Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Saturday, September 05, 2009

War Is Hell, er, Censorship

This AP photo taken by Julie Jacobson of US Marine Joshua Bernard, mortally wounded in Dahaneh, Helmand Province (Afghanistion) in mid August and subsequently distributed to AP subscribers has prompted Robert Gates to invoke the "raised eyebrow rule" and write to AP President Thomas Curley to complain of its publication. But really, we know it is not a matter of "compassion". Gates is exercising censorship. It would chasten the American public to see more such images, hopefully generating a groundswell of protest at the futility of it all.

In this vein, the following extract from a article published by French Col. Michel Goya in France (The inconsistencies of French anti-insurgent operations during the Algerian War) in late spring 2009, is something Washington and the President would do well to ponder, especially with respect to the future:

French military doctrine on anti-insurgency during the Algerian War is held up today either as either an inspiration or the corpse of a felon to be abandoned on the "scalae gemoniae". The truth is that the doctrine was a amalgamation of various currents of thought, many contradictory, which, at considerable cost (10 [French military] deaths each day for a period of seven years and 2% of GDP per year, was certainly able to dismember the FLN military organization in Algeria and to create the notion that [the French victory] was applauded the Muslim community. [FLN was Marxist]. But the outcome was fragile -rendered useless by policy decisions by General de Gaulle- and by and large exaggerated over time, obtained at the cost of a deep domestic moral crisis and the marring of the image of the army in France. Given this result, the French anti-guerilla doctrine can hardly be held up as an model for combating an insurgency.