Syria Crisis Raises Question of Mark Mardell’s Bias And Accuracy

As the President of the United States continues to fail in drumming up international support for bombing Syria, and the failure to win now-vital Congressional approval looms on the horizon, the BBC’s Mark Mardell is having a crisis of faith in which he reveals personal bias on the US, war, and the President. He also makes serious factual errors which reveal either his incompetence as a journalist or that a deep personal bias has clouded his judgment.

Syria crisis raises question of US role in the world

Right away, Mardell spells out his dilemma.

The president is clearing his desk, going all-out to persuade for a vote that he has said is vital for America’s credibility.

It is also a critical moment for American perception of itself as a power in the world. But in the details of the debate over Syria, the biggest questions and the larger picture are in danger of being lost.

In essence, it’s whether the world needs a super cop. And whether the US should simply assume that role.

I laughed out loud at this point. A little more than two years ago, back when the President was dithering deliberating over whether or not to send some humanitarian missiles at Libya, Mardell was engaged in contemplation of what he believed was the President’s internal personal struggle:

  • The tug between not wanting to be the world’s policeman and being the only guy with the gun and the muscle to stop a murder.

  • The whole-hearted desire to act in concert with other countries, and the realisation that implies going along with stuff they want to do and you don’t. (Being dragged into a war by the French, imagine.)

  • Not wanting to be out front when many world structures are designed in the expectation that like it or not, America will lead.

  • Intellectual appreciation that the ghost of Western colonialism is a powerful spirit never exorcised, and frustration that an untainted liberal interventionism hasn’t grown in other countries.

It took a long time for Mr Obama to decide to take action, and the route he has taken, a genuine commitment to acting with other nations with the US in the lead, has made for the appearance of more muddle. Now it is time for clarity.

How’s that working out now, Mark? Guess who demanded action first, and who’s our only ally now. Remember when Mardell was worried that the President had accidentally painted Himself into a corner with that “red line” business”? Just the other day, the President, like a child being asked who scribbled with crayons on the wall, told the world, “I didn’t didn’t set a red line: the world set a red line.”  Now Mardell seems to have happily forgotten about his original concern and dutifully shifted blame away from Him. Trapped In A World He Never Made.

The BBC’s top analyst of US affairs has been consistent in his anti-war stance, his defense of the President, and in placing blame anywhere except on Him. Most recently, we saw Mardell in Ohio, reporting about a couple of town hall meetings held by a Congressman, where he found a way to blame George Bush, sort of. Hyper-partisan, intransigent Republicans currently in Washington also shared the blame. Any lack of trust in the President Himself seemed non-existent.

Notice that Mardell portrays Rep. Johnson as having been “unimpressed” by the Administration’s secret intelligence briefing simply because neither the President nor Vice President were there. He says that Johnson merely “had to wait a while to find out” about what the situation was with the chemical weapons, and solid evidence of an actual war plan. Mardell plays his skepticism as personal pettiness, not as a perhaps sincere objection based on legitimately reached opinion. In fact, here’s what Johnson actually said in a public statement, which Mardell would have been given:

“Given how important this Congressional briefing was for the President to make his case for taking military action in Syria, I was surprised that neither he, nor the Vice President, nor any cabinet level official was in attendance.  The decision on whether or not to commit American troops and risk American lives when the United States is not directly threatened is a difficult one, and the President has the heavy burden of convincing the Congress and the American people of its merits. I left this afternoon’s briefing with more questions and concerns than I had when I arrived.”

Sure, he was surprised that nobody of any importance was there. But this appears to be a case where the President and His Administration demonstrated the contempt in which they hold Congress. This wasn’t a snub just at Johnson, it was a snub at all of them. And the bit I’ve bolded is rather important, don’t you think? And it’s not just Johnson who came away skeptical. Congress didn’t actually get satisfactory answers, and even top Democrats say so. Why would Mardell censor that piece of information? No wonder the President is now “clearing His desk”, as Mardell put it today.

Back to the Top Cop thing. Mardell goes on to explain what he sees as the two justifications being used for dropping a few bombs on Syria.

The first is national interest. Mr Obama says Syria does not pose an immediate threat to the US, but its willingness to use chemical weapons threatens its allies and bases in the region.

