Commentary and links relating to media coverage of war; both before, during, and after.

William A. Dorman is Professor of Government at California State University, Sacramento, and has taught a course in War, Peace and the Mass Media since 1970.

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War, Peace, and the Mass Media
Saturday, April 08, 2006  
Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?


The New Yorker
Issue of 2006-04-17

Blog editor's note: Seymour M. Hersh, of course, is one of the top investigative reporters working on national security issues in the U.S. and is a Pulitizer Prize winner.

The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, ha increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and forme American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams o American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime th opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.

American and European intelligence agencies, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.), agree that Iran is intent on developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons. But there are widely differing estimates of how long that will take, and whether diplomacy, sanctions, or military action is the best way to prevent it. Iran insists that its research is for peaceful use only, in keeping with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that it will not be delayed or deterred.

There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush’s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change. Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has challenged the reality of the Holocaust and said that Israel must be “wiped off the map.” Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official said. “That’s the name they’re using. They say, ‘Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?’ ”

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

To read the full text, see The New Yorker

6:57 PM

New Challenge for Press: U.S. Planning War on Iran?

ByEditor & Publisher Staff
April 08, 2006

Blog editor's note: Given the Iraq war's growing unpopularity with the American public, not to mention recent stories about how the Bush White House manipulated intelligence data to justify it, the central question should a massive attack against Iran come about is whether public support could be rallied once again so soon after the Iraq fiasco. My guess, I regret to say, is that public support could be whipped up for such a strike. The rally effect in popular opinion once again would kick in. Not unlike the run up to the 2003 war with Iraq, the mainstream press has done little to challenge the assumptions of official Washington about Iran, or seek out contrary opinion about U.S. options.

NEW YORK The United States is planning a massive bombing campaign against Iran, including possible use of bunker-buster nuclear bombs to destroy a suspected--but far from proven--nuclear weapons facility, The New Yorker magazine will report in its April 17 issue.

The article is written by famed investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. He writes that, as in Iraq, a driving force in the scenario is "regime change."

One of the options under consideration involves the possible use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, to insure the destruction of Iran's main centrifuge plant at Natanz, Hersh writes.

To read the full text, see Editor & Publisher

6:10 PM

Thursday, April 06, 2006  
Fiery Coulter lambasts liberals, shows support for war
Apr 6, 2006

Blog editor's note: A less charitable soul than I might argue that Ms. Coulter's being paid $32,000 to speak on a university campus is like hiring David Hasselhoff to teach life guarding.

Liberals are "traitors," "cowards" and "idiots," the fiery conservative commentator Ann Coulter told a nearly full house at the University of Florida's Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Wednesday.

And that's just as she was warming up.
In a 30-minute speech, Coulter shifted rapidly between topics as she tossed out barbed one-liners about prominent liberals for an audience of more than 1,000 people, skewering politicians, media personalities and academics.

"A college campus is the last place you should send someone to teach them American values," said the syndicated columnist and author.

While the hour-long question-and-answer session following the speech showed that there were both conservatives and liberals in the audience, the amount of applause seemed to suggest a majority embraced Coulter's views.

Accent, UF's student-run speaker's bureau, paid about $32,000 of its $370,000 annual budget for Coulter's speaking fees, travel and lodging.

12:33 PM

U.S. Rolls Out Nuclear Plan--
The administration's proposal would modernize the nation's complex of laboratories and factories as well as produce new bombs.

By Ralph Vartabedian
Los Angeles Times

April 6, 2006

The Bush administration Wednesday unveiled a blueprint for rebuilding the nation's decrepit nuclear weapons complex, including restoration of a large-scale bomb manufacturing capacity.

The plan calls for the most sweeping realignment and modernization of the nation's massive system of laboratories and factories for nuclear bombs since the end of the Cold War.

Until now, the nation has depended on carefully maintaining aging bombs produced during the Cold War arms race, some several decades old. The administration, however, wants the capability to turn out 125 new nuclear bombs per year by 2022, as the Pentagon retires older bombs that it says will no longer be reliable or safe.

To read the full text, see Los Angeles Times

12:23 PM

Monday, April 03, 2006  
Gen. Zinni: Rumsfeld Should Resign--Retired Marine Gen. Tony Zinni says Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should resign for his performance during the ongoing conflict in Iraq

April 3, 2006

Blog editor's note: Gen. Zinni was equally adamant in his concerns about invading Iraq BEFORE the war began in 2003. Unfortunately, he was a prophet without much honor in his own country. The American mass media gave little sustained attention to his objections. Gen. Zini is the second prominent former officer to call for Rumsfeld's resignation in as many weeks. A similar call was made by Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton (ret.) recently in The New York Times.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" this weekend, Zinni - the former head of CENTCOM - said others should follow Rumsfeld's lead, including "those who have been responsible for the planning, for overriding all the efforts that were made in planning before that, [and] those who stood by and allowed this to happen, that didn't speak out."

Zinni added, "There are appropriate ways within the system you can speak out, at congressional hearings and otherwise. I think they have to be held accountable."

Zinni appeared on the Sunday news program to promote his new book, "Battle For Peace," which lays out his case for believing that the Bush administration gravely erred in going to war in Iraq. The general said he had warned as early as 1998 - during the Clinton administration - that an attack on Iraq was not needed and would have serious consequences.

To read the full text, see

10:28 AM

Bush Iran Policy Hits a Wall

Global Beat
April 2006

Blog editor's note: Global Beat, which is produced by the Center for War, Peace and the News Media at Boston University, has an excellent summary, including links to a very useful interview, of where the Bush Administration stands just now in relation to its newest threat de jour, Iran. I recommend regular visits to the Global Beat web site for superb links to current analyses, stories and commentaries on world affairs in general and U.S. foreign policy in particular.

The United Nations Security Council last week finally adopted a Presidential Statement on Iran, but one that fell far short of what Washington had wanted. Resistance from China and Russia proved intractable, and rather than threaten action or frame the issue as a threat to global security, it simply urged Iran to comply with IAEA demands within 30 days or else the Council would discuss the matter further. Then, on Wednesday in Berlin, Secretary of State Condi Rice talked of sanctions as a consequence, and again her Russian counterpart rebuked her and insisted that Moscow was opposed to sanctions. More importantly, European diplomats at the talks revealed that their own strategy involved escalating both the pressure and the incentives for Iran to comply. Innocuous as that may sound, it's a direct challenge to a U.S. administration that has pursued non-proliferation diplomacy at the same time as maintaining a "regime-change" agenda in relation to Tehran...

To read the full text, see Global Beat

8:14 AM

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