Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The frustrations of truth.

Richard Engel, a highly respected NBC correspondent and longtime reporter in Iraq, provides one of the clearest explanations of the complexity of the political/religious environment in Iraq that I have read. His report appears in Harvard Education, Nieman Reports Summer 2007 Issue. We Americans like our problems reduced to simple images, as Karl Rove so well understands. But these reductions only diminish our ability to tolerate the understanding of the context of a truth and complexity of truth. Too, the administration is really hog-tied in its own swill. It wallows around its own untruthful, sometimes alarming, simplicities, when deeper perceptions and presentations might unite so many efforts to end this war.

Please note that Engel's report on Iraq required far fewer words than any adminsitration presentation I have heard. So maybe the truth can be simply told, rather than endlessly spun. The quote that follows puts to death one more administration "talking point."

"U.S. politicians and military commanders often complain that the Iraqi government "won't step up and do its job." The impression they give is that Iraqi officials are sitting around smoking hooka pipes and refusing to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, while U.S. troops are fighting and dying to "get the job done." Perhaps the question should be, "Which job?" American soldiers often ask me when the Iraqis will "step up and fight for their own country." They are already fighting for their country. Iraqi officials, religious leaders, militia groups, Syria, Iran and al-Qaeda are struggling and dying to get a "job done" in Iraq, though it does not appear to be the job the White House would like them to be doing.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned during his April visit to Iraq that America's "patience is running out." If he's waiting for Iraqis and the wider Middle East to start fighting the war of Freedom Lovers against Freedom Haters, Americans might need to have considerably more patience in the years ahead."

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