Thursday, July 31, 2008

Two days, Seven years

'The remains of British and Australian troops killed in WWI are to be taken from a French mass grave and reburied in individual plots at a new cemetery.

The bodies of up to 400 soldiers found at the grave in north-east France in May will be reburied as close as possible to where they were found.

The men will be given full military honours to commemorate their bravery.

They died in the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916, thought to be one of the bloodiest for Australian troops in WWI.

It took place over 19 and 20 July 1916 - 5,533 Australian soldiers and 1,547 British soldiers were killed.'

Or, to put it into context, more casualties than MNF-Iraq and NATO have suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan COMBINED in seven YEARS of fighting. Two days, seven years. I don't like making these kind of arguments- I think they coarsen the debate. But the left have a continuous drumbeat of stories about the 'heavy' casualties that we are suffering in Iraq and Afghanistan, hoping that the historically-challenged listening and watching audience will accept their propaganda that we can't afford such 'terrible' losses in these 'unwinnable' wars. Sadly, many millions of people have bought the argument- threadbare and paper-thin though it is.

And it may well be that the millions they have suckered will vote against McCain and for Obama in the election, and for the left propaganda merchants, it will all have been worthwhile.

Crime, No Punishment

'Digby Johnson, of the Johnson Partnership in Nottingham, said: "Offenders who would normally face court and serious sentences are walking away with a ticket in their back pocket.

"I've known a caution for a serious offence of actual bodily harm where the victim required stitches.

"A caution was issued for having a house full of cannabis plants. A 20-year-old man who had unlawful sex with a 15-year-old was cautioned."

The latest Home Office figures, and other evidence gathered by the BBC, appear to support the lawyers' claims that the number of offenders being prosecuted in court is in decline.

A spokesman for Her Majesty's Court Service said figures for the number of defendants appearing before the courts peaked in 2004, but then began to drop.

The latest figures from 2006 show appearances fell by more than 10% in two years to 1.78 million. Magistrates believe the next figures due out in November will show an even greater reduction.'

Weird huh? So why do think that is happening? I think I know at least part of the answer.

I recently saw up close and personal the dysfunctions of the system. I was assaulted, and insisted that the person who did it go to court and be punished. The Police and subsequently the detectives who handled the case were superb. I have no complaints about their responsiveness or professionalism. They did exactly what they were supposed to do throughout. When it got to court, everything changed. First, the prosecution council came in to ask us if we wouldn't mind him dropping the prosecution. After picking my chin up off the floor, I asked him why we would want to do that, after all the effort that had gone in to getting this person prosecuted. He said that the guy was older, and was a fine upstanding citizen and blah blah blah. He also said that there was a fair chance the guy would be acquitted. I said something along the lines of 'but its an open and shut case, we have all the witness statements and photos of the injuries caused' and he just looked shifty.

When the case was being heard, the prosecution was absolutely appalling. I could have done a better job from watching 'Law and Order' and not being a moron. The prosecutor didn't challenge any of the ludicrous things the defense said, some of which were defamatory and disgusting. The defense was a succession of rediculous lies- didn't matter. The prosecution was there in name only. So after hundreds of Police-hours and detective-hours and magistrate-hours and our time, the guy was acquitted despite being plainly guilty.

My immediate thought was what that must be like for the Police and detectives. How many days does their hard work end up being trounced in the courts by the idiots at the CPS, many of whom are Guardianista hippies who don't believe in punishment for crime, especially where minorities and the poor are concerned? Over months and years, the Police and detectives must just give up on the whole regime, and consider that SOME punishment, whether a caution or on-the-spot fine is better than huge amounts of wasted time and no conviction to show at the end.

The hippies and wastrels who now occupy many parts of our bureacracy, whether it is in the civil service, local government, the secret service or the legal system, are undermining the overt functions and purposes of those organisations. Why is Britain full of illegal aliens? Why are local taxes so staggeringly high? Why can't we trust our secret service to protect the nation? Why doesn't the CPS convict criminals? Because those organisations are run by a bunch of old hippies who don't believe in borders, who want socialism by the back door, who hate fuddy-duddy white Britain, who see the poor as victims of the capitalist system and therefore not guilty by reason of class warfare.

Communism may have bitten the dust in the Soviet Union and East Germany, but it is alive and well in Haringey and Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Confused analyis of Irans possible futures

'The last thing Tehran wants is for the US to leave Iraq, at least anytime in the next five years. Obama first said that if elected he would withdraw US forces within 16 months. Then he said he would revise this figure. Despite his shifting position, Iranians see Obama as someone who is serious about ending America’s presence in Iraq, certainly in the next two to three years.

Should he do that, Tehran could be left with two possible scenarios, both of which spell trouble for them.

One is that the US leaves Iraq without solving its security problems. This could spell disaster for Tehran, as al-Qaeda is likely to turn its guns on Iran instead. The other possibility is that the US leaves Iraq as a stable country, both in terms of security and politics. This could be equally bad for Iran. A strong Iraq, even one in which Shiites are in charge, is not in Iran’s interests either as Shiites there could be placed under pressure to severe [sic] their ties with Iran as means of showing their allegiance. And if the ruling Shiites refused to do so, the Kurds and the Sunnis could very well start destabilizing the government in Baghdad, thus producing a Lebanon right on Iran’s doorstep.'

Gazing into the future is always tough. But this attempt at prognostication is more confused than most. According to this analysis, the reason a weak, ineffective Iraq would be a problem for Iran would be Al Qaeda and what it would do next. Right now, the AQiI operatives are down to the last few old men and boys, and whatever women they can coerce into blowing themselves up. The future threat they might represent to Iran seems pretty inconsequential. We might call the weak, ineffective Iraq the 'Lebanon Scenario'. Bizarrely, a strong, stable Iraq is deemed to also be simply a precursor to 'Lebanon Scenario' in this analysis, because the Kurds and Sunnis would undermine a successful Iran-linked Shia govmt.

It seems pretty obvious to most observers that a weak 'Lebanon Scenario' Iraq would be vastly preferable to Iran than the alternative. There are endless ways Iran can screw around with Iraq if it is weak, divided and internally preoccupied. It would without doubt do so; it has been doing it for the last five years when these conditions held. Now that Iraq is sorting itself out under the increasingly assured hand of Nuri Al Maliki, Irans scope for hanky panky is declining precipitously. Thats all bad news for the Mullahs.

A strong, democratic Shia Iraq is virtually the perfect storm of badness for the Mullahs, on the other hand. Shia Arabs may start to look to Iraq as the model of their future, living in harmony with Sunnis in a secular state where all streams of Islamic belief are tolerated, indeed protected. Irans model will increasingly be seen as a kind of Islamic fascism, both totalitarian and old-fashioned. Especially without nuclear weapons, an increasingly poor and inept Iran is going to be no inspiration to the ordinary folk all over the middle east and further afield- and the Islamic Revolutions main raison-d'etre will disappear.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Making up stuff: Global Rights

'In the European mind, Guantanamo is one of the centers of evil in the world, a dungeon where George W. Bush commits unspeakable acts on innocent Muslims who just happened to be on a battlefield in Afghanistan or Pakistan when U.S. troops captured them.

She says the prisoners in Gitmo have been denied their constitutional rights.

I say they are enemy combatants; they have rights under international treaties, but not American constitutional rights.

But they have “global rights,” she insists.

What are “global rights”? I ask.

There’s no precise definition, but as far as I could tell, “global rights” appear to be American constitutional rights applied to the entire planet. It’s an astounding notion, given that American constitutional rights definitely do not apply across the entire planet — not even in places like, well, France.'

Where to begin? The French beams vs the American motes? The fact that not only do Gitmo detainees have rights, they even get medical treatment, good food, entertainement and free Korans? Rather than say, a bullet in the back of the head... or that the desparately poor banlieues north of Paris crammed with unemployed North African immigrants tell you everything you need to know about racism and discrimination in France.

What do you mean, almost?

'A Criminal Enterprise

At the peak of the militia’s control last summer, it was involved at all levels of the local economy, taking money from gas stations, private minibus services, electric switching stations, food and clothing markets, ice factories, and even collecting rent from squatters in houses whose owners had been displaced. The four main gas stations in Sadr City were handing over a total of about $13,000 a day, according to a member of the local council.

“It’s almost like the old Mafia criminal days in the United States,” said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, an Army engineer rebuilding Sadr City’s main market.'

The New York Times has latterly accepted that its political allegiance can no longer trump its professional requirement to report facts. This is a very interesting article, especially if you remember the unadulterated horseshite that was very recently coming from every part of the left including the New York Times. I blogged not long ago about numerous articles in the MSM saying that for all intents and purposes, the Shia militias including the JAM were boy scouts who provide all manner of services to the local populace, up to and including helping old ladies across the street. That horseshite came straight from the JAM and Badr Brigades propaganda workshops. It was reported verbatim. Now that journalists can actually talk to the locals, and especially the tribal leaders who form the spine of governance in Iraq, a different story is emerging. Fancy!

One day there will a special punishment for journalists who are willing to lie for loathesome terrorists just so they can advance some political agenda. I hope it involves fire ants in some way.

When satire bites: comments tell you this hit home

'He ventured forth to bring light to the world
The anointed one's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a miracle in action - and a blessing to all his faithful followers'

The best satire goes to the nub of what is both funny and stupid about a particular circumstance- this is one of the funniest things I've read in ages, but it is mostly funny because its true.

"Hard to tell the difference between satire and garbage these days. The recent cover of the New Yorker is one more example."

bill Leffler, kennebunkport, usa

"Obama is a great orator and he's a true beacon of light for persons of mixed race everywhere. He speaks profoundly and when you mock him, you show your lack of respect for humanity. The lost British Empire..."

Stella, Irvine, CA, U.S.A.

"It would be a sad world if there were no optimism. People mock inspiration because it is a threat to convenient disappointment. Of course Obama isn't the Messiah. In fact, he's a politician. He just happens to be a politician who is not afraid to try to inspire. Enjoy it, it's rare but productive"

Dylan Bry, Carlsbad, USA

"This is clever writing to be sure but without substance, honesty, or truth. Bush, Cheney, and all the other cowards that promoted this war (Hannity, Limbaugh) all these fake flag pin lying patriots will enjoy your article. All the stupid unthinking people will love it."

Stephen Bleeds , Houston , Texas

When you provoke a torrent of outrage like this, with its accusations of blasphemy, a 'lack of respect for humanity' and being 'without substance, honesty, or truth', you know you have hit your target. Those afficianadoes of 'The Life of Brian' will recall the desperation of the followers, people who will follow just about anybody and for the flimsiest of reasons ("follow the shoe, follow the shoe" "no no, follow the gourd, follow the gourd") and whose extremely shallow-rooted allegiance was masked by their apocalyptic denunciations of anybody who wouldn't join the rejoicing throng. If you have experienced young teenage girls allegiance to rock bands, you will have a good idea of what I'm talking about. Just be prepared to protect yourself with every available weapon if you happen to mock 'Johnny-come-lately' and his beat combo (to quote Ian Hislop).

Do you suck as a blogger?

Rules for Good Blogging

1. Have at least half a brain and demonstrate that it actually functions by not writing egregiously stupid stuff.
2. At least 75 percent of your posts should have nothing to do with you or your life.
3. Don't post a picture or talk about your romantic life, your children or your pets.
4. Don't threaten to quit blogging every time anyone criticizes you.
5. Learn how to defend your positions with facts and logic instead of passive-aggressive parthian shots fired off as you run away.

Forget for one moment that these rules were written for women as part of the sex wars. These rules, if they mean anything at all, must be universal. So lets just see how my blogging compares to the golden standard-

Rule 1: Have half a brain and use it

This one I'd have to leave for others to judge

Rule 2: 25% or less of posts about me


Rule 3: No pets, no children, no girlfriends


Rule 4: Don't threaten to quit when you are criticized


Rule 5: Defend positions with facts and logic

I would like to think that all my opinions are fundamentally based on facts, but I'm happy for people to bring new facts to my attention. This quite often results in a change of opinion. I'm also happy to hear other peoples opinions, as long as they demonstrably meet the same criteria.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fantastic summary of why Americans should vote for McCain

This is all Americans need to read before they decide who to vote for. The real man, or the sham.

'Senator Obama and I also faced a decision, which amounted to a real-time test for a future commander-in-chief. America passed that test. I believe my judgment passed that test. And I believe Senator Obama's failed.
We both knew the politically safe choice was to support some form of retreat. All the polls said the "surge" was unpopular. Many pundits, experts and policymakers opposed it and advocated withdrawing our troops and accepting the consequences. I chose to support the new counterinsurgency strategy backed by additional troops -- which I had advocated since 2003, after my first trip to Iraq. Many observers said my position would end my hopes of becoming president. I said I would rather lose a campaign than see America lose a war. My choice was not smart politics. It didn't test well in focus groups. It ignored all the polls. It also didn't matter. The country I love had one final chance to succeed in Iraq. The new strategy was it. So I supported it. Today, the effects of the new strategy are obvious. The surge has succeeded, and we are, at long last, finally winning this war.

Senator Obama made a different choice. He not only opposed the new strategy, but actually tried to prevent us from implementing it. He didn't just advocate defeat, he tried to legislate it. When his efforts failed, he continued to predict the failure of our troops. As our soldiers and Marines prepared to move into Baghdad neighborhoods and Anbari villages, Senator Obama predicted that their efforts would make the sectarian violence in Iraq worse, not better.

And as our troops took the fight to the enemy, Senator Obama tried to cut off funding for them. He was one of only 14 senators to vote against the emergency funding in May 2007 that supported our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. ...

Three weeks after Senator Obama voted to deny funding for our troops in the field, General Ray Odierno launched the first major combat operations of the surge. Senator Obama declared defeat one month later: "My assessment is that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now." His assessment was popular at the time. But it couldn't have been more wrong.

By November 2007, the success of the surge was becoming apparent. Attacks on Coalition forces had dropped almost 60 percent from pre-surge levels. American casualties had fallen by more than half. Iraqi civilian deaths had fallen by more than two-thirds. But Senator Obama ignored the new and encouraging reality. "Not only have we not seen improvements," he said, "but we're actually worsening, potentially, a situation there."

If Senator Obama had prevailed, American forces would have had to retreat under fire. The Iraqi Army would have collapsed. Civilian casualties would have increased dramatically. Al Qaeda would have killed the Sunni sheikhs who had begun to cooperate with us, and the "Sunni Awakening" would have been strangled at birth. Al Qaeda fighters would have safe havens, from where they could train Iraqis and foreigners, and turn Iraq into a base for launching attacks on Americans elsewhere. Civil war, genocide and wider conflict would have been likely.

Above all, America would have been humiliated and weakened. Our military, strained by years of sacrifice, would have suffered a demoralizing defeat. Our enemies around the globe would have been emboldened. ...

Senator Obama told the American people what he thought you wanted to hear. I told you the truth.

Fortunately, Senator Obama failed, not our military. We rejected the audacity of hopelessness, and we were right. Violence in Iraq fell to such low levels for such a long time that Senator Obama, detecting the success he never believed possible, falsely claimed that he had always predicted it. ... In Iraq, we are no longer on the doorstep of defeat, but on the road to victory.

Senator Obama said this week that even knowing what he knows today that he still would have opposed the surge. In retrospect, given the opportunity to choose between failure and success, he chooses failure. I cannot conceive of a Commander in Chief making that choice.'

(Hat Tip: PowerLine)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Washington Post sidles up to the truth, sniffs

From the Washington Post, via Instapundit.

'The initial media coverage of Barack Obama's visit to Iraq suggested that the Democratic candidate found agreement with his plan to withdraw all U.S. combat forces on a 16-month timetable. So it seems worthwhile to point out that, by Mr. Obama's own account, neither U.S. commanders nor Iraq's principal political leaders actually support his strategy. . . .

Mr. Obama's account of his strategic vision remains eccentric. He insists that Afghanistan is "the central front" for the United States, along with the border areas of Pakistan. But there are no known al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, and any additional U.S. forces sent there would not be able to operate in the Pakistani territories where Osama bin Laden is headquartered. While the United States has an interest in preventing the resurgence of the Afghan Taliban, the country's strategic importance pales beside that of Iraq, which lies at the geopolitical center of the Middle East and contains some of the world's largest oil reserves. If Mr. Obama's antiwar stance has blinded him to those realities, that could prove far more debilitating to him as president than any particular timetable.'

Thats about the smartest thing about the war on Islamism I've read so far from the Washington Post. I agree with every word. Of course, it fails to point to one obvious corollary- that if Al Qaeda are in Pakistan, then so will the war, eventually. But hey, baby steps, baby steps.

A flawed study of Pakistani attitudes

'When soldiers here die fighting the pro-Taleban tribesmen in their border region, there is a debate about whether or not they are martyrs. Some religious scholars say that honour belongs to the Taleban, not to troops fighting their own people.

This time, according to those at the funerals, there was no such ambivalence.

These soldiers were killed by Americans... non-Muslims, said the Imams, bent on harming Islamic countries. "May God destroy the alien forces," they prayed.'

I am not sure how much Barbara Plett knows about Pakistans history, but its interesting to me that she only sees Pakistans relationship with the US in isolation. Pakistan has fought six wars since its independence in 1947, with India and Bangladesh. It clearly has designs on Afghanistan, and believes that it can have a sort of empire if it gets to dominate that country. It seems obvious in the context of the continuing fight for control of Kashmir and the fight to retain Bangladesh in the face of a very strong desire of the Bengalis to have independence, that the bald-faced support for the repeated Taleban invasions of Afghanistan is about national greatness and the desire for territory and control.

And like a petulant teenager who can't get his way, the Pakistani response to their loss of Bangladesh was to cut off all relations with that country; the response to Indias understandable desire to hold on to Kashmir (which was always part of British India) was to underwrite and host an ongoing terrorist campaign against India; and to underwrite and host a series of invading armies into Afghanistan to fight against the very people it pretends to be allied with.

'During my time here, there has always been antipathy to American foreign policy, as in other Muslim countries where the "war on terror" is seen as little more than a war against Islam.'

Ms Plett doesn't bother to try to rebut this ludicrous misconception- indeed, it seems that most BBC employees agree with this conception in most respects.

'A few weeks later she [the US Ambassador to Pakistan] was snubbed by a member of that prosperous middle class while handing out awards for academic excellence. A Pakistani university student brushed past her, strode to the podium and made a 20-second protest speech.

The young man, who is studying at Harvard, became a celebrity. He was praised by the media and inundated with thousands of messages of support.

His moment of defiance was endlessly replayed on YouTube.'

I have railed at the lack of seriousness among British politicians in the past, and their essential trivialness- but this goes way way beyond that. To me, it is almost the definition of stupidity to act repeatedly and robustly against your own interests. But then right across the muslim world, that seems to be deeply ingrained habit.

'America's key relationship in Pakistan has been with the army, especially since 9/11.

Put simply, the US pays the Pakistani army billions of dollars to fight the "war on terror".

US legislators refer to this relationship as transactional but many Pakistanis say it is mercenary.'

And why is the US's key relationship in Pakistan with the army? Ask any Pakistani. Its because its the only institution remaining from British India days that retains its cohesion and utility. The political and legal systems fell into deep disrepute virtually as soon as the British left and have remained riddled with corruption, nepotism, tribalism and venality. So who would YOU deal with?

'...cynicism turned to anger when Mr Bush continued to back his friend, despite a popular movement against Mr Musharraf for illegally purging the judiciary and despite the defeat of the president's supporters in February's general elections.'

Over and over again, I can't help noticing how inconvenient truths are elided from reporting places like Pakistan. 'The judiciary' in Pakistan is not like 'The judiciary' in America or Britain or Sweden. People become lawyers in Pakistan to get rich and to go bat for their familial and tribal interests. Justice and the rule of law are not in the mix. I have seen at least five or six reports on the BBC about 'protests' by lawyers in Islamabad, which managed to get through the whole piece without mentioning that the Pakistani legal system is about wealth, prestige and power and not about the law. And when anybody interferes with the inalieanable rights of lawyers to get rich, they head for the streets!

This piece by Ms Plett straddles two issues; the first being Pakistans relations with the US in a geopolitical sense; and secondly, the opinions of Pakistanis about the United States and its role in the world. On both counts, large chunks of the most important and relevant facts are missing. More than half of all schools in Pakistan teach ONLY the Koran. No math, no science, no civics, no geography, no foreign languages except Arabic, no technology subjects, just the Koran. And you want sensible opinions from these people about international relations? Or even how a tap works?

'Pakistan does face a serious threat from Islamist militancy. But as long as it is the army that is leading the way, with little apparent support from the people, many Pakistanis will continue to see this as America's war.

That is why the army itself is advocating a debate in parliament, so the country can evolve its own policy.'

Many Europeans despise George W Bush for his 'you are either with us or you are against us' attitude, but the trouble with wars is they are almost by definition manichean. When I read wiffle about 'evolving their own policy', which sounds wonderfully '3rd way' and nuanced, what it really means is 'we are not with you'. And in this case, that means they are against us. Pakistans North West Frontier Province is awash with murderous turbaned lunatics, and until it isn't, Pakistan will have to involved one way or the other.

The more I ponder the relationship of the US to muslim countries, the less I understand muslim antipathy to it. It is so contrary to the facts, so contrary to their interests, indeed so perverse I almost can't get my head round it. But then islam and rationality have never been close bedfellows.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hey, lets win that war in Iraq- oh golly, too late

'Barack Obama, the Democratic contender for the US presidency, has said his main priority as US president will be to end the US involvement in Iraq.'

He has also promised end the fighting in Vietnam, Korea, Japan and Germany. In fact, he promised to specialise in doing things that have already been done on every front. He promised to bail out Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, use the Europeans to apply diplomatic pressure to Iran and send a few extra brigades of Marines to Afghanistan- confident that those things have already been done.

What use is Obama, really? I mean, really?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Obama strategy problem?

'Last month, Newsweek’s poll surprised many by showing a huge gap between Barack Obama and John McCain, with the Democratic nominee-apparent enjoying a 15-point lead over the Republican. One month later, Obama has lost all of the momentum and has dropped into a virtual tie with McCain. The latest Newsweek poll shows Obama up 44-41, within the margin of error.'

Within a few nanoseconds of being confirmed as the nominee for the Democrat party, Obama started ditching his lefty positions for 'centrist' ones; for 'centrist', read Republican/mainstream. Crucially, he has backtracked on withdrawing immediately from Iraq. My reading of the drop in support for him is that he has lost his USP, his Unique Selling Proposition. When he had the Iraq withdrawal commitment, he had something no other candidate had. Now its gone, he's just another ambitious man who has triangulated. A significant minority of Americans have a rock-hard prejudice against the US intervention in Iraq; for them, Obama was the only game in town. Now he has given up that position, not only are that minority deeply disappointed in him, they are now free to examine his other positions from a vaguely dispassionate viewpoint, and there is at least a fighting chance that they will find his other positions too far left for their tastes.

A significant portion of Americans who are anti-war are not 'peaceniks'. They don't want US intervention anywhere in the world for completely selfish and patriotic reasons: they don't want American soldiers being killed in what they see as extremely remote and hopelessly chaotic places; They don't want US taxpayers money spent on fixing other peoples messes; They don't want annoying foreign entanglements which are then presented by foreigners as America being a bully or a colonial power; They just don't want anything much to do with the rest of the world. In many of the more rural and traditional parts of the US, this is still a very potent philosophy. Obama was their guy. He came across as being against interventions in general, and willing to stop the Iraq one stone dead.

Now he has dropped his Iraq pullout stance, those people will drop him in large numbers- quite possibly enough to lose the general election. The anti-war left are numerically fewer than the anti-war patriots, and will probably stick with Obama because he is still much further to left than McCain, especially on socialised medicine. But a so-far immutable fact about US Presidential politics is that left-leaning candidates lose; America is fundamentally centre right in general terms. In a straight fight between centrist candidates, the more right-leaning one is almost a shoe-in.

Friday, July 11, 2008

BBC: seeing the world through Taleban eyes

'Mr Karzai set up a nine-man commission to look into Sunday's incident.

The commission is headed by Senate deputy speaker, Burhanullah Shinwari whose constituency is in Nangarhar province. He told the BBC: 'Our investigation found out that 47 civilians (were killed) by the American bombing and nine others injured.

"There are 39 women and children" among those killed, he said. The eight other people who died were "between the ages of 14 and 18".'

Over and over again, the Taleban claim that their operatives killed on the battlefield are civilians. When these claims are investigated by credible people, they are mostly discovered to be the lies that they are. Last year was the famous 'team of forty road builders' bombing; this was investigated by Reporteurs Sans Frontier. The road builders turned out to be turbaned Taleban armed with AK 47s and RPGs, and just like many many stories of dead civilians before and since, the real facts never made it into the The Times, the NYT and the Guardian. The BBC website is particularly averse to filling in the story with appropriate backgrounding.

