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The statistics of war

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Craig Oliver Craig Oliver | 15:00 UK time, Monday, 24 July 2006

Here are some stark statistics:

BBC Ten O'Clock News logo• Around 30 to 40 people are killed every day in the current Israel/Lebanon conflict.

• About 100 people are killed every day in the violence in Iraq.

• And 1,200 people are killed every day in the war in the Congo.

All three of these stories are due to appear on tonight's Ten O'Clock News. They will probably run in that order - with the Middle East getting by far the most attention.

Does this say something about how we value human life? It's a fair question and one I worry about.

Here is our reasoning for not reversing the order. The war in the Congo has been going on for decades - it is desperately important (as we will reflect tonight), and a story we will keep returning to. Similarly the Ten has led the way in attempting to show the scale of the violence in Iraq in recent months - we have regularly led the programme with stories from there, and the BBC is the only British broadcaster with a full time commitment to being there.

The Middle East needs more time and space for a variety of reasons:

• The sheer complexity of the situation requires space to help provide context and analysis.

• The current conflict plugs into so many other stories around the world, from what Tony Blair and George W. Bush call the "War on Terror", through to the price of oil, even the situation in Afghanistan.

• Many people fear the consequences of conflict in the Middle East more than anywhere else, and it is our job to help people understand a "scary world".

In short, our judgement is that Middle East is currently the biggest story in the world - by a wide margin - and it has the greatest implications for us all.

Craig Oliver is editor of the Ten O'Clock News

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 04:14 PM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • Tim Jackson wrote:

To follow your comparison further. Probably the biggest cause of death in the world is not war (or terror) at all.

Disease, starvation, lack of clean water and sheer poverty would be the biggest killers.

They may get mentioned sporadicaly - when a celeb or politcon champions the cause.

  • 2.
  • At 06:01 PM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • Marko Faas wrote:

Although I do not want to play down the sorrow in these areas, your comparision is not quite correct. In Lebanon and Iraq, these people are killed by bombs or guns. The 1200 people that die in Congo, die not only of violence, but also of disease and malnutrition, according to the UN:
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=19280&Cr=&Cr1=

In Iraq probably there are also many kids dying, because proper care was unavailable because of the war.

That does raise an interesting question: what are the criteria when counting the victims of war?

Why are you justifying yourself?

It seems like your article should end with: 'Am I right?'

I am assuming that is why you posted your piece. Yes you are right. Israel has nukes.

The bias towards the Middle East has nothing to do with complexity. If the war in Congo wasn't complex, it would have been solved years ago.

The main reason wars in Africa get barely a mention in the mainstream media is obvious: The media is owned, controlled, and bought by white people.

To pretend otherwise is ludicrous. I'm not accusing Newsnight of racism, other than indirectly. The whole Western media is racist. White people don't care about starving blacks killing each other. Many don't care about the Jews and Muslims in the Middle East either, but British people are more likely to have family/friend connections in Israel than in the Congo.

The spoof newsroom drama "Drop The Dead Donkey" had a working title of "Dead Belgians Don't Count" I believe.
It was ridiculous to see the "rescue" of Brits from Lebanon being the main story when many Arabs were being killed simulataneously, but that's what the public wanted, I suppose.

In the past few years, newspapers have moved more and more towards "human interest" stories. Judging by the lack of stories from Africa, one might argue that black people are still considered "subhuman" by the media.

  • 5.
  • At 09:22 PM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • Anand Patil wrote:

Hi Craig, I do understand your reasoning for differential treatment towards news reporting.
Over years of watching news, I have realised that the economic consequence of a particular event has always been the basis for prioritising news. Maybe I'm cynical but its a fact that some lives are more precious than others and accordingly get treated - while in life and in death.

  • 6.
  • At 09:24 PM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • David Ward wrote:

Isn't it really just the case that you can report from Israel more easily and more freely than you can from Iraq or Congo? That and the fact that the liberal media has very little interest in non-western people killing each other, whereas it has an obsessive interest in Israel's conflict with the Arab world. While in the short-term, you may be right that Israel/Lebanon is the key issue, in the longer I think my justification is more plausible than yours.

