(posted from Paris)

iraq addictIn the latest setback for the ‘reconstruction’ of Iraq, the BBC reports that the country is suffering from a massive drug crisis. It’s a familiar response to the deadly combination of hopelessless and lawlessness. The former creates the demand, the latter enables the supply. The foreign mafia have moved in quickly, and those that can’t afford the prices for ‘real’ drugs sniff gasoline, paint thinner, Whiteout, whatever they can get their hands on, to escape the agony and chaos all around them.

To me, this terrifying picture — a young boy sniffing solvent, with a gun in his other hand, is the definitive picture of George Bush’s new Iraq. You can have your picture of Fratboy Deserter dolled up in a military uniform he has no right to wear. This is the picture that really shows what happens when you trump up a fraudulent excuse for an unjust war, for reasons as bald as greed, rabid ideology and political expediency. Or perhaps instead the picture of the 35 Afghani women who recently jumped to their deaths rather than become the latest gang-rape victims of the bands of thugs that move unopposed in the forgotten country next door, under the protection of the warlords who wield power virtually unopposed, untouched and even supported by Afghanistan’s witless US/UN-backed administration. Photo opp, anyone?

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  1. Dick says:

    Sometimes a photograph comes along that defines time & place. I think you’ve found it.

  2. Philip says:

    The photograph is obviously posed, the idea that Iraq has descended into a porn watching, glue sniffing nation in a few months doesn’t ring true to me. Yes there is always a certain percentage of the population in a society that gets bogged down in self destructive behaviours but that is not an indictment of the society as a whole. The picture could have been taken in Brazil or Spain or LA for that matter.Photo OP is exactly what I see here. If you read the article you learn that the problem is years old and predates the occupation of Iraq. We get the impression that drugs were widely used/administered in Iraqi jails to maintain the prisioners in a docile state, When the jails were emptied Iraqi society got a big influx of state created “junkies”.Yes there is a chaos factor in Iraq, I think the US invasion was wrong. But each individual makes choices to use or not based on a value system developed prior to any US invasion. This is a propaganda piece in my opinion just as much as the ones showing smiling school children giving the US overlord flowers.

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    Philip: Yes, it’s obviously posed. And there are children addicted to brain-damaging drugs everywhere, notably even in the Canadian arctic. But I don’t think that takes away from the power of the photo, since it is no less ‘real’ than a posed picture of a vacationing family. And I agree with Dick that the BBC article is not a propaganda piece — these days especially I suspect the BBC is very careful about the accuracy of what they publish. I’m not saying all of this is America’s fault. What I am saying is that the bullshit that the US Administration is spinning, that the ‘reconstruction’ of Iraq is going well, needs to be aggressively challenged by the submissive and cowardly US media. In fact, the reconstruction is an impossible task for an occupying force to accomplish at all, and the hopeless efforts to achieve it is resulting in (a)the squandering of billions of dollars, (b) the continued polarization of Western opinion, (c) irreparable damage to the reputation of the US and the UN, and (d) a tragic postponement of the nation-building that, as I have explained elsewhere, can only start to occur when we allow the Iraqi people the right to determine their own future, as messy as that process will inevitably be.

  4. I agree with all the conclusions you reach, but feel that a posed photo does nothing to reinforce that. In fact, I think posed photos do damage to selling your message, because once you dismiss part of the argument as ‘faked’ (the photo), the rest of the argument’s veracity is brought into question.I don’t doubt that there are many righteous’ (read: not posed) photo ops available in Iraq that reinforce the f’d up situation the country is in. It’s a shame people feel like they need to reach into posed photos to reinforce their points.

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