CentCom Baghdad sent the following statement to my senator when I requested her aid in helping me become an embedded reporter: "After reviewing Ms. Stillwater's request for an embed," wrote the dude in charge of media embeds, "I denied Multi-National Force Iraq credentialing and support based upon her work being OPINION-BASED, rather than FACTUAL REPORTING [emphasis mine], and that she is not backed by an organization that can be held responsible for her journalistic standards or, more importantly, her welfare in case of emergency. This does not stop Ms. Stillwater from entering Iraq commercially and providing for herself, but it does prevent her from being embedded with troops, using MNF-I facilities and covering MNF-I activities."
Wow! Do you know what this means? Not only should the New York Times IMMEDIATELY be kicked out of the "embed" program because their treatment of the run-up to the war on Iraq was DEFINITELY not fact-based, but also that poor old George W. Bush, the most opinion-based person you would ever want to meet this side of Josef Stalin or Captain Hook, will NEVER be able to consider embedding in Iraq as a second career choice once he gets out of jail.
After the Downing Street memos surfaced a few years ago, there was one thing that those of us who were focusing on fact-based reporting learned for sure -- that Bush's decisions in Iraq and the New York Times' coverage of said decisions were definitely opinion-based -- totally unrelated to facts. Weapons of mass destruction? Niger cake? And pixie dust and the tooth fairy....
So. Does CentCom Baghdad actually think that I am going to go over to Iraq and follow Bush's and the New York Times' example and fib? Tell bouncers? Make things up? Lie like a rug? Hell, no!
If I am disqualified from being embedded because I promise to tell "The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," then too bad for them. I didn't want to go anyway.
But if I promise to lie a lot and make a LOT of stuff up, will CentCom Baghdad let me go then? Or will I just get sent straight to the White House? Or be given a job with the Times?
PS: But dispite all of the above-mentioned CentCom SNAFU stuff, I really do want to go over there and see for myself what is going on -- and maybe even meet Riverbend. C'mon, CentCom, don't make me beg!
Oh, okay. I'll beg. "CentCom, PLEEEZE let me embed?"
You won't be sorry. My stories will be so fabulously truthful and fact-based that I PERSONALLY will end the war and get all you guys home here where you belong instead of just being led to the slaughter like sheep by that sociopath in the White House who just likes to see people get blown up -- including but not limited to Y-O-U.
PPS: You better get me over there FAST. If the new Congress has any sense at all, they'll end Bush's bloody fiasco now, offer our troops a BIG apolgy for being duped and send them back home where they belong -- guarding American soil -- before I even get a chance to ship out!
And here's one final warning to CentCom, Congress and the American people: The LAST thing in the world that George W. Bush wants is for people like me to go around telling the truth.
PPPS: Here's an e-mail from a friend of mine now serving in Iraq: "To go 'unilateral' in Iraq is to go dead! That statement is irresponsible -- actually murderous. You should lodge a complaint. Hey, if the US military had not f*cked up the country with raging hate against Americans, you could have gone unilateral. But not now. BTW, what the hell was that team of Canadian journalists who just got blown up doing at the central market? Since no US military were killed in that monster explosion, the Canadians were obviously not embedded.
"If I were you, I would keep pushing for an embed. And how about a lawsuit for slander? You are a journalist, right?"