Sunday, March 23, 2003

Al-Jazeera has interviewed the commander of Iraq's 51st Division, a Gen. Hashemi, who insisted that he had not surrendered to U.S. and British forces. This apparently confirmed earlier denials of a surrender by the Iraqi information minister, Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf. Up to now, by the way, CNN has not played the tape of the interview.

While Hashemi's alleged surrender may well have been part of the ongoing psychological war against the Iraqi army, this strategy does have a potentially negative backlash: in light of growing complaints in Qatar that U.S. Central Command is providing no information of substance whatsoever on the war, journalists may end up becoming so jaded that they will do what they should be doing, namely go out and search for information on their own, as opposed to swallowing whole what Tommy Franks and his deputies feed them.

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