You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

March 18, 2008

New Tomdispatch


Unsung Heroes and Alternate Voices
Some of The Best of Five Years of Iraq War Coverage

By Greg Mitchell

In the five years since the tragic U.S. intervention in Iraq began, many journalists for mainstream news outlets have certainly contributed tough and honest reporting. Too often, however, their efforts have either fallen short or been negated by a cascade of pro-war views expressed by pundits, analysts, and editorial writers at their own newspapers or broadcast/cable networks. This sorry record is detailed in my new book, So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq.

But allow me -- for once -- to focus on the positive by suggesting that many of the most critical and important journalistic voices exposing the criminal nature of, and the many costs of, this war have emerged from an "alternative" universe that includes former war correspondents, reporters for small newspapers or news services, comedians, aging rock 'n rollers, and bloggers, among others.

We can all name our favorite not-famous reporters or online scribes who have covered the war in Iraq in ways that should have been far more common, or offered biting commentary here at home. A full list would be long indeed, but here, on the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, is my modest tip of the hat to just a few of my own favorites, based on what, to some, might seem an idiosyncratic definition of "journalist":

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at March 18, 2008 11:46 AM

Neil Young?

The same Neil Young that blamed The Clenis for George Bush in 2000 -- he having lied about adultery and core American values?

Allow me to note that the central sin of the The Clinis is not fat chicks, but the use of military forces in silly and unthoughtful geopolitics: Somalia, Bosnia, Sudan, Palestine, Kosovo, Yugoslavia. And NAFTA. And Clipper. And Waco. etc.

When GW ran for office, one of his basic saws was a more humble America with smaller military commitment. So that didn't really come to pass, but Neil is being somewhat selective as to what led us to GW.

After Rust Never Sleeps, he never got his A game back.

Posted by: angryman@24:10 at March 18, 2008 12:54 PM

Angryman@24.10 -

I can't listen to 1980's-era Neil Young either, but what do you think of Ragged Glory? That defines his A-game, in my opinion.

(Look, if Bernard can write about jazz and hip-hop, Neil Young is fair, too.)

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at March 18, 2008 02:39 PM

Back or white
Rich or poor
Us or them
I'd love to change the world
But I don't know what to do
So I leave it up to you---Ten Years After

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 18, 2008 06:00 PM

Mitchell himself is one of the small band of paid journos who can hold his head high after the last few years. His editorials at Editor and Publisher have seemed almost old-fashioned in their commitment to the principles of good journalism.

Hedges, the Knight Ridder team, Hersh of course. I guess Scott Ritter isn't officially a journalist but his pieces have shot holes in Bushco propaganda since well before the war. One person I feel has been very important is Justin Raimondo, not so much for his own work (prescient and pointed though it has been) but the way in which his Antiwar site has acted as 'flypaper' for anti-imperial common sense across the political divide.

Posted by: Glenn Condell at March 18, 2008 08:38 PM

oh brother, that anti-war website is home to a lot of old fashioned smelly-pants fascism. One of their regulars is a Belgrade parlor nationalist who used to argue that Srebrenica was a "NATO hoax," an argument not even the far right in Belgrade took seriously, but loony American leftists did. God you people really are dumbfucks. And dumb fucks. Thankfully, none of you seem to have any position of responsibiility for anything important. A college professor (i.e. worthless human being) seems to be the top of the food chain among you.

Actually, based on my knowledge of the breed, academics really must be about the worst fucks on the planet. I dated two college profs, and it was clear they had never been properly fucked before, having been only with other academic types. Thankfully, they met me, and at least will die knowing what good sex is like.

Posted by: xyz at March 19, 2008 03:13 AM

oh your buddy Dan has a mildly amusing cartoon about the Wright affair. But he kinda misses the point, Wright does preach a very scary and very black agenda, and having as your mentor a very scary angry black nutcase doesn't strike me as an appealing feature of Obama's. Nor did I care for his equating the scary black nutcase who publicly and loudly says scary crazy shit with his (dead) grandma, who privately confessed to being a little bit afraid of black men. Hell, I lived three years in an otherwise all black neighborhood, and I can tell you, there is nothing more scary than a black male aged 14 to 45 or so, at least back in those days. I lost count of how many times I got robbed, and two of my best friends got raped at about the same time, by black males.

Really, Obama listens to a crazy angry scary fruitcake every week, but oh it's in church, so that makes it special. And Wright is kinda right about maybe one thing only, that US foreign policy is related to 9-11. Duh. But he has it backwards. The US brings trade and globaliztion and stability to places like Jordan, say, and OBL, another scary crazy person of color, decides killing people is the best response to progress.

Eh, when Obama is prez I will laugh my ass off. Condi - hack NSA, hack Sec of State. Thomas - hack Justice. I see nothing to make me think Obama is anything other than another affirmative action hack.

