The press likes short wars. Its audience is never so eager for news as during an armed conflict. The first newspapers date from the wars of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Television likes the melodrama of exploding shells and blazing tanks. And it is this very eagerness to report the fighting that makes it so easy to manipulate. The US army successfully sold the “surge” in Iraq as a military victory so that the American public scarcely noticed that US troops were withdrawing, leaving Iraq in the hands of a government closely allied to Iran.