Robert Fisk must be reading my blog. (I wish.) In his latest hard-hitting piece in The Independent, Fisk expands on my post "routine".

Here it is courtesy of Common Dreams (you need to register to read the original).
Two years after "Mission Accomplished", whatever moral stature the United States could claim at the end of its invasion of Iraq has long ago been squandered in the torture and abuse and deaths at Abu Ghraib. That the symbol of Saddam Hussein's brutality should have been turned by his own enemies into the symbol of their own brutality is a singularly ironic epitaph for the whole Iraq adventure. We have all been contaminated by the cruelty of the interrogators and the guards and prison commanders.

But this is not only about Abu Ghraib. There are clear and proven connections now between the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the cruelty at the American's Bagram [typo corrected here] prison in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
It's an excellent, very disturbing story. He ends with this wrap-up:
Ten bloody days in Iraq: 338 dead, 588 wounded

Thursday 28 April

Roadside bomb leaves four American troops dead and two wounded. Two other US troops die in an accident. Five Iraqis killed in attacks.

Friday 29 April

Seventeen bombs, including four suicide attacks in almost as many minutes in Azamiyah, and 13 car bombs in Baghdad area, leave at least 50 dead, including two US servicemen, with 114 Iraqis and seven Americans wounded.
Continued here.


Anonymous said...

You know, every time I read anything war related, I always wonder what would have been reported had media access (and speed of production) been what they are today in earlier wars.

Certainly Vietnam was one of the first times independent journalists' unedited images and stories made it into the public ... despite newspapers shutting out many such reports. Hooray Rolling Stone et al for standing up as a free press!

But in WWI and II, for example, reports were wired back overseas and often printed weeks old. Little graphic detail was provided, unlike today - the technology wasn't there, nor were there hordes of journalists hanging around places like Dresden when the incendiary bombs went off (unlike the media convention that was Baghdad during bombing).

I was wonder how worse the level of horror was in those wars, or was it perhaps the same as this war? If no one hears about it, it isn't really there. It was made to sound clean, and citizens could feel proud and patriotic because they didn't hear of their men doing horrible things. But chances are those things did occur - in every war. Difference is these days the public gets the details.

It's an interesting point to ponder, anyway. The great access of the media allows for horrors to be exposed, which is great - however it also allows for ease of fabrication, as we have seen countless times in this war.

Funny: the lack of media in earlier wars allowed things to be "cleansed" and/or hidden - the public perception could be shaped via what was not reported/details not given. Now, the public view is being shaped by what is being seen in the media - "look-what-they-did-bring-em-on" speeches and news flashes looking akin to action and horror films, designed as entertainment: to draw in and then shock the viewer into blindly supporting the war.

And when prison scandals break out, what do they do? Well, notice how the hunt for Osama is finally news again?

So perhaps nothing is different after all ... public opinion was shaped by lack of media, and is arguably more easily shaped by abundance of media - as we've seen the past two years especially.

laura k said...

It's an interesting subject to muse on. Certainly one lesson the US govt learned from Vietnam was to control media access. Always the wrong lessons learned...

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

In many ways, the distust I have for today's media is higher than it was during the 60s. Today, we have the talking heads, spining the facts around so that the manner in which something is reported is so squided and turned upside down. Even where there is a clear example that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the blame is on faulty intelligence, then we do not say what that means or anything specific, and move on to another spin. It is so disturbing to me.

You have given me an idea for a new, topic tomorrow. Let me see if I will have time to create it.

Be well.

laura k said...

"...then we do not say what that means or anything specific, and move on to another spin."

Exactly. We see it almost weekly, example after example. Lies reported as fact, never challenged, move on...

Thank goddess for the internet. I was thinking recently how, without it, how much farther along the US would have moved to fascism.