...a blog by Richard Flowers

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Day 2269: This is Just Happy Slapping with Hawk Jets


To commemorate the fourth anniversary of Lord Blairimort invading a Middle Eastern country, the BBC tonight presented the Ten O'clock News from Iraq. Or more precisely from inside heavily defended military installations inside or floating just off of Iraq.

While Mr Huw was stood in a dusty desert CAR PARK being drowned out by TANKS as they drove off to go and do tank stuff in the night, Mr Jeremy Bowen was reporting live from the USS Eisenhower in the Gulf, apparently being filmed by one of the fighter pilots on his mobile phone.

Which is where Daddy came in.

I do wonder what is the POINT of all of this PRESENTING the news from Basra. If you want to stand in a car park there is one at Television Centre. It seems a rather extravagant and, may I say, MACHO way of going about things. And it puts your news presentation entirely in the hands of whichever army/navy/airforce/AT-AT crew on whom you are relying upon for protection. The army call it "embedding"; I wonder if it isn't "keeping under our thumb".

In fact, the only person not surrounded by HEAVY METAL and a FLAK JACKET was Mr John Simpson who was dressed in casual slacks and a shirt reporting from a market place in Sadr City. He was safe there because he was being protected by the Mardi Army rather than by the Americans. His terribly sad news was that the insurgency has not gone away – they are just waiting patiently until the Americans declare peace and go home – probably some time this summer. Then it will be business as usual all over again.

Mr John gave us a better feel for what is going on in Iraq than any number of no doubt impressively exciting pictures of Mr Huw surrounded by tanks. These anecdotes reflect the figures from the BBC's opinion poll that shows a dwindling of optimism among the Iraqi people as the years grind on and their country remains BROKEN.

The BBC have also produced this GRAPHIC MAP of death and destruction in order to show all of the terrible explosions that have blasted Baghdad apart over the years. Well, I say "all of" but actually it only shows explosions where more than ten people have been exploded. Smaller explosions are either too numerous or just not newsworthy enough. As Mr John remarks: "To get on the news, or the front page of the newspapers nowadays, a lot of people have to die. I would say the current figure is 60 or 70; and it certainly wouldn't be the lead."

Even worse, though, is the Ethnic Areas maps that show how a once mixed cosmopolitan city has become segregated by a wave of ethnic cleansing, polarising it into religious factions.

Deep wounds have been caused to Baghdad, and to the rest of Iraq, wounds that will take years to heal.

We were promised that we were going into Iraq to create a "beacon of hope and democracy" that would lead inspire countries in the region. As Mr Bowen put it in another report, this time from the border with Saudi Arabia: "No country wants to be like Iraq today."

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