“It was premeditated slaughter in every sense of the word. The Marines came
in and they killed everyone inside.” Khalid Ahmed Rsayef; Haditha eyewitness
Western media is the bullhorn for the political establishment. Its
message is crafted to reflect the objectives of elites and defend the interests
of ownership. The recent coverage of the massacre in Haditha hasn’t changed
the media’s essential purpose at all. It’s still a fully-vested
partner in the corporate-state power structure.
The reporting on Haditha has been surprisingly thorough. The major American
newspapers have run several articles covering the incident in great detail.
The mainstream media still attracts some of the brightest, most talented writers
in the country. What a pity their talent is wasted promoting an immoral and
tragic war which has led us to the brink of disaster.
We don’t know why the media giants have veered from their traditional
cheerleading and focused on the atrocities at Haditha. There have been scores
of similar incidents reported on the internet over the past 3 years. What makes
Haditha so special? .
It’s doubtful that the media executives are suddenly bothered
by “pangs of remorse” about the suffering they have helped to create.
More likely, the unexpected attention to Haditha indicates the growing divisions
among American elites about Bush’s alarming mismanagement of the war.
If the occupation had gone smoothly, there’d be no recriminations or talk
of massacres. Americans like a winner, and are prepared to overlook the criminal
indiscretions of their leaders if they’re victorious.
Haditha is characterized as an anomaly that diverges from the norm of military
conduct. But, that is not what the Iraqis say. Even the newly-appointed Iraqi
Prime Minister al-Maliki admits that such killings are a “daily occurrence”
and that American soldiers routinely “crush Iraqis with their vehicles
and kill them on suspicion”. In fact, it is impossible to exterminate
100,000 civilians without leaving behind a conspicuous trail of war crimes.
Haditha is the inevitable upshot of military invasion and occupation; it fits
into the familiar pattern of serial-killing that is listed under the rubric
Stories, like Haditha, rarely find their way into the evening news. That would
interrupt the optimistic flow of jingoism and cheery predictions that dominate
the mainstream storyline. No one in the media would be brazen enough to suggest
that the war was entirely motivated by self-interest, or that, the calls for
“democratization” and “liberation” are merely intended
to divert the public’s attention from the daily record of slaughter. That
would be a career-ending move, for sure.
The basic function of the media never changes. It’s a top-down
corporate institution designed to provide a business-friendly world view and
enhance the profits of its investors. They’re paid to transform a vicious
colonial war into a “noble cause” and defend the indiscriminate
killing of civilians as the highest expression of patriotism. Haditha is the
logical extension of that system.
Voltaire said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you
commit atrocities”. Haditha proves that Voltaire was right. He wisely
anticipated the role of media in the modern era. It is the pitch-man for atrocities
that are thinly-veiled as acts of self-sacrifice and humanity. Voltaire never
could have imagined that the cynical manipulation of perceptions could have
evolved into an entire industry. In fact, media is more like an army than an
industry; a band of mercenaries who are used to carry out information-warfare
against their own people.
The media campaign has been the most successful part of the Iraq war. News
programs have faithfully delivered the same storyline from every soapbox in
America, crowding out opposing points of view. The synchronization and uniformity
of the message has left no doubt that the corporate propaganda-system is vastly
superior to any other. The “profit-motive” creates the best possible
incentive for manipulating the public mind and corrupting democracy. The media
has become a more valuable asset to the Defense Department than an Abrams Tank
or a laser-guided missile. It is the one truly indispensable weapon in the Pentagon’s
The reporting on Haditha hasn’t damaged the Pentagon-media alliance.
Iraq has produced thousands of Hadithas all of which will remain ignored or
concealed by the media.
Where are the photos of Falluja?
2 years have passed since Rumsfeld flattened the city in a vindictive act of
rage, and the media still hasn’t provided even one picture of the devastation.
How is it that people fail to grasp this obvious sign of collaboration between
the media and the Pentagon warlords?
The media knew of Haditha months before it appeared in Time magazine. They
chose to ignore it rather than expose Bush’s blood-sport to the world.
Eventually, we will have to seriously address the media’s culpability
in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi non-combatants. Conspiracy to
facilitate mass murder is not protected under the 1st amendment any more than
shouting “fire” in a crowded building. The media played a crucial
role in deliberately misleading the country into a war of aggression and, subsequently,
aiding and abetting the vast incidents of war crimes. For that they will have
to be held accountable.
The persistent slaughter in Iraq is not just the work of right wing fanatics
and neocons, but of the information-managers who pumped their lies through the
public air-waves and made the war a fati accompli. They’ve played a central
role in decimating Iraqi society and putting America on the fast-track to ruin.
The bloody footprints from Haditha lead straight to the corporate headquarters
at Time Warner and FOX News. They are every bit as guilty as anyone who served
in Kilo Company.