Monday, November 15, 2010

Warped Times and Time Warps

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).

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.


bpfb - exclamatory said...

Excellent entry, MTW. Makes me wanna renew my slogan...

"NPR Check - I'd rather hear it from YOU than from THEM."

informedveteran said...

"Mission creeping" into a full-on quagmire in the Graveyard of Empires.

Porter Melmoth said...

Indeed, indeed.

One subject not talked about so much lately is that little news item concerning all the extensive 'mineral resources' supposedly lying beneath A-stan's war-ravaged surfaces.

What about that, anyway?

I won't be a bit surprised when that potentially effective weapon is wheeled out to justify our imperialism. It'll happen when things get yet more dire.

After all, sheer free-booting capitalism can sometimes work with the public as a reason for noble blood 'n treasure-loss, as dirty hate-filled Muzlums, or a red tide of crazy Chinamen, or even a savage horde of old zombified Russkis might git the gold first.

Viv: 'Gjelten & Dina? I hear tell there's uranium or oil or whatever in Afghanistan. You know, something we really NEED. Tom, you're an expert on that 'fracking' stuff. Get on it...'

goopDoggy said...

A search for "pipeline afghanistan" at NPR yields this 2002 (most recent) story: Afghan Pipeline, which is all about how

"...elaborate pipeline schemes through Afghanistan [] are now dormant. U.S. oil companies poured millions of dollars into oil and gas pipeline plans in the last decade. But now western companies are leery of investing in the unstable region.

No NPR Afghan pipeline stories ever since, so, end of story...right? Right...

The backstory is about Unocal (now a wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron) and how in the mid 90's they made the Taliban an offer they couldn't refuse - which they refused, nonetheless. Thus the need for a "New Pearl Harbor" ...or that's the way many people have come to understand it. Wouldn't it be swell if we had an independent news service of some sort that had the resources to investigate these things and tell the truth about them, instead of blowing smoke through a house of mirrors?

Actually, this 2005 NPR story: U.S., Iran at Odds over Proposed Gas Pipeline does cover some of these issues pretty well. But note that this story has had no follow-up in the last 5 years. Is the naked truth about pipelines that provide energy and political power just too much?

informedveteran said...

Here’s another charming aspect of our endless wars that has received scant coverage.

Here’s a flux capacitor classic. Is it possible to repeat history if it never actually pauses?

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, be cynical all you disgruntled pieces of human capital but when we achieve peace with honor . . .


miranda said...

YES, goopdoggy, it would indeed (be good to hear some truth). It's hard for a nonbeliever in government-approved storylines to hear what passes for news on Stands for Nothing, especially regarding Afghanistan and such things as the new TSA molestation requirements (ATC's idea of "hard-hitting" coverage of that B.S.? Dave Barry waxing humorous over his airport experience).

Thanks for the brilliant new posts, MTW.

Patrick Lynch said...

Excellent post. I've heard admittedly second hand from an Afghan vet who went there thinking he was going to be performing a great duty only to discover he was only there to protect oil pipelines. His disgust as conveyed to me was palpable. I wish had heard it directly instead of through another person.

Patrick Lynch said...

Regarding the Dave Barry piece. Was it just me or underneath his attempt at being funny there was an edge to his voice? An edge of frustration with the person interviewing him? Whenever I think I cannot be anymore appalled at NPR for the way they now openly advocate government positions the whole series on the TSM molestations have hit a new low even for them.

The Morning Edition coverage of the TSA pornoscanners had a tone of incredulous condescension from Inscreep and Renee MonFeign towards anyone who resisted being subjected to the "enhanced" abuse. Well, I'm sure these two fly, someone out there can post their scan images online and get a full groping and see how they like it.

b! said...

^ And what better place to post these bright lights of radio journalism (coughs up morning tea) in all their scivvied regalia than right here.... on NPR Chuckles~

Anonymous said...

Is that picture supposed to represent the "NPR Spiral of Death"?

We can always hope.