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January 25, 2008

War Of Perception


I’m sure the Reuters photographer, shooting this picture near Baquba in mid-December, was just looking to create a little interest. What he actually delivers, however, is a reminder of just how thoroughly this war is a matter of perception.

In this particular frame — featuring soldiers from the 52nd Infantry, 4th Brigade alongside Iraqi police — the situation, as composed, appears mostly pacified.  Today’s reality, however, is that the Sunni pacification strategy is starting to fray.  Not only are the mostly Sunni Awakening Councils taking increased punishment from less compliant insurgents, but these “occupation-friendly” forces are growing increasingly disillusioned with the Iraqi government for refusing to fold them into the state-run security apparatus.

The NYT link below lays things out the clouding picture fairly clearly — even if it’s not showing up in the larger window.

Attacks Imperil U.S.-Backed Militias in Iraq (NYT)

(image: Bob Strong/Reuters.  Al Hamer, near Baquba December 14, 2007. via YahooNews)

  • dissector

    for me, the framing is reminiscent of a TV screen, giving a US-, troop-centric, cleaner view of the war. In this TV view, you can’t see the burned out car just outside the frame, or other consequences of our policies there. Instead you see only troops being semi-relaxed (one isn’t even wearing a helmet).

  • martin

    This is staged. Managed; right?
    Actually-maybe: left right, stage managed.
    Any notion of a producer must be to the left of lensperson. Otherwise, the person choosing the shot would be outside of the people for whom the shots holders – the soldiers – would be considering within their gaze. Of their weapons even!
    But these people are marching: unperturbed. Almost as if to war. Readiness. Relentless. SurgeOn-like.
    I have been cursed by other images of war: haphazard violence. Petty, retributive stuff. Marginalised in candescence… and effect. This is the goose-step of effect. There should be a wing-mirror here to highlight us looking in. There is not.
    Do we have a voice bag?
    There have been a lot of images of American elections lately. Correctly so.
    Is this an image from the driver side of Iraq, or the passengers?
    Maybe this is a good opportunity to decide which side of the road the Iraqians drive on. America?

  • jtfromBC

    This slanted pic correlates with the corporate medias usual fare of slanted reporting of the US/uk occupation of Iraq. Our boys are there protecting the locals from foreign evil doers, dead-enders and for freedom promotion.
    Those semi relaxed troops are locals and others linked too in the NYT article have their faces masked, so Democracy is still under wraps and not around the next corner.

  • martin

    Almost seems churlish to recommend to previoius poster that for contiguence Sinai, Egypt, Gaza: this evening. action democratic seems to be just around the corner. The paucity of main-stream news that has not yet picked up on the scale of the event is perhaps an indication of the backlash to come.
    When some sources are indicating that a major US base has already been evacuated. it might be precedent to soon realise how fragile our managed perceptions have become. The Berlinism of earlier in the week might yet return.
    Bolstered by forged coalitions of women and children intent on clothe, food&shelter: a troika that maybe no mania of any religion would/should have the right to deny or inhibit. Apolitically unsentimental thoughts for a Gaza only several degrees warmer than a fur-lined Davos hud!

  • lytom

    “Awakening Council” sounds like Quisling.
    What a union between the two who are so far apart in culture, history and allegiance…
    One is forgetting about what actually democracy is and has turned out to be an enabler of the decider and the other is misled into thinking that in order to survive he has to collaborate and “change things from the inside”…
    By the way the “Awakening” name for the council seems, to have been borrowed from the religiously oriented occupiers’ dictionary…

  • MonsieurGonzo

    Marching backwards into the future, we look at the present through a rear-view mirror.

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