Thursday, October 26, 2006

Casualty reports

When I heard on the Radio 4 News this evening that 60 civilians had been killed in Kandahar province by Nato bombs, my first thought was, "Yeah, and I wonder how many times they counted each body." The reporting from the Lebanon War was so chronically bad and the Western media so willfully gullible before an obvious Islamist strategy that I find any such figures completely fanciful until the army has confirmed them.

Listen to this interview with Richard Miniter of the New York Times. He's just published a book called Disinformation, which gathers and debunks 22 myths about the War on Terror. He's strangely generous in the way he attributes the making of these myths to laziness rather than to maliciousness or to ideology , but the effect is always the same. You hear about the bombings in 4 of Iraq's 18 provinces and about the 25 deaths they have caused, but nothing from the other 14 provinces or about the 35 insurgents killed.

The picture is always distorted the same way so as to throw mud or at least doubt on our soldiers and reinforce the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness in the public. In the end, the natural reaction will be to throw up our hands in frustration and give in thus making it worse for everyone except the maniacs who send in the suicide bombers.

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