An experienced British officer serving in
He says most British soldiers regard their tours as “loathsome”, during which they “reluctantly [provide] target practice for insurgents, senselessly haemorrhaging casualties and squandering soldiers’ lives, as part of Bush’s vain attempt to delay the inevitable Anglo-US rout until after the next US election.” He appeals to journalists not to swallow “the official line/ White House propaganda”.
In 1970, I made a film in
What is different about Iraq is the willingness of usually obedient British soldiers to speak their minds, from General Richard Dannatt, Britain’s current military chief, who said that the presence of his troops in Iraq “exacerbates the security problem”, to General Michael Rose who has called for Tony Blair to be impeached for taking Britain to war “on false grounds” – remarks that are mild compared with the blogs of squaddies.
What is also different is the growing awareness in the British forces and the public of how “the official line” is played through the media. This can be quite crude: for example when a BBC defence correspondent in
More often than not, censorship by omission is employed: for example, by omitting the fact that almost 80 per cent of attacks are directed against the occupation forces (source: the Pentagon) so as to give the impression that the occupiers are doing their best to separate “warring tribes” and are crisis managers rather than the cause of the crisis.
There is a last-ditch sense about this kind of propaganda. Seymour Hersh said recently, “[In April, the Bush administration] made a decision that because of the totally dwindling support for the war in
Ga-ga day at the London Guardian was 22 May. “
Moreover, it had a curious tone of something-must-be-done insistence, reminiscent of Judith Miller’s scandalous reports in the New York Times claiming that Saddam was about to launch his weapons of mass destruction and beckoning Bush to invade. Tisdall in effect offered the same invitation; I can remember few more irresponsible pieces of journalism. The British public and the people of