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WNW TIE WAY WITil NEW CUTTIA0 ,EPGE NANAEEMENT As , Accoovnge ANDIOF CaN4E; NEW Mat. Tail UMW WILL BEIRsia. FI WILE MAW ‘ TO 7W a itaFARe WON 84: WARE CAW NOW 136 PIWAThrlatu Th f r MA EMI IWO MOW* 05 Tie INDIVRIAL CatiPLEX AMP 1/110.3 CAN IVW.hit” WA ASK 01 771I: WPM S .1 14 EKE’S Ascroicit 1340ck GOO ;113, , A. Af. DIALOGUE MEMORIES OF WAR I just finished going through the web version of Alan Pogue’s photo essay on Iraq \(“The Salt on and congratulate you on such a beautiful job. It was terribly moving, and just as necessary. I was living with my family in Basra during the first few weeks of the Iran/Iraq war, and the pictures brought back a lot of memories of the sleepless nights, the windowpanes that would implode during bombings, and the neighbors and the schoolfriends we left behind when my and they had to stay behind. Thank you, and keep up the good work. Juliana Barbassa Dallas THREE QUESTIONS So the line taken by the Observer seems like the opposite of that ascribed to corporate media. Does this make it particularly good journalism? Boil this down to three more questions: 1. Is the recent photo-essay on sick and injured Iraqi children a piece of gratuitously antiAmerican “attitude journalism,” to use a term coined by Charles Peters at Washington Monthly? Does its value come from balancing the corporate media? Are Texans better informed and therefore able to function as citizens, actually responsible for military action conducted in our name with the wherewithal we have for an F-22 but not for a school roof? The essay itself seems pedestrian to me. It was staged by the Iraqi government to serve as propaganda, but this is made clear enough by the photo-journalist. I see no trickery here, no manipulation of Texas readers. To any of us so biased, these photos can as easily prove the cruelty of Saddam’s dictatorship as of U.S. policy. So, Saddam diverts humanitarian aid and medical relief to the pur chase of arms and luxuries for his unlovely regime. Who did not know this? The U.S. all too easily slips into “sanctions” just to avoid resolving the moral issues raised by war in a democratic way. This is a surprise? To the extent that this essay attacks the shallow yuppiesensibility which makes sanctions seem nicer than war, then I value this essay a little. Just remember: a short war is better than protracted sanctions. Moreover, we had that option in 1991. Maybe, we still have the short-war option, today. The second question: I do not think anti-corporate counter-flackery, however, necessarily constitutes any sort of journalistic balance or achievement at all. What do we learn here? Economic sanctions are always better than war? No sanctions are better than some sanctions in this case now? I just point out that the firms which want to market Iraqi oil and sell Saddam whatever his regime wants to buy with the proceeds are corporations, too, probably not Anglo-American, but hardly moral alternatives to whatever bugs the Observer about corporate interests supposedly dictating our policy. The third question: My own view is that the Observer should be sophisticated about all things involving oil. It is part of our heritage and defines not a little of our place in the world. Oil is bigger than cotton ever was, bigger even than yuppie lawyery and geekery are even now. Sophisticated means always critical, but in more than just attitude. It means never being delusional or naive, surely. Ironically, the corporate policy we seem to be the captive of, cheap foreign oil, looks inimical to the interests of the oil industry in Texas and the environment throughout North America. But, the anti-corporate policy seems to be in the interest of the very same sort of oil marketing firms and arms merchants that our defense and foreign policy anti-establishment claims to despise, just further away, more exotic. So, we drop sanctions: French firms restore Iraqi production. And, Saddam resumes Russian and Chinese arms deals, as well as world market purchases of unregulated luxuries or technologies. What do our cringing leftists and liberals get out of that? More junkets to the See “Dialogue,” page 22 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 19, 1999