Truth as a Casualty of War

Robert Fisk has a well-earned reputation as one of the most honest and hard hitting foreign correspondents in the British media. When I met Fisk, I wanted to know, does journalism, by sanitizing or justifying war, also have a role in perpetuating it?

First of all, there's the inability of many journalists from the United States to actually tell the truth about the Israel-Palestine situation--hence, occupied territories are called disputed territories, the wall is called the security barrier, a colony or settlement is called a neighborhood or an outpost.

[Likewise] the true extent of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan has been masked by the massive use of mercenaries--hidden from the troop figures. Fisk is one of very few journalists to call them by their name, as opposed to the "contractor" euphemism: "When they say two 'contractors' have been murdered, the idea that they are going around in an armored humvee loaded with weapons doesn't come into the brain pod immediately does it?"

Then you have this business where television will not show what we see, for reasons of so-called "bad taste". I remember once being on the phone to a TV editor in London when Jazeera were asked to feed some tape of children killed and wounded by British shell fire in Basra, and the guy started saying, "there's no point feeding us this, we can't show this". The first excuse was, "people will be having their tea, so we can't put it on".

I was in Iraq in 1991, when the British and Americans had been bombing one of the highways. There were women and children dead and in bits, and all these dogs came out of the desert and started eating them. If you saw what I saw you would never ever think of supporting war of any kind against anyone again.

But of course, the politicians--our leaders--are very happy that these pictures are not shown, because they make war more attractive, less painful.

[Excerpt of an article by Dan Glazebrook,PalestineChronicle]

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