N. Z. Bear reports a rather disturbing and bizarre exchange heard on NPR. Anne Garrels, NPR’s correspondent in Iraq, observed,

I think a curious high point was in the weeks afterwards when I realized that all the months of staying there had really been worth it because Iraqis had so accurately predicted what was going to happen happen; Iraqis knew themselves and made it very clear. So in a perverse kind of way I guess that was a high point. I was astonished at how ill-prepared the Bush administration was for the aftermath from the very beginning. And that continues to this day.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. JohnC says:

    This seems hardly worse than using 9/11 as the excuse to reshape the middle east, get tax cuts through, and generally as the excuse of any republican policy.

  2. JohnW says:

    Besides the obvious “what does our repsonse to 9-11 have to do with Garrels thoughts?”, I wonder what you would have had the U.S. do in response to the 9-11 attack? — find the terrosists responsible so we could apologize to them, no doubt!

  3. harm d. says:

    i listen to npr a minimum of 2 hours per day during the commute to & fro berkeley even though, or maybe because their rather obvious slant consistently infuriates me.

    what’s in a wierd way kinda refreshing, however, is the relative honesty of those on the air. like ms. garrels, an overwhelming majority of nprnicks simply make no secret of their inclinations & (i guess this is the en vogue term) progressive predilections, & that is just so much better than the air of supposed objectivity you get in other media outlets.

  4. Paul says:

    NOOOO there is no media bias… especially not on NPR!

    And JohnW… JohnC’s comments rarely make sense. No matter what is written he then post a 2 or 3 line smart assed remark bashing Bush.

    The charge can be loony and completely off the topic but that is not the point. JohnC has bashed Bush and that is all that matters.

    It really is sad to watch. He has not ideas, just attacks for the sake of the attack… A prototypical Dem.


  5. Evor Glens says:

    NPR was severely handicapped by the lousy choice of Ann Garrels to cover Iraq during the war. She has no real military expertise, and her hysterical reports from Baghdad during the recent conflict were superficial and uninformative. Why would NPR allow somebody to carry the burden of covering a combat zone with no knowledge of military affairs? Would they rely on someone to cover the Supreme Court with no knowledge of the law? No, they have Nina Tottenberg, who provides depth and context for her coverage of the Court. Why did they stick with a washed-up, compromised has-been like Garrels to cover Baghdad during an invasion without at least back-up support from someone — anyone — who would have had a clue?

    Example: After the infamous market explosion, which was most likely the result of an errant Iraqi SAM (never mentioned by Garrels), she quoted a man on the scene, who she said represented the “Iraqi people”, and the quote was something like, “is this what Americans mean by liberation; is this the meaning of democracy?” By strange coincidence, less than 36 hours later, after another event where civillians were killed by an expolsion, — not claimed by the US forces — she interviewed another man, and he was reported to say, “is this what Americans mean by liberation; is this the meaning of democracy?” They were almost identical quotes, word for word. I guess all Iraqis possess the same sense of irony and the ability to complain in idiomatic, American english. Perhaps what we were really hearing was what Ann decided she wanted to say, based on her own ideology, using the NPR microphone to propogate her views under the unverifiable cover the “Iraqi People” — such arrogance is repulsive. Who designated her as the official mouthpiece of the “Iraqi People”, who are only monolithic when she wants to make a point critical of the US, but who become surprisingly heterogeneous when she wants to describe all the factional violence driven by centuries of tribalism.

    And how is that every dread-filled report she files is from Baghdad? It would be almost like reporting from NYC and claiming it was representative of the entire USA. How absurd. Is she lazy? Is she unwilling to travel outside the old Baath Party homelands and risk seeing another side of the war’s aftermath?

    Plus, she has never owned-up to the compromises she may have made with the Saddam regime in order to retain access to Baath party leaders. Is this the best NPR can do? Don’t they have anyone else?

    She and Julie McCarthy, who reports from Israel, are both so unhinged in their bias that they are losing credibility for NPR every time they file a report. Here is Julie after the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas last week, “Mr. Abbas resigned citing frustration with the Bush Administration and the unwillingness of the US government to put any real pressure on Israel to make serious concessions.” Hmmmm, from what I read elsewhere, which actually quoted him in full, this was reason #4, after (1) Arafat failed to support him and actively undermined his authority, (2) His P.A. forces were not yet strong enough to stand up to the militants, and time was running out for the Road Map, and (3) He and his family had been threatened personally if he made any further comments or took any steps to disarm or disempower Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa, etc.. So why the selective editing by Julie McCarthy? It would not be because she didn’t like the picture painted by the other reasons, which do not fit cleanly into NPR/BBC dogma, would it? These guys are falling fast — I say we stop funding the CPB, which still provides significant taxpayer money to NPR, and let the fellow travelers of NPR carry the entire load.

    (Previously posted on TLB site; my apologies to those who read this twice.)