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March 22, 2003

Such a rag tag army

I surfed tv. channels and watched the media representation of the war on Iraq last night until 1pm. We are now living inside this mediascape and so are obliged to assess the images, words, and interpretations flowing into our living rooms.

I caught Simon Crean's speech on Friday night (21 03 2003): it was pretty good---one of his best. Alerion over at Southerly Buster thought that Crean had found his voice. He did. He clearly set out the three reasons why Labor opposed Australian involvement in the Iraqi war. Though Crean didn't address the regional implications of going to war with Iraq--a destablised Indonesia.

The ABC's 7.30 Report was a big disappointment---too one dimensional. SBS World News Special (limited online service) offered by far the best the coverage as it was the most diverse. It introduced the Arab perspective by looking at what was happening in the Arab media in the Middle East and Australia through Arab eyes. This showed the limitations ABC's Australian perspective up no end.

I'm reading the BBC. And Electronic Iraq.

Christopher Allbritton is still returning to Iraq but he is filing good stories on the way. Have you read Raed The Baghdad blogger?

Within the mediascape I saw the tanks rolling onto Baghdad unchallenged stopping only to give the crews a rest; Iraqi soldiers with little or no equipment surrender; heard that the scud missiles launched by Iraq to hit Kuwait had fallen harmlessly in the desert. Most of the commentary was about needing to secure the oil resources in the north and south. This was before the shock and awe tactics (blitzkrieg) had been deployed on Baghdad.

My initial response? This was the nation that threatened the US and Australia big time, so big--a threat to world peace remember--- that it had to be taken out? Its a macabre joke. Cynics would say it was a big lie. Looking back we realize that much of it was what we had suspected: it all publicity and spin to create an enemy.

Do you recall the commentary that assured us on mother's heart that this was not a war about oil? That was just the left being crude and vulgar as usual. Now the commentators cannot stop talking about oil. Its oil oil oil oil oil. So who was kidding who?

Do you recall the PM repeatedly saying that Australia would not be a target of terrorists attack even though it had it had hitched its wagon to the US war train? Day 2 of the war and we this on the wires.

And the claim by those who convinced that a central purpose of the Iraqi war and US occupation of Iraq is to foster a free, democratic and prosperous Iraq; and that this stable democracy is a model for the rest of the Middle East---the democratic domino effect. This push is going to be resisted by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon etc:---nearly everybody wants the least possible change in Iraq to ensure regional stability.

Realpolitik folks, realpolitik. These regimes have populations who see the war as an act of US imperialism or neocolonialism that will benefit Israel; and these regimes are at adds with whose of their citizens who want democratic reform. Do you think these regimes wil sign their death warrant?

Its going to be a long bumpy ride. Oh, and I'm still wondering about a central political problem about this war: most people in Australia still find it hard to understand why Iraq is such a threat to us.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at March 22, 2003 04:15 PM

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Onya, Gary. I did note (and continue to note) that the Beeb realises most that places like Cairo, Ankara, Tehran, Amman and Yemen are news-zones on a par with Iraq and Washington. The world is splitting and moderate Muslem governments are wetting their beds. The neoWahhabists must be laughing like drains ...

Posted by: Rob Schaap at March 22, 2003 07:08 PM

This invasion so far has reminded me of the Nazi invasion of Poland '39...trump up some false claims after a long, slow military buildup, then...POW! It's hammerin' time.

Posted by: ausyankee at March 22, 2003 11:15 PM

...and postwar Northern Iraq is divvied up just like Poland was in 39 in the Hitler Stalin pact.

Posted by: ausyankee at March 22, 2003 11:19 PM

Aren't they already divving up southern Iraq--the Kuwaiti's get a bit; the British some etc/

Posted by: Gary Sauer-Thompson at March 24, 2003 02:17 PM

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