June 03, 2005

Control Room

Some interesting quotes from Control Room, the documentary film on Al Jazeera's coverage of the Iraq war, which I finally got around to seeing:

"You are the most powerful nation on earth; I agree. You can defeat everybody; I agree. You can crush everyone; I agree. But don't ask us to love it as well. ... The United States is going to stop the United States. I have absolute confidence in the American Constitution. And I have absolute confidence in the ability of the American people. The United States people are going to stop the United States empire." - Hassan Ibrahim, Al Jazeera journalist

"Al Jazeera has a pattern of playing propaganda over and over and over again. What they do when there's a bomb goes down they grab some children and some women and pretend the bomb hit the women and children. And it seems to me that it's up to all of us to try to tell the truth, to say what we know, to say what we don't know, and recognize that we're dealing with people that are perfectly willing to, to lie to the world to attempt to further their case. And to the extent people lie, ultimately they are caught lying and they lose their credibility. And one would think it wouldn't take very long for that to happen, dealing with people like this." - Donald Rumsfeld*

Unfortunately for us, Mr. Ibrahim is probably over optimistic, and Mr. Rumsfeld seems so far to be about as wrong as usual. Rumsfeld wants people to disbelieve their own lying eyes when they see pictures of bomb and bullet injuries because there really aren't any Iraqi civilians getting hurt, and he also appears to believe that the truth wins out in the end.

I wish both of them were right. But since that seems unlikely, I took some solace in this:

The night they showed the POWs and the dead soldiers, Al Jazeera showed them. It was powerful because America doesn't show those kind of images. Most of the news in America won't show really gory images. And this showed American soldiers in uniform strewn about a floor, a cold tile floor. And it was revolting. It was absolutely revolting, it made me sick ot my stomach. And then what hit me was, the night before there had been some kind of bombing in Basra. and Al Jazeera had shown images of the people, and they were equally, if not more horifying. ... and I remember having seen it in the Al Jazeera offices and thought to myself, 'Wow, that's gross, that's bad.' And then going away, probably eating dinner or something, and it didn't affect me as much. So the impact that had on me, me realizing that I just saw people on the other side, and those people in the Al Jazeera offices must have felt the way I was feeling that night. And it upset me on a profound level, that I wasn't as bothered as much the night before. It makes me hate war, but it doesn't make me believe that we're in a world that can live without war yet." - First Lieutenant Josh Rushing, U.S. Marine spokesman and Al Jazeera liaison

I guess that's a start, at least.

* I googled this Rumsfeld quote, hoping to get out of having to type the quote up directly from the recording, with all the stopping and starting and listening to the same sentence five times to make sure it's right. The only place it turned up was a partial clip, transcribed into a PBS NOW transcript, which left out what I thought was the more interesting part. I went to the Defense Department transcript archive and searched for various keyword combinations from the quote, but nothing. For some reason, there doesn't seem to be any record of this press conference on their site.

Posted by natasha at June 3, 2005 05:22 PM | Media | Technorati links |

I've been meaning to see this documentary. Thanks for the reminder. Here's a hello deep in red america (Moab is actually an oasis in one of the reddest states in the country, UT). Glad to see Pacific Views is still staying current!


Posted by: TABS Golden at June 3, 2005 08:01 PM

Control Room is a great movie. You know Rushing left the military -- heard an interview with him just before the election last year, critiquing his Commander in Chief.

Posted by: janinsanfran at June 4, 2005 06:42 AM

Here's the quote on the DOD website.


Posted by: valley_girl at June 16, 2005 04:35 PM