Monday, May 23, 2005

I'M GLAD THAT ZEYNEP at Under the Same Sun has sharper eyes than I do, because she caught a passage in that AP article about Karzai's meeting with Bush that sailed right past me. Since Zeynep informs us that permalinks are not working on Movable Type right now, I'll quote the whole post here.

Sometimes you read a piece that is just so full of incredible contradictions, Orwellian language and unfinessed propaganda that you cannot figure out what the writer was thinking when she typed those words.

Here's a story from the AP regarding Afghan "president" Karzai's visit to Washington.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai left the White House on Monday with no promise of more control over thousands of American troops in his country and with strains in his relationship with the United States on full display.

Despite a chummy side-by-side news conference with President Bush that was designed to showcase U.S. support for Afghanistan's first democratically elected leader, Karzai also got no promise of the quick repatriation of Afghan prisoners now in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere.

... "Of course our troops will respond to U.S. commanders," Bush said, even while praising the progress of Afghan forces and taking pains to say that the U.S. military consults with Karzai's government.

... Three years after the fall of the rigid Islamic rule of the Taliban, Afghanistan is a grateful U.S. ally but one obviously eager to assert greater independence. Juggling heavy troop commitments in Iraq as well as Afghanistan, the Bush administration would gladly hand the Afghans more authority if the country's military and economy could manage independently.

That time is years away, as Bush's pledge of continuing support and a joint statement laying out U.S. help for Afghan security, anti-terror and economic programs attest.

"Our mission in Afghanistan and Iraq is the same," Bush said at Monday's press conference in the White House East Room. "I mean, we want these new democracies to be able to defend themselves. And so we will continue to work with the Afghans to train them and to cooperate and consult with the government."

Karzai smiled and nodded as Bush spoke.

I can't stop shaking my head in disbelief. By what right does this journalist insert a sentence in the middle that reads "the Bush administration would gladly hand the Afghans more authority if the country's military and economy could manage independently." How does she know that? Where is the evidence they would gladly hand over any authority? Is the evidence their stubborn refusal to leave or cede control if asked by the president they recognize as democratically-elected? Is the evidence the well-documented, widespread torture of Afghani detainees on Afghani soil, by U.S. soldiers while the government of Afghanistan can only issue meek protests?

By what rights is this reporter making excuses for what can obviously be best described as good old colonialism?

Forget making excuses for colonialism. This reporter (Jennifer Loven) is inserting what is clearly her personal opinion in what is supposed to be a straight news article. Where is her source for this assertion? Who did she interview? Where is the quote?

I expect Scott McClellan to swoop down on this blatant example of pro-Bush, pro-military, unattributed statement of fact right away.

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