I find the spin in the article “In One Night, Iraqi Turns From Friend to Foe” to be outrageous. The writer tries to paint Imaad as a normal, middle-class person who had no psychological problems or particular beefs with the Americans until they searched his house one night in January.
Tim Blair recasts the situation using just the facts provided, stripped of the normative elements of the article. Clearly, Imaad has some problems. He was supposedly a religious man yet hid pornographic materials in his bedroom. He slapped his mother once they had left for reasons unstated (though attributed by his mother to his frustration at his house having been searched). He refused to provide his mother medication because the pills were foreign made. I’d say he might have been predisposed to paranoid behavior prior to the search.
The behavior of the soldiers hardly seems reprehensible. It could be that they were throwing the contents of his room around and that the magazines happened to fall near the Koran. Most soldiers, I would wager, aren’t that culturally sensitive to have intentionally placed the Koran among the pornography.
Reading the article after reading Tim Blair’s reconstructing, I was surprised at how skillfully the facts were buried under seemingly innocuous evaluations that deftly undercut the context. I’m not sure I could say that the article’s author conscientiously spun the story because I could think of how she might have actually believed Imaad’s version. Clearly, though, the effect of the story is to convey how badly our boys are behaving over in Iraq in an effort to apologize for the insurgency’s actions.