Reporters on the Job
TO TELL THE TRUTH: Correspondent Scott Peterson has reported on US military actions from the Gulf War to Afghanistan, and has had plenty of experience with obfuscation from US officials (see story, page 1). In Somalia in 1992 and 1993, regular and often botched US raids to capture the warlord, Gen. Mohamed Farah Aidid, were always described to the press as "routine" missions not operations to nab the warlord. Yet when Scott finally received the Delta Force "after-action" report through a Freedom of Information Act request years later, it clearly said: Every single Delta action was aimed at taking out General Aidid.
In one telling case, US generals who didn't like the way a certain action in Mogadishu which led to dozens of Somali casualties was being reported on CNN, revised their version of events three separate times, before settling on the "real" story.
"My experience is that the US military always wants to put the best gloss on things," says Scott. "And why not? It's natural. Eventually, though, the reality, no matter how stark at times, very stark always emerges. But while troops are deployed, they want to shape the debate in their favor."
BUILDING THE ARK: On Apr. 8, when the Monitor reported on the estimated 800,000 children living on the streets of Ukraine, The Ark, the only private shelter for children in the country, housed only five children. Now the facility's missionaries say that, thanks to contributions from Monitor readers and other donors, they soon hope to begin refurbishing and expanding a donated property to house as many as 100. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to:
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