Inside the mind of NPR

I like NPR. I don’t agree with their slant of coverage much of the time, particularly regarding the war. But I listen, simply because there just ain’t any alternative if you want continuous radio news coverage. But even I was taken somewhat aback by an interview I heard yesterday.
In a bout of self-examination (or is it congratulation?) NPR’s Terry Gross interviewed NPR’s Anne Garrels on Fresh Air yesterday. Garrels was NPR’s correspondent in Iraq during the early phase of the war, and has just written a book on the experience.
The interview is available in RealAudio format — the segment in question begins at about 28 minutes 30 seconds in. (The transcript below is my own transcription from listening to the audio (repeatedly)).
Gross asked a simple question, Garrels answer to which speaks volumes:
Terry Gross: Could you describe what you consider to be the emotional high point and low point for you during the war — as a reporter and as a human being being there?
Anne Garrels: I think a curious high point was in the weeks afterwards when I realized that all the months of staying there had really been worth it because Iraqis had so accurately predicted what was going to happen; Iraqis knew themselves and made it very clear. So in a perverse kind of way I guess that was a high point. I was astonished at how ill-prepared the Bush administration was for the aftermath from the very beginning. And that continues to this day.

Think about this. Garrels witnessed the fall of one of the more evil regimes of the past century. Even for the most staunch opponent of the war, the end of Saddam’s power and the beginning of the Iraqi people’s freedom must be recognized as a huge achievement for human decency.
But what was Garrels emotional high point? That’s right: when she felt reassured that yes, things really are going badly for Iraq — and the U.S. When her view that America was screwing things up was confirmed.
It is human to want to validate one’s own actions; to feel some smug self-justification if events do indeed turn out badly when one has been predicting they would. But in Garrels situation, with all the things she must have seen and experienced, to declare that feeling to be the high point?
It is honorable of Garrels to admit this honestly. But that doesn’t make it any less pathetic.