Saturday, July 19, 2008


One of the hallmarks of the Iraq War has been the nearly complete management of the news surrounding it by the Pentagon. It started with the "embedding" of journalists with the troops and has continued with the careful isolation of journalists from areas of activity. However, although the media are forbidden to take pictures of the flag-draped coffins coming home from Iraq, we at least know how many American soldiers have been killed in combat.

What we don't know is how many Iraqis have been killed since the start of the war, which I find stunning. So do the Iraqis. Fatih Abdulsalam, in an editorial published July 18 in Iraq's Azzaman, laments that the rest of the world doesn't care about such a grisly tally.

Five years ago, international media weighed Iraqi blood drop by drop. Every drop that was shed was newsworthy and occupied their highlights.

That was with the start of the U.S. invasion of 2003.

But as the invasion which the occupiers – the U.S. and the U.K. – sold to us as ‘liberation’ turned into one of the most devastating and destructive military campaigns in man’s history, Iraqi blood started flowing in buckles, then barrels, then streams and then rivers.

It was too much for the media to accommodate. It became commonplace and in media terms no longer newsworthy despite the lakes and oceans that began forming as the streams and rivers started discharging their blood.

Iraqi deaths are no longer important. Their numbers attract no more attention. If the deaths are too many, then a subtitle will do the job.

Iraqis are being killed, injured and maimed in droves on a daily basis. But still that is not enough reason for the media to care. ...

Even the U.S., the ‘beacon’ of democracy and human rights, says it keeps no records of Iraqis it kills. How cheap!

How cheap indeed.

How the news of this war has been shaped has long been evident, if only by the absence of any news at all for extended periods of time. About the only area to get any consistent coverage has been the itineraries of the VIPs visiting the Bagdhad Green Zone for photo-ops. It's clear that the Pentagon wasn't going to make the same "mistake" it made during the Viet Nam War by letting the US public become too aware of the daily carnage wrought because we went to war with a country that was no threat to us.

But that we have absolutely no information available about how many Iraqis are dead or maimed or orphaned by this misbegotten war shocks my conscience. It's as if my government and its press is telling me that it doesn't matter, they're only Iraqis.

I am ashamed.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home