Tuesday, May 01, 2007

General Petraeus Sets the Record Straight on NPR

Steve Inskeep interviewed the General:

Inskeep: Let me ask more about that sectarian violence. You said in your public remarks in recent days in Washington: “There can be no sustainable outcome if militia death squads are allowed to lie low during the surge only to resurface later.” Isn’t that exactly what is happening?

Petraeus: No, it’s not at all, and in fact, there are hundreds of members of different death squads who are now in detention, and we have continued to go after them as have Iraqi security forces with the support of the government.

Inskeep: But haven’t sectarian militias generally decided to back off for this moment, and it’s clear that they’re still around.

Petraeus: You have to distinguish between run of the mill, if you will, sorta the guys on the street, and the death squads. No matter how you slice and dice the numbers out there, whether you include clearly sectarian car bombs and IED’s… no matter what it is, it has come down about two thirds since December last year.

Inskeep: Really? Because it’s been said sectarian executions have gone down, but if car bombs are stronger, even going up, aren’t most of those sectarian killings? Sunni’s killing Shia’s?

Petraeus: Not really. Interestingly, they’re not. The biggest bombing in recent weeks, which was in a car park near a market in East Baghdad, was in a relatively mixed neighborhood.

Inskeep: Granting, the progress that you’re reporting on death squads specifically… are there militias, for example, those loyal to Moqtada al Sadr, which have taken a lower profile since you started the surge - and they’re still there?

Petraeus: Yes, yeah, - a lot of these, you know, how do you count a militia? I mean, the guy working - no kidding - we walked through a market with one of the Iraqi generals, and he said ‘by the way, you know these guys, you know, they’d be in jay shah mahdi, if they weren’t out here selling… so what you have to do, of course is, you have to get the angry young men off the streets by giving them alternatives to hanging out on the street corner with an AK-47.

It's very clear from this interview that Inskeep aimed to corner Petraeus with facts he thought to be true, which of course they were not. Repeatedly, the General politely corrected the reporter.

This exchange is quite telling. It reveals how the mainstream media, the liberal media in particular, is not simply interested in presenting limited portions of news to their audience.

Rather, Inskeep's obvious conviction about the facts he believes to be true regarding the war speaks volumes about the degree by which the media's lazy, skewed reporting has only served to dupe itself and warp its own sense of the facts on the ground.

After watching NPR Baghdad Bureau Chief Jamie Tarabay's performance on Bill Maher's Real Time last week, I am not surprised in the least.

No comments: