And the point is.....

#2
but where do you draw the line? how many other govts are commmiting crimes against humanity? is it worth the loss of British lives?
 
#3
SKJOLD said:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3718150.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3719522.stm

Always knew there was no WMD in Iraq, always knew Saddam Hussein and Sons Ltd were commiting crimes against Humanity. And that alone, should of been justification, to free Iraq and its people. '

SK
OK Skjold old boy, in that case why wasnt that sole justification put to the British Parliament and people at the time? Doesnt make much sense to over-ride democracy in our own country, in order to try to restore democracy somewhere else.
 
#4
Filbert Fox said:
but where do you draw the line? how many other govts are commmiting crimes against humanity? is it worth the loss of British lives?
What about our areas of concern? Such as Zimbabwe, Sudan etc? why don't we intervene in their affairs?

Sorry I forgot, PC and the lack of oil :roll:
 
#5
we have just been reminded that the US is somewhat flexible about crimes against humanity, it has just vetoed the UN call for the israeli Government to stop operations in Gaza. killing Palistinian civilians seems to be OK in the eyes of the US.

mind you Palistine does not have much oil either :roll:
 
#6
hackle said:
SKJOLD said:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3718150.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3719522.stm

Always knew there was no WMD in Iraq, always knew Saddam Hussein and Sons Ltd were commiting crimes against Humanity. And that alone, should of been justification, to free Iraq and its people. '

SK
OK Skjold old boy, in that case why wasnt that sole justification put to the British Parliament and people at the time? Doesnt make much sense to over-ride democracy in our own country, in order to try to restore democracy somewhere else.
Any post on a web bulletin board is going to struggle to do anything more than scratch the surface on this but...

Quite right, particularly with hindsight, it seems that at the time there there was no clear WMD 'reason why' we should go and 'do' Iraq but there was a pretty compelling crimes against humanity justification.
The reason that crimes against humnaity was not used as sole justification to sell Iraq ops to the UK parliament has to be seen in the context of international politics and diplomacy and over a timeframe of at least 10-15 years:
It was thought that WMD would be something that everyone who mattered -UN Sec Council P5 - could get on board with. For a variety of reasons (think Tibet and the attempts to butress failing Francophone influence in Africa) it has been/remains very difficult to get an international commitment for military intervention, purely on such humanitarian grounds (e.g. none was forthcoming for Kosovo and during Kosovo we managed to bomb the Chinese embassy which didn't really help matters).
Everyone knew Sadam was a proper swine and the world would be better off without him: he'd been thumbing his nose at the rest of the world for 10 years, might have had WMD or an interest in developing them and was pretty clearly guilty of genocide at Halabja. Bear in mind that under the 1949 Genocide Convention the international community has a legal duty to act and intervene (but obviously China, busy with ethnci cleansing in Tibet aint too keen on this one). WMD looked like the horse to back. Unfortunately the P5 didn't buy it - it seems to me in large part because France made a stand for its own highly politicised reasons (I don't think Russia or China would have stood alone against united US/UK and Fr for the sake of Sadam) and the rest as they say is history.
FF - what the fack is the difference between "British lives" and other lives? The whole point of the UN is supposed to be to stop people who can make a difference (like the UK) getting sloping shoulders and looking the other way when human beings are being butchered. 8million dead Jews were held to evince that saying the victims are in 'a far away country about which we know nothing' was not really a viable moral or practical solution. The sad fact is that we cannot or dare not always act, but when we can we should. Israel does a lot to undermine the overall legitimacy of the few countries that have the capability to intervene decsively, but needs to be seen as a historical anomaly that has to be resolved. The job of soldiers is to fight for people who cannot fight for themselves. In the modern world, let's be honest, that no longer means necessarily UK citizens who live safe comfortable lives or the North Germans sitting in the path of the Soviet Motor-Rifle bns. Fack it, at least it keeps us in a job.

Diatribe over.
 
#7
Isreal.
Slightly unfair to throw the first stone...
Palestinians are not oppressed occupied and generally neglected..
Palestinians are saudi refugees that entered Isreal illeagally when the british pulled out of palestine.
I am fed up of watching some Palestinian Dr (woman who looks like a bloke) saying they are occupied and want peace...
having spent time in said area of middle east i can assure you that the palestinens go out of their way to cause trouble and whilst i know that the isreallis dont do themselves any favours...lets put the shoe on the other foot...

Albanian regugees...(or other group in uk) start blowing themselves up all over britain...what would we do...
press coverage all over the world today would take their part and not ours as we are an affluent country and they are an "oppressed" people group.

II DO NOT condone isreals last actioins but i would say that lets just take the news with a pinch of salt..... or oil if you are in govt. :!:
 
#8
JB said:
hackle said:
SKJOLD said:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3718150.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3719522.stm

Always knew there was no WMD in Iraq, always knew Saddam Hussein and Sons Ltd were commiting crimes against Humanity. And that alone, should of been justification, to free Iraq and its people. '

SK
OK Skjold old boy, in that case why wasnt that sole justification put to the British Parliament and people at the time? Doesnt make much sense to over-ride democracy in our own country, in order to try to restore democracy somewhere else.
Any post on a web bulletin board is going to struggle to do anything more than scratch the surface on this but...

