Just as the last 2 days have seen over 140 people killed in suicide bombings in Iraq, Patrick Cockburn, one of the few journalists to actually report for The Independent from Iraq over all the years, ponders on how well the war was actually reported:
"Journalists are departing from Iraq. In Baghdad US newspapers and television are slimming down or closing their bureaux. The British media always had a slighter presence but there is less and less coverage of the war. This might be justified by saying there is no war to cover, but Iraq is still the scene of a horrendous amount of violence with suicide bombers killing at least 144 civilians in the past two days.
The main reason for reduced foreign interest in Iraq is that the US is pulling out by the end of 2011 and its forces will have left the centre of Iraqi cities by the end of this June. US military casualties are a fraction of what they once were. British troops will soon finally depart from Basra.
Iraq is still one of the most dangerous places in the world but security is vastly improved compared with 2006, when at the height of the Shia-Sunni civil war some 3,000 people were being killed every month."
"The worst coverage of the Iraq war was probably at the beginning and at the end of the conflict. At the beginning there was the uncritical acceptance that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. In the last two years Washington had equal success in selling the "surge", the limited reinforcement of US troops employing more aggressive tactics, as turning the tide in favour of the US. A danger now is that this myth will take on a life of its own leading to similar methods being employed in Afghanistan and the far right in the US blaming President Obama for withdrawing from Iraq just as victory was being won."