Wishy washy press reports

April 7, 2003

Trying to figure out if this paper wants to make sure it gets the story right, look at the evolving headlines:

April 1: Arabs find shine in Saddam’s fading star

April 5: Arab media accept Iraq is crumbling

April 7: Defeats dismay Arab media

I particularly found this quotes surprising:

“Why is he letting the Arabs down now,” a Lebanese caller asked a phone-in programme, “when his forces fought so bravely in the south of the country?” or

But other Arab papers adopt a more realistic line, with al-Watan in Saudi Arabia declaring that “the Americans have taken the airport and the Iraqis have retreated into Baghdad”. and

The information war is intensifying,” said al-Sharq in Qatar. In Jordan, al-Rai asked “where the real truth lies amid the confusion and contradiction of the news reports?” Nevertheless, on its front page the paper’s main headline read: “Iraq retakes Saddam airport.”

Seems like the paper and the writers are just hedging their bets as if they did not know who is telling the truth. Or maybe they simply don’t want to offend their Arab readers. Who knows?

I guess bloggers are simply more opinionated like The Bleat:

Passed the TV this morning, and heard an Arabic-accented voice passionately denouncing the war. He was Western in appearance, telegenic, articulate, and he described the Iraq War as a “catastrophe” for the entire Arab world. I stuck around to see what he meant – catastrophic in the sense that another series of illusions were being destroyed before their very eyes? Allah will help them! But Allah has declined the invitation. The Americans will never fight a ground war! But there they are, on the ground, more methodical and efficient than one could have ever imagined, and they are losing one soldier for every 1000 Iraqis they kill. The combination of training, technology, dedication and lethality is worse than the Arab world could have possibly imagined – and the soldiers’ primary motivation is getting the job done well so everyone can go home. Imagine what they would do if they were truly, deeply pissed.

The lesson of Mogadishu: don’t draw any lessons from Mogadishu.

The guest, it turned out, was the ambassador from Syria, a nation whose bootheel has been pressed against the Lebanese jugular for how many years now?

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