Posted by: xyz at March 19, 2008 05:45 AM

Oh, and I am still waiting for Porfessor Schwartz to explain what's up with the economy and the financial markets and all. Are we going into a 100 year Depression, or just for 90 years? And will we finally elect fruitcake Dennis President, so he can preside over the nationalization of the economy, the closing of the borders to all trade, and returning us to the glory days of 1938?

Oh, and my little firecracker likes the nickname I gave her after trying Mexican food for the first time. "Hot tamale." Eh, not so original, originality being one of my most notable features, but it sounds funnier in Russian than in English. And man is she hot. 53 kilos of pure sex kitten. I can only shudder to imagine the "vidras" you guys must be coupling with.

Posted by: xyz at March 19, 2008 06:32 AM

oh, man, I just read Obama's speech. A few mildly interesting points, but mostly fluff. And the finale? Oh man, I am almost in hysterics imaging the old black geezer saying "I'm here for Ashley" after Ashely's ridiculous I Ate Mustard Sandwiches Because Mommy Had Cancer story. Probably while reading that idiotic book Why Mommy Is a Democrat (hint: Mommy loves the environment and wants all americans to have health care.) God, that speech was worse than Jimmy Carter's ridiculous As Good As the American People slogan. A nation of fools, about to get conned by a slick guy who happens to be sorta black.

Posted by: xyz at March 19, 2008 07:50 AM

xyz: WV-something Volga?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 19, 2008 01:44 PM

I second the idea of banning xyz from this site. You seem like the worst bigot.

On the contrary to your thought, I did meet some HOT academics. BTW, overgeneralization is one major criterion for a dumbfuck. Did you know?

Bite me.

Posted by: HotProf at March 19, 2008 02:23 PM

I'll vote against banning, if I have a vote. Although I agree with YOUR description, HotProf.(I'm thinking the nomenclature "xyz" is some sort of Rusky acronym for "stubby" and so the poor guy MUST overcompensate.)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 19, 2008 02:47 PM

Angryman -

I hadn't been aware of that piece of Neil history, ouch. But then, it's a mixed bag: "Ohio" and war protester (he recorded "Harvest" while wearing a back brace because he had been beaten by police, IIRC) to Reagan supporter, Farm Aid to advocating suspending our civil liberties, "The Needle and the Damage Done" to the coke on his nose in "Live Rust" footage.

I find people to be more interesting when they change over time. Neil, well - a complicated example.

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at March 19, 2008 03:19 PM

Don't think we do. He's just trying to be offensive. Skim or ignore.

Posted by: StO at March 19, 2008 03:21 PM

oh man, in 3 posts he's outlined every strawperson in sight. that's gotta be awarded a pulitzer or something...

Posted by: almostinfamous at March 19, 2008 03:29 PM

oh, you can meet some not ugly people in the academic community. But they tend to be so fucking pathetically boring, with a lot of long winded verbiage designed to make them look smart, at least to each other. reading Richard Russo and David Lodge offer some mildly amusing insights into this funny little tribe. But man, oh man, prof no. 1 had never even come before meeting me, and prof no. 2 thought having sex twice a day was unthinkable, again until she got to know me. But give me a 20-something Ukrainian or Russian girl any day of the week over a chubby boring american chick. The nice ones here are smart, funny, and love to fuck.

And African-Americans? Eh, nothing against them, I simply will note that generally they are more prone to violence and generally far behind everyone else in intellectual achievement. Oh sure, the AA studies department will have some "distinguished professor of AA studies" but the physics department? math? Ha ha, good luck.

Posted by: xyz at March 20, 2008 05:19 AM

I'm not the biggest fan of their music(in fact,I don't think I can name a single tune),but didn't the Dixie Chicks risk more at an earlier date than Neil Young?Steve Earle was(and is) also more outspoken.I've seen several people make comments from the stage 3 or 4 years ago that indicated their opposition to the war,including Richard Thompson,John Hiatt,and Dave Alvin.Not exactly living room names,though(except maybe here).
I'd have to agree that Neil Young hasn't equalled Rust Never Sleeps,but not a lot of other musicians have,either.I'd give him solid B's or better for Freedom,Ragged Glory,Harvest Moon,Greendale,and Chrome Dreams II.

Posted by: BobS. at March 20, 2008 09:09 AM

Does anyone else get the impression zzzzz just has one hand on the keyboard when he visits?

Posted by: BobS. at March 20, 2008 09:18 AM

Some newer stuff, by SUBLIME.

April 26, 1992
There was a riot downtown
Tell me, where were you
While YOU were sitting home
Watching your TV
I was out participateing
The first place we hit
Was the liquor store
Got all that fancy liquor
I could never afford
When it came time
For us to retire
We turned that B&E
Into a structure fire
The next place we hit
Was the music store-----

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 20, 2008 06:16 PM