We all know how vociferously the BBC has opposed the US-led liberation of Iraq. We all know how good news is no news when it comes to Iraq but bad news is of course always welcome. So no big surprise to see the BBC giving all due prominence to the latest Red Cross/Red Crescent report on Iraq under the doom-laden headline “Bleak picture of Iraq conditions.” We get the usual left wing mantra about how Iraq’s humanitarian situation is “among the most critical in the world”. (What, worse than those poor Gazans? Really?) However the BBC and the Red Cross/Red Crescent are not so keen to tell us that..

-Emergency campaigns have supported the immunization of 98 percent of children 1-3 years (3.62 million children) against measles, mumps, and rubella. As a result, there has been a 90 percent reduction in laboratory confirmed cases of measles of children under five (4.56 million) immunized against polio during the 2004-05 national polio immunization campaign, enabling Iraq to maintain its polio-free status. –
-Vaccinated 3.2 million children under five and 700,000 pregnant women, with UNICEF and WHO.
-Provided supplementary doses of vitamin A for more than 1.5 million nursing mothers and 600,000 children under two, and iron folate supplements for over 1.6 million women of childbearing age.
-Trained 11,400 staff at over 2,000 community child care units to screen for malnutrition and to provide monthly rations of high protein biscuits to malnourished children and pregnant mothers.
-Renovated 110 facilities and equipped 600 centers with basic clinical and lab equipment.
-Trained over 2,500 primary health care workers, improving access to essential primary health care.

That’s JUST in the health-care area. The reality is that the BBC driven narrative does not allow for any substantive progress. The war was “illegal” apparently, we were all “conned” into going along with it, and so the Red Cross/Red Crescent report is grist to the mill. There are many sides to the Iraq situation but the BBC is only interested in the “It’s a quagmire get us out of there” angle, which it assiduously pumps out.

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65 Responses to THE WAR ON THE WAR IN IRAQ.

  1. Gordon says:

    “Illegal war”?
    I am currently watching the excellent BBC co-production “Rome”.
    However there is an absolute anachronism in the first episode, where the Senate is in a blue funk over Caesar’s impending victorious return from his wars in Gaul.
    There are two speaches containing the phrase “this illegal war”.
    Who could have thought that the opponents of Bushitler were so prescient?


  2. Andy says:

    For all the trials, tribulations and jihadist-inspired violence Iraq has suffered, it did not fail in the way the BBC wanted us to believe, overwhelmingly preferring to inform us of failures over successes.

    The success of the surge, aside from a few paltry web pages and World Service reports, largely went unnoticed, the BBC apparently wishing it that way.

    As far as I remember, correct me if I am wrong, the BBC never did report how the Lancet survey of Iraqi war casualties was largely discredited.

    As Fred Kaplan said

    “…the authors are 95 percent confident that the war-caused deaths totaled some number between 8,000 and 194,000. (The number cited in plain language โ€” 98,000 โ€” is roughly at the halfway point in this absurdly vast range.) This isn’t an estimate. It’s a dart board.”


  3. Matthew (UK) says:

    This was not an illegal war, any more than that in Bosnia or the Falklands or Vietnam. Some fatcat lawyers will have opinions on one side; some on the other. International law operates as a purely political mechanism as a means of achieving broad consensus, and that is the way it should stay, unless you think it a good idea to cede national sovereignty to unelected and bureaucratic bodies.

    The BBC and the ignoramuses who repeat this mantra would do well to consult Christopher Greenwood, CMG, QC, Professor of International Law at the LSE and soon to be appointee to the International Criminal Court:


  4. Matthew (UK) says:

    Andy | 17.03.08 – 1:17 pm | #

    Indeed – the rebuilding of Iraq (note that the ‘war’ finished years ago), and to a lesser extent Afghanistan, is one of the best examples of selective reporting in the mainstream liberal media. The neglect of the good news stories of progress against the jihadi agents of indiscriminate slaughter, and of democratic rebuilding is staggering when compared to the endless coverage given to some idiot repeating the mantra of ‘illegal and immoral’.

