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.

Web Page

U.S. Foreign Policy Blog

E-Mail: dormanw at

<< current


War, Peace, and the Mass Media
Wednesday, April 11, 2007  
'Your Iraq plan?' is a pointless question
Candidates should acknowledge that Bush's war is a failure and look beyond Iraq.

By Andrew J. Bacevich
Los Angeles Times
April 9, 2007

Blog Editor's note: In this opinion piece, Bacevich gives a crystal clear view of what journalists should be asking presidential candidates about American foreign policy. He is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of "The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War."

For today's presidential candidates, the question is unavoidable: What is your plan for Iraq?

In interviews and town hall meetings, on talk shows and at fundraisers, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and Rudolph W. Giuliani and all the others aspiring to succeed President Bush confront a battery of Iraq questions: Are you for the surge or against it? If the surge fails, what's your Plan B? How will you help the troops win? How will you get the troops out?

However sincere, such questions are also pointless. To pose them is to invite dissembling. The truth is that next to nothing can be done to salvage Iraq. It no longer lies within the capacity of the United States to determine the outcome of events there. Iraqis will decide their own fate. We are spectators, witnesses, bystanders caught in a conflagration that we ourselves, in an act of monumental folly, touched off.

The questions that ought to be asked now — but so far have not been — are of a different order.

To read the full text, see Los Angeles

8:13 AM

Tuesday, April 10, 2007  
Reporter recalls the layers of truth told in Iraq
After 41/2 years 'in country,' The Times' Borzou Daragahi looks back on what it took each day to get to the story and get out alive.

By Borzou Daragahi
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

April 10, 2007

Baghdad — THE young man with the AK-47 at a checkpoint in the Triangle of Death ordered us out of the car the moment he realized I was a foreigner. A flat gray sky closed in. Dust and diesel exhaust filled the hot air. He led us into the desert, over scrub brush and cigarette butts, toward a grizzled man in a wooden hut.

"And who is he?" the older man asked my Iraqi colleague and interpreter, Raheem.

I had repeatedly promised my bosses, my colleagues, my family and my wife, Delphine, that I wouldn't take big risks. But here I was in the early summer of 2006 in the middle of a lawless desert between Baghdad and Najaf that had swallowed up hundreds of Iraqis and not a small number of foreigners. I was speaking to a man who acted like a cop but looked like he could have been an insurgent commander, the head of a kidnapping ring or a death squad leader.

To read the full text, see Los Angeles

7:54 AM

Monday, April 09, 2007  
Sweet Little Lies

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
Monday 09 April 2007

Blog editor's note: Krugman's analyis does not just apply to members of the public, in my view. It also contributes to the credulity of mainstream journalism.

Four years into a war fought to eliminate a nonexistent threat, we all have renewed appreciation for the power of the Big Lie: people tend to believe false official claims about big issues, because they can't picture their leaders being dishonest about such things.

But there's another political lesson I don't think has sunk in: the power of the Little Lie - the small accusation invented out of thin air, followed by another, and another, and another. Little Lies aren't meant to have staying power. Instead, they create a sort of background hum, a sense that the person facing all these accusations must have done something wrong.

For a long time, basically from 9/11 until the last remnants of President Bush's credibility drowned in New Orleans, the Bush administration was able to go big on its deceptions. Most people found it inconceivable that an American president would, for example, assert without evidence that Saddam and Al Qaeda were allies. Mr. Bush won the 2004 election because a quorum of voters still couldn't believe he would grossly mislead them on matters of national security.

Before 9/11, however, the right-wing noise machine mainly relied on little lies. And now it has returned to its roots.

To read the full text, see

2:14 PM

This page is powered by Blogger.