Wednesday, July 16, 2008

War Erupting and The People's Army

Tonight's coverage of the exchange of bodies and prisoners between Israel and Hezbollah/Lebanon provided a good case of contrast and compare on NPR. Reporting from Israel, Eric Westervelt had some interesting comments:
"....since they were seized in an ambush on July 12th, 2006 while on a routine patrol near the Lebanese border. Hezbollah guerrillas rained machine-gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire down on their armored jeeps. Three Israeli soldiers were killed on the spot and Goldwasser and Regev were taken captive. They were reservists Israeli soldiers doing their annual duty in what many here call 'The People's Army.'"
That is some colorful storytelling. I searched and searched and could find little details about the ambush itself. The Washington Post and the BBC both had some sketchy information about the operation in which the two Israeli soldiers were captured. Both quoted Hezbollah officials claiming that they had seized the two men in order to force prisoner exchanges. I couldn't find anything about the machine-gun and rocket-propelled grenades, although one might assume such weapons were used given the deaths of the soldiers. The bit about the "People's Army" was just plain salesmanship for the militarized state of Israel.

From Lebanon, NPR has Ivan Watson reporting on the reactions of citizens, government officials and Hezbollah supporters. Unfortunately, Watson - who did some of the better reporting from Lebanon when it was being pulverized by the IDF - has switched to the unoffending passive voice in describing Israel's planned destruction of Lebanon in the summer of 2006. He states,
"When Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in that 2006 raid, Israel refused to negotiate. Instead a vicious five week war erupted which left much of Southern Lebanon in ruins."
War didn't just "erupt," it was planned and premeditated with US assistance. However, the part about Lebanon in ruins was true, but it didn't occur by happenstance.

1 comment:

Porter Melmoth said...

Yesterday I heard some NPR newsreader (can't remember who) refer to Israel's hideous, hideous Summer 'n Smoke clusterbomb-clusterf@#% war from '06 as 'a war'. That's it, just 'a war', as if it were some trivial blip, some TV show that had been canceled long ago, or some minor incident. I know it sounds trivial, but it's an example of the Neocon-ish slant, embraced by Neocon Public Radio, to minimize Israel's crimes and maximize the other side's.

Hell, if I were a timid, kowtowing NPR newsreader who at least pondered over a few objective thoughts now and again, I would have at LEAST sneaked in the word 'controversial' to say, 'a controversial war'. But my ass probably would have been fired.