With violence in Iraq escalating daily, the media has been struggling with how to characterize the conflict. The number of Iraqis killed this month is greater than at any other time since the days of the U.S. invasion 3 years ago. It is inescapable that the rotation of reciprical attacks constitutes a pattern that open eyes have no problem recognizing. Sunnis send suicide bombers into a Shiite mosque on one day. The next day a Shiite car bomb decimates a crowded Sunni marketplace.
What would you call this?
Finally, at least one voice in mediasphere is calling it what it is: A civil war:
“NBC said on the “Today” show that the Iraqi government’s inability to stop spiraling violence between rival factions fit its definition of civil war.”
It does not, however, fit the White House’s definition as they continue to deny reality by using euphemisms that speak of “sectarian” strife that is merely “serious”. It is in the interest of the administration to confuse the matter. They know that if the U.S. were seen to be targets in the midst of Iraq’s internal conflict, the public would not tolerate the loss of life, the wasted billions of dollars, and the international revulsion that results from our continued occupation of the crumbling and chaotic nation.
Bush will be meeting with Iraq’s Prime Minister, al-Maliki this week to discuss how to be more effectively deceptive and to continue to promote the fallacy that Iraq is not only not in a civil war, but is improving its security and stability. The Iraq Study Group is also preparing to release their report that early indications say will have no surprises beyond a suggestion that talks be held with Iran and Syria. The president has nixed this idea, but Maliki is already doing it. This further separates the U.S. from any role of influence and makes our presence even more bewildering and tragic. And the PR stunts and photo-ops will escalate along with the slaughter and despair.
The lies foisted on the American people by its leaders have, to date, been regurgitated by a compliant media. When the public is confused, sheltered and lied to, they will be understandably reluctant to draw conclusions. Or else they will become disgusted, disengaged and defensively apathetic. But when events are accurately portrayed in the press, and citizens are treated like adults, they are more willing and able to make better informed judgments.
Is It Civil War Yet? Not if the government and the press hide the facts from the people. Not if Orwellian perversions of truth are permitted to fog the landscape. Not if it’s forbidden to exercise free expression. At least NBC has finally bowed to acknowledge the obvious. Their tardy enlightenment will help to promote a more realistic national discussion. But they are only a single outpost in the media frontier. We’ll have to wait and see if other news organizations chose to contribute to the store of knowledge rather than continue to suppress and mangle it.