    The reporting of the BBC is shameful compared to that of independent journalists like Michael Yon, who work with civilians and troops on the ground. It is news outlets like Michael’s ( ) which will be the future of journalism, not the anti-Western liberal media corporations.

    One final point: yes, the Lancet reporting has been discredited, but it concedes to much to wade into this numbers game in any case: the vast majority of violent deaths have been Iraqis killed at the hands of suicide bombers, sectarian militias, and religious fanatics – nothing whatsoever to do with ‘resistance’ or ‘freedom fighting’ or ‘anti-Americanism’. Blowing up scores of non-combatant Iraqis in a marketplace is not an act of war but of cowardly and mindless domestic criminality. By pretending otherwise, as the BBC does, it not only endangers our troops but gives succor to these criminal elements.


  5. David Vance says:


    You are quite right in what you say. The BBC has an agenda that demoralises our troops whilst encouraging the Jihadi.


  6. mike_s says:

    “And 38% want American forces to leave immediately, compared with 35% who want the troops to remain until security has been restored.”

    And this is what the poll really says;
    “Q22 How long do you think US and other Coalition forces should remain in Iraq? Should they leave now, remain until security is restored, remain until the Iraqi government is stronger, remain until Iraqi security forces can operate independently, remain longer but leave eventually, or never leave?”
    -Leave now 38%
    -Remain until security is restored 35%
    -Remain until the Iraqi government is stronger 14%
    -Remain until the Iraqi security forces can operate independently 10%
    -Remain longer but leave eventually 3%
    -Never leave 1%

    So 63% of the iraqi’s wants the americans to stay. And 38% wants them to leave now.(total 101% rounding errors)
    I think we can describe this as dishonest reporting.


  7. Hugh says:

    That is entirely misleading, yes. It really should be changed.


  8. Pete says:

    The BBC is obsessed with Iraq. The population as a whole isn’t that bothered one way or the other. The BBC has far too much foreign news and gives it far too much prominence in its reports. I think that is because the BBC likes covering foreign news rather than because of any real public interest in it. The BBC is supposed to serve the public. It could best do that by cutting down on news coverage and increasing Eastenders to 7 days a week.


  9. Piotr says:

    Off topic, however, I cannot find anywhere on the BBC website the fact that the Polish government cannot get the Polish opposition parties to sign the Lisbon treaty, if the Polish government cannot get 75% of all MP’s to sign then the treaty is dead!.

    I wait in vain for Mark Mardell to do his job and report on this huge threat to the EU.


  10. Cheeta says:

    Yes the BBC seem to be slightly nervous of the word “Lancet” nowadays. My comment was flately rejected!

    DEBATE:Lifting of Baath restrictions: Your viewsSENT:13-Jan-2008 22:22COMMENT:

    We should be cautious with the Lancet 06 figure of “most likely…654,695”. It seems that this figure was compiled without access to the researchers raw data, nor any questioning of it. Using ‘cluster sampling’, 1,887 households in Iraq were visited(compare a UN survey in 04 – 22,000) and questions asked – e.g.: how many lived here at 1.1.02? How many have died since? Combat related? etc. Results were extrapolated across the whole population. So one death = 2,000. This deserves more scrutiny.


  11. David Vance says:

    mike s,

    Good spot – another instance of why the BBC cannot be trusted. It’s a biased headline.


  12. pounce says:

    The BBC, Iraq polls and half the question

    Poll suggests Iraqis ‘optimistic’
    More than 50% of Iraqis think their lives are good, more than at any time in the last three years, a survey says. The poll for the BBC, ABC, ARD and NHK of more than 2,000 people also suggests that a majority believe that security in their area has improved since 2007. And while most Iraqis still believe US troops are making things worse, the number who want the Americans to pull out immediately has fallen.

    I’ll echo David’s POV that the BBC are really going hammer and tongs over Iraq and the no news situation.

    This latest BBC lead poll is just another example of how the BBC uses slight of hand techniques in which to promote its Anti US mission statement to the Public. So the headline the BBC uses hints at the situation on the ground may be getting better, but juxtapose that ethereal good news with the solid fact that the majority of people believe that the US are to blame.


