Different Lenses

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Different Lenses

RAI, the state television network of Coalition of the Willing member Italy, broadcast a documentary this week accusing the U.S. of deliberately using incendiary weapons against civilians during the bloody assault on Fallujah a year ago.

Class assignment for Journalism 101: compare and contrast the coverage of this accusation by Reuters and al Jazeera.

My boss's wife works at the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Warfare, a UN organ known to Dutch civil servants as the Organization for the Procurement of Cigarettes and Whiskey, since UN employees are tax exempt. I'll have to ask her to clarify the legal status of incendiary weapons under the 1980 protocol--which, as usual, the U.S. is almost alone in not signing. The anti-U.S. meme is inevitable, no matter what the truth turns out to be: Saddam didn't have chemical weapons, but the U.S. did.

Whatever the story turns out to be, RAI's interview with a U.S. soldier who claims to have witnessed victims of white phosphorus makes for uncomfortable viewing, though perhaps it should be must-see TV for Americans. There's a link to the video of the interview from the BBC's story about the documentary.

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