Skip to comments.Distraction of media missiles fired at wrong targets (The Australian vs BBC and DU)
Posted on 07/30/2003 3:43:46 PM PDT by knighthawk
THERE was something wonderfully strained about how various media organisations dealt last week with the news of the deaths of Qusay and Uday Hussein. From the BBC to Reuters, there was palpable if sternly repressed dismay. One of the first headlines that the Ba'athist Broadcasting Corporation put out on the news was: "US celebrates 'good' Iraq news."
The quotation marks around "good" did not refer to any quote or source in the text. They were pure editorialising on behalf of the BBC, whose campaign to undermine the liberation of Iraq is now in full swing. It was not clear to the BBC that the deaths of two of the most sadistic mass murderers on the planet was in any way a good thing, especially if they rebounded to the credit of President George W. Bush or British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
And immediately, of course, pundits started to criticise the American action as "extra-judicial", as a violation of the law against assassination, and so on. Their immediate impulse on hearing this terrific news was: how can we spin this against Blair and Bush?
Commentators on the popular American left-wing website Democratic Underground were more explicit about how they felt: "Doesn't a part of you wish that Queasy and Duh-day were alive? I'll admit they're scum and rightfully so, but anything that lands even more humiliation on W's grotesque shrivelled face is that much the better.
"It's sad, really, that as despicable as they are, Saddam's family seems to be the lesser of two evils when you compare them to the wretched little bastard occupying the White House and destroying America in the process . . ."
To be fair, this guy was upbraided by other contributors to the site. But he wasn't alone. Here are two others: "What I really hate about the way our Government has been taken over is that I'm at the point where I almost don't want anything good to happen in Iraq, I want them to screw up, I want them to fail."
Another vented: "Bush and his ilk are far, far worse than Saddam and his two degenerate brats, and that's saying a lot."
Yes, it is saying a lot, but the anti-war hysteria that has crept over the US and British press in the past few weeks has tended to obscure the reality of what is actually going on in Iraq.
The New York Times, for example, which has become far less tendentious since the exit of its discredited former executive editor, Howell Raines, still refers to the contract killings and Baathist remnants' murders of small numbers of US soldiers as "an uprising".
It also refers to the American and British presence in Iraq as an "occupation". You get the idea. Colonial powers opposed by restless population. Far more congenial to anti-war types than: liberators still opposed by remnants of totalitarian regime.
But all the evidence in Iraq points to something else: a successful war followed by slow but measurable progress in putting back together a brutalised and fractured country. Think back for a moment to what we once feared might happen in the aftermath of a war to depose Hussein.
Here are some of the predictions, cited last week by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Defence Secretary: civil war; destroyed oil wells; environmental catastrophe; famine; a refugee crisis; and the possibility of cleaning up after chemical and biological attacks.
None of this happened in large part because of the astonishingly innovative and swift war plan. The most staggering result is that Kurds, Shi'ites and Sunnis are still on board for a united, democratic country.
But instead of reporting on this achievement, the press, which in large part opposed the war in the first place, has done all it can to turn this success into a "quagmire".
Yes, there are obvious problems. The electricity grid has proven hard to get back up and running again. The capitulation of the Baathist thugs in the war means that many dead-enders are still at large and doing all they can to inflict damage on American troops in order to weaken resolve in the US. We overestimated the need for troops and underestimated the need for trained policemen in the aftermath of conflict. We were too slow to recruit Iraqis for internal security forces . . . and so on.
These are all mistakes. But they are forgivable and they are all remediable. Steps are certainly being taken to ensure that obvious problems are tackled and resolved.
But nobody can or should deny that the lives of average Iraqis are now immensely better than they were under a vicious totalitarian state. I don't know about you, but with every new mass grave being discovered, with every gruesome torture chamber unearthed, with every children's prison exposed, the more obvious it is to me that this war was not just morally defensible; it was morally essential.
By and large, it seems, understandably skittish Iraqis agree. The most reliable poll carried out in Baghdad more troubled than regions to the Shi'ite south or Kurdish north found a steady majority of Iraqis want the allies to stay and view the future as more promising than the past.
