OBL: Still Kicking Our Ass

static on your TVI wish I could remember September 11, 2001 for the tragedy that took thousands of American lives in horrific terrorist attacks. But all I can think about is:

What if — after years of tracking and nearly capturing the man (before giving up last year) — Osama bin Laden was captured/arrested within days of the attacks he masterminded? How incredibly different our cultural, media, military and political landscape would be…. perhaps….

Certainly George W. Bush would be a genuinely proud man, not the facetious, naive, and stubborn loser he will always be remembered as. In last week’s video, bin Laden dissed the U.S. for not just losing Iraq, but making it worse. You’d expect this to inspire rage within President Bush, however, somehow the fool interpreted these remarks as vindication for his planless obsession with staying in Iraq. Instead of vowing to find bin Laden, or imploring the public to ignore him outright, our foolish leader scratched his chin and opined: “I found it interesting that on the tape Iraq was mentioned, which is a reminder that Iraq is a part of this war against extremists.” Bush’s team’s only defense was to somehow take away from the video that the healthy and in control bin Laden was “virtually impotent.” There’s no way these people possibly see themselves in the mirror each day… talk about “virtually impotent.”

It is downright shameful to see military leadership (Crocker & Petraeus) pawned as spokesman promoting the most implausible and ridiculous “strategy” of beginning to withdraw the additional 30,000 troops that were sent earlier this year by the middle of next year and trying to spin it as “progress.” Their “successes” are defined by unsourced PowerPoint‘s and hardly challenged by Congress or the lapdog media. Even George Will did the math and is left scratching his head: Send in 30,000 troops on cost-plus missions, begin redeploying them 15 months later after incurring more losses and attaining absolutely no political stability and call it “progress?”

Yes, the entire world wants to kick us today as OBL carries on with his terror and pokes fun at how America has fucked so much shit up around the world in the name of one pithy terrorist attack. Sure we haven’t been attacked since, but we also tend to forget the numerous attacks that have taken place in Europe, the UK and elsewhere, like in Algeria, where suddenly suicide bombings are the new hip thing among teenagers. Plain and simple, OBL isn’t lying when he broadcasts his disturbing propaganda. Meanwhile the Petraeuses and Crockers are only kidding themselves, and, by extension, us.

Let’s begin again.

turn off the damn tv and stop the war

Moyers’ ‘Buying the War’

Bill Moyers is back on PBS tonight with ‘Buying the War’. In 2005, then-Corporation for Public Broadcasting president Ken Tomlinson bent over backwards for the Bush Administration and hired media researchers that would determine an “imbalance” in PBS’ programming. He repeatedly accused Moyers of “liberal bias” on his popular show “Now with Bill Moyers” and soon enough, the esteemed Moyers said buh-bye. Around the same time, Congress cut funding to the CPB, the primary funder of PBS and NPR, by 45%. (Annenberg’s own Ernie Wilson currently serves on the CPB board).

‘Buying the War’ airs tonight at 9 PDT and may be available online afterwards — as usual, the PBS site is already chock-full-of extra interviews, a blog, etc.

WaPo’s TV critic Tom Shales wrote:

Tonight’s edition of ‘Bill Moyers Journal’ on PBS is one of the most gripping and important pieces of broadcast journalism so far this year, but it’s as disheartening as it is compelling…. In this 90-minute report, called ‘Buying the War,’ Moyers and producer Kathleen Hughes use alarming evidence and an array of respected journalists to make the case that, in the rage that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the media abandoned their role as watchdog and became a lapdog instead.

More to come after it airs (9 PDT out west) Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse at bloggers’ reactions around the Web:

UPDATE: Moyers is great, as is Rather, who is featured throughout (and to whom I gave much love last month). I’ve been hearing these same references — Landay/Strobel, etc — it makes me cringe. Surely, the refrain will ring out long after this war is behind us. Larisa, who feared Russert was about to go all fetal-position, posted a succinct, 8-point review of the program here.

AP to Protest U.S. Military Censorship in Afghanistan

American military in Afghanistan provided the Associated Press with an unfortunate, yet easy-to-cover subplot in the aftermath of a battle that led to the death of 16 Afghan civilians.

Amir Shah writes from Kabul:

A freelance photographer working for The Associated Press and a cameraman working for AP Television News said a U.S. soldier deleted their photos and video showing a four-wheel drive vehicle in which three people were shot to death about 100 yards from the suicide bombing. The AP plans to lodge a protest with the American military.

The U.S. military blamed its troops’ unfortunate reaction, in which Afghan civilians were killed, on a “complex ambush” by Taliban militants. The deaths of the 16 civilians will undoubtedly hamper the U.S.’s efforts to redouble their forces while making nice and contributing positively to the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

Carlotta Gall has been delivering the straight gravy from Afghanistan for years for the New York Times:

The shooting sparked demonstrations, with local people blocking the highway, the main road east from the town of Jalalabad to the border with Pakistan. And there were differences in some of the accounts of the incident, with the Americans saying that the civilians were caught in cross-fire between the troops and militants, and Afghan witnesses and some authorities blaming the Americans for indiscriminately shooting at civilian vehicles in anger after the explosion.

No matter whose account you believe, the Taliban’s expected “spring offensive” is on. Two British troops were reported killed in southern Afghanistan yesterday.

troops in Afghanistan 2007 international by country

Graphic of active multinational military force in Afghanistan, 7 feb, 2007, via NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.