Algerian Deja Vu

From Left I On the News

The Battle of Algiers rages on

I’ve written about the movie, The Battle of Algiers; today, CNN is reporting that George Bush is reading a book on the subject (A Savage War of Peace: Algeria, 1954-1962) for lessons on what to do in Iraq. In closing out the piece, both the author and the reporter cautioned the viewer that after the French decided to pull out, tens of thousands of people were killed in the civil war which followed. According to Wikipedia, that’s true enough. What CNN failed to inform its viewers, though, was that before the pullout, while the French were still fighting the Algerians, between 300,000 and 1 million Algerians are estimated to have died. Very much shades of Iraq.

In Iraq as in Algeria, it’s unlikely that a pullout of foreign forces will end all killing immediately. But, if the Algerian example is any guide, there will be far fewer people killed after a pullout than would have been killed had a pullout not happened. Think that’s the message Bush will get? No, me neither. And the viewers of CNN won’t get that message either, not having heard the full story.


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