No lessons learned



The latest edition of Digital Journalist features lots of photos from Iraq. I am very uncomfortable with what is shown on those pages - many of the images and a lot of the reporting are very close to what they used to do for the Deutsche Wochenschau. I don’t see anything heroic about flattening a city in an occupied country (apart from the fact that international law has lots of very unpleasant things to say about actions like this). So it’s quite good that two very relevant and important articles from the New York Review of Books have been made available online. Chris Hedges, one of the few war journalists who manages to escape simple propaganda consistently, discusses two books about the latest Iraq war1. And once again, Michael Massing rips into what we think is the free press.

1 These following sentences might be the most damning judgement of a lot we’ve lately been subjected to in the media: “The vanquished know war. They see through the empty jingoism of those who use the abstract words of glory, honor, and patriotism to mask the cries of the wounded, the senseless killing, war profiteering, and chest-pounding grief. They know the lies the victors often do not acknowledge, the lies covered up in stately war memorials and mythic war narratives, filled with stories of courage and comradeship. They know the lies that permeate the thick, self-important memoirs by amoral statesmen who make wars but do not know war. The vanquished know the essence of war - death. They grasp that war is necrophilia. They see that war is a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction. They know how war fosters alienation, leads inevitably to nihilism, and is a turning away from the sanctity and preservation of life. All other narratives about war too easily fall prey to the allure and seductiveness of violence, as well as the attraction of the godlike power that comes with the license to kill with impunity.”