MoD parachutes propaganda into classrooms attempting to rewrite the Iraq debacle

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been distributing materials on the Iraq war for use in classrooms. This has prompted teachers to contact the National Union of Teachers (NUT) worried that they are being asked to breach their legal obligations to provide a balanced view of controversial subjects. Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the NUT, notes:

Lesson plans and factsheets in the pack outline the “achievements” of the coalition forces in bringing peace and stability to Iraq; the regeneration of Iraq is presented as a fact, not as something requiring judgment to be made and contexts to be set. Youngsters are not given an opportunity to question the legality of the decision to go to war or indeed the motivation of the key actors.

Some of the ‘facts’ presented in the MoD pack (to both students and as teaching notes), written by the marketing consultant Kids Connections, are just a blatant rewriting of history. One of these ‘facts’ is a claim that the invasion was in response to Iraq’s refusal to abandon its nuclear and chemical weapons programme, even though it had no weapons and the military response was doubtful under international law. Another ‘fact’ notes that the invasion was ‘necessary’ to remove Saddam, which is, in fact, contrary to international law. Interestingly, this second fact sounds a lot like the American case for the invasion, as Britain never officially acknowledged regime change (Blair presented the toppling of Saddam’s regime as a ‘side effect’ of sorts). Further, it has been noted that the American spelling for the word ‘programme’ (“program”) has been used in the material.

Amidst the self-congratulatory notes on the reconstruction of Iraq’s infrastructure (any mention of the sanctions?) there is also no mention of any civilian deaths whether at the hands of the occupying forces or terrorist activities (which did not occur on a routine basis before the invasion), although the deaths of British armed forces personnel are noted. There is then, I take it, no mention of Haditha, the rape and murder of a 14 year old Iraqi girl and her family, and the incredibly high estimates of deaths since or due the invasion. Nor, in noting the training of Iraq’s armed forces and police service by the British and American forces (stupidly disbanded by the Coalition Provisional Authority in the first place), is there any mention of the sectarian nature of Iraq’s security forces.


1 Response to “MoD parachutes propaganda into classrooms attempting to rewrite the Iraq debacle”

  1. 1 How about teaching children to think critically? (Part II) « pixelisation Trackback on March 26, 2008 at 1:18 pm

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