Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Harry gottlieb

Certainly it's wise to hear both sides of any issue. But the "good" news you report should also be considered in the context of a war which we never should have begun.



Napolean the cause of mideastern problems? He wasn't near Iraq. The Turks held it until WWI.

Please try to use less silly history.

As for elections many plans which the administration ignored did recokmend quick elections. Advocating these was one reason General Garner was fired. The local councils were allowed to entropy given no resources while young conservatives planned flat taxes, privatization and the rest of their uropian dream.

Only after Bremer was removed did Sistani succeeed in forcing the elections. We had avoided them.

I am not sure what draft constitution you claim was approved. They were still fiddling with it last week. The letter of the law has been broken.

And contrary to the right it was not the left that was so upset by the delays. Our ambassador stormed out after the first extension. He has attempted to interfere and often been ignored.

One logical outcome of democracy ignored by the right is growing ties with Iran. We were able to squelch the military agreement at least publicly, but for obvious reasons a democratic Iraq may be closer to Iran than us. Iran is our enemy.

Theocracy already exists in much of the south. Before his murder Steven Vincent reported several hundred killings a month by Shia militias, they probably killed him. Other southern cities are under similar regimes.

For the most part we ignore this because they do not attack the coalition directly, though a few of Sadr's people have been detained by the British in Basra for precisely that reason.

It is no secret that elements of the JIhadists have are trying to create religious war to draw in the middle east and begin the purging of the infidil Shia. It is less published that hundreds of Sunni have been found dead by the sides of the road, often tortured. The Wolf Brigade is a major suspect.

The Baghdad coroner reported something like 800 or 700 shootings in July, these are killings that usually don't make our papers and don't represent totals since many families take care of their dead. The July total was a record, but the hundreds are typical.

Crime is bad in much of Iraq.

At least a quarter of doctors have been forced out of practice by kidnappings. Huge percentages of the professional class have left the country. Girls can not go out unescorted in many places.

Corruption is rampant and hampers reconstruction. After taking off at a 40% growth rate the economy of Iraq has flattened despite high oil prices. In Baghdad you can drive cars with even numbered license plates on even days and vice versa, a bit stricter than the schems of Nixon which was limited to fillups. Though electrical generation capacity is somewhat higher than under Saddam actual production is often lower because a great deal is down.

I happen to believe we must be willing to commit and risk a lot in Iraq because of moral responsibility and because unlike Vietnam the area is of great strategic interest. If the jihadists succeed in setting off civil war or even if the Sunni Arab world is outraged by the sense that Shiite are oppressing Arab Sunni huge funds and hordes of volunteers will flow in and our Arab allies will be destabilized.

This is not a game. The right has treated it as such. The administration ignored the dvice of generals on how to do it correectly. 2 years ago it was clear that severe problems were developing, but the response of the right has been to say "the media ignores the good news."

True it does ignore a lot of it or puts it on back pages, but a lot is true of the really bad news. The crime rate is an example. The corruption which means that little gets done, that food rations are looted and the validity of government is undermined is an example.

An approach based on a desire for success rather than partisan games would have spotted problems and responded before they went out of control. Instead things like saying we need more Arab translators is considered akin to treason. There has been so much blunder and despite declarations of victory at least 3 or 4 times a year, we had oone after the elections, one a few months later when bombings and attacks on our troops had gone down, and we're declaring one now, ictories which are incididently quoted in leading papers, despite these the situation has worsened consistently.

Yes we may have painted 3,000 school houses out of 20,000, but how many have teachers or supplies? We are not given these numbers.


Incidently if you read the news the constitution has just been finalized and submitted to the UN for printing. An individual who claims he observed such finalization in an editorial dated 2 days ago is hallucinating or lying.


Wondering, you say:

I happen to believe we must be willing to commit and risk a lot in Iraq because of moral responsibility and because unlike Vietnam the area is of great strategic interest. . . . This is not a game. The right has treated it as such. The administration ignored the dvice of generals on how to do it correectly. 2 years ago it was clear that severe problems were developing, but the response of the right has been to say "the media ignores the good news." . . . An approach based on a desire for success rather than partisan games would have spotted problems and responded before they went out of control. Instead things like saying we need more Arab translators is considered akin to treason. There has been so much blunder . . .

I quite agree with you, and I thank you for your knowledgeable enumeration of the very real bad news. I know that some on the Right print the good news to make the Administration look good, just as some on the Left print the bad news to make the Administration look bad. It's not about this administration any more, it's about the Iraqis. Casting your own "vote" for the good news gives them a little bit more of a chance. Defeatism abandons them. that's all.

