Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Covering Iraq

It's ironic, really, that the Iranians are saying that the Seymour Hersh's report in the New Yorker was part of a psychological war by Americans, when his main aim was to attack those (American) neoconservatives 'who got us into this mess in Iraq' (interview on BBC World Service, Sunday, 9 April).

Earlier this month, I wrote a long series of posts mainly based on material from The New York Times.  It's a long time since I bothered to look at the Guardian's coverage of Iraq.  I don't even altogether trust the BBC.  They did pick up Thursday (13 April) in their bulletins (WS and Radio 4) that Sunni families being forced to move from Baghdad to the enclave of Falluja.  I always feel, though, that their tone is always, 'It's a mess, but what did you expect?'  So, back to the NYT.  Noah Feldman put it quite well in their Magazine last week (9 April):
Civil war in Iraq raises the likelihood that the United States will leave before a meaningful state comes into being. This is not only because civil war slows state building and so tests the patience of the American public. The public's willingness to sustain a military presence even in the face of human and financial costs is connected to the idea that there are good guys in Iraq whom we are supporting against terrorists. President Bush speaks of sustaining a U.S. presence at least into 2009 [...]. But if the Shiites continue to engage in atrocities, through their militias and through the Iraqi Army and the police, it will become much harder for President Bush to justify our continued involvement on one side of the conflict. We cannot plausibly claim to be fighting the war on terror if some of the terrorists — backed by Iran, no less — are essentially on our side.
The BBC did have one thing worth listening to on Sunday (16 April):  a profile of the US Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad.  Their Washington correspondent, Justin Webb, admitted that he actually quite liked the neoconservatives!

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