October 11, 2003

See Me After Class

Here is the full text of Paul Bremer’s press release, six months to the day after invading Baghdad. Print this out and stick it on your fridge so all your friends know how proud you are of your little country. Write a grade on it in red ink if you feel it necessary. Give it an A, a B, a D-, I don’t really care. All I care is that you read it, scan it at the very least, and absorb something.

I don’t trust the media. The headline article in the Oregonian cited parts of Bremer’s press release, but used the facts only to set up rejoinders to nullify the good that had happened in Iraq. Electrical output currently exceeds pre-war levels but chaos reigns in the streets of Baghdad! Today there are 170 newspapers in Iraq and no Ministry of Information but no WMD’s have been found! This is actually one of the most objective stories I have seen on Iraq, but in my books a moment’s repentance does not cure a lifetime of sin.

I mean, please. Tell me this stuff. Tell me about the chaos. Tell me about the bombings. Tell me about the hospitals that have opened. Tell me about the religious festivals that are no longer banned. Just give me the facts, the bare facts, because right now I don’t feel like you can be trusted with anything else. I’m sick and tired of throwing the newspaper across the room in disgust. I can’t govern myself with the drivel you are feeding me… feeding me for what? For my own good? So I know how horrible the world is? My government is? Humans as a species are? Tell me things I think are good, and tell me things I think are bad, but please don’t preach. With sufficient information I can make up my own mind, thankyouverymuch.

And listen up. Optimism trumps pessimism and reality trumps delusion, every time. You are stinky little journalists, you are not a fourth branch of counter-government. Your job is to objectively document reality, not to construe and misrepresent facts to sway public opinion. Save your ongoing narratives that are inconsistent with reality for your disingenuous books that are making you a millionaire.

Immediate props go to a Balloon Juice, with halo props to Grotto 11.