BBC’s spearhead into America Matt Frei is interviewed in the Independent, *sigh*
Frei is perturbed by the insularity of the Washington DC bubble, where government policy is drawn up in a highly-intellectual but not cosmopolitan environment. “In London, you walk down the Edgware Road and it’s like the West Bank, you walk down to Piccadilly Circus and you are surrounded by foreigners, you are steeped in international juices and in Washington you are not.”
So at least he acknowledges the beltway elite (at least in an interview) but why the West Bank comparison, what does this mean about his perception of ‘foreigners’? Is the other at home in a war zone?
The journalist has himself enjoyed the liberation of expressing himself in print. “Writing for television is an act of castration, essentially. Good television is about what you leave out, so you don’t use any adjectives and don’t describe what you can already see. It’s quite an unsatisfying form of writing because no-one ever remembers what you’ve written.”
Whoa there Matty, phallo-centric ego much?
He is convinced that the cause of war in Iraq was not oil but rather the President’s desire to settle a score with Saddam, and that the culprits for the current mess are Donald Rumsfeld for trying to “do Iraq on the cheap” and Condoleezza Rice for viewing that country as Germany in 1945 rather than “Germany in 1761, a post feudal tribal state split into different fiefdoms with a relatively low literacy rate and no industrial base”.
Like most of his media class he reduces geopolitical, imperial and cultural complexities to an elite soap opera and that literacy?
Hussein was returning to a very different school system from the one he left in 1975. Early in his rule, Saddam was credited with creating one of the strongest school systems in the Middle East. Iraq won a UNESCO prize for eradicating illiteracy in 1982. Literacy rates for women were among the highest of all Islamic nations, and unlike most Middle East school systems, Iraqi education was largely secular.
But, in the decade after the 1991 Gulf War, UNICEF estimates, school spending plummeted by 90 percent. Teachers’ salaries dropped to $6 a month and buildings deteriorated.
The US says Saddam starved the schools to spend money on his palaces, but many Iraqis say United Nations sanctions are to blame for crippling the school system
Quite apart from it being the supreme war crime not a ‘mess’ ‘on the cheap'(and did sanctions then Shock & Awe have something do to with that eradicated industrial base?) maybe faulty comparisons to European history betray the historical and cultural blindness, the tribalism inherent in the invaders …and their media partners.