This is What’s Wrong with US Politics

I’ve just watch the first segment of today’s episode of Fox New’s The Five (5pm Monday EST, 10am Tuesday NZT). The segment was about the operation where US soldiers helped in the rescue of DAESH hostages, who, intelligence suggested, were about to be executed. During the operation, a US soldier was injured and later died of his wounds.

Here are some excerpts from the Mail Online‘s article about the situation:

Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler, 39, was killed during a raid in northern Iraq this week to rescue 69 Iraqis who were about to be executed by ISIS. …

Although the US commandos were not initially planning to directly take part in the raid, when the Kurdish fighters got pinned down by ISIS they joined the fight at which point MSgt Wheeler was killed. …

‘They were pinned down and they were beginning to take casualties, so the Americans in the heat of battle made a decision’ an Army spokesman said.

Six ISIS fighters were arrested and more than 20 were reportedly killed in the operation. …

Hawija, Iraq

ISIS territory: The raid was launched just east of the ISIS stronghold of Hawija, in northern Iraq, in the largely Kurdish region of Kirkuk. (Source: DailyMail Online)

The raid in which [Sergeant Wheeler] was killed was the most significant against Islamic State since May, when American special operations forces killed one of its senior leaders, Abu Sayyaf from Tunisia, in a raid in Syria.

The hostages rescued in the raid were all Arabs, including local residents and Islamic State fighters held as suspected spies, a U.S. official said. …

The official told Reuters that around 20 of the hostages were members of Iraqi security forces.

‘Some of the remainder were Daesh (Islamic State) … fighters that Daesh thought were spies,” the official said. “The rest of them were citizens of the local town’.

U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, said the possibility that Americans were among the hostages was not a consideration in carrying out the operation.

Some of the rescued people said Islamic State militants had told them they would be executed after morning prayers, Warren said.

The U.S. forces were acting as advisors then were sucked into the battle when Kurdish fighters came under heavy fire, he explained.

“They were pinned down and they were beginning to take casualties, so the Americans in the heat of battle made a decision,” he said.

Air strikes were launched before and after the mission to block approaches to the prison and destroy it afterward, the U.S. defense official said.

Hawija is a stronghold of Islamic State militants who have captured several dozen Kurdish peshmerga fighters in battle.

I was going to e-mail The Five with my response to the way they covered the issue, but that’s a bit “crazy cat lady,” and I haven’t got a cat. Here’s what I would have said:

Dear The Five,

This is what’s wrong with America.

It’s truly pathetic that you are making such a point of calling this a combat operation, and going on about whether or it is a combat operation. It is completely clear to me that these brave soldiers are not part of a combat operation. That does not in any way diminish what they did. In many ways it enhances it.

Wheeler, Special Forces Master Sergeant Joshua

39-year-old Special Forces Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler, a veteran of twenty years experience, who lost his life rescuing hostages from DAESH. He was believed to be a member of the elite Delta Force.

New Zealand soldiers are also in Iraq training soldiers for the Iraqis. We did it for the Afghans too. At one point the soldiers we were training in Afghanistan came under attack. Our soldiers didn’t feel able to just stand back and watch – they went in and helped and some of them died. That says something about their honour and courage, the same way it does about your soldier who died in this situation in Iraq.

This sh*t about “not being backed up by the Administration” is just political rhetoric. It’s about going out of your way to find a way to criticize the Democratic Party during an election season (which, because of your stupid system, is pretty much all the time). There are plenty of things to criticize Obama and the Democratic Party for without making them up. This constant overreach is what causes the inability of your politicians to cooperate in the most basic situations, and creates such a toxic atmosphere between the parties.

This should not be a political issue. You should be concentrating about what a great thing your military did in rescuing these hostages, and how great it was that they were prepared to put their lives on the line.

Further, constantly trying to blame video games for societal violence [this came up in the segment] is actually contrary to evidence too. It appears it actually gives an outlet to violent impulses for most young men. That is also about your efforts to make it the Democrats “fault” because you see the entertainment industry as supporting the Democratic Party, and your inability to see that clinging to the Second Amendment is doing damage to your country. Again, it’s pathetic.


I’d be interested in the reaction of others to the situation, and what you think of my admittedly knee-jerk reaction.

