Friday, June 09, 2006

The following is an article by Tom Fenton, noted CBS news Correspondent,that really captures just how bad things are over in Iraq and how the news from Bush's Mistake as reported by the Mainstream Media is just so much Infomercial Sugar Coated Bullshit:

Iraq: The Mounting Body Count

By Tom Fenton

The hunting down and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraq’s most wanted terrorist, was one of those rare moments of good news in the Iraq war. Most of the time, the news seems unremittingly bad – especially so for me when the dead and wounded suddenly included three CBS News colleagues and friends. Kimberly Dozier is one of the bravest television foreign correspondents in the business – a committed, even driven, journalist, who has given the story in Iraq all she has. She narrowly escaped death and is now back in the U.S. recovering from serious injuries.

Kimberly Dozier Her camera team, Paul Douglas and James Brolan, were killed instantly when the car bomb cut them down moments after they stepped out of their armored car. Their true value can only be appreciated by those who have served with them. They were both topflight professionals and charming companions, journalists who died to bring the images and sounds of war to the television set in your comfortable living room back home.

Kimberly, Paul and James apparently had done everything right. They were wearing their protective gear. They were not out on the streets of Baghdad on their own: they were embedded with the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division. But the essential element for anyone who tries to cover this war is luck. And theirs ran out.

By some counts, as many journalists have now been killed in Iraq as were killed while covering all of World War II, or Vietnam. “Covering,” though, is perhaps not the right term for this war. It can’t be covered now, not in the normal way. Roadside bombs and kidnapping have made most of the country too dangerous, so the small band of Western journalists who still volunteer to report from Iraq have to limit their contacts with the Iraqi public to an extreme minimum. Being imbedded with the military used to be the fallback option – a chance for journalists to see something more than their Baghdad hotel compounds. Now riding with the military is so dangerous that some news organizations have stopped doing that, as well.

You still get television reports from the war, but much of what you see is being reported and shot by anonymous Iraqis who risk their lives daily by working for Western networks and news agencies. There is another aspect to this war that makes it so unreal. Back in America, where I have been spending a few days on a book tour, I get no feeling that we are a country at war. Most of us have not been asked to make any sacrifices. In fact, our government has been cutting our taxes. The burden is being carried by the professional military and their families. They are paying the price: it’s their sons and daughters who are in those coffins the Pentagon won’t let the media film – close to 2500 so far -- and whose wounded bodies are being reconstructed by doctors performing daily miracles.

Sadly, they are not the only casualties of war. “Stuff happens,” as Defense Secretary Rumsfeld so famously said. War is messy. It’s far,far, worse than those carefully edited images you see in your living rooms.

When the war began, and we reporters asked General Tommy Franks about Iraqi casualties, he told us, “We don’t do body counts.” Well somebody does. The Iraqi Body Count Project publishes a running total of Iraqi civilian deaths - some of them victims of insurgents’ bullets and bombs and the rampant lawlessness and, yes, some of them victims of American bullets and bombs.

The total listed on their web site, “Iraqbodycount.net” is now roughly 40,000, and that includes only deaths reported by reliable media sources. Since many deaths go unreported, the real figure must be higher. It is the nature of the news business that members of the media make headlines when they become victims: those who are killed like Douglas and Brolan, and those who are gravely wounded like Dozier and ABC’s Bob Woodruff. Soldiers who die in combat are named in their hometown newspapers.

For the rest of the world, Iraqi deaths are nameless statistics, if they are recorded at all. The true picture of this tragic war is only beginning to trickle through the junk news and infotainment on our news media to touch the consciousness of the American public at large. It raises fundamental questions: When will the carnage stop? When will it all end? There are no easy solutions - not even the killing of Iraq’s most wanted terrorist.

Tom Fenton, whose long career as a foreign correspondent for CBS News covered more than three decades of world events., continues to follow international news from his base in London. He is the author of "Bad News: The Decline of Reporting, the Business of News and the Danger to Us All."Iraq: The Mounting Body CountJune 8th, 2006


Post a Comment

<< Home