One of the bitterly entertaining aspects of listening to NPR is to wonder how outrageous, ridiculous, and/or stupid the script handed to the on-air "personalities" would have to be before they would balk at reading it. Inskeep had a doozy on Monday morning, introducing NPR's story on Mosul, Iraq:
"We can argue whether it's better or worse, but there's no doubt that Iraq is different than it was five years ago this week."That is rich indeed! We can argue - challenge accepted.
The case for worse: One million plus civilians killed, over four million Iraqis displaced, almost four thousand US troops killed (tens of thousands wounded), half a trillion dollars spent and counting, the nation of Iraq utterly fragmented and heavily armed, and - of course - all that security that Iraq has brought us...
The case for better: ___________________________________? Maybe Professor Inskeep can come up with something; I'm just drawing blanks.
The story on Mosul also had a notable quote. Montagne was talking to Lourdes Garcia-Navarro about how dangerous Mosul still is. Out on embedded patrol with the US military recently, Garcia-Navarro's convoy came under fire. She described it to Montagne this way:
"And five years later I'm sitting in the middle of a Humvee taking fire from all sides from al-Qaeda in Iraq."
It may sound like quibbling, but how on earth does she know that the fire came from al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)? It might have been any armed Iraqi group, the US isn't exactly welcome in Iraq after all. And if you think this oft repeated distortion of who the US is fighting in Iraq is not a propaganda issue, consider the take of the Weekly Standard and the White House on "al-Qaeda in Iraq." They would have us believe that the fight in Iraq is against AQI. Of course, the reality is far different. Even the Council on Foreign relations admitted in December that "expert estimates on the number of foreign fighters among Iraqi insurgent groups range from a few hundred to over 3,000. Total AQI numbers have been estimated at over 10,000." But the myth of al-Qaeda in Iraq's power and omnipresence is important to the Iraq hawks, after all its the only leg the occupation has left to stand on, and sloppy reporting of this kind only builds their case.