Sunday, June 14, 2009

Specialized News from a Specialized Reporter - NPR Promotes Counterinsurgency

In these times of austerity and job "shedding" at NPR, I have an excellent money-saving idea for those running the show at NPR. Instead of spending all the money it must take to embed a reporter like Tom Bowman with the US military in Afghanistan, why not cut him out of the picture and just hand a microphone to one of the officers or commanders there? Heck, if that's too expensive, why not just get on the Internets and pull some hard-hitting journalism from the military web site of whatever unit Tom would have been embedded with? It sure would be a lot cheaper, even though it would mean we wouldn't get the kind of critical insight that Bowman coughed up for us this morning:
"What they're going to be doing is something similar to what they did in Anbar province in Iraq. They're going to move out into the countryside and really live among the people - and that's the whole point here, is the counterinsurgency technique is to live among the people, provide security, and eventually help rebuild this part of Afghanistan...." [Could you have a more sanitized, propaganda laden description of the often repressive, brutal and violent strategy of counterinsurgency?]
And how about this informative answer when Liane Hansen asks about the "new top commander, General Stanley McChrystal...can you tell us something about him?"
Bowman: "....[he] ran the Joint Special Operations Command, that's the secretive unit that goes after high value targets. These are the guys that rolled up Saddam Hussein in Iraq and also Abu Musab he's sort of a specialized soldier with specialized forces...."
How's that for on-the-ground, in-depth reporting. From Bowman's report we'd never even guess that the whole Afghanistan counterinsurgency surge strategy (or any military solution) is likely to fail. And when asked to "tell us something" about McChrystal, Bowman somehow failed to mention the specialized assassinations and specialized interrogations carried out under McChrystal's tenure with JSOC.

I guess I can see why NPR doesn't want to can Bowman; imagine how boring plain, old propaganda, straight from the Pentagon would be without Bowman telling us how the Marines at Camp Leatherneck have some apprehensions, but are "really eager to get out of this base and really start doing the job here....they're eager to get out into the field and into the fight" (and really live among the people, too.)


Anonymous said...

It is really telling that in a matter of a few seconds one can find credible information on the internet that completely contradicts what NPR's reporters in the field tell us.

in realize most people are too lazy to do any searching, but it's really not hard to see just how far off the mark NPR is on many issues.

Apparently NPR's own reporters don't even use the internet.

Maybe they don't have a connection.

gopol said...

NPR could also save money by use of the fake backdrop - a la The Daily Show...except, wait, it's radio! So all they need is the sound of someone pissing up a rope in the background, or whatever.

Notably, NPR did report on the occasion when the Daily show sent Rob Riggle to Iraq which was, in my opinion, not good comedy. Even worse was Colbert's recent visit to Iraq. As Harry Shearer says, comedians and politicians should have an adversarial relationship. Giving pols time on your show to pretend to be funny men is not the comedian's job.

btw, the war supplemental vote may come tomorrow, for those of you who have Democratic reps who want to hear from you.

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...


Please delete this comment if you consider it to be too vulgar. But, I think it is fitting for this commentary.

A political science professor of mine used to say, "fighting for peace is like fu*king for virginity." And, Bowman "reports" every military violation.


larry, dfh said...

Sorry tom, but the US didn't 'roll up sadam heusein'. The Kuds did, and after roughing him up for a couple of weeks stuck him in a hole in Tikrit and showed the U.S. soldiers where to kind him. After he was 'rolled up', like any good splief, the U.S. did more or less 'smoke' him. Well actually the U.S.-installed Iraqi government, but hey, if you're not going to inhale, what's the difference?

Austin Thompson said...

NPR is probably the closest thing to fascism I have seen in my lifetime. I'm only 22 and their coverage is only becoming more nationalistic so that could spell trouble. Thanks for this blog.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of fascism

"Obama blocks list of visitors to White House Taking Bush's position, administration denies request for log"

Obama seems to have confused the terms "transparent" and "opaque".

But hey, who can blame him?

He probably had to memorize a lot of antonyms and synonyms (who can ever remember which is which?) for his SAT prep course back when he was trying to boost his verbal score from 400 to 450 (so he could get into Harvard).

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