Veteran Baghdad Reporter Punctures Upbeat U.S. Assessments
Journalists in Iraq are often criticized for being too positive or too negative about the conflict there -- or for sticking to their home offices as violence escalates. Yet there is much evidence that often they are still able to obtain, and express, a more accurate assessment of conditions in the country than top military officers or visiting politicians.
Tom Lasseter of the McClatchy (formerly Knight Ridder) bureau in Baghdad has long been the forefront of both daring and on-the-mark reporting from the war zone. In his latest dispatch, he observes, "As security conditions continue to deteriorate in Iraq, many Iraqi politicians are challenging the optimistic forecasts of governments in Baghdad and Washington, with some worrying that the rosy views are preventing the creation of effective strategies against the escalating violence.
"Their worst fear, one that some American soldiers share, is that top officials don't really understand what's happening. Those concerns seem to be supported by statistics that show Iraq's violence has increased steadily during the past three years."