  • 7.
  • At 09:25 PM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • Aviv wrote:

Dear editor,

It is sad that this is the way you choose to present the news. The explanation you are giving above is not convincing in any way. It seems as the BBC is always happy to show any collatarel damage done by Israel in front of the news. Hizballa is sending reockets against civilians all the time with an 100% intention of harming civilians (This is not the Israel intention). Hizballa is using the likes of the BBC to fight the war and the BBC is helping them. I hope that one day you won't see a Hizballa flag raised over the BBC offices in London, it will be too late!

Regards.

  • 8.
  • At 09:49 PM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • miika wrote:

Let's be honest here ... the BBC gives a higher priority to those news articles that are going to be of more interest to the viewers, which means that you're going to go for the one people care more about.

It's discrimination in its most sublime form ... the Congo issues may have been going on for so long, and Lebanon be "new" ... but the Congo is in Africa, and Lebanon is in the Meditteranean.

Geography and race plays a part in what people consider "close to home", and the Beeb is simply pandering to that.

If I'm wrong, then would someone care to explain why there's all this talk of sending an effective UN peacekeeping force to Lebanon, but not an effective one to the Congo? Why are Condoleeza Rice and Kim Howells currently trying to make peace in the Middle East, but not the close-to-war brewing in Somalia?

Think it over, gentle readers.

Plus, it's clearly more viable to the news production industry at large to sensationalize the middle east because that is the agenda that has been set by corporate and political bodies. For the BBC and CNN to step outside the discourse of "The Good Guys vs. The Terrorists" and begin reporting on things in terms of their relative significance to human life would mean a decay of the entire information spectacle. It would mean that the strangle hold that states and businesses enjoy over people's decision-making processes would be thrown into question. It would be disastrous for various industries and organizations that rely on polarizing all debate to 'right' or 'wrong.' The environment and sustainability would be on the front of every paper on the globe, moot points such as "who started this conflict?", or "are we right to invade" would fall to the wayside, and people would start wondering what the actual long-term social and ecological impacts of human activity. Governments would be required to face up to mandates that extrapolate past their 4-year terms and investment interests.
Don't worry, Craig, we don't expect any sort of insight, creative thought, or wisdom from the newsmedia. You don't have to apologize like that.

  • 10.
  • At 12:21 AM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • Ron Gordon wrote:

I totally agree with what Aviv said earlier. It is shocking how your reports are biased towards Hezbollah.
Everyday there is so much more about Lebanon- you keep on asking yourself- but what about Israel?
Missiles are falling in our cities!
I can see you are more concerned about Lebanon because more people die there everyday but did you ask yourself why is it so? Maybe because Hezbollah is shooting missiles from civilians areas? Did you ever mention this on the news? A lot of the responsibility for what is happening falls on Lebanon who let Hezbollah to live peacefully on the border. I think it is actually an easy choice to show the ruins in Lebanon without explaining each day why did this happen. Did you ever mention why a specific building fell down? Maybe because Hezbollah was using this as a starting point for a missile?
lets take a live example:
On bbc.co.uk 00:10
"UN launches Lebanese aid appeal"

On Ynet, an Israeli website the first title now is “an officer and a soldier died in a fight against Hezbollah”. Also a smaller title quoting the UN for saying that Hezbollah is cowardly acting from civilians area. Is this not interesting enough for you and for the readers?

How can it be possible that BBC, which always had a respectable news coverage is reporting biased news? It is so shameful.

Maybe it is not such a great idea to write to you, maybe Israelis who feel in this way should write directly to Mark Thomson the director general.

  • 11.
  • At 02:33 AM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • Eric Dickens wrote:

David Ward in Posting 5 has a point: it is easier to report objectively from Israel than from either Gaza or Lebanon. We get propaganda photos from Lebanon, which show us all the children that are killed, injured or maimed.

Because the Hizbullah rockets are so inaccurate, we get fewer pictures of maimed Israelis. But there is also a more Western attitude: you don't show patients with amputated limbs in hospital just for propaganda purposes.

I am biased in that I believe, allowing for strategic advantage, that the Israelis provide us with more or less the truth regarding the number of troops and civilians killed and wounded. Hizbullah is not a state, it hasn't got a Central Bureau of Statistics. Even if it had, I simply don't believe that they would provide us with a truthful account of how many martyrs they were losing per day.

There are far more pictures of Lebanese, whose background we cannot check, lying wounded and crying, screaming or whimpering. Children also introduce an emotive element. But if dad is a terrorist and was using the family car, complete with mum and the kids, to cover up the transport of arms, then the family could end up hurt. I can't see an Israeli dad carrying Kalashnikovs in the boot for the glory of the Zionist Entity.

