Today's Blogs

NIE: We Can’t Leave Iraq

Bloggers analyze the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, wonder about corporations that tweak their own Wikis, and offer a few final thoughts on confessed dog-torturer Michael Vick.

NIE: We can’t leave Iraq: It all depends on what the definition of “grim” is. The National Intelligence Estimate, a general assessment of all the U.S. security agencies’ opinions on Iraq, was released Friday and has preoccupied cyberspace on three of its most salient points. It casts doubt on any future rapprochement between Sunni and Shiite sects; it says political progress in Iraq is stalled; and it warns that any precipitous withdrawal of troops would “erode security gains achieved thus far.”

“It’s ‘improved bad news,’ ” writes SPC Haight at Wired’s Danger Room, commenting from Mosul. “Things are still terrible, but they’re less terrible than they were. I don’t think there’s been much of a ‘spin’ put on this report. It seems pretty consistent with what we’ve seen.”

Conservative Curt at Flopping Aces thinks that complaints by Democrats come from too-lofty goals: “The surge has been going on for a few months and these nimrods expect to not only see the security situation fixed but the political one also.  What utter nonsense.  Major combat operations lasted for over 4 years during the civil war, major combat operations lasted only a few months in Iraq.  Now we are seeing the difficulties in rebuilding a whole nation which I can assure you did not happen in a few years after the civil war.”

But liberal McJoan at Daily Kos suggests that “Congress should cancel the public testimony, file the…Petraeus report away, and proceed on the basis of what the NIE tells us about Iraqi political progress.” And that is: “The unfortunate reality is that the presence of an occupying American force that is only large enough to suppress violence in limited areas for a limited amount of time has not and will not make a damned bit of difference in the political progress of the state.”

Meanwhile, the NIE comes on the heels of more good news out of Iraq: The head of the Sunni insurgency, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, has apparently agreed to cooperate with American and Iraqi forces. Righty Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters says: “This could be game, set, and match for the Iraq War…. The turning of al-Douri, if true, would indicate that Maliki may have succeeded in marginalizing Sadr and bringing together the rest of the disparate elements of Iraq at least into a relationship where unity could occur. That would not have happened except for the performance of Petraeus and his work in Anbar and Diyala.”

Read more about the NIE.

Wiki-shilling: Thanks to a new program called Wikiscanner, you can now trace the ISP of a computer that edits a Wikipedia entry. Perhaps not surprisingly, the entries of many corporations have been edited on computers belonging to those corporations. Just a little PR housecleaning, courtesy of open-source media.

Corporations would be “better served refuting [“corrections”] online, addressing the issues in question and explaining their position as a Wiki edit or reference to they’re own webpage (which they retain editorial control over.),” argues Amitai Givertz in the comments section of Social Media. “Using transparency to counterbalance another’s perceptions and biases – right or wrong –advances the conversation and promotes the social media agenda which they are bound by whether they like it or not.”

At Betsy’s Page, Betsy Newmark, a history teacher in Raleigh, N.C., is amused, not least of all by students’ reliability on Wikipedia as an accurate source for information: “Probably the next thing we’ll be seeing is that people will be smart enough to make their edits from a computer that won’t embarrass them or their employers. They’ll be editing from public libraries or internet cafes. That’s the nature of Wikipedia. It’s still a wonderful resource that most of us use all the time to find out plots of movies, a map of a Civil War battle, or a quick explanation of a scientific term. As long as you’re aware of what you’re getting … you’ll get about what you paid for when you clicked on over there.”

Peter Suderman at politics and culture blog The American Scene also anticipates “PR agencies….offering favorable Wiki-editing services designed to mask the origins of the editors.  The service is a good idea, and it’s useful to have data on who’s been editing what—but I’m skeptical about the notion that determined organizations won’t find ways to anonymously edit entries to reflect on them more favorably.”

Read more about Wikiscanner. Michael Agger tries out Wikiscanner in Slate.

The race card, played out: Now that Michael Vick has pleaded guilty to federal dogfighting charges, bloggers chastise the NAACP for suggesting Vick shouldn’t be banned from the NFL and for issuing innuendos about his race being the motivating factor behind the endless coverage of his dogfighting indictment. (Late on Friday, the NFL suspended Vick indefinitely.)

Bing at the Subversive Liberal opines: “This really demeans the NAACP. This is worse than some of the hijinks that Sharpton and Jackson have used to make race an issue when it is not. And as a result minimizing the serious issues they do raise on occasion. I don’t know what’s worse. Incredible cruelty to animals or defending it. Either way it’s sick.”

And black liberal Vivian J. Paige wants to put an end to the race angle on this story: “The negative press in this case is appropriate and the fact that he happens to be black had nothing to do with that. I have enough faith in our judicial system to think that had Vick been white, he still would have been charged. And I have no doubt that as the investigation continues, there will be some indictments of whites.”

Read more about Vick and the NAACP. In Slate, Harlan Protass explains  why a sentence of one year and one day could get Vick on the field next season, NFL permitting.