A Surge of Phony Spin on Iraq: Cole in Salon
My column is out in Salon.com Tuesday:
A surge of phony spin on Iraq
Bush’s backers are peddling a sunny view of the president’s strategy — despite Iraq’s political chaos and soaring death counts.
‘ The troop escalation was intended to calm down Baghdad and to give the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki breathing room to pursue a political reconciliation, especially with the Sunni Arab population. But the political goals of the surge are simply not being accomplished — and indeed, the political situation has deteriorated substantially. Maliki has lost even the few Sunni Arab allies he began with . . .
And what of the supposed “good news” on the military side of the equation? Before July ended, a spate of wire service and newspaper reports began appearing, saying that only 74 U.S. troops had been killed by Iraqi guerrillas that month, the lowest total since November and a sign that the surge was working. But the reporters and editors who gave us headlines such as “U.S. Death Toll in Iraq in July Expected to Be Lowest in ’07″ (New York Times) were being assiduously spun. Bush officials were undoubtedly pushing the information that produced these headlines in an attempt to give Republicans in Congress some good news to take back to their constituents during the August recess. . .
At our group blog, an interview with an Afgan woman in parliament about why Helmand Province is going to hell in a handbasket.