Democracy Now! has learned the Pentagon is asking humanitarian groups for global positioning coordinates of civilian sites in Iraq, such as water treatment facilities and power plants: is it to bomb them or save them?; The press will once again serve primarily as the mouthpiece for the government as journalists prepare to embed with US troops to cover a war on Iraq, we talk with veteran war correspondents Chris Hedges of The New York Times and Robert Fisk of the Independent; President Bush claims an unprovoked invasion of Iraq will set the stage for peace to the Middle East: Chris Hedges and Robert Fisk respond
9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:15: President Bush last night spoke at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and claimed an invasion of Iraq will set the stage for peace in the Middle East. He also tried to allay fears of a humanitarian disaster. Claiming the first to benefit from a free Iraq would be the Iraqi people themselves, he promised the US will deliver medicine and said the US is already moving into place nearly three million emergency rations to feed the hungry. But Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill reports from Baghdad that the Bush administration s humanitarian plans are being met with disdain by Western humanitarian organizations inside Iraq. One humanitarian official told Democracy Now!, it would be funny if it wasn t so sad. Worse, Democracy Now! has learned the Pentagon is asking humanitarian organizations for the global positioning coordinates of civilian sites, such as water treatment facilities, electrical power plants, sewage treatment systems and food distribution centers. The Pentagon is telling the organizations it wants this information so it won t accidentally bomb these sites. But the US systematically attacked civilian infrastructure during 1991 Gulf War. And in Afghanistan, a clearly marked Red Cross warehouse was bombed twice, and the Kabul headquarters of the Al Jazeera news agency was bombed as the US-backed Northern Alliance was taking the city. One humanitarian official told Scahill it would be outrageous if any cooperated with the Pentagon, saying it would be tantamount to spying for the US government. In addition, Democracy Now! has learned Washington has been pressuring the International Committee of the Red Cross over past several months, not to repeat what it did in Afghanistan: criticize the US use of non-conventional weapons like cluster bombs, and the very public denunciation of the Guantanamo detention camps as violation of Geneva Conventions. 9:17-9:22 : The Pentagon recently announced guidelines for embedding reporters among troops in the upcoming war with Iraq. Last month, the Pentagon held a briefing for more than 50 bureau chiefs in Washington, D.C., to lay out guidelines for how journalists will cover the new war on Iraq. Under the plan, select reporters would live side by side with combat troops on the battlefront. Reporters and photographers have been receiving special field training. Over the last few months they have been climbing ropes, riding in helicopters, crawling on their bellies, lifting weights and trekking for miles during rugged at places like Georgia's Fort Benning and Virginia's Quantico Marine Corps Base. We ll spend the rest of the hour with two veteran war correspondents: Chris Hedges of The New York Times, and Robert Fisk of the London Independent. Hedges new book is War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. The book was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. And it was chosen by the Los Angeles Times as one of the top ten non-fiction books of the year. Hedges has experienced the war zone from Central America to Iraq, from the Sudan to Sarajevo. He has been imprisoned and shot at. He's unearthed mass graves and witnessed the effects of torture and death squads on victims of war around the world. He joins us in our studio. We are also joined on the phone from Lebanon by Robert Fisk. He is the Middle East correspondent for the British daily newspaper, the Independent and has been based in Beirut, Lebanon for 26 years. His recent book is Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon Fisk wrote this week in the Independent: The boys from CNN, CBS, ABC and The New York Times will be embedded among the US marines and infantry. The degree of censorship hasn't quite been worked out. But it doesn't matter how much the Pentagon cuts from the reporters' dispatches. A new CNN system of script approval the iniquitous instruction to reporters that they have to send all their copy to anonymous officials in Atlanta to ensure it is suitably sanitised suggests that the Pentagon and the Department of State have nothing to worry about. Tape: Chris Hedges veteran war correspondent for The New York Times and author of the new book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. Tape: Robert Fisk, veteran war correspondent and Middle East correspondent with the British newspaper the Independent. He is based in Beirut. Tape:President Bush, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute on Feb. 26, 2003, claiming a US invasion of Iraq will set the stage for peace in the Middle East Tape:President Bush, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute on Feb. 26, 2003, calling for a Palestinian state and an end to Israeli settlements, but offering no details nor deadlines 9:22-9:23 One Minute Music Break 9:23-9:40 Fisk and Hedges continued 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58 fisk and hedges continued 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogiera and Alex Wolfe. Mike Di Filippo is our engineer and webmaster.