BBC bias on Iraq – delayed latest

John Rentoul

Saddam Husseins statue in 006 300x180 BBC bias on Iraq   delayed latestNearly a year on, the BBC Trust has still failed to rule on Stan Rosenthal’s appeal against the way in which the Corporation grudgingly, belatedly and wrongly tried to excuse its error in reporting Sir Christopher Meyer’’s evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war.

Meanwhile, Rosenthal has also complained about Jeremy Paxman’s article for The Guardian last month which revealed the extent of his personal bias on the issue of Iraq:

From the initial lies that took us to war, through to the summoning of clubby members of the House of Lords to conduct later “inquiries” that claimed so much and revealed so little, it tarnished everything it touched.

Paxman, presenter of Newsnight, was choosing his “Photograph of the Decade” (right, by Jerome Delay/AP).

More on Rosenthal’s previous complaints from Blair Supporter here, and on the Paxman complaint here.

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  • David_Boothroyd

    Jeremy Paxman wrote that? I wonder if he has compared and contrasted what was said by the British government before the war (‘we think Iraq has biological and chemical weapons’ to paraphrase), and what appeared in the second edition of “A Higher form of Killing” published in 2002 (‘we think Iraq has chemical and biological weapons’ to paraphrase). The authors of that book were Robert Harris and Jeremy Paxman.

  • BlairSupporter

    @ David_Boothroyd.

    Thank you for this information. Haven’t heard this before. Another to add to the Christmas booklist.

    Looks like Paxman and Harris found so-called “wisdom” after the event. Only permitted to scribblers, never to politicians. Especially when the politicians know the facts, and not just the opinions of others of the literati.

  • BlairSupporter

    Sorry, Kamal, but I do not have time to address all of your counter-points. So I’ll confine myself to the ones which to me reveal the basic flaws in your thinking on this issue.

    1) Saddam could have easily demonstrated compliance with those UN resolutions by providing documentary and video evidence that he had destroyed known stocks of WMD and allowing free access to UN inspectors checking on any other possible stocks.
    2) Of course, access was required to “sites which had nothing to do with WMD” since these are precisely the sites where you would expect WMD to be hidden.
    3) We continued with the “failed” policy of sanctions for so long because the international community (prompted by people like you) were reluctant to take the only effective way of dealing with the problem – military action.
    4) Military action obviously became the only alternative when it became clear that persuasion and sanctions had failed.
    5) Military action was implicit in Resolution 1441 as it was passed under that part of the UN Charter (Chapter V11) permitting military action. “Serious consequences” couldn’t mean anything else in this context.
    6) A second resolution was desirable for presentational reasons but not necessary for legal reasons (even the French admitted this to explain their opposition to a second resolution).
    7) Unfortunately we cannot remove all tyrants because of the restrictions of international law. However where a tyrant gives us a reason for removing him in accordance with international law (i.e. through the United Nations) then, as was the case with Saddam, we would be failing in our moral duty if we did not do so. 8) The legality of the Iraq war is defensible by it being in accordance with UN resolutions designed to enforce a cease-fire condition against an aggressor state.
    9) Although anti-war lawyers disagree, this is no proof of illegality since in this area of the law it’s a matter of opinion not fact.

    I think I have shown that I can argue my case, which seems to have been your main interest.

    So in the interests of avoiding an endless exchange, I’ll bow out at this point.

    I’m sure we both have other things to do.

    Thanks for at least trying to engage with the argument.

  • Kamal

    I accept that neither of us have the time to commit to this, so I will also not respond to your comments. I will say that the Iraq war in particular, has caused much more problems than it will have ever solved.

    Thanks for at least responding. I hope we can continue the debate on other issues.

  • OnTheWayOut

    I think that’s it: Tony Blair would have rightly taken the blame if he got the wrong decision (as with the top-up fees promise in 2001), so he should get the credit when he gets it right (if he was right). It doesn’t matter so much what Gordon Brown thought as it wasn’t his decision ultimately.This is the kind of thing I mean – a long article with a roll-call of heroes and villains, but no acknowledgement that the government made the right decision (from his point of view) on the key issue. It’s a bit of a joke, I think.

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