Never Mind The Corpse In The Street


The Real Iraq



Amir Taheri has written an article for Commentary magazine entitled "The Real Iraq". As most people know by now, Taheri is the charlatan who made up the Iranian Jewish badge story out of whole cloth. Taheri is also a so-called "expert" on Iraq; and in that capacity he was invited to the White House this week to brief President Bush on the situation in Iraq.

Amir Taheri is a favorite of the neo-cons and is an apologist for the Shah of Iran. He is an Iranian monarchist who was the editor of the Kayhan newspaper until the Shah of Iran was deposed in 1979. Ever since then he has been lying and twisting the truth to try to convince the United States or Israel to attack Iran. Taheri would like nothing better than to be able to stroll back into power in some future monarchist Iran. In the mean time he curries favor with Israel and the Bush Administration by doing their bidding in print.

Not surprisingly, Amir Taheri’s "Real Iraq" is a place were democracy is flourishing, where the birds are singing, the bees are mating, and George W. Bush’s Iraq policy is on the verge of triumph. Taheri’s thesis on Iraq can be summed up as follows: "Don’t believe everything you see, read, or hear; believe me instead because I am an expert". He claims that the troubles of Iraq are made up by the media and the American public should believe none of it:

Spending time in the United States after a tour of Iraq can be a disorienting experience these days. Within hours of arriving here, as I can attest from a recent visit, one is confronted with an image of Iraq that is unrecognizable. It is created in several overlapping ways: through television footage showing the charred remains of vehicles used in suicide attacks, surrounded by wailing women in black and grim-looking men carrying coffins; by armchair strategists and political gurus predicting further doom or pontificating about how the war should have been fought in the first place; by authors of instant-history books making their rounds to dissect the various “fundamental mistakes” committed by the Bush administration; and by reporters, cocooned in hotels in Baghdad, explaining the “carnage” and “chaos” in the streets as signs of the country’s “impending” or “undeclared” civil war. Add to all this the day’s alleged scandal or revelation—an outed CIA operative, a reportedly doctored intelligence report, a leaked pessimistic assessment—and it is no wonder the American public registers disillusion with Iraq and everyone who embroiled the U.S. in its troubles. [Emphasis added by me.]

Taheri tells us that we should not trust reports from reporters like Kimberly Dozier who report from their hotel balconies. But have no fear, Uncle Taheri is here to tell you the truth because he alone is qualified and he alone knows where to look to see the "real Iraq":

For someone like myself who has spent considerable time in Iraq—a country I first visited in 1968—current reality there is, nevertheless, very different from this conventional wisdom, and so are the prospects for Iraq’s future. It helps to know where to look, what sources to trust, and how to evaluate the present moment against the background of Iraqi and Middle Eastern history.

Taheri tells us his secret to discovering the "real Iraq" is a 5-point program that he has mastered over 40 years of lying:

Since my first encounter with Iraq almost 40 years ago, I have relied on several broad measures of social and economic health to assess the country’s condition. Through good times and bad, these signs have proved remarkably accurate—as accurate, that is, as is possible in human affairs. For some time now, all have been pointing in an unequivocally positive direction.

 Taheri’s five point program tells us the following signs point to a happy day in Iraq:

  1. The number of refugees leaving Iraq is low.
  2. There are a lot of Shia pilgrims.
  3. The Iraqi currency, the dinar, is doing well relative to currencies from neighboring countries.
  4. Business is booming in Iraq.
  5. Iraqis are talking more these days. There are more newspapers, blogs, etc. than there were during Saddam’s time.

In the interest of humoring this moron (I really shouldn’t, it only encourages him) I will briefly discuss each one of his markers on how to measure "success" in Iraq:

  1. Iraq is in the middle of sectarian warfare. Instead of Iraqis migrating out of Iraq, there is a movement of Iraqis within Iraq. Shias are moving out of Sunni neighborhood and Sunnis are moving out of Shia neighborhoods. This is a very bad sign for any society. This is what happens in societies that are being torn apart from the inside.
  2. Of course there are a lot of Shia pilgrims in the Shia holy sites in the Shia areas. Many pilgrims from Iran are pouring into Iraq for pilgrimages. Even so, sectarian violence has claimed lives at Shia shrines in Najaf, Karbala and other shia holy cities. Most prominently the Al Aksari mosque in Samarra, one of Shia Islam’s holiest shrines, was destroyed in February of this year by unknown attackers. The result was an orgy of sectarian bloodshed that has continued to this day.
  3. The value of the Iraqi dinar is a false measure, as it is not traded on the international currency market yet.
  4. Business generally booms when there is sectarian strife. The business climate however is very risky due to the fact that you could be killed at any moment. In fact, business in Iraq is booming so much that entrepreneurs are now offering terror insurance.
  5. Iraqis are no doubt talking more. There is no longer just the official Iraqi media run by Saddam Hussain. That has been replaced by many newspapers and media outlets belonging to the different warring factions. Perhaps Taheri should pay attention to what the newspapers and blogs are talking about. The daily fare in Iraq tends to be about the previous day’s death toll.

Taheri in painting his happy picture of Iraq ignores the daily carnage that is taking place there. I am not quite sure how he explains away the dead bodies that are dumped on the streets of Baghdad every night with bullet holes and drill holes in their skulls. I am not sure how he explains away the IEDs and the car bombs that claim so many Iraqi and American lives every day. I am not sure how he explains away the militias that man checkpoints in most major Iraqi cities. I am not sure how he explains away the infiltration of the Iraqi police by the Badr Brigade and the Mahdi Militia. I am not sure how he explains away the insurgent strongholds in western Iraqi towns even after repeated assaults by the US military. Iraq today is a "Republic of Fear" where killing has become commonplace. Of course that is not the "real Iraq" that Taheri has conjured up in his own head.