Less frequently his administration has suggested such weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists who could use them against America.

It is pretty obvious, the bigger the world power the more its vital interests may be harmed by something happening a long way away. If the whole Middle East is in uproar, it might not make a whole heap of difference to Paraguay or Latvia.

The argument for national interest is pretty clear. The desire to intervene for what you might call ‘moral reasons’, is far more murky.

Much of this is fair enough. It doesn’t take a genius to grasp the concepts. But why are moral reasons more murky? Because China and Russia don’t agree. No, really.

Mr Obama and even more forcefully Secretary of State John Kerry have said that the world can’t stand aside and witness such suffering. Particularly not when it breaches, if not international law, then international norms.

It is noticeable that it is senior politicians in the US, France and the UK who are keen on this argument of liberal interventionism. It is not just Russia that won’t go along with it. China won’t either.

On a recent trip there, I became convinced that this is fairly genuine. Academics and ordinary people find it baffling that America wants to impose its values on the rest of the world.

China forcefully repeats that it wants the denuclearisation of its ally North Korea. But it is reluctant to force the issue.

So we’re supposed to question Western moral values in this case because China is baffled by US imperialism? Oh, my goodness. On what other issues are we now supposed to back off now, Mark? Looks like he’s suffering from a little going native syndrome having spent a few weeks in China working on that documentary of his on how deeply entwined our national interests are and how China’s awesomeness may very well rescue the US economy (coming next Tuedsay on Radio 4 – can’t wait!).

Pardon me as I wipe the tears of laughter and dismay out of my eye. Mardell’s also saying that we could be wrong because we haven’t heard particularly loud demands to stop Assad from Brazil, Nigeria, or Japan, either. Well, Mugabe has been pretty silent, too. That’s me convinced. Are we in the world of adult, serious political discussion, or in the proverbial university bar? Hold that thought for later, actually.

So, we’ve gone from the President “accidentally” boxing Himself into a corner and being forced to act to save face, to Him blaming the world for boxing Him into a corner and being forced to act because of our high moral values, to questioning those moral values because they don’t come from Sweden. No, seriously:

I once put it to Tony Blair that the Iraq war might have been more credible if the call for action had come from Sweden. He made the obvious point: “Well, they couldn’t do it, could they?”

Now here’s where Mardell reveals his true bias on the larger issue:

Which makes me wonder about that old saying, “to a hammer, every problem is a nail”. In this case, you have to wonder why the hammer was forged in the first place.

Mardell’s not really old enough to be a child of the ’60s, but he sure is acting like the dippiest of hippies here. Why is there war, mommy? For heaven’s sake, Mark, why not quit the BBC and go to the nearest military base and start putting flowers in rifle barrels. How can anyone take this man seriously at this point?

Speaking of the ’60s, some people here may remember this little journey down the rabbit hole when Mardell was holding session at the BBC College of Journalism. His first reaction on landing in the US after being assigned to replace Justin Webb was, “What happened to the ’60s”? His real bias is on display here. In an attempt to explain himself, he continues:

The British developed their military to defend a globe-spanning empire. The US developed its military might to intervene in Europe and then to challenge the USSR.

The absence of the original purpose has not eliminated an instinct to intervene.

Maybe the word “imperialism” makes you think of arguments “that it is all about oil” or crude land grabs.

But those Victorian imperialists really did think they were bringing civilisation and Christianity, order and the rule of law to people who couldn’t climb to such dizzying heights on their own.

America’s belief in its own mission is more universal and not driven by racism, but there is a similar zealous enthusiasm to remake the rest of the world in its image.

No, there isn’t. This is pure anti-American drivel. And notice how this is suddenly about “America” again. Seems like every time the President does something Mardell or the BBC doesn’t like, He’s not mentioned, and it’s all about “America” as a whole acting unseemly. Is the President not involved? Wasn’t He elected to cure us of this demon? Nobody ‘s making Him do this. In any case, is that what we were doing when Clinton bombed the Serbs? How about when we removed Manuel Noriega from power? Grenada? Nobody in their right mind thought we were going to make Afghanistan into a modern, Western society. Dumbing down such complex situations and issues is silly, and betrays an ideological bias. Disagreeing with policy isn’t the same thing as demonizing it, but that’s what he’s doing here. Having Mark Mardell report on the US is like having St. Mark report on the Pharisees.

