More on IO

More on IO:

The military issued a statement on the IO campaign in Iraq that seems to have gotten everyone's dander up. The statement appears to read, 'Thanks for your input, everybody. If we decide we've done anything wrong, we'll stop doing it. As to which, we'll get back to you.'

My favorite piece of criticism of this IO comes from Christopher Hitchens, who was in full voice:

In a situation already dominated by rumor and conspiracy-mongering, and in a country rife with death squads, it exposes every honest Iraqi reporter to the charge that he or she is an agent of a foreign power. Who at the Pentagon could possibly have needed to have this explained to them? ... The prostitute journalist is a familiar and well-understood figure in the Middle East, and Saddam Hussein's regime made lavish use of the buyability of the regional press. Now we, too, have hired that clapped-out old floozy, Miss Rosie Scenario, and sent her wh....g through the streets.
Hitchens is a serious writer, and a good one, but this is just silly. It might be a plausible argument if the US were the only group in Iraq attempting to promote a story line. However, that's not even close to the case. Iran is going at it with both hands, and Iranian-linked groups actually run some of the major news sources in Iraq (such as SCIRI's press). The 'prostitute journalist' is hardly an American export.

Everyone in Iraq knows that foreign powers are trying to influence their thinking. The United States, at least, requires that our attempts to do so involve only truthful information. We may pay folks to print stories for us, but the stories will at least be true. You think Iran restricts itself thus? Syria? Turkey, even?

Yet, as always, the United States is the villian even though it is trying to play the same game as everyone else by more moral rules. Even our Mr. Hitchens forgets that this time, which is a shame. I've come to expect better from him, though I have confidence that this was merely a momentary lapse.

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