Saturday, October 21, 2006

Run, rabbits, run

I was watching Robin Hood on BBC1 this evening with Sons N2 and N3 and felt my faint dislike of the programme grow suddenly intense. The Sheriff of Nottingham speaks to the peasants of the village that was once part of Robin's demesne, telling them that he is there to show himself to the "terrorists" that have already killed 5 people, and to say out loud that he will not relent in his "War on Terror" and his fight for Order, Justice and Authority.

The writer and makers of this programme no doubt feel that this is very clever and maybe even daring. There's more. So, the Sheriff is George W Bush. The killer turns out to be a man whose daughter died in the street after the Sheriff's baillif had thrown them out of their house for not being able to pay their taxes. The man has killed the baillif and is now trying to kill the Sheriff and his motive is revenge for what the Sheriff has done to him. He has been shown in previous scenes to be a gentle and sweet man. His murderous rage has a simple and single cause: a great wrong done to him. Is this the writer's sophisticated take on the terror that George Bush makes war on? That it is, as Osama bin Laden says, as the beheaders and suicide bombers claim, all the fault of Westerners, or more precisely, the Americans who have left them no choice but to kill? And if the Sheriff is GWB, is it then so far-fetched to identify those that fight against him with the Jihadists? (Or should it be the BBC?) Perhaps the most powerful weapon the Jihadists have is the Western media, their sloppy thinking and their reflex sympathies. This is a ripe example.

While waiting for Robin Hood, I saw ten minutes of the Channel 4 News. The reporter from Baghdad was on and repeated the misinterpretation of Bush's words about Tet to say that he had "compared Iraq to Vietnam". However, erroneous that interpretation may be, there is this of truth in it: that the media have decided that from now on every word spoken and every setback that occurs is to be read and recounted in the key of withdrawal, just as the media decided after the Tet offensive, which the North Vietnamese thought they had lost. And so they will help to bring about a resounding confirmation of what the Jihadists have believed for many years now - that the West lacks the guts to fight them. And to judge from these two small examples, from between 7 and 8pm this Saturday evening, it will be very difficult to contradict them.

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