Oct 1 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 1 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 1 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 1 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 […]

Apr 1 2008

‘Sexed Up’ After All

Scant U.S. interest in proof of Blair's Iraq hype

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/World Economic Forum

A key document in making Britain’s case for attacking Iraq, the so-called “September Dossier” (9/02), was initially drafted by a press advisor in then-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Foreign Office, according to stories in the British press. Furthermore, the differences between the early draft and the published dossier indicate that caveats were removed and language strengthened (Independent, 2/19/08; Guardian, 2/18/08) to make a stronger argument for war—factors that give credence to claims, once dismissed, that the dossier had been “sexed up,” and that Tony Blair, in the words of former U.N. weapons inspections chief Hans Blix (Associated Press, 3/12/07), had a […]

Mar 19 2008

Keeping Death Off the Books

Media ignore contractors killed in Iraq

As the Iraq War nears its fifth anniversary, close to 4,000 U.S. troops have died in the conflict. But a significant number of deaths connected to the Iraq invasion have remained off the books, uncounted by the U.S. military and seldom noticed by the media. Private contractors have played an integral role in the occupation of Iraq, often performing duties that would have been carried out by the U.S. military. At present, it is believed that there are about as many contractors as active-duty U.S. personnel (about 150,000). The only available tally of contractor deaths in Iraq from the Labor […]