CNN’s Amanpour: "The War in Iraq Has Basically Turned Out to Be a Disaster"

“The war in Iraq has basically turned out to be a disaster,” Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent, declared from London live on Monday’s Larry King Live. In the segment in which journalists discussed the serious injury from a bomb in Iraq to ABC anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt, she lamented how “journalists have paid for it, paid for the privilege of witnessing and reporting that.” She added: “For some reason which I can't fathom, the kind of awful thing that's going on there now on a daily basis has almost become humdrum. So when something happens to people that we identify, like Bob and like Doug, we wake up again and realize, no, this is not acceptable, what's going on there. And it's a terrible situation." King replied: “Well said.” Later, in a segment on kidnaped journalist Jill Carroll, Amanpour asserted that “by any indicator Iraq is a black hole” and a “spiraling security disaster.” A DrudgeReport.com posting alerted me to Amanpour’s remarks. (Transcript follows.)

Video excerpt: (45 secs) Real (1.3 MB) or Windows Media (1.5 MB), plus MP3 audio (350 KB)

Amanpour appeared from London, on the January 30 Larry King Live, along with in-studio guests Bob Schieffer and Lara Logan of CBS, Peter Arnett and, from Baghdad, CNN’s Michael Holmes. A transcript of the 9:16pm EST exchange (based on my correction of the closed-captioning against what aired) , between King and Amanpour:
Larry King: “Christiane, have you been in that kind of vehicle that these two men were in?”

Christiane Amanpour: “Well, I have been with the Iraqi army. I'm trying to visualize the kind of vehicle that they were in on Sunday. I've been with the Iraqi army in a completely unarmored vehicle that looks more like a basic truck. And it's really tough when you go out and do that. And for sure, every time I go out with either the U.S. or the Iraqi army, I am very conscious that this is a potentially life-threatening exercise. And, you know, you basically pray from the minute you go out to the minute you come back. And you thank God when you've come back. And I cannot tell you how awful I feel for Bob and Doug and for their families, their wives, their children, who have to put up with them going away and waiting for them just like our families do when we come back.

“But as Peter Arnett said, and I think that the others have said, that number one it's our responsibility. Number two, if we don't do it, who does it? We have had so -- we have to have an independent eye on these conflicts. The war in Iraq has basically turned out to be a disaster. And journalists have paid for it, paid for the privilege of witnessing and reporting that. And so have many, many other people who have been there. And I think that's terribly, terribly difficult for us. And unfortunately, for some reason which I can't fathom, the kind of awful thing that's going on there now on a daily basis has almost become humdrum. So when something happens to people that we identify, like Bob and like Doug, we wake up again and realize, no, this is not acceptable, what's going on there. And it's a terrible situation.”

King: “Well said.”

Later, in a look at the plight of kidnaped journalist Jill Carrol, Amanpour used Carroll’s situation as an opportunity to expound on her opinions about where Iraq stands:

“So hopefully, hopefully, hopefully, she will be released. I mean, you know, what else can we hope for? And certainly her family are hoping for that as well. But I just think it’s so sad. I mean, by any indicator Iraq is a black hole. Yes, they’ve had elections. What kind of a government are they going to come up with. Will it be a national unity government? Or will it be the one that sows the seeds of civil war? Yes, the U.S. has promised reconstruction, but the United States inspector general for reconstruction is about to come out with a report that is saying that it is just not going apace and that it’s difficult to see, according to this report, how they’re ever going to get what they promised done.

“Which means, according to a new poll that is coming out today, that most of the Iraqi people are now losing hope that the promised reconstruction is going to happen and that the quality of their lives is going to increase. This is a big drama because hope is the only thing they have in the middle of this spiraling security disaster. And by any indication whether you take the number of journalists killed or wounded, whether you take the number of American soldiers killed or wounded, whether you take the number of Iraqi soldiers killed and wounded, contractors, people working there, it just gets worse and worse.”

Since I first posted this, CNN.com has posted a transcript of the hour.

UPDATE: Amanpour’s attitude toward the Iraq war has come through before. In an interview with French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, back on the November 29 Anderson Cooper 360 (as detailed in a December 1 NewsBusters item), Amanpour cued him up: "You obviously did not support it, and you raised many of the issues that are currently unfolding there right now. What do you think? Do you feel vindicated when you look at what Iraq is going through right now?"

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center