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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Iraq: media and democracy « Previous | |Next »
May 28, 2004

Apart from the conflict between the Defence and the State Department I don't really know the ins and outs of Washington and I have no idea of the current state of infighting. I have no idea who is to trying to pin the blame on whom, or what caused the downfall of Ahmad Chalabi, not so long ago the administration’s hero-darling-in-exile.

Nor do I have much idea of the role played by Israel and Iran in Iraq. I have only a vague sense of the effects of Iraq on domestic American politics and know next to nothing about the effects on the inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations in across the wide arc of nation-states in the Arab world:----Israel, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan

My concerns are more humble. As we all know The Australian was, and is pro the war with Iraq. It's editorials and copy made the case for overthrowing Saddam Hussein, often in the face of strong anti-war feelings in their countries. It's editorials lent credibility and moral support to the White House's claims that the U.S.-led war had international backing and to John Howard's support for, and involvement in, the imperial presidency's war.

The Australian was not a watchdog for democracy. It was one of the Dogs of War, as it played the role of “threat inflator” big time; a role that had its roots in the cold war era.

Now that the case for war has unravelled, the imperial Presidency has badly mismanaged the occupation and there is civil war in Iraq, will The Australian acknowledge its role in deception? That it had spun madly to persuade Australians citizens that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, or that Iraq had extensive links to Al Qaeda. Will it acknowledge that it spun the false claim that Iraq posed a substantive threat to Australia as the pretext needed to invade, conquer and occupy Iraq? The crude security arguments were used to justify the need for pre-emption and national missile defences.

Sorry, the national missile defence scheme was to protect us from a drought- ravaged North Korea raining nuclear missles down on our cities, wasn't it.

Will The Australian acknowledge that this, and the attacks on the critics as appeasers, was an example of bad journalism. That its editors and journalists routinely skewed information in an on-going and effort to swing Australian public opinion in favour of the war and the Bush Administration? That it advocated Australia blindly trail along with the US repulsing any critical thoughts about being a deputy sheriff in the Asia Pacific region as unAmerican.

As the fires of war burn in Iraq The Australian'sstance becomes a touch critical. The reality is that in the overall war on radical Islamic terrorism Iraq represents failure with a capital F. The reality is that the US is bogged down with insurgencies that its forces can barely contain, let alone permanently defeat. I know that The Australian will not acknowledge that it got it badly wrong on Iraq.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:42 AM | | Comments (2)


'I know that The Australian will not acknowledge that it got it badly wrong on Iraq.'

Not unless they make Philip Adams editor.

There are still some good things in that paper, but it's become a bit like America; you have to close your eyes to increasing amounts of ordure in order to enjoy the nourishing bits.

I've stopped buying it on the weekends. I've switched to the Australian Financial Review. It still has a commitment to quality journalism.

I prefer to get the good bits of The Australian online.

I think the above may well be a little detail in a general shift in the reading habits of Australians.