Fallujah, Syria and Question Time
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Trawling through YouTube clicking on video after video can often send you into strange places. After watching a debate between the brothers Hitchens my attention was drawn to a video entitled ‘City Question Time with Peter Hitchens’, produced by students of City University’s broadcast journalism course, a smaller version of the BBC version which to give it some praise had good production values. In it Peter Hitchens was up against 4 female students doing various journalism degrees. The first question asked was ‘is military intervention in Syria the answer?’ Peter Hitchens answered well by stating A. Interventions cause great harm (though I quibble with him saying we mean to do good but end up doing bad) B. We don’t know enough about Syria and C. People are easily manipulated by terrible coverage on the BBC and ITV (as well as Al Jaazera, once excellent news channels now a propaganda arm of the Qatari government). One student immediately thundered about how we can’t ignore the carnage, when Hitchens reminded her of how the West did nothing when Hama was flattened in 1982 whilst we ignored it she said ‘we can’t be the world’s policeman’ despite advocating that very position a few seconds before. Another student then chirped in saying that ‘military intervention maybe the right answer’. My question would be to these students; do you have knowledge of recent history whatsoever? Have you forgotten our humanitarian intervention in Afghanistan? Where we bombed an already wrecked country even further into misery, and condemned tens of thousands of civilians into oblivion all because Western pride called for retribution after 9/11? Where a corrupt and decadent regime gives little hope for its people and where US drones patrol and kill with impunity (including on February 8th shepherd boys aged 6 to 18). Or how about Iraq? Anywhere from 150,000 to 1 million civilians killed with millions displaced and as we are beginning to find out, an increase in cancer in the town of Fallujah. Fallujah was a town in Iraq under siege by the Americans in 2004-05; thousands of civilians and insurgents died. The town was made a ‘free fire’ zone with depleted uranium and white phosphorous used. In July 2010 The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health that cancer rates have shot up and the average death rate between children of the age of 0-1 was 80 out of 1,000. The news unfortunately came at the same time as the Wikileaks releases so it didn't recieve the traction it should have. This week Robert Fisk wrote two articles for The Independent about child cancer victims. Here’s how he starts one.
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