Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Will America Abandon Democratic Iraq?

fter the White House announced a "Strategy for Victory in Iraq" late in November, we asked, "And so the retreat begins?" Now a month later in the New Year, with the Washington Post announcing that the U.S. Has End In Sight In Rebuilding Iraq we have ANDREW SULLIVAN saying,
"THE ABANDONMENT BEGINS: After never sending enough troops to provide order for a peaceful democratic transition in Iraq, the Bush administration is now cutting Iraq's reconstruction funds to zero in the future. Once again: a memory check. Do I recall being told that a critical element in winning over Iraqis would be a massive Marshall-Plan-type effort to rebuild the economy? Was I then reassured that America's military strategy would be primarily to protect infrastructure and to rebuild the shattered energy and electricity grid? Last week saw a major oil refinery succumb to insurgent sabotage. And up to a quarter of all reconstruction funds have been soaked up by security. Now the funding will end altogether. And people wonder why the Bush administration has a trust issue with the American public."
I don't agree with Andrew Sullivan on several things, but I couldn't put this one any better because the upcoming US elections augur political developments of a familiar color. Of course, even Bloggers in the Archipelago know there is a massive intellectual and propaganda engagement ongoing in the U.S. political blogosphere over issues relating to Iraq, the War on Terror, national security, and President George W. Bush. These include the recent partliamentary elections in Iraq and the subsequent electoral protests and troubles, the US domestic wiretapping issue and its many sideshows. Now comes Reconstruction in Iraq and the long term prospects for continuing US engagement there in the economic, political and military arenas of that newly emergent and highly unstable democracy. MEMEORANDUM seems to have the most timely and consistent coverage of the War of the Memes between the Left Liberal and Right Conservative Blogospheres that will continue to inform (and enliven) the debates in the months to come.

was one of the first weblogs I ever read with any consistency after I first became aware of the existence of "webloggers" and the "Blogosphere" (a term invented by the guy who write The Daily Pundit). As the World Wide Web's netizens know, when treated like a Brain, the Blogosphere comes with a Left and a Right Half, whose ideological characteristics are often revealed and obscured by a vigorous and sometimes cheerless name-calling and mutual derision. No love is lost between the "Lefty Moonbats" and the "Right Wingnuts." But of course the colorful language and cyber theatricalities obscure the deadly serious nature of the discourse and its consequences for Democratic Iraq and the whole world. American public opinion matters greatly to every one in the world because that public opinion sways the U.S. Government into or out of certain actions that affect everyone. The Main Stream Media have come to recognize the potency of blogger power, as the New York Times, the Washington Post and even, the Philippine Daily Inquirer start to "get it" and begin to work with the bloggers to expand audience participation and interactivity in Media. Public Opinion is entering an era of wired global reach. In America, where Bloggerdom leads that public opinion is of abiding interest to Philippine Commentary so I shall next present a MAPPING SURVEY of that very interesting and highly active US Blogosphere that is transforming the meaning of Journalism in the 21st Century.


Rizalist said...

A Warm Welcome Traveler! Have you any News from the Front?

Amadeo said...

Looking forward to your upcoming survey of the US blogosphere.

It should make for an interesting and educating read of the milieu where blogging has been carried to great heights and great lengths.

My continuing education of the US landscape gets better and better every day as I navigate through its many labyrinths. Too many and thus easy to get lost.

But still I continue to plod along.

AmericanPainter said...

I realize that this way off topic but this mess over the four U.S. Marines upsets me, it has become so politicized that an impartial trial is certainly drawn into question. The press and certain Philippine Senators have already judged them guilty. The lead prosecutor, Prudencio Jalandoni was quoted in today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer, “the rape case is not only about defending the dignity of the Filipino woman but also about asserting the sovereign rights of the Philippines.”

Whoa horse, hold up there a minute, let’s back up and go over that trail slowly. Defending the “dignity” of the woman? Is she now a candidate for sainthood? I question whether a barhopping, wild drinking female is really all that credible to begin with.