    Here is a screen shot of the question asked by that poll ref is the security situation getting better?

    and here is the screen shot of the question from that poll who is to blame;

    Now could somebody please point out where the US forces are in the first question? But just to make sure who to blame, the question is loaded in the second one by making sure the US forces is the first one in the tick boxes. That ladies and gentlemen is what is know as a loaded question. Oh and here is the results of another poll by this BBC lead coalition as headlined by the BBC last Nov as an abject failure.
    US surge has failed – Iraqi poll

    You’d think the BBC would have suggested that the Iraqi people are pessimistic rather than saying they believed the surge failed. Maybe there lies the reason why the BBC has taken a much more delicate stance in reporting the results of this latest BBC inspired poll. They got it wrong last time and didn’t want to shout from the top of the highest BBC minaret that the situation in Iraq maybe getting better.

    The BBC, Iraq polls and half the question


  13. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Of course you all realize that the BBC News division just looked at these poll results and decided they simply must try harder to get the word out.

    Look for an increase in air time for negative opinions and a few outright lies.


  14. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Looks like the BBC has already been at it:

    Poll suggests Iraqis ‘optimistic’.

    They can barely wait until the third paragraph:

    But the poll also shows Iraq’s main ethnic groups are deeply divided.

    BBC World Affairs editor John Simpson says the continuing divisions make it “pretty meaningless to talk about ‘Iraqi’ opinion.”

    What else is there to say?


  15. Anonymous says:

    Illegal war – the basis may be disputed and lawyers may argue about various aspects but in the strictest sense it was not an illegal war in Iraq.

    In fact more of a case can be made for Afghanistan even though its justification was much clearer.

    But in terms of illegality the war on Serbia was most clearly illegal, however that war suited the BBC and its liberal allies so questions of illegality were brushed under the carpet. Once the legal precedent was set its hard to condemn the war in Afghanistan having not condemned war against Serbia.


  16. Martin says:

    One presumes that our declaration of war against Germany in 1939 was also illegal then?

    We were not under threat from Germany Poland was.

    I await a rewriting of history from the BBC.


  17. The Admiral says:

    I agree DV. The BBC has, largely succesfully, reframed the entire Iraq debate. This means that the whole discussion is framed in terms of “how much of a failure is it?”, rather than an objective view of the merits and demerits of the invasion. In this respect it fails its public service remit.

    Without doubt, there were colossal errors in terms of the post-war planning (or lack of it). It does not follow, however, that the invasion was the wrong thing to do based on what was known at the time.

    The BBC seems to indulge itself in a pretty horrific game of relativism. The life of an Iraqi who was saved from Saddam by the invasion is worth less, in the BBC/leftist view, than the life of someone who was killed by other Iraqis after the invasion.

    Its an unappealing decison to have to balance but I respect Blair (not often I say that!) for having the balls and moral courage to take that unenviable decision.

    At least the situation in Iraq is getting better (not that the BBC would admit it). If we had done as the so-called compassionate liberal crowd would have done, Saddam would still be there murdering, torturing and genociding and neither would there be any prospect of it ending.

    So much for the International Solidarity of the Left. Trade Unionists were routinely murdered, as were homosexuals (cf Iran), intellectuals and other Leftists.

    But, better to let them die in Saddam’s torture chambers than, shock, support the US.

    The broadstream Left (excepting those who signed the Euston Manifesto) are morally bankrupt. The BBC, as that group’s wetnurse, is the most morally bankrupt of all.


  18. DB says:

    Apart from being the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, this month is also the twentieth anniversary of the Halabja massacre when Saddam gassed 5,000 Kurds. There are no special programmes on the BBC to commemorate it, but some people are remembering.

    (On the topic of anniversary commemorations, this was the picture which greeted visitors to the BBC’s front page earlier today. Unlike 1968, the fifth anniversary of Cuba’s Black Spring has gone unmentioned. Obviously the BBC can’t do programmes to commemorate everything, but it’s interesting which ones are chosen.)


