Friday, October 30, 2009

Q Tips

As you may have noticed, I'm definitely scaling back on the frequency of posting. So keep the NPR news observations and comments rolling.

Definitely from the Monkey Planet

Juan "Toss" Ensalada (of the Ombot's blog fame) posted in the most recent Q Tip section the following note, pointing out once again another Dean Baker takedown of NPR economic monkey business:

The chimps over at Planet Monkey are still trying to type that masterpiece, or wash that cat in the sink, or whatever. I am not really sure.

Here is their little screed about GM taking the money and not being able to pay it back.

Here is Dean Baker's retort.

I have ceased being amazed at how much Planet Monkey can get wrong is such a short space, but then I remember, "They are not human beings!"

Ok, So It Took Eight Years

I think it must be a record for me: two positive notes about NPR news in one week. I was pleased - and frankly surprised - that NPR gave a prime slot of Thursday's ATC to an interview with Matthew Hoh, the Iraq war veteran and recent State Department official in Afghanistan who resigned his post as a protest of the US mission in Afghanistan.

I think this must have been a first for NPR, featuring someone who is not just quibbling with the "tactics" or "strategy" of a US war - but is questioning the whole project.

I realize that it is long, long overdue, but I'm also aware that NPR could have just ignored this story.

Definitely Not from the Monkey Planet

I thought I'd toss out a brief compliment to NPR News regarding their willingness to turn to Simon Johnson regarding financial policy under the Obama administration. Johnson, a former chief economist at the IMF is pretty bold about critiquing the way that the banking giants have been supersized by the Bush-Obama bailout program (his appearance on Bill Moyers Journal is worth the watch).

He was on ATC on October 9th - how often do you get to hear someone say this regarding the financial system that operates in the US:
"It's a very sophisticated sort of oligarchy that we've created..."
NPR again turned to him this week on ATC (October 28th) to weigh in on whether the mega-banks should be broken up. Again, refreshing comments such as,
"And the view that our banks are only good and forces for all kinds of progressive change is, I have to say, a little New York-biased. Most of the people in the rest of the world don't see it that way, and with good reason."
I just hope NPR doesn't Kevin Phillips him. You remember him don't you? He used to be a moderate Republican regular on NPR until he got too honest for them - pointing out the obvious sad truths of our dying republic (e.g. the Bushogarchy, the plutocracy we live in, American theocracy and Bad Money). The fate of Johnson on NPR will be interesting to watch.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Art of Enhanced Distraction

On Friday I was staying late at work and before leaving heard this promising start to a story on All Things Considered:
"This week, we've been reading a vivid narrative in the New York Times by the journalist David Rohde. He was held captive for seven months by the Taliban. He was moved frequently from house to house all over remote parts of Pakistan. And one detail in this story made us particularly curious."
Holy cow! I thought, NPR is going to allude to the three rather stunning observations contained in Rohde's articles which Glenn Greenwald so aptly wrote about a few days ago:
  1. The actions of the US in killing countless civilians (especially Muslims) in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine have "galvanized the Taliban."
  2. The US practice of holding detainees in abusive conditions "for years without being charged" has also has strengthened the Taliban.
  3. How much more humanely Rohde was treated by his captors compared to the treatment meted out to similarly innocent captives at the hands of US military and intelligence agencies. As Rohde notes, his captives gave him bottled water, let him walk outside, and "never beat me."
In my head I was already composing the positive post I'd put up on this blog about NPR taking on this obvious - but still controversial - angle.

Alas, I couldn't have been more wrong. What was that "one detail" which made the collective "us" at NPR so curious?
"Rhode got a letter from his wife through the International Red Cross. How in the world did the Red Cross deliver him a letter when no one knew where he was? Well, the online magazine Slate found out for its "Explainer" column. Here's Andy Bowers with the answer."
Granted, the operations of the Red Cross in trying to contact hostages is pretty interesting - as The Guardian noted way back in 2004 (and MSNBC) and McClatchy detailed in 2008. And it's not a closed issue as this 2009 Newsweek article on ghost detainees reveals. Seems like those stories never gained much traction for the journalists at NPR news.