Charlie (Colorado)

I dunno, Harry: are you really suggesting that the elimination of fascism over 50 million people, and all the good news above, is countered by the notion that we shouldn't have fought the war that liberated them?

And if so, aren't you ashamed?


I dislike much of the attitude coming out of the left. The dismassal of Saddam as a monster and the potential good of his removal is an example. In principle and practice we do despite real evils represent a better system, contrast North Korea with South, or China with Taiwan.

But the appeal to human decency is one that unfortunatly must be taken cynically. Since Clinton promised never again over Rwabda perhaps ten million died in Africa. We wimp out in Darfur. The Liberians begged for our intervention, we kept a platton there a couple days.

I am not sure what anyone means by the "media." I rarely watch television, it is by definition brief stories filled with good pictures, lots of booms. I have studied the conventional papers. I wish that there was more stress on depth and breadth, get the bigger picture onto front pages, try to intertwine the various relations, yet if one does study lots of information is there, much is fact checked, it can be used to support all views as Bill Roggio does with his optimistic analysis.

It is an imperfect tool, but the very obvious goal of the right is too dicredit and destroy it. They don't note how many quotes from US officers are in the pages, they focus on one sentence and decide (often to the bafflement of those outside their thought process) that it is biased, they attack the press over and over.

Indeed the claim being developed is that it is the press that demoralized the American people, if only good news was published all would be will, it is not uncommon to accuse the press of treason.

In fact as in Vietnam people are getting demoralized because promise after promise is not delivered. The administration fired an individual who said this would cost several hundred million, the occupation was going to pay for itself, all kinds of promises over and over.

The right focuses on the UN oil for food scandal, it ignores the fact that 6 or 7 billion in CPA funds (originally coming from Iraq) have completely dissapeard, gone off the books, that in other projects US corporations (again often payed with Iraqi money) are suspected of corruption, that 300 million spent on arms with US oversight turned out to be chunk.

If the press truly wanted to discredit the effort don't you think they would make more effort to tell everyone these things?

I am still hopeful for Afghanistan, but much is in the hands of opium growing warlords, outside of Kabul most women have little freedom, a resurgent Taliban has killed 1,200 this year.

And as is quite possible with Iraq we are going to try to use elections as an excuse to reduce troops in Afghanistan, in this case by 20%. The goal of the right is to claim this kind of thing great victory, even if means a slow giving up on our part. By obsessing on the alleged "bad news" of the press they show a magical and rather Stalinist belief in reality, if you don't say bad things, if you cover them up, they don't happen.

And the far right makes no secret of it's agenda which is to destroy the flawed but still useful media.


I should have said an individual was fired for saying the cost was 200 BILLION.

In fact Lawrence Lindsay was fired for saying 100 to 200 billion. A good basic source is "Blind Into Baghdad" an article originally published in the Atlantic. Like Larry Diamond's Foreign Policy essay (also availible on the net) it is one of the basics for middle brow analysis.

Sorry if I sound abrasive, the whole situation sickens me. We have made so many mistakes. Obvious mistakes.


Wondering said, "And the far right makes no secret of it's agenda which is to destroy the flawed but still useful media."
The far right is obsessed with a non existent Mainstream media. When you sugar off their obsession, it all comes down to their belief that liberals are un-Christian and un-patriotic. Which is sick and un productive to me.

What confuses me, is why doesn't FOX NEWS, the go to network for conservatives, report the good news out of Iraq?? I just went to the FOX news website and here was their headline.
"BAGHDAD, Iraq — Insurgents assassinated a Kurdish member of parliament and police found 24 bodies shot to death and dumped in the Tigris River (search) 50 miles north of the capital."

Doesn't sound like good news to me.


"Sugar off." I love that. Listen up, folks, that's local (Vermont) idiom at its best. A metaphor from direct experience.

Wondering, what do you make of the assertion that the media has come out of its trance over Hurricane Katrina, where reporters saw things that outraged them firsthand? The notion is that they've remembered what their calling is (speak truth to power) and will now be more challenging across the board. I wonder.

I think you are right about the admin's and its diehard supporters' attitude being "cover up the bad news and everything will be fine." On the other hand, the left's attitude too often is, "We don't want to spread the good news because it will go to Bush's credit." In other words, too many of us have caught the Roving disease of turning everything into an American political football. On a lesser scale, that's the same thing Osama did in reducing innocent American lives/deaths to a means to his end. We don't intentionally kill innocents, but many have died on our watch, and it's obscene to turn it into a matter of "which side is winning" in the great American political Super Bowl.


I very much agree with you, amba. I think it is critical to maintain an optimistic attitude even in the face of considerable challenges. Obviously, when something has been done wrong or is being done wrong we should notice it and attempt to change it if possible and reasonable.

