Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dan Froomkin points out one of many lies spoken by Bush in his recent press conference. Regarding Iraq, Bush said, "Nobody wants to turn on their TV on a daily basis and see havoc wrought by terrorists." Froomkin correctly replies, "Americans are most certainly not seeing havoc wrought by terrorist on a daily basis on their televisions. The violence in Iraq is almost entirely taking place off camera. When was the last time you saw a dead or grievously wounded American soldier on TV?"

How true. Americans continue to be insulated from such graphic and disturbing images -- by design. Who is Bush kidding? Instead, the horrible footage we are allowed to witness is of the Israel/Hezbollah fighting. From Eric Effron of The Week:
The images reaching us from the war have been stark and jarring. We’ve been bombarded with close-ups of bombed-out apartment buildings, of mortally wounded soldiers, of maimed civilians, including children. We have watched interviews of grieving mothers, and of rescue workers desperately digging through smoldering rubble. We have seen the anger, the fear, and the anguish. We have beheld the faces of the dead and the dying. In short, we have witnessed what war looks like. Only not our war.

The photographs and video footage that I just described were from the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. But while news coverage of the fighting in Lebanon has been relentless and strikingly vivid, the same cannot be said of the war in Iraq. Thanks to a combination of military controls, self-censorship by the media, and the far-flung nature of the battle, Americans have been privy to virtually no pictures of wounded or dead GIs. We don’t even get to glimpse the coffins. Images of the war’s massive toll on civilians have been just as elusive. In July, the insurgency and the sectarian warfare in Iraq claimed 3,438 Iraqi civilians, according to the Iraqi Health Ministry—that’s an average of 110 a day. The deaths of far fewer civilians in Lebanon have generated far more outcry, no doubt in part because we have been unable to avoid those pictures. Yet much of the carnage in Iraq has been invisible to us. This may be one reason the war can at times seem more surreal than real, something vaguely taking place on the periphery of our vision. It’s so easy not to see.

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