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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Huck Gutman: Packaging the Violence

In today’s American media, violence erupts on basketball courts, while corpses and hospital wards slip quickly and quietly into a haze of unseeing. We in the USA do not see what is happening right in front of us. We see what television wants us to see, the stylised violence in movies, the pretend violence of commentators shouting at one another in spurious political debates, the small-scale violence of a couple of basketball players accosting some basketball fans.
The dead are mourned only by their families. The wounded forgotten. That is how war is packaged in the post-modern era.

Read It!

What we have in America today is what Chomsky refers to as "Manufactured Consent". The reality of the war is something far removed from what the media markets to the American people.

Remembering Baghdad Bob

Mohommed Saeed al-Sahaf, the former information minister of Sadam Hussein's Iraq, made a name for himself by making outrageous claims in the face of invading coalition forces. While television footage showed U.S. troops rolling across the desert in the first stage of the war, al-Sahaf claimed "...They're not even within 100 miles of Baghdad. They are not in any place. They hold no place in Iraq. This is an illusion." Because of such demonstrably false claims, he was derisively referred to as "Baghdad Bob" by the American media.

On the eve of the "Shock and Awe" campaign, which was designed to pacify the Iraqi people, Baghdad Bob proclaimed:

"Faltering forces of infidels cannot just enter a country of 26 million people and lay besiege to them! They are the ones who will find themselves under siege. Therefore, in reality whatever this miserable Rumsfeld has been saying, he was talking about his own forces. Now even the American command is under siege."

A month later, President Bush stood on the deck of a warship and proclaimed "Mission Accomplished". Baghdad Bob's outrageous claims earned him worldwide ridicule and exile; our liars end up with a "mandate". Even to this day, Washington Dubya assures the American people that "Freedom is on the march", while the truth is quite the opposite. Of course freedom is on the isn't safe to fly!

Disintegrating security in Baghdad was underlined in a sombre warning yesterday from the British embassy against using the airport road or taking a plane out of Iraq.

The embassy says a bomb was discovered on a flight inside Iraq on 22 November. It shows that insurgents have been able to penetrate the stringent security at Baghdad airport. The embassy says its own staff have been advised against taking commercial planes.

The warning is in sharp contrast to more optimistic statements from US military commanders after the capture of Fallujah in which they have spoken of "breaking the back of the insurgency".

The embassy says that the road between Baghdad and the international airport, perhaps the most important highway in the country, is now too dangerous to use. The advice says starkly: "With effect from 28 November, the British embassy ceased all movements on the Baghdad International airport road."

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