Of course, stopping the horror of chemical weapons is not the same as introducing democracy at the point of a gun.

But it raises the same question of who has the authority to make the judgment that norms have been violated, and who deals out the punishment.

Oh, does it now? I don’t know about people here, but I question the wisdom of listening to Russia and China and Nigeria on the issues of human rights. So, who has the authority?

The UN is meant to be the body that can order global cops into action. But the US says the Security Council is broken, because of the Russian veto.

You mean the Security Council which includes such moral heavyweights as Azerbaijan and Pakistan?  The UN which for a while had Libya as the Chair of their Human Rights Council? With Venezuela and Qatar as members? These people are supposed to set moral standards for us all?

While the Russian action does look cynical, it is a bit like a prosecutor saying the jury system doesn’t work because he didn’t get a conviction.

You mean like so many Beeboids said after the Zimmerman verdict?

Or indeed, if David Cameron said parliament didn’t work because of the “no” vote.

Or indeed, if Mark Mardell said Congress didn’t work because they wouldn’t vote for something the President wanted.

President Obama understands how it looks to the rest of the world if the US goes it alone.

But, I thought…..

Mardell again:

It is why he was so reluctant to take the lead over Libya, why he was so slow to develop a Syria strategy.

No, it isn’t. This is where Mardell reveals not only his bias about the President, but even more of his own personal political beliefs. The President took so long to develop a strategy, and has been flailing around ever since He got caught up in His own smart-ass rhetoric, because He and His advisers actually had one all along – only it turned out to be completely, tragically, absurdly wrong.

Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Syria at the Center for American Progress, Washington D.C.

You all remember Samantha Power, right? She’s the President’s former foreign policy adviser who blamed the Jewish Lobby for criticism about His policies, then had to resign when she called Hillary Clinton “a monster” in an interview. After working for George Soros for a while, she was brought back into the fold and is now our voice at Mardell’s voice of morality, the UN. Here’s what she had to say to the far-Left Center for American Progress recently:

We worked with the UN to create a group of inspectors and then worked for more than six months to get them access to the country, on the logic that perhaps the presence of an investigative team in the country might deter future attacks. Or if not, at a minimum, we thought perhaps a shared evidentiary base could convince Russia or Iran – itself a victim of Saddam Hussein’s monstrous chemical weapons attacks in 1987-1988 – to cast loose a regime that was gassing its people. We expanded and accelerated our assistance to the Syrian opposition.

In other words, the President and his super-smart advisers are, just like Mardell, as naive as your average angry student debating world affairs in the university bar. This is just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. And remember that last line about stepping up the help for the rebels for later.

Now we see that Mardell has been accidentally right, but wrong all along. The President wasn’t taking so long to develop a military strategy because He was worried about what the world would think. He was taking so long because He was working on another scheme entirely and never expected to need one. And then He thought He could get away with it, because He usually faces no consequences for anything. Just like He thought He could get away with that “red line” statement. How can Mardell not know this? He’s supposed to have been following the President’s every move closely, considering it all deeply and dutifully, researching, talking with experts, getting insider info. How can he have blown this so badly? Especially since this kind of naive negotiation is exactly the kind of thing he supports.

His bias has been driving his analysis. As I’ve maintained from the beginning, the President doesn’t have much interest or deep understanding of realpolitik and international affairs at this level. His ambitions and concerns have always been about domestic policies, domestic transformation. All these foreign issues are nuisances, distractions, things which should be delegated to various minions and apparatchiks. Where He does have opinions, they don’t seem to be very profound. And so we see here that the people doing it for Him share the most naive, ignorant views possible, and have accomplished precious little.

Why do you think we have less allies now after four years of Hillary Clinton as Sec. of State? And here’s another unasked, never mind unanswered question: If so much of the opposition to this war is due to Iraq fatigue, what about Libya? Why was Libya okay and now suddenly everyone is tired of war? That was even (illegal) regime change, he didn’t use unapproved weapons, and this is supposed to be some “proportional” limited bombing campaign.

What does “proportional” mean, anyway? Mardell isn’t interested. All he cares about is how the President looks now, and how He’ll look next week. It seems that the BBC’s North America editor’s job is not to really inform you properly about US issues, or about how the country works or what’s really going on, but how things affect the President. That’s why I often refer to him as the BBC’s US President editor.

