Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And a suitable televised debut for "the new Iraq" (with an Update)

AlQuds alArabi begins its lead editorial this morning by noting that Bush's habit of visiting Iraq since the invasion just goes to prove the old adage that the criminal always returns to the scene of the crime. More to the point, the editorialist adds:
The Green Zone was the only place in the entire world where he could be sure that a festive welcome awaited him, unlike the other capitals of the world...
and this of course contributed to the drama. Moreover, following the incident, the Iraqi authorities completed the lesson for TV viewers by going ahead and showing the whole world
that their concept of democracy is no different from that of the other Arab and third-world dictatorships, with the security men beating him and dragging him away in a manner that indicated an abundance of cruelty and desire for revenge.
This was to have been a major event in the PR for "the new Iraq", as was the swallowing of the agreement itself as some kind of a bona fide, assertion of Iraqi sovereignty and membership in the community of nations. The editorialist goes on:
We do not know what will be the fate of the Iraqi journalist, or the nature of the torture he could undergo behind bars, or the length of his imprisonment, but we do know that when Tony Blair was hit with a rotten egg [the court ordered a fine equal to the cleaning bill for his shirt, and the thrower was released after an investigation]

The huge outpouring of sympathy for the Iraqi journalist, and his attainment of the status of a hero in the eyes of tens of millions of people, illustrates the huge size of the deception that has been perpetrated by the official American PR [or propaganda] and the Iraqi authorities and their PR people, against the Iraqi people, by inverting the truth, and painting a false picture of conditions in this "new Iraq".
And let's not forget the bizarre enthusiasm on the "center left" for affirming the bona fides of the "withdrawal agreement"--complete with ruminations on a multilateral role for this Maliki gang in international relations (IR). Or this from center-left intellectual Rick Perlstein yesterday:
Liberals should not make light of or license the physical assault on the leader of a sovereign state, no matter how much he's deservedly hated. This is not how we do politics, unless we're in favor something tending toward anarchy, or fascism.

This seems open and shut to me: the Iraqi journalist should go to jail for a rather long time.
He's right that that's not how we do politics. We do politics with military force and "human-terrain" technology, manipulation of public opinion ("public diplomacy"), and the other tools of modern social science.

UPDATE: For instance, here's "how we do politics" (from the Egyptian paper alMesryoun this morning, h/t RoadstoIraq) :
It was learned that the American embassy in Cairo asked the Egyptian Minister of Information to close the office of the satellite channel AlBaghdadiya [in Cairo]... and to make them halt the broadcast of clips of Bush being attacked with the shoe on the TV screens of Egypt and in other places where they broadcast from Egypt. And they justified the request on the basis that the repeated broadcast of the clip triggers hatred for the United States on the Egyptian and Arab street, and encourages Arab youths to imitate this with their own heads [of state] and their own rulers...
There is a risk of anarchy from this type of behavior, in other words. Sounds like they have Rick Perlstein writing stuff for the US embassy in Cairo.

The paper adds that the Egyptian Information Ministry did not (immediately) reply to the request.


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