Tuesday, July 31, 2007

THE IRAQ WAR'S FLEISCHMANN & PONS CONTINUED: Hailed by mainstream media; A penny for Kenneth Pollack's thoughts

Ken Pollack's contribution to critical thinking and common sense. Publicity tour originally paid for by Bush administration. Down 36 cents from March.

While your friendly neighborhood GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow was reading in the Los Angeles Times "Internior Ministry mirrors chaos of fractured Iraq" yesterday, much of the mainstream media joined the charter members of the Iraq War Glee Club, Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack of the Brookings Institution.

"The colonel pulls his mercedes into the parking lot of the drab, 11-story concrete building, scanning the scene for suspicious cars," reported the Times. "Before reaching for the door handle, he studies the people loitering nearby ... He grips his pistol, the trigger cocked, wary of an ambush ... This is Iraq's Ministry of Interior -- the balkanized command center for the nation's police and mirror of the deadly factions that have caused the government here to grind nearly to a halt."

If you had read Fleischmann and Pons O'Hanlon and Pollack, whose recent tour of Iraq was paid for by the government, you were sunnily informed happy days might just be around the corner if we just hung in there.

It was a lead-pipe cinch the blogosphere would explode.

The editorial was a perfect example of the mainstream media willfully and maliciously delivering contaminated water repackaged as something new and refreshing. Instead of labelling O'Hanlon and Pollack properly -- as two of the prime Anfuhrers for the Iraq War -- it peddled them as war critics who'd suddenly revised their opinions upon seeing the reality on a junket to Iraq.

As explained yesterday, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons were two scientists who purported to have discovered "cold fusion" in 1989. Initially the media ignored their shabby and incompetent work for the sake of a sensational story. However, the truth soon arrived and the quacks were run off. Since then, no one has had to hear from them.

In the world of science, or critical and scholarly work as DD was taught, once you pull a stunt like that, you virtually never get a do over.

The reasons are simple.

No one trusts you. You're considered incompetent and a trickster, a rascal who's sold out the profession. And no one wants to go to the trouble of rechecking your work. No one will go down a second time.

Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon are the Iraq War's Fleischmann and Pons. And the only reason they do still exist to argue something is because the mainstream media doesn't adhere to standards of logic, common sense and decency.

It's hard to ignore the graphic from Amazon on Pollack's odious book, The Threatening Storm. You can't find a more plainly damning display. Yet your graphic intensive, video-oriented media couldn't find one news reader or host to say "Hey, buddy, your stupid book on the goodness of war with Iraq is worth a penny on-line."

"One of the most important books on American foreign policy in years," reads the old blurb from an editor of Foreign Affairs. "There is no greater strategic challenge than Iraq, and nobody better qualified to tackle it than Kenneth Pollack. To have such comprehensive, high-quality professional analysis available publicly and in real time is simply extraordinary. From now on, all serious debate over how to handle Saddam starts here."

"Iraq is at the top of America's foreign policy agenda and this book should be at the top of your reading list," trumpeted the great and wise Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek. "Whether or not you agree with Pollack's solution -- and I do -- you will admire The Threatening Storm. It is intelligent, balanced, and measured; a model of fair-minded analysis on a topic that rarely gets any. Before you make up your mind on Iraq, read this book."

"[The] Thinking Citizen's Guide to the Iraq Debate," chimed in a reviewer from New Mexico, in October of 2002.

Of course, Fleischmann, Pons and "cold fusion" still have their supporters. Just minutes after posting yesterday's essay, one wrote in to admonish me.

Pons and Fleischmann were not "quacks," I was told in no uncertain terms. "Thousands of papers confirming the cold fusion were published ... "

However, unlike the work of O'Hanlon and Pollack with regards to thinking on the war in Iraq, no one has yet seen fit to launder "cold fusion" back into the mainstream.

"A bombshell New York Times op-ed piece published Monday, titled 'A War We Might Just Win,' cites recent progress in Iraq," went one editorial from the Mountain Mail of Colorado.

"Kenneth Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon, both called 'left-of-center' Democrats, one of whom served in the Clinton administration, said during the past four years the Bush administration has lost virtually all credibility in Iraq. But now it is war critics who 'seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.'"

"The report comes at a time when even some Republican politicians who earlier supported the war have begun publicly questioning the Bush administration strategy, suggesting timetables for pulling Americans out of combat in Iraq."

The newspaper's was a standard dishonesty, casting the impression that 'left-of-center' critics of the war had done their homework and changed their positions.

"Purporting to document Pollack's evolving views on Iraq, CNN left out his original gung-ho Iraq 'tune,' wrote Media Matters.

"During the July 30 edition of CNN Newsroom, anchor Heidi Collins introduced Kenneth Pollack of The Brookings Institution by saying that Pollack 'has been a vocal critic of the administration's handling of the [Iraq] war, but he says that an eight-day visit has changed his outlook a bit' ... However, while focusing on Pollack's criticisms of the 'handling' of the war, Collins failed to note that Pollack was an influential proponent of the Iraq invasion before it happened, leaving viewers with the impression that Pollack was a war opponent who has become more supportive of the war."

Indeed, the State Department bragged repeatedly about arraging an international sales effort for the Iraq war, its star -- Ken Pollack -- in 2002.

"We contacted Mr. Pollack and asked him if he would interrupt his book tour, which was not that easy to persuade him to do, and he agreed and went on a number of digital video conferences and visits to countries as far spread as France, Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, and now he's scheduled for South Africa and he's agreed to do a series more," said an undersecretary, Charlotte Beers, to the National Press Club. [Pollack is] that third voice, and he is speaking about the cases, pro and con, of invading Iraq in a more reasoned and reasonable way than most people could, and he has another voice to offer."

Yesterday, multiple Internet sources dredged up tons of putrid muck from the septic tank of quote in the public record by O'Hanlon and Pollack, words to inspire a proper rage.

The mainstream media, however, purposefully avoided doing the same research.

A penny for Ken Pollack's thoughts -- ratings furnished by Amazon booksellers.


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