The media and Syria

(26 Posts)
mrswarbouys Thu 29-Aug-13 08:40:06

Just been listening to interview of Clegg by John Humphreys on R4 about Syria. Clegg wants more blood sighting the alleged chemical weapons attacks in that country. Am I alone in being frustrated at the mass media for being so subservient to the Gov't / establishment? Humphrey's on the surface asked all these tough questions which Clegg diverted. But didn't simply ask him "But people like you said all this about Iraq and wmd did you not ? "

mumblechum1 Thu 29-Aug-13 11:09:02

What does "blood sighting" mean?

I don't think we should rush into anything. It seems that there are no "goodies" in this conflict; on one hand you have Assad, but most of the rebels are Islamist, some in Al Q'aeda according to the Independent.

Anything we do is likely to destabilise the area even further.

NicholasTeakozy Thu 29-Aug-13 11:56:11

I think what was meant was ...'wants more blood, citing the alleged chemical weapons attacks...'

There's evidence that points to the rebels, there's evidence that points to a British mercenary group, we know the rebels are being armed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

There is a real danger that Russia will get involved should we bomb Syria. We should keep out, just as we should've kept out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

HomeHelpMeGawd Thu 29-Aug-13 12:09:15

Presumably the reason Humphrey's didn't ask that question is that there is no useful answer Nick Clegg can provide. What's he going to say, "oh yes, you're right?" Obviously not. He's going to say "that was Labour actually, and we are not the same as them".

It's all very well to say "we shouldn't do anything" but there are risks there too. 100,000 dead and counting while the West has taken no material action.

farrowandbawl Thu 29-Aug-13 12:12:01

I don't think the US or GB should get involved at all to be honest. With Russia already supplying arms to one side, Qatar and Saudi the other, and the US wanting to stick their noses in - the potential for this to go global is scary.

Milliband was right to vote against DC IMO.

mrswarbouys Thu 29-Aug-13 13:05:42

Sorry for my spelling. I meant Clegg wants blood, citing the ....
HomeHelpMeGawd So what would be wrong with Humphreys embarrassing him with that statement? This is about us kissing America's arse and nothing to do with morality..

Beachbum48 Thu 29-Aug-13 13:19:21

But is there that much similarity between Iraq and Syria? Iraq was about protecting our own interests by taking out wmds ( in theory). Syria is about protecting Syrians from heinous war crimes.
Syria seem more like Bosnia. A messy web of internal competing forces and inter-ethnic violence. I know quite a bit about Bosnia but not Syria ( just media reports). It senems to me that in Bosnia UN safety zones with real powers(not the srebrenica kind) would have been fairly effective in protecting a good number of ordinary people. Why couldn't that be done in Syria? An agreement to protect civilians in designated zones and an agreement not to trade with any military parties... The rebels are just as bad as Assad. Do you think that would work? (Obviously need Russia and china onside for UN action but I think if it is protection not proactive force it might go down ?

mrswarbouys Thu 29-Aug-13 13:48:02

To the U.S (and therefore our media) the similarities mean very little. Our 'interests' would indeed be advanced by outing Assad. Syria, like Iran is not interested in doing business with us. Also, what is the evidence that the West's military intervention will in any way reduce the suffering of the Syrian people? The war on Iraq was based on lies and the outcome, a humanitarian disaster for the people of that country. "Syria is about protecting Syrians from heinous war crimes." So you're believing that we have the the so called 'responsibility to protect'? Well Japan's attack on Manchuria, Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia, and Hitler's occupation of Czechoslovakia were 'all accompanied by lofty rhetoric about the solemn responsibility to protect the suffering populations'. R2P has 'been considered a norm as far back as we want to go'.

