Saturday, September 02, 2006
Facts Instead of Perceptions Please
Listening to NPR of late (this or this for example) you might think that the importance of what's happening in Iraq is the "perception" of how things are going there among American voters. It's not that poll numbers have no importance in news reporting (they do affect elections and policy decisions) but it would be a greater service to listeners to hold up to scrutiny the claims of the Bush administration that keep getting rebroadcast on NPR. The facts that are often overlooked are the complex details of Iraq such as Shia factionalism, Kurd authoritarianism, Turkey's possible invasion of Kurdish Iraq, Iran's role (not in the insurgency but it bolstering the ruling bloc (SCIRI) of the green-zone government through the Badr Corps, US predatory policies regarding business and industry in Iraq, the nature of the Sunni insurgency, the infiltration of Jihadis (and why were the borders left unsecured for so long), the atrocities of the US military (and how that bolsters the insurgency), the effects of mercenaries (Blackwater) on the insurgency, etc.... As it is we mainly get generalizations and spin. If you are interested in these kinds of details, one of the best sources is Juan Cole's Informed Comment.