See the AP headline; read the AP story
Our old friend Jennifer Loven reports on what was essentially a cooperative meeting between ally Karzai and President Bush, and tries her best to spin it into a quarrel.
I know that reporters generally don't write their own headlines, so I probably can't blame her for that, but I can blame someone at the AP. Take a look: the headline reads "Bush rebuffs Karzai's request on troops." Then read the story, and decide whether you think the headline accurately portrays the gist of the situation, and the tenor and spirit of the meeting and the press conference.
Ms. Loven also writes:
Karzai thanked Bush for helping to put his country on the path to democracy. But he also came to their meeting with a long list of grievances.
I always imagine that journalists know the meaning of the words they use, and choose them quite carefully. I would suggest to Ms. Loven that the proper word would be "requests," not "grievances."
A couple of days ago, the headlines about Karzai all read something like this (I can't find the links, but this is what I recall), "Karzai blasts US for Afghan prison abuse." But, if you look at the transcript of today's press conference, you read something quite different from Karzai:
On the question of the prisoner abuse, we are, of course, sad about that. But let me make sure that you all know that that does not reflect on the American people.
Right now in Afghanistan there is an Italian lady that has been kidnapped by an Afghan man, while there are hundreds of Afghan women demonstrating outside in the streets of Kabul demanding the release of that woman, the Italian lady.
So the prisoner abuse thing is not at all a thing that we attribute to anybody else but those individuals. The Afghan people are grateful very, very much to the American people, and recognize that individual acts do not reflect either on governments or on societies. These things happen everywhere.
Karzai--a devout Moslem--shows the same sort of common sense on the subject of Newsweek and the Koran-flushing story:
[The riots] were more against the elections in Afghanistan. They were more against the progress in Afghanistan. They were more against the strategic partnership with the United States.
We know who did it. We know the guys. We know the people behind those demonstrations. And unfortunately you don't, here, follow the Afghan press. But if you listen to the Voice of America, the Radio Liberty and the BBC, the Afghan population condemned those acts of arson in Afghanistan.
Of course, we are, as Muslims, very much unhappy with Newsweek bringing a matter so serious in the gossip column. It's really something that one shouldn't do, that responsible journalism shouldn't do at all.
But Newsweek story is not America's story. That's what we understand in Afghanistan.
So, Newsweek is losing credibility all over the world. I can't say that makes me weep. Sometimes I think that, if the MSM can't be objective, and can't put things in the proper context, they should just publish the transcripts and call it a day. Let us be the judges of what people are actually saying and meaning, and be done with the middlemen/women oh-so-helpfully "interpreting" it all for us.
And yes, the usual suspects will probably call Karzai an American puppet and Bush's willing tool. I find it hard to understand how anyone can look at the man and listen to him, and still doubt his deep integrity and sincerity, not to mention his sheer courage.