March 31, 2006

Speaking of Iraq...

It's unfair to compare a newspaper to a book but if "Cobra II" and the Columbus Dispatch were meals, "Cobra II" would have the nutritive value of a full-course dinner while the Dispatch the value of a Twinkie.

To some extent that is unavoidable and understandable. The Dispatch doesn't have the time or contacts that authors Gordon and Trainor had. But the result is that the Dispatch presents a cartoonish view of the war, one dominated by opinion and human interest stories of injured soldiers, while this new book answers the questions we've had and fleshes out where things went awry and where they, less seldom, went right.

"Cobra II" is well foot-noted and seems generally bias-free - which feels almost anachronistic these days. I wonder to what extent bias is simply a product of a lack of information? Once you have access to information, the story itself is so interesting that perhaps you lose the desire to either make up or shape the story? I sound naive, I know.

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