Everybody's Got One
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Wednesday, March 26, 2003


More Jon Lee Anderson on Charlie Rose, piecing together reports from Basra: A doctor this morning before the uprising began was talking about huge numbers of civilian casualties. It's looking pretty ugly down there, as the Iraqi forces are – it seems – intentionally drawing the coalition forces into firing on the city, drawing them into a siege situation ... I gather there's a three-way slaughter going on down there which sounds awful.

If you listen to this at face value, it would seem that the civilian casualties – talked about as huge, before the uprising happens – all result from coalition artillery fire ... but that's never explicitly stated. That Iraqis might attempt to cause them indirectly – it seems – is only apparent or conjectural; the notion that they might cause them directly is unexpressed and likely unthought, as is the idea that any coalition firing might be on military rather than civilian targets. At least the phrase three-way slaughter implies that somehow, some way, someone besides the invaders is actually doing some shooting.

Fog of reportage indeed. The point at which blindness and ignorance become willing it also becomes culpable. Anderson should stop advertising himself as a journalist and fess up to being a free-lance spinner. (Maybe he's angling for a position at the Times.)

posted by Kelly | 2:09 PM link