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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Friday, August 29, 2003



Good Catch By The Cal Pundit

Kevin Drum presents a vivid example of misleading reporting by Reuters. However, we aren't sure he appreciates his own discovery:

POSTSCRIPT: The more I think about Rumsfeld's recent comments [Reuters link], the more they piss me off. Here's what he said three days ago:

"There are some recommending that more U.S. forces go in. I can tell you that if Gen. Abizaid recommended it, it would happen in a minute. But he has not recommended it."

Technically that's true: Abizaid doesn't want more U.S. forces. But he does want more forces.

Crikey. Can you trust a thing these guys say without parsing every single phoneme to within an inch of its life?


Hmm. I fear that by "these guys", the estimable Cal Pundit might actually mean Bush, Rumsfeld, and company.

But he should have targetted Reuters. Let's go the to transcript:

Rumsfeld: My position is that we ought to have as many forces in the Middle East as is appropriate. And if we're going to make an error, we ought to have too many, rather than too few. And that is the position of the president. It's the position of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the vice chairman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely, all of them, and the combatant commander. John Abizaid's the combatant commander. He has indicated that he has the level of forces there, U.S. forces, that he believes is appropriate at the present time --

Q: (Off mike.)

Rumsfeld: -- for the tasks that he has.

He has also said that we need to increase the coalition forces. And we've been working to do that, and they're flowing in now, in larger numbers.

But most important, he and the Coalition Provisional Authority have been working very hard to increase the number of Iraqi forces. So the Iraqi forces in the police, the army, the militia, the border patrol have all been growing at very rapid clip. And I don't know the number at the moment -- it changes from time to time -- but the last time I looked, it was something in the neighborhood of 40 or 50 thousand Iraqis are now either trained or in training and on the job, armed, to contribute, to provide security in the country.

If you think about it, if you had a choice between foreign presence for security and Iraqi presence for security, with an Iraqi face on it, clearly the latter is preferable. It is, in the last analysis, the responsibility of the Iraqi people to take control of their country and to provide the kind of security and stabilities and an environment that's hospitable to economic recovery and political recovery.

The -- there are some recommending that more U.S. forces go in. I can tell you that if General Abizaid recommended it, it would happen in a minute. But he has not recommended it, and we are putting a full court press on trying to increase the number of Iraqis.


From which Reuters extracted the quote above, thereby irking sunny Southern Cal.

Trust, and verify. But with Reuters, skip directly to "verify".


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