The Daily Telegraph's war support in question

You heard it here first folks: the last bastion of British Conservatism appears to have thrown in the proverbial towel on their support for the war in Iraq. The Daily Telegraph, part of Conrad Black's troubled Hollinger Group, is starting to back—track on their once unshakeable belief that the war was justified.

 

Even more distasteful is that they have used the BBC 24 News channel to do it. This feels a lot like being stabbed in the back by an old friend who is using your enemy's dagger for the murderous task.

 

At 8:35 GMT on Saturday morning, the BBC 24 anchor was reviewing the British newspapers with George Jones, political editor for the Daily Telegraph, and the sour faced Abdul Bari Atwan, the editor of Al—Quds, the London based Arabic newspaper.

 

Al—Quds is the daily for you, if you hate Jews and the West, or if you want a platform for announcing terrorist statements and threats. In practice, you aren't a real terrorist, and you certainly won't be taken seriously, unless you speak through Mr. Atwan at Al—Quds. That's today's tip for any evolving jihadis out there.

 

Of course, though the BBC program was meant to be a review of newspapers, not much of that was accomplished. Instead, the three men enthusiastically jumped into a discussion about the unrest in Iraq.

 

Mr. Atwan was asked how the Arab media were reacting to the current troubles in Iraq, and with undisguised glee he explained that they were very happy with the current unrest: it was what the Americans had coming to them for starting an illegal war and occupation. Not much new or surprising there.

 

The funny thing about the Al—Quds editor is that he always has a pained expression on his face when things are going well according to everyone else. This morning, he  revealed A smile —— he was in fact beaming —— because of all the problems being experienced by the Coalition forces.

 

So there I was munching expectedly on my Shreddies, waiting for our so—called friend at the Telegraph to counter Mr. Atwan's triumphal grin concerning the Iraqi unrest. but silly me —— I should have known better.

 

Mr. Jones of the Telegraph was asked what he thought of the situation, in light of the fact that his paper had supported the Iraq War. Amazingly, he seemed to abruptly recoil at the thought of such a thing, and then sheepishly stuttered that the Telegraph had only supported the war because of the intelligence on WMDs. The clear implication from the Telegraph's political editor was that since none had been found, the newspaper no longer supported the war. Of course, there's been no such official announcement of a u—turn in the newspaper, so this all came as quite a shock.

 

If that wasn't weasel—like enough for George Jones, he then went on to add that it was 'ordinary' Iraqis who were behind the current uprising. Which is complete rubbish of course, and more like the type of opinion pervasively expressed at the BBC.

 

As one can imagine, learning that your ex—favorite newspaper has joined the ranks of the BBC, the Guardian and the Independent is quite a shock first thing in the morning. It must be a bit like coming home and finding your wife in bed with another man. For a moment I felt the need to go back to sleep for the day and allow the depression that was slowly enveloping me to subside through unconscious bliss. Perhaps, I'd wake up and realize it was all a bad dream and my morning read hadn't actually abandoned its often stated lofty principles.

 

But of course, it was really happening and there was George Jones sitting right in front of me, on the BBC no less, now grinning much like the odious Mr. Atwan from Al—Quds. My world was collapsing all around me and even as I write this — I'm still shaken with unbelief.

 

So what is going on at the Telegraph?

 

This is the newspaper that brings us the brilliant Mark Steyn. It's very difficult to grasp the reality that they are now reversing position quicker than John Kerry answering a tough question.

 

The future ownership of the Telegraph is said to be an open question, due to the turmoil at its corporate parent. Could the paper be 're—positioning' itself? Or, is this a leading indicator of crumbling British support for the mission in Iraq? Or, possibly, just one man's changing of opinion?

 

It is too soon to know. But no explanation is comforting.

 

Michael Morris is our London correspondent

You heard it here first folks: the last bastion of British Conservatism appears to have thrown in the proverbial towel on their support for the war in Iraq. The Daily Telegraph, part of Conrad Black's troubled Hollinger Group, is starting to back—track on their once unshakeable belief that the war was justified.

 

Even more distasteful is that they have used the BBC 24 News channel to do it. This feels a lot like being stabbed in the back by an old friend who is using your enemy's dagger for the murderous task.

 

At 8:35 GMT on Saturday morning, the BBC 24 anchor was reviewing the British newspapers with George Jones, political editor for the Daily Telegraph, and the sour faced Abdul Bari Atwan, the editor of Al—Quds, the London based Arabic newspaper.

 

Al—Quds is the daily for you, if you hate Jews and the West, or if you want a platform for announcing terrorist statements and threats. In practice, you aren't a real terrorist, and you certainly won't be taken seriously, unless you speak through Mr. Atwan at Al—Quds. That's today's tip for any evolving jihadis out there.

 

Of course, though the BBC program was meant to be a review of newspapers, not much of that was accomplished. Instead, the three men enthusiastically jumped into a discussion about the unrest in Iraq.

 

Mr. Atwan was asked how the Arab media were reacting to the current troubles in Iraq, and with undisguised glee he explained that they were very happy with the current unrest: it was what the Americans had coming to them for starting an illegal war and occupation. Not much new or surprising there.

 

The funny thing about the Al—Quds editor is that he always has a pained expression on his face when things are going well according to everyone else. This morning, he  revealed A smile —— he was in fact beaming —— because of all the problems being experienced by the Coalition forces.

 

So there I was munching expectedly on my Shreddies, waiting for our so—called friend at the Telegraph to counter Mr. Atwan's triumphal grin concerning the Iraqi unrest. but silly me —— I should have known better.

 

Mr. Jones of the Telegraph was asked what he thought of the situation, in light of the fact that his paper had supported the Iraq War. Amazingly, he seemed to abruptly recoil at the thought of such a thing, and then sheepishly stuttered that the Telegraph had only supported the war because of the intelligence on WMDs. The clear implication from the Telegraph's political editor was that since none had been found, the newspaper no longer supported the war. Of course, there's been no such official announcement of a u—turn in the newspaper, so this all came as quite a shock.

 

If that wasn't weasel—like enough for George Jones, he then went on to add that it was 'ordinary' Iraqis who were behind the current uprising. Which is complete rubbish of course, and more like the type of opinion pervasively expressed at the BBC.

 

As one can imagine, learning that your ex—favorite newspaper has joined the ranks of the BBC, the Guardian and the Independent is quite a shock first thing in the morning. It must be a bit like coming home and finding your wife in bed with another man. For a moment I felt the need to go back to sleep for the day and allow the depression that was slowly enveloping me to subside through unconscious bliss. Perhaps, I'd wake up and realize it was all a bad dream and my morning read hadn't actually abandoned its often stated lofty principles.

 

But of course, it was really happening and there was George Jones sitting right in front of me, on the BBC no less, now grinning much like the odious Mr. Atwan from Al—Quds. My world was collapsing all around me and even as I write this — I'm still shaken with unbelief.

 

So what is going on at the Telegraph?

 

This is the newspaper that brings us the brilliant Mark Steyn. It's very difficult to grasp the reality that they are now reversing position quicker than John Kerry answering a tough question.

 

The future ownership of the Telegraph is said to be an open question, due to the turmoil at its corporate parent. Could the paper be 're—positioning' itself? Or, is this a leading indicator of crumbling British support for the mission in Iraq? Or, possibly, just one man's changing of opinion?

 

It is too soon to know. But no explanation is comforting.

 

Michael Morris is our London correspondent