Interestingly, another Red Cross angle found its way into a Greenwald analysis today - Netanyahu's declaration that hiding prisoners from the Red Cross is a war crime (!?). Could there be two more polar opposite attitudes revealed by comparing Greenwald's work to NPR's? In one the focus is on the hypocrisy of those in power and the ways in which their deceit and misdeeds make the world more violent and dangerous for all of us. In the other, there is a perverse effort to focus on the most trivial and distracting details - even when such details are painfully ironic.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

News From the Cryosphere

You've probably heard the rather depressing poll numbers about US citizens and climate catastrophe awareness (NPR's AP website feed picked it up). Essentially folks in the US have grown even more ignorant about climate science over the past two years. Perhaps some of them have been listening a bit too much to NPR:
I was struck by the Democracy Now! report this morning on the world-wide protests - and by the non-coverage of the event on NPR. (Even US soldiers in Afghanistan got into the act!). Perhaps I'm jumping to judgment; maybe NPR is waiting until the actual day of the event (Saturday) to cover it - like they did for the Equality March - not! or like they did for the Tea-Party rally (where they only gave it a whole week of glowing lead-up coverage) before the big celebration.

[for information on the cryosphere - check out this resource]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This Is What a Double Standard Looks Like

If you've forgotten the great Iranian bogey man of 2007, who could blame you? At the time NPR was acting as a Pentagon-to-radio live feed of completely unsubstantiated claims that Iran was behind every attack on US forces in Iraq (e.g. Feb 2007, April 2007, early May 2007, late May 2007, June 2007, and Dec. 2007). There was never any concern for evidence, no matter how ludicrous the Pentagon's claims were - NPR just dutifully repeated the accusations.

So now Iran has had several dozen people (including high ranking Revolutionary Guard leadership) killed in a suicide bombing carried out by the Baluchistan-Pakistan based group Jundallah and is claiming that the US was involved - and not just Iran is making such claims. On Tuesday's ATC, Melissa Block interviews RAND expert (uh-oh), Christine Fair, looking for answers. Block notes,
"There have been charges in the press and statements made by Pakistani officials that the US is somehow tied to Jundallah - supporting them, in some cases with money, with arms, in other cases what's described as arms-length support. What are those allegations based on and is there any truth to these charges?"
Not a bad question. And here's Fair's answer:
"Well, I have no ability to assess whether or not there's truth to these charges....the Americans, we have a presence in Baluchistan...[on] the Pakistani side...Baluchistan houses the military bases where we launch Predator attacks, so this is where the suspicion enters."
That's kind of funny, because actually suspicions enter due to some pretty weighty indications that it's true - Asia Times, the UK's Telegraph, the New Yorker, and ABC News. But Fair is not done, she continues,
"The allegation is that the Americans would like to poke at Iran in the way in which it has poked at us in Iraq, as well as in Afghanistan...there is an ability and there is certainly a motive. Whether or not there's evidence is another story."
Notice how cleverly the "allegation" about the Americans is now based on the FACT that Iran..."has poked at us in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan..." I must say it's a strange use of the word "poke" - be careful if Christine tries to friend you on Facebook!

Melissa Block, of course, makes no challenge to the allegation that Iran has done similar things to the US. Instead she simply recoils from the very idea that the blameless US could EVER do such things,
"That's quite a hot allegation - the idea that the US would have ties to an extremist group based in Pakistan, that has close ties to al-Qaeda."
Fair uses this naivete to rehash an equally "hot allegation" about Iran being a sanctuary for al-Qaeda (where have I heard this scenario before?), "I think that's a strong argument for why we wouldn't be doing it...Iran has been accused of harboring al-Qaeda leadership so it had the strong incentive to characterize these as al-Qaeda."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Barbara Bradley Hagerty - God Help Us

(Update I & II below)
I received a heads up on Facebook regarding Monday morning's piece by Barbara Bradley Hagerty about THE HUGE SCHISM that has atheists ripping each other apart (not). The tip mentioned that Hagerty has been the recipient of a fellowship from the Templeton Foundation (a subject of controversy for being a conservative front organization with a religious devotion to the "free" market and openness to intelligent designers - see Wikipedia). On Hagerty's web site her bio states,
"She was one of 10 journalists selected for a Templeton-Cambridge fellowship in science and religion in 2005, where she and her colleagues spent weeks questioning world-class scientists and theologians at Cambridge University."
The first thing I did was see if Hagerty's "work" had appeared on the NPR Check radar. Well, what do you know, she garnered NPR Check honors twice :

