Iraq: March 9, 2003

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 Those who feel that media manipulation is not a weapon should note well how successful Saddam Hussein has been in using the press to defend himself. Despite the fact that Saddam's brutal rule kills more Iraqi civilians every month than the 1991 Gulf War did, he has managed to present a future war (using an even higher percentage of smart bombs) as more lethal than his own bloody war on the Iraqi people. Despite the majority of Iraqis constantly asking reporters, and Westerners, "when are the Americans coming to liberate us from Saddam and his murderers," Saddam has the world's media ignoring this and concentrating on protests against removing the most brutal government in the Middle East. Saddam has also managed to perpetuate several other myths, the major one being that "the Arab Street" will rise up and, well, rise up, if Iraqi is invaded. This possibility has been invoked for decades, but the "Arab Street" has never shown up. No one seems to have noticed. Saddam has also managed to hide the fact that his tyrannical government is basically the Sunni minority sticking it to the Shia majority, a state of affairs that has been going on since the 16th century and one that the Iraqi Shias are very unhappy with. As are the Shias throughout the Persian Gulf. Saddam has a knack for what self-serving myth, that also serves Saddam's interests, reporters will swallow and then pumps out brute force press releases and pronouncements to get the bogus point across. Crude, but effective.  Saddam Hussein's major accomplishment has been his media manipulation abilities and how he did this will be studied by military and media students for decades to come. 

 

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