COMMENTS: Follow-ups on Myanmar and Iraq

NBC and ABC both followed up on a pair of major international stories. ABC continued its coverage of the destruction caused by Cyclone Nargis in the Irrawaddy Delta of Myanmar. It has been the lead network on the story (36 min v CBS 22, NBC 23) since the storm struck in May. Jim Sciutto gained access to the delta with a United Nations human rights mission: "The UN estimates the people have rebuilt more than 600,000 homes themselves. Despite the danger of speaking out, many called the government's relief effort nonexistent." He asked a Burmese Buddhist monk why the pacifist did not protest: "They have guns. We have no guns. The law is silent before the gun."

On NBC, the mystery of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction resurfaced. David Gregory publicized reporting by Ron Suskind in his new book The Way of the World about Tahir Jalil Habbush, Saddam Hussein's onetime chief spy. Suskind recounts that Habbush revealed that Iraq had no WMD stockpile to British spies months before the United States invaded but that the CIA decided not to believe him. After the invasion, Suskind adds, the CIA was ordered by the White House to forge a letter in Habbush's hand to fabricate an Iraqi connection with Mohammed Atta. Atta, lest we forget, was lead hijacker on September 11th, 2001. Gregory called Suskind's charge "explosive" and reported that the White House calls it "absurd."

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