Saturday, June 02, 2007

NYT: Provides a look at reporting in Iraq

In the New York Times today, you mainly get the realities of reporting on Iraq after your organization has signed on to various agreements and stipulations (which, in a democratic society, a press should never agree to).

There are three stories that are Iraq related (two from Iraq) and what you may notice first is that there's nothing about the US military killing three children while going after suspected insurgents yesterday (even though, see yesterday's snapshot) the military itself issued a statement.

It's appalling that three children are dead. It's amazing that the New York Times doesn't find that be news even with the US military putting the word out. (AP can note it today: "Three children were killed Friday in a U.S. attack on suspected militants in Anbar province, the military said." The Los Angeles Times also noted it and also noted a 7 year old girl was wounded and her ambulance driving father killed by US and Iraqi forces.)

Let's turn to Paul von Zielbauer's "General Says Bosses Knew Of '05 Killings In Iraqi Town" which is from Camp Pendleton and revolves around Major General Richard A. Huck's sworn testimony on Friday that everyone up the chain (at least to George Casey) knew about the Haditha slaughter. They didn't have all the details, but they knew 24 Iraqis were killed. And no one asked for an investigation.

PvZ tells you that Huck said he "had no idea that, five days after the Haditha episode, which took place on Nov. 19, 2005, town council members gave Colonel Chessani a letter in English demanding that the killings of '24 civilians' be investigated." They were civilians so we'll assume PvZ is quoting Huck. But what does that underscore about the press? The town council wasn't covered in real time. PvZ is playing court room reporter but who covered it in Iraq. (The paper went with the official military statement in real time.)

Let's move over to Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "Number of Unidentified Bodies Found in Baghdad Rose Sharly in May" which tells you about a turf war (being portrayed by many outlets as Sunnis rejecting al Qaeda) in Amiriya. Oppel speaks to residents by phone. I'm not slamming him (I'm not even slamming PvZ above), but that's the reality of reporting in Iraq. And it's certainly an improvement over early Times reports that were nothing but rewrites of statements put out by Centcom. The count of corpses went up in Baghdad during May (which you know if you've paid attention to the daily count). Far fewer are being identified and Oppel says that's due to the fact that, in kidnapping cases, the killers remove any trace of identification before dumping the bodies. The increase in corpses discovered is probably a great deal higher than the number given (728 for the month) due to the fact that the figures come from the Ministry of the Interior which has been caught undercounting before. Oppel notes the AFP report (based on figures from the ministries of Interior, Health and Defense) that the death toll for Iraqis in May was 1,951 -- "a 30 percent increase from April."

Thom Shanker's on the front page with "Iraqi Bombers Thwart Efforts To Shield G.I.'s" which continues the myth that IEDs are a recent development . By the way, credit to Oppel for mentioning the two missing US soldiers.

Turning to other things, Kat's "Kat's Korner: Those Jones girls." That's pretty amazing. (I don't read Kat's reviews or Ruth's reports until they go up. The blogger/blogspot screen is too small to really enjoy reading in it.)

Adam Kokesh? Don't you love the centrists? That's sarcasm. A visitor e-mailed something from a centrist site that just went up saying that three are facing hearings but only Kokesh and
Liam Madden are known. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Reuters reported the third yesterday: Cloy Richards.

Lynda notes Margaret Kimberley's "Savage Christians" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report):

The late Rev. Jerry Falwell was one of the most powerful men in American religious and political life. He was also an avowed segregationist, contending that Africans were the cursed descendants of Ham, and worthy only of subservience to white people. He was an adamant opponent of civil rights legislation, calling the Civil Rights Act a "civil wrong."
His segregationist ardor became inconvenient when he sought a national audience. He
removed many of his sermons from the 1950s and 1960s from his Liberty University archive. His lies paid off as the media made Falwell the Christian spokesman for all issues related to religion and politics. They soft-pedaled or even ignored his attacks on the civil rights movement. Yet Falwell's followers were under no misapprehension. They knew what their man wanted and followed in his foot steps.
Mark Uhl, a student at Liberty University, was in possession of homemade bombs when he was arrested at Falwell's funeral. He reportedly planned to use them against any protesters who might disrupt the festivities. Uhl had this to say on the social networking website My Space. "Christians, fear of death, fear of death. The fear of death shows you don't believe." He added this eye opening statement as well. "God needs soldiers to fight so his children may live free. Are you afraid??? I'm not. SEND ME!!!" Uhl sounds an awful lot like Osama bin Laden, who exhorts Muslims not to fear death when fighting in the name of their religion. While Americans have been told to fear Islam and all things Muslim, Christians are riding around with home made bombs. The Uhl story was mentioned by the media for only a day or two. The threat from Christians who publicly express a willingness to die for their faith goes unreported.
The terror attack that took place on September 11, 2001 was an aberration in more ways than one. Muslims were the perpetrators, but that is usually not the case. The purveyors of hate and violence in America are almost always Christians. Recently members of that same group had a collective hissy fit about Muslims. A Pew poll indicated that a small number of American Muslims, a minority of only 8%, considered suicide bombing acceptable under certain circumstances. The vast majority, 78%, said suicide bombing against civilian targets was
never acceptable.

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