Quite right, particularly with hindsight, it seems that at the time there there was no clear WMD 'reason why' we should go and 'do' Iraq but there was a pretty compelling crimes against humanity justification.
The reason that crimes against humnaity was not used as sole justification to sell Iraq ops to the UK parliament has to be seen in the context of international politics and diplomacy and over a timeframe of at least 10-15 years:
It was thought that WMD would be something that everyone who mattered -UN Sec Council P5 - could get on board with. For a variety of reasons (think Tibet and the attempts to butress failing Francophone influence in Africa) it has been/remains very difficult to get an international commitment for military intervention, purely on such humanitarian grounds (e.g. none was forthcoming for Kosovo and during Kosovo we managed to bomb the Chinese embassy which didn't really help matters).
Everyone knew Sadam was a proper swine and the world would be better off without him: he'd been thumbing his nose at the rest of the world for 10 years, might have had WMD or an interest in developing them and was pretty clearly guilty of genocide at Halabja. Bear in mind that under the 1949 Genocide Convention the international community has a legal duty to act and intervene (but obviously China, busy with ethnci cleansing in Tibet aint too keen on this one). WMD looked like the horse to back. Unfortunately the P5 didn't buy it - it seems to me in large part because France made a stand for its own highly politicised reasons (I don't think Russia or China would have stood alone against united US/UK and Fr for the sake of Sadam) and the rest as they say is history.
FF - what the fack is the difference between "British lives" and other lives? The whole point of the UN is supposed to be to stop people who can make a difference (like the UK) getting sloping shoulders and looking the other way when human beings are being butchered. 8million dead Jews were held to evince that saying the victims are in 'a far away country about which we know nothing' was not really a viable moral or practical solution. The sad fact is that we cannot or dare not always act, but when we can we should. Israel does a lot to undermine the overall legitimacy of the few countries that have the capability to intervene decsively, but needs to be seen as a historical anomaly that has to be resolved. The job of soldiers is to fight for people who cannot fight for themselves. In the modern world, let's be honest, that no longer means necessarily UK citizens who live safe comfortable lives or the North Germans sitting in the path of the Soviet Motor-Rifle bns. Fack it, at least it keeps us in a job.

Diatribe over.
Thanks JB, interesting post and you put the case more convincingly than what is normally served up.

Some will find it difficult to accept that the international community had a duty to act in 2003 on grounds of genocide at Halabja in early 1988.
 
#9
On the point of Palestinians, I watched an interesting piece of News on NRK1 last night and although I could not understand most of the commentary I got the basics, Picture this:

A camera mounted on a helocopter (the type used to chase chavs) watched two Palestinians fire a rocket at nearby settlement.

The two Palestinians then calmly walk away from the scene through some back alleyways carrying the RPGs and drive away in a Van clearly marked with UN all over it.

Will try and find a link after work.

SK

p.s
skjold old boy
Im in my late 20s so Im not over it :D
 
#10
lol Skjold, I am OLDER than my late 20s but not over it either 8)

re the drone film, the sequence I saw only showed a guy throwing long object into back of a UN vehicle. After investigation, UN insisted object was stretcher being returned to an ambulance.
 
#12
Picture the scene....

for years the loony peacniks rant and rave about the great satan (USofA) supporting evil, vile dictators..cries of "something must be doneeee" ring out across the pampered, well fed western capitals.

then all of a sudden, the great satan decides, yeah, why not, here's a good excuse (lots of dead New Yorkers) to take out a bl**dy nasty piece of work whom should have been shot long ago

The reaction from the peacniks "NOT IN MY NAME"

so, whad'ya do?????????
8O
 
#13
hackle said:
re the drone film, the sequence I saw only showed a guy throwing long object into back of a UN vehicle. After investigation, UN insisted object was stretcher being returned to an ambulance.
fair enough. Not exactly pulse finger on with news here then. :oops:
 
#14
SKJOLD said:
hackle said:
re the drone film, the sequence I saw only showed a guy throwing long object into back of a UN vehicle. After investigation, UN insisted object was stretcher being returned to an ambulance.
fair enough. Not exactly pulse finger on with news here then. :oops:
ah yes, the UN, that organisation of such great moral fortitude, honesty and trust that oversaw, the genocide in Rwanda, Kosova, Bosnia, Somalia and is doing such a great job at sorting out the mess in Sudan.
 
#15
Guess what? You know when you have a pop at the UN? You ARE the UN - we all are. If the UN has a poor track record then you have to look at why that is - i.e. because the great powers (like the UK and US) who set it up when they thought it woul be a useful tool for their purposes at the end of WW2 have since consistently decided to hamstring its effectiveness as an impartial arbitrator and intervention force to allow them to continue playing power politics.
Obviously this is not a one sided story - but when people moan about the UN they are moaning about a system that they shape via their national governments and which for all its fine idelas and great potential no-one seems to give a sh1t about except to use it as a scapegoat the next time everything goes t1ts up.
 
#16
I find all the endless bloody debate about the specifics of the war in Iraq, and the wider war on terror, so arse-numbingly boring...but I shall enter the fray.

- Had the UK government cited purely moral reasons for invading Iraq - namely Saddam Hussein's two decade record of genocide - that would have been far too morally precise for the leftists of the Labour Party. It should be borne in mind that many of the present Labour party were very soft (to say the least) on the Soviet threat pre-1989. Leftists have never been over-burdened with morality so to take a purely moral decision on the grounds of such-and-such being evil makes them uncomfortable.

- Whether or not Saddam actually had WMD is moot - he did at one stage and was very interested in acquiring them again. He refused to confirm that he had complied with the UN demand to disarm. He had also used WMD against civilian targets.

- Blair made a mess of making the case for war; for Bush, WMD was never really the issue and regime change was known to be a policy ambition. Blair was enough of a realist to recognise that the ideologues in his party would never buy into the 'Saddam is an evil so-and-so' thesis, therefore he decided to spin instead. One does not fight the Saddam Husseins of this world with the rule book.