My bias also extends to the fact that I cannot imagine Israelis showing off their wounded children to prove how nasty the Hezbollah enemy is.

The statistics of the Lebanon conflict affect us more than those of the Congo. The Middle East trouble could lead to a war between the West and Iran or Syria. But who cares whether the DR Congo and surrounding countries descend into their umpteenth conflict? Let the super-effective UN sort that one out.

If the West keeps out of Africa to show that it is no longer colonialist, then the Arab League and the African Union, two hitherto joke institutions, can surely sort out the mess in Dafur, Ethiopia, Uganda, etc. Or are they the impotent and quarrelsome organisations we always thought them to be?

  • 12.
  • At 07:54 AM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • TheDood wrote:

And yet not a single word from the BBC about this little event... (Aid Chief Blasts Hizbollah).

None of these stories are actually news, though, are they.

Israel has been attacking its neighbours since it was invented.
The situation in Iraq has been much the same for many years, as has Congo.

How about something new, rather than a slight repeat of yesterday's programme?

  • 14.
  • At 02:35 PM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • john mcsporran wrote:

Having spent a period of time in Africa, I am convinced that the reasons behind the focus of Western media is proximity, power group interest, involvement (both current and historic)and drama.

Britain has little involvement in the Congo and many other countries in Africa, there is little drama in thousands dying every day from starvation and local wars that the West cannot understand, nor take the time to bother with. This is one of the reasons why intervention to stop the genocide in Rwanda did not occur. 800,000 died. We all thought it was terrible after the event, yet we have not learned from it. Look at Sudan (Darfur), Somalia, Zimbabwe, the whole of West Africa.

America has an interest in Nigeria. Why? Because it has oil. It has little interest in Darfur, because it has nothing. Where goverments focus is also where their media focus, e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East. I do not blame the BBC for its focus, merely observe reality.

Maybe if the media paid more than a passing interest in the Lords Resistance Army and Joseph Kony then more would have been done to stop him. The same can be said for many African issues.

  • 15.
  • At 02:41 PM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • Imran Ahmed wrote:

War in the Congo isn’t news. It’s a constant background buzz to the pattern of international affairs. The news should do just that; tell us what’s new. Not what’s been happening for donkey’s years.

  • 16.
  • At 06:05 PM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • David wrote:

War is not news by default. News is about change and the current escalation in the Middle East is a big change and an important one. Iraq has been bubbling along for a while and Congo has similarly had trouble for a long time. Treat us as adults - if and when there's a significant development in the Congo, let us know but we don't need spoon-feeding suffering in the news every day just because it's out there - only when it's significant. We all know it's out there...

How we value life is a very vital question. Millions of people are dieing because of preventable deaths such as obesity and smoking. What the champions of freedom are doing to stop the causes of preventable deaths?

Americans are spending hundreds of billion dollars on “war on terror”. How much they are willing to spend on preventable deaths?

More than 435,000 Americans die every year due to tobacco use. Does it make George Bush go mad? He started acting like a crazy after September 11. The reason he became very angry after September 11, was that non-Americans (Arabs) killed Americans. Does he show same anger against tobacco related deaths?

The people who have respect for human life will condemn all types of killers. They will also condemn the murder of thousands of innocent Americans, killed by guns every year. The people who have allowed the use of guns are a party in murdering innocent Americans.

The number of Americans murdered every year by guns is much more higher than the number of people killed during terrorist attacks on September 11.

All Killers are same they specialize in killing innocent people. The only time when name of the race or religion of a killer is emphasised, when someone from non-white background is involved.

What was the religion and race of Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people in Oklahoma??

Was he called a Christian terrorist? What about people who are bombing abortion clinics? What is their religion? What is their race?

Censorship by non-white regimes is called draconian but in case of corporate media, it is called editorial policy.

Long live self-censorship.

