jeudi, novembre 17, 2005

Loads More American Democracy (Updated)

In her latest post Sharon claimed that I misrepresented her "Man versus Man" post about the Fallujah reportage when I claimed that she seemed to be sceptical about the use of chemical weapons in Fallujah. I quote from Sharon's original post:

"But this documentary relies on the word of two US army men who do not inspire much confidence. It may be my own prejudice clouding my judgment but I would need much more proof of wrongdoing to accept the documentary as having any journalistic merit. My heart may want to believe that the US Army are more than capable of using chemical weapons but my head tells me that this documentary does not constitute proof. The least the report could have done was to try and obtain a scientific explanation for burnt bodies covered in intact clothing."

Now Sharon might find it convenient to couch her political observations in some kind of analysis of journalistic capabilities. Unfortunately, one you join the fray and claim others are "misrepresenting you" the cloak of judge and juror has to be shed and replaced by that of interlocutor. In other words Sharon, whether you are speaking of the way a documentary should be made and what proof it should contain or not, you are still at the end of the day implying that you do not believe them. I did not misrepresent what you said clearly in black and white.

Another issue both Sharon and Fausto seem to really really want to clear out is that of the effect of weaponry on clothing. We have an admission by US Forces that MK77 was used. We have burnt dead bodies. And we still question whether the clothing remains could help us tell something. Sharon mulled about how people could watch war videos with indifference. "I become irrational and angry at the people around me who seemed to be able to handle the visual information so much better than I ever could." says Sharon. Which makes me all the more surprised when she is seeing the pictures and still questioning their veracity. Does she know that her question implies Iraqis burning the bodies of fellow Iraqis in order to doctor an alibi of American atrocities? Could they go that far?

And now for today's news... that UK Independent... the media has continued to report. Here is the header and sub-header, the rest is in the article, the devil is in the detail and the dead are in Fallujah.

Incendiary weapons: The big white lie
US finally admits using white phosphorus in Fallujah - and beyond.
Iraqis investigate if civilians were targeted with deadly chemical

**** UPDATE*****
from The Times - article "Propaganda nightmare of chemical hypocrisy":
"No matter the technical explanations of how useful the chemical is in flushing out insurgents from cellars. In using a weapon notorious in Vietnam, with effects on the human body straight from a science fiction film, it has given a gift to its enemies. It is now loudly accused of hypocrisy: justifying the war partly by Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons, but then using particularly nasty ones itself. "


Allegations of unusual weapons have been around since the assault. The US denied them, until internet bloggers unearthed personal accounts by the US military. On Tuesday Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Venable said that the substance had been used as an “incendiary weapon against enemy combatants”, contradicting earlier statements by the London and Rome ambassadors, and the State Department website.


If there was anything that could make perceptions worse, it was the military slang of “shake and bake” attacks, phosphorus being the “bake” part - Bronwen Maddox (Times Quote of the Day)..

I cannot link you to today's Times cartoon since I cannot find the net version. It's an aerial view of the pentagon. In the top left corner is the caption "Choir Practice". A speech bubble coming out of the pentagon has the following text within (and includes musical notes).."I'm dreaming of a White Phosphorous Christmas, Just Like the One's I used to Know".

3 commentaires:

wwwitchie a dit…

U ajma Jacques, talk about selective quoting... Did it escape your attention that I also wrote:

a) These days, when I hear a story about the US Army's conduct in Iraq, I find it easier to believe without the necessary checks and balances.

b) Thankfully, there is more convincing information out there... (and that para goes on to cite more reliable sources).

Raphael Vassallo a dit…

Allow me to post this from today's New York Times. Nothing to do with weapons, just interesting, that's all.
It's quotes from a Pew survey conducted this autumn and published today. Among the findings are (note: am quoting from NYT story, not actual survey):

"Forty-two percent of Americans think that the United States should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own"

"That is an increase of 12 percentage points since a poll taken in December 2002, before the American-led invasion of Iraq"

"The survey also found the following:

¶ Nearly three-quarters of Americans say the United States should play a shared leadership role, and only 25 percent want the country to be the most active of leading nations.

¶ Two-thirds of Americans say that there is less international respect for the United States than in the past. When asked why, strong majorities - 71 percent of the public, 88 percent of opinion leaders --cite the war in Iraq."

(71% percent of the American public... that's pretty high, imho)

wwwitchie a dit…

Oh, I think the Americans are fucked, no doubt about it. One lives in hope that this may yet turn out to be another Vietnam. Even if the whole chemical weapons story were untrue (NB Jacques: if), it has still done enough damage to set the scene for a crippling blow. There's a story emerging about torture in another Iraqi prison, although it is unclear from what I've read whether the prison was under Iraqi or American control.

In terms of domestic US politics, however, it is worth bearing in mind that international disapprobation tends to make little difference to your average American who, these days, tend to live in one of the red states, vote Bush and live under the illusion that the US is the world.