Saturday, June 16, 2007

AlterNet Article on How Iraqis React to Iraq-Korea Comparison

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read a fascinating article on how the American press didn't bother to call up Iraqis and ask them how they felt about Tony Snow's Iraq-Korea comparison. You may remember that Tony Snow revealed that President Bubble-Boy analogizes American military involvement in Iraq to American military involvement in Korea. This apparently means that he sees American troops in Iraq for at least the next 50 years.

AlterNet decided to do what the American media wouldn't do and that was contact Iraqis to see what they thought about this idea. Their reaction was unequivocal: this idea sucks. Here is a quote from the article about the reaction of a pro-American member of the Iraqi government:

Sanger might have called Dr. Alaa Makki, a senior official in the reliably pro-occupation Iraqi Islamic Party, for his reaction. We reached him in Baghdad, and he was taken aback to hear of the talk coming out of the White House and the Pentagon. "I haven't heard about this," he said, "and I'm very surprised they'd make such statements without consulting with the Iraqi side." After asking us to send him copies of the statements made by the White House and the Pentagon, he told us that his party is "against leaving any permanent bases in Iraq; in fact, we are for setting a timetable for a complete withdrawal of the MNF from Iraq." That was, again, a representative of the pro-occupation Iraqi Islamic Party.

What this article points out is that the American news media sees the question of how long American troops should be in Iraq only from the perspective of Washington, never from the perspective of Iraqis. The article's authors have a theory about why this is so. Here is a quote from the article:

But they didn't make those calls, and that's an important part of how consent for throwing thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars into an occupation of a distant land is manufactured here at home: It starts with the assumption that the story of the U.S. "intervention" in Iraq can be told by talking to military analysts and "senior administration officials" in D.C., but without ever hearing from the people living on the fringes of the American Empire. It not always intentional; it's a facet of our media culture: You talk to "serious" analysts in Washington if you want to be seen as serious yourself.

The media culture in America is partly responsible for the tough questions not being asked of Bush before he started this war. Now that same media culture is partly responsible for the tough questions not being asked of the Bush Administration as it continues that war. At least one American reporter should have asked Tony Snow this question: "What makes you think that the Iraqis want us to stay in Iraq for the next 50 years?"

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