HomeHelpMeGawd Thu 29-Aug-13 14:17:46

Mrswarbouys, you're stating various assertions as though they were undisputed fact:
- "Our 'interests' would indeed be advanced by outing Assad." It is really quite unclear whether our interests would be served by ousting Assad. He's running a secular state that has left Israel alone for 40ish years. If he gets replaced by Islamists, a violent confrontation with Israel would be much more likely to happen and that would not be in the interests of the West, as it could lead to all-out war.
- "Syria, like Iran is not interested in doing business with us." Syria is really nothing like Iran re business interests. Syria did plenty of business with the West prior to the war. Iran, btw, would probably be doing the same except for sanctions.

You also seem unwilling to countenance the possibility that the Syrian regime might actually have used chemical weapons. I am clear that other actors could have done so, but Ockham's razor does suggest that the obvious starting point is the regime: they make and stockpile lots of chemical weapons, they blocked the inspectors from going in till the byproducts had degraded, they describe regime opponents in dehumanizing terms, they've killed tens of thousands of regime opponents through other means, they are going to be killed themselves if the regime falls, etc etc.

I find it so odd the way that people ascribe all evil in the world to the West, ignoring the fact that Putin is an evil kleptocratic dictator who has carried out several vicious wars, that the Chinese regime is soaked in the blood of millions, that the Syrians have run probably the most vile of all secret police forces, etc etc.

mrswarbouys Thu 29-Aug-13 14:34:35

Putin and the Chinese indeed are tyranical and awful Assad has been accused of using poison gas against civilians once before. But on thatoccasion, Carla del Ponte, a UN commissioner on Syria, concluded that the rebels, not Assad, were probably responsible. There have been numerous other atrocities, many far worse, carried out across the Middle East in the past few years. For example, there is no doubt that the Egyptian military junta has shot dead more than 1,000 protesters, the vast majority unarmed civilians, since seizing power. Yet there has been no outraged condemnation. Indeed, the West, by continues to supply arms to the Egyptian army. No BBC/ Gov't outrage over that..There're 2 facts for you and not my own assertions.

HomeHelpMeGawd Thu 29-Aug-13 15:06:05

Hum.
- Carla del Ponte said she has strong suspicions. That is as far as it ever went. The Commission on which she served did not conclude whether it was the rebels or Assad
- I personally think it is morally wrong (and that is putting it politely) to say "this killing should not be acted upon because there have been others that are worse". And I am not sure what other options for action against the Assad regime there are
- The Egyptian military has had plenty of outraged condemntation levelled at it. Not by the BBC, true, but then that's hardly the BBC's role. The BBC is an impartial media organisation. If you wanted outrage, there was plenty in the newspapers. But a large scale shooting would never be condemned in the same terms as a large scale chemical attack, obviously, because chemical attacks are universally seen as being particularly horrific (the trenches, the Holocaust) and have greater potential for scaling up.

NicholasTeakozy Thu 29-Aug-13 15:44:25

China and Russia walk away from negotiations. If we attack Syria then Syria and Iran will attack Israel, who will obviously retaliate. This is getting bloody frightening now, this could spread anywhere.

ithaka Thu 29-Aug-13 15:53:01

The message from Clegg and Cameron seems to be we have to 'do something' as if that is automatically going to have a better outcome than not doing something. I am not sure it will.

Yes, not get involved is terrible to contemplate - but so is getting involved. We cannot be sure which action will be most effective to protect the innocent victims in Syria.

Humanitarian aid is one thing, but escalating the conflict could cause greater suffering to the innocent in the long term.

comingalongnicely Thu 29-Aug-13 15:58:14

No one has yet explained what good a bombing campaign will do.

Call me naive, but bombing any sort of chemical weapons storage facility is going to have the teeny side effect that you're going to spread the stuff everywhere.

As to the morality side of it, I really find it hard to comprehend that the 94,000 deaths by shooting, hanging, burning, beheading etc etc are any better than the 1,200 by alleged chemical weapons.

I know full well that Assad is by no means an innocent, likeable soul - but I really want to know that the evidence that a man who was winning and has absolutely nothing to gain, but everything to lose, by using them is irrefutable.