  19. DB says:

    Mrs Andrew Marr: “Let’s talk to al-Qaida”.


  20. bodo says:

    FAO Andrew Vance;
    Perhaps another quote for your side-bar;

    Andrew Marr on Start the Week today, appears to reveal the BBC line on Islam. A verbatim quote;

    “There’s quite a pressure on at the moment to find all the areas from the Arab world and the Islamic world that influence us. Slightly politically correct, Kind of… we, we must be nicer”

    Its 27mins in.


  21. Gog says:

    Those bloodless lefties that so heartily opposed the removal of the Mukhabarat / Baathist regime would do well to remind themselves what has been left behind.

    NOT for the squeamish:

    History will be kind to the Americans for liberating this nation.


  22. DB says:

    Andrew Marr on Start the Week today, appears to reveal the BBC line on Islam. A verbatim quote;

    “There’s quite a pressure on at the moment to find all the areas from the Arab world and the Islamic world that influence us. Slightly politically correct, Kind of… we, we must be nicer”
    bodo | 17.03.08 – 8:59 pm

    It’s the reply from the interviewee Marina Warner which really gives the game away. She admits that her workshop about the West’s indebtedness to Islamic culture (funded by the British Academy, naturally) is receiving an unusual amount of attention:

    “One of the interesting thing’s that’s happened is that out workshop has been invited to go to Abu Dhabi to be extended by NYU – New York University – who are opening a campus there, and actually your interest, the programme’s interest, and this interest from Abu Dhabi strikes me as very unusual for a small British Academy workshop to arouse that amount and so I think it does conform to what you just said – maybe it’s politically correct.”

    Even the woman running the British Academy’s desperate little propaganda workshop is surprised the BBC has asked her on!


  23. David Preiser (USA) says:

    In my opinion, Marr’s little own goal here should get its own thread, and is just the kind of thing that needs to be sent around to other bloggers and other media.


  24. Atlas shrugged says:

    Yes Yes Yes David but you miss the point surly after 5 whole years.

    The BBC has not been alone. The same could be said of CNN ABC CBS and NBC.

    However the reality is that American British and allied forces have still been in Iraq for 5 WHOLE YEARS anyway. They are also showing no sign of going anywhere soon.

    I would put a large amount of cash on the fact that it will make no difference who wins the American presidency. Or what the western media say in the future about the Iraq war. We will be their until the plan is completed, whatever exactly the plan was. Therefore western public opinion clearly counts for nothing.

    Either the BBC etc have failed BIG TIME, which would be an historical first. Or they were never serious about winning, for want of a better word, in the first place.

    All they wanted to do was SEEM to be trying. So that what is left of the western worlds politicized, educated, and interested public, would not lose complete confidence in their media.

    So other really big lies like for example CO2=MMGW, and the economy is just fine bullshit, so carry on spending like triple A rated lemings, could still be pulled off.

    Our ruling elites do not care about public opinion or even votes. Because the ruling elites party always wins, whatever name they party owns. What they care about is getting their proverbial mitts on our hard earned wealth and freedoms, so they can control us every single second of every waking hour.

    I would suggest its best not to be selective about which bits of the BBC you think are correct and which bits you do not.

    In my own case I trust none of it, but the sporting results. But never the post match report, unless I saw the game myself.


  25. David Vance says:


    My contempt for CNN, ABC etc is a matter of public record.

    Plus, I don’t trust the sporting results! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  26. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Matt Frei just showed a segment about a sad little Iraqi boy who wishes only to play freely in the streets. The boy tells us in stilted, and certainly never in a million years rehearsed or coached, English about how he has never played freely in the streets since the US invasion.

    All he wants to do is play his beloved trumpet and have the happy, carefree childhood of a Norman Rockwell painting.

    Does anyone at the BBC wonder what the boy’s life might have been like if Sadaam was still in charge? Because, you know, everyone was free and happy then, and had a free and prosperous life to look forward to when Uday and/or Qusay took over.

