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Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS

Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS
June 5, 2009

BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the JOURNAL.

There was good news and bad news about Afghanistan this week. And it was the same news.

That's right. The Senate held confirmation hearings for Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, slated to be the next commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Here's how two different news organizations reported his testimony:

The Associated Press headline read, "War in Afghanistan is 'Winnable,'" but the "Washington Independent" reported that the general had, quote, "painted a bleak picture of the Afghanistan war" and that the United States "needed to show significant progress within '18 to 24 months' or risk the war spiraling out of control."

What we know for sure is that the fighting in Afghanistan is escalating. At least 21 thousand more American troops are going in and the number of private security contractors working for the military there jumped 29 percent in the last three months alone. Get this: there are now more private security contractors in Afghanistan than there are U.S. soldiers. And as of next year, according to new Pentagon documents, the war in Afghanistan will be costing more than the war in Iraq.

It's the job of experienced, knowledgeable investigative reporters to throw a monkey wrench into the spin machine and try to make some sense of all this. They're an endangered species, but one of the best in the business is Jeremy Scahill, who's been digging into Pentagon documents and thick congressional hearings for several years now. He's twice winner of the George Polk Award for special achievement in journalism, and author of this best selling book, BLACKWATER: THE RISE OF THE WORLD'S MOST POWERFUL MERCENARY ARMY. Jeremy now runs the new Web site, RebelReports. Jeremy Scahill, welcome back to the JOURNAL...

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