Friday, October 30, 2009

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.

16 comments:

Grimblebee said...

Sorry, MYT, you really should read Arthur Silber on this: www.powerofnarrative.blogspot.com. Hoh's resignation is definitely not a critique of the "whole project."

Grimblebee said...

P.S. He resigned because of Afghanistan, not Iraq, right?

Anonymous said...

I'm also aware that NPR could have just ignored this story."

Actually, I must disagree.

They could NOT ignore this without having listeners wonder why.

It was being reported by most other MSM sources.

This is just par for the coarse at NPR.

gopolganger said...

The story of Hoh in the Wapo gives me hope that BHO can find cover for an exit strategy out of the AfPak quagmire. That the drone attacks escalated so dramatically after BHO took office makes me wonder if BHO is just playing Dumber to GWB's Dumb.

Mytwords said...

I definitely agree with the critiques of Hoh. However here were a few of the statements he made on NPR:

"I'm more concerned about why we're in Afghanistan. Why are we losing soldiers and Marines in combat to people who are fighting us really only because we're occupying them?"

"Why are we there? And that's what I'm looking for."

"...and I was able to meet with local Afghans throughout the east and the south of the country.... And you realize that what they want is to be left alone."

"...say we do continue to occupy Afghanistan and say, hey, we - say we even go farther. Say, we occupy Pakistan. Occupation only reinforces the message of al-Qaida. Occupation only causes people to want to fight the West and to join their ranks."

I guess I think these do at least question the whole Afghanistan project, and given the time for decision - featuring him was on the whole a positive thing for NPR to do.

Maybe I'm wrong about NPR's decision, but I think they could have easily ignored him - or just turned to their usual war cheerleaders O'Hanlon, Keane, and Nagl to reinforce sending more troops.

However, I don't want to overstate the praise for NPR. It was an easy and safe thing and Hoh is not in any way critiquing the the US war state.

!gib!knip!yzzuf!ynnub said...

Besides, NPR McNews won't cover anything until it is expedient and "hip" to dare do so. What's the mystery?

Anonymous said...

However, I don't want to overstate the praise for NPR. It was an easy and safe thing and Hoh is not in any way critiquing the the US war state."

Thanks for the clarification.

For a brief moment there I thought you were going to give all your money and worldly possessions (except your radio, of course) to NPR and live the life of a (homeless) NPR driveway hermit because they are doing such a fabulous job at reporting "The Truth and Nothing but the Truth" [ so help me Scottie]

Anonymous said...

At least this guy was able to break through the propaganda and use the words "occupying" and "occupy".

I am sort of surprised this guy got the chance actually. Unless the deal is that we are about to leave Afghanistan and this is the opening act of the turnaround play that will have to be done in order to provide political cover for Obama.

edk

Anonymous said...

I am sort of surprised this guy got the chance actually. Unless the deal is that we are about to leave Afghanistan and this is the opening act of the turnaround play that will have to be done in order to provide political cover for Obama."

That was my first thought as well, but I have to keep reminding myself that (despite all the immoral cowards in our government) there still ARE principled people working in our government (usually young like this fellow).

It's just that they are usually drowned out by the same old self-serving quacks like Colin "I was against going into Iraq before I was for it" Powell who tell us how heroically and ethically they behaved to sell books and/or polish their tarnished reputation.

FishOutofWater said...

It took a Democrat becoming president - 8 years - before NPR could criticize the war.

Anonymous said...

It took a Democrat becoming president - 8 years - before NPR could criticize the war."

I must have missed that.

Where did they 'criticize the war"?

And re: Democratic president

All I see is the same BS "debate' about "surges (ie, how many additional troops to send in) as opposed to a real "debate" about what the goals are in Afghanistan and whether our troops should even be there at all.

Just Me said...

This is my first blog entry ever, and at 85, there probably won't be many more. I found your blog by accident while looking for an NPR report by Eleanor Beardsley. Your blog's name deceivingly drew me in.

As a Hungarian Physician and survivor of first the Nazi, then Soviet and Hungarian Communist "work and re-education" camps from 1944 to 1956, and who was then forced as part of his re-education to work in "socialist brotherhood" cutting sugar cane in Cuba from 1961 through 1966, I have to ask whether you are kidding about the "rightward" tilt of NPR? This has to a joke or a sick expression of your naïveté. You should really get out in the world....it's a dangerous place made more so by fools like you repeating tired old canned clichés of leftwing propaganda. Before you ascribe my rant to that of the bourgeoisie, understand that my parents were peasants on my mother’s side and a rail road engineer on my father’s. It was this background that radicalized my thoughts while at university. And though I am a physician, I have never been on here because I cannot prove my education, even to this day, as I arrived as a paperless refugee. I worked, gratefully, and until recently as a hospital orderly at St. Vincents Hospital, New York City.

