provided information on some of the targets by Iranian intelligence.
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GL17Ak01.html

Do you hear what I hear?
Every time an Iraqi votes some leftwingnut cries and gets his WWP dues notice.

media bias
What an excellent article again, and it gets everything right. I agree on everything said here, except perhaps that I don't really believe the Saudi king pulls the strings or controls those who support Wahhabi activities worldwide. Also, Zarqawi and the likes are not dependent on Saudi money (although money from the Gulf certainly makes a contribution). There is enough wealth in Iraq.

Badrists, Sadrists and Ba'athists
Here, of course, the "Iraqi resistance" means Ba'ath, which according to all recent credible assessments is responsible for a larger part of the acts of terrorism and American casualties than the Zarqawites. How could foreign militants infiltrating Iraq in order to blow themselves up (or just hang around and get fame on jihadi websites) know detailed intelligence on Iraqi population, which is necessary for all the assassinations and the widespread intimidation? All this intelligence of course comes from the massive Ba'ath "former" intelligence apparatus with lots of informers within the new Iraqi agencies.

It's true that the Badrists have been taking revenge by eliminating some former Ba'ath officers, therefore probably doing a favor for the Coalition. There have been some claims of clashes between Badrists and Sadrists (Shi'a militants of some opposite views), but the Sadrists are marginal anyway, in spite of their huge MSM promotion.

One corrrection
Your assumptions here are too, uh, "defeatist". Neither AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq), nor other terrorist or armed groups in Iraq, were in a position to declare "ceasefires" on the polling process. Their actual ability to execute attacks on the process had been systematically reduced to a low level. On January 30 there were approximately 300 attacks country-wide; on October 15, there were 89. In neither case did these atttacks have a significant impact on voting. This past week, the low level of violence reflected the military situation much more than any calculation by the enemy.

99
Sunnis will back Sadr if the Badr militia isnt stopped -- The Guardian, (December 17, 2005) The US is pressing for the sacking of BAYAN JABR, Iraqs Shia interior minister, whose hired staff mainly from the SCIRI militia (BADR BRIGADE) who torture Sunni prisoners ... A DVD made available to the Guardian by Saleh al Mutlaq, a leading Sunni politician, appears to show interviews with the prisoners recorded during the surprise inspection of the stables. Detainees show welts across their backs, fingers with nails pulled out, cigarette burns on their shoulders, severe head wounds, and in one case, a bloodstained section of brain exposed.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1669466,00.html

The Elephant in the Middle East Living Room
National Review (December 14, 2005) ...Saudi education is turning toward, not away from, Wahhabi influence. In February of 2005 a SECULARIST REFORMER, Muhammad Ahmad al-Rashid, headed the Saudi Education Ministry. As he was beginning to respond to internal criticism of curricula that incited hatred of non-Muslims and non-Wahhabi Muslims, he was REPLACED by Abdullah bin Saleh al-Obaid, a hard-core Wahhabi. CONTROLLING 27% OF THE NATIONAL BUDGET, al-Obaid will have a substantial effect on the views of the next generation of Saudis. His views are illuminated by aspects of his background. From 1995 to 2002, al-Obaid headed the Muslim World League (MWL). According to the U.S. Treasury the MWLs Peshawar office was led by Wael Jalaidan, "ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF AL QAEDA."
http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/woolsey200512140823.asp

Can I get you a tissue?
This article and those who agree with it is just more whining by people who don't get EVERYTHING they want. Yes, blame the leftists, blame the media, blame anyone but yourself. Thats the mantra of Conservativism today.

Thank God for the MSM! I say that and I still think they do a lackluster job of getting at the truth. I can smell the stench of corruption of our political leaders all the way from Iowa, the media has been a pawn in their facade. Media is a business, its sensational and its about the bottom line. To sit there and whine and "woe is me" about the MSM is a juvenile exercise to cheerlead for ideology. Its the policy directive of neo-conmen. The media gets it wrong sometimes, good point. How about rather than whine about it, you make a mental note and temper your acceptance next time you get information from that source. Isn't that what "normal" people do? Thats why there are benefits to using multiple sources.

Ah, but thats not the neo-conman way. You only listen to what you agree with. You're agitators. Like the "war on Christmas", if conflict did not exist it would be necesary for you to create it. I applaud holding media accountable for accuracy and objectivity, thats not what articles like this do. This article is an attack. It actually uses a defeatist character to incite outrage, with the goal of transforming all media into Fox News-like propaganda.

Whats amusing is, if conmen agreed with this assessment they could adjust, repair the damage and continue to be relevant. Instead, you'll get outraged and fight it, and continue down your narrow, merry path to irrelevancy. Its your way.

We know who the joke really is
Liberal bias in the media? It not only exists, it is rampant! For you to deny this makes you the irrelvant one.
The war on Christmas and Christians has been ongoing for years and continues with only the occasional set-back. What else do you call law suits by the dozens against everything from Nativity Scenes to Santa Claus?
People like you who deny these battles do so only to keep the element of surprise and continue the campaign against other peoples' freedom of expression.
These battles are real and you know it, you just don't want the general public to know it until the war is over.
You are not amusing, you are a sick and sad little person and I feel sorry for you in your pain.

Re: Can I Get You a Tissue
Media is not just a business. No other business is so favored by our most fundamental laws. With the benefit of that favorable treatment comes responsibility, which the mainstream media has failed to demonstrate. And, as result, it is the mainstream media that is sliding into irrelevancy.

Accuracy and objectivity, Bob? What planet are you living on? The Washington Post is among the most objective and accurate of the left-leaning MSM, yet they can't even be bothered to do minimal research before printing what amounts to an inaccurate, misleading hack job on Bill Roggio, presumably because his accurate reporting from Iraq doesn't correspond to the worldview of those at the Post responsible for the story. The NYTimes is among the least objective and least accurate of any of the MSM, and it routinely omits or buries stories that don't fit the leftist world view that is the prevailing one among its reporters and editors. And what is the MSM's excuse for devoting its resources to exhaustive coverage of the biggest non-story of 2005, Mother Moonbat Sheahan's vigil in Crawford Texas? The MSM's insistence that Sheahan was newsworthy may itself a story that's worth covering, as a sidebar to the main story of the MSM's slide into irrelevance.

We of the vast right wing conspiracy have no reason to blame ourselves. We were right. About Iraq. About defeatist Democrats. About the important stuff. It's the MSM, their Democrat puppets, and you, apparently, that have been wrong about everything that's important. Iraq is now a democracy, in spite of the MSM's best effort to preserve the Hussein dynasty (looks like CNN's inside track to info in Baghdad is a thing of the past, doesn't it?). What you call whining, reasonable people recognize as calling leftwing ideological distortion for what it is, rather than letting its perpetrators get away with calling it "news reporting."




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