Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Iraq and the BBC - 'success or failure'?

Here's a seemingly instructive, compassionate and moving story from the BBC's Kevin Connolly on the suffering victims of Iraq.

Connolly takes us through the terrible pain and disfigurement of US bombing victim Marwa Shimari, her heroic struggle to make a life and the empathy he himself feels for her.

Marwa, just twelve on that fateful day in 2003, lost her right leg. Her sister, Adra, eight, was killed in the bombing.

Expressions of anger towards their Western attackers are noted in the words of an admirable German writer and former politician who gave generously in money and other support in helping Marwa to recover.

Connolly also couples Marwa's story with the near-death experience of US bomber pilot Captain Kim Campbell, still traumatised by her service in Iraq:
"She was brave and resourceful but war is an arbitrary and fickle business - if the ground fire that hit her aircraft had been just a few feet to the right or the left then all that courage and resourcefulness might have counted for nothing. The truth is that Kim Campbell was lucky. Marwa Shimari was not."
He might also have said, more explicitly, that Kim Campbell was part of a criminal bombing campaign, while Marwa Shimari was a direct victim of that crime.

Connolly's compassion for victims like Marwa may be genuine, an expression of basic humanity, but it's also superficial in its resistance to the actual truth of the West's invasion and mass murder.

Aside from the article's shameful evasions on the overall death toll in Iraq - likely to have been in excess of a million victims - Connolly also resorts to this kind of crude distortion:
"It is part of Iraq's tragedy that its oil wealth could easily have been spent on providing top-class hospitals as good as those of Switzerland or Germany or the US. But of course it wasn't. The ramshackle health system provided under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein couldn't cope with the flow of casualties."
As Media Lens asked of this remark:
"Do you think Connolly has any idea what the 1991 Gulf War and US-UK-led sanctions from 1990-2003 did to the Iraqi health service?" (ML message board, 12 March 2013.)
There's also classic understatement from Connolly on the depth of opposition to the West's invasion and killing:
"The Iraq war had always been controversial in Europe - even in Britain which was part of the coalition that sent troops to fight. That political scepticism - and a profound sense of shock at the devastation that modern warfare brings - quickly translated into an impulse to do something to help the people of Iraq." (Italics added.)
Remember, this was a war defiantly opposed by millions on the streets of Britain, Europe and across the world.

And with this vacuity of facts and absence of blame, Connolly's concluding words on the invasion underline his betrayal of Marwa and the suffering others of Iraq:
Ten years on from the invasion of Iraq, there is a huge temptation to try to judge whether the intervention was a success or a failure - a temptation to which we are certainly not immune.

And it is possible to make a couple of simple observations about how life is returning to the streets of Baghdad, where there are new restaurants and new car showrooms, and a new sense of normality in many places, much of the time.

But judging the outcome of military interventions like the allied invasion of 2003 will take many years. Certainly far more than 10.
A "success or a failure"? How many times have we heard that queasy, power-supporting question posed by liberal-leaning journalists, especially from the BBC?

The very premise behind such comments suggest that while reporters like Connolly may feel compassion for victims like Marwa, they are also deeply complicit in mystifying and disguising the true, premeditated nature of the West's "intervention" and the specific crimes of the perpetrators.

It needn't take ten minutes, never mind ten years or more, to work out the simple truth of an historic war crime. But Connolly hides behind a deceitful BBC 'etiquette' of 'impartial' reflection and supposed 'balance', never once, clearly and unequivocally, denouncing the guilty.

Compassion for victims like Marwa require more than human sympathy, empathy or elucidatioin of their suffering. It requires the courage, the journalistic integrity, to say on their behalf, and in a spirit of proactive care, that Blair, Bush and the rest of their murderous circle are directly responsible and should be on trial for high war crimes.

Ten years on, as the rest of its feeble, apologetic coverage has shown, the BBC is still in complicit denial of such basic truths.

The Western powers and their corporate clients didn't 'fail' in Iraq, they did precisely what they intended and got all the essential things they went after, including the murder and chaotic disintegration of a society.

As with Connolly's lame, liberal and ultimately mendacious pondering on the West's "success or failure" in Iraq, neither should this article on that country's suffering people be judged a "success or failure". It's actually a journalistic disgrace and a moral crime in itself.

1 comment:

MAH Shaheen said...

Why come of question about success or failure? If not discus on BBC we were no understood about Marwa Shimarie! Where us our leading newspaper "prothom alo" translated the news in Bangla behalf of BBC. More than more as like Marwa Shimaie may have would be waiting for news not only Iraq also Syria Palestine and more of African countries where destroyed as genocide. I conceived that BBC invented on news as these countries while more come out as Marwa Shimarie!!!