Friday, October 08, 2004

BBC laid back about the French

I just loved the introduction to this BBC article intended to cover French corruption over oil for food. Has a voice of accusation ever been more passive? :

'Allegations that French officials were offered bribes by Saddam Hussein are unverified, France has said.'

I note that even despite this passive tone, we do not get as far as hearing that French officials may have received bribes from Saddam Hussein. Furthermore, we are stumped by the question of who is going to do the verifying. The UN perhaps, as the only international forum with the legitimacy gained by having the likes of Sudan on board?

At the risk of being a little pedantic, I should point out that the part of the purpose of a passive sentence is to avoid describing the agent who is going to perform the verb. So, on the one hand we are informed that the French were allegedly propositioned by Saddam (not that they had any relationship that might have scrubbed two backs rather than one), while on the other the agency that is to verfiy those allegations is unclear. Why unclear? Well, the assumption will be, and is, that the US is the agency that is required to verify these allegations- yet the whole thrust of BBC coverage for months, years and God knows how long is that you can't trust the yanks (in recent terms just think of the 'debate raging' about 'intelligence failures' which the BBC has happily stoked).

Ok, this is just the opening salvo of an article which does its best to relieve the French of the need to answer any serious questions. It's enough to know where the BBC stands though, which is frightening.

In this context, this article by Glenn Reynolds, and this by Mark Steyn, are both relevant. Some details here- thanks to A Tangled Web.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Getting Smarter- that seems to be the case in the US Iraq operations when you read this excellent article by Austin Bay (It's about time I posted here, and this is one of those articles that are so well-framed it'd almost be rude not to).

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