January 24, 2008

War Profiteers

UPDATE: Well, whaddaya know? Within 48 hours, Omar post some more drivel. Are these guys reading my blog?

Is it time to declare IRAQ THE MODEL dead yet? No new posts from my old friends since December 5th, and only a smattering of posts since Omar declared he was in New York studying international affairs at Columbia University (I kid you not) way back on September 5th, 2007. Brother Ali is also going to college at Sony Brooks in Long Island.

I assume that's the end of their gig as "Baghdad Editors" at the notorious Pyjamas Media, where no new Fadhil bylines are to be found. Of course, you can still find plenty of rabidly delusional rightwing crap, like Michael Ledeen slamming Gandhi and his entire family as disgusting anti-Semites, or some rather bizarre coverage of the Sibel Edmonds story:
And the State Department hates Israel with a passion, so why are they cooperating with Israeli spies?
It's hard to believe that people are dying because of such blatant idiocy. These imbeciles remain dangerous as long as anyone keeps taking them seriously.

PS: It's quite possible that I blew Omar's cover with this post on September 3rd.

UPDATE: This link has some interesting info too:
At first glance, Omar might not appear to have the background or the personal history that would vault him to international attention as one of the strongest Iraqi proponents of liberal democracy and the American invasion and a pioneer of the nascent Iraqi blogosphere.He was born in 1980 into a Sunni family in Baghdad, the youngest in a family of three boys and one girl. His mother, Rasmia, taught elementary school to third and fourth graders in Baghdad, while his father, Fadhil, spent decades years in Saddam’s army before retiring in 1990 as a high-ranking general.

Omar and his siblings grew up in an upper-middle class Baghdad suburb as a privileged part of the ruling elite. In the afternoons, after homework was finished, he and his friends would gather to play soccer in the streets or at school. When Baghdad baked in the summer heat, his father would drive the family to a social club to swim, an activity that Omar hated as much as his brothers loved. In Iraq, to succeed meant becoming, in order of prestige, a doctor, dentist or engineer. His older brother Ali and older sister Rasha* (name changed to protect her identity) became doctors, while Omar followed the footsteps of his brother Mohammed into dentistry. He liked the ratio of work to play that the career offered, and couldn’t imagine ten years of training required to become a doctor. Eight years for dentistry was more than enough.

In spite of his family’s relatively privileged position, Saddam’s rule of fear shaped Omar’s political views from a young age. His father, Fadhil, had a military career as a commander in Iraq’s air defense system where he continued to steadily work his way up the chain of command. A professional soldier, he abhorred having to defer to incompetent and inexperience military officers appointed by Saddam’s family. The situation came to a head in 1990 when he directly opposed a decision made by a non academic officer. Luckily, his only punishment was early retirement, a gift from military friends that allowed him to escape the hanging that awaited had the disagreement escalated up to Saddam. It was a lesson about freedom of expression that Omar never forgot.

Fear of the regime remained constant as he grew older...

Omar’s on-the-ground reporting quickly earned him the attention of the international media. Reporters from USA Today read the brothers’ blog and interviewed them in Baghdad. Editors from the WSJ, New York Daily News, and the Philadelphia Enquirer contacted them to write OpEds, and the BBC was soon regularly calling Omar for information whenever something happened in Iraq. He also became the de factor Baghdad correspondent for Pajamas Media.

In addition, Iraq The Model (ITM) began providing its own content, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of the second parliamentary Iraqi elections in 2005. At its peak, it was receiving tens of thousands of hits per day. The blog was a demanding mistress however, and ITM’s allure soon made his under-funded dentistry practice seem insignificant by comparison. The blog’s pull proved too strong and eventually, as Omar puts it, “I lost the dentist within me.”. With ITM he had found his medium and his mission. “Gradually you get the feeling that what you are doing is worthwhile, you are providing information that people appreciate. You tend to feel committed to doing this mission.” says Omar...

Almost five years have passed the US invasion, and Omar and I now sit talking over a beer at a bar on the Upper West Side near Columbia University. He came to the United States in August of this year to study international security policy at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He plans to return to Iraq and run for public office in the 2013 parliamentary elections. In addition to handling a crushing academic workload, he continues to contribute periodically to ITM.
The writer of that piece, Aaron Ernst, seems to have established a bit of an anti-Hillary policial rapport with Omar, if these Google responses are to be believed:

I can't see more than that, because clicking the links just gives you a "Deleted Account" message.


Bukko_in_Australia said...

Gandhi, it's a cult. You don't see the Moonies, or the Scientologists, or the Exclusive Brethren going away because they've been exposed to be fools, do you?

Do the LaRouchies set up stalls in the shopping streets of Brissie? They do on Bourke Street here across from the main Myers/David Jones stores. They've got nice anti-Cheney posters hanging from the side of their table, but when I enquired as to what they were about, I found out they were part of this paranoid, anti-semetic group that was discredited as far back as the 70s. Have you ever talked to any of these people? They are absolutely unshakeable in their madness.

And that's what it is, mental illness. People like those you cite have made a conscious choice what to believe, and they will hang onto that choice despite all evidence. I've tried reasoning with diagnosed schizophrenics in psych centres, or with mildly demented people in hospital. Logic does not apply. It's a defect in the human brain.

When a car is stuck in mud, it's not going to get out by spinning its own wheels. It's not going to get out with you pushing it. Especially if the driver has decided to mash on the brake pedal because he's made up his mind that the mud is the right place to be.

It's usually worthwhile to try and save a car, because they have some economic value. Not so worthwhile to try and save a deluded person. The ones that keep arguing for failure are a minority. They have little importance in the world, except as serving as a foil for the evil Cheney forces who can point to them and say "We still have the support of the people."

I steer away from these sorts in the streets; in hospital I give them their meds (if they'll take them) and do what I must to assure their continued physical viability without arguing reality with them, and shun their blogs. I'd rather take time to communicate with people who have sense, such as you.

On the other hand, haven't I made this argument to you before? Why am I wasting my time with you?!? You'll never get it! ;)

gandhi said...

I don't know about LaRouchies in Brisbane, but I did go chat to some Citizens Electoral Council people with a street stall outside a bank her on the Gold Coast.

I asked them why I should have voted for them rather than the Greens at the last election, and they said (basically) that global warming was not man-made. They "prove" this by citing some bizarre 17th century scientist - hardly very up-to-date stuff!

The more I (very politely) questioned them, the angrier they got. There was a young guy who was making an effort, but the main lady was just totally antagonistic and beyond reasoning. Sad, really.


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