War vs. Peace: Looking for balance

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Society
March 19th, 2003 • 10:14 pm

Interesting article in The Guardian about the current lack of balance in the UK media:

We’re not all peaceniks – but you wouldn’t know it

[…] It is one thing (and far from dishonourable) to refuse to support the war because it has not been given the official seal of approval by the UN. It is quite another actively to oppose an operation which will have the effect of removing one of the worst and most violent tyrannies in the world. Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs should forget axiomatic wisdom this week, and think like Iraqis.

The main problem with this kind of argumentation is that balance cannot be achieved by replacing one kind of emotional response with another kind of emotional response.

Yes, Saddam is an evil dictator, has tortured and gassed people, and continues to violate human rights. But so do several other regimes. Why should Iraq be the topmost priority? A balanced approach by the media would be to focus on that issue — however “cold” or cynical it may sound.

I read recently someone arguing that we should deal with Iraq now “because it’s doable” — and I must admit that the argument left me speechless. Sure, attacking Iraq now appears to be doable — mostly because Bush has unilaterally decided to send hundreds of thousands of troops in the region.

By most accounts, a small fraction of Bill Gates’ fortune could be used to alleviate the plight of millions of African children dying because of malnutrition and the lack of safe drinking water. Isn’t this “doable” as well? Are tax breaks for the already wealthy more “doable” than this? It would appear that they are…

If we are going to cure the ills of the world, let’s do so in a rational and consensual fashion. Attacking Iraq now is far from being the most auspicious start.

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