“Iraq the Model” — or the Bad Example?

Neocon bloggers are in such a tizzy over Sarah Boxer’s New York Times piece, provocatively titled “Pro-American Iraqi Blog Provokes Intrigue and Vitriol,” that they can barely contain themselves. We haven’t seen such a roiling of the waters since a certain cigarette-smoking antiwar reactionary punctured their insufferable pretensions way back in 2002, when the blogger phenomenon was really new. My fellow San Franciscan Tim Cavanaugh delivered what was pretty much the death blow in a celebrated piece, “Let Slip the Blogs of War,” published in the Online Journalism Review. That sure provoked plenty of whining from Matt Welch at the time, but Cavanaugh and Welch are both grazing peaceably in the green pastures of Reason magazine these days, so I guess that little spat died down faster than the blogger phenomenon itself. Now that the subject is old and tired, the Times has stumbled on the “news” that the blogosphere is more aptly termed the propaganda-sphere.

Boxer takes on the case of Iraq the Model, a website that captures in its very name the neocon vision of a democratized and properly domesticated Middle East. The pro-war bloggers have been touting the brothers Fadhil, as exemplars of the “good news” from Iraq. Their capstone of their triumphant American tour, sponsored by a “charitable” organization known as the “Spirit of America,” occurred when two of the brothers were received at the White House for face time with the Prezt. But there’s a fly in this ointment, as I pointed out at the time, and I’m glad to see that the MSM, in the person of Ms. Boxer, has fished it out: the disenchantment of the third brother, Ali, whose last post on Iraq the Model read as follows:

“This is the last time I write in this blog and I just want to say, goodbye. It’s not an easy thing to do for me, but I know I should do it. I haven’t told my brothers with my decision, as they are not here yet, but it won’t change anything and I just can’t keep doing this anymore.

“My stand regarding America has never changed. I still love America and feel grateful to all those who helped us get our freedom and are still helping us establishing democracy in our country. But it’s the act of some Americans that made me feel I’m on the wrong side here. I will expose these people in public very soon and I won’t lack the mean to do this, but I won’t do it here as this is not my blog.

“At any rate, it’s been a great experience and a pleasure to know all the regular readers of this blog, as I do feel I know you, and I owe you a lot.

“Best wishes to all of you, those who supported us and those who criticized us as well.”

Boxer got in touch with Ali, and her depiction of his ambiguity about the American occupation, and the tenuousness of his position in relation to the realities of Iraq, ruined the Potemkin Village rah-rah propaganda regularly emitted – in English – on “Iraq the Model” and a slew of other pro-occupation Iraqi blogs:

“Why did he quit Iraq the Model? When was he going to expose the Americans who made him feel he was on the wrong side? He was surprisingly frank. The blog had changed him. When the blog began, he said, ‘People surprised me with their warmth and how much they cared about us.’ But as time passed, he said, ‘I felt that this is not just goodwill, giving so much credit to Iraq the Model. We haven’t accomplished anything, really.’

“His views took a sharp turn when his two brothers met with the president. There wasn’t supposed to be any press coverage about their trip to the United States, he said. But the Washington Post wrote about the meeting, and the Arabic press ended up translating the story, which, Ali felt, put his family in real danger. Anyway, he said, he didn’t see any sense in his brothers’ meeting with President Bush. ‘My brothers say it happened accidentally, that it was not planned.’ But why, he asked, take such an ‘unnecessary risk’? He explained his worries: ‘Here some people would kill you for just writing to an American.’”

Ali, in short, was tired of being used by the War Party to make propaganda in America. The pro-war bloggers are now getting up on their high horses, screeching that Boxer has put the Fadhil brothers in danger. But Ali is right: it is the propagandists in America, including the laptop bombardiers’ brigade, who put them in danger the minute they started holding them up as model New Iraqis, the offspring of the “liberation.” But since Glenn Reynolds-Powerline-Little Green Footballs crowd is definitely not part of the reality-based community, the hard reality of Ali’s comment that “Here some people would kill you for just writing to an American” is inadmissible, becasue “some people” means an awful lot of people.

Boxer takes up the suspicions first raised by Martini Republic that “Iraq the Model” might have informal connections to the U.S. government, a suggestion that was greeted with outrage by pro-war bloggers, but Ali’s account doesn’t dispel the murky aura of intrigue that hangs over the whole affair:

“Ali never did expose the people who made him feel that he was on the wrong side, and in fact conceded that he couldn’t. As he confided on the phone, ‘I didn’t know who the people were.'”

Hmmmmmmmm….

But Ali isn’t disenchanted with the idea of human freedom: it’s just that now he doesn’t identify this idea with the U.S. government:

“‘Me and my brothers,’ he said, “we generally agree on Iraq and the future.’ (He is helping his brother Mohammed, who is running on the Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party ticket in the Jan. 30 election.) But there is one important difference: ‘My brothers have confidence in the American administration. I have my questions.'”

