The Blame Game.
'Should there be many civilian casualties, the Americans will not be the only ones to blame'.
That's the BBC's view of operations in Najaf. Yet another example of the moral equivalence that has marked their coverage of Iraq.
Here are some reasons why it's wrong:
A)There are good legal reasons for arresting Al-Sadr. Had he not been suspected of murdering opponents he would never have been wanted by the coalition.
b)It follows from this that his revolt has no justification, either legal or moral. More senior Shias asked him to be patient with the coalition and he refused.
c)His militia is not wanted by the people of Najaf- he has merely occupied a holy site to boost his profile and aid his defence.
D)He has not honoured agreements that might have defused the situation.
E)His men have been engaging in attacks on US troops that have partly been responsible for provoking a response.
F)The US soldiers did not choose a civilian centre to fight in, but have decided to engage with him there because he will engage with them nowhere else.
G)The US soldiers have no interest in, nor will they, engage the civilian population of Najaf in fighting.
I fail to see from these why the US should considered 'to blame' for civilian casualties in Najaf. Of course, if they are operationally careless or deliberately callous then on a case by case basis some US troops may be 'to blame', but we are not talking about morally equivalent groupings. Could it be that the journalist concerned brings with them an Al-Jazeera perspective?
Saturday, May 15, 2004
Posted by ed thomas at 3:52 PM
I'll start with a complaint about the BBC. Well, what's new?
It really annoyed me that for several days the BBC website reported a vague claim that the further revelations of photos from Abu Graib were 'even worse' than the previous ones. This phrase was taken from the reactions of Senators who were given a private viewing of materials that in the light of Nick Berg's killing were to be (sort of) withheld from the public domain. You know, there are anti-war Senators out there, and even Democrats (shock), but the BBC reports the 'even worse' comment (unscrutinised) religiously among its headlines for days.
But what did the Senators mean by 'worse'? Well, I have heard no new revelations (we still have the naked prisoners, the leash, the masturbatory activities, the dogs, but no really fresh concrete images. These, of course, are more than we wanted). What I have heard is that 'Congress members, who viewed shocking new pictures of abuse in the Iraqi jail, said England appeared in a sicko video having sex in front of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and that she was snapped in graphic sex acts with other U.S. soldiers.'
And you know, I'm thinking that we in Britain used to make Carry-On films about things like this. And I'm wondering whether (hypothetically, as time's winged chariot hath taken many of the cast away and wrinkled others beyond repair) we could get away with Barbara Windsor as Lynndie England (phnaargh, phnaargh) and Sid James as Spc. Charles Graner (we could change his name to 'Boner').
But what I'm really thinking is that for days the BBC has been kidding its readers into imagining that the Abu Ghraib affair is worse than we've been told, and that means that instead of degeneracy (which we could have comfortably ignored) we've been visualising torture, and so have radical clerics in Basra and elsewhwere.
Posted by ed thomas at 9:35 AM
Friday, May 14, 2004
A Small Point, but one I think is both very important and indicative.
Whose side are we watching from when the BBC reports from Iraq (we know how they value their Al Jazeera contacts)?
Below I pointed out how Paul Reynolds' analysis showed little awareness of US military decisiveness in Iraq, and consequently said they were 'bowing to a new reality'.
This morning the BBC's headlines have made an interesting contrast with other news providers:
'Fierce Fighting Erupts in Najaf:
US forces clash with fighters loyal to Shia Cleric Moqtada al Sadr, as hundreds of inmates are freed from Abu Ghraib jail.'
Meanwhile Yahoo News reported (a Reuter's report):
'U.S. Tanks Thrust Into Iraq Cemetery at Holy City :
NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. forces intensified their war against Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Friday, for the first time sending tanks into Najaf's vast cemetery to blast guerrilla positions among its tombs. '
The difference? Well, obviously, one sets a defensive tone, the other an offensive one. The former depicts an apparently unplanned 'eruption' of violence. The latter a miltary 'thrust' on the part of US forces. In the BBC's report (and caveat lector, this may change without warning or acknowledgement) it is not clear, as it is in the Reuters' one, that the Tank movements preceded and provoked the fighting. Naturally as they did so they were 'bowing to a new reality on the ground' in accordance with pundit Paul Reynolds' analysis.
