“YOU never know the truth,” Monash University expert on propaganda Millicent Vladiv-Glover said about war.

Dr. Vladiv-Glover, from the Clayton campus’ school of languages, culture, and linguistics, talked to the Journal about propaganda and its effects in a war.

She warned that people absorbing information and images about the war with Iraq should be discerning when interpreting information.

“You don’t swallow (everything you hear), you interpret. You can be discriminating.”

She said war was run like a “popular culture performance”, and that on the Western side it was also run “along ethical lines, meaning you guarantee your words by action”.

An example was the first briefing by the commander of coalition forces in the Gulf, General Tommy Franks.

“It was both a briefing and a directive to gain support,” she said.

“It was very persuasive because he was so down-to-earth and he did not embellish the facts or present too much mythology.

“However, you could say the whole thing was so factual it was, in itself, calculated to impress those who wanted justification for the war.”

On the Iraqi side, she had seen “much more bland propaganda attempts”, such as tapes of Saddam Hussein where the date of recording was unknown.

“I have seen hospital scenes of children crying in one medium, but the same image on a different medium showed it wasn’t clear whether the boy was crying from his injuries, or because of being agitated by the noise around him.”

Dr. Vladiv-Glover said people should approach the war coverage with caution.

“All should feel implicated in this war and should be carrying the burden for both sides. You never know the truth. I think you have to read the images for what they are.”