“Now that,” writes Boxer, “seems genuine,” and I can only concur. .

He’s started his own blog, Free Iraqi. Go check it out.

  • Saying Iraq the Model is a neo-con website is TOTALLY STUPID as it is written be a Iraqi dentist who has lived in Baghdad all of his life! He knows how terrible Saddam treated most Iraqis and
    bad it was to live there under his regime.

    He and his friends are very glad the US has LIBERATED Iraq from Saddam’s regime.

    Those who say such IDIOTIC things as Iraq the Model is a neo con site are total MORONS! Typical crap flowing from you Clueless Clods of the Loony Left.

    This Agnostic Atheist Activist says you anti-war JERKS would NOT know FACTS and the TRUTH if they were shoved up your asses!

    ————

  • Phil

    Wow Nelio you’re really full of it…

    ITM isn’t neo con, no…it just links to centcom, fox news and Chris Muir cartoons for the fun of it while omitting links REAL Iraqi bloggers.

    And just happens to unconditionally support EVERYTHING America does in Iraq including house raids.

    Yeah, liberated from Saddam and replaced him with hell.

    Go away broken record.

  • Anna

    I lived with adopting family in Ekaterinburg in the place of killing Royal Romanov family.Why? Who from my own family is a queen? My own grandmother? Or what does it means? Adress was Moskowskaya street 9-31.In Moskowskaya street 9-20 lives Husein family with daughter Aleksandra. My real name is Anna-Kristina-Aleksandra.What does it means? Who
    really have aggression against muslims countries and against Irag and Husein? I know that my own grandfather Naum was muslims friend. And when he invest his money in Russia he took gold as financial guarantee. May be in Iraq and near Husein my enemies searching that gold?

    I am the daughter of the man, who had a symbol in Vatican and whose face is identical to Joann Paul II. In Italy he is known as Tata Giovanni ( Father Giovanni) .He lived in Rome and worked in the USA.I know that everything my relatives had they left as inheritage to me. I need to find, who has management of it in his hands, and which is the state of property and assets. I don,t know how my identity could be hidden, because I have unique right leg, which was disfigured from birth. This is my unique sign, nobody could be mistaken normally in my identification.
    Business of my own grandfather-oil and gas, casino and hotels of Las-Vegas. Own father too. During 10 years I was under strong financial pressing. And lived with my younger son for 60 dollars per month. Who became a manager and do that?
    Since October of 2001 till 2007 all the force of repressing machine was put on us. I have savage fascism in Lithuania in my own flat and in my own life and life of my son. We came out of there on our four. We have total control. Causes-multi billion assets in-heritage from my own relatives.
    In 10 June of 2006 in Diana,s Spencer family house resident of russian special services Aleksandr Lebedev organized a meeting to memorize death of Raisa Gorbacheva. Michail,s Gorbachev wife died 20 09 1999. But 11.06.2006 I celebrated my 50 anniversary. It means all the strange recollecting organized just before my birthday. Why? How it is connected with the fact that 9 months before Raisa Gorbacheva died, 20.12.1998 died Jevgenij Bondarenko-son of Natalia Bondarenko who became also Lopatinska,ja after getting married with my adopting brother. It is she who is used to get my money without my agree nor acceptance. Who helped her?

    Bush, Primakov visiting Lithuania they organized “accidental” meetings with me and my son. First used his security officers, second by himself. 11.03.2008 Poland visited Hosni Mubarak. 14.03.2008 we were proposed to leave Poland. We were getting by auto-stop in Italy. As well as we arrived to Italy, to Italy came Putin, who visited Poland and came to Berlusconi. What does it means? They have my money and business? They robbed me? They were so poor that needed my finances and my incomes?
    We live with son at street wearing some floor clothes. Was my father such a bad person? Is he black-mailed in such a way? Where is he now? Multiple applying to Silvio Berlusconi does nothing. What could be this person whom in my childhood I know as Silvia in Italy – my “mother” with wig and with man,s cigarettes, and which I must find if I need a defence and help?
    I know that part of finances former soviet agents transferred to someone in England. After queen Elizabeth and his husband,s visit to Lithuania (16.10.2006-18.10.2006) 21.10.2006 Hubertas Grusnys was killed, he was owner of radio stations and Lithuanian millionaire, whose radio Lietus a week before told about poisoning with toxicoids me and my son in our flat. In Lithuania for my financing and living my own father gave 10% shares of LUKOIL company to the oil company MAZEIKU NAFTA. For my financing in Lithuania responsible A.Brazauskas, B.Lubys, G.Chapanidze, V.Shkil. Chapanidze in jail since 1996-1997. I was not financed at all. And didn,t ask nobody to sale or to present my finances or shares to anybody. I know that there are most of assets which didn’t get in hands of those who robbed me. I have personal individual characteristic by which I can be easely identified – my right leg was disfigured while my mother was pregnant, and I was born with unique diagnosis. After many specific medical operation, my leg became passport which couldn’t be forged