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April 21, 2008

Ho Hum, More Government Lies Eagerly Swallowed By America's Incredibly Liberal Media

The Times of London has gotten the British government to cough up documents on the incident last March where Iran seized British sailors and held them for several weeks. Guess what?

Newly released Ministry of Defence documents state that:

— The arrests took place in waters that are not internationally agreed as Iraqi;

— The coalition unilaterally designated a dividing line between Iraqi and Iranian waters in the Gulf without telling Iran where it was;

— The Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ coastal protection vessels were crossing this invisible line at a rate of three times a week; It was the British who apparently raised their weapons first before the Iranian gunboats came alongside

Here's an op-ed the shockingly liberal New York Times published at the time, explaining how even though the Iranians are vicious insane lying barbarians, we shouldn't nuke them immediately:

Tony Blair has been talking tough about Iran’s seizure of 15 British sailors and marines on the Shatt al Arab, the waterway between Iran and Iraq. Mr. Blair is deeply reluctant to apologize, as Tehran is demanding, for Britain’s alleged incursion into Iranian waters. Global positioning data shows that the British naval patrol was more than a mile inside Iraqi waters...for the British, this is a painful lesson. It is rash to expose potential hostages to one of the most reckless and erratic regimes in the world.

Plenty of people in Washington would say that violent provocation of this kind shows that diplomatic engagement with Iran, as favored by Britain and other European nations, is wasted motion; that only harsh sanctions backed up by the threat of force can influence the wild men of Tehran, headed by the Holocaust-denying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Yet it is hard to punish masochists...

No matter how it ends, the seizure of the British sailors is likely to be viewed by most of the world as an Iranian victory. Thus it is unlikely to be Iran’s last affront to us. It is not the American way, but only patience, statesmanship and a refusal to respond in kind to outrageous behavior offer a chance of eventually persuading this dangerous nation to join a rational universe.

After the hostages were released, the appallingly liberal Washington Post felt the most important thing to publish about the incident was this:

On any given day, one isn't likely to find common cause with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He's a dangerous, lying, Holocaust- denying, Jew-hating cutthroat thug -- not to put too fine a point on it.

But he was dead-on when he wondered why a once-great power such as Britain sends mothers of toddlers to fight its battles...Not only does the Iranian president get to look magnanimous in releasing the hostages, but he gets to look wise. And we in the West get to look humiliated, foolish and weak.

Just because we may not "feel" humiliated doesn't mean we're not. In the eyes of Iran and other Muslim nations, we're wimps. While the West puts mothers in boats with rough men, Muslim men "rescue" women and drape them in floral hijabs.

The Times of London deserves credit here for carrying out something approaching journalism. Parts of the British media are less willing than the US media to amplify government lies, and in private the US and UK governments are aware of this. Here's David Manning, then British ambassador to the US, reporting back to the Blair government on a March, 2002 dinner with Condoleezza Rice:

We spent a long time at dinner on IRAQ. It is clear that Bush is grateful for your support and has registered that you are getting flak. I said that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was very different than anything in the States.

Fortunately, managing the US press has never been much of a challenge.

(story via John Caruso)

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at April 21, 2008 11:08 AM

Amazingly, The Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch, which proves one thing. If people are not willing to buy bullshit, the news automatically does not need to sell bullshit, no matter who owns the paper.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at April 21, 2008 11:40 AM

If people are not willing to buy bullshit, the news automatically does not need to sell bullshit, no matter who owns the paper.

[Insert filthy communist quote here]

Posted by: James Cape at April 21, 2008 08:53 PM

The GOP says "jump!"
and they say
"Why are liberals so opposed to people who don't have their feet on the ground? We all lift our feet occasionally."

Posted by: me at April 22, 2008 06:01 AM

It's necessary for papers of right-wing owners to do whatever is appropriate to unseat any administration that is not as far right as it is possible to arrange.

Murdoch supported Blair; he understood it was the furthest to the right the country could be persuaded at the time. That has probably changed now due to the inevitable weariness actual government brings. But the range of attacks that are viable here is much narrower. This is in large part because of the nationally owned (socialised!) BBC.

Rest assured that Murdoch is doing all in his power to destroy the BBC, and reduce it to NPR-style irrelevance. That is the whole point of his Sky TV channels.

Posted by: me at April 22, 2008 06:09 AM

Sorry, but I think me is right. The Murdoch press has turned against New Labour now that the Tories are in the ascendent (bizarrely, the British voting public are unhappy with New Labour's right-wing stance, so they are voting for someone even further right) and therefore what is important is to make New Labour look like a bunch of liars. Also, the British involvement in Iraq is winding down anyway, so there is no real loss in revealing that the troops there are a gang of losers led by idiots.

I don't think this is really a sign that The Times is becoming a real newspaper.

Posted by: MFB at April 23, 2008 02:45 AM

A story:

With that, Sir Percy took hold of the map. Carefully drawing a red line across the face of it, he assigned a chunk of the Nejd to Iraq; then to placate Ibn Saud, he took almost two thirds of the territory of Kuwait and gave it to Arabia. Last, drawing two zones, and declaring that they should be neutral, he called one the Kuwait neutral zone and the other the Iraq neutral zone. When a representative of Ibn Saud pressed Cox not to make a Kuwait neutral zone, Sir Percy asked him why. "Quite candidly," the man answered, "because we think oil exists there."

And so on and so on.

Posted by: buermann at April 23, 2008 02:49 AM