Does she have motive to points a false accusation. I think that the fact that she got her own attorney, the first rattle out of the box, speaks volumes for itself. Why does a rape victim needs an attorney to insure conviction, but to extort money from the U.S. in a private lawsuit? It is the States responsibility to prosecute, yet her attorney makes it sound like she is the prosecutor and she consider the U.S. to be the answer to her golden dreams. She couldn‘t care less about the innocence or guilt of the parties involved.

We know that the lady is no saint and the chief witness, the van driver was beaten by the police into alleging that there was a gang rape. When he recanted, he was charged with being a conspirator to the alleged rape. Sounds like punishment for telling the truth. It brings doubt to the whole thing and sounds more like a set-up deal! Was there in fact a rape at all? It all smells like defecation to me!

Sovereign rights of the Philippines? How is the sovereign rights of the Philippines affected just because the Soldiers are not in Bilibad with Pedro? The sole purpose of detention is to insure their presence at trial. Their presence is not at issue with these politico’s they’re just making political hay over the G.I’s not being in Bilibad.

If I were in charge, reviewing the situation, I would determine that a fair trial would be impossible in Philippine jurisdiction and just hold them to face Military courts martial. I would not turn them over to Philippine authorities to face a political trial here.
I believe that will be the end result because of the prejudicial remarks of the politicians.

Rizalist said...

AP--I think it's been called the "Mubarak Syndrome" because the Egyptian dictator and his govt have perfected the technique of finding a BIGGER SATAN (usually in the form of the United States) for the people to blame when the govt is beleaguered by its own failures or political problems.

The hysteria here is being whipped up by the govt itself under pressure from ideologues and ultranationalists who see the thing opportunistically as a propaganda bonanza. And of course this feeds on human instincts about rape.

What I wish the US Military would do though is to take the high ground and not just play defense -- maybe make the results of its COURT MARTIAL proceedings against the men publicly known. Heck if the Military deems them INNOCENT (I mean really innocent and just framed or something) that would be good enough for a lot of people and perhaps ought to be propounded. But it should would mean a lot too if they said so and so looks like he's guilty and we're going to throw him in the brig then discharge him dishonorably. Or that one or all will be investigated further and maybe tried by a US Court. Or whatever the chain of command thinks of soldiers behaving like this at a time of war. Frankly I don't know what they did, but people on all sides might benefit from hearing what the US Military thinks they did.

Do you know what the Military might do in terms of divulging the results of their own investigation? I think it matters a lot to the JOINT MISSION that brought them here to begin with?

AmericanPainter said...

Rezalist, though military court marshal are not held publicly, the results are not kept secret. I’m sure the results will be furnished to the Philippine administration. Whether or not the Philippine administration will release the results is another question. To do so might hinder the Government induced hysteria.

Rizalist said...

If the US Military has any real information to give, I can guarantee you it will be heard at and disseminated from the highest levels of the Media. I wish it would give out such information, and do it because I hate the fact that America and Americans are portrayed as somehow soft on rape or eager to abet it in order to "dominate" the Philippines.

The Palace might also have taken a cue from THAKSIN SHINAWATRA who has likely turned around his polling numbers in Thailand after giving the Philippines a black eye over cheating in the SEA Games.

What really sickens me is people talking as if someohow Americans tolerate RAPE more than they do. Both societies live in glass houses, but since there really is no profit in Americans pointing out Philippine statistics, some on this side have decided it's okay to start throwing rocks about foreign policy and sovereignty and such.

Both Filipinos and Americans have to find a way to defang the jingoists on both sides. Letters to the editors from real Americans have certainly produced the most positive effects. But I wish the US Commander in the Pacific would show up at the Inquirer and act like the loving father of sons and daughters and grandfather of small boys and girls that he probably is--then discuss why we need to work together on defense and security and terrorism.

He won't have a better opportunity than this. Maybe a bad thing can be turned into a good thing if we can achieve mutual understanding about the bigger things.