    More rewriting of history and fairy tales from the BBC.


  27. Bryan says:

    As far as I remember, correct me if I am wrong, the BBC never did report how the Lancet survey of Iraqi war casualties was largely discredited.

    Andy | 17.03.08 – 1:17 pm

    They had an article on the website that included the fact that the Lancet conclusion had been challenged and contrasted it with other surveys but they gave little detail and the impression given was that the Lancet was at least as valid as any other survey.

    That’s the BBC: bias by omission of inconvenient facts.


  28. George R says:

    The gullible, complacent Robert Hardy, ‘BBC Middle East analyst’ is spinning the BBC’s pro- Islamic propaganda on Iraq’s Islamic jihadist leaders. (It is worthy of Al Jazeera propaganda.)

    In this piece, Hardy describes Moqtada Sadr, the Shia Muslim leader of the Madhi Army in Iraq, as:

    “Firebrand Sadr Finds Moderation”

    And who does the BBC’s ‘expert’ Hardy largely depend on here for his analysis here but that old ‘Independent’ propagandist, and contributor to the ‘Marxist’ New Left Review, none other than Patrick Cockburn. How predictable, Hardy and the BBC. How dhimmi and pro-Islamic jihad.


  29. John Reith says:

    Andy | 17.03.08 – 1:17 pm

    Bryan | 18.03.08 – 9:57 am

    Bryan’s not being entirely fair. This analysis seems to me to be a model of impartial analysis:


  30. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    BBC Lead paragraph: “The estimate that about 655,000 people have died in Iraq as a result of the 2003 invasion is such a large figure that it has led to two differing interpretations.”
    “As a result of” or merely unfolding event which have their roots in a religious civil war and interference by other arab states with their own agenda? No. its “as a result of the invasion”.

    Its slimy, its dishonest, its an abuse of the English Language, and it betrays the writers intent. Its a crock of mealy-mouthed crap and I don’t see why I have to pay to be lied to: I leave that to readers of The Independent.


  31. Bryan says:

    That’s not the article I saw. It’s either been seriously updated or it’s a different one. Anyway, Paul Reynolds doesn’t seem to me to be one of the more ideologically-driven BBC journos.

    Still, AndrewSouthLondon makes a good point above. We’ve got far beyond the “results of the invasion” now. Iraqis killing one another in big numbers and with extraordinary brutality has nothing to do with the original invasion.


  32. Cockney says:

    “Iraqis killing one another in big numbers and with extraordinary brutality has nothing to do with the original invasion.”

    That’s a ridiculous remark. Obviously the direct responsibility lies with the Iraqis themselves but this was hardly unpredicted – most experts on the region flagged it up immediately as a very likely consequence of the US’ strategy, but the administration thought it knew better. If we wash our hands of it by divorcing it from the decision making then how the hell do we learn for next time?

    Having said that whilst this obviously sits on the debit side of any war post mortem any basic reading of history suggests that it’s ridiculously early to write off the thing as a disaster. If in 20 years Iraq is a stable progressive (in the modern, not the Guardian sense of the world) democracy (or three of them if necessary) dragging up others in the region then it may have been worthwhile.


  33. Bryan says:

    Perhaps I should have been a bit clearer. Obviously the invasion can be compared to disturbing a hornet’s nest but we are talking about years after the fact. Turn it around and try to imagine what life would have been like with no invasion and Saddam still in charge. How many Iraqis would he have tortured and killed in five years? Based on the evidence of his sadistic past, can anyone say life under Saddam would have been better than it is now?

    You might have noticed that there are no Arab democracies. Show me an Arab country with free and fair elections, with people accepting the leadership of the winning party. Doesn’t exist. What’s happening in Iraq is a vicious struggle for domination, with the strongest and most ruthless group aiming for complete control. The coalition can hardly be blamed for that.

    In short, the Iraqis have to bear responsibility for the extraordinary brutality and slaughter they are visiting on one another.