Mardell’s journalism over the last five years has shown that his personal political ideology is very close to that of the President. This war campaign – as well as the one against Libya – is the only issue on which Mardell doesn’t approve. So he works to shift blame away from the President at every opportunity. And now he’s not only trying to analyze the situation around Him, he’s trying to figure out what the President can do to be successful. Is that really what the BBC is paying him to do?

Now about what Amb. Power said about accelerating assistance to the Syrian rebels. It’s really starting to look like this is all smoke and mirrors. As is obvious to everyone except Mardell by now, it’s impossible to think that a limited strike on a few military facilities will be the end of it. The President claims He’s not taking sides in the Syrian civil war here. He’s been very clear that this is about sending a message about killing lots of people in an unapproved method. I bet Ghaddafi’s ghost is wondering why the hell all this Iraq fatigue didn’t set in when it was his turn in the spotlight. But I digress.

Doing any real damage to Assad’s military capability is a de facto game changer in the civil war. It’s simply not credible to say that the military installations supposedly used to launch a rocket with a chemical warhead have no other purpose. I don’t mean specifically the rockets themselves which may already be armed with them, I’m talking about the larger picture. It’s impossible to believe that there can be some sort of surgical strikes so accurate that only the chemical weapons and a couple of rocket launchers will be hit. Any attack will limit Assad’s military capability, period, and it’s outrageous that we’re expected to believe that it won’t, and that any military action the US takes won’t affect – or isn’t meant to affect – the civil war. Of course it will.

Where’s Mardell’s astute analysis about that? He’s still caught up in the emotional world of teenage existential angst to notice. I’m trying not to take a position here about the rights or wrongs about taking sides or stopping Assad or regime change or what we should do next. I have opinions, obviously, but that’s not what this is about. This is about Mardell’s personal opinions coloring all his reporting and analysis in a way that makes his journalism unworthy of trusting or given much credence at all.

He’s not wondering about any of what I’ve just mentioned because he’s still stuck in his belief that The Obamessiah really is concerned only about chemical weapons, and truly doesn’t want to force regime change. We can see from Power’s speech that this simply isn’t true, that the US really is working to increase the chances of his downfall. So the President is essentially lying, Sec. of State Kerry is lying, and any BBC journalist who says the President doesn’t want to is either lying or just seriously deluded.

It’s either that, or the President and His entire Administration are a bunch of idiots and shouldn’t be trusted to run a nursery. Take your pick. In the end, this is a massive failure of BBC journalism. At your expense.

PS: Still no mention of His Nobel Prize for Peace. Come on, Mark, even Sweden has called Him on it.

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34 Responses to Syria Crisis Raises Question of Mark Mardell’s Bias And Accuracy

  1. Alex Feltham says:

    And John Kerry told the Senate that attacking Syria wouldn’t be war.

    What would Obama call it if someone rained cruise missiles down on America.

    Surely the rank arrogance, stupidity and incompetance must be filtering through the BBC’s firewall.

    Apparently not!

    There’s a great take on what Obama should do in”War Games” at:

    http://john-moloney.blogspot.com/

       25 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Hey, are we “polarized” now?

         9 likes

      • Stewart says:

        “What would Obama call it if someone rained cruise missiles down on America.”
        A squirmish?

           10 likes

    • Guest Who says:

      OT, but in reply I’m actually interested in what actually constitutes ‘war’, at least by serious measures (Declaration by one side? Legal documents? What?).
      It seems a semanticist’s wet dream that only the likes of Clinton or the BBC could love, but all are at it.
      Since WW2 we had Korea & Vietnam (only it was pretty constrained on the US side like some daft video game). Suez was a crisis. Israel had a few to deal with. The Falklands was so dubbed, but Argentina was off limits. Then the Gulf(s).
      But things like Bay of Pigs to lobbing Tomahawks at Bosnia seem to get a pass.
      I’d have imagined it was aggressive action by one state towards another state, unprovoked or in self-defence for unrestricted assaults from territory controlled by them, but it seems very vague and variable.
      Kerry’s statement seems frankly bonkers. Syria is a country with a government and armed forces. However dire, they have not attacked the US. How can the US launching a first strike based on internal strife (is Fort Hood a target on the same basis?) not be deemed them initiating war on pretty much the same basis as Pearl Harbour (I presume if they go with the cruises launches they won’t advise when and where)?

