Thursday, April 14, 2005

Read this article on Iraq now

From the New York Review of Books, by Mark Danner. A fabulous take on the elections in Iraq and their aftermath. The best thing I've read on Iraq since George Packer's famous 2003 New Yorker article. Read it now. "IO" is a military term for "information operation" or an event meant to infuence the propaganda war:
At the polling place I had admired the voters and their strangely complicated response to what it was they were doing. But I realized that "the IO" was not there but here before me now, on the television set, with the lines of voters and their smiles and purple fingers and the heavy breathing about "more than 80 percent" turnout. This was the IO. There was indeed violence, as Captain Kalloch had said-- that day would see in fact nine suicide bombings and perhaps fifty dead and its 260 insurgent attacks were the highest number of any single day of the occupation.[10] But that violence would not interfere with the IO, for that was established by the images early that day, and the violence, however pervasive, would not get on television. And it would not get on television in part because Iraq was effectively locked down -- the absence of vehicles meant explosions were limited to the size of a bomb that could be carried by a man on foot -- and the mobility of journalists was severely restricted (we could only see as many polling places as we could reach on foot, in my case two) and in part because of well-thought-out "IO rules" -- the most effective one being, in retrospect, that cameras, still and video, were admitted only into five predetermined and highly protected polling places.

There's more fantastic stuff in the article.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 3:28 PM

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