Washington Babylon — October 29, 2009, 10:58 am

High-level Reporting in Iraq

If you missed this item from Michael Massing — it was posted a few days ago — it’s definitely worth a read:

What a delight it must be to be a columnist for a major American newspaper. When traveling to distant, war-torn lands, you can enlist America’s top generals to show you around. That’s what David Ignatius of The Washington Post did on Sunday. He was shown around Baghdad by no less a figure than Centcom commander David Petraeus. Or, rather, he was shown it from the air. The two flew over the city in a Black Hawk helicopter. The general pointed out all the signs of recovery below. “See, the houses are occupied again,” he said as they passed over a neighborhood that several years ago had been largely abandoned. He pointed to the schools, police stations, parks, markets, and a traffic jam, which, he said was “good to see.”

It was only after Petraeus and Ignatius landed in the Green Zone that they learned that, while they’d been aloft, two massive bombs had gone off in the heart of the city, killing more than 100 and wounding more than 500. “I guess that tells you something about the difference between life, close up, and what you see from several hundred feet,” Ignatius wrote in his column Monday (“A Resilient Baghdad on a Day of Horror”). Rather than try to examine that life up close, however, Ignatius repaired to the Al-Rashid Hotel in the Green Zone for lunch with two Iraqi friends.

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