With every assurance that President Bush gives that “staying the course” will lead to victory, the truth on the ground reveals a starkly contrary conclusion.
We all know that the media presents skewed versions of reality that are, more often than not, intended to promote the interests of their corporate chieftains, their commercial patrons, or their political collaborators. But for anyone who thinks that this state of corroded journalism is harmful only in the intellectual sphere, Tom Lasseter of McClatchy’s Baghdad bureau has some real news for you:
“As security conditions continue to deteriorate in Iraq, many Iraqi politicians are challenging the optimistic forecasts of governments in Baghdad and Washington, with some worrying that the rosy views are preventing the creation of effective strategies against the escalating violence.”
Put more bluntly, he is saying that these deceitful pollyannas are making more corpses. As violence in Iraq escalates, the official story, which is obediently transcribed by the press, is far more optimistic. It is important for them to paint a rosy picture in order to maintain public support for a disastrous policy that has produced only failure. With every assurance that President Bush gives that “staying the course” will lead to victory, the truth on the ground reveals a starkly contrary conclusion. In July, about 3,400 Iraqi civilians were killed. That is more than in any month since the war began. Yet we continue to be consoled with platitudes that invoke safety and progress.
These starry-eyed scenarios are anything but benign. Lasseter quotes Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of parliament, saying…
“The American policy has failed both in terms of politics and security, but the big problem is that they will not confess or admit that. They are telling the American public that the situation in Iraq will be improved, they want to encourage positive public opinion (in the U.S.), but the Iraqi citizens are seeing something different.”
They are seeing more of their families and friends and neighbors die. By stubbornly refusing to present honest representations of the situation, the Bush administration, and by extension the media, are actually contributing to the rising casualties. Unless they can forthrightly address the real problems, they will never be able to adjust their strategies to something that might result in success. And as long as it is more important for them to manipulate public opinion than to succeed, they will never approach a realistic assessment of the problem. And worse, they will see ever more innocents die.