  • 18.
  • At 08:13 PM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

You claim you require "space to give context and analysis." Too bad the six years you wasted not reporting the buildup of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the perpetual raining down of rockets on Israel has to be explained to your audience in three sentences taking all of thirty seconds. How much time did you spend giving context and analysis during the two decade reign of Saddam Hussein during which time he murdered over a million people? How much did you devote to Darfur during the years two million were driven out of their homes and 300,000 were murdered. Your reporting style is to wait until there is a dramatic photo oportunity with a big story and give your audience a whole decade of history condensed into a snapshot. How could it not be biased and distorted even if you didn't want it to be? It would be bad enough for a commercial news organization but it's inexcusable for one which is a government funded monopoly and the largest of its type in the world. How about getting rid of trash like "The Ticket" and using the time instead to inform your audience of what is actually happening in the world. There's the space you need. Those of us interested in having a "world service" couldn't care less about hunting sheep dung from a yurt in Mongolia or someone finding a giant treasure trove of 40 year old tapes of rock and roll concerts and outtakes. Those who try to be all things to all people wind up as nothing to anyone.

To add to why the Middle East is more in the news...its oil reserves. Oil is a very important commodity in the world today. Anything that threatens it becomes big news.
I'm not saying oil elsewhere is not important. It is. But combined with the other factors that make the Middle East important (which you mentioned), this region leaves all others far far behind in the media race.

  • 20.
  • At 01:33 PM on 26 Jul 2006,
  • Joanna Eleftheriou, Greek-Cypriot & American wrote:

I feel that the BBC does quite a good job covering Africa, where many people speak English due to the legacy of the British Imperialist Enterprise. For my part, I'm far more interested in the middle east crisis. I have also worried whether I'm not being Eurocentric by feeling the BBC _ought_ to spend lots of time on this crisis. I don't know what stake I really have in it--I just know I'm a million times more worreid about the Lebanese suffering than about the Congolese. Perhaps because I have a few Lebanese friends, and perhaps because admittedly, I am very angry at Americ-Israeli aggression that seems to have no end. One thing I do know--even if i lived further away from Lebanon, I'd still be interested. I think in the end of the day this war started not with the murder of the family on the beach in Gaza, not with the abduction of the two or three Israeli soldiers, but ever since people appeared in this region, and Jerusalem acquired immense symbolic significance for peoples that have been at war for thousands of years. the western civilisation of which I am a part, like it or not, and which has shaped my mind, is rooted in the conflicts and stories that bubbled over the river Jordan, the Sinai, etc.

  • 21.
  • At 07:25 PM on 26 Jul 2006,
  • James wrote:

Mikka complained that: the BBC gives a higher priority to those news articles that are going to be of more interest to the viewers, which means that you're going to go for the one people care more about.

Why is that a bad thing?

One of the key parts of news judgement has always been how many people it touches, whether that means a direct involvement or just an 'Oh my God that's terrible / fantastic' down the pub.
There are millions of potential news events every day in different fields, why not select on general interest?

  • 22.
  • At 11:45 PM on 26 Jul 2006,
  • Paul Beckitt wrote:

I disagree with your analysis, for reasons mentioned above. Other conflicts in the world are as complex, if not more so. The conflicts in the Middle East have been going on since I was born, and are as seemingly unresolvable as those in Africa. There is an inherent bias towards European/Western problems, and people will continue to think of Africa as a conflict ridden and poverty stricken continent until it, and other regions, get the attention they deserve.

  • 23.
  • At 10:07 AM on 27 Jul 2006,
  • Michael wrote:

If the Israelis had a hand in the sufferings of the Congo, I imagine the BBC might suddenly contrive to find the story immensely important.

It is apparent to most that the current clash between Israel and Hizballah is not going to lead to World War III: even responsible Arab governments have come out against Hizballah this time, and it will all be over in a few weeks time.

The innocent casualties in this war are heartbreaking. They always are. Maybe if the BBC gave any prominence to a UN official's criticism of Hizballah for 'cowardly blending in' with civilians, BBC viewers might have some context for the nightly parade of suffering - rather than being left with the impression that Israel simply enjoys killing as many non-Israelis as it possibly can.

For many of us out here, though, the suspicion remains that the BBC is quietly happy to leave its viewers with this impression.

  • 24.
  • At 10:15 AM on 27 Jul 2006,
  • Michael wrote:

Mr Akhter is quite wrong. I would invite him to tell me which Christian scriptures Timothy McVeigh quoted in justification for his bombing. It's simple, when a nominal Christian commits an atrocity for reasons other than religion, his religion is as irrelevant as his occupation. When a jihadist group like Hizballah kill Israelis, and claim - as they do - to act on behalf of Islam, we simply take them at their word. What else should we do?

Additionally, his comparison of 9-11 with tobacco is almost comical. I have a choice whether or not to smoke a cigarette, but when I buy an airline ticket, or work in an office, I am not (unless the rules have changed) asking for a jihadist group to murder me. If he cannot see the moral and ethical difference between choosing to smoke and being murdered in cold blood by hijackers and jihadists then I cannot reason with him.

