Thursday, July 31, 2003

Following Saddam's example

Another way in which the American occupation forces will be imitating Saddam is that it looks as if they are going to be throwing out Al Jazeera journalists from Iraq for the Orwellian crime of "inciting violence". Looks like not faithfully reporting the regime's spin to me.

Now before I get misunderstood as someone who gives a fig for the civic well being of the Iraqis let me make clear that I don't actually have a problem with our allies controlling the media of a restive colony. However I doubt that it will have much effect, the BBC is still reporting from Zimbabwe and the fact that they are banned gives their reports greater credibility. There's no reason to think that Arabs will look at Al Jazeera and Iraq any differently.

There's also the image thing. When we pretend that the invasion of Iraq was about freedom for Iraqis we're going to be judged by stupidly high standards. Of course we're going to be trampling on their abstract freedoms, we've got bloody young men with guns telling them what to do. So let's stop pretending that this is a fight about the freedom for benighted Kurds and Marsh Arabs.


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