Sunday, October 05, 2008

Killing Husbands and History

In the Q Tip section below, a reader of this blog noted that Lourdes Garcia-Navarro had a troubling section in her feature on widows in Iraq. In her report she states the following:
"Some estimates put the number of widows in Iraq at 1 million - women who've lost their husbands to Iraq's endless succession of wars: Iran-Iraq, the invasion of Kuwait, the recent civil war..."
I don't know if the omission of any mention of US responsibility for the widow tragedy of Iraq is the work of Garcia-Navarro or of an editor - but it is outrageous (and typical for NPR).

One could argue that at least NPR is reporting on the human cost of the war, but if that illegal, aggressive war of invasion isn't even mentioned as one of the causes of the problems, then how much value can such a report have?

For a contrast, it's interesting to consider how other reports have covered the plight of Iraqi widows.

IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reporting in April 2006:
"Thousands of Iraqi women lost their husbands during the ten-year war with Iran in the 1980s. This number rose further during the 1991 US-led war with Iraq following the latter’s invasion of Kuwait.

Local NGOs say the situation has become even more critical since the 2003 US-led invasion of the country, which has given rise to increasing violence and sectarian killing."
IPS in December of 2006:
"Widows are the flip side of violence that has meant more than a million men dead, detained or disabled, Iraqi NGOs estimate. These men's wives or mothers now carry the burden of running the families."

"The violence since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is not the first to have taken its toll. Hundreds of thousands of men were killed, taken prisoner or disabled during the 1980-1988 war between Iran and Iraq."
Reuters in January 2008:
"No-one can give an exact figure for the number of widows left by the brutal reign of Saddam Hussein, the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, the 1991 Gulf War and in sectarian bloodshed since the 2003 invasion."

"Whatever their number, both parliamentarians say the women who have lost male family members since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq are increasingly lacking the means to provide for themselves."
As you can see, it takes a conscious effort to leave out a mention of US culpability when talking about the massive numbers of widows in Iraq.


Anonymous said...

"As you can see, it takes a conscious effort to leave out a mention of US culpability when talking about the massive numbers of widows in Iraq."

NPR does it ALL the time.

Their editors and managers apparently believe that as long as they do not air absolute falsehoods, they are "safe" fro tne charge of propaganda

But "propaganda by omission" is propaganda just the same.

And Congress has passed countless laws forbidding the use of public funds for propaganda purposes (nearly every funding bill includes a clause to that effect).

NPR is an outlaw organization.

Buzztree said...

Thanks, MYT, for taking up the thought!