Freelance reporter Nir Rosen was invited to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last Wednesday, April 2, 2008. Mr. Rosen is a highly respected journalist who has reported extensively on Iraq as both an embedded reporter and independently. His written statement, submitted to the Committee before he testified, is available here.
Some of his more telling comments:
Today Iraq does not exist. It has no government. It is like Somalia, different fiefdoms controlled by warlords and their militias.
Now thanks to the Americans the Sunnis, formerly on the run, are once again confident, and control their own territory. The Mahdi Army is consolidating its forces, ridding itself of unruly elements and waiting for the inevitable reduction in American troops. Iraqi
Security Forces will also be able to once again operate with impunity when there are less Americans present. Both sides are getting ready to resume fighting.
Iraq remains an extremely unstable and failed state, with many years of bloodshed left before an equilibrium is attained. There is no reconciliation occurring between the two warring communities, and Shiites will not allow the territorial gains they made to be chipped away by Sunnis returning to their homes, or Sunni militias being empowered.
Most embedded journalists, just like embedded politicians and embedded members of think tanks on Washington’s K Street or Massachusetts Avenue, lack language skills and time on the ground in Iraq—and since they are white, they cannot travel around Baghdad without attracting attention and getting kidnapped or killed. They know nothing about Iraq except what they gain through second- or third-hand knowledge, too often provided by equally disconnected members of the US military. Recently we have seen positive articles about events in Iraq published by so called experts such as Anthony Cordesmen, Michael O’Hanlon, Kenneth Pollock, Fred Kagan and even former members of the Coalition Provisional Council such as Dan Senor. These men speak no Arabic and cannot get around without their babysitters from the American military. But it seems that the more they get wrong, these and other propagandists for the war, such as Thomas Friedman, manage to maintain their credibility.
According to his WikiPedia entry:
Nir Rosen (born 1977 in New York City) is a journalist and a chronicler of the Iraq War. Rosen writes on current and international affairs.
Rosen is best known for his writings on the rise of violence in Iraq following the 2003 invasion, which form the basis of his first book, In the Belly of the Green Bird (2006). He spent more than two years in Iraq reporting on the Coalition occupation, the relationship between Americans and Iraqis, the development of postwar Iraqi religious and political movements, inter-ethnic and sectarian relations, and the Iraqi civil war.
He regularly contributes to leading periodicals, such as Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, the New York Times Magazine, the Boston Review, and Harper's. He contributed to the footage of Iraq in Charles Ferguson's documentary No End In Sight and was also interviewed for the film.
Nir Rosen is a fellow at the New York University Center on Law and Security, and a former fellow of the New America Foundation. In September 2007, he was the C.V. Starr Distinguished Visitor at the American Academy in Berlin.