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Bedd Gelert

When you have to call dimwits like Melanie Phillips as witnesses to your cause you know you have a weak case. This really is rubbish Montgomerie, and you know it.

To pretend that the BBC is responsible for a decline is nonsense on stilts. They gave some time to the Argentinian claims to the Falklands ? Guess what, so were the British Government. We were throwing money away down there, and wanted shot of them. And we might well have been willing to cut a deal with them if they hadn't gone and invaded.

Historical revisionist nonsense like this is beneath you. Although you might yet get a column on the Daily Mail...

Annabel Herriott

We have certainly run down our defences to pre WW2 levels now. My other half was in the navy at the end of the war, and he is always bemoaning the fact that while portsmouth used to be stuffed with ships, the last time we went through on a ferry, there might have been one naval ship.
Perhaps its time to learn the lessons of history. Even from someone so esoteric as Nostradamus, who said we had to beware the yellow men from the east. Well, the Islamists arnt from the west, are they!!!

Oh My God!

"I'm with you boys! Let's go kick some Iranian ass! As someone else said, no need to topple their government or occupy their country - we just have to neuter them militarily. If they get uppity and cross the border into Iraq, well then - that's an old fashioned turkey shoot."

Blah Boy - do you have a brain cell? Are you volunteering? ANY military action will result in immediate execution of the 15.

Iran is not a little rock in the middle of the South Atlantic mostly occupied by sheep in case you hadn't noticed. The senario is somewhat different.

No one has the slightest idea of what diplomacy and negotiations are taking place, but the last thing we need is to give GWB an excuse for the military action in Iran he has been itching for!

Joseph Cotterill

Britain is no longer a serious power. That's some charge.

1. This is the fairest point you make. The Armed Forces *are* underfunded, and it is shameful given Tony Blair's supposed respect for hard power in international relations. For a blog about Britain and America, though, you don't consider that we spend just 2.2% on defence because we are shamelessly free riding on United States military guarantee, just like our Continental neighbours.

2. "Britain's withdrawal from Southern Iraq only reinforces the view of our enemies that we lack... resolution to prevail." We went into Iraq to build a democracy, and we've done that as much as we can. That's why we're a serious power. You might think it's responsible to mission creep and prove our 'resolution' to the very last "brilliant individual serviceman," but I don't. No serious power is in the business of giving its enemies blank cheques to be drawn on the bank account of its resolve. Never let them define the terms of your commitment.

3. Iran's "subversive agents" haven't gone "unchallenged" in Iraq. Our soldiers have died fighting their proxy militias, and we've been presenting the world's media with proof of Iran's manufacture of roadside bombs that kill our troops for years now. Iran did bear a material cost for supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon. It aimed to forestall future UN interference in its weapons programme and to enshrine its proxy as the legitimate government in Beirut. These aims backfired spectacularly. No one is in any doubt now that Hezbollah is an Iranian puppet - least of all the Syrians, who have cooled off Teheran.

4. It is a gruesome idea, I know, but terrorists have attacked us because we are still in business as a power, working to make the world a stronger, better place. As far as Britain's vulnerability is concerned, the attacks we have had weren't state-sponsored. We know at least then that other countries don't see our democracy as a soft target and could expect retribution given our commitment in Afghanistan.

5. It's just nuts to think today's special relationship, of all the post-war governments we've had, is in "danger." It's healthier and more cohesive than it's ever been, and it will be even more so once the Bush administration leaves office.

6. NATO was designed to counteract hard power in extremis - nuclear exchange and mass land armies sweeping over Europe. It's not surprising that the organisation has had a crisis of identity since the end of the Cold War, particularly because America no loner defines Europe as the primary indicator of its security. NATO worked. That in no way reflects badly on Britain's standing as a serious power. If anything, our long commitment to the NATO ISAF in Afghanistan proves we're in the forefront of defining its new nation-building role. At the same time, Britain is uniquely positioned to benefit from the most plausible alternative to NATO, a European Defence Community or a version thereof.

