Tuesday, June 19, 2007

BBC: Professional deformation

Side by side with the ongoing disgrace that is the BBC's coverage of the events in Gaza and the West Bank is the mealy-mouthed commentary on the events in Iraq. For PM's report on the bombing today, we heard from Andrew North (about 16 minutes in). The background to the bombing comes in one line.

There had been a relative lull in these attacks.

No reason for the "lull" is given, though it is implicit in what follows. Clearly, he can't possibly say that there have been some successes in Baghdad.

He then moves on to the operations going on north of the city.

It comes on the same day as American troops have launched a massive offensive against Al-Queda in an area outside Baghdad, in the city of Baqubah. Now, in effect, this is a response to the Surge because to some extent, the insurgents and Al-Queda have moved out of the city as a result of the US troop build-up here, but now the Americans have had to respond by moving extra troops up there to try and confront them in an area where al-Queda has virtually taken control. We're hearing reports of very intensive fighting from the ground. We don't have details yet on ...

On what? On the success of this important mission against the killers of children? On casualties among our closest allies, soldiers who fight shoulder to shoulder with our own men? Al-Queda casualties, even? (Oh, no. Bad taste that one.) On what then? In order to understand this confusing, difficult and crucial situation, we need details on...

civilian casualties, although it's quite likely there will be some.

So, that's all the BBC is interested in. Civilian casualties. Not to say that they are not important, but if all you know about a battle is the number of civilians killed, what will be your conclusions about the operation? That it was unnecessary and cruel. And that the cruelty is all the fault of the Americans.

Andrew North continues.

The Americans seem to be saying that this could carry on for some time. But I think many are saying, well we've seen this before - the americans launching major offensives, but then, yet again, the insurgents move on as we saw in Fallujah in 2004 and in so many other places. The problem now they have is they have all the extra troops that were called for under the Surge. There are very few others that they can call on and it's hard to see how they will stop the insurgents yet again moving on.

In other words, it's all a waste of time and civilian lives.

Notice the assumptions.

  • The terrorists took over Diyala because of American 'surge' pressure. Yes and no. Baqubah was set up last year as al-Queda headquarters for its Islamic State of Iraq. Its adherents who fled Baghdad were merely adding to those already there.
  • It's just Fallujah all over again. No glimpse of what Petraeus has been doing in the capital, the slow but sure build-up of a security network, the winning of allies, the securing of individual zones. Nothing.
  • It's all just a reaction to their reaction. No thought. No planning. This is not part of the Surge, but merely striking out against those pesky and invincible terrorists.
  • It's doomed.

Accursed be the sowers of discord and defeatism.

If you want some real information, go and read Bill Roggio or Michael Yon or Michael Totten.

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