Tuesday, June 27, 2006


NPR had two misleading reports out tonight regarding Iraq. Combing through the first one reveals some interesting information and the second one is at best a distraction.
  • In the first Philip Reeves, embedded with US and Iraqi troops, reports from Ramadi. Melissa Block introduces this report saying, "Building up viable Iraqi security forces is at the top of the US agenda in Iraq. If US troops were to withdraw before Iraq has effective forces of its own many predict there would be a bloodbath with dangerous consequences for the entire region." I'd question that. Is that the top of the US agenda--and what facts is that based on?" I also hate that anonymous "many predict" construction. One could reasonably argue that the US staying in Iraq will make the current bloodbath worse, and is already making the region more dangerous. When Reeves does report on the Iraqi soldiers of the first battalion, first brigade, their "progress" is pretty sorry: he notes that the brigade troops are mostly Shia, have a high attrition rate (about 30 of 130 on leave quit with each rotation)...and must pay bribes to get in. BTW reporter Tom Lasseter "embedded" with these troops in 2005 and had some disturbing news about them.
  • The second part of the NPR report has a progressive consultant/professor and Republican consultant arguing about the "withdrawal debate" and how it's "framed." Michele Norris moderates and says, "In the debate of when and how to begin withdrawal US troops from Iraq, Republicans have cast the Democrats as the "“cut and run"” party for their constant criticism of the President and for pushing for a speedy withdrawal. Democrats, for their part, say the Bush administration has misused intelligence, misled the public, and mishandled the ongoing war in Iraq." This portrayal of the argument as equivalent is dishonest. In fact there is a Republican slogan for describing withdrawal advocates and on the other side are Democratic allegations that can all be held up to the harsh light of evidence. If NPR were doing it's job it would be investigating and reporting on these allegations. How this debate is being framed for votes by the two parties is not very informative, unless the report is investigating the truth or lies behind the frames.

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