7. I'm sorry, but we have the United Nations regime on armed force for a reason, and beyond the very liberal leeway given to self-defence and yes, humanitarian intervention by states outside its authority, Article 2(4) and Chapter VII action are essential to international order. It's ironic that this is a post about the Falklands, UNSCR 502 ordered Galtieri to withdraw: not an easy thing to do back then, when the USSR had a chokehold on the Security Council. UNSCRs 678, 687 and 1441 gave the Coalition legal authority to intervene in Iraq in 2003, while UNSCR 1483 forms the legal basis of its subsequent occupation. I could go on and on about the amazing work the ICJ does in interpreting international law - which will come in handy if this hostage crisis gets legal, because the World Court covered the 1979 incident. UNSCR 1540 has been vital to the UK's anti-WMD efforts, and oh yeah, last time I looked Britain still had the first prize in diplomacy: a seat on the P5.

You know you're dealing with someone who doesn't take international relations seriously when he starts talking about the UN as a great power free to intervene in its own right. It isn't, and that's why Rwanda and Darfur happened. I don't recall the Clinton administration or Douglas Hurd being especially desperate to stop the interahamwe, though they could have legally done so without UN "imprimatur." Similarly, the UN system has done as much as it can for Darfur without great power military commitment, such as referring suspects to the ICC - an institution, I might add, abjured by the USA.

8. The BBC is as mortal a threat to Britain as the United Nations. Get real. If anything, the World Service is a major contribution to British soft power.

9. "No appreciation of the likelihood of nuclear proliferation and the need for missile defence as our only likely protection." Yeah, because Britain leading the way in stopping the spread of WMD at source by democratising rogue states, disarming Libya and dismantling the AQ Khan network is completely the wrong way to go. Instead we should forget about the relationship of costly means to ends and place our trust in a 21st century Maginot Line. Way to go on the strategic thinking, buddy.

10. This is the unkindest cut of them all. Personally, I'm a member of the Labour Party, but even I know David Cameron has his head screwed on when it comes to foreign policy. "Discussion of public services" is exactly what we need in order to meet the macroeconomic challenge of globalisation. Likewise, climate change, if it is even a third true, wil present a dire national security threat to the country. Elsewhere, some of the Tories' ideas on human rights (turning embassies into Freedom Houses, for example) are cringeworthy but very laudable. So is their commitment to international development, another pillar of British soft power. Good on them.

This was a long comment, but the post was on an important issue and your views on it were wrong.

Yet Another Anon

ANY military action will result in immediate execution of the 15.
If they want to escalate things then there are always nuclear weapons - pick some military barracks and wipe them out and it wouldn't be 15 dead, it might be thousands wiped out in one go.

Yet Another Anon

you don't consider that we spend just 2.2% on defence because we are shamelessly free riding on United States military guarantee, just like our Continental neighbours
Not all of them, and in fact it's not sop long ago that the US were down at 3% of GDP on Defence, currently it is a bit over 4% of GDP, France spends 2.6% of GDP, Greece spends 4.3% of GDP, Turkey spends 5.3% of GDP (about 5% of GDP would probably be about right). Canada only spends 1.1% of GDP on Defence. Iran spends about 3.3% of GDP on Defence.


ANY military action will result in immediate execution of the 15.

If you join the military and put on the uniform, you accept that dying in the line of duty is a real possibility.

There are things in this world that are more important than 15 lives. Or 150. Or 1500.

The government of Iran knows this. How is it that the British have forgotten?

Kevin Sampson

Joseph Cotterill

Mind explaining how Britain "lead the way" in disarming Libya or exposing the Khan network?

Richard North

The hostage taking, purely a political failure? I think not.



re: "...it's not the BBC's job to voice or reflect opinion - the fact that you can't detect opinion is a sign that they are reporting the issue subjectively. It's not so hard to understand. Look it up under "How to be a proper journalist" (Line1, paragraph1, Chapter1)

Posted by: Jan | April 02, 2007 at 05:48 PM"

You can’t detect the BBC’s opinions on anything???? ROFLMAO! They're one of the worst mouthpieces for Islamic fundamentalists in the world!

Is it, IMHO, incumbent upon a news agency to understand which country they live in.

During WWII, numerous US news agencies KNEW about the Manhattan Project, the development of the nuclear weapons that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But they kept their mouths (and presses) shut about it because they knew that the slightest breath of word about them could instigate a "weapons race" in Japan and Germany (who were VERY close to success when the war ended in Europe!). We may never see those days again!

From what I've seen and heard on the BBC broadcasts in the US and on their web page, the BBC has been an outright agent for the enemy, bought and paid for by the British taxpayer. They are even more of an enemy propaganda bureau than the US news agencies... which are bad enough!

While it is NOT a good idea for news agencies to give "opinions" instead of news, that is exactly what is being done in the mainstream media. They express their opinions by smiling when saying something that they expect the audience to agree with, frowning thoughtfully when they expect the audience to disagree with the story, by deciding which "talking heads" to put on camera (usually strong liberals and very weak conservatives!), and by NOT reporting stories that oppose their view at all!

Let me give you an example of NOT REPORTING from the US media. In January, there was an anti-war demonstration in Washington where the steps of the Capitol building were defaced with graffiti. Another demonstration was scheduled for March.

Hearing rumors that the March demonstration had the Vietnam Memorial as one of the objects to be defaced, a group known as "A Gathering of Eagles" put together a counter demonstration to guard the national monuments. This was put together on the fly in only two weeks.

On March 17, the police in Washington estimated the two crowds at anti-war 10,000, Eagles 30,000.

The Eagles outnumbered the anti-war demonstration 3 to 1, and how did the US news media report it?

One enterprising alleged "news" agency got an estimate of the Eagles from one of the anti-war demonstrators... "a few hundred". The rest of the news media barely mentioned that there was a counter-demonstration or didn't mention it at all!

If an anti-war demonstration is news at all, the fact that the counter-demonstrators outnumbered them by 3 to 1 with only a few weeks notice (and NONE of George Soros' money!) was even BIGGER news. This has never been seen before, while anti-war demonstrations are downright common.

But the vast majority of the mainstream news media covered the anti-war demonstration and didn't mention the counter demonstration at all... or LIED ("a few hundred") about it! Only Fox reported the true numbers given by the police in Washington.

What does that tell you? The news media ISN'T supposed to express opinions. But they do it all the time! Do you honestly believe that the BBC doesn't pull exactly these same stunts???

Don't you think that, given that they DO give opinions in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, they should decide which country they live in and support it?

Patrick Carroll

Speaking of the BBC, the day after the Iranians kidnapped the RN people, the BBC World Service did an hour about the uselessness of military spending, the gist of which was thaat money spent on the military is a waste, as nobody will use nukes, asymmetric warfare makes it too easy for a small group to take on an established military, and who wants to die for anything, anyway.

It was the perfect "lie down, go to sleep, die quietly" bit I've come to expect from the BBC.


What an incredibly stupid post mamapajamas.The BBC has many faults but it is certainly not 'an agent of the enemy' nor are they 'one of the worst mouthpieces for Islamic fundamentalists in the world'.
Do you actually believe this crap or are you just saying it to be provocative?
This website is supposed to bring Conservatives from Britain and America closer together, in general it is failing to do so on every level not helped by the ridiculous hyperbole of posts like that above.

Teddy Bear

Actually malcolm, MPJ's remarks are spot on. Just because you fail to see how doesn't make the comment stupid, it just shows your ignorance.


Malcolm... re: "This website is supposed to bring Conservatives from Britain and America closer together, in general it is failing to do so on every level not helped by the ridiculous hyperbole of posts like that above."

It is failing ONLY in your dreams, Malcolm ;).

The simple fact that it's doing well enough for you to bother to hang out here and attempt to minimize everything mentioned as irrelevant speaks louder than any actual statements that you make ;).

Steve Britain

""I'm with you boys! Let's go kick some Iranian ass! As someone else said, no need to topple their government or occupy their country - we just have to neuter them militarily. If they get uppity and cross the border into Iraq, well then - that's an old fashioned turkey shoot."

Blah Boy - do you have a brain cell? Are you volunteering? ANY military action will result in immediate execution of the 15."

Well, in a word, "Good"! We are not at war, there is no national interest, they are paid professionals doing another Government's bidding. They are no more than mercenaries acting out Blair's political aspirations to insert himself further up Bush's backside.


OK Teddy Bear, if I'm so damned ignorant please give me examples of the BBC 'an agent of the enemy' or a 'mouthpiece of Islamic fundamentalists'. No doubt you'll be able to stun us all with your wonderful examples.
I'm not a fan of the political coverage of the BBC but criticism of it if it is to be effective has to be based on fact not fantasy.


The reason defense is being cut so much is to ensure the Brits will be unable to contribute no more than a token to any military efforts around the world. That this means the Brits will not be given the time of day during diplomatic discussions is lost on the Brits.

They will be forced to rely on the sort of belly scraping diplomacy they have to do now without even the pretense of military action.

I say Brits because both major parties have contributed nothing substantial to this discussion.


Montgomerie-It bore no cost for its material support of Hezbollah during last summer's Lebanon conflict

When our ally seizes five Iranian diplomats in Arbil, who promptly disappear into the abbyss that is US custody, we conveniently ignore it.
Iran captures 15 of our men in disputed territory & we immediately talk of the most extreme military retaliation.
Iran supplies Hezbollah with the weapons used to defeat Israel in the war last summer and we are appalled, The U.S government supplies Israel with precision guided munitions, flown through British airports,which are used in the destruction of Lebanon and we accept it as a measure necessary to aid our allies.
What make us expect our enemies to have no friends?
That reminds me of a convenient form of selective thought often favoured by psuedo-intellectuals.
In case you have all failed to notice we are at war, if the Iranians supply Iraqi insurgents or Hezbollah with weapons with which to attack our troops or allies in the middle East..So be it, All is fair in Love and War.
After all it's not as though they kidnapped our troops in the English channel.
Our spurious attempts at nation building are not appreciated in the Middle East,however we can not leave because we are inextricably linked to the need to exploit the regions natural resources.


China, France and Russia - have a track record of putting commercial interests and relationships with unsavoury regimes before the high principles of the UN's founders.

Mr Montgomerie, I have to ask, Are you being serious. If the purpose of this web forum is for us to have discourse in banal denial then you have succeeded.

We are just as guilty of using the organs of the UN to support our allies and punish our enemies. I would ask you to review our relationships with -
a) Suhartos Indonesia - We supplied them with military equipment while they commited atrocities in Timor
b) Ceausescus Romania - He was invited to Britain on a state visit in 1978 wile his Regime commited atrocities.
c) Apartheid South Africa - Our multinationals with the tacit approval of the Governments of Thatcher/Raegan, continued to trade with South Africa despite UN sanctions

How dare you patronise your readership with the mention of track records?
Any objective analysis would show Britain and America to be hypocritical, systematically conniving and immoral in our dealings with the U.N and the International community in general, spanning the last five decades.


Dennis, re: "How dare you patronise your readership with the mention of track records?
Any objective analysis would show Britain and America to be hypocritical, systematically conniving and immoral in our dealings with the U.N and the International community in general, spanning the last five decades."

Then don't you think that an organization of that type that CAN be dealt with in an "immoral" or "systmatically conniving" way should be shut down?

There are millions in the US who are all for bulldozing the UN into the East River.

Ever consider that they might be right?


Dennis, once upon a time, I had a great deal of respect for the UN.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, instead of having normal classes, our school set up TVs so we could watch the UN Security Council work its way through the problem.

We came SO close to nuclear war during that time that we wouldn't have been able to study our normal classwork anyway. So instead we watched history in action.

For years after that, I held the opinion that the UN had averted a potential nuclear war, and if it never did anything else that mattered, that alone justified its existence.

Then, twenty years after President Kennedy's assassination, his classified records were declassified and added to his Presidential Library.

And it turned out that JFK and Kruschev solved the Cuban Missile Crisis over the telephone! The UN had NOTHING to do with it!

Since then, I've been trying to think of ONE SINGLE ACCOMPLISHMENT of the UN.


UNICEF? OK. But private charities completely out-do them raising money for the world's poor. So that one is actually less useful than private efforts.

Human Rights Commission? By all means, let's put Lybia and Sudan on THAT committee!

Resolution of wars? The UN version of "resolving" wars has been to stop them with cease fire agreements that are promptly ignored. Two major examples are the Korean War and the Gulf War. NEITHER situation was resolved, and was left for others to resolve later. We're now having to finish the Gulf War, and North Korea is now a nuclear power and thereby a greater threat than ever.

What the UN has proven beyond all doubt is that the only solution to war is to destroy your enemy, as the Allies destroyed the Nazis at the close of WWII. "Right" or "wrong" has nothing to do with it... the enemy biding their time and coming back bigger and stronger later on is the only issue that matters.

Teddy Bear

Here's a few Malcolm - please be so kind as to respond and not just disappear when you can't refute it. If you need more - there's PLENTY more where these came from.

1. We got CNN's, but where is the BBC acknowledgement of bias in Iraq?

Following the ousting of Saddam, Eason Jordan, head of CNN news. finally admitted to the NY Times after previous denials, that while Saddam had been in power, they HAD to be biased because of physical threats to their staff, and closure of their offices if they did not get approval for each story they ran.

The BBC was surely subject to the same restrictions but to this day they have not uttered one word about it. Is it because the Saddam line is their chosen coverage anyway, in order to ingratiate themselves with the other similar type of regimes in that area, or do they believe their bias and subsequent denials of it will go unnoticed?


On the 11th March, the Telegraph ran an article on a report by the Palestinian finance minister Salam Fayyad, that millions of dollars given in aid has simply disappeared and is unaccounted for. I've been waiting to see if the BBC was going to run the story themselves. I know they like to present the plight of the 'poor Palestinians' as a result of Israel's actions, and this story would confute this, and present the reality as having other causes. Over 3 weeks later, it still hasn't entered the world of the BBC, nor do I really expect it to. Why not?

Palestinian minister admits aid millions lost

3. Following Alan Johnston's abduction in Gaza, many BBC articles have proclaimed what a 'friend to the Palestinian's' he was. Without a doubt he was, but is it right that a supposed impartial and balanced journalist covering a very complex conflict should be a 'friend' to either side?

4. Since WMD was a critical fact in launching the war against Saddam, the man in charge of finding them, Hans Blix, is obviously of key importance.

As director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1981 to 1997, he was in charge of overseeing inspections of the country's nuclear programme. During that time, the Iraqis managed to hide an advanced nuclear weapons development programme from the IAEA. It was only discovered after the Gulf War in 1991. He also didn't 'find' the nuclear reactor that was destroyed in the 80's by Israel.

They also did not make public that France and Germany had huge contracts with Saddam, which would obviously affect how they would vote against removing him. Nor did they present the Oil for Food scandal of the UN that would influence how this organisation would view a change in the status quo, which probably accounted for the choice of Hans Blix to head the weapons inspections.

How do you see the failure of the BBC to report this in context as fair and balanced reporting, especially on an issue of this magnitude?

5. Omar Bakri Mohammed was in the news in 2005 for inciting terrorism, and eventually in 2006 fled to Syria to avoid prison. He first appears on the BBC website as a 'Syrian-born activist',in an article on 14/10/2000 for this statement:

"A Syrian-born activist has called for Muslims in Britain to join a holy war against Israel following the outbreak of violence between Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East.
Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed said it was the duty of all Muslims to give support to the Palestinians.
"They are obliged to support their Muslim brothers in Palestine by raising funds, giving them complete moral support and even some of them going abroad to be joined with their Muslim brothers fighting against Israel," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "

Just over a year later, on 7/1/2002 they refer to him as 'A radical Muslim cleric' and quote him as saying
'....But Mr Bakri Mohammed, a spokesman for the al-Muhajiroun group, said ..."We are an ideological, political party. We do not recruit people to go and fight on behalf of anybody or to indulge in any military activities."

IN TOTAL CONTRADICTION to his previous quote above, AND NO-ONE at the BBC picks up on it. If you read all of the articles, you will see that this is not the only time he contradicts himself, as the prevailing political wind demands, without seemingly any BBC ears pricking up or pointing out the real story behind this man.

And you don't see where the BBC assists terrorists?

Like I said, if you need more stories....


Indeed, Teddy Bear. And thanks for watching my back! :D

It is my experience that ALL of the major news networks have a memory span of about two weeks.

Nor do they have archives available to their reporters, apparently, since they don't seem to be able to look up their own organization's past articles!


Is that really the best you can do Teddy Bear? None of what you write puts the BBC in a good light but there is one hell of a difference between this and the BBC 'being an 'agent of the enemy' or 'a mouthpiece for Islamic fundamentalists'. Give me strength!


Mamapajamas..I have rarely agreed with you, however regarding 'bulldozing' the UN into the east river...I have to agree.
It was not created by men with grand humanist principles. It's founders created it with an imbalance necessary to maintain the global Status Quo. So as you say, an organisation that can put countries like Sudan or Libya on a human Rights commision and never challenges the world's superpowers on their abuses needs to be disbanded..

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