Prizes for The Nation, Pelosi in Tibet, counting the casualties.



With a wave of recent awards and nominations, The Nation continues to earn praise for its reporting and criticism in 2007. Books & Arts contributor

William Deresiewicz

was honored with a National Magazine Award nomination for Reviews and Criticism, recognizing “the knowledge, persuasiveness and original voice that the critic brings to his or her reviews.” Deresiewicz earned the nod for his reviews of books by Michael Chabon, Nathan Englander, Clive James and Junot Díaz



Joshua Kors

received wide acclaim for his investigation into a pattern of benefit denials by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Kors won an Investigative Reporters and Editors Magazine Certificate for “outstanding investigative work” and was nominated for a National Magazine Award in Public Interest for his reporting. In early March Kors won the National Headliner Award for coverage of a major news event, and he is a finalist for the Michael Kelly Award, given in honor of the Atlantic editor killed in Iraq in 2003.

Washington correspondent

John Nichols

was given the Milt Hakel Award by the National Farmers Union for his commitment to farming and trade reform. Farmers Union president Tom Buis praised Nichols for reporting that “gives readers a balanced portrayal of the complex issues affecting rural America.”

Finally, Nation contributor

Jeremy Scahill

won a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism for his coverage of Blackwater. The Aronsons are presented annually to “journalism that measures business, governmental and social affairs against clear ideals of the common good.”


When a CBS reporter was embedded with Jon Michael Turner’s unit in Ramadi in 2006, she missed a big part of the action. The reporter was shadowing another squad when Turner, amped up on adrenaline after a firefight, shot and killed an unarmed Iraqi man riding his bicycle. Marines dumped the man’s body behind a concrete wall and threw his bicycle on top of him. It was not by chance that no cameras were there to capture the killing. “Anytime we did have embedded reporters with us, our actions would change drastically,” Turner explained. “We were always on key with everything, did everything by the books.”

Journalists looking for an unsanitized version of the Iraq War were invited to attend

Winter Soldier

, four days of stark testimony by veterans, including Turner, about war crimes and atrocities they witnessed or committed. Unfortunately, most members of America’s mainstream press rejected the offer. Winter Soldier did receive wide coverage from international and independent media.

Pacifica Radio

broadcast the testimony live, and

Democracy Now!

aired a significant portion of it. Outlets from

BBC Arabic

radio to the British



Al Jazeera English

covered it. But the US news outlets that packaged and sold the Iraq War largely ignored the Winter Soldiers, just as they did when dissident Vietnam veterans testified about their combat nightmares thirty-seven years ago. There was no coverage of the hearings in the

New York Times

or on any of the major broadcast or cable news networks.   LAILA AL-ARIAN


Nancy Pelosi

is rarely accused of putting morality ahead of politics. But the House Speaker’s response to China’s brutal crackdown on Tibetan dissidents had the proper clarity. Pelosi traveled to the Tibetan exile community of Dharamsala, India, to stand with the

Dalai Lama

. “If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China’s oppression [of] Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world,” she declared.

Pelosi is no newcomer to this fight–in 2000 she opposed improved trade relations with China because of concerns about human rights abuses. In Dharamsala she stopped short of speculating about an Olympics boycott–unlike European Parliament president

Hans-Gert Pottering

, who said he sees “boycott measures as justified.” But Chinese officials still attacked the Speaker and other “human rights police.” Pelosi’s strong words stand in marked contrast to

President Bush

‘s tepid phone call to Chinese President

Hu Jintao

in which he raised concerns and encouraged dialogue. But neither the White House nor Wall Street really cares to discuss morality in the context of trade relations or the Olympics. From Capitol Hill, however, came praise and prodding. “If China wants to host the Olympics this summer, an event that embodies the promise of the youth of the world, then China must begin to exhibit the moral leadership that goes with such an honor,” said Congressman

Keith Ellison

. “If China does not demonstrate the moral leadership required, we should utilize every economic and moral tool at the world’s disposal to reprimand China accordingly.”   JOHN NICHOLS


On March 23 the US command in Baghdad confirmed the deaths of four soldiers in Iraq, putting the US death toll at 4,000 troops–97 percent of whom died after President Bush declared “mission accomplished.” That milestone, however grim, only hints at the human suffering caused by the Iraq War. Since its start in March 2003, more than 1,123 private contractors have been killed–casualties not included in the official military tally. As of February 28, 29,275 troops had been wounded in hostile combat; more than 500 US soldiers had lost limbs, not including fingers or toes.

Of course, Iraqis have suffered most. At press time,

Iraq Body Count

–which documents and cross-checks fatalities–reported 82,418-89,938 violent civilian deaths. Others, using survey methods, put the toll far higher. A report by the

World Health Organization

and the

Iraq Health Ministry

estimated 104,000-230,000 civilian deaths from March 2003 to June 2006. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, using cluster sampling and extrapolation methods commonly employed in conflict zones, found 601,027 “excess” violent deaths in the same time period. Meanwhile, the

UN High Commissioner for Refugees

estimates that more than 4.5 million Iraqis have been displaced by the conflict, more than 2.5 million internally and more than 2 million to neighboring states.

Asked about the 4,000 figure, President Bush said that the war’s outcome “will merit the sacrifice,” a callous claim to which the statistics from Iraq give the lie.

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