Sunday, May 27, 2007

Investigative Blogging 101: The Kate McMillan edition.

There are a number of reasons you shouldn't spend a lot of time reading the Blogging Tories and their right-wing colleagues in the Wingnut-o-sphere. Mostly, it's because you'll just get increasingly misinformed and stupid if you do and I'd like to demonstrate this with a recent post of Canada's Lowest Common Denominatrix™. So don't be scared -- let's all just follow along and watch the unintentional hilarity as it develops, shall we?

As Exhibit A, I give you the Katester, waxing rhapsodic over wondrous new developments in the Global War on Non-White People:

May 22, 2007

"One by one, the 18 provinces of Iraq are being turned over to the Iraqis"

As the British increase their forces in Afghanistan, they are drawing down in Iraq. Although the drawdown in Iraq is based on pragmatism, the enemy apparently is attempting to create the perception of a military rout. So while the British reduce their forces in southern Iraq, they are coming under heavier fire and the enemy makes claims of driving “the occupiers” out.

In reality, the Brits were about to transfer authority over the Maysan Province to the Iraqi government.

Now, without question this is good news since, as we all know, in the midst of the growing carnage and increasing body count in Iraq, the foremost issue on the minds of everyone in Wingnuttia has been that single, burning question, "When can we restore Maysan Province to the Iraqis?" Certainly, that very issue has clearly been knawing at Kate for God knows how long.

Well, OK, maybe not, but it would be juvenile and classless to suggest that Kate is being a cheap hack opportunist by advertising good news whose significance she doesn't have a freakin' clue about. Onward.

Let us now descend into the comments section at Kate's original piece to read the very first comment from one "ron in kelowna", who is obviously auditioning for the part of "Most Perky Cabana Boy" as he writes:

And again, more 'tell-it-like-it-is' truth at sda than in our beloved media.

But then, why would the MSM report on a humanity success story. Girls in school, women being free to have a life, the DICKtator gone....

By God, yes ... even in the midst of all that carnage, surely we have to appreciate the giant strides made by Iraqi womanhood, like this:

Women Lose Ground in the New Iraq
Once They Were Encouraged to Study and Work; Now Life Is 'Just Like Being in Jail'

By Nancy Trejos
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 16, 2006; Page A12

BAGHDAD -- Browsing the shelves of a cosmetics store in the Karrada shopping district, Zahra Khalid felt giddy at the sight of Alberto shampoo and Miss Rose eye shadow, blusher and powder.

Before leaving her house, she had covered her body in a billowing black abaya and wrapped a black head scarf around her thick brown hair. She had asked her brother to drive. She had done all the things that a woman living in Baghdad is supposed to do these days to avoid drawing attention to herself.

Zahra Khalid, 30, left, shops in Baghdad on her first outing in two months. With Islamic fundamentalism and sectarian warfare on the rise in Iraq, more and more women live in fear.

It was the first time she had left home in two months.

"For a woman, it's just like being in jail," she said. "I can't go anywhere."

Um ... OK, bad example. Let's try another source:

Iraq’s women under pressure

The lives of many Iraqi women have become appreciably harsher following international sanctions and the US-led invasion. Although pleased to see Saddam toppled, some look back on the prosperity and social liberation of the Ba’athist years with nostalgia.

Oh, dear. It appears that "ron from kelowna" fits right in with your average commenter over at SDA -- dumb as a fucking post. But enough of Kate's teeming, howler monkey minions and their embarrassing dumbassitude -- let's return to Kate's main point for a closer look, shall we, to gauge the proper level of celebration (emphasis added):

In reality, the Brits were about to transfer authority over the Maysan Province to the Iraqi government. Thus, the day’s purpose, although seemingly more ceremonial in nature, was to counterpunch in the perception war, by focusing on the progress being made by the Iraqi Security Forces in the region.

Ah, yes, let us all appreciate the overwhelming significance of something that is "seemingly more ceremonial in nature," but pretend that it's much more important than that. Otherwise, whatever would Kate have to whinge on about? But we're not done here, oh no.

Let us all hop into the wayback machine, back to October of 2006, where we read:

British Army to hand over Iraqi province by January
By Marie Woolf
Published: 29 October 2006

British forces expect to be able to hand over Maysan province to Iraqi control by "around the end of the year", to allow UK troops to concentrate on Basra. Defence sources said they were confident that by January, three of the four provinces under British control would be under Iraqi administration.

Um ... excuse me? As I read it, that handover should have happened around five months ago, so I'm not celebrating so much as I'm wondering who's responsible for being five months behind schedule. Still, a handover is a handover, until you finally get to the fine print (all good parts tail-waggingly added):

Although security for Maysan was taken over by the Iraqis on Wednesday, there are still about 400 British soldiers in the province, all engaged in long-range reconnaissance along the border. The Iraqis asked the British to continue monitoring the border, and this role is likely to remain a British responsibility throughout the six months in which Prince Harry is serving in Iraq...

In Maysan the British withdrew from their permanent base at Camp Abu Naji near al-Amarah last August, and focused all their efforts on patrolling the border areas. The handover of Maysan to the Iraqi Army 10th Division is not expected to lead to any reduction in the British presence in the province.

Whoops ... that little detail seems to have been omitted in Kate's cheerleading. And how's life for those "reconnaissance" Brits, anyway? Ooooooh ... not so good:

Two British soldiers involved in a long-range reconnaissance patrol along the border between Iraq and Iran were killed by a huge roadside bomb today which ripped through their Scimitar armoured vehicle.

Another soldier in the same Scimitar was “very seriously injured” and his condition was described as “critical”.

In other words, despite the hand-clapping optimism emanating from over there at Small Dead Brain Stems, what we actually have is an Iraqi province that Kate had never before heard of, being "handed over" to the Iraqis in what even the British call a "ceremonial" exercise, happening some five months behind schedule, where the British who are doing the "handing over" aren't actually even leaving and, inconveniently, they're still being killed. Somehow, that kind of takes the lustre off the old apple, doesn't it?

And as the ultimate in unintentional hilarity, we have Kate, calling her flying monkeys to the battlements:

If you're inclined to write the editors of those newspapers whose commentary on Iraq offers little more than recycled UN reports by Bush-bashing Ottawa imbeds, you might include a link to Michael Yon's dispatch to remind them what journalism looks like.

Or you could you just point them to this blog post, so they can see what actual blogging looks like. Because if they've been spending all their time over at SDA, I'm guessing they've forgotten.

1 comment:

thwap said...

As I stated in that discussion, I wasn't going to bother reading Yon's report about "progress" (after 4 years!!!), but I guess his report was actually pretty factual 'eh?

too bad those morons don't know what any of it means i guess.