In which Max Boot makes it seem as though my pessimism on Iraq is premature (again), Dumb Jon makes most excellent and chewy toast of a former BBC journalist, while Norm Geras and Oliver Kamm demonstrate which of them is the Professor of Philosophy as they debate that high art, The Blog.
Ironic how the roles of philosopher king and man of letters are reversed- the academic offering tolerant and social solutions, the journalist offering draconian bloviation.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Iraq revisited- what does go down the toilet.
Melanie Phillips has a fascinating post up on Iraqi WMDs.
Mmm. Kind of retro now, isn't it.
Yet I think it is instructive, and I have more respect for Melanie Phillips than for any other journalist.
It's almost a welcome relief to think about Iraqi WMDs than to think about mounting death tolls of US and British troops.
In truth I never expected anything else. I did hope for a miracle though, given that the goal was certainly a noble one. The really interesting thing is to reflect on the weakness of a military giant that can allow an insurgency to defeat it despite, and this is key, the overwhelmingly receptive nature of most Iraqis to an occupying force in place of a terrorist regime.
When you consider it, victory in Iraq is critical- yet it is not apparently happening. The opponents are very active- the Iranians, the Syrians, even the Saudis one suspects, at a distance. But America and its allies should have been able to enforce their will. So it's imperative to examine in detail why they haven't, and I'd start here:
"The docile US media, dependent as it is on government sources and handouts, is all too easily intimidated or bought off by pressure from a myriad different sources which all have their own conflicting reasons to suppress such politically damaging revelations. Too many important reputations in the media now rest on the ruthless suppression of the faintest possibility that they might have been wrong."
The US media, I would add, is docile when it comes to things which feed its preening narrative, and totally reactionary when it is contradicted. The poverty of the US media in understanding and reporting the stakes and the realties of the big wide world mirrors the starvation of intelligence which characterises the involvement in Iraq. Idealism remains, but is not enough. To know friend from foe and rightly estimate their designs is the key, and the media love throwing such realities down their toilets after the fashion of top mag Newsweek.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
The Bias Masterclass
As an epicure of media bias, I have to link to a couple of recent posts from the well-known US blog Powerline. These lawyerly types are particularly good at highlighting the liberal bias of many media outlets there; the BBC's relentless pap represents a far tougher challenge here though.
I may add more as they arise.