(In May of 2007) Hagerty gave a sympathetic report about the creation museum...seriously. Here is some of what Hagerty noted back then:
  • "...the vast majority of scientists say dinosaurs predated man by 65 million years."
  • "this is as much a Bible museum as an attempt at science. The museum tries to use scientific evidence to show that Genesis is true"
  • "the creation museum argues that everyone works from the same material...they only differ in interpretation, but this interpretation is nothing if not of the museum's founders says it's more than educational..."
(In February of 2009) A even more dishonest piece of Hagerty's journalism was on display as she put a positive spin on the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival and its organizer, Doug Phillips. Hagerty completely ignored the Christian dominionist Vision Forum that backed the festival.

No surprise then that Hagerty is back this morning trying to stoke anti-atheism by focusing on the most radical actions of atheists (e.g. desecrating communion wafers) and simply conflating it with the more uncompromising positions of popular atheist authors Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.

The thing that really ticked me off, as an atheist, is that I think there is interesting material for discussion and debate about the more dogmatic approaches of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens versus a more accommodationist approach. But Hagerty's piece does little justice to this terrain - and her sneering contempt for atheists that runs throughout her feature becomes especially evident when expected interviews fall through at the Center for Inquiry Office in Washington, D.C., and she says
"Now, he could speak his mind, since he's a volunteer. But interviews with others associated with the Washington office were canceled shortly before we arrived — curious for a group that promotes free speech."
Maybe the folks there did a little background check on Hagerty and decided to avoid the hatchet job that her past sympathies indicated was in the works.

Update I: This post by P.Z. Meyers - whom Hagerty interviewed in the story - describes the distortions and dishonesty of the piece. Looks like the folks at the Center for Inquiry were right!

Update II: If unethical journalism was a crime, Ms. Hagerty would have quite a rap sheet:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments are welcomed.

The Economy Just Happened

It kills me how clueless the supposed brightest lights in our nation often are. Yesterday on Morning Edition, Inskeep interviewed Gail Collins about a book (When Everything Changed) she wrote looking at the transformation of American women since 1960. I heard this little exchange and scratched my head.

Inskeep: "I feel like reading this, that you do get a sense of women not necessarily grasping an opportunity, but assuming an economic obligation."

Collins gets around to explaining this as follows:
"Before World War II, we lived very simple lives....then the war changed, the post-war economy came in. Everything boomed and suddenly on one person's salary, because of the GI bill and the loans, the home loans, you were able to have a house, to have a car, to have a TV, to expect to send your kids to college....And they got it on one person's salary often in those early years.

But then the '70s came and the economy just no longer could support families like this on one person's salary. But that was really the point at which people realized that if you wanted to have a middle-class lifestyle, you needed to have two people working. And it - now I believe women grow up with the same expectations men do for the most part, that it's their job."
You know, this kind of aggressive-passive assertion just drives me nuts. Where was the interviewer saying, "Yes, that postwar boom was POLICY driven." During and right after WWII national loan, tax, and education policies pushed the income gap a bit closer and helped create a larger middle class."

It wasn't that the economy just magically stopped supporting single income families in the 1970's. It was that the 70s marked the beginning of a new policy of directing the nation's wealth up. This policy really gained steam under Reagan, of course, and has only accelerated of late. It's pretty sad - that as we are living through a virtual financial coup d'etat by the wealthy and further economic depression of the middle and lower classes in this country, all we get from NPR is such vacuous, sloppy analysis.

It's Just Rhetoric (to Dittoheads)

On Wednesday morning NPR weighed-in (sub-mini flyweight) on the nation's favorite hate-monger Rush Limbaugh and his bid to buy an NFL team.

Montagne asks Tom Goldman to "remind us what caused that fire storm in the first place?" to which Goldman responds,
"Well, Limbaugh is well-known for making statements that could be called racially polarizing. A few years ago, he lost his job as an ESPN pro football broadcaster when he said Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb, who is African-American, was overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback do well. And then in 2007, Limbaugh said the NFL often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons."
Toward the end of the program Montagne says to Goldman, "And Rush Limbaugh himself, now he loves a good controversy. Is he loving this particular one?"

