Whenever the threat of war arises, some retired sandpit general will be wheeled out to pontificate on matters of strategy and tactics. For the most part these turn out to be wrong simply because said general is out of the loop. Nevertheless, the way such people are treated speaks volumes about the health of our mainstream media outlets.
This morning’s armchair strategist was General Sir Richard Barrons, Commander Joint Forces Command from April 2013 until April 2016; who was interviewed on the Today programme. General Barrons certainly made an impression; arguing for a systematic military operation to degrade the Syrian government’s ability to deploy chemical weapons in future.
Comments made by Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, were put to General Barrons:
“If there is a strike by the Americans then… the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired.”
Barrons’ response was that:
“I hope the ambassador has chosen his words very carefully because what he’s actually saying is that if the US and allies decide to strike against Syrian chemical weapons and delivery aircraft, not only are they going to try and shoot down the missiles in flight – which they’re capable of doing, but won’t be with total success – but by saying the words ‘launch platforms,’ he’s saying they are going to try and sink ships, sink submarines and shoot aircraft out of the sky – that’s war.”
At this point, you would reasonably expect the BBC interviewer – someone apparently so talented that they attract a salary of more than £200,000 – to ask the obvious follow up question to the General that, surely your launching missiles into someone else’s country is the act of war. Wouldn’t any Russian attempt to take out missiles and their launching platforms be simply self-defence?
Needless to say, the increasingly craven BBC allowed Barrons’ comments to go unchallenged. Long gone are the days when the BBC stood up to the Thatcher government when they tried to bully the broadcaster into referring to British troops in the Falklands war as “our troops.” In those days, the BBC still employed heavyweight journalists and editors who took BBC editorial independence seriously.
In those days, too, if you spoke candidly with citizens of the Soviet Union, they would tell you that:
“You don’t read Pravda to get the news; you read Pravda to get the line.”
Sadly, the same is increasingly true of the BBC today. You listen to/watch the BBC to get the official line; you get the news by reading a range of mainstream and alternative media in order to tease out the nuances. When you do so, more often than not, you discover that the official line has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese.
As you made it to the end…
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