- Those who argue that the war was 'wrong' have yet to offer a credible alternative - do they suggest that another decade of dodging the issue would have actually solved anything? The UN Oil for Food Programme has been exposed as an enormous fraud and a means by which Saddam bought support in the UN and propped-up himself and his regime financially. The UN has been corrupted by an overweening bureaucracy and by it's use as a platform for thug states to 'punch above their weight' on an international level - it is not the world's policeman nor it's government.

- The US does not obtain the bulk of it's oil supplies from the Middle East - it gets proportionally more from Canada and Venezuela. It would have been cheaper and easier for the US to simply buy the oil from Iraq. Even if one were to leave aside this, oil is the lifeblood of the West and it should not allow itself to be blackmailed by dictatorial kleptocracies.

- Anti-war protesters argue that the war was 'illegal', as does Kofi Annan. Well, that is simply nonsense. The UN does not, and never has had the monopoly on declaring and waging war, it merely thinks is has because it has become so conceited on account of it's own sense of moral superiority. Furthermore, it would be extremely dangerous were the UN to have such power, as this would lead to the inevitable situation whereby a decision on waging war could be endlessly blocked by the veto of someone at the Security Council, members of which will always vote in their own interests. In fact, the international community allowed the UN to have such power in relation to the Balkans in the 1990s, and this lead to an unjust arms embargo that handicapped the Bosnians primarily, the Croats to a lesser extent, and massively favoured the Serbs. Added to this was the ludicrous situation of the 'safe havens', which turned out to be anything but e.g. Srebenica. Rule of thumb - the US will help, the UN will merely talk about helping.

- The situation of the Palestinians is largely a case of self-infliction. True, the Israelis are often ruthless, but this may have something to do with being invaded twice and being surrounded by enemies who want to utterly destroy them. It is difficult to negotiate with people whose media portray Jews as being descended from apes. The Israelis also know that there is nowhere they can go - the Holocaust taught them that. The EU is largely pro-Arab and witnessing a revival of anti-Semitism, and the US, while supportive of Israel, is too far away. The Palestinians are very much regarded as second-class citizens in the wider Arab world - it is extremely difficult for them to gain citizenship in any of the Arab states. The refugee camps of 1948 and 1967 have become permanent fixtures because the Arab world closed it's borders to them - but they had no difficulty in providing them with arms and funding for terrorism. Jordan saw the folly in this when it's own Palestinians attempted to take over the kingdom in 1970 (Black September) and King Hussein unleashed his Bedouin army on them (Isarael mobilised one of it's armoured brigades to support the Hashemite monarch).

- Since the creation of the Palestinian Authority, the standard of living for the average Palestinian has decreased dramatically (some sources say by 40%). This is because of corruption on a massive scale by Arafat & Co. who have siphoned off millions, a good deal of it originating from the EU. Arafat's wife lives in luxury in Paris on a nice little stipend that the ordinary poor bloody Palestinian could only hope for. Hundreds of millions have been literally poured into the PA and it has made no difference. The worse the lot of the Palestinians gets the greater the outcry from Arafat and the Arab world about how it is all the Israelis' fault. Many seem to forget that Prime Minister Bark offered the Palestinians a good deal more than they have now, but Arafat turned down the offer. Why? Because the Arab world wants the destruction of the state of Israel.

- The anti-war brigade often say that 'the West' (read US and UK) armed Saddam Hussein. Well, to a certain extent, but they were by no means the only ones, and proportionally they were smaller backers than say Brazil, Germany, France, Russia...... Hold on though, didn't most of those countries oppose the invasion?

- The left in the West has always, and will always, oppose the use of military force for two reasons. Firstly, they dislike the fact that waging war is the ultimate expression of a state's power (they would prefer a show of hands). Secondly, they hate armies as the sense of duty and courage that armies come to display in time of war only serves to highlight the left's own moral inadequacy.The left has only ever thrived in peacetime, when peoples' moral guard may be down and they can chip away at the institutions of society.

- Looking for complete moral clarity before waging war is a dangerously futile pastime. Iran will acquire nuclear weapons in the very near future, yet the West thinks it can negotiate with these jokers. Israel took the morally correct decision to eliminate the Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 as they knew that had it gone live their country would have been destroyed. The UK and the US took the morally correct (if legally fuzzy) decision to attack Iraq last year. You strike your enemy when it suits you, not when it suits your enemy.

- I saw the footage of the Palestinians with the UN van, and I cannot say that it looked like they were loading a 'stretcher' into it - if they were then it was an awfully big stretcher. The earlier frames of the footage showed the same two 'militants' firing a rocket.

To finish, the War on terror is happening and the only countries doing anything about it are the US and UK (with due deference to the others in the Coalition of the Willing). Spoofers and poseurs such as Kerry, Moore, Pinter, Fisk, Chomsky et al have been making an awful lot of noise but they can afford to do that as they do not have to take responsibility for their views. To those whose idea of political discourse is the default position of 'Bush is a moron' I say keep telling the moron jokes for the next four years and ask yourself which candidate the terrorists would like to win.
 
#17
Gallowglass - no, offence, but your post seems to betray a complete lack of grip on politics, UK or international, or indeed on reality. You have clearly made up your mind and it seems unlikely that piffling conerns such as law, morality, logic or common sense are likely to change them; but I might try to flag up a few points. Big fan of the Daily Mail? This is the world as seen by Alf Garnett.

