Billmon Retrospective

by Miguel de Icaza

The quality of the writing over at Billmon never ceased to amaze me. I wish I had the anything remotely as good in the way of writing, constructing and researching that Billmon had.

The blog started in April 10th of 2003. A time when the anti-war movement had been served a slap in the face, jingoism in the US reached new levels and war peddlers were at the top of their game.

Today Billmon has a retrospective on the blog posts from those days:

By my rough guess, at least two thirds, if not more, of the almost three thousand posts I've written since that day have concerned the Iraq War, directly or indirectly. Over the past three-and-a-half years the war has come to define my thinking just as thoroughly as it has come to define Shrub's presidency -- not to mention the world we now live in.

What I also realized, ploughing through hundreds of forgotten or half-remembered posts, is that much of what I wrote back then proved not only true but also extremely prescient -- especially in the first few months after "mission accomplished," when the corporate media by and large was still drinking the White House Kool-Aid and the conservative movement was proclaiming the deification of Emperor George.

It's not that the story wasn't being told. Then as now, most of what I understood to be true about Iraq came from reading between the lines of the semi-official media (New York Times, Washington Post) from the samzidat journalists at Knight-Ridder, from the foreign press (the Guardian and the Independent in particular) and from the Juan Cole's crucial work translating and analyzing Iraqi and other Arabic-language sources. The downward trends could even be seen in the bare factual bones of wire service reports with obscure datelines like Fallujah and Haditha and Tikrit.

But to piece together the truth in those days you had to scrounge for it, ignore the ignorance and lies pouring out of Donald Rumfeld's mouth and defy the prevailing political tide of arrogant triumphalism. Very few journalists, and even fewer politicians, were willing to do that. Some in Left Blogistan were (Kos, Needlenose and Steve Gilliard, among others, also come readily to mind). As a result we presented a far more accurate picture of the war to our readers than the corporate media -- with a few honorable exceptions -- did to its own. I'm proud enough of that to want to remind the world, and the moronic media blog bashers in particular, of it.

The retrospective is here.

Posted on 22 Dec 2006