Friday, March 21, 2008

Five Years On - a predictable addition

Unlike my colleague's writings, mine are reasonably predictable and it would have been entirely out of character for me to keep quiet on this anniversary, though, naturally enough, the question of toys will not arise in my posting. So, let me, with boring predictability, make the odd comment or two.

First of all, on the question of "unfinished business", it is worth adding that some Shi-ite Arabs did rise against Saddam after the first Gulf War, but had no support from the victorious coalition who had urged them to rebel. They were crushed. At the time, numerous commentators who understood Iraq and the Arab world said that in ten years' time the United States would regret not finishing the business with Saddam. Ten years, as it turned out, was a reasonably accurate prediction.

Secondly, it is time once again, to refer to the importance of the blogosphere in the propaganda war. It is the blogs in the United States, particularly on the right, that have shown up the MSM as being a player rather than a reporter with an agenda of its own, which is rarely on the side of the Western coalition.

The media today is not like that of the Second World War and why should it be. We must accept that. But the journalists must accept that the political picture is not like that of the Vietnam war. The blogosphere's victorious assault on Dan Rather raised a number of issues about accuracy of reporting and political campaigns waged surreptitiously. That, in turn, has led to an evaluation, still going on, of the media's role in the American defeat in Vietnam.

A similar destructive undermining of the war effort in Iraq has failed because of the milblogs and of the highly knowledgeable and alert bloggers back home in the States. Sadly, no similar development has been witnessed in Britain, but that is for another posting.

My third point is very simple. It is a link to a very sober but strongly optimistic article in the Wall Street Journal by Fouad Ajami. Enjoy.

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