  34. Bryan says:

    Cheeta | Homepage | 17.03.08 – 2:27 pm

    I’ve had the same experience frequently. Have Your Say is full of “moderators” who evidently have no understanding of the concept of free speech and who think they have the right to censor opinions they don’t agree with. Often this censorship is simply achieved by not publishing comments they don’t like and leaving them to languish in the “Moderation Queue”. But it’s also achieved by getting into a little PC huff and making a statement by rejecting comments that break no rules except for their unwritten PC one.

    I’m not suggesting they are obliged to publish every comment. But if they just published the comments that break no rules we would get an accurate reflection of public opinion on any topic. And when they are really flooded with comments they can simply publish every second or third one. I doubt they’ll ever play fair though. After all, they work for the BBC.


  35. Cockney says:

    Bryan, I agree that the ultimate responsibility lies with the inherent unpleasantness of Iraqi and wider Arab society, but we knew that anyway. If we’re trying to justify the war then it either has to be on the basis that there was a risk to ourselves sufficient to justify the financial and human cost that we’ve put in (which seems doubtful) or that ultimately we’ll be making life better for ourselves and Iraqis in the long run (tbc over the next few years).

    I agree that in the media’s reporting the comparative of Saddam’s regime has almost completely been forgotton. I also think that the pro-war lobby has been oversimplistic in comparing the ‘evil’ of Saddam’s rule with ‘democracy and freedom now’. I’ve got an Iraqi workmate who is of the opinion that things were better immediately pre war where essentially if you kept your head down you were ok (the big purges were in the 80s and early 90s) whereas now you’re in constant danger. Having said that opinion polls suggest that a lot of Iraqis disagree.

    Basically I don’t think either opinion will be ‘proven’ for a long time and those on either side who expressed firm opinions at the time should grow up, stop manipulating facts to ‘prove’ themselves right and wait and see.


  36. Alex says:

    Standard paranoia Bryan. The BBC leaves comments languishing in the moderation queue because it can’t be arsed moderating them all. My comments are as right-on and politically correct as I’m sure you lot expect they are, and I’m still only published a fraction of the time.


  37. Bryan says:

    Cockney | 19.03.08 – 11:39 am,

    I agree with your evaluation. It’s evident that the pro-war and anti-war factions overstate their case though the anti-war people seem to do so with an extraordinary amount of vitriol. Actually, I was never really for the war. Right at the beginning I felt that it would mainly cause thousands more Saddams to emerge from the woodwork. There have also been serious unintended consequences, like the strengthening of Iran. But also some positive ones, since the families of Palestinian suicide bombers are no longer being rewarded with wagon loads of dollars from Saddam.

    Alex, no not paranoia but simply long experience of myself and others with HYS, much of it posted on this blog. Compare the “Recommended” page with the comments on the topic as a whole to get a clue.


  38. Alex says:

    “Alex, no not paranoia but simply long experience of myself and others with HYS, much of it posted on this blog. Compare the “Recommended” page with the comments on the topic as a whole to get a clue.”

    Mine too. All this shows is that the BBC publishes what it gets and the foaming-at-the-mouth right-wingers (or the staunch pacifists if Iraq is involved) win on recommendations. Also bear in mind that you can post twice in an hour but recommend as many as you want, so the general ethos of the posters will be shown far more in recommendations than in posts.

    The worst you could say is that the BBC attempts to get a balance of left- and right-wing comments in what it posts.


  39. Bryan says:

    The BBC does not publish what it gets. It gets something, scratches its collective head about it, tries to force fit it into its narrow preconceived lefty view of the world and if it wont fit generally leaves it out in favour of something that does.

    I repeat, Compare the “Recommended” page with the comments on the topic as a whole to get a clue. You could make a useful start with this one:

    Are you actually prepared to do that or are you just going to try to initiate one of your endless circular arguments?


  40. John says:

    Here’s my post to the Newsnight blog, unsurprisingly it hasn’t been posted on their page. The BBC are simply disgraceful in their supine acquiescence to the government policy and lies.

