Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Shame of Channel Four

The trailer prior to tonight's (UK) Channel 4 Dispatches programme ‘America’s Secret Shame’ (part of a series of programmes about the war in Iraq) featured the series’ money quote. It was spoken to camera by one of the more right-wing correspondants on the Westminster beat (can't remember his name). He said:

“Iraq is the worst foreign policy disaster since Munich.”

(update 23.11.05: It was Peter Oborne of The Spectator)

What a great juxtaposition. Munich - a capitulation in the face of Fascist aggression. Surely Rwanda or Darfur could provide a more obvious comparison?

Hitchens says this better than I can
of course. But back to tonight’s Dispatches. It offered a largely one-sided narrative that focussed upon US casualties and used them to amplify calls for such a withdrawal from the grieving parents. It didn’t bother with any of the issues around the war - the controversy around it’s instigation, the weighing of the positive and negative consequences for the Iraqi people.

It ignored the consequences of withdrawal almost entirely. It’s only focus was upon how far America was achieving it’s own security goals and what the cost was in American body bags. Given the complexity of the arguments, it was the most one-sided agenda-led programme I've ever seen on TV in the UK.

Not only was It the very cheapest of journalistic currency, it offered an argument that can only ever make the case for isolationism and a rejection of any Internationalism. In short, it made exactly the same shameful case that Neville Chamberlain and the guilty men of Munich made.

And if the moral consequences of this unholy alliance between the ‘anti-imperialists’ of the left and the isolationists of the right is not enough, the practical political consequences of doing nothing - or it’s latest incarnation - unconditional withdrawal of Coalition forces from Iraq - are equally worrying. As Norm points out,

“Is it now the case that the Western democracies cannot fight wars unless these are short and very sparing of the lives of their own soldiers? That any war that becomes too long and too costly in these terms will quickly lose support within an electorate whose impulses become more self-centred (in the national sense) the more badly the war goes? If so, then the outlook is not at all good for the future of humanitarian military interventions where the circumstances are difficult.”

Channel Four should be ashamed of themselves.

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1 comment:

Robert Swipe said...

So, Never Trust a Hippy - will you be taking a copy of 'Five leaves left" or "At swim two birds" with you when you go in to combat? Personally, I'd go go with the Selby Jr. It's gonna be a bit rougher than the techno-boff office out there...

Gee, I do love a soldier though - they're soooooo brave! Have a pleasant sortie ...and don't forget to send me your dog tags when you come back....(if you come back...)