Thursday, 28 February 2013

Blair's smooth talk, Wark's lame talk

It's hard to watch BBC presenter Kirsty Wark's interview with Tony Blair without feeling both staggered by Blair's smooth, ongoing deceit and appalled by Wark's tepid efforts to interrogate his lies.

Blair's "how many times have we been over this argument" denials, dismissals and evasions should be perfectly familiar to Wark, as they are to the millions who have rejected the claims for invading Iraq and 'liberal intervention' in other countries.

Yet, she allows Blair to dismiss the entire anti-war movement as some kind of tiresome, misinformed mass.

Having failed to pin Blair down on the WMD deceit and the whitewash of all the Iraq 'inquiries', Wark continues:
"But isn't it terrible, in a way, now that in this country we cannot go to war on the basis of intelligence again, can we?"
The premise and intimation of this question tells us everything we need to know about the BBC's power-serving mindset.

It's seemingly "terrible" that "we" find ourselves doubting the provenance of 'our' "intelligence" and what 'our' leaders do with it. Not "terrible" that we actually go to war, not "terrible" that a million people died in the process of that war, only "terrible" that we now find it so awkward to wage further wars.

Aside from the brutal Orwellian language used here, where is that most basic acknowledgement of the mass suffering caused by the 'intelligence' and those who used it?

Blair replies to Wark's question:
"Well, I think, you know, I don't know when we go to war on the basis of intelligence or not is really the issue. I think what is the issue, frankly, after Iraq and Afghanistan is whether we disregard the price of any such intervention as too high."
Wark completely ignores this deceitful inversion that the "intelligence [is not] really the issue", after all, moving on to ask whether there's now any moral right for invading/bombing Syria and Iran.

Some feeble objections are offered by Wark about the lack of UN mandates for any such 'intervention'. But, Blair is permitted to carry on enunciating the case.

However, Wark suddenly seems animated and on 'serious implication' ground:

"The problem is now, is that [sic] we're pretty sure Iran has [WMD...] or certainly on its way to getting them", thus, after Iraq, making Iran now "an absolute powerhouse in the region", the "number one enemy of the West" and "as a result of the problems in Iraq, Iran is gaining power, and another foothold in Iraq."

Wark's irately-delivered point is not about the actual problems for war-drained Iraqis, but a fearmongering worry about an 'advancing Iran'. Again, as with the media-hyped menace of Saddam, we hear the same alarmist warnings about Ahmadinejad.

Blair repeats his mantra about needing to tackle both Iraq and Iran, rejecting Wark's implicit line that because of the 'mistakes' in Iraq, 'we' now have the problem of dealing with Iran.

 Wark proceeds to remind Blair that there's no real public appetite for further wars, also asking him if he's seen Obama's recent address: "He's not going on any foreign adventure either."

Somehow, Obama's immediate commitment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, his murderous drone strikes on the Pakistan border and the extrajudicial killing of US foes doesn't appear to register with Wark as "foreign adventures".

Blair waxes on about the volatility of the Middle East and the need to keep a firm check on Syria and all these insecure regimes, carefully, of course, omitting Saudi Arabia.

Noting Britain's prior support for Mubarak, Wark offers another lame interjection: "You do agree with the [Arab Spring] revolutions?"

Pledging that he does, Blair trots out more standard lines about the "long hard struggle", of keeping the world "safer" from dictators and the need for 'encouraged assistance' to these countries, but Wark has nothing to say, in response, about Britain's and the West's dark posturing over Libya and other such states.

Continuing to play the 'voice of the people' role, Wark suggests that the public won't support any more such interventions because "you squandered it in Iraq."

Again, it's the 'bad mistakes we made in Iraq' line; the opportunity was "squandered". Nothing about the deliberate and calculated aggression in pursuit of oil and geopolitical control. 

The final perversion from Wark comes in this question:
"In your memoirs you write about redeeming something from the tragedies of the deaths in Iraq. In a way, is your role as a Middle East envoy some kind of attempt to atone?"
Blair, now in his best solemn-toned voice, reflects that it's not about his personal redemption but about helping others to find peaceful resolutions, notably his desire to bridge the Israel-Palestine "dispute".

Wark could, of course, have asked many more simple and pointed questions here, such as:
'Are you attempting to disguise your crimes in Iraq by hiding behind this envoy role?'

'How could someone with such accusations of mass war crimes hanging over them ever consider themselves suitable for such a peace-promoting role?'

'Given your own and Britain's long-standing support for Israel, isn't it vastly hypocritical to be seen promoting yourself to occupied and besieged Palestinians?'
In a last question, inviting more of Blair's affectations, Wark quietly asks: "But do you think you will be redeemed?"

She could more usefully have enquired: 'Do you think you will ever be brought to justice?'

But that would not be in the spirit of BBC questioning of 'our' leaders, past or present.

As Wark thanks Blair for speaking to her, we see the completion of yet another model exercise in liberal media protectionism.

1 comment:

John Hilley said...

February 28 2013

Media Lens co-editor David Edwards at ML board:

"Excellent piece, John, thanks. A wretched interview by a supposedly top-flight BBC journalist. It's the superficiality of their analysis and thinking, even more than their bias, that never ceases to amaze."