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Monday, March 31, 2008

In The Land of Make-Believe

I am officially dubbing the traditional media in the U.S. the Land of Make-Believe. The relationship between what they tell us and what is actually happening is truly non-existent.

Remember, for example, how the Surge Was Working? John "100 Years" McCain still thinks it is. Well, most of us Murkins knew that was nothing but feel-good spin. Perhaps because the facts contradicted the propaganda, you might have noticed that in the Land of Make-Believe, the occupation of Iraq has become less and less visible.

But things have gotten so bad that even the Land of Make-Believe has been forced to establish a brief relationship with reality. As soon as influential Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr suspended his truce and unleashed the Mahdi Army, violence exploded in Iraq. And it looks like the police don't want to fight al-Sadr's army, either.

But not to worry about those dead, wounded and dying. Everything's back to normal in Basra now.

In Baghdad, not so much.

In Baghdad, where a three-day curfew was mostly lifted, the truce seemed tenuous at best. Explosions struck the "Green Zone" government and diplomatic compound in what police said was a volley of six mortar bombs. Sirens wailed and a recorded voice ordered people to take cover.

U.S. military spokesman Major Mark Cheadle said there were clashes in several Baghdad neighbourhoods early on Monday.

U.S. forces called in at least three helicopter strikes in Baghdad late on Sunday after Sadr's ceasefire, including one in which they said they killed 25 fighters who attacked a convoy struck by a roadside bomb. U.S. helicopter strikes, once rare in the capital, became common over the past week.

"The attacks haven't stopped. There's still a lot of enemy out there, we're not going to quit protecting the populace," Cheadle said. But he said fighting in the capital had eased over the past two days and U.S. forces expected it to ease further.

"They were looking for an excuse to stop fighting," he said. "They don't like facing us because they get killed."

Sadr City, a sprawling slum of about 2 million people that is Sadr's main stronghold and which has witnessed some of the worst fighting in the past week, remained sealed off by U.S. and Iraqi troops, but appeared quiet, said resident Mohammed Hashin.

"The last days were a tragedy: no water no food, garbage heaped in the narrow streets."

Reuters correspondents said southern towns that have seen fighting such as Kut, Hilla and Nassiriya appeared quieter.

A Reuters photographer in Mahumidya, south of Baghdad, said dead bodies were being kept on blocks of ice in a Shi'ite mosque because it was not yet safe enough to bury them.

I ask for the 100,000th time, what the hell are we doing in Iraq? Does anyone, outside of a few corporate cronies like Cheney and brain-dead neocons like McCaca and Lieberman, actually think that we are accomplishing some mission? If so, I'd just LURV for them to tell me what it is, and give me some actual measurable way in which we are accomplishing it.

[cricket cricket cricket]

Reality in the Bush years has been massively painful and damaging to the core values of Americans and America. Seven years of fearmongering, torture, treason, and endless aggression towards the Middle East has made us all weary to the bone and desperate to cleanse ourselves from the poo that the Deciderer and his monkey cronies have flung at us.

The problem is, the Land of Make-Believe has contributed mightily to this damage. By painting a falsely optimistic picture of the Worst Administration Ever, it has created a cognitive dissonance that is very hard to overcome. We are less able to process and analyze, too weary from our three jobs (Uniquely American) to think about what the talking heads are telling us. It's just easier to go along and hope that the next President can actually do something to get us out of this mess.

Well, I know this isn't high on too many peoples' lists, but I hope the next President will also get us out of the Land of Make-Believe. It's long past time for the American people to grow up and stop playing with toys like Britney Spears. It hurts to become adults, but being children who believe in fairy tales isn't an option any more.

Just ask the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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