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Wednesday 26 March 2003

War realities: dead soldiers on tv [beej]

In the last few days there's been footage of KIA soldiers run on satellite tv and I thought I'd break cover and see if the wider world has had the chance to see them and what the wider feelings are.
The footage run by Al Jazeera at the weekend was pretty galling. A number of dead Yanks shown graphically, with no respect, pretty much some sort of slaughtered-BSE-cow freakshow. I've seen an image in the UK papers of the Iraqi unknown who beams a wide smile whilst moving the arm on one of the bodies, but I'm guessing the UK domestic broadcasters aren't able to show the full footage. The Grinning Iraqi ain't going to heaven with Allah and his sixty virgins if I have my way I can tell you.
Today, Al Jazeera finally provided proof of what we feared about the two missing Brit soldiers - once again, gleeful Iraqis and the two bodies lying in the road in an undressed and bloody state. Sky has shown the bit with the Land Rover. This war really is shaping up to be a media-heavy event.
It certainly brings the job home when you realise that the dead bodies you're looking at are in the same uniform that you are ;-/


  1. Horrible stuff. I'm just flaberghasted at the shit in the media though. There's virtually no proper analysis and thoughtful coverage of the war, it's just big stampedes from one issue to another. Showing of the footage of the POWs was just rank out of order.
    The press backtracked, by the time it hit the papers they weren't showing pictures but it was all over the 24-hour news channels. On one hand I see why the military and their political masters are courting the unique media coverage of the war to this degree; they're trying to illustrate that the campaign is attempting to minimize losses of human life etc.
    On the other hand, I think they just overestimaged how professional and objective the media is. They've been remarkably quick to jump on the slightest inaccurate hear-say from the front line and then spend days clearing it up.

  2. BBC isn't showing them at all, and is now greying out iraqi pow faces too in the main. Sky's showed some of it, and no, it's not pleasant. It's not a nice business this is it though, and we shouldn't be surprised if either side doesn't play 'fair'. One of the most sensible things I've heard on the news was a us soldier that was a pow in the first gulf war, who's spent the time stressing to his interviewer that he was just greatful they didn't kill him. 'I was shootin them up pretty good' he said. What I do find appauling is the reports that some of the dead supply people were shot between the eyes, which suggests executions to me.Lurk: Radio 4 went some way to explain the shit media coverage this evening. They've basically got nothing from the US command. Any information they're getting about the campaign is from their implants in the feild and from what the british command know. They compared it to looking through a telescope that they can't move. You get bits of info, but no complete picture.

  3. I hear what you're saying. I guess the problem is that they've hit the big media 'on' switch but don't give them any information. You can see why they do both, but it does mean things get in an odd position.
    Now while the so-called 'unilateral' journalists run around, they're not allowed anywhere near the coalition forces. So they go and cover other stuff and run into Iraqis and get killed. So most of them stopped doing that in a hurry.
    Now while I've got News24 on TV all day here and follow everything with interest, I don't consider it my right to get good up to the minute news coverage of the war. Full details of what and when happened will be forthcoming in the end.

  4. Well exactly, we should be grateful for getting any information. I think the US wanted to use positive media as part of it's advance, but it doesn't seem to be working out like that, which is perhaps why they're tightening up. The 24 hr news channels certainly seem to be struggling to fill their schedules. Beej: I here what you're saying though bloke, you're a very brave man. I know I wouldn't have the bottle to volunteer to go anywhere near the military right now unless it was absolutely necessary. Even then I'd pretend to be a girl or something.

  5. Here's an interesting site I've been looking at for the last few days, for a different perspective on the war. It's based on translations from Russian military briefings.
    Of course I take these reports with a fair pinch of salt, as I do the UK/US media ones. The truth is in the middle somewhere I expect.
    This is a series of reports, one for roughly each day of the conflict so far, starting on the 17th of March. Hit 'next report' after you've read each one: