Thursday, August 02, 2007

Pretending up sharply

Over at Newshoggers, fester has an interesting, if decidedly grim post on the seasonality of fatalities of US troops over the course of the Iraq war. It puts lie to any claims, especially those so trumpeted recently by the disingenuous hacks from the Brookings Institute, that the "surge" is working because US fatalities are down this month compared to last. That is not the proper metric, as demonstrated by fester's post. The graph that best illustrated just how much deadlier 2007, i.e. the year of the "surge," has been compared to previous years, which I am going to steal here, is the year-over-year monthly fatality rates for US troops.

(click for larger image)

What is immediately obvious is that, apart from only two months (January 2005, April 2004) in the previous four years, every month in 2007 has been significantly more deadly than any corresponding month during the entire 4+ years in Iraq.

The surge is certainly working as warned. More US troops are dying each month than had been previously observed. July fatalities, now commonly described as "sharply down," which was also true for July, 2006 and July, 2005 compared to preceding months, finished off with 75 dead US soldiers [Ed. this has just been updated by the Pentagon to now 81 fatalities in July, same as February and March). Last July saw 43. Iraqi civilians, too, are suffering the surge. Civilian casualties, which had been showing decline, are up 33% over June and up 46% over July 2006.

I don't want these realities to be misconstrued. Like most human beings, I would really like to see the killing reduced (stopping it anytime soon seems beyond fantasy). No one is happy that this is not happening with anything like a heartening trend. The truth behind these statistics is grisly and terrible and we have to stop letting a pathetic corporate media push its happy pablum on us. There are a lot of people out there trying to do that but, of course, they're not the ones given voice by the same said corporate media. Which is hardly surprising.

The pretending must stop. I know this is difficult to imagine considering what we've seen in the last several years, and the Bush administration is doing what it can to prevent the actual realities in Iraq from getting out. From exercising executive privilege in the Tillman case, to halting reports on electricity delivery to drumming up surge support through propaganda vehicles of the American establishment, this tendentious politburo nonsense must come to an end.

The question is, will it? Aided and abetted by a whorish class of inbred media cringers, has the Bush administration so compromised government agency as to render it useless and unqualified, a mere tool of political need? Expertise has left in droves from departments and agencies across the spectrum of service. Right now, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have scores of openings in foreign offices and "at least 85 positions likely will remain unfilled until 2008" because of political interference by grinning simp, William R. Steiger, who also suppressed the Surgeon General's report on global health. Steiger is the son of former congressmen William A. Steiger, the man who gave Dick Cheney his first job as a staff intern. Steiger junior is also the godson of George H.W. Bush. America, we have an aristocracy problem.

Under Bush, government has indeed become the problem that Republicans have so long rhapsodized, far worse than anything seen in the modern epoch. Recovery from this political corruption will take years, if it is possible at all. For the American experiment, the Bush administration may indeed prove to be signal, the signpost whereby the long slide from preeminence will be marked.


Blogger Mentarch said...

"and we have to stop letting a pathetic corporate media push its happy pablum on us"

Aye - but the root of the problem is this: folks want, crave, *need* their pablum. That is why the news hours (and/or 24h-day news channels) transformed their formulas into infotainment - because ratings (i.e. desire/acceptance) constituted (and still do!) a "positive" feedback loop ... thus spurring Media Corps further on.

The bottom line is all about intellectual sloth and the metastizing cancer on the body democratic ( ) which "We the People" have allowed, if not encouraged/nutured, into being ...

As I am fond of saying: mea culpa, mea culpa, vox populi ...

4:38 AM  
Blogger theBhc said...


I am not at all convinced of this common belief. It might be true to some small degree but I really don't believe the need for pablum in the news is as deep-seated as we are always told. It is very popular to push the idea that the public doesn't want or care to know the serious stuff, but that is because the media is definitely desirous to turn off the tap of actual news. It helps make everyone conform more easily. The whole process is a closed, self-satisfying loop: keep 'em dumb and happy with games and gossip; see, they want mindless bullshit because we feed it to them. Supply becomes the demand. But it isn't.

This is not to say that there is not some non-trivial fraction of the population that does want to know nothing. That exists everywhere. But the metastasized corporate media is fully invested in keeping as many people as ignorant as possible. Don't forget that the reason -- the only reason -- there even is news on corporate networks is that it is mandated by law to provide news "in the public interest." But it is and always has been notoriously unprofitable and media owners have been undermining this legal requirement since its inception. The current state of the infotainment news we see today is not the result of demand by the public but it is the direct result of media outlets constantly and consciously engaged in efforts to marginalize news and journalism and turn their product into something more palatable for "consumption."

The goal is obvious. The history of US government policy actions throughout the world and the utter ignorance about it by the American population are not coincidental. Because if the public knew what was going on, I doubt most Americans would tolerate it.

The history of the actions of the American government abroad is a vast chronicle of crimes that corporate America happily obliges and enjoys. Many of these actions directly benefited and continue to benefit corporate America. Much of this is would also horrify most honest Americans. This is why 'news," for the most part, is a veneer designed to paint the actions and behaviour of the Washington claque as patriotic when it is nothing of the kind.

Like the quaint notion that government is the agency of "the people," our so-called media serves its own interests and those of its corporate brethren. Corporate America knows that the American public has a far greater sense of right and wrong than can be tolerated. So, We, The People, must be marginalized in the public realm and churned into nothing more than consumers, enjoying the fruits of empire while worrying about the fate of Paris Hilton.

2:30 PM  

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