Friday, 16 November 2007

Don't Mention the War

A scan of Today’s Oz reveals very little news about the situation in Iraq.

On page 12, there is a report about the Iraqi army’s seizure of a Sunni clerical group’s headquarters. Hidden in this report is a brief reference to a friendly fire incident in which dozens of Sunni’s, part of a group recruited by the US, were killed by these same US forces. No actual casualty figures were given.

When this report is cross-referenced against statistics posted by Iraq Body Count (, it correlates with a report of an incident in Tarmiya where up to 45 Sunni Awakening Council members reported mistakenly killed in US air and ground attack.

This is interesting in the sense that there has been a lot of commentary about a perception that the media only reports the bad news – not in this case apparently.

Another observation I’d make about Iraq is that neither of the major political parties are prepared to let the war become an issue in the campaign. I’d suggest that there are two very different reasons for this.

In the case of the coalition, there are two many possible negative associations ranging from the mythical WMDs to the AWB scandal. In addition, many surveys have shown that the war is not popular with Australians. The coalition’s strategists have obviously concluded that any gains to be made trading on their apparent ownership of the national security issue could be lost through these negatives.

In the case of Labor, there is a reluctance to be involved because of the risk of being wedged on national security.

It’s a sad commentary on our nationhood when the fact our servicemen are risking their lives daily in Iraq doesn’t rate as an election issue.

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