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, February 17, 2007  

By Richard Reeves

Feb 9, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- I don't think there is much argument now that the United States made a mistake going into Iraq. We have destroyed the image we had earned or had tried to create as the necessary nation, the benevolent and humble superpower. Instead, with unbelievable arrogance, we have sowed civil war, scorn and hatred that will last for decades and almost certainly spread through the Middle East and beyond.

"Lessons learned" is the military term for examination and re-examination after engagement. Without doubt there will be "lessons learned" hearings and commissions and reports, public and private, military and civilian, after this debacle, one of the saddest episodes in American history. And there should be.

The investigations will begin with Congress, which itself has little to be proud of in this undeclared war. But with Democrats in power, both houses will begin the scrutinizing of the performance of the Republican White House and its intimidated intelligence community. The White House will try to escape blame by investigating both the military and intelligence agencies. The press will investigate them all.

But who will investigate the press? Who will say the emperor-investigators have no clothes? Who will shout that the press's performance these last few years has been as bad as most every other important institution in the land of the free?

To read the full text, see

8:03 AM

Monday, February 12, 2007  
Victory Is Not an Option
The Mission Can't Be Accomplished -- It's Time for a New Strategy

By William E. Odom
Washington Post
Sunday, February 11, 2007; B01

Blog editor's note: Some of the most insightful criticism of the Bush Administration's Iraq policies have come from former military officers of considerable rank and experience. William E. Odom, a retired Army lieutenant general, was head of Army intelligence and director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan. He served on the National Security Council staff under Jimmy Carter. A West Point graduate with a PhD from Columbia, Odom teaches at Yale and is a fellow of the Hudson Institute, hardly a leftist think tank.

The new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq starkly delineates the gulf that separates President Bush's illusions from the realities of the war. Victory, as the president sees it, requires a stable liberal democracy in Iraq that is pro-American. The NIE describes a war that has no chance of producing that result. In this critical respect, the NIE, the consensus judgment of all the U.S. intelligence agencies, is a declaration of defeat.

Its gloomy implications -- hedged, as intelligence agencies prefer, in rubbery language that cannot soften its impact -- put the intelligence community and the American public on the same page. The public awakened to the reality of failure in Iraq last year and turned the Republicans out of control of Congress to wake it up. But a majority of its members are still asleep, or only half-awake to their new writ to end the war soon.

Perhaps this is not surprising. Americans do not warm to defeat or failure, and our politicians are famously reluctant to admit their own responsibility for anything resembling those un-American outcomes. So they beat around the bush, wringing hands and debating "nonbinding resolutions" that oppose the president's plan to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq.

To read the full text, see Washington

10:18 AM

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