2007/09/25

IEDs and "real reporters" vs pundits

Mark Bowden brings up some very good points about good and bad journalism, but I bristled a bit when he spoke of "real journalists" and then began the next sentence with "We." Judith Miller of the New York Times was considered a "real journalist" and the Times later admitted (In a short piece back in May 2004 buried in the back pages) that her stories "...relied too heavily on now-suspect sources with insufficient corroboration." Yes, the Knight-Ridder reporters Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay were much better and much more accurate, but they were often featured on page A17 while Ms Miller got front-page, above-the-fold treatment with a picture to boot.

In February of this year, the Washington Post featured a story suggesting that IEDs in Iraq were imported from Iran. The story was filled with anonymous sources and blamed Iran's Quds Force. American officials charged outright that a certain brand of improvised explosive devices were arriving from Iran.

Problem: The LA Times reported that Iraqi machine shops were found turning out components for precisely these IEDs. Not only that, the devices simply aren't difficult to manufacture and Iraq has the capability to manufacture them. No credible evidence has been produced saying the IEDs originate in Iran, let alone that a particular group in Iran is to blame.

Bigger problem: We now have a legislative proposal, the Lieberman-Kyl Amendment, that calls upon the US to "...
combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran." What are some of those activities? Well, the National Review identifies "...agents of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards [who] fund and arm the Shiite extremists whose IEDs pierce the armor of U.S. soldiers..." and that "Explosively formed penetrator (EFP) attacks have risen dramatically.”

A truly qualified set of "real journalists" would be calling attention to how shaky the case against Iran really is as opposed to the same old set of mindless stenographers we have now. Silence, allowing the current accusations to stand, is just as deadly as lies and could lead to yet another unnecessary war.

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