    “Hat’s off to Newsnight, you’ve been talking about Iraq for a fortnight and have studiously managed to avoid discussing the control of strategic resources, the desire for the USA to have permanent bases in Iraq, the positioning of troops in relation to Iran and the Zionist agenda of the architects of the war. Not once has the ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses’, or the ‘Clean Break’ reports been touched upon. We’ve had talk of mistakes and poor panning, of our ambition to spread democracy going a wee bit wrong.

    The BBC is suffering from the same malaise that British politics is suffering from, it is afraid to give voice to anything but the narrowest of opinions. Not only has there been a glaring lack of strong advocates against US/UK imperial policy in the Middle East, you allow Perle to go largely unchallenged to the claim that the invasion of Iraq was to do with 9/11, al-Qaeda & WMD when no such thing was true.

    There has been a whitewash in White City; the broken trust between the population and the government over the war is replicated with so many of the British people and their national broadcaster. Hang your heads in shame Newsnight, following orders from on high is no defence. “


  41. Hugh says:

    “All this shows is that the BBC publishes what it gets… The worst you could say is that the BBC attempts to get a balance of left- and right-wing comments in what it posts.”

    Cognitive dissonance?


  42. Hugh says:

    There’s an interesting alternative to Simpson’s take on Iraq at Harry’s Place “Who will weep?”
    Just in case readers thought there wasn’t one.


  43. Hugh says:

    An interesting final paragraph:

    “Meanwhile, our correspondent in Baghdad says that Iraqis appear to remain overwhelmingly opposed to the presence of foreign troops in their country, though, strikingly, polls show a majority do not want the US pull out yet, but only when the country is much safer than it is now.”

    So, to put it another way, your correspondent is “strikingly” incorrect and appears to be indulging in wishful thinking. Or is there a legitimate reason to doubt those polls?


  44. Bryan says:

    Their correspondent would probably be Jim Muir. I’ve been following his “reporting” for the BBC with some interest, when I can stomach it. Rabidly anti-Israel and pro-Islamist would about sum him up.


  45. Alex says:

    The BBC does not publish what it gets. It gets something, scratches its collective head about it, tries to force fit it into its narrow preconceived lefty view of the world and if it wont fit generally leaves it out in favour of something that does.

    Do you actually have any reason to believe this or is it just what you imagine they get up to?

    I repeat, Compare the “Recommended” page with the comments on the topic as a whole to get a clue.

    You could make a useful start with this one:

    Ok, I’ll start by comparing the first pages:

    Most Recommended:
    Hawks: 1
    Doves: 12
    Vague hawks: 1
    Vague doves: 1
    Just vague: 0
    General consensus that we shouldn’t invade Iran. But you can hardly blame the BBC for that, especially when the consensus on every other thread is “Hang ’em, flog ’em and send ’em back where they came from”.

    Most Recent:
    Hawks: 5, Doves: 4, Vague hawks: 1, Vague doves: 3, Just vague: 2
    Six hawks to seven doves to two who I wasn’t sure what they were on about. Looks like a roughly equal number of right-on PC comments and evil fascist tools of American hegemony. What’s your complaint? That both views get roughly equal weight?


  46. Alex says:

    Where that big gap is I meant to say:

    You get unlimited recommendations but limited posts. Therefore if a debate is dominated by one very numerous or very busy viewpoint, this will show through far more in the recommendations than it will in the posts.


  47. Hugh says:

    But does the BBC “publish what it gets” or “attempt to get a balance of left- and right-wing comments in what it posts”? Which is it?


  48. Alex says:

    Clearly it doesn’t publish everything it gets. The BBC says, or said, that the comments published “reflected the balance of opinion”. Now I don’t know if that means it publishes fors and againsts in equal number or attempts to publish an equal proportion of each. The result looks like an equal number of each, but what their actual policy is is anyone’s guess. But it’s a bit rich for right-wingers to claim they’re losing on HYS.


  49. Hugh says:

    “Reflecting the balance of opinion” pretty much speaks for itself. It means if they get many more anti-war than pro-war that’s what they publish.


  50. Alex says:

    What reason do you have to suggest that?