Monday, March 31
Bombs and Biscuits
Every Iraqi Child is Now an Unwitting Participant in This Obscene War. And Every One of Us is Morally Implicated
Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian, March 31, 2003
After the bombings, the ambushes and assaults, the newsreaders' voices lighten as they reach the humanitarian aid slot in the story running order.
The images of bloodied limbs and bombed buildings are replaced by jostling crowds being roughly corralled by British troops distributing bottles of water. This is the battle for hearts and minds, we are repeatedly told.
The crude attempt at manipulation beggars belief: whose heart and mind are won by such images of angry desperation? Certainly not the Iraqis, bewildered by the invader who has deprived them of the water in the first place, who kills their children and then throws them the paltry solace of one bottle - enough to last one person a couple of hours.
The issue of aid and how it's being played on our television screens reminds us what this war is all about.
Not oil, not weapons of mass destruction, but a demonstration of US power,
necessary after 9/11 to impress appropriate fear and respect in the hearts and minds across the globe - in Europe as much as in the Middle East.
The assumption was that Iraq offered a suitable stage for this performance - not too dangerous or too strong and with some oil booty thrown in.
The media would convey the two crucial lessons which the American administration believed the world needed to be taught:
of the terrifying technological prowess of American weaponry
and the benign nature of the Pax Americana. [...]