Aug 01 2011

Desperate for Democracy in Iraq

Protesters fight for what U.S. media say they already have

The U.S.-based women’s rights group MADRE (6/10/11) reported that members of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq—its partner organization in Baghdad—and other protesters were brutally beaten and sexually assaulted in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on June 10 by government-sponsored mobs. What were they demonstrating for that so threatened Iraq’s government? Democracy. “For months, young women have been demonstrating for democracy in Tahrir Square, joining thousands of others who believe in a vision of an Iraq that is democratic and rooted in human rights,” OWFI director Yanar Mohammed told MADRE. “But instead of being heard, they have been viciously attacked in […]

Aug 20 2010

Hannah Gurman on Iraq, Norman Solomon on Petraeus and Afghanistan


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: One war is ending, while the other is the subject of a major PR blitz. Right on schedule, we’re told, Operation Iraqi Freedom is winding down, with live TV coverage relaying the images of the final U.S. combat brigades leaving the country. The caveats to the story of the “end” of the war are abundant—tens of thousands of troops and private contractors remain, and some are already suggesting they’ll be there longer than we’ve been told. So how does a war that isn’t really ending actually end? Hannah Gurman wrote about the Orwellian state […]

Mar 05 2010

Mary Bottari on financial reform, Raed Jarrar on Iraq


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: A recent NBC–Wall Street Journal poll showed 74 percent of Americans believed not enough had been done to regulate the banking industry. But is the legislation the Senate is now considering anything like what those people had in mind? We’ll get an update on financial reform from Mary Bottari, director of the Real Economy Project at the Center for Media & Democracy. Also on CounterSpin today: Parliamentary elections in Iraq are leading to some mixed messages in the corporate press—”Victory At Last” declares the cover of Newsweek, while newspaper accounts hint, or even suggest, […]

Mar 20 2009

The Short, Happy Iraq War of Howard Kurtz

As the world marks the sixth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, corporate media’s most prominent journalism critic is wondering if Barack Obama’s Iraq policy isn’t being sufficiently scrutinized. As Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz asked recently on his CNN program (3/15/09): “What about the previous president? I mean, he famously landed on that aircraft carrier, declared ‘Mission Accomplished,’ and we’re still there. Could journalists be falling into the same trap of taking a president’s word about Iraq at face value?” It’s a good question to ask– but is Kurtz really the best person to ask it? In […]

Mar 01 2009

Tom Ricks’ Gamble

Justifying a kinder, gentler Iraq occupation

Photo Credit: Thomas Ricks/Penguin Books

Reporter Thomas Ricks’ new book The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008, documents the military changes that took place in Iraq after the controversial troop “surge,” which is commonly credited with having greatly reduced violence in the country (Extra!, 11-12/07, 9-10/08). A Pentagon correspondent for the Washington Post, Ricks is also a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and writes the Best Defense blog at Foreign Ricks has been deeply embedded with the leadership of the “surge” and, as the book boasts, had “extraordinary privileged access” to Petraeus and […]

Oct 27 2008

The Washington Post Undercounts Iraq Deaths

Paper's feature low-balls Iraqi casualties

The Washington Post‘s weekly Saturday feature on “Iraq War Casualties” has consistently listed a “maximum count” of Iraqi civilian deaths that is dramatically lower than the likely civilian death tolls assessed through surveys of the Iraqi public. In the most recent edition of this feature (10/25/08) which the Post has been publishing as a chart in the Saturday newspaper since August 2, the Post offers a “maximum count” of 96,719 Iraqi civilian deaths. Yet as the Post itself acknowledged in a footnote to its chart on June 15, 2007, there are studies that put the Iraqi death toll much higher: […]

Oct 01 2008

Blurring the Lines on Iraq

Media pretend withdrawal is a ‘given’

Corporate media outlets seem intent on blurring the lines between the Iraq policies of John McCain and Barack Obama. “Campaigns’ Iraq Stances Seem to Hit a Middle Ground” was the headline of an August 1 Washington Post article by Karen DeYoung that reported that the candidates’ “debate over the future of U.S. troops in Iraq seems to have entered a broad new middle ground, in which the question is not whether to withdraw but rather the speed and circumstances of departure.” USA Today reported (8/4/08) that McCain and Obama’s Iraq War positions “seem to be drawing closer together.” To back […]

Sep 01 2008

Meanwhile, in Iraq . . .

When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki called for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troop (Der Spiegel, 7/19/08), U.S. corporate media coverage of his statement displayed a remarkable condescension. The New York Times‘ Steven Lee Myers (7/10/08) suggested that al-Maliki didn’t mean what he was saying and was just doing what Iraqi politicians have to do, explaining that the prime minister’s announcement “is partly a nod to Iraqi political realities, since Iraqi politicians must call for the end of the American occupation. No one in Iraqi realistically expects to throw out the Americans anytime soon–and few in Iraq […]