This reminded me of Melanie Phillips' recent comments on media bias, which now seem just right:
'It cannot be said too often: in the war the west is being forced to fight against demented savagery and barbarism, its own media is manipulating public opinion by warping its coverage and distorting reality to bring about the defeat of its own side. It is, quite simply, nothing less than outright treachery.'
Posted by ed thomas at 11:03 AM
Thursday, May 13, 2004
It's Paul Reynolds time again, and he's saying the same thing as last time. 'Iraq: Time For An Exit Strategy' obviously works on the principle that if he keeps on with the same line, one day he will be correct. I'd agree with him there- if you keep on saying 'exit strategy', 'exit strategy', 'exit strategy', sometime the great day will come and the US military will indeed execute an 'exit strategy' and leave Iraq.
Until then he might be whistling, and for a long time, the same boring tune (which hasn't bothered him so far).
As usual with Reynolds, his analysis is founded on fact. Like every good work of fiction it builds from reality a superstructure that's contrived and slightly fanciful. That's what I look for in a work of fiction, so I feel Reynolds (like many at the BBC) may have missed his vocation.
Reynolds begins, 'unless Iraq can be stabilised soon'... and you realise immediately you're supposed to assume Iraq is unstable, which would semi-understandable if you had any definition of 'stability' to work from. In Iraq the model and Iraq and Iraqi's, not to mention Healing Iraq (slightly more sombre), the bloggers seem to be going about their businesses more and more reasonably, and Ali insists that the commercial world is booming, and despite incentives to dump the Dinar in the Middle East, the Iraqi currency is stable. Stable, see? Meaning where it was yesterday, roughly speaking. So Reynolds must want us to see it differently to that, in other words, deteriorating.
Interesting then that the Christian Science Monitor reports 'the number of targeted attacks and casualties against security forceshas dropped in recent weeks, relative to previous months.' The UK military hasn't (at the time of writing) suffered a fatality in Iraq in the last three months among its thousands of troops. The Coalition has so far suffered fewer casualties this month than last, at a rate comfortably lower than that sustained in November 2003.
'No, but' (yes, Paul, I'm listening) 'Already coalition forces are trying to reduce confrontations...' . Mmmm- that would sort of hold true for Fallujah (I say sort of because if you read the Belmont Club you will find that the strategy is still centred on defeating the ring-leaders of opposition there- by harnessing the local people), but what about Karbala? Surely there the coalition are actively confronting Moqtada Al-Sadr and his mardi bunch? The Belmont Club, for instance, reports the New York Times saying 'Though the Americans say they are determined to destroy Mr. Sadr's forces, they have been cautious about bringing the war to the holy areas here and in Najaf.'- which doesn't so much sound defensive as cautiously aggressive. Why it doesn't enter Reynolds' account to consider such reports I don't know, considering the BBC's extensive worrying about offending muslim sensibilities. The US has been reported loudly for bombing the wall of a Mosque compound in Falluja, yet as soon as it demonstrates its sensitivity it is cast as incapable of asserting itself.
In fairness to Reynolds, he does report fighting in Karbala, but he plays it down because it doesn't fit with his appraisal of a newly defensive coalition approach. He says 'the latest policy does not exclude military action from time to time against the Sadr militia', which somewhat contrasts with the by now well known US soldier's report of heavy fighting and a strategy to defeat Sadr. Yes, Reynolds mentions the fighting, but as a sidenote to the big issue of 'the latest policy'. This phrase, 'the latest policy' takes us inside one of Reynolds' real prejudices against the US-led coaliion. It says, 'look at them floundering around for something that works in Iraq'.
At other times it would be 'events, dear boy, events', but here it's the policy vacuum that gets Reynolds' goat. Either approach only signals criticism in Reynolds' journalism.
He concludes by using US commanders' opinions to back up his argument. He says 'The coalition is bowing to a new reality over security. It cannot impose its will and this is accepted by senior soldiers with experience on the ground.'
He quotes Major General Charles Swannack (a former commander in Iraq) when he 'said that tactically the US was winning but when asked if overall it was losing, replied: "I think strategically we are." '
This is interesting, because clearly this was a leading question (and irritating, because there are no links to these 'remarkable interviews'). But it's also interesting that Reynolds thinks that 'tactically winning' means that the coalition 'cannot impose its will'. 'Tactically winning' has got to mean something. If it is not overall success then it must mean military success (ie, the capability, on the ground, to deal with whatever opposition you face), and if it is overall success then what the hell is Reynolds worrying about? (or gloating about?)
