Anti-Iraq War Columnist Criticizes Media for ‘Quagmire’ Word

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By: E&P Staff

Creators Syndicate columnist Norman Solomon has opposed the Iraq War from the start, but he doesn’t like newspapers and other media using the term “quagmire” to describe what the war has become.

In his latest column, Solomon wrote: “Most obviously, Iraq is not a swamp; it’s a place where real people live and die. They are not metaphors, and neither is their country. … But ‘quagmire’ serves as a kind of mental framework for where most U.S. media coverage has remained.”

Solomon explained: “You see, no matter what happens in Iraq, it’s mostly about us — spelled U.S.; the United States. We’re encouraged to perceive that Iraq is most important, at least implicitly, because of what it means for the USA: its image in other countries, the deaths and wounds of its soldiers, the political strength of the president and, this fall, the likely effects on the midterm congressional elections.”

He added: “If the Iraq war is primarily framed as a problem because of what it’s doing to Americans, the ‘solutions’ could make the war seem like less of a quagmire even while more Iraqi people pay with their lives. Media arguments over whether Iraq is a quagmire turn the spotlight away from the human calamities that Iraqis are experiencing on a daily basis. …”

Solomon concluded: “‘Quagmire’ may sound sophisticated and realpolitik; many journalists and pundits seem to think so. But that doesn’t really get to the essence of the war. It’s not a quagmire. It’s wrong.”

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