But indulging in an energetic spiral of defeatism just helps the insurgents. It is one thing to recognize dispassionately the dire aspects of the situation. It is another thing entirely to embrace with your whole being the idea that the Iraqis and our hopes of planting democracy there are totally screwed.

Even if one eschews the mystical, and possibly flaky notion, that we are all connected, a negative attitude effects those around oneself and eventually snowballs and leaks out via the media to the insurgents and the Iraqi people. Please don't confuse this argument with blind pro-Bush partisanship. It's not.

Take for instance the "peace activists." One thing I notice about them is that their emotions are often far from "peaceful." One can be opposed to something and accomplish great things while maintaining one's poise. For example, Gandhi and MLK. Angry, foaming-at-the mouth denunciations of Bush are counterproductive. I remember reading a quote by Nelson Mandela in which while in prison he described at times being overcome with anger by what the whites were doing. But he recognized that it was not good for his soul or his country.

Optimism people. Bush may have screwed up this thing royally, and even if you believe we ought not to have invaded, we need to make the best of the situation. In addition to intelligent critiques of strategy, the morale of the American people is crucial. Keep your morale up for the Iraqis.


Perfect, Adam. It's that simple. Now, if we could get that imaginary MSM to see as much light and not have to rely on the *power* of FOX news for the *good* news, it'd make the message travels that much easier :).

Oh, Spudly. Aren't you a bit disappointed that Fox isn't living up to your *Saviour* expectations as the go-to good news servant to the Right you figured it always was? You know, the Bastion of Conservatism, such that it is?

Dave B.

Maintaining a positive vision in Iraq is a good idea, but it is not a substitute for a plan of action.

I tend to think that, the good work our troops do and the perseverance of Iraqis aside, the problems in Iraq are not going away.

I think this because of recent events like these:

--114 Shiite day laborers blown up over the weekend.
--August the 3rd-deadliest month for U.S. troops since the war began.
--nearly 1,000 Shiite pilgrims trampled/drowned on bridge last month.
--failure to bring Sunnis on board with recent draft constitution.

If the Sunnis reject the constitution in the upcoming vote, the country will have to start the process again, in the face of continuing (some would say increasing) sectarian violence.

But lets say the good things Amba mentions above keep happening, or increase in pace, and we turn a corner--things start looking up again.

Does anyone have any concrete suggestions--any plan of action besides "maintain a positive outlook"--for what we do if, in 6 months', 1 year's, 2 years' time, the bad news keeps coming? Stay the course? Train more Iraqi soldiers? What do we do if the bombs keep coming besides think happy thoughts?

I think supporters of an unchanged U.S. presence in Iraq will soon face the same problem opponents of the war faced in 2002-03--in scary, uncertain conditions, doing something (in this case, a scheduled withdrawal of troops) is more appealing
than doing nothing.


Those are good points, Dave. Though in some ways, if the Sunnis are able to defeat the constitution that might be good. If they try really hard to defeat it but don't, they might decide their only option is violence. So a defeat could be good for the long term.

I don't really have a sense of the level of Sunni support or opposition. Maybe they actually will moderately support it and since they now will have representatives in government, maybe that will be enough.

You bring up good psychological points about support, but to me the real question is cost vs. benefits. It may be ugly for a while, but it could be even uglier if we pulled out. I fear the American people would delude themselves into thinking a pullout would solve our problems. If it makes sense, then do it. Otherwise...

As for new ideas, given Bush's reluctance to change his course, maybe there's not much we can do. But as Christopher Hitchens put it, you go to war with president you have, not the one you'd like :) So as long as benefits outweight costs, I have to support it.

However, given Bush's recent success in North Korea, maybe those people aren't as dumb as and inflexible as they are often made out to be. Let us hope so.


Amba, I forgot that "sugar off" was a Vermont term. So glad you picked up on that.

Karen, you aren't insinuating that if Bill Clinton was president, the news in Iraq would all be positive are you? You aren't insinuating that the MSM and the democratic party are synonymous, like the readers of Anchoress all do, are you? If so, tell me more about this conspiracy and their leaders.


It's funny to think about, but I guarentee that they cover the mistakes of the Left and bring forward the clumsy (or honest) mistakes of the Right, like... all the time. Now Cliton (:0P} is slamming Bush on Iraq and Katrina... nice and diplomatic. Was it said he was doing his wife's dirty work, so she wouldn't soil her lilly-white image?

I really hope the Left gets hillary and the world gets her as well. I think after these horrible last years of the mistakes and mumblings of the Right, we really deserve Hillary.


Karen, be careful of those right wing blogs. They're not good for your mental health. Remember, you have a dairy farm to run.

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