But success is a word you will not convince Paul Reynolds to associate with the US in Iraq in a hurry. Not until they have executed their 'exit strategy', and then we will hear something like 'they assumed success in May 2003, but...' but Paul knew better.
Posted by ed thomas at 12:33 PM
While the BBC luxuriates in one story about photographs (and I mean luxuriates), the story of the Daily Mirror's faked photographs is just surfacing.
Somehow I am more confident that the people who took photographs in Abu Ghraib will be brought to justice than those who faked the British photographs to put lives in danger in Iraq. Come to think of it, I am more confident that Lynndie England will be brought to justice than those who videotaped the vile murder of Nicholas Berg, a story that the BBC were quick to entwine with the notion (in accordance with the wishes of the killers) that it was a reprisal for 'Abu Ghraib'.
When you have BBC articles saying things like 'I do not have the picture in front of me, yet I can see clearly the gentle, almost pre-pubescent body of the female GI loosely holding the dog lead, head turned, her other arm relaxed - held slightly away from her torso. And I can see the writhing man on the other end, naked and destroyed.', how can they not see that their own hype is implicated in the heinous crime that they then feel free to imply is linked to US behaviour?
Update: Now we know for sure about those Mirror fakos. The ball's in your court, Morgan.
Posted by ed thomas at 11:25 AM
More Realities On The Ground, and a challenge from Iraq the Model (I keep hearing people like Paul Reynolds of the BBC saying time is running out for the coalition. Well, Ali agrees time is running out, but for a different set of individuals and interests):
Please, all those who care about the poor Iraqis and want to save them from the brutality of the American invaders and who want to prevent the Americans from stealing our fortune; meaning Bin laden, Zagrawi and their followers, Arab and Muslim tyrants, our good friend monsieur Dominique de Villepin, all the pacifist of the world, the major media, and in short, all those who hate America and obviously love Iraq: Get your s**t together and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT or else one or two years from now Iraq will be…a prosperous country, and then we will never forgive you for letting us down when we needed you!
Posted by ed thomas at 7:55 AM
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Some More Realities On The Ground- A Contrast (bearing in mind that the crux of the Coalition success -and the crux of the coalition moral self-respect- in Iraq is the underlying will of the Iraqi people. If people like Sadr are opposed by the Iraqis, then the way to a peaceful and prosperous Iraq is well and truly open. News indeed!):
The BBC: Sadr tells Mehdi Army to fight on
A US soldier's email: I wanted to write to the American people about why our fight w/ Sadr is going so well and why they should not be seduced by the media/press image that this is somehow a disaster.
On reading these accounts I understand why the BBC's coverage of Iraq is so sketchy and depleted: they simply will not use the sources most close to hand.
Update: Andrew Sullivan has more observations about Al Sadr and the US success in opposing him (thanks to Kerry at BBBC). I cannot imagine the reporting he cites from the New York Times ever coming out of the BBC- they do not care what the US are doing unless it is bad. The opportunities missed to prove its seriousness about balanced journalism in Iraq just continue to mount- as its relationship to Al Jazeera appears ever closer.
Posted by ed thomas at 6:02 PM
A Down-to-Earth Approach to Bias from Daniel Finkelstein in the Times today- an article I should thank BBBC commenter Andrew Bowman for drawing to my attention.
He's pragmatic, using canny examples to prove his point. He cleverly doesn't take on the BBC directly, but refers to John Humphrys' self-confessed "bias in favour of challenging those in power". All he will say is 'My Today programme, which I would also claim was politically impartial, might often turn out to be very different from the one that is being broadcast.'
His example of BBC bias is a cracker (if bias ever can be cracking):
I remember watching BBC news shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Centre. The reporter linking the items casually announced that he was standing in Jerusalem where the events of September 11 had begun and where, ultimately, they would have to end. This was stated as if it was objective and factual, when it was, instead, a political opinion and one with which I strongly disagree. Someone else might have made this assertion while standing in, say, Finsbury Park or Tehran.
