Israel / Palestine
Amazingly, and almost three years to the day, NPR reprises its typically pro US/Israel coverage of the war on Palestinians with a piece that is essentially a repetition of the piece it ran three years ago. Back then it was the much-touted, amazing Bush inspired Annapolis conference for peace in the Middle East and Michele Kelemen was all over it with Aaron David Miller and Robert Malley representing the State Department far right view and the State Department center right view of the matter respectively. Guess what tonight's ATC piece on the Obama State Department's Unbelievalble 90-day Breakthrough for Israel featured? No really, go out on a limb and take a guess:
Kelemen: "Israeli officials say the package includes $3 billion in fighter jets, continued diplomat cover at the United Nations and a promise that the U.S. won't ask Israel to renew the settlement moratorium again three months from now. Woodrow Wilson Center scholar Aaron David Miller says it's a high price to pay but may be worth it."
Kelemen: "Rob Malley of the International Crisis Group has his doubts and is troubled by the apparent U.S. assurances that it won't push the settlement issue beyond the 90-day moratorium."
Can you say Groundhog Day?
And then there's those crazy stopped clocks of Afghanistan. Exactly 17 months ago NPR and General McChrystal assured us that in 12 to 18 months we'd all know whether or not the Obama Nobel Prize winning Afghanistan Surge™ was working. Well it isn't - as any joker could tell you. But don't let past claims get in the way of NPR's hopeful assessments of the new endless war with magically shifting timelines:
First there's Julie McCarthy on ATC:
McCarthy: "Ambassador Holbrooke said...marks a turning point for American and allied forces fighting in Afghanistan...the United States will be in a transition mode with a target date of the end of 2014 for Afghanistan to take the lead for its own security....said it was important to make clear this is not an exit strategy, but a transition strategy....The U.S. and its allies would remain in Afghanistan past 2014. But for training and mentoring...The 2014 date marks the most concrete blueprint to end the war since the president took office. President Obama has set next summer as a starting point for the gradual drawdown of U.S. combat personnel. His envoy said July 2011 still stands."
Makes perfect sense to me (hee, hee).
And then Bob Siegel and Tom Bowman also on ATC:
Siegel: "Well, 2014, the deadline, is still four years off. What do people think there? Is there any way to judge if these forces can actually be ready to take over by that time?"Bowman: "Well, it's possible. And four years is a long way off, of course, and that would give them time to build up their junior leaders especially. But be careful by the term they're using - takeover. I think even if all works as planned by 2014, and that's frankly a very big if, there will still be a lot of American troops here helping with training and especially logistics."
Now you understand don't you? The 12 to 18 month window was so we could get all geared up for the 3-4 year window, by which time we should be all set for the 10-50 year plan which NPR will no doubt explain. Also worth noting in this sad coverage was Tom Bowman's super empathetic coverage of the ruthless, cynical JSOC night raids that practically guarantee no end to the Afghanistan tragedy. When Siegel asks what's wrong with the night raids Bowman states:
"Well, this isn't a new complaint. But Karzai is rightly concerned about it. The night raids are more likely to get civilians killed, mistakes can be made. You go to the wrong house or the wrong compound. But the U.S. sees this as critical in their efforts to really bring the Taliban to its knees. A NATO officer I spoke with in Kabul says there have been more than 1,000 raids by U.S. Special Forces troops over just the past several months. Hundreds of Taliban have been killed or captured in those raids. So I think Karzai's complaints will, frankly, be dismissed."
Notice how completely Bowman accepts that the civilians are killed only by mistakes and how he asserts that "hundreds of Taliban have been killed or captured" with absolutely no confirming evidence. I challenge anyone to watch and/or listen to Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley discuss their investigations of these night raids and not be struck by their courageous reporting and humanity as opposed to NPR's lazy and crass attitude toward the misery and horror that the US is visiting upon Afghanistan.