EDITORIAL: The Folly of War
Three years on and the folly which has become known as the Iraq War continues to rage without any indication of a possible solution other than the complete withdrawal of US troops and their allies.
Media pundits, military analysts, and pro-war cheerleaders have repeatedly informed us that if the US were to withdraw, the country would rapidly descend into a bloody civil war. Yet, in the words of Iyad Allawi, the former CIA spy and Iraqi interim prime minister: “If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.”
Iyad Allawi’s proclamation should have been enough to send news editors racing to inform the international observer of a new twist in the saga and a redefinition of the current conflict. Alas, it appears the Iraqi conflict cannot be thus redefined until the Bush Administration orders such a redefinition.
The international media should hang its head in shame: this media which calls itself “Free and Fair,” yet never seems to find the voice of impartiality to objectively report the atrocities, incompetence, failings and blatant imperialistic ambitions which have resulted in the ongoing slaughter and massacre of the Iraqi people. A corporate media which refused to expose these failings even though the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan declared the invasion illegal. A silent media which sat muted whilst the US Administration shifted the goal posts of international law to suit its international ambitions, illegally redefining the rules of pre-emptive strikes, political assassinations, the Geneva Convention, and the definition of torture.
At every stage of this conflict, the corporate media have taken on the role of compliant apologists for this illegal war, willing to sacrifice the fine details of good reporting for the generic sound bytes of US military propaganda.
Days after George W. Bush famously landed on the US Kitty Hawk and declared an end to hostilities, we were told that there still remained some “mopping up operations.” This eventually grew into coalition forces engaging remnants of the Republican Guard, then remnants of the Fedayeen, then Ba’thist loyalists. Then, at some stage, they mutated to followers of Moqtada Al Sadr, then followers of Zarqawi, then supporters of Al Qaeda, then foreign fighters, then Syrians, then Iranians, then Sunni militants, then simply to people who didn’t want democracy.
The international media has failed in its duty and responsibility to objectively and impartially report news and instead has given the US Administration free reign to define the insurgency and who the insurgents are. It is only within the past twelve months, due to the incontrovertible facts and the declining reputation of the US Administration, that the media has decided to distance itself from the circus and begun to discuss the reality that the resistance to the occupation is, in fact, a domestic uprising.
This debacle of the Iraq War really began on that fateful day which has since become known as 9/11. The days proceeding those attacks on the United States, the US government set about linking Saddam Hussein to Osama Bin Laden, and thus Saddam to the attacks on the Twin Towers. For good measure and to ensure the link, the American people were duped into believing Saddam Hussein was responsible for the anthrax attacks on the United States as well.
For months, the international media ran these reports, outlining Iraq’s possible connection to these attacks; yet no sooner was it discovered that the anthrax used in the attacks on the US came from a US military laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland, all investigations ceased and suddenly, the international appetite to discover the identity and nationality of the culprits no longer seemed important. Who has such power to make the international media lose its appetite to follow a story? Who did send the anthrax? Why have there been no serious journalistic investigations into this episode which gripped the world’s attention for over three months? Such is the media’s willingness to turn a blind eye to the possible crimes and misbehaviour of this US administration.
So, as the pundits intellectually masturbate as to whether the War in Iraq is civil or otherwise, the media will continue its charade of looking the other way. Having merely drip fed the western public as to the true state of affairs in Iraq, the media now appears to be distancing themselves from the US administration in an effort to avoid the criticism and the international inquiry which must surely await the architects of this disaster. Former pro-war journalists, politicians, and pundits are now stampeding to reinvent themselves as born-again anti-war advocates, renouncing their former career-motivated partisanship and opting to exile themselves to the “No Man Zone” of the garden fence until the storm blows over.
As suicide bombings, mortar attacks, kidnappings and arbitrary killings continue to consume the pitiful lives of the Iraqi people, it appears that the media will soon have to find a new voice to sell the wholesale slaughter of a nation, a slaughter which it has sycophantically dismissed as a hiccup on the bumpy road to democracy.
Ishmahil Blagrove, Jr.