Not quite to plan


A series of strategic errors by the Bush Administration in its War on Terror has left Iran holding virtually all the cards in the power play of the Middle East, according to a report by Britain’s most influential think-tank published today.

The report from the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House – entitled Iran, its neighbours and the regional crises – paints a bleak picture of the prospects for the United States and its Western allies as they try to put a cap on Iran’s nuclear programme.

It describes Iran as a state that sits with “confident ease” in the region and says, crucially, that Iran has replaced the United States as the most influential power in Iraq, able to influence events on the street and not just behind the security barricades of Baghdad’s Green Zone.

But the Bush administration, bless ’em, still has a few tricks up its sleeve:

A Penn State study shows that the use of embedded reporters by major newspapers did affect the number and the type of stories published, resulting in more articles about the U.S. soldiers’ personal lives and fewer articles about the impact of the war on Iraqi civilians.

“The majority of war coverage in the study heavily emphasized the soldier’s experiences, of the war while downplaying the effects of the invasion on the Iraqi people,” said Andrew M. Lindner, a graduate student in sociology at Penn State.

“This study offers the first systematic documentation of the substantive content of the war coverage,” he noted. “Many critics of the embedded reporting program rely on individual anecdotes or stories, but no one else has completed a thorough analysis of the coverage itself.”

After all, who really cares about the Iraqi people? Post “liberation”, they really shouldn’t be complaining.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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