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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 03, 2003

Peter “Lord Haw Haw” Arnett

Seeking respite from the interminable Canadian winter, I spent the last three weeks in the National/State Parks of Utah and Nevada, blissfully out of touch with world events. On the flight home, I picked up the Las Vegas Review-Journal and found these headlines on the front page:

(1) “US fights elite Iraqi forces - GIs kill seven women, children at checkpoint”; (2) “Reporters punished for misstep in Iraq” [“NBC and MSNBC dumped correspondent Peter Arnett Monday for criticizing the US Sunday...”]; (3) “Calls for jihad intensify as war in Iraq continues” [this story continues on page 5, under the heading, “Jihad: specter of ‘100 bin Ladens’ looms”].

These headlines do not constitute a selection designed to make a point; rather, they represent all the front page headlines on Iraq. The impression conveyed to the innocent reader is that the US forces in Iraq are in trouble (fighting “elite Iraqi forces”), lashing out at Iraqi civilians (“GIs kill seven women, children”), while critical US correspondents doing their job are punished (“Reporters punished”). Furthermore, the US is just about to face the “specter of 100 bin Ladens”.

And in case the front page is not sufficient to demoralize the reader, the coverage continues with such headlines as “US ready for ‘a very high price’ - commanders prepared for increasing combat deaths, official say” (p. 7); “Around-the-clock grief - US bombs spread fear, anger among Baghdad residents” (p. 8).

When detailed reports from other sources are checked, the picture that emerges is very different, of course. One learns, for example, that the Coalition troops are virtually at the gates of Baghdad, having suffered relatively few casualties, even if every casualty is indeed a source of grief. And the figures on civilian casualties too are relatively low, and definitely well below the casualties inflicted by Saddam Hussein on his own people. One has to conclude that media outlets like the Las Vegas Review-Journal are engaged in a deliberate campaign to aid and abet the Baghdad regime; the same applies to Peter Arnett.

During World War II, a Brit named William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw Haw (because of his affected upper-class accent), broadcast enemy propaganda from Germany with the objective of undermining the Allies' war effort. Am I exaggerating when I use the term, “Peter ‘Lord Haw Haw’ Arnett”? (Historical note: after the War, Lord Haw Haw was tried for his aid to the enemy, and executed in 1946.)