As to security, for all its problems, the current situation certainly compares favourably with, say, the chaos in liberated Germany after World War II, where military casualties mounted as diehard Nazis made their last stand. But somehow I don't remember the Western media describing those isolated Nazi remnants as an "uprising". But then, in those days, the Western media weren't quietly hoping for the allies to fail.
Why, I keep asking myself? It is perfectly legitimate to question aggressively the fallible intelligence that was used in part to justify the war. But to use such an inquiry to undermine the attempt to rebuild Iraq is to compound forgivable government failure before the war with the desperate need for allied success after it.
To replay the war debate now is a fatal distraction from the vital work at hand. Even if you disagreed with the war, it is utterly unfair to the Iraqi people now to use their future and their lives as pawns in a domestic political squabble. Yet some would try to do exactly that.
Their agenda needs to be resisted just as firmly as the cowardly attacks by Baathists in Iraq. For they serve the same purpose: the demise of democratic promise in Iraq and the collapse of the West's long and difficult war against terror.
We can afford neither. And it is past time petty politics ceased in the face of that reality.
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LOL...this guy would be welcome here as an Aussie Freeper!
Think the DUmmies are high fiving each other over their big time media mention?
DU is popular?
Oh, its anti-war sentiment, is it? More like Bush and Republican and America hatred.
No, they called it 'mopping-up" and I seriously doubt the press even made page one accounts of the number of GIs and Tommies killed after VE day. Now, each is a screaming headline.
Some other points to keep in mind. For months after VE day, many German people were quite literally near starvation as were people all over liberated Europe. Little or no planning and preparation had been done to take care of the most basic needs. Civilians were forced scavenge military garbage dumps looking for scraps of food while looting was rampent. There is no hunger in Iraq, yet that makes no news.
There was an official non-fraternization' policy that forbad troops to have non-official contact with German civilians. (old Mr. Libido quickly made that policy unenforceable). Now we encourage our military to befriend civilians and go out of our way to help them but I doubt giving the cultural differences that we will have thousands of war brides this time.
It took nearly 4 years to establish civilian rule in the Western sectors of Germany, which had a history of democratic civilian rule only 12 years earlier. (The Russians accomplished it much faster in the Eastern sector because many of Stalins old German Commie stooges had spent the war in Russia and were ready and organized much quicker). Now, less than 3 months after the fall of Baghdad, we have a civilian council beginning to make decisions on the form and structure of their new government --- and these are people with no memory of democratic rule. The press pretty much ignores that process unless there is a ethnic squabble involved.
Maybe if the President in 1945 had been a Republican, the press might have reported differently then. But I think not. I think the press is different now, and not for the better.
That's a major point. The US had plans in place to house displaced Iraqis and to feed them. The way it's turned out, the Iraqis are offering US GI's food and cigarettes. We expected it to be the other way around.
After a war, the usual condition is that the people are in dire straits, much worse off than they were before. In this case, people are better off, and the complaints are that they should be living in luxury. Freedom is a mixed bag - some people are better off, some worse. It won't be any different in Iraq than it is in any other free country.
Compared to other lefty sites such as Indymedia, yes. It's even 'popular' among FReepers in the sense that we give them a lot of hits.
Howard Dean can. That's what makes him special!
Perhaps, but I'd guess they give us at least 7 to 8 times more hits than we give them. We are amused by them, but they are OBSESSED by us.
Comparatively so, at least. They do seem to be the biggest lefty discussion site in the US. However, to refer to it as "popular" in a general comparison to all web sites, as Sullivan has done here, is somewhat of a misnomer. They're just not a very big site at all.
It's a minor quibble, though.
Perhaps, but I'd guess they give us at least 7 to 8 times more hits than we give them. We are amused by them, but they are OBSESSED by us
Quite right. No question there are more DU lurkers here than FR lurkers there. But DU is still a phenomenon on the other side to the extent that they have one.
Wow, according to Alexa: