Friday, February 29, 2008

Terminological inexactitude (and where it will get you)

UPDATE... 01 March 08, 00.54

'Vilnai used the word “shoah” (meaning disaster), which Reuters mistranslated as “Holocaust,” which is “HaShoah” in Hebrew. It is like confusing a “white house” with “The White House.”'
It seems I (and the BBC) were wrong about the remarks made by the Israel Deputy Defense minister. I imagine that the mistranslation was mischievous rather than accidental. My apologies to Mr Vilnai.

According to the London Metro newspaper (I know, I know) Jon Snow is deeply upset by the media in Britain doing a deal with the government to keep Prince Harry's deployment to Afghanistan secret. He reportedly called it censorship. It reports him saying "One wonders [very arch] whether viewers, readers and listeners will ever want to trust media bosses again". Generally speaking, when we talk about censorship, we are talking about information kept from the public because it would be embarrassing for the government were it to be known. But this was not embarrassing information- it was information which if known to our devious and murderous enemies may have brought about the deaths of a number of our soldiers and perhaps Prince Harry as well. Censorship is censorship, and secrecy is secrecy. The left, which loves to conflate one idea into another, therefore annihilating at least one of those ideas is trying to do it again.

We now come to our second example of Terminological Inexactitude. 'The [Israeli]deputy defence minister said the stepped-up rocket fire would trigger what he called a "bigger holocaust" in the Hamas-controlled coastal strip.'

Good one. Many bloggers, including me, constantly harangue people for misusing and overusing the word holocaust. Indeed, every military engagement people don't like is likely to be called a holocaust, and any tribe-vs-tribe warfare gets the same label. The word holocaust is also used interchangeably with ethnic cleansing, mainly by lefties of course. But for the Israeli deputy defense minister to use the word holocaust so shoddily, and in a way likely to be of tremendous utility to Israels many enemies, is unforgivable. I presume this mans career is over. It should be. Just think- all the years Israel has spent carefully trying to avoid civilian casualties even with the most extreme provocation, and in spite of the fact that its enemies TRY to cause maximum civilian casualties, have now been tarnished by these careless words. Israels enemies constantly lie to persuade people round the world that it is waging a merciless and inhuman war on the innocent, loveable people of the West Bank and Gaza. Their job just became much easier. Hell, if the Israelis themselves are going to call their precise and carefully managed stikes against Hamas in Gaza a "holocaust", why shouldn't its enemies?

Terminological inexactitude is bad for all of us. It helps to persuade stupid people of wrong things, often (as in the case of the communists/socialists) intentionally. The latter believe that there is no truth, only perception, and if you can achieve your ends by changing the perceptions of millions of gullible people, why not? In a democracy where communism and fascism are seen for what they truly are, though, terminological inexactitude hurts the body politic. It means that the electorate will vote quite often on a false prospectus.

We can't afford that as a nation. Our flirtation with Communism in the late 40's and fifties already almost destroyed the country, and the terrible decade of the sixties where the traditional views of Englishmen were destroyed almost completely and replaced by arrant nonsense have brought our nation to its knees. No wonder our brightest and best are leaving the country in droves. When a whole nation is wedded to childish, stupid and self-hating ideas, it can't stand long in a pitiless and harsh world. And it won't really deserve to.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who are the losers?

'Remember Iraq? You know, the war we lost? The big failure we were wasting our lives and "treasure" on? Yeah, that one. Haven't heard much about it lately, right? That's because Iraq has disappeared off the international radar, and for good reasons. Enemy activity levels are at the lowest levels in years. The Iraqi Police and military is growing in leaps and bounds. Half of the country has been turned back over to Iraqi control and next month, Anbar Province will become the tenth province turned over.'

Without blush or apology, without recantation of previously held moronicisms and without the slightest indication of having been dead wrong for four years, the big media have dropped Iraq from their rundowns and front pages. Afghanistan now seems much more fruitful ground for bleating about quagmires and wasted young lives. For those of us who actually care whether young Americans and Britons and Australians and Poles died for something rather than nothing, this is bitter gall. The 'liberals' who couldn't stop ranting about the horrors of endless war six months ago seem to have amnesia. Perhaps all the mental energy they put into willing American defeat has rendered their huge brains incapable of any further activity. We can only hope.

But a very scary prospect is already on the horizon... what happens when the military assets previously needed in Iraq are freed up for use in Afghanistan? What happens when all the hard-learned lessons of Iraq are utilised by seasoned veterans in Afghanistan? What happens if we win in Afghanistan? The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, ABC and all the others who want America to fail so that President George W Bush will be politically damaged will have no more quagmires to turn to. They will be faced with a terrible prospect. Not only will America be more secure, and many millions of Arabs and Afghans happier and freer and more prosperous, Al Qaeda will have two possibly three terrible defeats on its ledger, and the idea that all warfare and violence is evil and counter-productive will have been shown to be so much fart noise.

Indeed, for honest 'liberals' the bottom will fall out of their world view. Come the day, come the hour.

Who not to listen to

'Afghan and western forces in the country have been facing a resurgent Taleban over the past year.

Earlier the American Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell told a US senate committee that the Taleban had regained control of 10% of Afghanistan, six years after they were ousted from power.'

Behind the recitation of various facts, two messages are delivered by this BBC 'report'. First, the Taleban are regaining ground in Afghanistan. Second, the Taleban is resurgent. Both of these are crap.

Look at a map of Afghanistan. The Pashto areas along the border of Pakistan comprise between a third and a quarter of Afghanistans area. At the beginning of the campaigns in Afghanistan, most of those Pashto areas were hostile to the NATO forces. So you could say at least 33% of Afghanistan was Taleban territory. Add to that wild lawless areas like Helmand and Kandahar provinces, and probably in excess of 40% of Afghanistan was Taleban controlled. If thats down to 10% it represents a massive win for NATO. Not only that, but with the more than doubling of NATO presence in Helmand, which up until now the British have tried to control with tiny forces, the prospects for the Taleban in the lowlands is very poor indeed. The US Marine Corps units coming to Helmand are veterans of Iraq, competent, heavily armed and very very bad news for the Taleban newbies. And newbies they are. The attrition rate of Taleban grunts is stupendous. Despite the frothy fountain of jihadis coming out of Pakistani madrassahs, they can't keep up with the terribly high attrition rate inflicted on them by NATO. Although the leaders of outfits are often veterans, many of the Taleban soldiery are first mission greenhorns. That means they are rubbish in a fight, and very likely to do stupid things that will get them (and their comrades) killed.

Indeed, it is getting harder and harder for the Taleban to recruit even in the border areas of Pakistan. Only the foolhardiest and stupidest volunteer. Despite the difficulties NATO has in covering such an enormous area, it is still highly capable of inflicting massive casualties on the enemy given even a small window of opportunity to do so. The only thing the jihadis can hope for is that NATO will get bored and go home. What keeps them in the game is money from Heroin, and the abysmal ignorance of the folks up in the mountains of the NWFP. The latter can be gauged from the comment of a recent failed suicide bomber, who said he was shocked when he walked over the border and an Afghan policemen said 'Allahu Akhbar' to him. He thought the Afghans were Christians! At that point, he unbuckled his suicide belt and handed it to the policemen (who was probably somewhat taken aback).

I do have to call into question somewhat the idea of taking every mountain and valley of the border areas. Not only are these places of no economic value, no government has ever bothered to try to govern them. They just make deals with them. You don't come down here and raid and plunder, and we don't come up there and blow up all your houses in the middle of winter. Many many of the tiny tribes in the high valleys will never accept rule from Kabul, be it ever so Islamic. So don't try. Just make it clear that the penalty for harbouring Arab or Uzbeck or Egyptian terrorists is Armaggeddon. You may need to demonstrate this in a few places pour encourager les autres, but once word gets around, it should work nicely. Saying that, even the current NATO strategy stands a very good chance of working in a country totally sick of war.

Superb war reporting
(Hat tip: Abu Muqawama)

This is very high quality war reporting. Detailed, well-analysed, well written and balanced. If only 5% of war reporting was this good. Do you call in the airstrike you know will kill an insurgent knowing that the house has innocents in it as well? Do you fight in the hills with guys who know the hills 100% better than you do, or do you just send in the cluster bombs? Do you kill locals who you know sympathise with and materially support your enemies?

These are not theoretical moral dilemmas for Battle Company and other units from the Second Brigade of the 503rd Regiment, 10th Mountain Division. They are decisions you might have a few minutes to mull over because the C-130 gunship is running out of fuel. These guys are at the grisly spear-point. Say a prayer for them.

Staging the news (Hat tip: Little Green Footballs)

Try this on for size.

'Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do?
Bystanders Turn Away When Muslim Actor Hired By 'Primetime' Encounters Hostility'

Missing from this headline: the fact that the 'hostility' came from a paid actor. Thats right, the victim was a paid actor, and the persecutor was, er, also a paid actor. This road-show is supposed to tell us what exactly?

I think most pertinently it points out an obvious lack of real examples of prejudicial behaviour, not to mention actual assaults or killings. Compare for example Yemeni behaviour with American behaviour. Recently,

'Seven Spanish tourists were killed in Yemen yesterday when an apparent suicide bomber linked to Al-Qaeda rammed a car packed with explosives into their convoy.
Witnesses said the road in the province of Marib was littered with body parts and charred vehicles from the huge blast, which was reportedly heard for miles. The explosion also killed their two Yemeni guides and left a further six Spanish tourists injured.'

Thats innocent Spanish people murdered because they are White Christian Europeans. So, where are the equivalent incidents of American mass murders of innocent Swarthy Muslim Middle-easterners? There aren't any. Where are the incidents of Americans beating Swarthy Muslim Middle-easterners in the street simply for being what they are? There aren't any. So what exactly is ABC up to?

I have a suggestion. Could you ABC folks go to Yemen, take a white Christian woman into a convenience store (if Yemen has one of those) and get an actor dressed as a local to racially and religiously abuse her, and record the reactions of the genuine locals. If any of you get back alive with the tape, I'd be interested to watch that.

Monday, February 25, 2008

So what?

'When children are raised on a steady diet of hatred, disrespect for human life, and violence, those children grow up to be violent and with no regard for the life, or well-being, of others. And not just for “those” others but for all others, including those within their own society. Parents in Gaza need to ask themselves, “What kind of person will my child grow up to be if I have taught him to celebrate the murder of a 73 year old woman by passing out candy and flowers?” as the children of Gaza did in large numbers recently when two suicide bombers managed to kill an old woman and put her even more elderly husband into intensive care.'

I don't know if I agree with this analysis. From my not-hugely-extensive knowledge of Arab history and culture, Palestinian violence is broadly in the mainstream of Arab traditions. Arabs were never good neighbors, to each other and to non-Arabs. Many Arab tribes subsisted by attacking and killing their neighbors and/or stealing from their trade caravans. The Ottoman empire, under whom millions of them lived for 500 years or so, maintained a harsh rule to suppress these cultural traditions. It also incorporated Arab fighters into its military to take advantage of this martial tradition. Add to this cultural tradition the instinctual attitude of superiority that Arab culture teaches to its men, and the extremely macho attitude to maleness, and you have a concoction that is very much prone to violence.

In the case of Israel, the victory of the Jews, not exactly reputed for their warlike nature, over the Arabs time after time is felt as a terrible blight on the manhood of every Arab, but especially the ones in Palestine. The fact that this very real humiliation is taught in Gaza schools should surprise no one. And I'm not sure that the conclusion of the author, that teaching kids to hate Jews will mean that Palestinian society will end up suffering more damage from this than Israel will, is justified. Arab society has always operated largely as the Gazans are doing right now- and there still seems to be an awful lot of them about.

Observing that Jew-hatred will eventually transmogrify into Arab-hatred is to miss the main point: Israel can't afford to weaken in its resolve to preserve its existence in the face of implacable Arab hatred, hatred based in traditional Arab cultural roots. Its hardly important if some of the Arab hatred ends up turning in on itself after Israel has been annihilated. What possible consolation would that be to the millions of dead Jews of Israel?

My guess is that only when the world turns its back on the Palestinian Arabs, and the latter are comprehensively and ostentatiously beaten on the battlefield, will Israel be relatively safe. While the Palestinian Arabs believe that they have billions of cheerleaders round the world, and they can pretend to be holding out against the Israeli military colossus, no young Palestinian Arab will quit the fight. Half of winning wars is persuading the enemy he is beaten. The Palestinian Arabs still have some valid reasons to keep them from that conclusion.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Friday night thought

'Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.' Philippians 4:8

The surge isn't perfect, universal nor irreversible- see, WE TOLD YOU

'While nobody contests the US assertion that the security situation has improved a great deal, it is clearly neither perfect, universal nor irreversible.'

What is this editorialising doing in the middle of a BBC report about the surge? If we were in court, some lawyer would be saying right now 'Objection: calls for speculation, prediction rather than the statement of fact'. I presume that if peace and quiet are 'reversible' in Iraq, they are also reversible in Belgium, Burkina Faso and Bangladesh. Sadly, peace is reversible everywhere. Thats why we have armies and police forces. A favourite debating technique is to pretend that something normal is extraordinary.

Take for instance this:
'More than 30,000 people have been killed since the PKK began fighting for a Kurdish homeland in south-eastern Turkey in 1984.'

This is another story on the BBC website today. Bombs go off in south-eastern Turkey all the time, indeed often in the capital Ankara as well, planted by desperate and angry Kurds. Does the BBC website then posit that the Turkish state is under threat, and the Turkish government incapable of doing anything about that violence? No it doesn't. For the good reason that neither is true. Voilence in Iraq is normal, at least to the extent that many areas still have bodies of men determined to cause trouble if they can do so without dying, and a state which is only becoming capable of policing all its territory right now, in these present days and weeks.

Structrual bias ruins the body politic. It does so by hiding the true state of the world from peoples eyes, day after day, story after story.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

When is sovereign territory not sovereign?

'These settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.'

The EU is nothing if not hypocritical. It is perfectly happy to take Serbia and carve it up, and rally around Kosovo by recognising its 'independence' a nanosecond or two after its 'government' declared it. But sixty years after Israel came into existence, and forty one years after Israel won the West Bank and Gaza (and the Golan Heights) in a defensive war, it still has no claim at all on that land. Note- the whole country of Tibet, all 965,000 square miles of it, was invaded by China in 1950, and I haven't heard more than a tiny squeak from the EU about that. There are no students chanting "Chinese are nazis", "Tibetan holocaust", "Chinese are baby murderers", "Chinas Tibet: the new apartheid" in front of the Chinese embassy. Israel puts up with this sort of abuse on an hourly basis.

So I guess when it comes down to it, soveriegnty is a moving target. If you are Jewish or Serbian, you never really know if you are the soveriegn owners of land; whereas if you have the Peoples Army and a billion factories, or if you are the Palestinian Arabs, you can always find people to go along with your extremely dubious claims to sovereignty.

So how does this sit with the EU claim to be all about International Law (when it comes to US actions round the world) and to be the beacon of all that is good and right? Not well.

I believe there are going to be two outcomes from these decisions- first, minority populations in virtually every country in the world will see it as a huge boost to their own campaigns to split away from the majority. Secondly, the Islamists who have insisted that every inch of soil that was ever part of the Umma must perforce be Islamic for all time will see this as a vindication of their head-hacking, rioting, murders and threats of violence. They will see Kosovo as another victory like their 'victory' in defeating the Soviet colossus, except this time it is the EU they have been victorious over. Forget the facts, this event fits perfectly into their fantasy world-view, and the propaganda which trumpets that world view across the internet into young mens bedrooms from Calgary to Kuala Lumpur.

They can't say they haven't been warned. The Russians have said repeatedly that cutting out the historical heart of Serbia would have repercussions for many other successionists the world over, many of whom the Europeans DON'T support. But I suspect that the decadent Europeans don't really care- they want their way and they don't really care what gets broken. They are spoiled brats with no sense of responsibility.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Iraqi reconciliation goes up a gear

'One underlying theme speaks volumes about the current state of affairs inside Iraq: without exception, participants feel much better about their country. They are breathing easier about security, they all denounced al Qaeda and other “regional parties” (privately they will tell you they put Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia in the front rank) who have conducted or sponsored the mass killing, they do not want “religious extremists” included in their Reconciliation, and they even believe that Iraq may set an example for the rest of the region.'

Although the large media organisations have the odd piece about progress in Iraq, it is the Blogosphere that has the story in full. Pieces like this, written first hand by an attendee at a conference in Denmark, are the future of news. Just the facts, ma'am. Its very hard not to feel slightly smug about my prognostications for Iraq, but I will resist. My views WERE based on a close reading of many individual blogs and websites, but of course predicting the future is always inherently dodgy. I do feel overwhelmingly happy for the Iraqi people though, as I can tell that many of them now believe that a viable, possibly even excellent, future awaits them.

Patches of Iraq are still terrorised by AQiI but these areas are now islands in a sea controlled by Iraqi government/US forces. All around these patches are areas that have freed themselves of AQiI control by the simple expedient of switching sides, forming militias and handing over timely intel to the Iraqi/US forces. There can't be many local Emirs in Iraq who don't know the recipe by now. Even in Shia areas the locals are frequently deciding that the Mahdi army and the other political militias are abusive and more trouble than they're worth- and shopping them to the police/army. In Arab culture, there is very little stigma attached to changing sides and indeed taking up arms against people you were allied to yesterday. If you do it to live another day, nobody really holds it against you. Now that the government and army of Iraq look like they'll win, most local emirs are happy to jump the insurgent bandwagon and high-tail it. Good. Lessons will have been learned about who has the power, the mercy and the money.

On every front, military, social and political, Iraq is becoming more stable and more viable every day. How long before it can hold itself up as a paragon, a beacon to the enslaved Arab world?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Time to tell the unfashionable stories?
(Hat Tip: Instapundit)

'I must confess that when Hamas militants blasted holes into Egypt’s border to end an Israeli blockade on Gaza, my first thought was how lucky those Gazans were. Landlocked and living on less than $2 a day—their plight rarely elicits envy, I know. But there are Egyptian slums that swim in more sewage and are submerged in even greater poverty. In those slums, chronic diseases go unchecked and uncured, and children grow up next to the dead in tombs turned into makeshift-housing.Yet nobody rushes to blast holes into the imaginary border of poverty that suffocates those slums, nor are they sporting t-shirts urging us to sympathise. Why?

Because Israel cannot be blamed.' [From a former Reuters employee, Mona Eltahawy]

We could be seeing a watershed event. Has it finally got through to the more reasonable media droids that the Palestinians, who get about $2 billion a year in subsidies (free money), are not in fact the story? Most of the 'facts' put out about the Palestinians are wrong. But thats not really the most important thing. What is more important by far is all the unregarded facts about the Arab world, about poverty, about political oppression, about why the world is as it is. Because the Palestinians have their own UN agency, and a huge megafone to blast their 'plight' around the world, their story has recieved vast amounts of attention. As the above quote shows, that has led to the annihilation of many other equally pressing stories in the public mind.

Not only is that wrong, it has been a political project of the left in both Britain and America to sustain this gross disproportion, to its great discredit. Isn't the left about solidarity with the poor, the dispossesed, the powerless? All over the world there are people like that not because of nature but because of man. Because of politics, in particular. Why can't or won't the left say anything about that? I know it doesn't fit into America/Britain/Israel-bashing, but then perhaps there are more evils out there than just ours...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Obamania cult

Everywhere I go on the blogosphere and news websites there is discussion of Obamania. It strikes me forcibly that lefties are completely desperate for a magical, messianic figure, a superman, a giant daddy, a god. Obama is a decent human being, and very moderate(ly talented) politician. He has been elevated by his own supporters far far beyond those modest gifts. I suspect that with the rejection of Christianity by the left, the need for a saviour has been replaced by the covert desire for a dictator, albeit benign. There is a real smell in the ludicrously overwrought emotionalism from the Obamaniacs of Cult of Personality. Although not enormously different from the normal boosterism inherent in a run for President, it comes from a different fount.

I think that outside the growing cult, this smell will put people off.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What has Obama got?

The most important question about Barack Obama: if he wasn't half-black, if he was white, and his name was Arnold Richardson, would Obama have got anywhere near the Democrat nomination for the Presidency?

If you watch his speeches and public appearances, you would have to say this is a very ordinary man. Not exciting, not knowledgeable, not impressive. If he was white, we would all probably be saying, Good Grief, that Arnold Richardson is one dull candidate. So if the only thing you really have going for you is an identity-politics one, are you going to stay the course? Are you going to be able to front up to a real deal guy like Mr McCain and persuade everybody you have the right stuff?

A watershed for the dinosaur media organisations
(Hat Tip: Instapundit)

' a recent Obamathon, ”There was even cheering from the roped-off press area, where some media members had crossed an unwritten line and brought family.”'

Is there a sea-change in America? The enormous dinosaur news and TV organisations, dominated by Democrats from top to bottom, will not impose on themselves any longer the pretence of objectivity. Meanwhile, an alternative world has come to exist on the web, based on the best principles from the past: objectivity, logical argumentation, civil discourse, a weighing of evidence before judgement and a willingness to admit error. If you vote Democrat, you might not have noticed the bias in the mainstream news organisations. Its only human nature. But everybody else has noticed. This election may prove to be a watershed.

After all, this is a Rubicon. Once you leave behind even-handedness and objectivity you can never go back.

Obama and Assad (Hat tip:Instapundit)

Why does Zbigniew Brzezinski remind me of hippy beads and love-ins? Oh yeah, thats right, its because he last had an original thought in the 60's.

'Mr. Brzezinski himself issued a statement to the Baathist controlled press in Damascus, where he was quoted by the official Sana News Agency as saying that the "talks dealt with recent regional developments, affirming that both sides have a common desire to achieve stability in the region, which would benefit both its people and the United States."' [Italics Mine]

Stability is not just a word- it is a whole philosophy for a vast number of foreign policy folk in Britain and America. Stability means never having to intervene, never having to take a moral view, never having to front up to bad people and tell them they're bad and taking them on. It means descretely looking away while whole tribes are murdered, whole regions destroyed and whole nations put under the tyrants heel. Why? Because we are intrinsically evil, and if we intervene, the only possible outcome is that our evilness will bring about untold disaster and sin. So its best to be realistic (Stability and Realism are conjoined twins) and just let the evil get on with their evilness. After all, who are we to judge?

Stability and Realism derive from the dreary world of post-modernism and anti-colonialism. Think Jimmy Carter. Think Douglas Hurd. Think Barack Obama. It is the place people go to when they have no belief in our goodness, our rightness, our genuine love of Freedom. That other peoples way of doing things is just as good as ours, even if they do put critics and other folk into meat grinders and plastic packing machines and vats of acid. We have no MORAL AUTHORITY to say anything.

Remember, Nancy Pelosi has already been to see the Dictator of Syria to apologize for being American, for America's existence and for Bushitlers crimes. Hillary Clinton wouldn't be seen dead in Damascus, but then it won't be her in the White House. I predict that if Barack Obama wins the general election, he will be off to gladhand Assad within a year of taking office. Combine Obamas naivety with his belief that everybody in the world means well apart from the Republicans, and America can kiss its current strong position in the world goodbye.

It will be Jimmy Carter X 1000. But then I don't think a majority Americans are dumb enough to vote in a greenhorn with nothing but platitudes to offer.

Free speech the Arab way

Hmmmm. Where have I heard arguments like these before?

'The document calls on stations "not to offend the leaders or national and religious symbols" of Arab countries, news agency AFP reports.

They should not "damage social harmony, national unity, public order or traditional values," the charter says.

Signatory countries may "withdraw, freeze or not renew the work permits of media which break the regulations".

The charter also calls on broadcasters to avoid erotic content, or content which promotes smoking or the consumption of alcohol, and to "protect Arab identity from the harmful effects of globalisation".'

Sounds like Gordon Brown... and other believers in Free Speech Modified So Muslims aren't Offended.

One of the best ways of judging our current legislation is to see which governments around the world are passing similar laws. If Egypt passes a similar law, you've made a grievous mistake.

The one group who nobody ever mentions

'There is one group no one has recognized, and it is the group that will decide the election: the Angry White Man. The Angry White Man comes from all economic backgrounds, from dirt-poor to filthy rich. He represents all geographic areas in America, from urban sophisticate to rural redneck, deep South to mountain West, left Coast to Eastern Seaboard.

His common traits are that he isn’t looking for anything from anyone — just the promise to be able to make his own way on a level playing field.'

Important in the 2008 American election, important in the next British elections too.

The Anglican Church in 2008

'MS [Mark Steyn]: Well, the only person who has the power to fire him is the Queen. There’s no separation of Church and state in Britain. And one of the reasons I’m in favor of separation of Church and state is because the Church, or Christianity, has thrived in a free market in the United States. The established Church in England, in part because it’s fallen into the hands of buffoons like Rowan Williams, who is basically this sort of weird, Welsh druid who’s been promoted way beyond his abilities, that the established Church in the United Kingdom and in Continental Europe has fallen, because there is no free market in Churches. And I think if there is going to be a future for Christianity in Britain at all, it will come, it will not come from an established Church like this.'

I love Mark Steyn; in fact, he's like a father to me. But I don't agree with him in his analysis of the Church of England and why Christianity has declined in Britain. There is a 'free market' for religion in Britain. Every denomination that exists in America exists in Britain if it wants to. In fact, evangelical Christian churches are booming in Britain. The creeping death taking hold of the Anglican church in England and Wales has nothing to do with its competitors or lack thereof. It has to do with the dominance of socialists and communists in that institution which dates back to the first 25 years of the 20th century. Even when I was a child, the Anglican bishop who didn't believe in the literal Christ, the resurrection and the transfiguration were already stock figures of fun. What kind of ordinary, faithful Christian wants to belong to a church whose leaders are ironic secular intellectuals who despise the common folk and hate the popular manifestations of Christianity like Christmas?

The dynamic, cheeful and faithful long ago left the Anglican church for its more bouyant rivals. Thats not much of a problem unless you still value the Anglican churhc as an institution. As an Englishman, I do. I am hardheaded enough though to know when sickness has taken hold to the point where death is inevitable. Twenty years ago, the 'liberal' (read communist) strain of Anglicanism was still counterweighted by the 'conservative' (read Christian) strain, but that is no longer the case. The Anglican church is no longer one thing- it will soon break up into a number of constituent parts. Poor St Augustine.

A New Gaza For Europe

'Kosovo may declare independence this weekend, and the US and most EU states are expected to recognise it quickly.'

...because of course you want to piss off the Russians at the precise moment you really need their help against Iran, and they're in a tetchy and unreasonable mood anyway. It just makes sense. After all, creating a new Gaza strip in the middle of eastern Europe makes sense in the way that clubbing yourself on the head with a mallet makes sense. And if the US and Britain think that they will get credit from the foaming-mouthed muslim hordes for giving the Kosovo muslims their own little country, I give you the example of Spain. What credit have they got for removing their crap little army from Iraq? Nil point.

They recently rounded up a gang who were going for a repeat of the Atocha spectacular, but in Barcelona.

I get the distinct impression that the whole western world is giving itself a group hug over this Kosovo 'independence' because it pushes all the right buttons of the internationalist/fantasist mainstream press. It gets governments who have been buffeted for years for being decisive in Iraq and Afghanistan some kind and plauditry headlines. It makes absolutely no sense from a geo-strategic point of view, and it opens the door for 50,000 minority groups to claim that they should have their own countries, but it does mean that western politicians get to feel good about themselves for a few minutes.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Father, we do not like howe thynges are goin'"

This is some of the best satire since Jonathan Swift. Laughed out loud on numerous occasions. Read it and weep (with laughter).

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pompous windbags!!!!

I have tried to stop myself from posting again about the idiots at the top of the Anglican church, but having just seen them again on the 7pm news, I just have to. The Synod gave Williams a STANDING OVATION. Yes, a STANDING OVATION. Like he'd just won the Nobel Peace Prize or something really worthwhile. The message was clear: the Archbishop of Canterbury is a pompous, arrogant windbag, and we love him for it! For we like sheep are also pompous arrogant windbags.

I can't express my contempt for that stuffy clique of know-nothing do-nothings. Get out into your parishes and preach the word of Jesus Christ! Thats what you are there for. St Augustine would be so angry. And impatient. Where is our St Augustine?

