Live From Baghdad

Sunday, 8 December 2002

last night i had the mis­for­tune to watch some bla­tant an­ti-Iraq pro­pa­gan­da. Live From Baghdad is noth­ing more than a mod­ern day Divide&Conquer. Not on­ly is the film a gi­ant com­mer­cial for CNN, but it al­so presents such a fright­en­ing pic­ture of Iraqi despo­tism that it might as well just come out and say ‘All your base are be­long to us.’ It makes about as much sense. Twelve years af­ter the first war, it can al­ready be pro­duced by HBO as a nos­tal­gic re­minder of the courage of American jour­nal­ists in their no­ble quest to un­cov­er the truth of what is hap­pen­ing in Iraq. Of course, Robert Weiner (Michael Keaton) is sym­pa­thet­ic to the de­sire Iraqis have for not go­ing to war, but para­dox­i­cal­ly, his em­pa­thy is sub­sumed by the fact that they are al­ways at gun­point. Typical of Hollywood, on the sur­face it takes away US re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for start­ing the war, by mak­ing us as­so­ciate Weiner the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of gen­er­al US ide­ol­o­gy. In fact it solves no prob­lems and mere­ly fa­cil­i­tates the growth of an­ti-Iraq sen­ti­ment. Most telling in the film is the por­tray­al of the Kuwaiti baby killings as fact, when it was lat­er proven to have nev­er oc­curred.