The Pentagon recently announced guidelines for "embedding" reporters among troops in the upcoming war with Iraq. Last month, the Pentagon held a briefing for more than 50 bureau chiefs in Washington, D.C., to lay out guidelines for how journalists will cover the new war on Iraq. Under the plan, select reporters would live side by side with combat troops on the battlefront.
Reporters and photographers have been receiving special field training. Over the last few months they have been climbing ropes, riding in helicopters, crawling on their bellies, lifting weights and trekking for miles during rugged at places like Georgia’s Fort Benning and Virginia’s Quantico Marine Corps Base.
We’ll spend the rest of the hour with two veteran war correspondents: Chris Hedges of The New York Times, and Robert Fisk of the London Independent.
Hedges’ new book is ??War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. The book was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. And it was chosen by the Los Angeles Times as one of the top ten non-fiction books of the year.
Hedges has experienced the war zone from Central America to Iraq, from the Sudan to Sarajevo. He has been imprisoned and shot at. He’s unearthed mass graves and witnessed the effects of torture and death squads on victims of war around the world. He joins us in our studio.
We are also joined on the phone from Lebanon by Robert Fisk. He is the Middle East correspondent for the British daily newspaper, the Independent and has been based in Beirut, Lebanon for 26 years. His recent book is ??Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon.
Fisk wrote this week in the Independent:
"The boys from CNN, CBS, ABC and The New York Times will be 'embedded' among the US marines and infantry. The degree of censorship hasn’t quite been worked out. But it doesn’t matter how much the Pentagon cuts from the reporters’ dispatches. A new CNN system of 'script approval'–the iniquitous instruction to reporters that they have to send all their copy to anonymous officials in Atlanta to ensure it is suitably sanitised–suggests that the Pentagon and the Department of State have nothing to worry about."
- Chris Hedges, veteran war correspondent for The New York Times and author of the new book, ??War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning.
- Robert Fisk, veteran war correspondent and Middle East correspondent with the British newspaper the Independent. He is based in Beirut.
- President Bush, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute on Feb. 26, 2003, claiming a US invasion of Iraq will set the stage for peace in the Middle East.
- President Bush,/B>, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute on Feb. 26, 2003, calling for a Palestinian state and an end to Israeli settlements, but offering no details nor deadlines.