15 Apr 2011

The Spin of War: Misleading Titles on Libya

I've stopped the school yard analogy. It would be ludicrous to try to explain teachers handing the fighting boys grenades to acheive an end to the war. And equally, it is ludicrous that NATO, including Britain, is handing out such weapons, vehicles and body armour.

Wasn't there an issue with British Troops not having body armour? Oh yes, throughout Iraq, and Afghanistan and, it seems, now too.

But yes, Britain has announced that they are sending body armour to Libya.

It seems, that if you're British troops, you are not entitled to body armour, if you happen to be disorganised rebel forces with potential control of the largest export of crude oil in the world, then the West will flock to protect you.

Although, arguably, there is an element of shutting the stable door here. Perhaps, if one wishes to protect casualties of war, they should look to body armour first before bombing them.


I am partly ashamed to say that, as the daily papers move stories about Libya to the third, fourth, seventh and then World News Pages, that my interest in the subject has waned.

I still denounced the movement of the no-fly zone, and the headline someone tweeted earlier initially implied action that I would further denounce.

Libya: Italy rejects calls to join ground attack operations

Roars The Telegraph.

Bear in mind that circa 100% of people read the headline, 90% read the strapline and this reduces throughout the paragraphs of the article.

100% of people could be forgiven for assuming from this title that NATO are about to commit ground forces, given the term "ground attack operations" in the headline.

We should be glad that the spin of war does not extend to the strapline which states;

Italy flatly rejected calls to contribute air power to the mission

Assertive, no-nonsense statements from Cameron, Sarcozy and Obama rhetoric in this in of this disastrous war and that, I imagine, we will still be involved in, in decades to come.

However, regarding Italy, Spain, Germany, Canada and many other NATO members, it seems that such "no-nonsense" statements have little effect on other governments.

Despite this, the British public are perceived to be behind the movement, persuaded by paternalistic political leaders investing money we don't have, to reap rewards we can't be sure of, while at the same time denying our own country the same rights.

I am glad that we are not committing ground forces, yet. However, The Telegraph may be pre-empting future condescending statements from Hague and Cameron in the near future.

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