Misleading media reports today are announcing the end of the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan.
And the Washington Post:
There are many more along the same lines.
It’s important to understand that the troop reductions are only part of the total troop surge that happened under Obama.
As FAIR noted last year (Media Advisory, 6/23/11) there were two major increases in the number of U.S. troops in 2009:
When Obama took office in 2009, the U.S. had about 34,000 troops in Afghanistan. Obama has initiated two major troop increases in Afghanistan: about 20,000 additional troops were announced in February 2009, followed by the December 2009 announcement that an another 33,000 would be deployed as well; other smaller increases have brought the total to 100,000.
The surge that is “ending” today refers to the 33,000 that were sent in December. But the troops that were sent in the earlier Obama surge are still there. As the USA Today article notes, there are still 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, roughly double the number that were in the country when Obama took office.
These headlines might give the impression that the Afghan War is winding down. Based on the troop levels alone, that would be highly misleading.
Fielding rapid-fire questions at a town-hall-style event in Kolkata, she denounced Iran’s nuclear arms program and urged India to reduce its Iranian oil imports further.
“We appreciate what has been done, and of course we want to keep the pressure on Iran,” she said.
When I read that I thought, “Here we go again, another outlet misstating the basic facts about the Iran debate.”
Then I checked the transcript of the Clinton’s town hall, and that is indeed what she said, in response to a question about U.S. pressuring India to stop buying oil from Iran:
That’s a very good question, and let me give you a little context for that question. When President Obama took over in 2009, we knew Iran’s continuing development of a nuclear weapons program would be very destabilizing in the region, because there would be an arms race with the nations in the region who have pre-existing enmity between themselves and Iran. And it would also cause a great threat to Israel.
USA Today should have noted that there is no evidence that Iran has any nuclear weapons program at all–as U.S. intelligence and the Pentagon secretary have acknowledged. That’s what newspapers should do when politicians mislead. Instead, the paper puts this headline over the piece: “Clinton Wraps Asia Trip with Tough Talk on Iran.”
“Tough talk” is a weak way to describe a government official’s misrepresentation of the facts.
- Clinton urges India to cut Iranian oil (alethonews.wordpress.com)