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What if the Troops Came Home, and No One Reported It

John Powers 28 June 2008 No Comment

It’s a fact: President Bush stated that the US will pull 30,000 surge troops out of Iraq in a joint press conference with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Bush at Foreign & Commonwealth Office Building at the Lacarno Treaty Room London, England on June 16, 2008.

Seems sort of newsworthy to me. I am in favor of the troops coming home, when their job is reasonably complete, and have relatives and an old roomate over there who I take a personal interest in coming home safely. So, I sort of follow such things as leaders of the free world mentioning that troops are coming home.

Yet, outside of the Chicago Daily Observer (and our ever faithful reader/contributor Bill Baar), and a few Iraqi newsites, this seems to be of little interest to the press. There is quite a bit at stake here; the allies have spent a great deal of money on the surge, and it has been the subject of a smear campaign, congressional hearings, and endless jabbering from pundits, yet the culmination seems not to be of interest to the press.

Take for instance our national newspaper, the New York Times. Searching for “30,000 surge troops” gets you no stories since April 11th, 2008, when the Times conjectured that there would be no further reduction in troops. The international newspaper of record, The Economist is even more terse telling me in response to the same query “Search did not return any results for 30,000 surge troops , please try again with a different term”.

Not much internationally from the Christian Science Monitor, nor the Financial Times, nor locally from the Tribune nor Sun-Times, though the Tribune merits mention for noticing that troops may come home, while the Sun-Times recommends various Wedding Service Provides to my search.

On the supposedly pro-Bush wing, the Wall Street Journal blanks this one out, but Fox News carries enough context of the Bush speech to include the phrase 30,000 Surge Troops, though there is no analysis or news story: only a full text of the speech. Thanks Fox, for being fair and balanced here, but couldn’t one of your array of analyst sorted through the important points of the speech?

The war has gone on long enough that news like this needs analysis. I have contacted the oversight editors at the Wall Street Journal and Newsbusters, but no response. As it stands, only people with the nerve (that would be the role of the Chicago Daily Observer) to parse through entire presidential press conferences and Iraqi news journals get access to one of the most important news stories of the last 8 years.

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