Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Nothin' about humanitarian aid for Iraq in any of the front-page stories of Saturday, April 5's New York Times. Nothin' in the Overview on the front page of the Nation at War section, either.

In fact, nothin' about aid at all, really, unless you count the last graf of Marc Santora's page-B3 piece, titled "British Soldiers' Long Battle for a Southern City's Trust Requires Bullets and Handshakes":

"Although the Red Cross went to Basra to give supplies to four hospitals today [April 4], there was still virtually no aid flowing into the region. But Red Cross officials said that the supply of water to the city had improved."

Looks like the progress of the relief effort is not only on the back burner at the Times; it's fallen entirely off the stove.

Well, there actually is a mention of aid. Elizabeth Becker's page B10 story -- "The American Portrayal of a War of Liberation Is Faltering Across the Arab World" -- notes that ". . . the administration's public relations drive has floundered because the relief effort is stalled in the southern tip of Iraq. And the message does not address what the Arab media view as the main story: the invasion of Iraq by America troops."

Somewhat off-topic, but worth quoting too, are these two grafs from the same story:

"Khaled Abdelkariem, a Washington-based correspondent for the Middle East News Agency who regularly attends briefings by the State Department, said the problem is that the administration's emphasis on soldiers delivering food and medicine rather than discussing why a foreign army is invading Iraq has often seemed patronizing.

" 'The Arabs or Muslims are not 4-year-old kids who don't know what's happening around them,' he said. 'I appreciate their efforts, but I'm afraid it's not working. This feed-and-kill policy — throwing bombs in Baghdad and throwing food at the people — is not winning hearts and minds.' "