I find myself in vociferous agreement with Finkelstein when he says, topically,
'Every single choice made by a news programme reflects the values of the people who make it. They decide, for instance, to report night after night on the Palestinian question rather than the dreadful problems in the Sudan.',
but I'm not entirely with him when he says that 'bias is inescapable', because although some kind of bias will always squeak out at some point, there is a vast span separating 'good journalism' across the 'gulf of bias' from 'propaganda' which I would not want to dismiss. It is time however for many in the media to admit that they cannot claim reasonably to be at the opposite pole to propagandists- a claim that Greg Dyke effectively made in the Autumn when criticising US 'flag-waving' journalists.
Yes, good journalism is 'to find out the truth' by 'challenging all contributors', but it isn't about inviting chosen contributors for or against a cynically chosen world-view justified on the grounds that 'bias is inescapable'. At least, though, admitting the likelihood of bias is opening that possible cynicism up to scrutiny.
I feel I should mention again that this appeared in the Times newspaper- you know, the one owned by allegedly Beeb-o-phobic 'media mogul' Rupert Murdoch- and although it says nothing about the license fee or the BBC's charter review any Beeb-o-phile will no doubt join the dots, spell 'conspiracy', and see intimations of the BBC's mortality that Greg Dyke feared recently when he said 'the vultures are circling'. Well I'm sure that Finkelstein would admit that he, and the Times who decided to publish his article, are indeed biased- and say good luck to people who admit to having opinions.
In the crackingly biased finale to his article Finkelstein points humorously back to first principles:
'How on earth can something sound good in theory but not in practice? If something doesn’t work in practice, in what sense does it work? And if it doesn’t work, how can the theory behind it be any good? The whole point of theory is to explain how things work in practice.'
The theory he has in mind? That of the existence of a balanced and impartial broadcaster-
like the BBC perhaps?
A wonderful article, and the last thing I want to pick out is Finkelstein's digression about his least favourite media expression- the 'U-Turn'. Apart from strongly agreeing with his sentiments, I think that he is hinting courteously that what is needed is a media U-turn (centering in the UK on the BBC), away from the notion of impartial broadcasting and towards doing one's news-provision thing to the best of one's ability.
Posted by ed thomas at 2:04 PM
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
(Special) Friends of Palestine. Sometimes when viewing the BBC's coverage of Israel and area you can't help wondering what contacts they have and what friends their correspondents make out there.
Perhaps it's not entirely their fault- few Israelis want to talk to them (generally out of moral repugnance at an organisation they see as terrorist apologists)- but there are an awful lot of occasions where they go and trawl through opinion among Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank.
Alan Johnston's been out and about again in Gaza recently, touting around for sound-bytes on the 'so-called road map' (his phrase). You can imagine his line of questioning (in arabic)- 'excuse me, sir/madam, would you like to tell me what you think of the so-called roadmap?', to which the response might be 'mmmemph! That so-called road map!'. It it any wonder that 'A journey up the Gaza Strip illustrates the local people's disillusionment.'?
In fact the regularly blasphemed road-map could constructively have been left out of this foray and this report. They could be asking a question like, 'do you support Ariel Sharon's recent plan for an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip?' or 'what do you think of the Likud membership who blocked Sharon's withdrawal plan?'. That would be interesting if insightfully reported. Ah well.
I wonder if he also tried to engage debate on the trial of the IDF soldier who shot Tom Hurndall last spring? A BBC correspondent would have been able to sympathise with Palestinian grievances, as this reporting of Hurndall's mother's response demonstrates:
'She said she still found it difficult to believe that justice would be done.
"It is not sufficient to come this far merely for the staging of a show trial," she said.
The BBC's Middle East correspondent James Reynolds says there is an inescapable feeling among many that this trial is going ahead because the victim was British, not Palestinian.'
There are three calumnies that the BBC succeeds in spreading here. One, ignoring the fact that Hurndall's mother naturally wants the killer to face the consequences of his actions, implying that the Israelis are not supplying that. Two, that now the case has been brought it will be a public relations exercise. Three, that the whole process is tainted with racism.
But what about the other side? The fact that the Israelis initially contested the case shows that they did not intend to make a special allowance for Mr Hurndall's citizenship (incidentally I notice that one of the charges against 'their' man is obstruction of justice). It also shows that they did not intend on there being any 'show-trial'. Conveying no appreciation that this is an example of Israeli willingness to submit their activities in Gaza to the law courts might explain why the only people who want to talk to the BBC are Palestinians.
