Thursday, February 08, 2007

Lethally Lazy

Sometimes NPR news is surreally strange. Today Morning Edition had the briefest little bit about Sec. Rice being asked by a House committee about a missed opportunity for the US to diplomatically engage with an Iranian peace proposal back in 2003. I've been complaining for awhile (11/16/06, 9/8/06, and 8/26/06) about the utter lack of coverage that NPR has given to this "missed chance to talk to Iran" as Steve Inskeep put it. It was far more than that, it was an opportunity to address and settle the issues of security in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine - along with the nuclear threat to the Middle East -- in other words it was HUGE.

Here's the text of the report as read by Inskeep:

"A House committee asked Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice if the US missed a chance to talk with Iran. Rice seemed to tell NPR last year that she knew of an Iranian proposal from 2003, 'What the Iranians wanted earlier was to be one on one with the United States so that this could be about the United States and Iran.' The fax from Iran listed a series of objectives for talks including possible recognition of Israel. Rice denied seeing it. Other US officials have said they do remember that Iranian proposal from 2003."

This deserves a little scrutiny. First, as I've mentioned above, "missed chance to talk" hardly conveys the significance of the Iranian offer and the subsequent US refusal to even consider it. Second, when Inskeep said Rice "seemed to tell NPR" about this I found myself scratching my head--I sure didn't remember such a thing. So I listened to the June 2, 2006 NPR report this Rice quote came from, and it has nothing to do with the 2003 proposal. It is only about Iran wanting to deal one-on-one with the US regarding the nuclear issue (as opposed to the multi-national confrontation Iran was facing at that time).

As far as the fax in question, this morning's report makes it's existence seem like a vague "he said, she said" case. In fact if you look at this Washington Post article you'll see that it is very real and that Sec. Rice is a flat out liar (as if that's a surprise). Finally NPR's report thoroughly minimizes the importance of the Iranian offer; it was far more than a "series of objectives" and "possible recognition of Israel." This article from the American Prospect conveys the scope of the proposal and the tragedy of the US rebuff. The implications of such a policy are that the US and Israeli governments at that time had no desire for a real peace settlement - and in fact wanted to purse policies of military confrontation and domination. (This was in May 2003, just after the quick "victory" over the Iraqi army and the toppling of Saddam Hussein after all.)

Of course by pretending that NPR news had covered this story in the past (and producing the misleading soundbite to prove it), NPR is attempting to let itself off the hook for it's biased, lazy, and virtually nonexistent coverage of this important chapter of US foreign policy.

(The image came from the following site.)

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