Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Media

A blog that everyone should read is the one by Richard Keeble.

A quote:

"US/UK militarism is best understood as having three major strands each of them with a significant mediacentric dimension:

"The totally secret activities with no media coverage. This will include the destabilisation by intelligence agencies and covert forces of countries and ruling elites: not just through the CIA but a range of clandestine forces. Other secret activities include the manipulation of elections, assassination of “enemy” military and political leaders, the arms trade, economic sanctions and diplomatic pressures. US covert intervention in Chad during the 1980s (organising two coups in 1982 and 1990 and imposing a series of ruthless dictators on the country) would provide an archetypal case study here.

"Low Intensity Conflicts (LICs in the jargon). These are conflicts that are conducted mainly in secret but with occasional brief media coverage. Pentagon adviser John M Collins, in his seminal analysis of the United States’ LIC strategy, isolated just 60 US examples during the 20th century. These included Iran 1951-53, Bolivia 1980-86; Lebanon 1982-84. For the UK, the Irish Troubles/War (1967-1998) has been an archetypal LIC given only spasmodic coverage in the mainstream media. Currently US/UK operations in Afghanistan and Iraq can be defined as Low Intensity Conflicts. Recent massacres of civilians in Fallujah, Mosul and Ramadi in Iraq have gone largely uncovered in the mainstream media.

"Finally, manufactured, media-hyped, quickie attacks against puny third world opposition usually largely celebrated by the mainstream press. These New Militarist attacks provide the spectacular theatres in which the US/UK can gain rapid “victories”. Recent examples include 1982 The Falklands; 1983 Grenada; 1986 Libya; 1989 Panama; 1991, 1993, 1998, 2001, 2003 Iraq; 1992-1993 Somalia; 1999 Serbia/Kosovo; 2001 Afghanistan.

"And all of these conflicts resulted in massive civilian casualties – though the media represent them as largely “heroic”, “clean”, “precise” and “humanitarian”. Colin Powell, in his account of the 1991 Gulf conflict, estimated that 250,000 Iraqis perished. Thousands died during the Kosovo attacks; many more were traumatised and military sites, broadcast stations, hospitals, homes were bombed. Hundreds of thousands were left jobless. Up to 10,000 civilians died during the Iraq invasion of 2003 with more than 100,000 Iraqis reported killed since May 2003.

"Thus the essential function of the mainstream media in New Militarist wars, I argue, is no longer to naturalise and humanise the possibility of nuclear holocaust as during the Cold War but to acclimatise the public to the acceptability of mass slaughters of the nameless “enemy”. In place of nukespeak we have the massacrespeak."

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