Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It's only a war

Watching Sky News last night (I like to keep an occasional eye on Murdoch's minions), it was interesting that they did not downplay the seriousness of the situation in Iraq. As I mentioned yesterday, the Sky News programme hosted by James Rubin, who formerly worked for Clinton but is not a dove by any means, contained an interview with Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein which painted an extremely bleak picture of Iraq. And, as also mentioned yesterday, Sky News reporter Tim Marshall said that Iraq "teeters on the brink" of civil war.

To find such an honest assessement of the situation on Sky News was a surprise to me. I don't watch it on a regular basis but it doesn't take Einstein to see that Murdoch's news organisations have been cheerleaders for this war since the day it was first discussed. Sky News is nowhere near on the same level of odiousness as the "fair and balanced" Fox News of course. It has, however, been subtly pro-war. My understanding is that many people who supported the war turn to Sky News for their coverage because they believe it does not indulge in the anti-Bush, anti-war propaganda of the BBC and others. I suspect that these reports surprised many of those people a lot more than they surprised me.

If that doesn't surprise you, try reading what Fox News have been saying recently (via).
Fox News featured two onscreen captions during a segment on escalating violence in Iraq that read: " 'Upside' To Civil War?" and "All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?"
Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit swearing. WTF is going on?

It looks as if even Fox News, the Republican Broadcasting Corperation, have realised that they can no longer pretend that things are going well in Iraq. My cynical nature leads me to wonder whether this is the start of a concerted effort to prepare public opinion for the carnage which may soon erupt.

On March 18th 2003, Tony Blair said "[Iraq] will determine the pattern of international politics for the next generation". If Blair is right, the next generation will be one of lies, evasions, exaggerated threats, intelligence failures, bad planning, incompetance, scandals, prisoner abuses, corrupt practices, and sectarian conflicts. I sincerly hope he's wrong.

By the way, the Sky reports reminded me of something Tony Blair said when he visited Iraq in December last year.
And the importance of this probably is greater today than it has ever been, because if Iraq does stabilise and become a democracy, then the region is more safe, the wider world is more safe, our own country is more safe because international terrorism will be dealt a huge body blow.
Difficult though it is, I'll try to resist pointing out that Saddam did not actually pose a significant threat to the region, the wider world, or our country and that it is, therefore, hard to see how attacking Iraq can be justified as a means of keeping us safe. Sorry, can't help it. I'll really will try to resist mentioning that international terrorism can only win in Iraq, it cannot be defeated. Iraq, a country with no history of Salafi extremism, was not the terrorists to lose so I very much doubt it'll be a "huge body blow" to them one way or the other. Iraq for them is an opportunity. They are not defending anything, they are only looking to gain. Ach, sorry again. I just can't quote total crap without highlighting the sheer nonsense of it.

The point I want to make is that Blair said "if Iraq does stabilise...". As we're all aware by now, the prime minister choses his words with great care. He did not chose to say "when Iraq does stabilise...". It may only be one word but I suspect it says a great deal about his real view the situation.

Of course only a crackpot tin foil hatter would suggest that there is any connection between Blair's ambiguous statement about Iraq's future and Murdoch's minions apparent change of tack on Iraq. That'd just be silly.

While we're on the subject of News Corp, on an entirely different topic, this is intriguing.

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