Posted by ed thomas at 12:16 PM
Melanie Phillips reports:
'The BBC internal inquiry into what went wrong over Andrew Gilligan's infamous Today broadcast which led to the David Kelly affair and the Hutton inqury and provoked the biggest crisis in the Beeb's history, has found that nothing went wrong apart from Andrew Gilligan and no-one was to blame apart from Andrew Gilligan.'
Michael Grade's comment? :
"The greatest threat to the independence of the BBC is the self-censorship of the staff."
Andrew Gilligan's (apart from the obligatory self-defence):
"I am broadly pleased with the outcome of the inquiry, in that the BBC seems finally to have joined the rest of the country in rejecting the conclusions of Lord Hutton."
Not quite what I was thinking, but all interesting responses.
Posted by ed thomas at 7:55 AM
Monday, May 10, 2004
What I’m saying is that these events are the exception and not the rule.'- Iraq the Model
Chaos, A Cruel Scheme or Something Else?
Here's Paul Reynolds musing on how institutional the abuses at Abu Ghraib are. That this did not strike me as dreadful I put down to the reassuring technicality of much of its discussion (but that's the problem). Here's Barbara Amiel with her not reassuring chaos theory.
I start from the premise that the inmates of Abu Ghraib last summer were mostly likely aggressors implicated in murderous activities. I don't think it's possible to treat such vicious people with a lot of dignity without jeopardising the authority of the prison and interrogators. A couple of Iraqi blogs have said some interesting things about this. Iraq and Iraqi's says
'Is there any prison in the world with out humiliation?
Did any one talk about Iraqi human rights before April 2003?
Did any one ask what those people in Abo Ghraib did to be treated like that?
Can any Arab country open its prisons for any committee?
Would any one dare to criticize prisons system in any other Arab country?'
Iraq the Model has apparently interviewed a source that would lead you to believe that the problem with Abu Graib was that it was too relaxed. It's not inconceivable. If things are too relaxed, then imposing order can sometimes be difficult and messy, and spills over into abuse if subverted.
Reynolds' analysis is titled 'US Policy or Anomaly?'. A key quote is 'Did the guard force at Abu Ghraib who liked to take pictures of themselves at work simply overstep the mark while following a general instruction to set the "conditions for successful exploitation of the internees"?'
As I've mentioned, Reynolds' account is technical. I'm not at all sure it deals fairly with the army report of Maj General Geoffrey Miller's review of Abu Ghraib which was undertaken last summer. I'm especially sceptical about this:
'The words "integration", "synchronisation", "fusion" and the phrase "enabler for interrogation" must mean the process by which the detention officers prepare the prisoners for questioning by subjecting them to demoralising techniques.'
The actual phrase in the report of MG Miller's review was 'intelligence integration, synchronisation and fusion' (italics added). This could mean what Reynolds says it means: the uniting of interrogation techniques with the conditions of detention, but since the detention conditions were never going to produce intelligence directly, it seems to me this could as easily refer to questioning techniques and practices more directly relevant to 'intelligence'. Reynolds seems like he is twisting when he tacks on the phrase 'enabler for interrogation' to the other three words. If we add the two phrases together more naturally, we get 'intelligence integration, synchronisation and fusion' (should act as an) 'enabler for interrogation'. It doesn't make any sense (being the wrong way round) until doctored by Reynolds. Just a thought.
Jed Babbin quotes more from Miller, that 'CJTF-7 did not have authorities and procedures in place' when Miller reported last summer. In other words, the privates were doing what they pleased, which seems to have meant a very relaxed regime for the Baathists that were being rounded up and brought to Abu Ghraib.
In fact the headline phrase culled from Miller's review- 'detention operations must act as an enabler for interrogation'- suggests that a basic ethos of detention was being ignored and that senior officers were trying to make it effective. That this failure to enable was at the forefront of MG Miller's mind supports the claims of slackness reported by Iraq the Model. In the case of the abusive minority, their response to accusations of slackness was to abuse prisoners. That is not 'overstepping the mark', it is failing to follow orders.
Reynolds is intent on prolonging the controversy and making the casualties of the Abu Ghraib affair as senior as possible- if they can't get Rumsfeld then let it at least weaken Rumsfeld's personnel- hence the, at bottom, rather obvious attempt to embroil the new director of Abu Ghraib in the controversial incidents of the past.
Update: Samizdata publishes the findings of the military's report into the Abu Ghraib abuses. Here is more info.