Here's Goldman's answer:
"I don't know if he's loving it, but he is speaking out. He blasted his critics yesterday. He accused them of a full-fledged smear campaign. And on his radio show, Limbaugh said he's trying to get apologies and retractions, with a threat of lawsuits, from journalists who have repeated incendiary quotes attributed to him, quotes where he allegedly said James Earl Ray, the man sentenced to prison for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, deserves a posthumous medal of honor. And another one, that slavery had its merits because the streets were safer after dark.

Limbaugh said yesterday he never said that stuff...."
That's how facts are established at NPR. Somebody said one thing, someone else denied it - oh well, the rhetoric sure is heating up! And notice how the story ends with Limbaugh's allegations and his challenge against unsubstantiated comments. Does anyone at NPR EVER do a little basic research? There's no "could be called racially polarizing" aspect to the documented racist garbage that Limbaugh airs. Media Matters does the obvious task of finding and annotating many of Limbaugh's low-lights (h/t to Crooks & Liars).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Experts Estimate - or Making Stuff Up Again

Readers noted the Monday Morning Edition report that blames rising health costs on patients who demand too many pills and procedures.

Alix Spiegel runs this unique story and makes this claim:
"Experts estimate that anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the health care costs are driven by patients in this way."
Has anyone seen any such research? I couldn't find any matching reports or studies. If it exists, I'd love to know who funded it and who published it? If anyone can find it, please post in the comments.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Q Tips

(Parting seas of misinformation since...Independence Day, 2008)

NPR related comments welcomed.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Are We Going to Win This War on Terrorism or Not?

Reader Benoit Balz points out, in the Q Tips below, the Pentagon friendly propaganda put out on Sunday morning by that Tea Party-animal himself, Jeff Brady. Brady is covering the recent deaths of 8 soldiers in Afghanistan and its impact at Ft. Carson in Colorado. He reports:
"A few days earlier at a press conference, Major Daniel Chandler said the affected unit over in Afghanistan is keeping its spirits up. He said surviving soldiers know their dead colleagues helped to win that particular battle. [Chandler] 'There were a lot of heroes on that day and they're really rallying around themselves and morale in the 4th brigade combat team is high and it's getting stronger.'"
Later in the story Brady talks to a college student whose father was in the army. Brady tells us, "She chose to focus on the sacrifice the soldiers made. [Student] 'I'm more thankful than anything...I'm thankful that somebody at least went over there and did it.'

Brady raps things up by talking to a priest in the area - the rightwing Father Carmody - who tells Brady, "People around here want to make sure that they didn't die in vain, and what I mean by that is, 'Are we going to win this war on terrorism or not?'"

I realize that it must be difficult for any news organization to cover the issue of US military personnel killed in combat. There is the tragedy of young people being violently killed and there are considerations to make for the feelings of the families and friends of those who have died. But could NPR ever - even just once - not use the trite and empty rhetoric of heroics, sacrifice and gratitude to talk about the war dead? Has NPR ever interviewed surviving family members who denounce the leaders and policies that have squandered the lives of their loved ones? When was the last time you ever heard members of Gold Star Families for Peace or Gold Star Families Speak Out interviewed on NPR? Have you ever heard on NPR from men or women who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan and then have become resisters of conscience?

It is worth reading the comments under the story at the NPR site. This one really nails it:
Unfortunately, hoping for such an angle from Jeff Brady (or NPR) is pretty hopeless; when covering an antiwar protest of over a thousand people, he gave all the coverage to a tiny contingent of pro-war counter demonstrators.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Creative Assassinations - For NPR's Shapiro It's Elementary

Consider these two screen shots from NPR's website:

From a story on Thursday's Morning Edition:

and from Thursday's All Things Considered

Any grade schooler with a rudimentary understanding of the innocent until proven guilty concept could figure out what is wrong with the titles of these web articles: both refer to TERRORISTS, when what is at issue are detainees of the US government suspected of involvement in terrorism (or guerrilla warfare) who have NEVER faced any semblance of legitimate due process that would justify calling them "terrorists." In fact, someone with just a bit more knowledge of recent US detention policies would suspect that most detainees in the US "war on terror" are probably innocent.

