Not just Peter Hain writes in the New Statesman in Britain.
Also John Pilger:
When soldiers protest at propaganda
Published 07 June 2007
What our squaddies really think of having to serve in Iraq and be tools of Bush’s foreign policy
An experienced British officer serving in Iraq has written to the BBC describing the invasion as “illegal, immoral and unwinnable”, which, he says, is “the overwhelming feeling of many of my peers”.
In a letter to Newsnight and Medialens.org he accuses the media’s “embedded coverage with the US army” of failing to question “the intentions and continuing effects of the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation”.
He says most British soldiers regard their tours as “loathsome”, during which they “reluctantly [provide] target practice for insurgents, senselessly haemorrhaging casualties and squandering soldiers’ lives, as part of Bush’s vain attempt to delay the inevitable Anglo-US rout until after the next US election”.
He appeals to journalists not to swallow “the official line/White House propaganda”.
There was much less “embedded coverage” in Vietnam, although there was censorship by omission, which is standard practice today.
What is different about Iraq is the willingness of usually obedient British soldiers to speak their minds, from General Richard Dannatt, the current military chief, who said the presence of his troops in Iraq “exacerbates the security problem”, to General Michael Rose, who has called for Tony Blair to be impeached for taking Britain to war “on false grounds” – remarks that are mild compared with the blogs of squaddies.
What is also different is the growing awareness in the British forces and the public of how “the official line” is played through the media.
This can be quite crude: for example, when a BBC defence correspondent in Iraq described the aim of the Anglo-American invasion as “bring[ing] democracy and human rights” to Iraq.
The director of BBC News, Helen Boaden, backed him up with a sheaf of quotations from Blair that this was indeed the aim, implying that Blair’s notorious word was enough.