         4 likes

      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        “I did not go to war with that country.”

        “It’s not war, war.”

        “Read my lips: no new wars.”

           6 likes

  2. Pingback: Britannia Radio » BBC Bias

  3. TigerOC says:

    Well written David. Purely and simply this is all about His Red line. The same thing was said in the UK parliamentary debate; Why should we be involved in baling out Obama’s red line statement?

       26 likes

  4. stuart says:

    mark mardell is coming close to crossing the red line with his biased pro neo liberal reporting about the syriain crisis and his almost egging on obama to go to war with syria,all bbc journalists have a duty to show there impartiality,but not mark,there must be a red line set in biased reporting,mark is very close if not already stepped over that red line.

       18 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Mardell is not egging anybody on to go to war. He’s 100% opposed to it. He’s horrified that his beloved Obamessiah has screwed up so badly and now needs to save face. That’s why he’s looking for every opportunity to shift blame.

         14 likes

  5. stuart says:

    ok.i have misjudged the situation,obama is playing a clever game of double bluff,next tuesday he is secretly hoping that congress votes against going to war with syria,that will get him off the hook the same as david cameron,what happens then,john kerry will be the fall guy and look a fool the same way as dopey william hague did,john mccain will be retired to an old peoples home for the senile, no war and everybody is happy,obama wins and keeps his legacy intact.

       8 likes

  6. therealguyfaux says:

    Here is the perfect example of how a President of the US is to be judged.

    His Constitutional duties, specifically expressly stated, are as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and as “Diplomat-in-Chief,” if you will. His main domestic duty is to faithfully carry out the laws written by Congress by appointing the executive-branch department heads to do so and to keep Congress apprised of what he’s doing in that regard, and what more needs to be done.

    The Presidency is what Theodore Roosevelt called the Bully Pulpit (and if anyone was a pulpit bully, it would have been TR). It is incumbent upon the occupant of the office to make his case as a preacher would, by moral suasion where necessary (domestically) and where not impossible due to facts on the ground (internationally). Sometimes, the President needs to be more than just a preacher on the world stage, but one would imagine he would at least state a moral case that would withstand scrutiny, when he leaves off the talking and does act, and not merely speechify.

    It would seem our Barry is in danger of flunking on all counts, home and abroad, and, to use an NFL term with which he might be familiar, he is resorting to a “Hail Mary” to rescue his chances.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_Mary_pass

       8 likes

  7. Span Ows says:

    Another great epistle David. A thought occurred to me the other day about Mardell reading your comment about him in Ohio: imagine you’re an innocent, naif but good person that presumes the BBC is still as reliable, honest and correct as it’s fading reputation; imagine you ONLY read news from the USA via the BBC prism…it is almost incomprehensible to wonder how warped your perception would be.

       15 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      That’s what got my attention about this blog in the first place. British friends and acquaintances had all kinds of messed up ideas, and I soon realized why.

         6 likes

      • will.duncan says:

        Preiser, your arrogance is breathtaking.

        “British friends and acquaintances had all kinds of messed up ideas, ”

        In other words different views to your American imperialist viewpoint. You have so little personal insight that you cannot understand that other cultures may have different viewpoints.

        However the real reason you continue here is that in the US you are an utter nothing. This is the only place on earth anyone even notices what you say.

        How sad!

           4 likes

        • David Preiser (USA) says:

          Arrogance? I suppose you wouldn’t believe that they had factual errors and misconceptions? Your bigotry is showing.

             12 likes

        • Span Ows says:

          No, what is sad is someone – like you – who presumably can write (or does your nanny write for you?) but cannot read. David is NOT saying he didn’t agree with their opinion so decided to change it to match his own; he is saying they were woefully informed and all he did was provide facts and perspective…things presumably alien to you.

             8 likes

        • Andy S. says:

          No, will.duncan, the arrogance is all yours. You are the one who believes that everyone in the country concurs with your naive leftist views and that correspondents on this blog are right-wing nonentities.

