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2003-03-24

Red Cross Says Humanitarian Crisis Is Looming in Basra As TV Networks Are Preoccupied with Action Footage From Reporters Embedded with U.S. Military

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An article on the front page of the New York Times begins: "In the swirl of confusing facts, the first scenes of the invasion of Iraq were astonishingly clear. Television did more than bring viewers closer to the front lines of battle than ever before, however. It looked at warfare through an entirely new prism.

“Television cameras’ usual route to battle is the trail left by its victims. Whether in Kosovo, Israel, Chechnya or Afghanistan, combat is mostly conveyed by shots of a crowded refugee tent or a collapsed high-rise, a bloodied sidewalk, a full hospital ward or an open grave.

"This time, the Pentagon took viewers on a thrilling ride-along with the warriors. Videophones, portable satellites and night-sight scopes brought the world a riveting display of American power, but it was a sanitized look, showing a little sweat, not blood and tears."

Well, the International Committee of the Red Cross is warning a humanitarian crisis is looming in Basra after US bombing. The bombing has destroyed electrical cables, cutting off electricity in the city and the water system. Iraqi officials say 77 civilians died in the attack.

  • Nada Doumani, spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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