Saturday, June 03, 2006

A big public relations problem

About the March massacre in Ishaqi: BBC headline: “Troops Cleared of Iraq Wrongdoing.” Press Association headline: “US Army Cleared of Misconduct.” In fact, a search shows 970 related stories. Who cleared the US Army? Full marks to anyone who saw past all that passive voice and guessed it was the US Army.

I would love to know the name of the Republican aide who described the various massacres in Iraq to the WaPo as “a big public relations problem.”

Speaking of public relations, the WaPo has some more details about the “core warrior values” course, including some of the scenarios used (If a roadside bomb has a detonation cord leading to a clearly marked clinic, can you blow the shit out of the clinic? Yes, yes you can.). The script says that soldiers “should think through the possible consequences of engaging a questionable target in an area heavily populated by noncombatants.” Which is funny, because that seems to have been precisely what they didn’t do in Ishaqi, even if you accept the military’s claim that the civilians were “collateral deaths” and not shot at close range, as the video of the bodies suggests.

Another superb military name, the retired general who was in charge of the taking of Baghdad in 2003 and now says war-planning was not so terrific: Major General Buford Blount.

The next freshman class at UCLA will have 96 black students out of 4,852 (and 20 of those are athletes), a lower percentage of blacks than the University of Spoiled Children (USC).

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