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British news media, war and theory in the 2003 invasion of Iraq

This book analyses British news media coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It describes the analytical framework that serves as the basis for theoretically informed and systematic analysis of wartime media performance. The book synthesises a range of models, hypotheses and explanatory variables to set out a framework composed of three models of news media performance: the elite-driven model, the independent model and the oppositional model. It provides three case studies which, in different ways, illuminate each model of news media performance in wartime. The three case studies include the case of Jessica Lynch, the case of Ali Abbas and the case of the anti-war movement. The book then presents an account of how the relationship between foreign policy, news media and war might be expected to operate, based on current theoretical understanding. In order to place British coverage of the invasion in context, the book offers brief summaries of the structure and character of Britain's television news services and its press. The book provides an analysis of the ways in which the news media's visual depictions of the war reinforced supportive coverage. It is devoted to documenting and analysing evidence for negotiated and oppositional coverage. The book also examines the representation of civilian casualties, military casualties and humanitarian operations across both television and press, three subject areas that generated a good deal of media criticism.

Evidence for negotiated and oppositional coverage
Piers Robinson, Peter Goddard, Katy Parry, Craig Murray, and Philip M. Taylor

6 ‘Independence, diversity and professional autonomy’: Evidence for negotiated and oppositional coverage Overview This chapter is devoted to documenting and analysing evidence for negotiated and oppositional coverage. This is done in three ways: first, by examining critical coverage that emerged across specific subject areas; second, by describing patterns of coverage in particular media outlets; and third, by presenting time series data. The chapter begins by examining the representation of civilian casualties, military casualties and humanitarian operations

in Pockets of resistance
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The French units and the convoy at St Omer 1917–18
Janet Lee

garage.24 When Lewis was transferred to head the new SSY5 mobilizing in London, O’Conor took over as Commanding Officer of Unit 9. ‘Strenuous’ described work for all French units during the Spring of 1918, as drivers evacuated hospitals, dealt with civilian casualties and endured nightly air raids. Although driving was relieved by better weather, it was complicated by a huge increase in traffic on the shell-pitted muddy roads and many drivers reported witnessing accidents since no lights were allowed at night and men driving reinforcements to the Front worked so

in War girls
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Carol Acton and Jane Potter

privilege their own. Perhaps even more than in earlier wars, these accounts from the Iraq War, even while they treat the so-called enemy and civilian casualties, foreground what Butler defines as ‘grievable’ lives (‘that the life would be grieved if it were lost’),4 in this case those of American combatants.5 Yet it can be argued that in wartime the representation of the soldier’s death as heroic sacrifice relies on an abstraction of death that obscures the unpalatable facts of bodily damage that causes the death, so that even ‘grievable’ lives are subject to a silencing

in Working in a world of hurt
Imaging the human body in drone warfare
Svea Braeunert

The image operations of drone warfare oscillate between a disappearance of the human figure and its obstinate re-appearance. While drone crews fly their missions from bases in the US and hence put their bodies out of harm’s reach, people in the target regions are subject to the kind of warfare that targets individuals and reduces kill boxes to the size of the human body. However, if one takes operators’ testimonies and the number of civilian casualties into account, the drone’s optics regularly fail their task. What the drone is meant to detect are individual bodies; yet, what it actually transmits are abstract landscapes with human figures reduced to mere shadows. A number of artists have picked up on this dynamic between landscape and body that, according to art historical terminology, can be described as a tension between figure and ground. In order to trace that tension, the chapter will, for the first time, juxtapose works by Noor Behram and Seth Price.

in Drone imaginaries
Piers Robinson, Peter Goddard, Katy Parry, Craig Murray, and Philip M. Taylor

alternative viewpoints. In offering negotiated coverage, journalists could be expected to remain neutral towards the outcome of war, avoiding a simplistic focus on ‘our’ military victories and covering also military problems and failures. Examples of such an approach include the editorial decision by the BBC during the Falklands War to avoid using the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ when referring to the British (GUMG, 1985: 14), the positioning of correspondents in Baghdad in 1991 and 2003 so as to provide reports on civilian casualties and the humanitarian situation, and the use by

in Pockets of resistance
Richard Jackson

the many thousands of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq really part of a proportional response? Was the use of cluster bombs, ‘daisy cutters’ and other indiscriminate weapons justified against an enemy that hid among a civilian population? And how was the status of the ‘illegal combatants’ held at Guantanamo Bay or the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq to be reconciled with the ‘good

in Writing the war on terrorism
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Jonathan Benthall

victimized Muslim tribal societies disproportionately. According to Ahmed, even if the rate of civilian casualties can be shown to be lower than that resulting from the use of more traditional weapons, it is the UAV’s usurpation of the powers of God that Muslim tribespeople condemn as not only dishonourable but blasphemous. A military expert, Douglas Barrie, reacted in the House of

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
Thomas Dublin

Bat-Ami Bar On offers a thoughtful treatment of similarities and differences between war and terrorism as both have evolved in the contemporary world. She emphasizes the difficulty of accepting the most common criterion for distinguishing between war and terrorism: their different treatment of civilians and non-combatants. Drawing on the work of Mary Kaldor and on discussion of the recent Israeli-Hezbollah War, she shows how difficult it is nowadays to accept the frequently cited distinction that warfare attempts to minimize civilian casualties while

in ‘War on terror’
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Philip Hammond

minimising the effects of the bombing. Some US journalists argued that civilian casualties were not particularly newsworthy, or that reports of deaths caused by coalition bombing ought to be ‘balanced’ by reminders that the Taliban were harbouring terrorists (Mahajan 2002: 83–6). At the same time, the media have also been accused of taking a largely uncritical view of coalition claims to be providing

in Framing post-Cold War conflicts