To borrow their phrase, “this I believe”.

You can dismiss me as nothing more than a rightwing "reactionary" or what ever your current catch phrase is, but in the end when the "revolution" comes, they always kill the ideologues and so called intelligentsia....and sadly before they live long enough to grown up and out of their naïveté…the camps were full of people like you. I know, I was one of them, and I still have all the scars to prove it.

gopolganger said...

Just Me,

Your life story is awe-inspiring.

For my part, I don't much buy the left/right dichotomy. I respect human rights as embodied in the US Constitution and support the rule of law as a fair arbiter of conflict resolution. Obviously practices such as compulsory labor, indentured servitude and capricious incarceration are anethema to free-thinking, fair-minded people in the pursuit of happiness. Most of the bloggers here, I think, have grown to believe that our current system of government has been co-opted by over-reaching banks and international corporations who've corrupted our Congress, courts and the press to the point where our educational, health and welfare systems are in deep jeopardy. NPR, like other main stream media outlets such as FOX, the Washington Times and talk radio, has become corrupt and propagandistic and, rather than speaking truth to power as the "fourth estate" was intended to do, has powered slick ps-ops style government propaganda into the ears of so-called "liberal" public radio listeners and thus placated the masses who ought rather be outraged that our government now endorses preemptive war, wars of agression, torture and environmental despoilment. We're mad as hell about it.

If you have specific gripes with commentary, by all means, articulate your grievances.

Just Me said...

Listen to yourself! If I close my eyes I can still hear the same words coming from the mouths of the NKVD thugs at camp 102 in Siberia, and from the AVH sadists at 60 Andrássy út, or from the peasant political cadres in the fields of Cuba. It's all the same.

My point was that NPR if far from rightwing or centrist. That is why you can tolerate them, and seek to pull them further left with your blog. This because, generally speaking, you are in accord with them. It is just not left enough for you. Unfortunately what you fail to realize....what I was trying to say to you, is that once the media tilts, to the left or the right, then civial liberties follow. So while you are right about the problems with the rightwing media, you fail to look into the mirror and see that what you seek to deny them, you demanding for yourself.

The depravities of the nazis and arrowcross where legendary, but they were minor league compared to the revolutionaries of the proletariat. Their brutality and mind control, as applied anywhere they have taken over.....East Europe, the Baltics, the Balkans, Southwest Asian, Southeast Asia, Cuba, North Korea, outstrips by far anything that the reactionary right wing governments did. If you are honest, you know this to be true. So why do seek to repeat this farce?

I have already lived through this once, and do not have the strength to do it again.

Anonymous said...

Just Me:
"My point was that NPR if far from rightwing or centrist. That is why you can tolerate them, and seek to pull them further left with your blog."

NPR supported illegal war in Iraq and propagandizes the American people about the correctness of our mis-adventure there (while glorifying those who are carrying out an occupation).

NPR can not even use the word torture to describe things that Americans did (some of which might be familar to you). Torture is a crime and those who did it and ordered it done should be held accountable.

NPR is nothing but a shill for American style Capitalism even as their core base of support (America's professional/management class) is being attacked by banksters and fraudsters both in the financial sectors as well as those in government.

No, I have no personal experience of what you claim and I have been accused of being an "intellectual" but there is something to be said for maintaining core American ideals. Most of these ideals have been run into the ground by elements within the US that NPR strongly identifies with, promotes the agenda of, and works to sway the great number of nuetral Americans (cause you and I are not the target of NPR propaganda - our minds are made up).

edk

Just Me said...

I clearly do not ubderstand your point...."NPR supported illegal war in Iraq and propagandizes the American people about the correctness of our mis-adventure there (while glorifying those who are carrying out an occupation)."
...."NPR can not even use the word torture".

I was and am against the war, and torture, for obvious reasons, and found that NPR was very much in sync with my (and your) world view on that subject. As a 5 hour a day listener.....at 85 years of age with multiple arthopathies from all of the torture that I endured, I can do little else. I found very few reports that gave the pro-war side, which disturbs me from a propogandic stand point. Because of my experiences, I always prefer a balance of views, even when they clash with my world view, to propoganda.

This will be my last post. I posted my comments here because I thought that by sharing my personnal horror I could effect change. It is clear that I am up against the same forces that denied me my country, my health, and my sanity. Your dreams were my nightmares, and I choose not to relive them.

I would offer to put flowers on your grave, but the left typically buries their victims in unmarked graves, covered in lime and frequently wrapped in barbed wire. As an "intellectual", and I put that in quotes because all you have done by way of arguemnt is repeat tired, century old leftist dogma, and you will be the first they kill. If nothing I have said these last two days has pentrated your leftist ardor, at least review your history, as it may just save your life.....or make you my newest jailer!