For all our bashing of the media for their inexplicable failure to capture the lies and true intentions of the Bush administration in Iraq, some newspapers and magazine have been getting it right. There's the foreign press, so amazingly available on the Web. There are magazines like The Nation, a progressive voice that has always provided important insights on foreign and domestic news, and has been adding tremendously to the debate over the war in light of the timidity of most daily newspapers. And there are the big, national dailies, like The New York Times, with daily coverage that may lean toward the administration's point of view, but nevertheless are smart enough not to ignore the big truths when they rear their ugly heads.
The role that newspapers like The Independent can play is to bring people's attention to stories that aren't being picked up by our local papers. That's been a full-time job lately. Here are a few examples of stories we should have seen, but didn't:
"The United States is planning a long-term military relationship with the emerging government of Iraq, one that would grant the Pentagon access to military bases and project American influence into the heart of the unsettled region ... " --The New York Times, lead story, April 20.
"Many [of the former generals playing military analysts for the TV networks] hold paid advisory board and executive positions at defense companies and serve as advisers for groups that promoted an invasion of Iraq." They include Lt. Gen. Barry McCaffrey and Col. Wayne Downing on NBC, and Lt. Bill Cowan and Maj. Robert Bevelacqua on Fox. --The Nation, April 21.
"President Bush vetoed several specific (and relatively cost-effective) measures proposed by Congress that would have addressed critical national vulnerabilities. As a result, the country remains more vulnerable than it should be today," according to a Brookings Institution report. That includes protecting nuclear power plants and chemical plants. --The Nation, May 5.
"Apparent lobbying by American art dealers to dismantle Iraq's strict export laws has heightened fears about the looting of the country's antiquities as order breaks down in the last stages of the war." --The Guardian, April 10, before the gutting of the National Museum of Iraq and other collections. There's now evidence that looters were really thieves targeting specific pieces for collectors. If the United States knew museums were in danger, why didn't we do anything about it? Or were we somehow complicit? (Thanks to Todd Morman and www.monkeytime.org for the link to The Guardian story.)
If you like what The Independent's been doing lately, have some ideas about how we can do it better, or would just like some free birthday cake, please come tell us Thursday, April 24, at our Readers' Forum at the Barnes & Noble in Cary, 760 S.E. Maynard Road, from 7 to 9 p.m.