Saturday, February 12, 2005

Couple of Items

First of all CNN was the liveliest I've seen it in ages (I am a fairly frequent watcher of this channel) in the wake of Eason Jordan's resignation. The need to self-justify dragged up an interesting item (no, fascinating)about Sudan's rapprochement with the South, but also a whiny David Kay to warn about the dangers of getting Iran's WMD capabilities wrong (this is the man I am convinced has made a plea bargain with the Liberal media: 'don't destroy my professional life and I'll say anything you want me to'). The Sudan item was an interview with one of the former rebel leaders of the South, who now plans to enter a powersharing arrangement with the North. These were just two of the desperate stabs that CNN made to distract from their unease over Eason.

Meanwhile, LGF noticed Red Ken's antisemitism- or should that be anti-Jewishness?- in the light of his support for al-Qaradawi.

And by the way, this article about Argentina's emerging anti-US position and alliances with Cuba and Venezuela from the American Thinker is fascinating.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The things I value
about David Frum include his sense of personal involvement in the things he comments about. This was especially evident in a recent post about an Iraqi politician, Mithal al-Alusi, who suffered the terrible loss of two sons in a recent attempt on his life by terrorist gunmen, yet managed when commenting on his devastation to mention a third murder which occurred on the same occasion, that of his bodyguard, in the same breath as his sons'.

I wonder if there is anyone who will read Frum's post apart from me who will make the connection between this incident and another politician who lost two sons to violence in Iraq. The man that I am thinking of is Saddam Hussein. I have to admit I didn't care at all when he lost his sons- in fact I was quietly pleased for a variety of reasons.

So, the question I ask of myself is, do I lack balance to react so differently? Does David Frum for that matter? Or are we actually maintaining a moral compass in distinguishing between the killing of the sons of a peaceful democrat and a those of a vicious dictator.

Should we have marked the deaths of Uday and Qusay, terrible names for many Iraqis, the way we mark the deaths of Mithal al-Alusi's sons, whose names I do not know?

Frum ends his post by quoting from a recent (unpublished, sadly) article from Al-Alusi- which I found quite penetrating. Above all though was the reasonableness of the man. A good man, I would say- even if saying such a thing is really a bit of stretch for anyone.

'Last month, I became the first Iraqi official ever to visit the State of Israel. My visit outraged my colleagues in the provisional Iraqi government. I was fired from my job as General Director of the Supreme National Commission for DeBaathification, expelled from my political party, and stripped of my personal security detail: a potentially deadly punishment for somebody in my position in today’s Iraq. I was even threatened with criminal prosecution.'

Frum quotes this in the context of his anger at the narrow-mindedness of rentagob opponents of the US invasion of Iraq. Can't they at least support the kind of people exemplified by Al-Alusi? Can't they keep a civil tongue, at least, in the face of suffering?

To quote Frum:

'Maybe it’s too much to ask Americans to support such brave people – that at least seems to be the dominant point of view in today’s Democratic party and much of today’s elite media. Maybe it’s too much even to be bothered to pay attention to Arab democrats' struggles and hardships in exile and under tyranny. But can we not at least refrain from ridiculing them?'

It seems the fault is ours. If only we had valued the lives of Uday and Qusay this might never have happened. I suppose, too, that if Al-Alusi had never been so unbalanced as to show support for Israel what has befallen his family would never have happened, either.

I was reminded of Paul Reynolds, who I quoted yesterday, saying that France and Germany, mindful of the price the US was paying, didn't feel the need to 'rub American faces in it'

But what niggled me so much was what 'it' was. 'It' being US deaths? 'It' being Iraqi deaths? If 'it' was economic problems, then I know who would have experienced more of the rubbing of faces, and it wouldn't be GWB.

As it happens, I completely disagree with anyone who says that the price has been high, too high, or some such thing, even though I can't talk about the price from personal experience, like many a family in the States or in the UK, or like Al-Alusi and some of his compatriots.

The likes of Reynolds seek to trivialise the ends and ridicule the means that the US has made its labour in the Middle East. In doing so people like Al-alusi and the countless victims of terror are merely caught in the crossfire. Too busy pursuing mean spirited political goals, the BBC and co. are simply unable to dignify the deaths of the innocent with respect (even the deaths of those they genuinely accept are innocent- these are the casualties of the random dribblings of the incontinent North American superpower). After all, if we had just shown the respect due to Saddam Hussein, this whole 'adventure' or 'calamity', depending on our rhetorical objectives, would never have taken place.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Ohh, look- the Beeb say Iranians are all unified behind the Mullahs.

Despite the fact that they must know better, they can't resist this temptation towards 'balance', as they call it. They also can't resist saying things like this:

'The BBC's Frances Harrison in Tehran says those in power want to show they have genuine popular support, and make it far more difficult for the Americans to topple the regime.'

Which is the Beeb's way of calling a spade a spade. Didn't hear about it in Condi's speech recently, though. The Beeb knows even better than the French not to believe the words of a neo-Con.

Paul Reynolds has an article about neo-Condi- where I agree with him that Condi has not changed her position in terms of substance. However, after the successful elections in Iraq, I find it hard to credit that Reynolds thinks that

'The French and Germans have no intention of joining in the Iraq adventure and reckon that the US is now paying the price of a wrong decision.

