18 October 2006

I can't think of a title.

Nothing much going on with me these days. Built some signs for the FOB entrance yesterday and today. Fun thing about being a Combat Engineer is that the folks 'higher' don't really know the difference between Engineers and figure that any outfit with the word "engineer" in the unit title can do more or less anything. So any wierd tasking comes to us, especially if it requires building something.

After all, you wouldn't trust an infantryman with power tools, would you?

Watching the news is really pissing me off. I watched this stupid report about the "Civil War in Iraq" complete with cheezy graphics which divide Iraq into three parts, each clearly labelled "Sunni", "Shia" and "Kurd" and the reporter was talking about them like each faction had their own territory.

Ummm. . . Ten minutes in Iraq would disabuse you of that notion. Shia and Sunni are not like Black and White, or even English and Scots. They are religious identifiers like Huegenot and Catholic. Each sect is scattered across Iraq and are (with the exception of specifically religious observation) more or less culturally identical. Kurds are an ethnic group, but there is no region inhabited by Kurds and only Kurds. There are Kurdish tribes which dominate particular areas, but there may be Turkoman or Arabic tribes within that region as well. If there were neat, clean little lines which could serve as boundaries along which you could deliniate into "Shia" and "Sunni" this would be a little easier. What you have instead is "Predominately Shia" and "Predominately Sunni". That's part of the complication. If you let the Shia run Shiastan then what do you do with the Sunni living there? Disenfranchise them? "Ethnically Cleanse" the area by running them out on a rail?

What about the real minorities: Assyrians, Chaldeans, Yezidis, Turkomans, Circassians, etc?

Frickin' stupid simplistic reporters. If the damned Iraqis can't manage themselves in the past 60 years, and the British couldn't manage them in 30 years, and the Ottomans couldn't figure out how to make those vilayets profitable in 500 years, then you aren't going to make it all make sense in a five minute spiel with cute graphics.

I hate the verdammt media with a passion. CNN is the worst, but all of them are basically vile charlatans who attempt to pass off a glib, superficial, and usually misleading summary accompanied some well-chosen stock footage as real war reporting.


Anonymous Zach Bush said...

I prefer my own horrifyingly simplistic view to picture the Shia as butter-side up and the Sunni as butter-side down, with the Kurds insisting on going "butter commando."

I can even make a graphic.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Hisdudeness said...

AMEN, Brotha!!!!

12:27 AM  
Anonymous montieth said...

Mind if I walk a few copies of this down to the news room? If you'd like, I'll hand a more 'verbose' version off it you want.

3:09 AM  
Anonymous Montieth said...

Hey John... BTW


3:51 AM  
Blogger Tim Covington said...

Unfortunately, the media is a reflection of the society it serves. The vast majority of viewers don't want to sit down and do the study it takes to have an informed opinion, even if it is spoon fed to them. Also, they don't want to hear about complicated solutions that will take years. They want solutions that can be explained to them in a couple of minutes and will take as little time as possible to implement.

4:34 AM  
Anonymous qp4 said...

I feel like I'm constantly running my head into a wall when people say that we should just divide them up along the "lines." Morons. And you're absolutely right, any lines that get drawn (except maybe in the NE) are gonna result in a bloodbath.

My favorite part about the stock footage is that it's all from OIF 1 and 2. Is anyone still wearing DCUs now?

5:54 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Montieth: Sure, forward it anywhere. And I can't watch youtube because teh MWR computers don't like streaming video.

qp4: Not really. Everyone deploys with ACUs, but DCUs are still authorized, so you see folks wearing them around the FOB when the laundry folks are running behind.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous cMAD said...

Must be pretty bad. You lapse into German.

For someone used to German (or Swiss) public TV news, USAmerican news has always been a joke. German news are becoming more and more Americanized, though.
But how detailed can any TV news report be, anyway?
Probably anything needs to be shortened to meaninglessness for TV.

How's BBC News? You don't seem to have streaming video, but maybe at least streaming BBC World Service radio. Doesn't sound as bad as anything USAmerican (or privately owned German, for that matter), but the contents may still be just as bad.

I'm afraid that Tim Covington is right, and that his remark about the society that doesn't want to hear about complicated problems also applies to the leaders - yours dismissed the information that wouldn't fit their political agenda (and unlike everybody else who does pretty much the same thing, had the power to act decisively on the filtered information). Doesn't look like the US and A will solve the persistent mess that ... hmmm, Hulagu Khan, I presume ... left behind in Iraq, either.

Or could you think of anything that would actually work?
(other than decimating the locals a few dozen times, then move the survivors into some desert reservations and give them the exclusive right to run casinos ... that worked once, already)

9:14 AM  
Anonymous kinfae said...

The problem is that it is a hugely complicated and messy situation, and we pulled out the 'We'll Be Home By Christmas' mantra. Again. People need to figure out that it never, ever means we'll /really/ be in and out quickly. There has yet to be a war that was over in five minutes with no casualties on either side, and the American public needs to get used to that. It's like us trying to figure out an Israel/Palestine solution that leaves everyone happy. The shit isn't ever going to be /over/.

3:51 AM  

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