I find all the endless bloody debate about the specifics of the war in Iraq, and the wider war on terror, so arse-numbingly boring...but I shall enter the fray.
- Had the UK government cited purely moral reasons for invading Iraq - namely Saddam Hussein's two decade record of genocide - that would have been far too morally precise for the leftists of the Labour Party. It should be borne in mind that many of the present Labour party were very soft (to say the least) on the Soviet threat pre-1989.
Given the average age of MPs today, and the size of the Labour landslide in 1997 (almost a decade after the end of the Cold War) what % of current Labour MPs do you think were active in a pro-USSR,or even vagualy radical, Labour party that Kinnock startef to dismantle in the early-mid 80s and is dead as dead today (witness Blunkett's home secretary policies, the recent Laboutr conference et al)?

Leftists have never been over-burdened with morality so to take a purely moral decision on the grounds of such-and-such being evil makes them uncomfortable.
The fatuousness of your argument is shown by saying things like this - quite apart from questioning since when has the right had a monoploy on morality - if you are going to challenge 'leftists' as bleeding heart types unable to offer credible alternatives, you can't also say they're inherently ammoral. Or does leftists just mean anyone you don't like?

-
Whether or not Saddam actually had WMD is moot - he did at one stage and was very interested in acquiring them again. He refused to confirm that he had complied with the UN demand to disarm. He had also used WMD against civilian targets.
Quite so, upto a point - but we live in a democracy, where accountability of our governmnet is held to be important. The debate at the moment is not over whether Sadam had WMD, but whether the government even believed he did at all. i.e. whether the government deliberately misled the country, rather than acting in good faith and getting it wrong.

- Blair made a mess of making the case for war; for Bush, WMD was never really the issue and regime change was known to be a policy ambition.
Interesting that you have such an incisive knowldege of what was and wasn't actually at issue inside 10 Downing St.
Blair was enough of a realist to recognise that the ideologues in his party would never buy into the 'Saddam is an evil so-and-so' thesis, therefore he decided to spin instead.
So the idealogical types in the labour party wouldn't back intervention to protect human rights, but would back one based on iffy-concerns about WMD...All those CND types at it again, presumably
One does not fight the Saddam Husseins of this world with the rule book.
Yes, one does, if one wishes to enjoy any semblance of legtitimacy and not have every other sphere of international politcis contaminated by association with an unpopular aggressive war.

- Those who argue that the war was 'wrong' have yet to offer a credible alternative - do they suggest that another decade of dodging the issue would have actually solved anything?
Good point - ohh, no you're about to lose it again
The UN Oil for Food Programme has been exposed as an enormous fraud and a means by which Saddam bought support in the UN and propped-up himself and his regime financially.
No it was asytsme that introduced in good faith to try to limit the suffering of ordinary Iraqi civilians but which failed to do this, and was used by a ruler as feared and ruthless as Sadam to butress his own position.
The UN has been corrupted by an overweening bureaucracy and by it's use as a platform for thug states to 'punch above their weight' on an international level -
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? The UN is very inefficient but it is an enormous organisation, which amongst other things has eradicated smallpox and provided valuable frameworks of international law for trade, commerce, copyrights, etc etc "thug states etc" WHAT? The central criticism of the UN is that it is one nation one vote in the General Assembly, India gets the same imput as Switzerland, even, incomprehensibly, the Vatican City, and the Security Council is dominated by the P5 powers who won a war 60 years ago. There is a wide inyternational debate on improving the UN's foundational demoicracy, many third world countries, largeand small, currently feel completely disenfranchised and are losing faith in the organisation. Only you seem to be arguing that they have toomuch say.
it is not the world's policeman nor it's government.
No it is not, and it never has been, though taht was to some wextent the intention when it was founded. Look at the world, now and over the last 60 years - maybe it would be better if it was/had been...

- The US does not obtain the bulk of it's oil supplies from the Middle East - it gets proportionally more from Canada and Venezuela.
Where did you hear this? Is this as barrels per capita of producing nation? taht's the only way I can imagine this being true and would be due to tiny populations of canada vs developig world.
It would have been cheaper and easier for the US to simply buy the oil from Iraq. Even if one were to leave aside this, oil is the lifeblood of the West and it should not allow itself to be blackmailed by dictatorial kleptocracies.
So, it wasn't awar about oil, but it would have been right and proper if it hadbeen, yes?
- Anti-war protesters argue that the war was 'illegal', as does Kofi Annan. Well, that is simply nonsense. The UN does not, and never has had the monopoly on declaring and waging war, it merely thinks is has because it has become so conceited on account of it's own sense of moral superiority.
No - what you are saying is nonsense. The UN Charter makes clear that teh UN has primary concern with International Peace and Security, in the common interest: it does not of course declareor wage war, put provides a structure for judging the legality of war, essentially limited to self defence. The judgement that is made on the basis of this structure remaind a different question, in anycase.
Furthermore, it would be extremely dangerous were the UN to have such power, as this would lead to the inevitable situation whereby a decision on waging war could be endlessly blocked by the veto of someone at the Security Council, members of which will always vote in their own interests.
This is roughly what happened througjhout the first 40 years of the UN's existence - the flip side was that it preventyed the great powers engaging in a thermonuclear war that would have destroyed the planet.
In fact, the international community allowed the UN to have such power in relation to the Balkans in the 1990s, and this lead to an unjust arms embargo that handicapped the Bosnians primarily, the Croats to a lesser extent, and massively favoured the Serbs. Added to this was the ludicrous situation of the 'safe havens', which turned out to be anything but e.g. Srebenica. Rule of thumb - the US will help, the UN will merely talk about helping.
If the US had helped by putting people on the ground, even by allowing more robust ROE for UNPROFOR Srebrenica n=might never have happened. But because of the vagaries of teh US contitution, and other concerns US was unwilling to support this arrangement in international afafirs. Hell, teh US even sabotaged teh Vance Owen plan, because they hadn't thought of it, stringing the war out until 'their' Dayton agreements, which actually gave more land to the Serbs.

