|30/04/04||U.S. Military Policy: Kill the Arab Journalists and Considerations On This Policy For What Is Left of Our Democracy|
Sam Hamod (in the U.S.) and Ali Suleimani (in Iraq)
The U.S. Military policy of killing Arab journalists took an ironic turn yesterday˜after having killed Arab journalists working for Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyah in Kabul and then in Baghdad, yesterday, they killed two Arab journalists who were working for the Pentagon in the U.S. propaganda station, Al Iraqiyah!
The journalists, who had often been derided by their colleagues for working for an American Pentagon station, were now seen in the Iraqi community as another indication of the American policy of killing Arab journalists. In this case, the military said it didn‚t know they were working for the Pentagon.
This has caused consternation, because the official American line has been that the killings have always been “accidental‰ or the “fault of the journalists.‰
But this raises questions about what the American military is actually trying to do in Iraq when it shows a desire to kill journalists who may not spout the American line; in this case, it backfired in two ways. It showed the crass killing of journalists, which is unethical and forbidden, and it showed that there is a desire on the part of the U.S. Military to cover up the truth of their brutality in Iraq, just as the Israelis do in Palestine. Some have pointed out that American policy in Iraq is the same as that of Israel in Palestine, this recent killing even proves the point more solidly.
In this case, the journalist‚s car, like the others from two weeks ago from Al Arabiyah, was clearly marked as Journalists in English and Arabic. But, as happened with the Al Arabiyah journalists, the American soldiers didn‚t wait to identify or ask the car to stop, they just began shooting according to eye-witnesses and the camerman, Jessem Kamel (who was wounded in the back). The two who were killed, As‚ aad Kadhim and Hussein Saleh‚, had just interviewed Iraqi Police and Iraqi Civilian Militia, in clear view of the American soldiers, then had driven less than 500 yards and were suddenly fired upon.
There was no justification that could be given by the military except that they were 3 Arabs riding in a car˜which doesn‚t justify anything at all.
So there you have it. So much for freedom of the press. So much for “bringing democracy to Iraq.‰ So much for “bringing freedom to Iraq.‰
We,in America, have come to a sad pass when this kind of brutality is now are hallmark. Those in Iraq know only of American cruelty and barbarism, now we understand how the Palestinians feel under the Israeli heel.
Further Considerations On This Matter
What are we to do for honest news in the future if this kind of assassination of foreign journalists continues?
As it is, 9 companies control 92 % of American mass media. We are all aware at this time how much our mass media, even the public broadcasting networks have bought into the Bush mentality of “we must win this war, there is no alternative.” Thus, even what news we get in America is tainted.
Some of us are fortunate to go to foreign sources through the internet and through the short wave radio, but estimates are that over 91% of most Americans depend on the American networks for their news. This does not bode well when these conglomerates control the mass media and know it is in their interests to allow only those things that are to their advantage to be seen, heard and printed on their media.
Thus, we have in America at this time a vast number of “conservative” (read that as truly “reactionary” ) talk show hosts, i.e., Rush Limbaugh, Roger Hedgecock, and TV shows with Pat Robertson, Larry King and others who fawn over the administration guests—as do Barbara Walters, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and of late, even Peter Jennings and even the redoubtable Bill Moyers/ last week he almost took the administration line until he was chopped down by Mahmood Mamdani who showed how off target Bill was.
So, we have come to an impass because our democracy will not work properly if the people are not informed with honest information. Unfortunately, too many of the networks these days are owned and influenced, which means controlled, by the conglomerates and their interest is in the bottom line, not in honest news. This is different when CBS and others were owned by people interested in honest news; they had a moral committment to the news. That is why we had such newscasters as Edward R. Murrow, Howard K. Smith, Harry Reasoner, Walter Cronkite and Roger Mudd; Mike Wallace, Helen Thomas and Andy Rooney are among the few who still speak up and fight for the news. I might add that Bob Woodward has joined that rank recently with his books on Bush and other matters pertaining to the Iraq war.
The other problem is that so many of the newscasters are there for looks. I've noticed that the major networks, and certainly the local ones are going for young, slim, blondes and brunettes—taking more serious looking people off the air. Then, if a person fights back, as some have done, or fights for union rights, they get fired—as was the case with Ted Leitner in San Diego. Though I often disagreed with Ted, he was an honest man who let other opinions come through, whether on his talk show or in his reporting. He has been replaced by a “younger” man; the serious newscasters on the channel have either left or been replaced by the aforesaid attractive blondes or brunettes—though they have kept one serious newsman (but who knows how long he'll last?)
This is not an attack on those women, but it is disheartening when most of them know as little about history and politics and President Bush II. Often I have seen them give a story about a devastation with a smile, or smile after reading the story (yes, most of them read, I don't know how much they can talk off the cuff because that demands a knowledge of the subject that I cannot ascertain ). Of course, many have but a degree in “communications”, which is often technique oriented these days, as against when I went to university at Northwestern where you had to have a lot of substance to get a bachelor's or master's degree; not any more at most schools. Just learn how to smile, read the notes and modulate your voice a bit, and bingo, go out and talk to the world!
We are in a dire situation as I said earlier. It will take an effort, but I suggest that most Americans hook up into a satellite or import, or go online and read some foreign newspapers and understand the truth of matters that surround them in the world.
A case in point recently were the lies that the U.S. media spread about Aznar's lead in Spain; in fact, he had a small, if true, lead. Thus, it wasn't just the train bombing that helped defeat Aznar—but if you read or heard only the American media, you would have thought that was the case. As Alfredo Reyes and I pointed out, the American media lied to our people about Aznar and the whole situation, including the massive upset with him taking Spain into the Iraq war.
In Iraq, as I pointed out earlier, along with Ali Suleimani, Arab journalists are being shot by our military. Unfortunately, most of the American journalists are embedded with the American troops again, so we are getting slanted, pro-American stories. These men and women call the Iraqi resistance fighters, “insurgents”, “terrorists”, “Saddam's men”, “radicals,” “troublemakers”, “Baathists” and every other negative name in the book—everything but what they are in 90% of the cases, Iraqis who are resisting an American take-over of their country. Wouldn't you resist if someone came in and tried to take over America? I hope you would. Then, why should the Iraqis be any different than us?
The French understand this, they know the puppet “Iraqi Governing Council” we put in Iraq, made up of exiles and others who haven't been in Iraq since they were young, or were thrown out —they know they are like the Vichy French the Nazis set up in France during WWII. Most Americans these days either know little about history or have forgotten it (note that recently a poll was taken and only 32% of the high school kids know who Eisenhower was, but 90% knew who Jennifer Lopez was).
We must consider these killings of Arab journalists in Iraq and Afghanistan a serious matter, just as we must question the “embedding “ of our “journalists” with American troops—for if we are not to get the truth, we will not be able to understand what is really going on in the world and then our democracy will suffer the consequences. And believe me, the consequences will be very much like the zombies in Orwell's , 1984—and I'd hate to see that happen to what is left of our democracy.