Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"No news out of Iraq means that something so horribly dangerous is going on that nobody can report it."

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Patrick Cockburn, who has been reporting from Iraq extensively, just won the 2005 Martha Gellhorn Prize for War Reporting. You also talk about turning points in this last year in Iraq, two critical points among them: the capture by U.S. Marines of the rebel stronghold of Fallujah.

PATRICK COCKBURN: Yes. I think that the -- every so often, events like that occur that are billed as a turning point in the war. And, in a way, it's gotten easier for the U.S. military, for Washington, to do this, because ironically as the situation deteriorates, it becomes more and more difficult for journalists, for the media, to report properly. You know, if I was to, let's say, go south, take the road south from Baghdad, I would get about 20 miles before I was killed. Any Westerner would be killed on that road. The same is true of all the roads connecting Baghdad with the other provinces.

So when somebody like Iyad Allawi, who you mentioned earlier, the former prime minister, said, stood up in Washington last year just before the election and said only three out of four Iraqi provinces, three out of four of 18, were truly dangerous, everybody in Iraq knew this was untrue. But it's very difficult to go and prove that by the very fact that if you’re going into most of these provinces, you simply won't make it. So in a way, the atrocities committed by Zarqawi has made it much easier for the administration to pretend that no news is good news. In fact, no news out of Iraq means that something so horribly dangerous is going on that nobody can report it.



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