How About a Real Response?

RECEIVED Tue., Jan. 20, 2009

Dear Editor,
    My original letter ["Postmarks," Jan. 16] about Casey Porter's claims about Iraq ["Stop the Loss," News, Dec. 19, 2008] has stirred up some serious controversy. Unfortunately, not much has to do with Casey Porter or the article about him. Your readers have intense opinions about this war as a whole. Their opinions are so strong that they lack the ability to focus directly on the article; instead they continually stray back into the same anti-war pitch they have learned to deliver.
    Therefore I must be more direct and go straight to the source. Can Richard Whittaker please respond to the comments I made about his article? I would love to hear his opinion about the veracity of Casey Porter's claims that I disputed. I would be most interested in hearing which of his fellow journalists he has exposed as frauds for falsely claiming to be reporting from the safety of the Green Zone.
    However, Richard, unlike your readers, I ask that you address specifically the point I make. Do not make this an additional, open-ended, nonspecific protest against the war.
Pat Rice
   [Richard Whittaker responds: Capt. Rice's allegations break down into two halves. Firstly, that Casey Porter accuses the media of "misrepresenting their reporting of the war." Seasoned journalists of the Iraq war and occupation, such as Jonathan Finer of The Washington Post, Michael Ware of CNN, and Rageh Omaar (formerly of the BBC, now of Al Jazeera English), have made the same allegations as Porter that the reporting is incomplete at best and jingoistic at worst. Secondly, Rice argues that reconstruction has been successful. In the 2008 report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction entitled "Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience,” Inspector General Stuart Bowen wrote: "Did the [U.S. reconstruction program] meet the goals it set for itself? The answer is generally no on the infrastructure front, but generally yes regarding the development of Iraq's security forces." Porter's allegations fit into a larger context of official and independent reports on the progress of the Iraq occupation.]
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