Not once in this story is it revealed that these 'civilian deaths' stories are one of the main weapons the Taleban have at their disposal. It is their stated intention to fight two wars- one on the ground in the NWFP area and the other in the salons of Europe and America. The latter are where public disapproval of the 'Brutal America bombings' can have a discernable effect on the behaviour of NATO countries in dealing with Afghanistan. Why can't the BBC be bothered to report that? Don't they know its true? Or they actually see the world through the eyes of Taleban medievalists?

The grandly and hollowly named 'Commission' investigating these 'murders' was chaired by a man whose constituency is in the heart of Taleban country. He is a Pushtun, they are Pushtun. Many of his constituents sons will have been, or currently are, active Taleban. Why wouldn't the BBC mention this little conflict of interest? If this were a US Senator cooperating with the lies of his constituents, what do you bet the BBC would be all over that like a plague?

Whose side are the BBC on in the war against Islamism and Islamist terrorism and recidivism?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ignoramus takes on evil tyrant

I bought the Telegraph for the first time in ages yesterday, and was confirmed yet again in my belief that it has become a cross between Heat and the Daily Mirror. It gave Hugo Chavez a sympathetic write-up and there were many articles about various celebrity shite-for-brains. The Telegraph of old is dead; long live the Telegraph.

This huffery and puffery from Simon Heffer sounds like a typical Colonel Blimp sound-off, but it isn't. There are a number of crucial mistakes in it which lead me to believe that apart from a couple of names, Mr Heffer doesn't know anything specific about Zimbabwe.

Viz, 'Sanctions on his country merely starve those who disagree with [Mugabe]'. Er, there aren't any blanket sanctions on Zimbabwe... just a few targeted sanctions against ZANU (PF) high-ups. The starvation is caused by the complete failure of commercial agriculture (read white farmers), and the use of international (read United States) food aid as a political weapon.

'How proud does the Left, with its stupidly romantic notions of the inviolate nature of "black freedom fighters", feel about what it has so ably helped Mugabe achieve?' That almost completely reverses the actual case. Who was the British leader most photographed with Mugabe, with whom he got on best? Margaret Thatcher. Who was the British leader Mugabe hated because he had a government of gays? Tony Blair. I know this is all a bit counter-intuitive, but it is true. While the lefty morons did spend an awful lot of time in the '70s bigging up all the communist insurgents in Africa (or freedom fighters as they quaintly called them), since then they have almost universally forgotten about and ignored them. They certainly haven't leant any fig-leaves of legitimacy to regimes like Mugabes. Tony Blair and Jack Straw sounded off about Mugabe on a regular basis, not that they are really lefties.

'Frankly, I couldn't care less who liberates Zimbabwe - North Korea, the Taliban or Venezuela are welcome to it: they couldn't be any worse than the incumbent.'

Really? Mugabe may be a detestable dictator, but in world terms he is very small beer. He has directly murdered perhaps 30,000, and by neglect perhaps another 100,000. By the murderous standards of the 20th century, that doesn't even put him in the top fifty murderous dictators. I would love to see Mugabe and his circle of military, political and security services cronies put into the dustbin of history, but lets try to get a little perspective here. The Chinese Communist junta are responsible for way more deaths than that- where is Mr Heffers calls for China to be invaded?

The fact that we are still within thirty years of the end of white rule in Zimbabwe means that even moderately young people have a personal link to that time. To think that an invasion of Zimbabwe by the British army would not be genuinely and legitimately controversial is just dumb. And the UN doesn't do invasions. It may have given its imprimatur to the invasion of Iraq back in 1991, but it didn't arrange it and control the forces. Real high commands have to do that stuff.

'I know what a shock it must be to Leftists of all parties, with their uncritical adoration of African leaders from the saintly, such as Nelson Mandela, to the repulsive, such as Mugabe, to see that sometimes black people can be evil too. But that is the truth.' No, really? What a banal observation. Can Indians be evil too? Or is it just white people and black people?

How is it that people like Simon Heffer get their views into the paper? Especially when they have nothing of note to say about issues they obviously don't know anything about...