On an average Iraqi day, anywhere from 30 to 60 people are being killed in sectarian violence. That is 900 to 1800 dead per month. That is about 11,000 to 22,000 killed every year. By any measure that is a very deadly civil war. In the Lebanese civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990, over 100,000 people lost their lives. At the present rate of killing in Iraq, if the war lasts 15 years there will be between 165,000 to 330,000 deaths. That rate by far eclipses the Lebanese civil war.

Amir Taheri concludes his fantasy by calling democracy "messy" (where have I heard that before?):

Is Iraq a quagmire, a disaster, a failure? Certainly not; none of the above. Of all the adjectives used by skeptics and critics to describe today’s Iraq, the only one that has a ring of truth is “messy.” Yes, the situation in Iraq today is messy. Births always are. Since when is that a reason to declare a baby unworthy of life?

Taheri is engaged in the latest right wing strategy that attempts to paint a pretty picture of Iraq. To do this they must convince the American people that what they are hearing, seeing or reading is not the truth. It’s the latest load of crap from the "trust me" brigade. It is also a favorite method of Nazi propagandists. Yes, I said "Nazi". For all the nazi analogies that are being thrown about by the right wing, they should look in the mirror and the world should call them on it.

Taheri and his brand of propaganda have a place in the dustbin of history. The fact that this charlatan is being given a hearing at the White House should worry us all. Like Ahmed Chalabi, this Iranian fraud should be exposed for his pack of lies. Unlike Ahmad Chalabi, this fool should be exposed before he does further damage to United States interests.


This entry was posted in Foreign Policy, Iraq, Media, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Never Mind The Corpse In The Street

  1. Robbie says:

    Amir Taheri got his talking points from the GOP. Just change a few names and they look familiar…

    1. The number of refugees leaving the United States is low.
    2. There are a lot of Hispanic immigrants.
    3. The U.S. dollar is doing well relative to currencies from neighboring countries.
    4. Business is booming in the United States.
    5. Americans are talking more these days. There are more newspapers, blogs, etc. than there were during Clinton’s time.

    So who fed Taheri the taking points? Tony Snow? Condi Rice? 😕

  2. Ingrid says:

    Mash, have you ever been asked to write your own column? As in a ‘regular’ news magazine’? You have great traffic but you deserve ‘m all! I keep saying ‘great piece today’ or something to that effect, every day and every day I mean it. Thank you for your great analysis and bringing this up…unbelievable lies in the face of thousands being killed, the gall of that guy!

  3. Mash says:

    Robbie, kind of scary how the same talking points translate to different issues with slight modifications. These guys all drink the same kool aid. :-c

  4. Mash says:

    Ingrid, you are making me blush. :”>

    I just started blogging a few months ago and am glad the readership has been steadily increasing. I do think its important to get engaged during this time and stay engaged.

    To answer your question, no one has offered me the BIG BUCKS yet…but I hear the check’s in the mail :-”

    My opinion, as has been the case all my life, is free. I just hope it matters.

    My dream is to be like Amir Taheri so that people will pay me loads of $$ for spewing junk. Although it may be difficult to sleep at night on my bed of lies. :(|)

  5. Good god, Taheri is briefing Bush on Iraq? That’s worse than the blind leading the blind…it’s the corrupt leading the stupid.

  6. TedB says:

    The Emperor wears clothing made of the finest gossimer threads. Too bad we can’t see the fine suit.

    When we allow our leaders to “make teir own reality” they will only listen to those who’s words match their desired results. True reality plays no roll in this passion play.

    I see a larger parallel to the Soviet system. They spied on their citizens (Patriot Act, Unitary Executive), sent them to gulags (Guantanimo, Unnameed Black Prisons), issued “news” for publication (we pay Iraqi’s and American columnists to publish our propaganda), A ruling elite isolated from both reality and the citizens (the POTUS only sees people who can be trusted to agree with the talking points – campaign events).

    Now that I list it, the Nazi’s did this also, so maybe it’s a result of Empire. When our leaders have grand visions of imposing their will on others, this appears to be the natural result. The Chinese are in this boat as well.

    The truth will out though. We still have a modicum of freedom in our press (BLOGS !)that are currently doing the MSM’s job. These nodes of reality in a wilderness of nonreality are what keep me hopeful each day. Truthiness however comforting, pales and withers in the face of Truth.

    Get active, rabble rouse, spread the word, and Vote.

  7. Sophia says:

    Excellent analysis. I think there is a great ignorance of the Arab and Muslim worlds in the US. owever, this is not a problem, the problem is that there are people in the Bush adminstration entertaining this ignorance and some ‘prominent thinkers’/thugs from the Arab world making their bread from this voluntary ignorance ! Blogger As’ad Abukhalil (Angry Arab) gave a very funny and lively talk on the subject less than a month ago. The talk is excellent and it is an hour long.

  8. Ingrid says:

    Did I just read it correctly in today’s headline? GI’s cleared in ‘misconduct in Iraqi village’?? Mash, do your think and pick up your sword, I mean , keyboard and give it to us..I am stunned. Well, it’s not as if we can make people more angry over in Iraq and the rest of the Arab world, it’s a pattern…:-w

  9. yomama says:

    :(( Bush needs to stop it:o

Comments are closed.