Michael Fumento’s in Afghanistan

And he’s been writing excellent articles,
A Blog on Warblogging

When you make a decision to go to a war zone and leave behind the comforts of home, you do just that. There are true pleasures to being out there with guys defending our country and there are true deprivations. Of course, there are war zones and there are war zones. In Iraq’s International Zone (Green Zone) or in Baghdad hotels or even a major base like Camp Fallujah and Camp Ramadi, you have a real degree of comfort and ease in going about your work. Likewise for Bagram Air Base or Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan. But join the troops at a Forward Operating Base (FOB) and comfort and ease of work plummets. Those are the places I go to and I only have two real concerns when I get there.

First, I want every chance to see combat, and hence be in a dangerous area and go on every patrol. We need reporters who work out of safe areas; I’m just not one of them. That’s why I refused to go to Tikrit in Iraq when the Combined Press Information Center (CPIC) tried to send me there. There was virtually no chance of combat and, as it happens, during the time I would have been there was none. Now CPIC is mad at me for not shelling out my own money for airfare and war insurance to spend 12 days where I knew nothing would happen and where nothing did happen.

Second, since while I do write articles when I get back but blog while here I need a degree of internet access. And a degree is all you to get. Connections are almost always mind-numbingly slow. You can wait literally 10 minutes or more just for a website to come up. Some will never come up because they’re too loaded with graphics.

A Stick in the Mud
Welcome to Mizan!
Go read all his articles.

Michael was my BLog Talk Radio guest last month, and I hope to have him back as a guest after he returns from Afghanistan.


Richard Miniter’s first-hand account at the Iraqi Parliament bombing

… is this morning’s must-read:
Richard Miniter, PJM Washington editor, was at the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad when it was bombed this morning killing 8 and injuring over 20

The witnesses I was able to talk to through the chain-link fence of the holding pen said that the bomber seemed to linger at the edge of second-floor cafeteria until a seat at the center table opened up. Then he calmly walked to that table and sat down. The explosion followed in seconds.

The U.S. Embassy translator, an Iraqi with a trim mustache and a baseball cap, confirmed that the bomber selected the center table in order to maximize casualties.

The question is, who else helped the bomber?

I’ll be at a seminar this morning but will post later.

In the meantime, please listen to this week’s podcast with Pieter Dorsman.


Send the Elephant to Baghdad!

It’s been a busy day here at Fausta’s blog, but I have a request for my readers,

RedState has been invited by the Pentagon to go to Iraq, and they are raising funds to send Jeff and Academic Elephant. Long-term readers of Fausta’s blog know that Elephants in Academia has been a most valuable source of information and insightful commentary on Venezuela. I regard her as one of my friends I haven’t met yet.

Go support their trip, and if you’re a blogger, ask your readers, too.


This just in: Cuban journalist tells her story

Marc Masferrer has an interview with Aini Martin Valero

US: What is the biggest obstacle that you and other journalists face on a daily basis?

AMV: The independent press faces two obstacles. One is the harassment and persecution from State Security, which threatens us and blocks us many times from going where the news is happening. They jail us, and many times retaliate against our families.

The second obstacle is the lack of resources to do our work. Most Cuban independent journalists cannot count on having a computer, still and video cameras or even a telephone line at their homes. I consider those tools as fundamental to doing quality journalism.

US: How have the changes since July 31 (when Fidel Castro handed over power to his brother Raúl) affected your job as a journalist?

AMV: After July 31, with the news of Fidel Castro’s illness, the monitoring of me and my colleagues by State Security and the paramilitary bands got worse. Every Tuesday, we met at the house of another journalist to share ideas and review our work. Since that date, followers of the government have carried out acts of repudiation at the home of journalist Carlos Manuel Cespedes, and we have had to look for other alternatives.

Read every word.


The Jamil syllogism

The Anchoress explains,

At least Media Matters included the transcript in its post. But its summary pushes the false narrative that lefties have been pushing for the last 44 hours or so: that the mere existence of Jamil Hussein means that The AP Has Been Vindicated on Everything, Because All Warbloggers Claimed He Was a Made-Up Person.

