FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Now the New York Times Sells "Bloodbath" as a Rationale for Staying in Iraq

by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

There’s been no stage in the grim progress of the US onslaught on Iraq at which the New York Times hasn’t been shoving the whole ghastly enterprise along. First there were Judy Miller and Michael Gordon promoting the WMD rationale for attack. More recently there was Michael Gordon selling the surge.

Now it’s John Burns, pushing the notion that if the US withdraws there’ll a bloodbath of unimaginable proportions as the Iraqis slaughter each other. The administration is seizing eagerly on this, which is a bit like Dracula saying his castle is the best security guarantee against local peasant girls being attacked by vampires.

There’ll certainly be no prospect of peace so long as US troops are occupying Iraq. Ask Iraqis, whom we can safely assume have a clearer grasp than Burns of what might improve the awful conditions of their lives. Outside Kurdistan, continued American occupation is not a popular view. Over 80 per cent of Iraqis tell pollsters they want the Americans out.

Will things get worse if Americans leave? Probably so, at least for a while. In 2005 the US said there would be a bloodbath if they left. So they stayed and there’s been a worsening bloodbath.

Ken Pollack and Dan Byman of the Brookings Institution wrote an influential shock/horror scenario about the policy pitfalls of withdrawal, predicting a terrible refugee problem.(Pollack was previously a prominent salesman of Saddam’s nuclear arsenal.) Right now, amid US occupation, the UN’s High Commission on Refugees says 2000 Iraqis a day are fleeing their homes. Since the Americans invaded, two million Iraqis have fled their homes and two million more are refugees inside Iraq. It’s the worst refugee crisis in the Middle East since the Second World War, outstripping the Israel-induced flight of Palestinian refugees in 1948.

Amid its doomed “surge” the Bush administration is already maneuvering towards a set-up of the Democrats as forcing a premature withdrawal just as the surge was disclosing light at the end of the tunnel. A pell mell withdrawal would of course magnify the prospects of mass killings, as opposed to an orderly withdrawal with a respected neutral force left behind. But of course the US has virtually destroyed the prospects for assembling such a genuinely neutral force.

The Road to Abu Ghraib

When arraigned for dog abuse last Thursday, the black football superstar Michael Vick sounded muted, as well he might since it seems his closest associates are now going to testify against him.

Three violent elements in American popular culture –- football, rap and dog-fighting — have intersected in this sensational case. On July 17 a federal grand jury in the state of Virginia indicted the 27-year old Vick and three associates on charges of operating an enterprise called “Bad Newz Kennels” to breed pit bulls for high-stakes fights to the death, also of killing off dogs who performed poorly by dousing them with water and then electrocuting them, slamming them into the ground or shooting them with a .22.

One can imagine the satisfied chortles in the office of the US Attorney in the eastern district of Virginia as they crafted the indictment. One count in the 18-page indictment described a “rape stand, a device in which a female who is too aggressive to submit to males for breeding is strapped down with her head held in place by a restraint.”

(One assistant US attorney in that East Virginia District office is Gordon Kromberg, accused of anti-Muslim prejudice amid his persecution of Sami al-Arian. It was Kromberg who allegedly said of a request to delay Al-Arian’s transfer to Virginia before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, “If [Muslims] can kill each other during Ramadan, they can appear before the grand jury.” The US Attorney, Chuck Rosenberg strongly defended Kromberg.)

The stark language of the indictment has gone a long way towards destroying Vick long before he gets his day in court. If convicted he faces six years in prison. The National Football League, aghast at the damage to its image wrought by the descriptions of “Ookie” Vick and alleged co-conspirators such as “P-Funk” Peace, torturing dogs at Bad Newz Kennels, have told him not to attend the Falcons’ training sessions which commenced on July 26, the same day Vick and three others were formally arraigned.

Dog-fighting has led a long, semi-covert existence in white redneck culture. Lately it’s also become associated with hip-hop. Owners, dogs and fans travel hundreds of miles to face-offs between pit bull champions, male and female, which continue till one dog is killed or surrenders. The indictment describes defeated dogs on the Bad Newz strength being shot out of hand after defeat. It also details the wagers, ranging from $3,000 to $20,000 on a single contest.