Update 2: General Taguba reports to the Senate (linked to this BBC story you can find a pdf copy of his report).
Posted by ed thomas at 7:53 PM
Sunday, May 09, 2004
Matthew Parris wrote an article in the Times yesterday that engaged my annoyance. The basic thesis is that Bush need to win the election in November so that you Yanks can learn the error of your ways. Another four years of Dumbya ought to do ya.
Parris (the kind of guy DumbJon would call a T.I.N.O.- Tory In Name Only) badly needs a fisking, so a' fisking we will go.
Core to his approach is that Bush is an ideologue driven by the theory that 'liberal values and a capitalist economic system can be spread across the world by force of arms'. You will not find in this analysis mention of September 11th.
It is interesting that Parris says 'The opening American presidency of the new millennium — George W. Bush, 2001-2009 — should serve as an object lesson to the world for the decades to come.', because obviously if that comes to pass it won't be 2001-2009, but 2000-2008 that will be remembered as 'the years of Dubya'. This clanger is indicative of his approach: Parris exposes his readers to a dangerous contempt for the reality of history.
It will surely be obvious to an historical viewpoint that GWB was primarily energised by the fact that September 11th happened, and happened on 'his watch'. Parris talks of 'America's dream of becoming the new Rome'. If that is an accurate characterisation it will still always be remembered that the dream took root from a murderous nightmare. When he says that with the collapse of that supposed dream there will be 'no straw at which Republican apologists can clutch' he is patently wrong. Even a disinterested person could make that defence, let alone an apologist.
Again and again Parris makes the mistake of confusing a number of geo-political judgements with an ideology. He compares a Bush victory in November to Harold Wilson's Labour victory in 1975- which created the conditions for the Thatcher revolution in '79 by making us fed up with socialism. Presumably he has in mind Hillary in 2008 (2009 might be leaving her surge in the polls a bit late). Wilson was a socialist; Bush is a neo-Con, so Bush's failure ought to be like Wilson's. No. Bush's ideology only extends as far as ensuring America's security (how would he have energy for more?). Can you define Neo-Conservatism like you can define Marxist-Leninism? You can argue what 'security' means, but to suggest Bush wants to ransack the world on a neo-colonial binge is to depart the debating chamber, as Parris and friends so willingly do.
Following this Parris drifts off into a happy fog of comparisons with British dynasties- the Thatcher years, the Major years, the Blair years. What he fails to mention is one of the cardinal differences between the US system and our own: your lot only get eight years max. Thatcher fell after eleven years, a circumstance impossible in the US. If Thatcher had had only eight years she would be the untainted heroine of Conservatism, neo- or otherwise.
Having exhausted the ideological and dynastic arguments for failure, Parris goes onto the pscychological. You see, deep in your consciousness, you Americans are rather youthful and exuberant. You have this 'dawning neo-imperialist urge' which needs to be blunted, in response to which Parris says 'The answer to “because we can” is “you cannot”.
Parris is too polite to express his desire for as many US casualties in Iraq as possible, but that's what he's just said in so many words. One would have thought he would have been more interested in applying his dictum to people like Saddam Hussein's Baathists, 'The answer to "because we can" is "you cannot" ', but it seems extending the logic of his argument beyond the evil Americans hasn't occurred to him.
Parris proves himself a heroic defender of the lost Baathist status-quo. He says the neo-cons 'cannot allow themselves to think that an Iraqi insurgency could be anywhere near the popular pulse.' This poetic language is meant to obscure the fact that the 'insurgency' is indeed murkey and complex, very much tied into the Baathist past, and far from the regular beat of any supposed popular Iraqi pulse. Far more synchronised is Parris's analysis with those of analysts at the BBC.
Parris concludes by returning to his notion that ideology drives the US approach. He says 'A simple and moving idea resonates through all these words. It is the idea that the principles we now hold are, at the most profound level, universal'. Notwithstanding the fact that to dispute the universality of all the principles we 'now hold' would negate the possiblity that some rights are universal, this is missing the point. It's much simpler and less moving than he thinks. It's not about ideology, complex or simple, it's about security with honour and justice, which, according to the old American way, and in many strands of the British way, is the only kind of security that's real.
(Oh almost forgot to say thank you to Shot-By-Both-Sides for the link)
Posted by ed thomas at 5:51 PM