  • 25.
  • At 07:18 PM on 28 Jul 2006,
  • Akiva wrote:

I find it quite disturbing that the BBC focuses so intently and is so critical of Israeli anti-terror policy but is quite dismissive and even apologetic about Russian anti-terror policy particularily in Chechnya were the Russian killed thousands of civilians to eliminate a terrorist threat. They were not even concerned with trying to reduce civilian casualties in their offensive. These people were not African people they were fellow Europeans, and the BBC did not focus on their suffering as much as it has focused on the death of a couple of hundred Arabs. One might think that the BBC were terribly concerned with covering Arab suffering, but that is also not the case. As their criticism of terror groups killing thousands of Arabs in Iraq does not receive much attention either. It is apparent that the BBC's mission is to focus only on Israeli anti-terror policy and to criticize everything Israel does no matter how many concesions she make in a futile attempt to please her Arab neighbours and live in peace with them. Ask yourself why is it that this web-site has produced a map of all the Israeli air strikes on Lebanon but has failed to provide a map of all the Lebanese/Hizbullah rocket attacks on Israel. Why is it that the BBC almost condones Hizbullah's deliberate attemplts to kill Israeli civilians and then calls Israel's response 'unmeasured' and 'disproportionate'. They are correct! Israel's response has not been proportionate. If it were the Israel Defence Forces would have made thousands of attempts to deliberately attack and kill civilians which it has not. So they are correct in calling Israel's response disproportionate. Furthermore, I would like to know what the BBC's reaction would be if Hizbullah was firing rockets at UK cities. Would not the UK army/NATO not react in a much firmer, more aggresive manner than Israel has been? Would the BBC be so critical of those attacks? I call upon all thiking Europeans to ask themselves what they would expect of their governments if Hizbullah was attacking them.

  • 26.
  • At 02:06 AM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • miika wrote:

Akiva in comment 26 asks what the BBC's reporting would be if Hezbollah were launching rockets at the UK, and what the UK's military response would be.

The answers are within the BBC's archives, look up the terrorist atrocities of the Provisional Wing of the Irish Republican Army carried out on the mainland and abroad.

Then examine the US reporting of those incidents, where the IRA are never considered terrorists, where the US still finances IRA operations quite openly, and where the US and the UK share the same grief - both had Marine barracks bombed by terrorists causing massive loss of life.

Who is right and who is wrong is a very tenuous thing at the best of times. Who supports whom is likewise, but you really need to be careful at such comments because there's something that gets omitted: the UK never annihilated the entire infrastructure of the Province and bombed it back into the stone age.

And despite John Bolton's ignorance, there is a terror apparatus that was talked down by diplomacy. It was the US claimed credit for the Good Friday Agreement to begin with.

Israel might want to consider the history of other countries before it's destined to repeat the history its people suffered itself. Especially when the terrorists responsible for the formation of the State are currently celebrating their bombing of the British HQ 60 years ago, and claiming they "did it in the name of liberation".

In the meantime, the reporting will read according to the prejudices of the audience, regardless of the information being reported equally. No-one is without fault in this, no matter how much either side would rather their own atrocities be overlooked.

  • 27.
  • At 09:16 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Daniel wrote:

My view is simply this.

What happens in the Congo is confined to the Congo and isnt effecting my life in anyway.

However, terrorism is everywhere and effects everyone and what unfolds in these wars will deffinetely shape the world in years to come. This is further strengthed by the mid east connection with oil, which is a pivotal part of everyones lives. Im also interested as the price of oil is strongly connected to these wars, something i like to know about not just because i need petrol for my car but as an investor.

So comparing news on simple terms of life that is lost is alarming and makes for good journalism, but it is clearly justified that its not the most critical world event going on right now.

  • 28.
  • At 02:59 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Rodrigo wrote:

I guess we are dealing with a natural case of ethnocentrism, and I think unfortunately we can't blame that.

As it was said, "The conflicts in the Middle East have been going on since I was born, and are as seemingly unresolvable as those in Africa."

We think some attacks are "newer" because we are looking further at the details. If we did the same for Congo, we would surely find "new" conflicts.

However, the Middle East conflicts impact more directly into our western particular life (oil, America politics, etc.) while Congo conflicts impact much more "other people" lives (and certainly obtain more space in their local media).

