Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Media Abuse in Iraq

Since arriving in the United States, after spending the last year in northern Iraq, my wife and I have been standing up in restaurants, cafeterias, and airport waiting lounges, and speaking out about the abuse of the international media regarding Iraq. Without fail the message we have shared has been warmly received as those listening break out in heartfelt applause at what they hear. One lady at a Denny’s in Amarillo was sobbing at her table and my wife went over to talk to her to see what was the matter. The lady nodded to the ten-year old girl sitting at the table with her and said, "Her Daddy’s in Iraq and all we have heard from the media is negative and it has been so hard. Thanks for speaking to us."

I am the director of an international NGO (non-government organization) which has rebuilt schools and drilled water wells in both Kurdish and Arab villages in northern Iraq. In the course of the last year we have been absolutely appalled by the distortion of the media’s reporting.

As my wife and I have now begun to stand in public to speak about our experience, it is clear to us that the American people really want to hear the truth, and sense they are not getting it through the media. The truth is there is a tremendous amount of good happening in Iraq today that never gets reported. Instead the media seems to look for the few malcontents who will say they liked things better under Saddam Hussein. Let me assure you these people are in the minority. In the meantime work goes on to restore schools, hospitals, electricity, water availability, roads, etc. Here is the real story of courage and the American spirit at its finest that never gets told.

It is obvious that we have entered into a new era with 24 hour media around the world spinning the news and trying to shape the way people think. But could it be that Americans are starting to see through the lies of the media. Possibly CNN and CBS overstepped themselves in dragging America and the U.S. military into the mire over the incident at Abu Garab, trying to make what happened look like it was indicative of the Army and the government as a whole. Remember how long the media played the angle that the prison scandal would run up the ladder? Yet the truth was there were very few people involved. What happened at the prison was wrong, we all know that, but what was worse was to put those pictures on worldwide television 24 hours a day for two solid weeks and proclaim to the world that this is the United States military. Nothing could be further from the truth. In rebuilding schools, I have worked closely with the U.S. Army this past year and have watched them exhibit extraordinary patience, kindness, and sensitivity to the Iraqi people. We can all be proud of the way they have conducted themselves.

Many times we have had friends in Iraq tell us that the hooded terrorists being interviewed by the media are not from Iraq, but from Yemen, or Egypt, or Saudi, or somewhere else outside the country, but they are definitely not from Iraq. How do they know? The same way we know if someone is from Boston or Texas. Accent. Yet CNN and the BBC make the terrorists appear to represent the sentiments of the Iraqi people and this is not true. The deception and the damage comes in as people around the world watch the interview but obviously cannot tell the difference in the accents. CNN realizes the rest of the world doesn’t know the difference, and so they are able to pass off international terrorists from outside Iraq, as though they were representing the Iraqi people. The result is that the world is misled into thinking Iraqis are against America whereby everyone becomes discouraged. And yet the truth is the overwhelming majority of Iraqis are grateful to the United States for liberating them. It appears the media is deliberately lying to, and misleading the world, trying to dishearten people regarding anything connected with Iraq.

The international media has done nothing to encourage the Iraqi people to take ownership and responsibility for rebuilding their country. Instead they have constantly undermined Coalition efforts to help the Iraqi people, even spinning good things in a negative way. In my opinion this war could have been over a long time ago if it had not been for the media. They have incited violence and encouraged the international terrorists at every turn and in every way possible. Thousands of people have now lost their lives because the media has fed the fire to keep the war going. The fact is that the international media, led by CNN, the BBC, and Al Jazera, has innocent blood on its hands.
Couldn't agree with you more, I always thought it was centered to arab media for their obvious reason, but I don't understand why other outlets such as the bbc or cnn for example are getting out of their way to blur out as much of the truth as possible. What would they benefit from a demolished Iraq?
Please keep up the good work. And thanks.
I certainly hope you are wrong about the media distortion being intentional. I do believe that they think they are doing their job, as twisted as that may soung to you and I. The American media covers tradgedies and mistakes, not successes. They won't tell you about a plane landing 1000 times without problems, but they will tell you about the one time it crashes.

General Giap of the North Vietnamese Army told a French television reporter that his most important guerrilla ally during the war was the American press.

Our media needs to be held responsible for it's actions.

BTW. Could you post some of the words you say when you speak out?
Interesting article. It shows how many good deeds can go for naught when you are guilty of a "war of choice" and ignorance about the culture of the conquered people. Maybe Americans should study their Bibles more and not be so eager for revenge and pre-emptive wars.
Hello, no offense but wake up people, it was election year in America. The media, the US government etc.. only wanted to show news that would make whomever they supported look good. Abu Garab was headlined to discredit Bush and the reports of mass graves, etc.. was to justify Bush invading Iraq when WMD's failed to materialize. For all we know it could be as simple as Bush 43's retrebution for the threats Sadamm made against his father or it could be that Bush 41 is haunted by thoughts of turning his back on the Kurds.

The reality is time is running out for the Iraqi people. The American, British and other national forces are not going to stay forever. Eventually, the losses are going to be too great. As the news reported last year during the overthrow of Bagdad, the Iraqi people were afraid that Sadamm would resume power.

However, he has been caught for several months now and the Iraqi people still have not risen up to rat out who and where the insurgents are. Ultimately, it is the Iraqi's country and they need to take the bull by the horns and make the needed sacrifices. Similar to what the American colonies did against the British and again during the American civil war.
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