          Your arrogant belief in your own left wing self-righteousness is breathtaking.

          Your user name is getting to be a bit old hat now. I thought you Beeboid trolls changed your names as often as a cleanliness freak washes his hands?

             7 likes

  8. Phil says:

    Mardell is doing what most public employees do – following the rules of his employer so he gets his wages.

       9 likes

  9. Demon says:

    I disagree with the title of this thread, the Syria Crisis has raised no questions about Mardell’s bias and accuracy. All it does is further confirm what has already, clearly, been established. Madell is completely biased and cares not a jot for accuracy, as long as he is defending his hero, almost to the point of fantasy.

       13 likes

  10. JimS says:

    And where does the UN Charter Article 2 fit in this scheme?

    Article 2:
    7. Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

    And if the USA acts on its own:

    All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

       1 likes

  11. David Preiser (USA) says:

    I invite everyone to read this piece from Forbes about being unable to trust anything the President or His Administration says at this point.

    In support of his contention, the author lists seven items on which the President’s or Administration’s statements are known to be false at the time, or turned out to be untrue. Notice that for two of those items, the BBC gave you the White House version, but have never corrected the impression given. In fact, it’s been demonstrated on this blog that a BBC journalist dishonestly acted as if he wasn’t sure about one of them, even after the facts came out. If anyone bothers to read it and questions it, I’ll provide the proof. But I expect most people here will know exactly which items I’m talking about. Also notice which items the BBC has never mentioned at all.

    This is a respected publication, and not really a political mag at all, and the article is written by someone with real credentials, someone who can’t be dismissed as a racist or hyper-partisan Republican or Tea Partier who doesn’t like redistributing wealth only when it’s going to people with brown skin. Read it and judge for yourselves whether or not the BBC has misinformed on you on so many things.

       6 likes

  12. Tom Jones says:

    These pieces on USA politics from David Preiser are eye openers.
    It should be shameful to the BBC that a single American citizen can shed more light on such matters than it does.
    I hope the BBC is aware of what is written here and starts to right the wrongs of partial journalism.

       8 likes

  13. David Preiser (USA) says:

    The comedy from Mardell just keeps coming. I know he’s pretty much obligated to crank something out every day on this Syria story, and it can’t be easy. But this is pretty weak:

    What if Congress votes no on Syria?

    President Obama’s heading back to the US for a horrible week ahead. He spoke at at news conference in Russia like a man who felt agonised by his own choice.

    Not like somebody who screwed up royally and now has to face the music? That didn’t happen and this is still all about His lofty moral standards?

    He said: “I’m not itching for military action”. He added: “I’ve spent the last four-and-a-half years doing everything I can to reduce our reliance on military power as a means of meeting our international obligations and protecting the American people.”

    Hasn’t worked well, has it? But that’s an argument for another time.

    To some, watching him wrestling with difficult issues will make him a more authentic proponent of a tough choice. But it may not be the best frame of mind for a man who has to sell a plan like his whole reputation rests on it.

    To “some”, meaning Mardell. His opening line was written from exactly that perspective. I know it’s a bit unfair to claim that the “some say” thing is usually a cover for a journalist’s opinion (which I’ve done in the past, I know), but this time it’s pretty obvious.

    And as I said in the main post, Mardell’s stuck on how this affects the President and nothing else. There’s more to the US than the President.

    He added that the leader of a small country said he was glad nobody looked to his country to take action. But people did, the president said, have that expectation of America.

    “It’s tough because people do look to the United States. And the question for the American people is, is that a responsibility that we’re willing to bear?

    Awww, leaders of big countries face big choices. Pity me! This really isn’t stellar leadership. Mardell doesn’t notice, or won’t say.

    “And I believe that when you have a limited, proportional strike like this – not Iraq; not putting boots on the ground; not some long, drawn-out affair; not without any risks, but with manageable risks – that we should be willing to bear that responsibility.”

    Why isn’t Mardell asking what “proportional” means? We kill exactly 1429 Syrian soldiers? When Israel bombs or sends a few troops into a Palestinian area in retaliation for rockets or other attacks, the BBC is all about complaining that their response isn’t “proportional” if more Palestinians are killed than Israelis were. So why is Mardell letting that slide?