The situation of the Palestinians is largely a case of self-infliction.
Yes, very silly of them to be displaced from the land they had lived in for centuries in 1947.
True, the Israelis are often ruthless, but this may have something to do with being invaded twice and being surrounded by enemies who want to utterly destroy them
. And lots to do with being put there by the Great Powers in the eraly twentieth century as an expedient solution to political Zionism in the west and public outrage over the Camps.
It is difficult to negotiate with people whose media portray Jews as being descended from apes.
read any Darwin lately? We all are. They're a modern grown-up democracy, it goes with the job, deal with it.
The Israelis also know that there is nowhere they can go - the Holocaust taught them that. The EU is largely pro-Arab and witnessing a revival of anti-Semitism, and the US, while supportive of Israel, is too far away. The Palestinians are very much regarded as second-class citizens in the wider Arab world - it is extremely difficult for them to gain citizenship in any of the Arab states. The refugee camps of 1948 and 1967 have become permanent fixtures because the Arab world closed it's borders to them - but they had no difficulty in providing them with arms and funding for terrorism. Jordan saw the folly in this when it's own Palestinians attempted to take over the kingdom in 1970 (Black September) and King Hussein unleashed his Bedouin army on them (Isarael mobilised one of it's armoured brigades to support the Hashemite monarch).
- Since the creation of the Palestinian Authority, the standard of living for the average Palestinian has decreased dramatically (some sources say by 40%).
Which sources? And why?
This is because of corruption on a massive scale by Arafat & Co. who have siphoned off millions, a good deal of it originating from the EU. Arafat's wife lives in luxury in Paris on a nice little stipend that the ordinary poor bloody Palestinian could only hope for. Hundreds of millions have been literally poured into the PA and it has made no difference. The worse the lot of the Palestinians gets the greater the outcry from Arafat and the Arab world about how it is all the Israelis' fault. Many seem to forget that Prime Minister Bark offered the Palestinians a good deal more than they have now, but Arafat turned down the offer. Why? Because the Arab world wants the destruction of the state of Israel.
You are about 20 years out of date, stop trying to write off most of teh world as boodthirsty savages and actually look at the situation. Probably the major obstacle at teh moment is teh Occupied Territories, land held illegally by Israel after a military invasion (like the Sudetenland in 1938) and Sharon's outdated intransigence on this issue - there is though a will to resolve it, just much dispute over how.

- The anti-war brigade often say that 'the West' (read US and UK) armed Saddam Hussein. Well, to a certain extent, but they were by no means the only ones, and proportionally they were smaller backers than say Brazil, Germany, France, Russia...... Hold on though, didn't most of those countries oppose the invasion?
Quite right, so what?

- The left in the West has always, and will always, oppose the use of military force for two reasons. Firstly, they dislike the fact that waging war is the ultimate expression of a state's power (they would prefer a show of hands).
Oh, you mean democracy, based on the principal that people from other countries are still people?
Secondly, they hate armies as the sense of duty and courage that armies come to display in time of war only serves to highlight the left's own moral inadequacy.
!?!
The left has only ever thrived in peacetime, when peoples' moral guard may be down and they can chip away at the institutions of society.
Who won the 1945 general election, was it a)... Also, have you heard of something called the anti-war movement in Vietnam era USA, it was in all the papers...
- Looking for complete moral clarity before waging war is a dangerously futile pastime. Iran will acquire nuclear weapons in the very near future, yet the West thinks it can negotiate with these jokers. Israel took the morally correct decision to eliminate the Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 as they knew that had it gone live their country would have been destroyed. The UK and the US took the morally correct (if legally fuzzy) decision to attack Iraq last year. You strike your enemy when it suits you, not when it suits your enemy.

- I saw the footage of the Palestinians with the UN van, and I cannot say that it looked like they were loading a 'stretcher' into it - if they were then it was an awfully big stretcher. The earlier frames of the footage showed the same two 'militants' firing a rocket.

To finish, the War on terror is happening and the only countries doing anything about it are the US and UK (with due deference to the others in the Coalition of the Willing). Spoofers and poseurs such as Kerry, Moore, Pinter, Fisk, Chomsky et al have been making an awful lot of noise but they can afford to do that as they do not have to take responsibility for their views. To those whose idea of political discourse is the default position of 'Bush is a moron' I say keep telling the moron jokes for the next four years and ask yourself which candidate the terrorists would like to win.
I'll be honest, i'm getting tired and bored with this now, but I'll just point out that if Bush is relected he will very probably be a lame dog president in his final term. If your actual concern is with War against Terror, fundamentalist Islamic terror, ratehr than Neo-Con US real politik/raison d'etat foreign policy goals then Kerry is probably your man. There are complete choppers on teh left, like Moore and Chomsky, but the only way to challenge them, within our own society is by reasoned debate, based on reality. Trying to simplify and caricature the way you do is abseiling without rope and it makes the military as a whole seem radically removed from wider society which it counts upon for support...
 
#18
gallowglass wrote:
I saw the footage of the Palestinians with the UN van, and I cannot say that it looked like they were loading a 'stretcher' into it - if they were then it was an awfully big stretcher. The earlier frames of the footage showed the same two 'militants' firing a rocket....
Lots of interesting discussion in your post, gallowglass. Re the UN ambulance, I can't check it because the IDF have unaccountably removed the footage from their website.