It is a shame that man is like this, but we can't help it. Maybe when we get less dependance of oil and other resources, we will be able to turn back our attention to human being as a whole.

  • 29.
  • At 04:41 AM on 10 Aug 2006,
  • David Zenlea wrote:

I do find that BBC coverage is disproportionately focused on the Israel conflict, but this is no different thann the rest of the media. My concern with BBC coverage is more what seems to meto be a disturbing lack of perspective. For instance, the front page currently features a story on Syrians welcoming Lebanese refugees. I certainly appreciate this viewpoint, as I do all of BBC's unique coverage. And yet, nowhere does the author note that while Syrians might be very kind in hosting refugees, they also continue to fuel this conflict with their weapons and incitement. He also might have mentioned that Israel hosts Lebanese refugees - those who ran from Hizbollah in 2000. Again, I'm not saying BBC should not cover such angles of the story; however, the unique perspective should not be at the expense of the truth.

  • 30.
  • At 03:44 PM on 06 Apr 2007,
  • Samir Chamooun wrote:

before talking about the israelian-lebanese war , try to know the reason of all these troubles , imagine that there is no country called " israel " in this region , imagine that there is no military groups arrive Palestine and dominated it and Say " it's our home " think in it , Ask why hezbollah took these 2 soldiers...and then u have the reason to Talk , Try listen the anoher side , im lebanese and im telling u , that we fight and we will always fight defending for our land and for our prisons.

  • 31.
  • At 08:52 AM on 13 Apr 2007,
  • Omondi Olweny Akura wrote:

One western reader wrote:
"What happens in the Congo is confined to the Congo and isnt effecting my life in anyway.

However, terrorism is everywhere and effects everyone and what unfolds in these wars will deffinetely shape the world in years to come."

This reader fails to realize that the behind every war in Africa there is an invisible hand of corporate greed. Congo is endowed by enormous strategic minerals which makes it a target for greedy multinational corporations. How could these poor Africans afford the sophisticated weaponry used in the conflicts given the fact that these arms are not manufactured in Africa!
And I am sure this reader uses cell phones, computers and other electronic gadgetry. Not to mention flying in jet planes. These and other machines heavily depend on rare minerals found in abundance in Congo. NATO alliance countries, needless to say, have for years stockpiled these strategic minerals from Congo since the beginning of the cold war for the manufacture of military planes among other things. Hence there will never be peace in Congo with this continued western loot. The movie "Blood Diamonds" depicted just one of the conflict minerals. But that is only the tip of an iceberg compared to the enormous mineral wealth of Congo.
To the people of Congo and serious war statisticians worldwide this is terrorism of the largest scale imaginable!

  • 32.
  • At 12:40 PM on 13 Apr 2007,
  • greg wrote:

you three reasons for reporting the middle east more i feel are not very good, it looks to me as if tony blair himself wrote them.

1.The sheer complexity of the situation requires space to help provide context and analysis

I strongly disagree. The situation is actually quite simple. We invaded their country and put into power a group of criminals that just want power and money from us, they have minimal support from their people. The poloticians want to make it seem very complex so they can keep their recources flowing in for as long as possible. Ask anyone in iraq, apart from people in the criminal govenment, and they will want the troops out. They need a new election without the americans choosing the leaders.

2. The current conflict plugs into so many other stories around the world, from what Tony Blair and George W. Bush call the "War on Terror", through to the price of oil, even the situation in Afghanistan.

The war on terror is a fraud. we created it in the first place and we all need to realise that the sole thing creating terrorist ideology in the world is because of our own actions in the middle east. 'terrorism' has become an excuse for our poloticians to have more power. for example A top Constitutional scholar from Princeton who gave a televised speech that slammed President George W. Bush's executive overreach was recently told that he had been added to the Transportation Security Administration's terrorist watch list, along with other anti war demonstrators.

3. Many people fear the consequences of conflict in the Middle East more than anywhere else, and it is our job to help people understand a "scary world".

Our poloticians have used the dread of 9/11 to its max. This is the exact reason why they can get away with everything they have done because they have sucessfully convinced us over the past years that this is a huge problem. If it was we would be getting bombed every day and i fear that unless we stop our highly inhuman actions in the middle east this actually could be the case in future.

Now the decision for america invading iran has already been made, i truly dread to think what the repurcussions of that would be.

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