July 16, 2007

Iraq Withdrawal Looks Like Sure Road To Ruin


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Has the NYT been (visually) playing into Administration propaganda?

Specifically, has the recent employment of heavy-handed photos enhanced White House scare tactics about a post-occupation Iraq?  …And, as a parallel issue, how valid is the assumption that a U.S. presence is keeping Iraq “more stable,” and that withdrawal would necessarily make things (even) worse?

Take this photo and headline that appeared six days ago.  The article, without offering counterbalance, gives full-throated platform to Ambassador Chester Crocker’s perverse warnings of the impending disaster if the U.S. withdraws from Iraq:

“You can’t build a whole policy on a fear of a negative, but, boy, you’ve really got to account for it,” Mr. Crocker said Saturday in an interview at his office in Saddam Hussein’s old Republican Palace, now the seat of American power here. Setting out what he said was not a policy prescription but a review of issues that needed to be weighed, the ambassador compared Iraq’s current violence to the early scenes of a gruesome movie.

“In the States, it’s like we’re in the last half of the third reel of a three-reel movie, and all we have to do is decide we’re done here, and the credits come up, and the lights come on, and we leave the theater and go on to something else,” he said. “Whereas out here, you’re just getting into the first reel of five reels,” he added, “and as ugly as the first reel has been, the other four and a half are going to be way, way worse.”

Perhaps the photo above was inspired by Mr. Crocker’s penchant for cinematic analogies?

This in not the only recent example of such tremulous cinematic elaboration of a potential pull-out, by the way.  Here is its cousin that appeared just yesterday.

(image: Ceerwan Aziz/Reuters.  July 9, 2007.  Baghdad.  nytimes.com. caption:  A car bomb exploded in central Baghdad on Monday, killing two people, wounding six and causing heavy damage to this apartment building.)

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Michael Shaw
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