What I saw was colour footage, taken at ground level, of a rocket being fired... then a second rocket being fired ... then distinctive grainy black-and-white aerial drone footage of something being thrown into the back of a UN vehicle.

Sorry I have been retyping this a hundred times to try to avoid sounding sarcastic... here goes ... if you saw the same footage as I did, I find it difficult to understand how you interpreted it as a single continuous sequence of events.
 
#19
JB wrote: Gallowglass - no, offence, but your post seems to betray a complete lack of grip on politics, UK or international, or indeed on reality. You have clearly made up your mind and it seems unlikely that piffling conerns such as law, morality, logic or common sense are likely to change them; but I might try to flag up a few points. Big fan of the Daily Mail? This is the world as seen by Alf Garnett.

You don’t do the tone of your argument any favours by presuming that I am both a reader of The Daily Mail and similar in outlook to Alf Garnett - if I’m not careful you will doubtless be calling me Mr. Nasty Poopie Pants soon and sticking your tongue out at me. Mercifully, I have spared myself the deep trauma of ever even picking up a copy of such filth as The Daily Mail, and the mention of Alf Garnett is nothing more than oafishness masquerading as cleverness. If you mean no offence, then don’t be offensive – keep this kind of language in the gutter where it belongs. That said, I hope that in time I may recover from the considerable personal upset such crass allusions to my character have caused…..


JB wrote: The fatuousness of your argument is shown by saying things like this - quite apart from questioning since when has the right had a monoploy on morality - if you are going to challenge 'leftists' as bleeding heart types unable to offer credible alternatives, you can't also say they're inherently ammoral. Or does leftists just mean anyone you don't like?

I have re-read my post a few times, and I don’t recall mentioning ‘the right’ let alone suggesting that they have a monopoly on morality (please don’t confuse the terms immoral and amoral). I didn’t say that leftists were ‘inherently immoral’, you brought this up - I said they have never been over-burdened with morality (I am using English, aren’t I?). By ‘Leftists’ I mean people of a left-wing persuasion.

As for the well-worn tactic of suggesting that someone knows nothing – ‘but your post seems to betray a complete lack of grip on politics, UK or international, or indeed on reality’ - that is an attempt to safeguard against the need to actually make a coherent point - a bit like those anti-Bush types who keep on repeating ‘But, he’s a moron!’ – they cover themselves by adherence to the ‘It’s the stupidity stupid!’ position, but never manage to advance their own argument beyond that point. Heaven forbid that I should dare to ‘make up my mind’ in this age of moral relativism. I will henceforth only think those thoughts which are deemed correct…

Whatever about the average age of MPs today, surely you are not suggesting that they are all adolescents with a hazy memory of the Berlin Wall? To name a few with a more immediate memory of the good old/bad old days - Mandelson, Short, Blair, Cook, Dalyell……Even those younger MPs will be ideologically of the left, despite New Labour’s rebranding. And the party is still radical – or do you dismiss the House of Lords ‘reform’, the attempt to abolish the office of Lord Chancellor, the Hunt Bill, the creation of devolved government, the disbandment of the RUC, and other ‘progressive’ measures as mere details?

As to your question regarding the reliance of the US on Middle Eastern oil, read the journalists Mark Steyn, Kevin Meyers, contributors to the National Review and others (or alternatively don’t, and sneer that because they may not be politically and ideologically in tune with you, they are therefore mad/liars/misinformed). God help you if ‘It’s all about oil!’ forms part of your thinking about the current war.


JB wrote: So, it wasn't awar about oil, but it would have been right and proper if it had been, yes?

To give you a straight answer - yes it would have been. Do you remember the oil shortages of the 1970s, which led to the near collapse of several Western nations? All because the Arabs took a fit of the huffs because the Israelis defeated them yet again, when they once more decided to invade that country. Oil is the lifeblood of the West - it is power, plain and simple. I don’t particularly like that, but it is a fact.

Many thanks for pointing out that we live in a democracy. My point - if you bothered to pay any attention to what I had written, instead of haring off at the first hint of an opinion you didn’t agree with - is that in the context of the war on terror, and specifically the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, from a purely ‘will we or won’t we’ stance, whether Saddam had WMD or not was indeed moot. Please do not think that I am under any illusion as to whether or not Blair ever believed he had WMD and lied to parliament and the people. What tires me is that there is this degree of endless debate while the war is still going on. By all means crucify Blair politically, but why hamper the war effort with this interminable debate? – because hamper it surely will. Good God, I am not defending Blair or his ham-fisted attempt to justify the decision to go to war (and there is no reason to suppose that he would have had an easier time ‘selling’ the war to his party on humanitarian grounds). Maybe you have no objection with action being hindered by interminable debate and the pious squawking of the Clare Shorts, George Galloways and Robin Cooks, but I do – it only hands the advantage to the terrorists.

I said that regime change and not necessarily the issue of WMD was the policy ambition for Bush, not Blair - hardly incisive insider knowledge.

The UN Oil for Food Programme is currently under investigation - good God almighty, have you read any decent broadsheet in the recent few months? The UN officials under investigation? The supplies that Saddam was able to siphon-off for the regime’s benefit?
It was undoubtedly introduced ‘in good faith’, as are most UN initiatives, but it didn’t work, and if anything it prolonged the regime. I refer you to a number of articles in the Daily Telegraph such as ‘UN officials 'covered up Saddam theft of billions in aid for Iraqis' by David Rennie on 22nd April 2004 and the letter of Sir Peter Smithers (UK delegate to the UN General Assembly, 1960-62) to the same paper on 27th April; there are numerous articles on the DT website on this subject.