I look forward to seeing what Cameron, Obama & co decide to do if Russia and/or China become active in their defence of the Regime. Given that their armies outnumber ours, aren't deployed all over the world & are bored sat at home it could make for an interesting time!!

mrswarbouys Thu 29-Aug-13 16:09:46

No I'm sorry, on May 6, speaking for the United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria, Carla Del Ponte said, 'there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated. This was use on the part of the rebels, not by the government authorities'. check- www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/05/us-syria-crisis-un-idUSBRE94409Z20130505
As for The BBC is an impartial media organisation Now I've heard it all.

farrowandbawl Thu 29-Aug-13 17:03:21

Getting involed by using any type of strike will do no good at all. The leaders of these countries are not going to take it as a hint to stop - they will retaliate and react badly.

What's pissing me off is that the US and UK seem to think that by flexing their muscles a little with one of these strikes, it's going to be taken as a warning. It's not. Russia is already involved and has been for a while, China is on the brink of getting involved...this has the potential to become WW3 if we are not careful. I wish I could say it's scaremongering but I'm seriously thinking this a very real possibilty. Iran, Russia, China have a massive number of arms and armies at their disposal, we have, compared to them, fuck all and no money to fund it.

I remember years ago being laughed at because I said the China and it's army was something to watch out for. Unfortunately, they've stopped laughing.

mrswarbouys Thu 29-Aug-13 18:33:59

farrowandbawl I'm not sure it will come to that. I think proof that the U.S and it's allies are that reckless is that there has been no attack on Iran, North Korea. We pick our punches pretty carefully it seems.

mrswarbouys Thu 29-Aug-13 18:58:12

sorry - correction : I meant the U.S and it's allies are NOT that reckless...

niceguy2 Thu 29-Aug-13 22:08:18

Yeah...and what's the common denominator with Iran & North Korea? Both have nuclear weapons. Maybe not the missle tech to deliver them far.....yet. But I'm sure in the event of a US assault, they could deliver one somehow into the middle of a US army base or something.

I bet if Syria had nukes the US would be like "Oh well...it's none of our business...."

In that context you can sort of see why these regimes are so desperate for nuclear weapons.

And UK....we do whatever the US tell us to. So our opinion doesn't matter.

farrowandbawl Thu 29-Aug-13 23:00:17

Wel, it's been delayed for a little while now. Watching them vote was nerve wrecking but the result was worth it.

HomeHelpMeGawd Fri 30-Aug-13 12:03:28

Are you really saying, in the context of this particular discussion, that the corporation that instigated the infamous sexing-up affair and took on Blair et al, is a lickspittle of the government?!

Anyway, you got what you wanted. No intervention. Let's hope the sins of omission are not worse than the sins of commission.

farrowandbawl Fri 30-Aug-13 18:16:50

That wasn't what I was saying at all, but thanks for putting words in my mouth.

mrswarbouys Fri 30-Aug-13 18:23:10

It's not that they are a lickspittle of the government or they are censorial of themselves. It's just that the BBC and the Gov't interests are the same.

As far as Gilligan goes, yes, here was a lone journo' who did a very silly thing - namely to forget who he was working for briefly and try and blow the whistle on the lies over WMD in Iraq and the case for invasion. The BBC very soon coughed up a grovelling climbdown/apology and sacked The D.G. Dyke, Davies and Gilligan. The BBC’s director of news, Richard Sambrook, was also moved sideways to a different post as a result by the BBC's senior management who are appointed by (guess who) the government of the day.

Media bias? Goodness me, this is a huge discussion HomeHelpMeGawd I remember getting way too involved in a decade ago, and with all due respect to you, not one I wish to resurrect.

HomeHelpMeGawd Sat 31-Aug-13 08:36:16

The idea that the BBC has the same interests as the government, and acts accordingly...wow, just wow. You must be squinting pretty hard to see the world that way.

SDhopeful Sat 31-Aug-13 08:52:50

The government and BBc management are similar types - green-about the-gills naive people who have had soft lives and no idea of the reality of war as they have never experienced it. The meeja want the headlines, and the excitement of boys games that they can pack in a box and go home each night to their comfy beds when bored of the action.

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