So they do not feel the need to rub American faces in it.'

This is the sort of casual language Reynolds uses when he wants to pull a fast one. It's not as if Bush didn't scupper all their hopes when he got reelected. It's not as if the election success didn't pull a rug from under the Iraq war critics. Their position, as Steyn has argued cogently, is dribbling away. The only question now is what their exit strategy will be: the attentive audiences for Condi suggested that Europeans in fact know the game is up. They've been contradicted by the stained finger. So has Zarqawi. The game's up- but let's not rub their faces in it.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


The BBC's sense of priorities was interesting last time I checked. It was held to be bigger news that the British PM 'apologised' (no quotemarks for the BBC) to the Guilford bunch than that MPs were debating the EU Constitution. Even while covering it, the Beeb let Straw get away with the utterly ridiculous argument that the EU Constitution represented a line in the sand:

'Mr Straw said the constitution signalled "thus far and no further" by clearly setting out the limits of EU powers.'

Notice what is quote marked and what isn't. Straw's assertion- yes. Straw's justification for that- no.

In fact, that pathetic gesture politics over the Guildford lot being played by Blair(never mind the pesky bank robbery, we can still be friends) is a long way less important than the progressive seizure of the powers of the United Kingdom's elected legislators.

Bigger still for the Beeb was that Virginian State delegates were backing fines for 'droopy drawers'. So, anti-Americanism conquers much, it would seem. As the BBC puts it, 'US politicians fed up with catching an eyeful of underwear want to fine those who won't hitch up their trousers.'

Yeah, the BBC- well and truly hipsters.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports, unquotemarked, that 'More than one million people from the EU's eight eastern European states have visited the UK since their countries joined last May, figures show.' . Wot, no "visited"?

I notice that 'Around 90,000 said they intended to stay longer than three months', and I wonder if that is all we have to rely on- what they say.

For coverage of the issue that actually raises some questions instead of enforcing answers irrespective, Nicholas Vance asks some questions of the Beeb.

For coverage of the Constitution debate that doesn't tolerate the Straw man's puffery, EURef has a nice post, and promises more to come.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Looks like I was right, sort of, and the Diplomad's period of grace has ended. Whether this was the consequence of the big splash they made considering the sensitivity of their occupation, I leave you to decide based on their valedictory post.

It was good while it lasted, and they link to some alternatives for our perusal. There're plenty of options to put in my links section- more appearing than dissappearing, I feel, on balance.

A Fine Line or a Crooked Path?

Some scepticism here and here about the Sharon rapprochement with Abbas as some kind of Oslo-lite. I'm sympathetic when no-one has really demonstrated to me that Abbas is any more unequivocally committed to peaceful means of resolving the issue than Arafat was. Sure, Abbas can be found saying the right things, and can engender some modest moves in the right direction, but I believe Arafat was capable of that. I see (saw) Sharon's unilateral disengagement plans as- essentially and justly- an attempt to gain the best grounds for fighting a war by either means necessary. If it means signing up to the UN/BBC/French/Palestinian 'peace plan', then it means nothing good for Israel. I don't yet concede that's what we're getting right now, but it could be. The American Thinker (second link) was particularly scathing, and that publication is lashing Bush generally at the moment. I would counsel patience, but Republicans feel that they have some slack to use post election, and they're really using it. Says the A.T.:

'Sharon’s actions are so inexplicable, so out of character, so extreme and so dangerous that one can seriously inquire if he is in his right mind. ... If the Bush Administration continues its ruinous course of supporting Sharon's “disengagement” policy and joining him in the appeasement of the Abbas-Fatah terrorist regime, then it too will be guilty of betraying its own principles as enunciated in Mr. Bush's justly celebrated speech of June 24, 2002'

To which I would reply, still, 'wait and see.'

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Stormin' Norman? Really, I never would have thought of our mild-mannered Norman Geras in such terms if the Times hadn't just used them in a big splash profile. (via Powerline)

Want a sound basis for understanding the world of international politics? Don't want to be a dummy and trust all the wrong people to do things which completely miss the point? Read Mark Steyn now. Yes, lots of people have linked his latest article, most of you will have read it, but this is my favourite part:

'a few days ago, the UN Human Rights Commission announced the working group that will decide which complaints will be heard at their annual meeting in Geneva this spring: the five-nation panel comprises the Netherlands, Hungary, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe. I wouldn't bet on them finding room on their crowded agenda for the question of human rights in Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe, would you? One of the mystifying aspects of UN worship is the assumption that this embryo world government is a "progressive" concept. It's not. Its squalid geographic voting blocs, which use regional solidarity to inflate the status of nickel'n'dime dictators, are merely a Third World gloss on the Congress of Vienna – a relic of an age when contact between states was confined to their governing elites. In an era of jet travel, internet and debit cards that work in any bank machine from Vancouver to Vilnius to Vanuatu, there are millions of global relationships far better for the long-term health of the planet than using American money to set up Eurowimp talking shops manned by African thugs – which is what the UN Human Rights Commission boils down to.'

This passage, especially the last part, contains oodles of that precious commodity, reality.

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