Columnist Hits Media for Sanitized Coverage of U.S. Air Bombing

By: E&P Staff

Bob Koehler, in a new column today, criticized The New York Times and other media for their sanitized coverage of the U.S. air war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Tribune Media Services writer first quoted the following paragraph from a Times story: “Civilian casualties have been a continuing issue in Afghanistan, and President Karzai has rebuked American and NATO forces for what he has called carelessness in their military operations.”

Then Koehler commented: “This is the genteel, bloodless language of geopolitics, spoken by the Gray Lady and the heads of state and makers of policy whom she serves.

“You wouldn?t know that ‘carelessness’ referred to killing a bride (and twenty-some guests) on her wedding day, except that the observation comes at the end of The New York Times? account of our July 6 bombing of an Afghani wedding, which followed a Fourth of July missile strike in that country — look at the fireworks, Mom! — that killed 15 innocent civilians. Careless superpower indeed.”

Koehler said “carelessness” is actually “a deliberate U.S. policy of waging the war on terror from the air… from ‘shock and awe’ and ‘mission accomplished’ to ‘the surge is working.’ It is undebated, unreported, unquestioned, this policy conceived with the vacuous single-mindedness of serial killers….”

The columnist recalled that “when the Nazis dropped 50 tons of explosives on the Spanish city of Guernica in 1937, the world called it barbaric. Today, such a pummeling of some hapless Third World region is routine, transformed by an embedded and co-opted media into ‘humdrum ordinariness,’ as Tom Engelhardt has pointed out…. We have lost our watchdog media, which can’t even rouse itself awake long enough to spot the patterns in its own routine coverage of the war.”

Koehler’s complete column can be seen here.

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