To explain the enormously complicated concept of ‘thug states’ at the UN. For example, the fact that Libya headed the UN Human Rights Committee and Syria held the chair of the Security Council doesn’t strike you as being in any way strange (check their website if you doubt me, and it has been in a few newspapers). The UN has had enormous success in the area of humanitarian aid, disaster relief, development funding, education……but I was not challenging that. I object to the widespread belief that the UN is in someway an over-arching, all-powerful political body that has ultimate say in all international affairs, when there is plenty of evidence to show that it is ineffective in this regard (Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur…). I note that it is you who automatically implies that ‘thug states’ and the Third World are one and the same. I am sorry, but I find it ludicrous that there is a form of moral and political equivalence and relativism drawn between wholly undemocratic states (Syria, Iran, North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia…….) and those countries with a long and proven record of democracy, at the UN. Treating every state equally at the UN diminishes democracies and elevates undemocratic terrorist-sponsoring thug states.

JB wrote: the flip side was that it[the UN] preventyed the great powers engaging in a thermonuclear war that would have destroyed the planet.

The UN did not prevent the great powers from going to war during the Cold War - the realization of guaranteed mutually assured destruction did that. Please, spare me the utterly deluded notion that the UN kept the USSR and the USA from each other’s throats. You’ll be telling me next that the UN caused the Cold War to end.

Certainly, the US and all other UN and NATO states could and should have done a great deal more in Bosnia, particularly at Srebrenica. In truth though, why should the onus rest solely on the US? The commander of the Dutch UN troops in the Srebrenica ‘safe haven’ was repeatedly denied air support (again, I suggest you check these facts from the recently concluded investigation into Srebrenica - I suggest the BBC News website). I would certainly not agree with the obsessive adherence of the Clinton administration to the UN in Bosnia, when clearly the organization had been sidelined by events. What do you suggest be done when the international system of law you so highly esteem becomes useless? That is my point about not being able to fight terror, in its many forms, with the rule book….I should have added ‘when the rule book has been rendered obsolete’. Surely you are not suggesting that the nations of the Western world should have their actions decided upon by the likes of China, Russia and other less than salubrious states hiding behind procedure at the UN? I seriously doubt if the UK and US could every conceivably fight a ‘popular’, ‘non-aggressive’ (?) war merely to placate international opinion.

Much as I objected to the US stance over Bosnia, I can understand how the administration and the wider American public were reluctant to involve themselves in what they viewed as a European problem. Unfortunately, ‘Europe’ (the EU) proved both unwilling and unable to do anything about the situation in the former Yugoslavia (save complicating matters) until it was already too late. In situations such as this, morally lazy states tend to throw up their hands and say it’s the responsibility of the UN, which isn’t able to deal with the situation.

JB wrote: And lots to do with[the Jews] being put there[Palestine] by the Great Powers in the eraly twentieth century as an expedient solution to political Zionism in the west and public outrage over the Camps.

Oh dear, you aren’t one of these tiresome types who believes that the Jews have no business being in Israel? (perhaps you would rather see them in Madagascar?). Israel is, after all, their historic homeland, from which they were driven long before the Arabs came on the scene - this fact may mean nothing to you, but it means a hell of a lot to Israelis and it sustained their forefathers over the centuries of their exile. A Jewish community survived in Israel (or Palestine in deference to your sensibilities) and this was expanded with the arrival of immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which they were legally quite entitled to do. Palestine at that time was a barren backwater of the Ottoman Empire, and over the course of the following decades the Jewish settlers introduced modern irrigation and farming processes to enrich the land (again, this is in the history books which you might condescend to consult). Would it interest you to know that many, if not all of the early Jewish settlers bought their land, either from the Ottoman authorities or the Arabs themselves? I take it that you are also aware that the Jews were attacked firstly in 1927 and 1936 by their Arab ‘neighbours’?

As to your doubting my statement regarding the decline of living standards within the PA, I would recommend the following sources - the Palestinians themselves, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank…in short, anyone who has been monitoring the economic situation of the PA since its establishment. Do you really need me to tell you? Does it not strike you that the standard of living of the Palestinians have declined? Or perhaps you believe that they are concealing their prosperity under an artfully constructed veneer of impoverishment? As to why their living standards have fallen, I refer you to my original posting. True, the intifada cannot be helping matters, but surely it even strikes you as odd that the average Palestinian is in such dire straits despite the fact that the PA has been funded to the tune of several hundreds of millions over the past number of years?


JB wrote: You are about 20 years out of date, stop trying to write off most of teh world as boodthirsty savages and actually look at the situation. Probably the major obstacle at teh moment is teh Occupied Territories, land held illegally by Israel after a military invasion (like the Sudetenland in 1938) and Sharon's outdated intransigence on this issue - there is though a will to resolve it, just much dispute over how.

