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Thread: Reporting from Iraq: Bush's desperate spin on a total mess

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Exclamation Reporting from Iraq: Bush's desperate spin on a total mess

    Reporting from Iraq has become one of journalism’s most difficult and dangerous jobs. FP spoke recently with Rod Nordland, who served as Newsweek’s Baghdad bureau chief for two years, about the challenge of getting out of the Green Zone to get the scoop.

    FOREIGN POLICY: Are Americans getting an accurate picture of what’s going on in Iraq?

    Rod Nordland: It’s a lot worse over here [in Iraq] than is reported. The administration does a great job of managing the news. Just an example: There was a press conference here about [Abu Musab al] Zarqawi’s death, and somebody asked what role [U.S.] Special Forces played in finding Zarqawi. [The official] either denied any role or didn’t answer the question. Somebody pointed out that the president, half an hour earlier, had already acknowledged and thanked the Special Forces for their involvement. They are just not giving very much information here.

    FP: The Bush administration often complains that the reporting out of Iraq is too negative, yet you say they are managing the news. What’s the real story?

    RN: You can only manage the news to a certain degree. It is certainly hard to hide the fact that in the third year of this war, Iraqis are only getting electricity for about 5 to 10 percent of the day. Living conditions have gotten so much worse, violence is at an even higher tempo, and the country is on the verge of civil war. The administration has been successful to the extent that most Americans are not aware of just how dire it is and how little progress has been made. They keep talking about how the Iraqi army is doing much better and taking over responsibilities, but for the most part that’s not true.

    FP: How often do you travel outside of the Green Zone?

    RN: The restrictions on [journalists’] movements are very severe. It is extremely dangerous to move around anywhere in Iraq, but we do. We all have Iraqi staff who get around, and we go on trips arranged by the U.S. State Department as frequently as we can.

    But the military has started censoring many [embedded reporting] arrangements. Before a journalist is allowed to go on an embed now, [the military] check[s] the work you have done previously. They want to know your slant on a story—they use the word slant—what you intend to write, and what you have written from embed trips before. If they don’t like what you have done before, they refuse to take you. There are cases where individual reporters have been blacklisted because the military wasn’t happy with the work they had done on embed. But we get out among the Iraqi public a whole lot more than almost any American official, certainly more than military officials do.


    FP: What other challenges do journalists in Iraq face besides security?

    RN: Iraqi officials, now that they have their own government, have become extremely bureaucratic and difficult about giving interviews. They want you to do the interview request in a very formal way. In many cases, they ask for your questions in advance. It takes a very long time for them to agree to see people. Add to that the problems of movement and curfews, and it makes getting things done that much more difficult.

    FP: The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad recently sent a cable to Washington detailing the dangerous situation under which its Iraqi employees work. Is the situation in the Green Zone as bad as the cable made it out to be?

    RN: Yes, it is that bad. [The cable] didn’t come as a surprise to me, except that somebody in the embassy was courageous enough to outline the hardships in very frank detail, and the ambassador was honest enough to put his name to it. It is exactly what our own Iraqi staff has gone through for years now. As early as 2003, the Iraqis who work for us were not telling their family or friends that they worked for Americans. At the time, we thought it was a ridiculous precaution—a throwback to the Saddam era—but as time went on, they proved that they knew their society a lot better than we did.

    FP: Where do you get information about the insurgency?

    RN: There was a stage in the war when we could talk to insurgents and people representing insurgents. Now, it’s just too dangerous. There is no way to safely contact them. We talk to Sunni leaders who are in touch with at least the Iraqi insurgents, the distinction being that al Qaeda insurgents are mainly foreign terrorists. [Iraqi] groups have a political constituency among Sunni politicians and they are in touch. So we can and do talk to them frequently. In fact, so does the U.S. Embassy.

    FP: Are journalists and the military seeing two different pictures in Iraq?

    RN: Sometimes it’s hard to say. Many in the military are here on their second or third tour and they don’t want to feel that this is all a doomed enterprise. I’m not saying it is, but to some extent they are victims of their own propaganda. Two reasonable people can look at the same set of information and come to different conclusions. A good example: I traveled recently to Taji for the handover of a large swath of territory north of Baghdad to the Iraqi Army’s 9th Armored Division. This was meant to be a big milestone: an important chunk of territory that has lots of insurgent activity, given over completely to the control of the Iraqi Army. But when we spoke to the Iraqi Army officers, they said they didn’t have enough equipment. They are still completely dependent on the U.S. Army for their logistics, their meals, and a lot of their communications. The United States turned territory over to them, but they are not a functioning, independent army unit yet.

    Rod Nordland, chief foreign correspondent for Newsweek, was Baghdad bureau chief from 2003 to 2005.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/c...d=3525&print=1
    Interesting, no? All that talk about freedom being on the march, progress being made.. they can't even get the electricity working 5 years into it.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reporting from Iraq: Bush's desperate spin on a total mess

    On Larry King last nite while seated next to his robotic botoxed idiot wife, Bush did admit that Iraq was a diplomatic clusterfucktoid! It was amazing, I think he was high on the fact that he was being asked questions by someone more retarded than himself and he let his defense mechanisms relax for a second when he answered that question w/ a "Yes".
    I should post the transcript...

    his facial expressions continue to dumbfound me; i just can't stand to watch him for more than a few minutes w/o wanting to tear my hair out and make monkey noises back at him!

    here's the link; i don't know if i can post the whole transcript so : http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIP...06/lkl.01.html

    here's the part that made me cringe; all three of them were morons live on my T.V. and to think that this man has so much control in my life;

    LARRY KING: But, also, Mr. President, you're into taking the lead on things. Iraq was an example. You took the lead on Iraq. The United Nations went along.

