Wall Street Opinion Journal JOHN R. GUARDIANO Monday, December 19, 2005
The latest Iraq “scandal” the politicians and the media have discovered is the U.S. military’s alleged covert purchase of favorable articles in the Iraqi press. This alleged “propaganda campaign . . . violates fundamental principles of Western journalism,” reports the New York Times.
This is not surprising, insofar as Iraq does not yet enjoy “Western journalism.” Journalists there are murdered, blackmailed and bribed. They and their families are routinely threatened and coerced by terrorist/insurgents. Newspapers often serve as propaganda arms of various political and religious factions. The widely viewed Arab network Al-Jazeera works diligently to promote terrorism and undermine Iraq by disseminating lies, distortions and misinformation.
In light of this reality, the U.S. military has a choice: It can accept this deleterious state of affairs, play by Marquess of Queensberry rules, and wait decades for the emergence of “Western journalism.” The result would be a heady propaganda win for the terrorist/insurgents, a prolonged conflict, and more unnecessary violence and death. Or the U.S. military can work within Iraq’s present-day constraints to try to ensure that Iraqis hear the truth about what is happening in their country.