Indeed that does seem to be the narrative that the left is pressing – because Jamil Hussein has been “found” that means the story about four burned mosques and six immolated human beings must be true.

Let’s test that logic with a syllogism, shall we?

Major Premise: The AP reported four mosques burned down and six people were murdered, and their source was Jamil Hussein.
Minor Premise: Jamil Hussein exists.
Conclusion: Therefore four mosques burned down and six people were murdered.

No, that doesn’t work. The logic fails.

The fact that the AP itself could not find serious corroboration for the story, that it changed the “four” mosques to “one” but has not been able to provide a single picture, that it has never named the victims or talked to the victim’s families or done anything at all to substantiate the story beyond saying “we stand by it,” seems not to matter to some. But it matters, and that is what the bloggers on the right, “war” or otherwise, have been trying to say. A report matters. The credibility of a report (even if the story is “brief”) matters. It matters because every time a horrible story crosses the wires and into the public perception, it plays on gut-level emotions and raises discontent among already warring local factions. In the same way that some would use our own liberties to work against us, such reports embolden those who would take advantage of the fact that America is a compassionate country, that makes war only with relucance. Am I saying that ugly or troubling stories should not be reported? Of course not. But they must be true

Across the Atlantic, Richard North of EU Referendum looks at the London Times story Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran and realizes It’s a crock…

Under the by-line of Uzi Mahnaimi in New York and Sarah Baxter in Washington, the newspaper further asserts that two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”.

Nothing of this is new however. We have been reading reports of IAF practising a strike for some considerable time and, ten days short of a year ago, posted a picture of the IAF Squadron that would lead the raid. The IAF has also published a picture of one of what might be a back-up squadron (above left). And the idea of a nuclear strike on Iran goes back to at least October 2003 when the LA Times “revealed” planning for such an attack.

However, the Sunday Times, in that infuriatingly self-important way that so typifies the MSM, seems to think such plans are new. It is thus able to announce, “Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran”, telling us that they were prompted “in part” by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years.

Actually, this is also not new. Iran has been “on the verge” for some considerable time. But, as we pointed out in February last, it is producing a uranium bomb, which means it will be too heavy for its current or any known means of delivery in the foreseeable future.

This minor piece of information seems to have escaped the Sunday Times and nor have I seen it in any other MSM outlet. But it has an enormous significance in assessing the threat from Iran. Even if it could get a bomb together in two years, it would take several more before it could get anywhere close to developing a means of delivery that could carry the weight.

Another highly significant issue is the delivery to Iran by the Russians, which started last November, of the Tor-M1 air-defence missile systems. Time and time we have argued, not least here, that the presence of these highly capable missiles would tilt the balance of advantage against an Israeli airstrike, to the extent that, once deliveries are complete, it would no longer be an option.

This is something which the Sunday Times itself, when it was forecasting a raid by March 2006, thought important in December 2005 – but now seems to have forgotten about. It also seems to have forgotten about its earlier report in March 2005 that an Israeli strike had been given “initial authorisation“, that too being announced in the same, breathless, self-important tones, the headline proclaiming: “Revealed: Israel plans strike on Iranian nuclear plant”.

Once again, we have the same pair of journalists in the by-line, Uzi Mahnaimi – in Tel Aviv, not having yet moved to New York – and Sarah Baxter, in Washington. And, as for Mahnaimi, he is a very odd cove indeed.

Both stories point to the fact, as Maxed Out Mama commented to The Anchoress, that, when it comes to journalists,

They do not share your ideals; they believe instead that they have to play the right “themes”, and that accuracy is unimportant.

Journalistic accuracy, the oxymoron of our day.

Related reading: last month Augean Stables was asking, Do Iraqis have free will?

Update: Bush didn’t lie, either: Saddam and cousin discussed killing thousands: tapes

Fausses déclarations du ”Sunday Times”, qui manipule? Nidra Poller has translation and commentary.