Jason Whitlock, the Clarence Thomas of black sports writers, based at the Kansas City Star and with a specialty in onslaughts on his own people, swiftly wrote an acrid column about the links between dog fighting, rap and

Vick’s indictment:

“I believe Vick got involved with breeding vicious pit bulls because rap-music culture made it the cool thing to do… Vick didn’t do it for the money. The Atlanta Falcons gave him all the money he could ever hope to spend. Vick was involved in pit bull breeding (and quite possibly dog fighting) because he enjoyed it. He’s a product of a culture that makes the ‘profession’ acceptable and honorable. It’s the same culture that has turned the dope dealer into mayor of the neighborhood. It speaks to the grip the negative aspects of hip-hop culture have on young people.”

Dog fighting is on the rise, or so the American Humane Society avers. The animal shelters say that these days sometimes 50 per cent of the abandoned animals they pick up in the streets are wounded pit bulls dumped by their owners. There’s no rapper monopoly here. White crackers certainly outnumber black rappers in the fancy. White complacency doesn’t take long to puncture either. Rudy Giuliani’s wife Judith, worked for US Surgical in years gone buy, as part of a sales force that demonstrated sutures on dogs they slashed, then later killed. It was white Ivy League psychologists, not rappers, who devised the interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib, where dogs were trained on the torture games inflicted on naked prisoners. You can’t blame it all on rap-music culture, just one little rivulet in the imperial watershed.

 

More articles by:

Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 24, 2017
Patrick Cockburn
A Shameful Silence: Where is the Outrage Over the Slaughter of Civilians in Mosul?
Robert Hunziker
Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up
Ron Jacobs
Dylan and Woody: Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Dan Glazebrook
Quantitative Easing: the Most Opaque Transfer of Wealth in History
Ellen Brown
Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks
Richard Hardigan
The Media is Misleading the Public on the Al-Asqa Mosque Situation
Matthew Stevenson
Travels in Trump’s America: Memphis, Little Rock, Fayetteville and Bentonville
Ruth Fowler
Fire at Greenfell
Ezra Kronfeld
The Rights of Sex Workers: Where is the Movement to Legalize Prostitution
Mark Weisbrot
What Venezuela Needs: Negotiation Not Regime Change
Binoy Kampmark
From Spicy to the Mooch: A Farewell to Sean Spicer
Wim Laven
Progress Report, Donald Trump: Failing
Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Kevin Zeese
Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Red State, Blue State; Green State, Deep State
Paul Street
“Inclusive Capitalism,” Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet
Anthony DiMaggio
Higher Education Fallacies: What’s Behind Rising Conservative Distrust of Learning?
Andrew Levine
Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon
Michael Colby
Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes
Bruce Dixon
White Liberal Guilt, Black Opportunism and the Green Party
Edward Hunt
Killing Civilians in Iraq and Syria
Matthew Kovac
Is the Flint Water Crisis a Crime Against Humanity?
Mark Harris
The Revolutionary Imagination: Rosa for Our Times
David Rosen
America’s Five Sex Panics
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia: the Kingdom Whose Name We Dare Not Speak At All
Jack Heyman
Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack
Kim C. Domenico
Marginalize This:  Turning the Tables on Neoliberal Triumphalism
Brian Cloughley
Trying to Negotiate With the United States
John Laforge
Activists Challenge US Nukes in Germany; Occupy Bunker Deep Inside Nuclear Weapons Base
Jonathan Latham
The Biotech Industry is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs From the Inside
Russell Mokhiber
DC Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox Won’t Let Whistleblower Lawyer Lynne Bernabei Go
Ramzy Baroud
The Story Behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed Palestinians to A Corner
Farzana Versey
The Murder of Muslims
Kathy Kelly
At Every Door
David W. Pear
Venezuela Under Siege by U.S. Empire
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuelan Opposition Now Opposes the People
Uri Avnery
Soros’ Sorrows
Joseph Natoli
The Mythos Meme of Choice
Clark T. Scott
High Confidence and Low Methods
Missy Comley Beattie
Glioblastoma As Metaphor
Ann Garrison
Organizing Pennsylvania’s 197: Cheri Honkala on Frontline Communities
Ted Rall
What Happened When I Represented Myself as My Own Lawyer
Colin Todhunter
Codex Alimentarius and Monsanto’s Toxic Relations
Graham Peebles
Europe’s Shameful Refugee Policy
Louis Proyect
Reversals of Imperial Fortune: From the Comanche to Vietnam
Stephen Cooper
Gov. Kasich: “Amazing Grace” Starts With You! 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail