Friday, March 21, 2008

BBC changes dishonest headline about Bush's Iraq speech, but too late: the lefties are going wild

Yesterday I posted about the BBC's blatant misreporting of President Bush's speech on the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The post is here (or just scroll down). Long story short: the BBC accused Bush, both in the headline and in the story, of 'claiming victory', but he didn't.

Charles at Little Green Footballs linked, and, very likely due to the story appearing at LGF (although there's no way of knowing for sure), the BBC has now changed the headline on the story from Bush speech hails Iraq ‘victory’ to Bush says Iraq invasion was right.

But the offending sentence that was the basis for the headline is still in the story, and anyway the damage has already been done. The original, utterly dishonest headline will have been seen by millions of people around the world over the past couple of days.

Update: The Beeb may be burning evidence like Nazis at the fall of Berlin, but the 'Bush hails victory' headline still appears on the video clip of the speech. Twice. (Click to view.)

Not surprisingly, the BBC's 'Have your say' thread on the story is filled with commenters attacking Bush for a victory claim he didn't make. I've been trawling through the comments so that you don't have to – it's an unpleasant job, akin to wading through a chest-high river of bile.

I've edited some of the comments for length, and the names and addresses are as displayed, but I haven’t edited the spelling and grammar. Bear in mind that some of these people don’t have English as their first language, while others are moonbats; it can't be a coincidence that so many lefties appear to be learning-disabled.

This is the pick of the comments from the first 30 or so pages, and at the last count there were 101 pages. The further in you get, the more people are reacting to the original BBC story, and the more frequent the references to the 'victory’ claim. Newer commenters are following a link from the BBC's Middle East news page, and the link itself is typical of the comments:

'Bush's arrogance is astonishing in declaring victorious a war which he lost'
Ahmed, Tripoli

To start with, a special mention for two posters, who quiet openly, in a 'fully moderated' BBC forum, call for Tony Blair and George Bush to be hanged (I've screen-grabbed them in case the BBC's clean-up crews try to 'disappear' them).

Here's William Rogers, from Falmouth, Devon in the UK:

For G.W.Bush to claim victory in Iraq, simpy explains what an ideot and urealistic he is ! The only victory he acheived is controlling Iraq's oilfields. His war was illegal. He and Blair, and their cronies are war criminals and should be brought to justice for the destruction and killings hundred of thousands of innocent Iraqis and both should be hanged in one of Baghdad's main Squares. Iraq was far better place under Saddam than under occupation and current puppet and corrupt Iraqi government.

And David Gurarie, of Bolder, United States:

I hope the day will come when the perpetrators of "great victory" (Bush, his henchmen and his British poodle) will stand before the Hague tribunal to account for this abhorrent feat. Even better to see them on gallows which they deserve much more than Sadam Hussein, indeed of all "Sadams" of the world combined.

You might think that such remarks would contravene the BBC's house rules, which state:

Do not post messages that are unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, homophobic or racially offensive.

Clearly the forum's moderators are as 'impartial' as the rest of the BBC's journalists.

Anyway, on with the show. If/when you get fed up, scroll to the bottom for some closing thoughts. Enjoy…

what Bush calls a "victory" in Iraq is not a victory for the is a victory for the Iraq citizens not for the US citizen...A "victory" in Iraq has cost the US trillions of dollars and the lives of more that 3 thosand of our soldiers and four times that of lost Iraqi lives...A "victory" in Iraq is one that we can not afford
Tom Wright, Tomball Tx

Bush's arrogance and stupidity are astonishing in declaring victorius a war which he lost , the american nazi-fascist policy has failed iraq and afghanistan are to add to the lost conflicts of vietnam ,korea,somalia.
ahmed, tripoli

Five years and still holed in the green zone is that victory. Every diplomat goes in a surprise visit is that security.
riki, leicester

Quantify exactly what % decrease there has been on terrorism Mr Bush! It seems to me all you have done is aggravate the situation, because everyday the violence and senseless killings seem to be increasing. So how exactly, do you define your so-called "victory"on terrorism.
trinirdm, san fernando

I find it unbearable to listen to Bush talking about Iraq. The entire situation in the Middle East is much much worse than it was before the invasion with Iran being the really BIG WINNER (stronger than ever). And yet, he talks about "victory". An insult to our intelligence!!
Stephan, Germany

Your soldiers are still coming home in boxes, your economy is in a shambles, your Country is in debt up to it's ears, 95% of the world dislike Americans, your dollars are been used for toilet paper, your hiding behind your fences at the boarder, you can't go no were in the World with your flag on your back, and Americans are claiming *Victory* it's more like Bin Laden has you were he said he would 7 years ago
Don Nuttall, Canada

Anarchy prevails, terrorist networks thrive and thousands of lives are lost in Iraq and Afghanistan today. No WMD's found, no cause of war even faintly satisfied, no objectives even remotely achieved. Terrorism has spread across the globe. Your Kellogs' and Haliburtons' bask in blood stained money. The war on terror was a 3 trillion dollar intelligence failure.

Hamaad Haider, Karach

This President Bush and his allies had deceived the entire world about Iraq. I just wish to know when this Mr. Bush and his allies are going to face justice because of all the American brutalities in Iraq.
I am really surprise that Mr. Bush still speak of victory in Iraq.

Mr. Bush's Iraq "victory" speech is another of his many utterly self-deceiving and misleading speeches that he has been making since his presidency begun in 2000. Mr. Bush must think that we are all idiots - is it not a common knowledge that it is his Iraq invasion that created Al-Qaeda in that country.
Adil Khan, New York

Bush is welcome to declare victory every month, it does not change the reality
Naveed Khan, San Jose

Thanks God I am not in Iraq, nor do I wish it on anybody.Close to 5000 American casualties, 60,000 injured, over 150,000 Iraquis dead is not a victory, it is a tragedy.
OneMojo Hand, United States

If George Bush genuinely regards what the United States has done to Iraq as a victory then he's even more crazy today than he was on September 12, 2002 when he announced that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.
Danny, Vancouver

If George W Bush thinks that Iraq is a `victory' then why isn't he withdrawing US troops?
This would be the most logical course of action, once a supposedly successfull military operation reaches the end of it's mandate.
Phil Brand., London, England.

Victory??You must be kidding...
bob ariff yusoff, zrich, Switzerland

This is why the US invaded Iraq - to get control of their oil, and this is the "victory" that Bush is claiming. No mention of this in the Western press, of course.
Anthony George Cheney, Ipswich

How dare Bush presume that there has been a "victory" - the only victory he believes in is one where he and America are at the centre of the world and safe from harm, utterly regardless of the suffering that millions must endure as a result of an illegal war. He's a despicable man, and the only glimmer of hope I now see for Iraq, let alone America's reputation, is in the possibility of a Democrat President next year.
Matt Black, Cambridge

Victory? Tell that to the Iraqis who are dying everyday..
The only Victory will be when on January 20, 2009 when a new president will be in office and this 8 year nightmare will finally be over.
Jeff Gallo, StateN Island NY

If he claims this a victory i would hate to see what defeat is then.
yossi, london

well, considering that Bush thinks that the US isn't in a recession, of course he thinks we have a "victory" in Iraq. He seems to subscribe to the Orwellian concept if you repeat a lie enough times it "becomes" the truth.
[janeravenswood], Harrisburg, United States

Yes it is a victory for him and oil company. Converting US Tax payers money by financial the war that bring profit to them. Using US sons and daughters that is not from their blood to convert to profit for them.
Wil Ng

How naive or dumb is this president to believe there's a victory in Iraq ?
John Perkins, Toronto

English is not my first language, but I've lived 14 years in English speaking countries!
Can Mr Bush give the (not his) definition of Victory, please? I think I have the wrong one.
Gerome M, São Paulo, Brazil

The war in Iraq may have got rid of what was an extremely dangerous man, but for George Bush to even use the word "victory" in this speech i think is despicable. I would hardly call the tremendous loss of the lives of innocent civillians and soldiers in what is still an on-going war a "victory".
Sam, Manchester

Bush declares it a victory..If he feels that way let him be the first to enter Bagdad without bullet proof vest....Better yet, this war is about two components..Bin ladin and Bush...We need a duel like in the wild west movies...Imagine a showdown at sunset with Bush and bin Ladin...Or are they a cowardly pair.. if .Mccain wants to continue this war he should run for office in Iraq.
d muschett, rincon

VICTORY! What does that mean? - is he so out of touch with reality. To use that word in this context is insulting to the lives of the hundred of thousands that have been lost and destroyed.

There is no victory, there is just needless, terrible, anguish, pain and suffering. and for what! so Bush can make a victory speech - lunacy!!! absolute lunacy!
Zam, New York

Few days ago he was asking Russians to help in Afghanistan, today he is anouncing victory in Iraq.
Ratko Maltar, Cleveland, United States

I don't know what delusion Bush is living in, but "Death" and "Destruction" were not categorized under "Victory" last time I checked.
Emily Smith, Columiba

Bush needs to keep quiet for the next 8 months until he is out of office. Americans are fed up. Stop with the fake victory speeches already!
John Wayne, USA

George Bush thinks its a victory?
[George2012], London, United Kingdom

Bush is as wrong about victory in Iraq as he was about the reasons for going to war in the first place.
Nigel Darwent, Trinidad and Tobago

In true style Bush now claims victory when all that he has done is pay off some gangsters who will turn against him anytime soon.
peter, stoke on trent

when i the headline about mr. bush declaring 'victory' in iraq i really wondered whether april fools day had come a bit early.
meg rinaldi, seattle washington usa

Did somebody change the definition of victory when I wasn't looking?
Alec Braithwaite, Bellevue, United States

A victory? Funny sort of victory if you ask me. While I generally support the American side, I can't agree with what Bush just said.
[Martin1983], London, United Kingdom

Clearly my dictionary definitions of 'success' and 'victory' are somewhat at odds with Dubyas dictionary!
John Chapman, Bath, United Kingdom

How Orwellian! A Victory? It is a defeat, and an end to American Hegemony
Mark Bergseid, Carlsbad


One more time: President Bush did not claim victory. He said:

The surge has done more than turn the situation in Iraq around – it has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror.

And he's absolutely right.

I've written many times about the influence the BBC has over the opinions of millions of people around the world, and the responsibility that goes with that influence. It's one thing to 'bash Bush', but their selective and biased reporting on the war on terror can only embolden the jihadists, and undermine the political and public support that US, British and allied troops so desperately need.

Declaration of interest: my brother is due to deploy to Afghanistan with the British Army in September. He knows the risks, but I would hate to think that he might get RPG'd by some previously friendly Afghan who's been enraged by the latest exaggerated, context-free BBC report about coalition troops causing civilian casualties.

If the BBC can't police itself to maintain basic standards of honesty and fairness, then it will have to be brought to account some other way.

The contact details for the BBC's news website are here. Let them know what you think. Blogger power appears to have got one lying headline changed, so imagine what an avalanche of polite, well-argued but savagely critical emails might do.

(Update: My own email to the BBC is in a separate post.)

I'll finish on a upbeat note. Amid all the hate and lies of the comments, a few brave souls have come to the defence of George Bush, Tony Blair, and the US and its allies. Here's one from Ron Alcorn in 'chama' – don't know what that's short for or where it is, but it's presumably in the US. Note the perfect spelling and capitalisation.

History will prove Iraq to be a great success story but I am not sure the United States will be able to save Europe this time.

Amen to that. My US Green Card lottery application is paid up for the next five years.

Related: More BBC Iraq anniversary bias from – who else? – Biased BBC.

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