Which reminds me, this is one of the scariest pictures I’ve ever seen:

gun bible


21 Responses to “This is What’s Wrong with US Politics”

  1. rickflick says:

    I haven’t see the Fox coverage since I never watch Fox. I assume from the program you are referring to has a warped, right wing, republican party interpretation of events (that’s their audience). I’m sure Fox is subverting the truth in the name of ratings. Nothing new there. I find it just too frustrating to watch.

    • They do have a Democratic commentator on their panel of five, but today they also had two former Navy seals there so it was even more unbalanced. Some Fox I just can’t bear to watch, but other stuff I find bearable even though I disagree with it, and I even find it valuable in some contexts. GOP candidates are much more relaxed on Fox, and they say things they’d never say on another network. It also gives me insight into the arguments they use, making it easier to argue against them.

      I have to admit though, I enjoy The Five, even though I disagree with a lot of what’s said. There’s a good interaction between the panelists. Usually only two of them are completely one-eyed, although that changes depending on the subject, and most of them are smart, and I enjoy listening to smart people discuss topics.

    • j.a.m. says:

      It’s fair to assume that every word and image on every channel all the time is calculated to drive ratings, so indeed there’s nothing new there.

      It’s also fair to assume that those who know all about channels they “never watch” must be blessed with supernatural omniscience.

  2. Yakaru says:

    If Bush and Cheney had have been in power, they’d be gate-crashing the soldier’s funeral and Fox falling over themselves to cover every aspect of it.

  3. Mark R. says:

    I think you should send off the letter. Coming from NZ might get you special attention since you wouldn’t be seen as a pissed off Dem. Plus, knee-jerk, crazy-cat woman or not, what you wrote is true. So again, I say send it off and see what happens…could make for another good homily. I would bet 10 to 1 you wouldn’t get anything substantive back. Those working for Fox must know they are fake and their news is propaganda; their bubble stays intact by not reacting to outside influence. I like what lefties call them: Faux News.

    • I’ve e-mailed The Five in the past several times with reasonably substantive e-mails. They never reply, though sometimes things I’ve said are addressed on the next show. I’m pretty sure my e-mails get read, if only because they come from NZ and they’re not usually just a rant, but coherent. Some examples of responses I remember:

      One time I criticized a former panelist for scoffing at people who “believed in” evolution. At the time she said it, it was obvious the others disagreed with her but didn’t want to say anything. The next day another panelist said something to her about scoffing.

      Twice I’ve criticized a particular panelist for constantly interrupting her co-hosts. Both times the subject came up on the show the next day. She asked the others if she really did that, and they told her she did.

      Atheists got criticized on a show – the line was that families were breaking down because of the rise of atheism. I pointed out the statistics that atheists were less likely to get divorced, that the highest rate of teenage pregnancies was in the Bible Belt, and a few other things. What I said was acknowledged in a back-handed way the next day.

      Most of my e-mails are in response to criticism of atheists or atheism. I comment that they’re obviously free to express their opinion, but that they should be accurate about their facts, and I give them the statistics that back up what I say. Like most people who criticize atheists/atheism, they have prejudices.

      I actually wouldn’t be surprised if this post was read even though I didn’t send the e-mail. I’m pretty sure Fox News has interns whose job it is to look for mentions of of Fox etc on the internet. I haven’t watched today’s episode yet (I’ve MySky’d it, or DVR’d it as USians say), so if the subject is still being talked about, I might e-mail them a link to the article.

  4. paxton marshall says:

    Heather, Why is your title “This is what’s wrong with US Politics” and not “Here’s what’s wrong with Fox News”?

    • Because the fault is not only on the right. My opinion is they started it, and they’re the worst, but there are several on the left who are just as petty.

      This story on The Five was just a symptom of a much bigger issue. While the right is so desperate to call it a combat mission, at the same time, the left is going out of it’s way to say it’s not. Every little nuance that is spoken is analysed to death, and it’s ridiculous. A man died trying to save some fellow human beings. That should be what it’s all about, not the petty political issues. As Yakaru reminded me, that’s how the right would have reported it if they had power, but I bet the left would be doing the same thing the right are now – going on about whether or not this was a combat mission.

