John Pilger’s latest film, The War You Don’t See, was not all new to me. I’m currently reading a book about ‘churnalism’, so the idea of embedding journalists so they tell the ‘official’ story rather than the truth is not something new. It was interesting to hear the journalists and former officials recant their reports though.
Some news editors were made uncomfortable and quite honestly came up with some lousy answers: “it’s not our job to call officials liars”; “it’s our job to inform the public and let them make their own minds up”. Really? I thought it was your job to investigate what you’ve been told. And how can a public be informed enough to make up it’s mind with such an unbalanced report?
One of the most sickening moments of the film was Andrew Marr’s interview with Tony Blair. That he was allowed to go on air to promote his book was bad enough. That he used that time to warmonger once again was an atrocity. Andrew Marr and the BBC should be ashamed that they allowed him to go on, without even questioning his claims or the actions he was recommending.
The second, and certainly most sickening part, was something that I think came from wikileaks. It was an official video of American soldiers shooting Iraqis and reporters in the street. As far as I can tell they were long range shots. You can hear the soldiers talking to each other over the video. After they shot the eight people on the street, a van pulled up to try to find survivors. The van was shot at. The soldiers were very pleased with their work. When the troops on the ground arrived, one of the soldiers found two children, injured but alive, in the van. He got them out and wanted them to be taken to the military hospital. Over the soldiers’ radio, first you hear that it’s their fault for bringing kids into the area, and then that they would be taken to a local hospital. His CO told him to get back to his job.
I hate that people in power can get away with saying that this is taking place for the sake of national interest. I hate that people believe it to be true. I hate that officials are able to talk about the dangers of terrorists when all we’re doing is creating a new generation of them.
I was ‘got at’ in the pub the other night, I think because a couple of jaded military guys thought I was naive (not 100% sure – it was a bit of a strange ‘debate’). I’m not naive. I’m hopeful. I might not know all the details of the terrible things that are done, but I don’t believe it’s for our good. But if I don’t have faith that it can change, then really, what’s the point? It’s hard but necessary to have hope that things will get better.