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 Policy.com. 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 […]

Jul
18
2008

Charles Knight on Iraq withdrawal, Diana Duarte on global food crisis

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The idea that we should get U.S. troops out of Iraq is, to hear the media tell it, becoming less attractive by the day. The corporate press also seems to buy the argument that withdrawing U.S. troops would lead to a bloodbath in Iraq. But what would, or could, a withdrawal actually look like? We'll ask Charles Knight of the Project on Defense Alternatives; he's helped organize the Task Force for a Responsible Withdrawal from Iraq, which has produced a report laying out one plan. Also on CounterSpin today: World leaders at the recent […]

Jul
01
2008

Catherine Lutz on Iraq Military Bases

‘The images don’t show up on TV news’

Catherine Lutz--Photo Credit: Brown University

On June 5, the Independent newspaper in London reported on secret negotiations between the U.S. and Iraqi governments over a plan that would grant legal immunity to U.S. soldiers and private contractors, give the U.S. control over Iraqi airspace and allow for 50 military bases to be built in the country. Lawmakers in Iraq expressed outrage at the details of the report. Here in the United States, the story got only cursory attention from the press. CounterSpin talked to Catherine Lutz, a professor of anthropology at Brown University and the Watson Institute for International Studies, author of the book Home […]

May
30
2008

McClellan Confessions Spark Media Denial

Journalists get Iraq wrong all over again as they defend pre-war reporting

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's forthcoming book has caused a political firestorm by offering unusually blunt criticisms of the Bush White House. But McClellan has also aimed his fire at the news media, accusing mainstream reporters of being "deferential, complicit enablers" instead of challenging the White House's case for the Iraq War. The reaction from many in the elite media demonstrates that the White House is not the only institution that resents being held accountable. During a joint appearance on NBC's Today show (5/28/08), network anchors Brian Williams, Charles Gibson and Katie Couric offered their assessments of the […]

May
01
2008

NPR Disappears Iraqi Dead

Editor's Note

npr

In a segment looking back on five years of the Iraq War, NPR anchor Scott Simon reported (3/15/08), “Estimates on the number of Iraqis killed range from 47,000 to 151,000, depending on the source.” But what sources are those? The New England Journal of Medicine (1/31/08) had a write-up of a survey, conducted by the Iraqi government for the World Health Organization, that estimated that 151,000 Iraqis had died by violence between the invasion and June 2006—so there’s NPR’s top figure. The NEJM write-up began: “Estimates of the death toll in Iraq from the time of the U.S.-led invasion in […]