Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
The 1920 British air bombing campaign in Iraq (bbc.com)
31 points by schrofer on Oct 7, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments

Rob Newman's History of Oil has an interesting take on this. I would strongly recommend having a look.


One thing is different now compare to 1920: Media. Up until 10-15 years ago the western government can easily control the media message via a few newspapers, tv stations, especially during a war.

But nowadays, they are hundred of satellite channels all over the worlds, millions of people on every war zone with HDR capable cellphone. Search for Ukraine, Syria war in YouTube and one can easily hundred of hours of HD war flight video on all sides of the conflicts.

It is not easy for US or British government to control the war messages anymore.

It used to be when Bush mentioned WMD, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and BBC will repeat the messages over and over again. It much less the case now.

That's possible to overstate or overestimate.

It's a complicated change. We have incredible access. But attention is still limited. Signal to noise is a problem when we are only partially engaged. 21st century confirmation bias in the form of information bubbles and internet speed rumor mils are a problem when me are more engaged, especially ideologically or politically.

We see China exercising a seemingly significant hold over public perceptions with relatively simple to bypass internet censorship. There are subtler versions elsewhere.

Even the shrill accusations of false flags, misdirections and complex misinformation may have some grains of truth.

The world may not be as naive. But, it's not like we have a truth button even today.

I think it has just changed so that the media won't report something and then will try and discredit any amateur reports later. The BBC has many large gaps in its reporting at least and seem to favour an almost tabloid approach to some issues.

At least from a US perspective, it's worth reading up on the Hearst newspapers. That whole Pancho Villa v. Pershing ...thing? Hearst.

Granted, this is not the 24 hour news cycle but there are numerous examples of newspapers drumming up panic.

It all happened before and it will happen again.


I'm not a genius. Care to elaborate?

The Boxer Revolution was caused by a group of people feeling marginalized by extra-national and extra-cultural sources that were colonizing, shaping, and influencing their culture at home. Via largely economic routes.

On top of this foreign powers were playing politics in China's back yard. Knocking over leaders, helping corrupt officials be appointed, etc. All in order to facilitate trade, or national influence into regions.

Except instead of Tea, Porcelain, and Silk. Its oil (this time).

On the other side of the story, both Boxers and ISIS are not "civilised" according to modern standard: Boxers executed foreign missionaries and Chinese christians including children and women.

Furthermore, both Boxer Rebellion/Revolution and ISIS provoked even higher degree of foreign intervention. In the summer of 1900, the Eight-Nation (Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) Alliance was formed to "relieved the siege of diplomatic legations" in Beijing. During the time, the Summer Palace was destroyed again (the first time was by British and French expeditionary forces during the 2nd Opium War, in 1860). I don't know what historic heritage left in Iraq now but it will certainly gone within 12 months.

Based on Chinese history, I'd predict:

1) Iraq (maybe the whole mid-east area) will fall into full warlord state for decades.

2) A new secular force will emerge with extreme left ideology, just like Chinese Communist Party.

3) The new secular force will obtain nuclear power.

4) The new secular force will largely destroy the Islamic culture as we know today.

We create ever bigger dragons overseas which we then need to slay. Will this cycle be stopped by 'one last intervention'?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact