(apologies to the real chimps)
As of Tuesday the silence was still deafening on the denunciations by two top British Generals, Maj Gen Tim Cross and Gen Sir Mike Jackson, of the US Iraq War plans. Jackson called the policy "intellectually bankrupt" which might explain why NPR News doesn't want to touch this one! There were plenty of natural opportunities to discuss this story, not least the British withdrawal from Basra which was reported on by Corey Flintoff.
Ah, the sweet smell of success! That was the tone and substance of Don Gonyea's homage to Bush's visit to Al-Anbar. All the NPR News talkers have accepted the Anbar success story without qualification - but thank God, Juan Cole offers a needed counter assessment of the "calm" that the US has brought to this restless little corner of the empire.
On Tuesday's ATC Robert Draper provides a pathetic suck up to W. He's got a new book called Dead Certain (all its title lacks is a comma!) We are supposed to believe that Bush is a deep reader (80+ books! this year according to Draper) only trumped by the intellectual Rove (of "brotherly relationship"). Draper describes Bush as like an "umpire." Nothing about his arrogance, smug attitude, complete ineptitude, etc. Here's a few gems of Draper's assessment:
- "...he's a great deal more mature and more disciplined..."
- "...he didn't have much a sense of history back then...now he's a real voracious reader of history..."
- "...he can be expansive and reflexive..."
- "That clarity of purpose, that steadfastness can be seen as a virtue; it can also be seen as stubbornness, and as a vice."
- "as far as I can tell, is not a greedy man..."
- "...Bush is very interested in promulgating this notion of freedom and how it plays across in other countries."
Also on Tuesday, another "slop-sided" report on unmanned drones used to attack people from the air. Not one peep about all the women and kids missiled from bed to grave by the already trigger happy US Air Force. The irony of the drone operator leaving his wife and baby asleep to go to his predator training was too much for words. Typical NPR necrophilia for any military tool that kills people.
How perfect that ATC is seeking fawning doggerel to go with its theme music - pure corporatized banality, who could argue with that? Oops I meant ATC™.
Getting Killed for Greed and Lies is so Noble
Instead of outrage for lives thrown away in the crime called the Iraq War we get 7-plus minutes of patriotic schlock. Montagne tells us, "the rising casualties have caused many to question their support for the war, but not in Pontotoc, Mississippi, a tiny town that's lost four of its own." Reporter Kathy Lohr notes,"flags fly on main street every day, people talk about love for their country and about the willingness of young men to serve and to sacrifice." "People here honor the soldiers every day like the time the family took Lucas to dinner just after he got out of boot camp." A pastor of one of the dead soldiers said, "John was raised in a church, on the Bible. That's where he got his character...his convictions....that's different from most of the world...we believe that's why we love our country..." Lohr wraps the piece with, "families continue to show their willingness to serve and to sacrifice if necessary..."
Thursday's ATC offers a perfect example of NPR's painfully narrow range of opinion on an issue. If we get any criticism of the Iraq War on NPR, it is sure to come from some government or military official or organization that will never question the basic premises of the US actions. So it is that coverage is given to a congressionally mandated report by a retired Marine general, James Jones. The report gives a bleak assessment of the Iraqi police and a modestly more positive review of the Iraq army. So, to analyze this inside the establishment report where does NPR turn? To NPR regular, Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales! Put that in your jingle!
Fred Thompson, creepy reincarnation of Reagan, enters the race and NPR's ATC has the gall to talk about elected officials having paper trails (have they ever investigated one?), but instead of researching Thompson's Senate paper trail, gives us a superficial send up of Thompson's "presidential" acting roles (Bob Mondello should have refused this assignment). I did have to laugh when I realized how much Thompson sounded like a drugged Dr. Phil (possible running mate?)
Bin Laden reappears and on Saturday's weekend edition Goneyea says, "The reappearance of Bin Laden can cut several ways for the Bush White House: it does serve as a reminder that the al-Qaeda leader is still at large despite intensive efforts by the US to track him down; it also shows that even in hiding Bin Laden has the ability to get a message out to the world. But the White House also sees the tape as reinforcing the argument that the war in Iraq is a key part of the fight against terrorism..." Is there anyone but a rabid Bush loyalist (and Gonyea) who views Bin Laden's tape as reinforcing the argument for war in Iraq? Notice how pro-Bush Gonyea is: the most obvious way it cuts is that Bin Laden would be either captured or an insignificant pariah if the US under Bush had not moved into uber-militarism and aggression mode after 9/11, but had capitalized on the global revulsion against al-Qaeda by using diplomacy and incentives to work on vexing Middle East problems.
If you could stomach Weak-kneed Edition Saturday you have more fortitude than I. The coverage of Iraq is so far slanted toward US imperial ambitions that it defies the imagination. The general framework of discussion about Iraq is that the US has provided better security, but the hapless Iraqi government has failed to produce results. Today, Ann Garrels is brought on as an expert though she has provided more than her share of misinformation on Iraq, and NPR steps outside its usual military and goverment circles by talking to George Packer of the New Yorker who is on to scold those who want US troops out (what a surprise) - but has nothing to say about the criminals who launched and ran this war from day one.