Unfortunately, instead of a grade schooler, NPR's two pieces on US rogue detention are led by "a magna cum laude graduate of Yale," Ari Shapiro. During the Morning Edition piece Shapiro claims that "[d]uring one incident late in the Bush administration, OFFICIALS SAY, a terrorist from Somalia was brought to Afghanistan...." Setting up listeners for his ATC follow-up, Shapiro states, "...the Bush administration used Guantanamo, the United States and Bagram to hold detainees. Because all of those possibilities are problematic, the Obama administration is now thinking more creatively about this issue....and we'll explore those possibilities tonight on All Things Considered.

NPR certainly does explore certain possibilities. Ari's Morning Edition story seems positively innocuous compared to his All Things Considered feature which Melissa Block introduces with the observation that "government lawyers are exploring more creative options." In the piece Shapiro completely embraces the terrorist-until-proven-innocent meme:
  • "...virtually everyone interviewed for this story agreed: the United States would rather not be in the terrorist detention business."
  • "President Obama has said that he will continue - rendition...would continue sending terrorists to foreign countries."
  • "...says the Obama State Department is playing a major role in finding places to put terrorists..."
and makes his report an apologia for (US government approved) assassinations/extrajudicial executions:
"So if the US picks up twenty al-Qaeda members tomorrow and they cannot be held...where can they go? [Ken Anderson voiceover] 'To be perfectly blunt, I don't think they'll pick them up at all.' Ken Anderson of the Hoover Institution has written about these issues. [Anderson] 'I think we've actually allowed the courts to arrange the incentives to kill rather than capture.' Many national security experts interviewed for this story agree. It has become so difficult for the US to detain people that in many instances the US government is killing them instead."
It floored me to transcribe reread this. Shapiro and Anderson are blaming the courts (!) because some have actually upheld the law. Well, given those harsh restrictions, when the US suspects people of involvement in terrorism outside the US, what "creative" options does it have - except to kill them. Though appalling, it's not surprising that these NPR stories have such a mafia ethic; consider the sources that Shapiro assembled for his ATC work:
  1. "Columbia law professor Matthew Waxman handled detainee affairs at the Pentagon UNDER PRESIDENT BUSH."
  2. "CIA SPOKESMAN Paul Gimigliano"
  3. "Cardozo law professor Vijay Padmanabhan was an attorney adviser at the State Department IN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION."
  4. "John Bellinger, who was legal adviser to State UNDER PRESIDENT BUSH."
  5. "Ken Anderson of the Hoover Institution"
  6. "University of Michigan law professor Monica Hakimi worked at the State Department IN THE LAST ADMINISTRATION."
Now that is some creative journalism.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Surging Inhumanity

Know what I learned from Guy Raz on Saturday? The Surge™ worked! Ignore the role of ethnic cleansing, and forget about there still being 4+ million refugees and internally displaced persons (and no major improvements in sight), a death squad and human rights abusing regime in place - because, according to Guy Raz, "before the surge in Iraq, we kept hearing that there were no good options for Iraq. This is a choice between bad and worse. But the surge seemed to have worked out."

Well, how about that. Everybody thought the outcome could only be bad or worse - but the miraculous Surge™ turned out to be GRRREEEAAAT! It's not really surprising since NPR has been hawking the Surge™ , and Raz was talking to one of NPR's favorite Bushista military men, Jack Keane. Raz does seem to be feeling the love keanely when he not only compliments him on the Surge™ but also on his strategic genius:
"Jack Keane, the counterinsurgency plan you wrote for Iraq worked at the time. You were instrumental in getting David Petraeus installed as the ground commander there. Do you think that kind of plan could work in Afghanistan?" (kiss, kiss)
Hmmm, somebody must be thinking about a 2012 Petraeus-Keane dream team...with you know who for White House Press Secretary...

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Honest Debate - NPR Style

Last Saturday Scott Sermon made this claim about the US war in Afghanistan:
"There is honest debate now about whether the United States should commit more troops to Afghanistan, or withdraw them."
I'm not sure where Simon was hearing "an honest debate" - definitely not on NPR. A case in point was this Friday's ATC which featured a report from Don Gonyea on Obama's coming decision about troop levels in Afghanistan. Following the Thursday feature on Iran (see below) where NPR opted for a thoroughly discredited former UN inspector over one whom history has vindicated - NPR turns to the same playbook, aiming as low as possible in seeking an "expert" to weigh in on whether President Obama will, as Robert Siegel says, "approve a huge troop buildup there."

