As today’s Washington Post covers American troops’ latest movements into the war-ravaged region surrounding Baghdad, there seems to be a new element of self-doubt and, dare we say it, anti-patriotism creeping into the paper’s coverage of the war in Iraq. In other words, that unique sort of “what the fuck is happening here?” angle that we thought only Michael Wolff wasn’t afraid to touch! To wit, take notice of the following bit which appears at the outset of “Offensive Launched South of Baghdad”, focusing on the second and third paragraphs of the news item by Anthony Shadid:
BAGHDAD, Nov. 23 — More than 5,000 U.S., British and Iraqi troops launched an offensive Tuesday against a swath of territory south of Baghdad where armed insurgents have roamed through the streets, imposed stringent Islamic law and carried out kidnappings and summary executions at checkpoints along the main roads.
The campaign began with a series of raids this morning in Jabala, a town east of the most restive region, which Iraqis have dubbed the “Triangle of Death.” The U.S. military said in a statement that it had detained 32 men believed to be insurgents. In the past three weeks, it said, U.S. and Iraqi forces have arrested nearly 250 insurgents.
The military statements were impossible to confirm independently. The territory, inhabited by a mix of Sunni and Shiite Muslims, has become too dangerous for foreign reporters to visit.
Also impossible to confirm was Post executive editor Leonard Downie‘s newfound sense of doubt in administration propaganda. Because, as we all know, in March 2003 it was far too dangerous for American news reporters to congregate around independent booksellers and alternate news outlets while engaging in research on reasons as to why the invasion of Iraq may have been a bad idea at the outset…
I mean, responsible journalism? What the fuck is that?