Since our Friend of Biased BBC Paul Reynolds has been calling round lately it seems only fair to deal with one of his articles- ultimately comparing his powers of prognostication now, with those demonstrated in the past. Reynolds- one of the first to float the quagmire meme in the mainstream media- gives us his latest effort, showing that this week’s image, just like almost every week’s with the Beeb, is that of Bush running as fast as he can (on an apparent Iraq hampster wheel).
We find him saying that Bush’s failure or success will depend on whether he creates a ‘stable Iraq’. No- that may be the measure du jour- but the true measure is whether the threat Saddam signified- taken as a composite threat, geopolitically in his threat to Israel and significant stranglehold on oil reserves, through terrorism (see anti-Israel activities, but other tentacles too), via the distraction he represented from any other gathering threats, through his UN corruption, alongside his regional repressiveness and his hard-edged Islamofascism- has been blunted and deferred in its lethal path of collision with the West. It has, and so Bush cannot possibly be judged through any spurious definition of stability, a tormented concept endlessly susceptible to media speculation and UN-isation, and terribly open to the argument that Saddam did stability better than anyone.
Reynolds averrs that it’s an achievement that Iraq hasn’t disintegrated before now- while he insinuates that it might be heading that way. He talks about ‘the violence of an insurgency whose power was not predicted and never planned for.’ . Well, not predicted and planned for if you don’t count part five of my (organised in no particular way) composite argument for war- namely the Saddam Islamofascism part. Had ‘we’ not been batting away the beeb sponsored moonbats ‘we’ might have talked a little more about that one- might even have got round to a policy about it.
Reynolds finishes his straw man construction right at the end of his article when he asks ‘But will his (Bush’s) rush to come up with an “exit strategy” force him to abandon the aspiration to create a modern secular democracy out of the ashes of the Saddam dictatorship?’ (emboldenings mine)
Note how we’ve morphed from stability to ‘modern secular democracy’*, and that Bush is still rushing as fast as his little Texan legs can carry him to create the long awaited ‘exit strategy’. Such goal post shifting in the course of one article is a little mystifying (stability = secular democracy?), but not at all an unaccustomed experience for Reynolds’ readers.
As one can see from the comparison of then and now in these two Reynolds efforts- despite cosmetic goalpost shifting- little changes in the Reynolds’ analysis or expectations. I commented about it elsewhere- er, at length.
PS– maybe we could have a B-BBC poll about this little complimentary from the Beeb viewsroom. Should we recommend this article for the news or opinion section? Seems like they can’t decide (which also means, watch out for edits). To quote:
‘The president is facing mounting problems politically and in terms of public opinion, says the BBC’s defence and security correspondent, Rob Watson.
Opinion polls suggest more than 50% of Americans think Iraq is going badly.
Most also believe some or all US troops should be withdrawn from Iraq, according to the polls.
Our correspondent says there even signs of splits within the president’s Republican party, with at least one senior senator making that most damaging of all comparisons by likening Iraq to Vietnam. (imagine!!!- who’d do a thing like that)
Meanwhile the US anti-war movement has been reinvigorated by Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq. (yup- the corpse twitches, so to speak)
Ms Sheehan’s supporters have been camped outside the president’s ranch at Crawford, Texas.
This is not a president who would be interrupting his summer holidays unless he thought his political future was really at stake, our correspondent says.’
(all additions, snide remarks and whatnot, mine. Er, or the Beeb’s)
Vital Update *
I see that- thanks to an intervention from Mr Reynolds himself- I need to acknowledge an error. A totally unintentional error where I mixed up the conclusion of a current Roger Hardy article you can find here, with the Paul Reynolds one I link to in the post above. Thus the mystery over the changing definition of success for Bush in Iraq was not the mystery I depicted it to be.It is Roger Hardy who goes for the ambitious ‘modern secular democracy’ as his measure for Bush, at the end of his article. I might add though that Paul Reynolds does propose a measure for Bush as being ‘Iraq as the democratic example which justified the war and the cost’– in addition to a ‘stable Iraq’. There are no shifting goalposts in the way that I described, however.
On the other hand, one can still argue that Reynolds’ notion of ‘Iraq the Model’ is only one side to the argument over Bush’s legacy- and does go well beyond a ‘stable’ Iraq, presenting a confusion of a sort- and that my case outlined above concerning the negative virtues of the Iraq invasion should at least be on the table when considering it.
There is much common ground between Hardy and Reynolds (indeed there are no contradictions between them, when viewed side by side), and I find it interesting that even down to imagery we can find a dovetailing of the BBC’s various analyses into one seamless whole. Given that that analysis removes from the table of discussion so much that might vindicate the President, the balance of the BBC’s coverage remains very much in question.
Finally, let me thank Paul Reynolds for stopping by and stooping to correct me openly, and apologise once more for my error. Thank you also for helping to shed even more light on the BBC’s analytical point of view by highlighting my error- I feel it is very helpful to everyone, but myself in particular.