      “Is a man dead because … At this point what difference does it make?” As Clinton said about Benghazi. (I know I’ve got the words a bit wrong there, but you know the quote I’m referring to.)

  5. AU says:

    How do you know they are brave? Bravery isn’t defined by an act, it is defined by the danger you perceive when doing that act. If you think you will not get hurt fighting a lion, then that act isn’t brave, similarly, if you think you will not die (or get seriously hurt) in a battle, then that act isn’t brave.

    The Americans come with the latest weaponry, there is much more chance they will live than die – if anything, the ISIS guys they are fighting are the brave ones, because they are so poorly equipped and there is a much higher chance they will die.

    It’s that time of year again when groupthink kicks in and we must all sit there worshipping the military, and anyone who refuses to wear a poppy gets attacked by the poppy fascists – reminds me of the Seinfeld episode.

    • Fair enough comment about bravery and not really knowing what was in their minds. I was thinking that if it was me I couldn’t just sit back and watch friends being attacked while I did nothing, and I think most people are the same, but there would always be a certain level of fear to overcome.

      The poppy comment is your own though. NZ and Australia’s poppy day is 25 April. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. I don’t know if the US even has a poppy day, but they usually get particularly soppy around Veteran’s day, which isn’t for a couple of weeks yet.

      And I’ve never been a poppy fascist, and people who are piss me off big time. I’ve even had an argument in the street with a poppy seller who was trying to shame someone else into buying one, and took off the one I was already wearing and gave it back to him as a result.

  6. Ken says:

    I’m missing something. I agree with your complaint, but what’s the definition of “combat operation”? If it isn’t military guys running around shooting at the other side, what is it and what’s what they did called? Sounds like combat to me, even though they didn’t plan to engage.

    • Maybe it’s because I was brought up with an ex-military/current territorial father. I spent a lot of time as a kid around military people and watching training exercises. So, the different terms are unconsciously clear to me. The operation is training Iraqi soldiers. It is not combat. These are clear categories in the military. The Iraqi mission was to rescue the hostages. The US soldiers were there in an advisory capacity, to assist with tactics. There was no plan to engage. It was not a combat operation.

      • Ken says:

        Ok, the reason for one’s presence as opposed to what might actually happen on the ground, got it. Seems a simple matter of fact, then. But nothing is simple with Faux News.

        • Paxton marshall says:

          Why would anyone but the military care whether it’s called a combat operation or not? It’s one of the better things we’ve done over there, and the guy deserves to be honored. I’m no military expert, but I would think that when you set out to free prisoners from the enemy, you expect there will be some resistance.

          • Ken says:

            Yes, unless you blinded by partisan politics. As Heather says, the left do this to a degree, but far more the right, who’s knees jerk at anything the Obama administration does even if their guy would have done the same.

        • Yeah. I’ve got no doubt that it there was currently a Republican president, this wouldn’t be an issue. They might discuss mission creep, which would be fair, but they wouldn’t tackle it this way imo.

  7. paxton marshall says:

    Yeah, the Dems too often compromise to keep the peace. The Republicans impeached Pres. Clinton and stole the 2000 election from Al Gore. The Dems still cooperated with Bush on his domestic programs (No Child Left Behind and Medicare drug coverage) and even supported his duplicitous wars. Then when Bush crashed the economy Dems cooperated with his bailout for the banks. Obama tried to cooperate with Republicans on a number of issues and received only vilification in return.

    There’s a parallel with Israeli politics following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin:
    “If Rabin’s assassination revealed one thing to Israelis, it was the depths of divisions within their own society, and that those divisions could yield far more dangerous outcomes than any threat from Israel’s neighbors. Though there are many complex reasons for Israel’s rightward shift over the past 20 years — the bloody second intifada and Hamas rule in Gaza among them — the Rabin assassination also played a role. The Israeli left and center ceded the country to the right in order to keep the peace, said Yaron Ezrahi, a professor emeritus of political science at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Israelis chose permanent battle with the Palestinians over civil war.

    “The Israeli public was shocked by the conflict between right and left,” he said. “The public was willing if not to reconcile, to not exacerbate the conflict by choosing a right-winger as a certain kind of appeasement to the aggressive right.”

    Read more:

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