    Worse still is his reaction to the President’s next line:

    Intriguingly, he suggested he went to Congress because he knew he didn’t really have the authority under the law to take action, in this case, without it.

    “I put it before Congress because I could not honestly claim that the threat posed by Assad’s use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians and women and children posed an imminent, direct threat to the United States,” he said.

    But he refused to say what he would do if Congress voted “no”. That, he said, would be jumping the gun.

    “Intriguingly”? Is that Beebspeak for “What a load of BS?” Or is Mardell pretending the President hasn’t already said that He has the authority to act without Congressional assent? Yes, He did say that, the BBC reported it, and Mardell contributed his own two pence. And why is everyone acting as if this is some novel concept?

    Let me repeat for the umpteenth time: Libya Libya Libya Libya Libya Libya OMFG Libya Libya Libya Libya WTF Libya Libya Libya Hello? Libya Libya Libya

    Ahem.

    Mardell knows the President has already said that He can do what He likes – we have Libya as evidence, no matter how much the BBC wants you to forget – and he knows that neither Kerry nor Hagel nor Dempsey would state that the President wouldn’t order a military attack without Congressional approval. Rand Paul asked quite openly for one of them to give him some assurance that a Congressional vote would mean something. It’s ridiculous for Mardell to act all coy here. The President is being dishonest, or at least disingenuous. Mardell has criticized and sneered at many politicians and even ordinary citizens, yet he can’t criticize this?

    But all the indications from Congress are that the “no” votes are piling up. If there is one, that will present the president with his next agonising choice.

    Mardell knows, he’s just pretending it’s a mystery. And his sympathy is coloring his journalism. Here’s a reminder of how Mardell covered the President on Libya, if anyone’s interested. He’s consistent if nothing else.

    PS: What’s with the all the photos of the President pouting? It’s very Drudge Report (which I guess means there’s at least one Beeboid who isn’t a die-hard worshiper, so there’s that). Can’t they find anything better? It’s an odd juxtaposition between that photo and Mardell’s appeal for empathy.

       6 likes

  14. Guest Who says:

    Totally OT, but as Obamops are all the rage I thought I’d share this one that seems to have missed the MSM selection process…

    http://www.damnlol.com/homeless-guy-logic-36570.html

    Comments (pro & con) a treat too.

       2 likes

  15. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Gosh, who could have seen this coming?

    Pentagon adjusts plans for more intense attacks on Syria

    U.S. war planners are preparing for three days of attacks on Syria, a longer bombardment than originally envisioned.

    Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be “proportional”? The BBC has reported, unquestioning, the President’s exact words on this on more than one occasion, so what does this new development mean? What’s happened that made the proportions change? Would this have anything to do with why so many Congressmen who attended that special super-secret briefing last week come away saying that they weren’t clear on a real plan? And why would Mark Mardell suggest that it was personal pettiness which informed such skepticism?

       4 likes

    • Ken Hall says:

      Thats a much bigger attack than Pearl Harbour was. How can he claim it is not an act of war?

         1 likes

      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        I guess we’re dealing with Kerry’s definition now. It’s not war, war because there are no troops on the ground to speak of and we’re already saying it will end in three days. It’s not really war like Vietnam was.

           2 likes

  16. stuart says:

    will.duncan.your just a anti american leftist,you know that,we know that,so get your butt from outside the isreali embassy with your swp placards creating a nuisance.

       3 likes

  17. Teddy Bear says:

    The plot thickens!

    One of the foremost experts on Middle East affairs, Yossef Bodansky, who was once Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare from 1988 to 2004, and the author of the book – The High Cost of Peace, which details the events which led up to 9/11 (he in fact predicted it), writes here of evidence showing Obama might have planned this chemical attack.

    Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?

       0 likes

  18. joed says:

    Mardell looks like the older brother of the Fat Socialist who bought his clammy way into the US Ambassador position here.

       0 likes

  19. Ken Hall says:

    Yeah I am sure that the Syria attack is planned to be a limited attack with no boots on thr ground. /sarc.

    Then considering that the Pearl Harbour attack was a limited, one day only attack with no boots on the ground, How can any attack NOT be an act of war?

       2 likes

  20. Are you affected with kidney disease? melbourne nephropath tells everyone – just how his own patients stay away from kidney dialysis

       0 likes