Most of the piece features über-Neocon Eliot Cohen attacking the possibility that Obama might not follow the advice of General McChrystal to send 40,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan. The most unbelievable statement from Cohen was the following:
"If people come away from this thinking, well, the reason why he cut down the request from 40,000 to 25,000 is to make this more palatable for Nancy Pelosi, he has just created another set of problems for himself. And what's worse, he's created problems for our soldiers in the field."
Gonyea doesn't question or challenge this slur from a man who, in an homage to aggression, wrote in the WSJ in November of 2001, "the U.S. should continue to target regimes that sponsor terrorism. Iraq is the obvious candidate, having not only helped al Qaeda...." In April of 2002, Cohen also signed on to this kind of rubbish that contributed to the death of over 1,000,000 Iraqis and 4000 US soldiers:
Furthermore, Mr. President, we urge you to accelerate plans for removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. As you have said, every day that Saddam Hussein remains in power brings closer the day when terrorists will have not just airplanes with which to attack us, but chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, as well. It is now common knowledge that Saddam, along with Iran, is a funder and supporter of terrorism against Israel. Iraq has harbored terrorists...and it maintains links to the Al Qaeda network.
It is truly mind-blowing how NPR and the corporate media operates. No matter how dishonest, inaccurate, corrupt and servile history has proven certain characters to be - there is not only no accountability for previous behavior, but these figures are featured again and again as objective and disinterested experts. All Gonyea felt necessary to tell us about Cohen was this innocuous introduction: "Eliot Cohen is a professor at the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington." How charming...

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.

Friday, October 02, 2009

A real Déjà Vu

Once again NPR faced a tough choice after the talks between Iran and the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China resulted in Iran's agreement to open inspections of its new nuclear facility at Qum. Who should NPR turn to for expert opinion about the reliability of inspections and whether such inspections will head off hostilities between the US and Iran? NPR could look back to the run-up to the Iraq War and ask if there were any inspectors who got it right in spite of the US decision to attack Iraq regardless of what inspectors found.

Actually there was one former UN inspector who got it EXACTLY right before the Iraq war and campaigned tirelessly to stop the horrors of the Iraq war before it began. That person - Scott Ritter would be a logical person to have on a news show to talk about the Iran agreement.
You could go with a former UN inspector, David Kay who was thumping his chest for "regime change" back in December of 2002 . Best thing is that this "expert" has lots of ties to the mililitary/intelligence/industrial complex.

God, what a tough decision. Who to choose? If only you could pop into old Déjà Vu machine and match the two inspectors in a head to head debate about inspections and war. Well, dang, what do you know? You can! Turns out that Scott Ritter and David Kay appeared with Margaret Warner on PBS in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. I know that was like two hundred years ago, but here's what each had to say:
  • David Kay: "I think the age of inspection is long as Saddam is in power, I think it would be foolish of anyone to believe that you could carry out effective inspections in Iraq. Now inspections are over. The Iraqis had their chance to cooperate; now is the time for another strategy."
  • Scott Ritter: "The bottom line is inspection worked. That's the fact. No matter what Dick Cheney says in terms of rewriting history, inspections worked and if given a chance could work again."
So of course NPR goes with...David Kay! And Kay doesn't have to work at all to get the sabers rattling against Iran. Robert Siegel leads off with this amazing bit of pure hearsay,
"Based on the Iranians' record of not disclosing this plant near the city of Qum until it was evident that the U.S. and other countries were aware of it, can Iranian declarations about the nuclear program be accepted or be trusted?"
To this bit of unsubstantiated, unsourced propaganda, David Kay gets all nostalgic for his glory years of 1991-2002 and says,
"Well, this takes me back to a real déjà vu. I remember in 1991 explaining to very senior Iraqi authorities that if they continued deception and lying and letting us discover stuff before they declared it, eventually we would not believe them even if they started telling the truth. I think the Iranians are on the cusp of that point where even if they are fully cooperative in this inspection that is now going to be taking place at this facility, no one will be terribly satisfied about it."
Yeah, when a government lies and manipulates facts again and again, and shows that it is willing to launch wars of aggression, there just comes a point where you can't trust anything it says - takes me back to a real déjà vu, too.