    G. BUSH: Right.

    LARRY KING: You got other countries to go along. Why not take the lead here?

    G. BUSH: We have. The reason why there's six-party talks is because we took the lead. And I've looked long and hard at this issue and I'm confident the best way to solve the problem is to have the Chinese and South Korea and the Japanese and Russia sitting side-by- side with us, saying to Kim Jong-il, "It's not in your interest to isolate yourself from the world. It's not in your interest to keep defying the demands, reasonable demands of the world, and there's a better way for you to move forward."

    LARRY KING: Did this affect your July 4th, Laura?

    L. BUSH: Not really. You know, we watched the fireworks, of course, from the Truman Balcony right above this window and had a birthday party for the president.

    (CROSSTALK)

    L. BUSH: But we knew by the time the party started that the rockets had pretty much failed or...

    LARRY KING: But when it happened...

    L. BUSH: ... you know, weren't that destructive.

    LARRY KING: ... did it destruct your day?

    L. BUSH: Well, sure. You know, we worried about it, obviously. But what I spent the day doing actually was watching our shuttle take off from Florida.

    G. BUSH: And I had been in Fort Bragg speaking to our troops and, you know, the system worked well. Don Rumsfeld called me and said, "Look, he's fired, you know, rockets, some of them scuds, you know, that went in the Sea of Japan. Looks like he fired his long- range rocket that tumbled out of the sky."

    But we responded very quickly. We had a plan in place to respond if he were to fire these things.

    LARRY KING: Were you prepared to shoot it down?

    G. BUSH: If it headed to the United States, we've got a missile defense system that will defend our country.
    here's where he partially admits his failure, but I don't think he cares, b/c him and his cronies have succeed big time when it comes to more control over the ppl in this country and more control over oil supply and demand and more $$$$$ for his cronies and all those profitting over govt. contracts! so "you could say that" doesn't really apply to him personally, but it applys to all those who've lost their lives ridiculously over there for no fucking reason.

    LARRY KING: Was Iraq then a diplomatic failure?

    G. BUSH: Well, you could say that, after 17 U.N. resolutions.


    LARRY KING: Concerning Iraq, do you ever have doubts about it? Do you ever say, you know, "The country obviously turns one way. Things don't look great sometimes. People are kind of down?" Does it ever get to you to say -- and this is for both of you. Does it ever get to you to say, "Maybe, maybe it was wrong?"

    G. BUSH: The decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision and I'm absolutely convinced it was.

    Where I get down is when I, you know, that some grieving mom or wife or dad has lost their loved one and that's the agony of war. And I've met with enough families to know how it's broken their heart to lose a loved one.

    But I made the right decision and we will succeed in Iraq, unless we decide to quit. And success in Iraq will be really important for the world. It's important for there to be a democracy in the heart of the Middle East.

    Things don't happen quickly when it comes to helping a nation go from a tyranny to a democracy. But the Iraqi people were given a chance to vote and they did overwhelmingly. And now we're working with a new unity government, to help succeed.

    And when we succeed, I think they'll look back at this moment in history and say it's the beginning of changing the conditions that caused there to be such resentment that people would be willing to commit suicide, acts of suicide against U.S. citizens.

    LARRY KING, CNN HOST: You have had doubts?

    L. BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel exactly like George does. I think it's really the right thing to do. I think if you look back and we -- Saddam Hussein was still there. And nothing had ever been done, and 17 resolutions had been passed and he had never complied with any of those resolutions.

    But then George would be blamed, the president would be blamed, the United States would be blamed for not doing anything.

    KING: How do you handle it emotionally when people say...

    (CROSSTALK)

    L. BUSH: Well, it's...

    (CROSSTALK)

    KING: And you listen...

    L. BUSH: It's tough. I mean, the polls, that's, you know that's...

    (CROSSTALK)

    KING: Though it's public opinion.

    L. BUSH: You know, that doesn't -- don't really mean anything. The polls aren't important.

    But when you meet families who've lost someone there, you know, it's sad. It's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking for them, it's heartbreaking for us. It's heartbreaking for everybody in the United States.

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIP...06/lkl.01.html
    Last edited by AliceInWonderland; July 7th, 2006 at 12:59 PM.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reporting from Iraq: Bush's desperate spin on a total mess

    Larry King is such a douche, the guy doesn't ask anything but softball questions. it's ridiculous, I don't know why he bothers being on the air at all.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Default Re: Reporting from Iraq: Bush's desperate spin on a total mess


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    Default Re: Reporting from Iraq: Bush's desperate spin on a total mess

    I prefer George Bush over that hag Laura Bush ANY day!! she's done nothing for middle-class America.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reporting from Iraq: Bush's desperate spin on a total mess

    She's done nothing for anybody!

    Bush has actively FUCKED OVER middle-class America, he's worse. I'd take her, but I'd need to slap her around a bit.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reporting from Iraq: Bush's desperate spin on a total mess

    omg thats exactly how i felt last nite watching! ^ i literally wanted to slap my t.v. and she is a total zombie though w/ a glowing white motionless face! so i doubt she would have felt a thing if i in fact ever had the opportunity to knock some sense into her.

    & bushie is starting to show his age i noticed too.

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