Your righteous indignation and snappy dismissal of what I wrote no doubt looks well and makes you feel awfully good about yourself, but it is not justified. I don’t see how this can be 20 years out of date, since I am talking about the Palestinian Authority, which, if memory serves, is somewhat less than those many years old. Barak preceded Sharon as PM, which further shows that it is you who is chronologically incorrect. As for the misappropriation of funding to the PA, I would direct you to the US Departments of State and the Treasury, the EU, and numerous articles and seminars that cover this topic in the Israeli print media (but I suspect that you won’t do this). Again, you are putting words in my mouth with the use of the term ‘bloodthirsty savages’ which I did not use. I challenge you to travel in the Middle East and prove that the majority of Arabs do not want the destruction of Israel. They are certainly irrational for thinking this, but not ‘bloodthirsty savages’. The Occupied Territories were occupied by Israel in 1967 as it was from these same territories that the Arabs of the surrounding states had attacked Israel the day after it had been established under UN resolution. The occupation of the Golan Heights is similarly strategic, because the Syrians had an annoying habit of placing artillery there. Israel will withdraw from the Occupied Territories when the Arab world recognises it’s right to exist and when Arafat decides to rein-in the various terrorist factions running amok (again, this has been in the news). On a minor point of historical accuracy, the Sudetenland was annexed, not invaded, in 1938, as a result of the (admittedly deeply dishonourable) Munich Agreement. ‘The IMF report “Economic Performance and Reforms under Conflict Conditions” of September 2003 concluded that at least 8% ($135million) of the PA’s annual budget of $1.08 billion is being spent by Arafat at his sole discretion… In addition, the report states that $900 million in PA revenues "disappeared" between 1995 and 2000, and that the 2003 budget for Arafat's office, which totaled $74 million, was missing $34 million that Arafat had transferred to pay
unidentified "organizations" and "individuals."’ (this quote from ‘EuroCash
What does the Palestinian Authority do with European money?’ by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, Director of the NYC based American Center for Democracy).



I said: It is difficult to negotiate with people whose media portray Jews as being descended from apes.
to which you responded: read any Darwin lately? We all are. They're a modern grown-up democracy, it goes with the job, deal with it.

Mea Culpa on this point. What I should have written was ‘…whose media, institutions, and school text books portray Jews as apes (among other things). Far be it from me to challenge Darwin. I would direct you to Mark Steyn’s article ‘The Clashes Within Civilization’ in his book The Face of the Tiger and to the websites www.fair-reporting.org and Palestinefacts.org You might also do well to look at numerous Israeli and Arab news websites.


I said: The anti-war brigade often say that 'the West' (read US and UK) armed Saddam Hussein. Well, to a certain extent, but they were by no means the only ones, and proportionally they were smaller backers than say Brazil, Germany, France, Russia...... Hold on though, didn't most of those countries oppose the invasion?

To which you responded: Quite right, so what?

So what? Well, if you cannot see the hypocrisy of these same states opposing moves to topple a dictator they armed and supplied then nothing I, or anyone else can say is going to make you see otherwise. And since when should any state have its foreign policy decided upon and dictated by others? I say again, the UN is not the world’s government.


I said: The left in the West has always, and will always, oppose the use of military force for two reasons. Firstly, they dislike the fact that waging war is the ultimate expression of a state's power (they would prefer a show of hands).

To which you responded: Oh, you mean democracy, based on the principal that people from other countries are still people?


No, I mean the left (or do you regard democracy as being solely the preserve of the left?). Again, you are introducing things I did not mention. Democracy is based on the principle of government by, of and for the people, not some fluffy idea that ‘people from other countries are still people’.How can you not be aware that leftists loathe armed forces? The lack of ex-servicemen in traditionally left-wing parties? The dismissal of military tradition by left-wing politicians (Mandelson and his ‘chinless wonders’ jibe). The attempt to blacken Col. Tim Collins’s name on spurious war crimes charges? The regular attempts to portray the Armed Forces as being comprised of the dregs of society in the ranks or toffs?

There is a considerable difference between the Labour Party of 1945 and New Labour. I stand to be corrected, but I do not recall there being 1945 Labour equivalents of a Clare Short or George Galloway praising those who were killing British and American troops - if there were, then I imagine they were imprisoned or committed to an asylum.

Oh yes, I certainly have heard of the anti-war movement in the US during the Vietnam War, and yes, you are correct to point out that this was during a war (mea culpa again), but you cannot be attributing any real moral superiority to these people. The same people who spat on returning servicemen? The same people that bred violent underground groups such as the Weathermen, and undermined society? The same people whose spokeswoman, Jane Fonda, visited Hanoi, cheered when anti-aircraft crews shot down US ’planes, and broadcast treasonous propaganda to US soldiers in the field? The same woman who insisted upon ‘interviews’ with American POWs, who were forced to attend on pain of death? Again, before you accuse me of making this up, I refer you to assorted history books and innumerable articles on the subject.


JB wrote: I'll be honest, i'm getting tired and bored with this now

Ah yes, the cheap dismissive put down which is the automatic fallback position of the intellectually lazy. If it is all so boring, then why are you bothering? Your time could be better spent verifying some basic facts, despite them being apparently distasteful to you. On one point we do agree however, and that is that reasoned debate is the only way to deal with people such as Chomsky, Moore et al….but my point is that this debate, necessary and all that it is, is distracting attention from the real task in hand. My gripe is not with the fringe and mainstream lunatics at and near ‘home‘, but rather with the assorted lunatics of Jihad/Al-Qaeda Inc. Senator John Kerry offers nothing in terms of foreign policy. In his twenty years in the Senate he has achieved nothing and has opposed almost every single military expenditure bill that has come before him. Whatever about his four months of service in Vietnam, it is his dishonourable testimony before Congress in 1971, at which he accused those he has recently termed his ‘band of brothers’ of horrendous war crimes that he should be held accountable for. Many of those he cited as having committed crimes were subsequently exposed as being false veterans (again, this can be verified). How can a man who consistently switches policy position be trusted with the conduct of US foreign policy? I would advise you to stop living in the world of September 10th 2001.

P.S. I admit that the 'militants with the UN van' footage is open to interpretation, and I have chosen to interpret it as a sign that they are using the UN as a flag of convenience. Maybe they are and maybe they are not. Please excuse the length of this posting.
 

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