J-School: Educating Independent Journalists

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Our Ali G Moment in Iraq

Posted by chanders on January 11, 2007

There’s a moment in the first season of "Da Ali G Show" where Sasha Baron Cohen is talking to James Baker. "During the Gulf War, when did you decide to invade Iran?" Cohen asks. "We never invaded Iran," Baker replies. "Which one did you go into?" Cohen asks again. Speaking slowly, as if to an idiot, Baker says, "Well we had  a troop presence for a short period of time in Southern Iraq" "Ain’t they the same thing, though?" "They’re two different countries." Cohen: "Do you think it would be a good idea if one of them changed their name to make it very different sounding from the other? … Ain’t there a real danger that someone give like a like message over the radio to one of them fighter pilots sayin bomb "Ira…" and the geezer don’t hear it properly and bomb Iran rather than Iraq?" Baker: "No Danger."

We may have reached our Ali G. moment in the current war– which isn’t very funny at all. In fact, its downright terrifying. I started hearing rumors about plans to do some military action against Iran a few months ago, and dismissed it. It came mostly from the bloggers, and the unreliable bloggers at that: DailyKos diarists, Raw Story, Truthout, etc. Well, after Bush’s speech last night, it seems a lot of people have decied it isn’t so crazy after all. William Arkin writes on the Early Warning blog today at the Washington Post: "If there’s anything in the President Bush’s remarks tonight that we
didn’t already know or didn’t anticipate him saying militarily about
Iraq, it is his evident willingness to go to war with Syria and Iran to
seek peace."

Later in the day, after two rounds of mysterious raids on Iranian targets in Kurdistan, the rumor mill really started to heat up. It     was still the bloggers, but, as Michael notes, its the sober sensible bloggers. The Joshua Michael Marshalls and the Steve Clemonses. Marshall, who is the closest thing on the Web to a real journalist, writes:

"I’m getting some hints that this raid on the Iranian consulate in northern Iraq may be part of something much bigger. Is there a classified presidential directive to the CIA and DOD to take down Syrian and Iranian operations inside Iraq, even so far as operations into Iranian and Syrian territory? And is the aim here to provoke a conflict with one or the other of these states? To provoke an attack from Iran perhaps?"

And Clemons adds: "Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are
abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent
days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to
the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and
Iran. The President may have started a new secret, informal war against
Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion
with the country." And ABC News reports two secret raids at an Ibril airport in Kurdistan, one which almost ended with an exchange of fire between Kurdish Pesh Merga and what can only be US Special Forces.

The Daily Kos has the roundup, such as it is, from the Democrats.

Now, there could be a number of things going on here. Maybe this is just saber rattling from GWB: a sort of "we know where you are" to the Iranians, to keep them off guard. Or maybe the main focus is on Iranian agents inside Iraq. Or maybe, we’re going to bomb the shit out of Tehran and the whole thing will just to completely to hell. Now’s the time for the journalists– the ones who get paid, the ones with big time inside contacts, to justify their existence, and tell us what the fuck is going on.

I have a friend tell me the other day that she’s never been arrested at a protest, but if we invaded Iran, she’d be on the phone in a heartbeat getting her friends ready for some serious CD. We’ve been down this road before.

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