Monday, November 26, 2007

Iraq Has Only Militants, No Civilians

by Dahr Jamail

".....From the beginning of the American occupation in Iraq, air strikes and attacks by the U.S. military have only killed “militants,” “criminals,” “suspected insurgents,” “IED [Improvised Explosive Device] emplacers,” “anti-American fighters,” “terrorists,” “military age males,” “armed men,” “extremists,” or “al-Qaeda.”

The pattern for reporting on such attacks has remained the same from the early years of the occupation to today.....

Iraqis Dehumanized

None of this — from the unending “incidents” themselves to the way the Pentagon has dominated the reporting of them — would have been possible without a widespread dehumanization of Iraqis among American soldiers (and a deep-set, if largely unexpressed and little considered, conviction on the American “home front” that Iraqi lives are worth little). If, four decades ago, the Vietnamese were “gooks,” “dinks,” and “slopes,” the Iraqis of the American occupation are “hajis,” “sand-niggers,” and “towel heads.” Latent racism abets the dehumanization process, ably assisted by a mainstream media that tends, with honorable exceptions, to accept Pentagon announcements as at least an initial approximation of reality in Iraq......

It is an indication of the success of an effective Pentagon “tactical perception management campaign,” of the way the Bush administration has continued to “catapult propaganda,” and of the dehumanization of Iraqis that has gone with it, that the possibility of the number of dead Iraqis being in this range has largely been dismissed (or remained generally undealt with) in the mainstream media in the United States. Add to that the refusal of the U.S. military to bring justice to those charged with some of these heinous crimes, the lack of accountability, and an establishment media which has regularly camouflaged the true nature of the occupation, and we have the perfect setting for a continuance of industrial-scale slaughter in Iraq, even while the news highlights the likes of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and their adventures in various rehab clinics.

In what could reasonably serve as a summary of the American occupation of Iraq, the eighteenth century philosopher Voltaire wrote, “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

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