Unclarity of the non-inappropriate kind

"But I must of course take responsibility for any unclarity in either that text or in the radio interview and for any misleading choice of words that's helped to cause distress or misunderstanding among the public at large, and especially among my fellow Christians,'' he added.

He said: "I believe quite strongly that it is not inappropriate for a pastor of the Church of England to address issues about the perceived concerns of other religious communities, and to try and bring them into better public focus."

Oh my. This guy is BRILLIANT. The only evidence for that is the assurances of one R Williams, but whatever. Two points. He can't even apologise without massacring the English language. And second, when was the last time you heard any MCB or MPACUK spokesman talking about the concerns of the Anglicans? You haven't and you won't. They don't bother about that, its not on their priority list. Why is Sharia on Williams's? Empty Anglican churches anybody? Openly gay prelates anybody? Not bothering to teach the word of God as it is written anybody? Hundreds of millions of disgruntled African Anglicans anybody? I haven't heard a peep out of Williams about re-invigorating the Anglican church and restoring it to its formerly vibrant state. How about sorting that out, Rowan, then we'll talk about the other low-priority crap.


Friday, February 08, 2008

The New Selous Scouts

Buried in a couple of recent news stories were these interesting nuggets. The first was the expulsion of two Brits from Afghanistan. 'Mervyn Patterson, a British political adviser to the United Nations mission in Kabul, and Michael Semple, the Irish-born acting head of the European Union mission, left the country this morning, according to reports.'

Look at Mervyn. He doesn't look like a desk-jockey does he?

Now read this.
'Britain's troubled relations with Afghanistan's government has hit new turbulence as it emerged that London secretly planned to build training camps for ex-Taliban fighters.' Great counter-insurgency ideas never die, they are just recycled.

By far the most effective unit in the Rhodesian army was the Selous Scouts. They took captured terrorists, broke them psychologically and 'turned' them. They then took them straight out into the bush to mix in with real terrorists and reveal their location. The Selous Scouts would then call in the copters and the RLI would shoot them. It was a staggeringly efficient tactic. I'm pretty sure by the look of him that Mervyn may well be ex-Selous Scout, or at the least knows some.

It warms the cockles of my heart to know that the British still know how to do some things.

The Benefits of being Invaded

Reading through this post, especially the last few paragraphs, brought to mind very strongly how an intervention like the American one in Iraq is not one event but many millions of individual events. There have been millions of interactions between individual Iraqis and Americans since March 2003, and Iraq will be changed in many subtle ways as a consequence. For one thing, America and Americans are for most people in the middle east mythical entities about which they hear much but have experienced nil. Not Iraqis. A very large majority of Iraqis will have now met Americans, talked to them, perhaps even had daily dealings with them. Meeting people, looking them in the eye and getting a chance to make your own judgement is so so different from judging from afar. For one thing, many of the myths about people fall away to dust when you stand in front of them and talk to them. Its impossible to be around people considerably different from yourself and not take an interest in how they think, how they live, how they behave morally.

I lived in Africa for six years, and my overall judgement of Africans was that individually many of them are great people, but that African culture as I got to know it was woeful and punitive. The Africans who gave it up and lived by our cultural rules seemed to gain tremendously from it. Will that happen in Iraq? Will American culture, the real actual American culture which is tolerant, even-handed, rough and ready but dependable and generous, rub off on Iraqis and give Iraq a much better chance of success as a country? Perhaps it will. Vanquished often copy their victors. Who knows, in a few years, young guys who were foot-soldiers in the insurgencies may well be playing basketball, pimping their rides and drinking beer down at the local haunt. And perhaps imbibing the more subtle flavours of American culture too...

I'm pretty sure though that Iraq will never be quite the same again. The Guardianistas and the Palestinian intellectuals in New York will hate it, sure, but Iraq will almost certainly gain from the experience. You only have to look at the other countries America helped down the road to western-style civic dispensations to understand that being taken over by them is generally a marvellous and salutary experience. Do you want to be rich and free and strong? Invite the Americans in.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sad day for our masters

Just watched Channel Four news. Not a fave of mine, but still good in its way. The presenter was discussing the moronic comments of the Archbishop of the Church of No One in Particular. He had a 'mainstream' muslim bigwig and some minor government minister in for his 'debate'. The govmnt minister said 'We must have only one set of laws for all citizens in this country'.

The presenter said "Why?". The minister waffled for a couple of minutes, and again the presenter said "Why? You can't just assert, you have to tell us why." And as far as I was concerned he was completely right.

If you get up in public to defend our nation and its laws and habitual ways, you'd better know enough about the 'why' to have a credible answer. We are governed by intellectual midgets.

Rowan Williams: I'm an idiot of almost unprecedented idiocy

"Complete Collapse and extinction of the Anglican Church Unavoidable" Says Archbishop of Canterbury. "But its OK because being a Muslim is much better".

Ok, I may have made that up, but his actual comments are, if anything, more bizarre.

"Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4's World at One the UK had to "face up to the fact" that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system. He said adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law could help social cohesion. For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court."

Er, call me an idiot but how does that help COHESION? Having a chunk of our population using its own laws while the majority plod along with British law will ALIENATE the minority from the majority and vice versa. Or is that just too obvious for Rowan Atkinson Williams?

Up until this point in my life, I've been happy to waffle along calling myself an Anglican (as a sort of default Christianity) but I will not be doing so from here on out. So I guess its back to the Church of Rome...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Serbia and Turkey

Whats good for the goose is apparently genocide for the gander. The Turks have been beating the crap out of the Kurds for a large swathe of the 20th and all the 21st century. According to this website, 12,000 have died during this altercation. According to this story, almost exactly the same number died in the conflict between the Christian Serbs and Muslims in Kosovo, according to the US state department (the Red cross casualty stats have far fewer dying, 3,368 civilians: 2,500 Albanians, 400 Serbs, and 100 Roma).

It is instructive to note the difference in how astonishingly different these two cases are being dealt with. The EU has made virtually no protests on behalf of the Kurds, and has made absolutely no noises about recognising a Kurdish homeland in South Eastern Turkey. Indeed, the very idea of a Kurdistan involving part of Turkeys soveriegn territory is completely anathema to European capitals. They have proscribed the PKK, the main Kurdish separatist movement, and condemned it as a terrorist organisation.

Contrast with this the treatment of the Muslim Albanian Kosovans. The KLA, which according to the same story I quoted above, murdered about 1850 and kidnapped a further 1450 who are missing. This is vastly more than have been killed by the PKK. The Kosovans though are the toast of the town, and have been given the green light by most European governments to prepare for independence. This despite the fact that NATO and the EU consider Kosovo to be riddled with both Islamists and gangsters of the very nastiest types.

Only Russia dissents from this consensus view. So what can we deduce from this? Why are Kurds the scum of the earth, who don't deserve a homeland, and Kosovo Albanians Gods gift who must be presented with their own state by lopping off soveriegn territory from Serbia? I don't pretend to know the answer to this, by the way, as I don't subscribe to any of the usual Serbian conspiracy theories, but I am genuinely curious why there is such an enormous disparity in the treatment of the two cases.

I usually have at least some idea why countries behave the way they do, but on this occasion I'm genuinely mystified.

Ezra Levant and the Alberta Human Rights Comm

This is probably THE freedom of speech issue at the moment. Canada is usually assumed to be a jolly good Anglosphere country with hearty lumber-jack folks quaffing Labatts Bleu with hearty mounties, toasting the Queen. Sadly, the Canada of 2008 is much closer to the Netherlands of 1990- brimful of self-hating lefty do-gooders and multi-culti moral-equivalancers. It turns out that all Canadian provinces have one of these 'Human Rights Commissions' which police thought crimes and other contraventions of ideological purity. This despite the fact that actual hate-crimes in Canada are by world standards vanishingly rare.

Who sets up quasi-legal courts to solve a problem that doesn't exist? People who have talked themselves into believing their own propaganda about white Canadians being oppressive and racist, perpetrators of multitudinous crimes against the poor and brown. Unsurprisingly, until the Islamists discovered them, they had virtually nothing to do. How funny is this?

'In its entire history, over half of all cases [brought before the Federal Human Rights commission] have been brought by a sole "complainant," one Richard Warman. Indeed, Mr. Warman has been a plaintiff on every single Section XIII case before the federal "human rights" star chamber since 2002 — and he's won every one. That would suggest that no man in any free society anywhere on the planet has been so comprehensively deprived of his human rights. Well, no. Mr. Warman doesn't have to demonstrate that he's been deprived of his human rights, only that it's "likely" (i.e. "highly un-") that someone somewhere will be deprived of some right sometime. Who is Richard Warman? What's his story? Well, he's a former employee of the Canadian Human Rights Commission: an investigator. Same as Shirlene McGovern.'

I recently used the word Kafkaesque in anger, and I'm about to do it again. In the last six years ONE person has been the plaintiff in every case brought. If that doesn't bring to mind visions of the Soviet Union at its most 'Big Brother'-ish nothing will. Or you're Jon Stewart, who never gets round to lampooning stuff like this because satire is about beating the same Republicans over the head every day of every year until he gets cancelled.

As Mark Steyn points out, despite this whole 'Human Rights' kangaroo court thing being a huge laugh, there is also a serious side. Now that the Islamists have discovered a place to enforce Koranic law, they will avail themselves of it at every opportunity. And given that the standard of proof necessary for conviction is ludicrously low, they're almost guarunteed convictions against their ideological foes.

Why are we so determined to despoil our own systems of law (and government) by creating idiocies like these ideological straightjacket-enforcers? Political parties seem loath to critique these things and make them an issue. Time for new political parties?