Monday, April 17, 2006

The Iraq war was wrong, natch.

I hate to harp on- especially on an Easter Monday after four beers, three shorts, four steaks and four cream eggs (spread over a lengthy period, but kind of continued from the previous day's activities)- but it is necessary. Really.

Oh yes, it's the BBC again. Many things, of course, but I just find their talking points so banal and self-interested, especially the Greg Dyke memorial story: that the Iraq War was Wrong.

The BBC run articles like this one in which they try to embody each individual horseman of the apocalypse they predicted in the days of the dear leader (Greg).

Whenever I get really over-fed up about this I just visit this site to read posts like this. Wonderful.

You'd never guess from the BBC's coverage that last month the US suffered its lowest level of casualties for months. Yes, the moment has passed but has become a statistcal fact, and although rates have risen again, they are consistent with a disorderly and fissiparous society, rather than a basket case. To have a state of civil war develop is inconceivable while an active coordinating force of US troops simultaneously goes about its business without multiplying military casualties. That's the reality; (aside, to the Beeb) put it in your Beeboid pipe and smoke it rather than the shit that generally goes in.

But, who are the BBC rolling out as their authority, as the man to restate the meme: none other than Toby Dodge, the guy who predicted a long hard war against Iraq's conventional armed forces in 2003 for the Guardian. A man whom even Paul Reynolds of the BBC described as 'a critic of American and British policy in Iraq'- as I reported some while ago.

In case the Beeb hadn't noticed, ethnic shifts inside Iraq certainly predate the Iraq war. Places like Mosul and Kirkuk were deliberately settled with Sunnis by Saddam. Now, I am not saying that current ethnic flight may not be some indication of imminent or even immanent civil war, but I'd want to be reassured on the following matters:

That the figures mentioned by the Iraqi Government really were exceptional. I'd want to know that this was not just a response to journalistic pressure, and that they differ significantly from figures previously available which happen perhaps not to have had the same relevance to the meme-du-jour and therefore were ignored.

I'd also want to compare with other population movements, for example from Kirkuk and from Fallujah. In the latter case tens of thousands fled conflict. Did they all go back? What happened to them? In the former case Kirkuk is prized by the Kurds as their 'true' capital, yet was heavily settled by Arab sunnis under Saddam. What's going on there, and how does it compare with the so-called Samarra flight?

These are the kinds of things I'd imagine a lively broadcaster would enquire after. So not the BBC then. There is no detail to their report, there is no break down of figures. There is only the bizarre notion that somehow the deterioration of Iraq into civil war is some kind of hardy perennial.

To establish this the writer draws in an assortment of deeply partial Arab despots, and a Guardianista pin-up academic, plus a few soundbytes from Iraqi politicians. Yep, real balanced there.

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