Thursday, 15 December 2011
So I took inspiration from the incomparable Lawrence O'Donnell and rewrote it for him. One challenge this presented was that it seems John Bolton wants to have it both ways: he wants to say that 1) withdrawing from Iraq will lead to conflict and an empowered Iran and instability because there will be a power vacuum. But he also wants to say that 2) invading Iraq in the first place was not going to lead to an empowered Iran and instability in the region.
His position appears logically untenable, until you realise that what he is really saying is that the US should have made war in Iran, Syria and Lebanon (to name but a few) in order to avoid this situation. The true horror of his position is just unimaginable to rational, civilised human beings.
*All edits are made in caps.
*apologies: he does go on.
PARTY TIME, America's withdrawal from Iraq heralds FREEDOM FOR IRAQ | NOT John Bolton
America's complete withdrawal of its troops from Iraq is an AWESOME SUCCESS. It ENDS the SHITSTORM made by President Bush's (and Tony Blair's) eminently IDIOTIC 2003 decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein, WHICH RISKED the broader Middle East falling into chaos. HAPPILY, Bush himself initiated this SUCCESS by agreeing to this end point in our status-of-forces agreement with Iraq, but it was consummated by Barack Obama, who never wanted to be in Iraq, and who is now OBLIGATED to pull the plug.
But those, like Obama, who welcome US withdrawal as vindicating their opposition to the Iraq war are profoundly VICTORIOUS, AS IT SERVES TO PROTECT the international coalition's real successes in Iraq WITH the COURAGEOUS DECLARATION of their McGovernite "come home, America" strategy.
First, the world is MORE DANGEROUS with Saddam dead and his regime on history's ash heap. He was a military aggressor, a tyrant BUT NOT a terrorist supporter. His record of developing and using weapons of mass destruction is HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE, and his future course, had he succeeded in ending UN economic sanctions and freeing Iraq of weapons inspectors, WAS PROBABLY A DEMISE AT THE HANDS OF HIS OWN PEOPLE. Now, no longer will Saddam invade his neighbours and MAKE EMPTY THREATS OF the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against either his fellow citizens or foreign adversaries, AND WE CAN TAKE OUR thumb OFF the world's economic windpipe. With 20-20 hindsight, we now see we should have LEFT HIM TO THE WRATH OF HIS OWN PEOPLE, LIKE GADDAFFI.
Second, Iraq is a better place without THE US and THEIR OCCUPATION. Anyone who believes differently has to argue that tyranny is better than representative government and rebut Benjamin Franklin's penetrating observation, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty not safety." Good luck with that.
Undeniably, the period between Saddam's overthrow and today was grim, and deadly for too many. Post-Saddam, we should have rapidly handed over civil authority to Iraqis rather than establishing the Coalition Provisional Authority. BECAUSE OF the CPA's LAZY, HAM-FISTED efforts, al-Qaida and Iran were BOOSTED BY its highly visible role, thus creating steadily deteriorating security conditions, even as the Iraqi people WERE DENIED the institutions of a free society. President Bush's 2006-07 surge overcame many, but far from all, of the security threats that existed, again setting Iraq on the WAR path. It is thus particularly KIND to Iraqis that Obama is withdrawing according to a SOBER, essentially RATIONAL timetable, rather than one based on THE OPINIONS OF IDIOTS LIKE JOHN BOLTON.
Third, and JOHN BOLTON DOESN'T KNOW THE MEANING OF irony, US withdrawal from Iraq will CONSTRICT Iran's influence there and throughout the region, STYMYING Tehran's progress toward achieving ANY OF WHAT THE DELUDED JOHN BOLTON IMAGINES ARE its goals. A TINY PORTION OF THE criticism of our overthrowing Saddam rested on the argument that terminating his regime eliminated a strong Arab-Sunni barrier to expanding Iranian-Shia influence. That view was always simplistic, given the region's vastly complex religious and ethnic politics. We had NO threats to combat, and eliminating THE IRAQI REGIME inevitably CREATED THE EXCUSE TO CONFRONT IRAN in due course. FORTUNATELY, under both Bush and Obama, we ARE DEALING adequately with Iran's nuclear-weapons programme and its support for terrorism. That Iran is now more of a danger stems far more from JOHN BOLTON'S failure AND overthrowing Saddam THAN IT DOES FROM ANYTHING OBAMA HAS DONE.
IT IS THE FAULT OF BUSH AND BOLTON THAT Iran has already substantially increased its meddling inside Iraq, both influencing the regime of Nouri al-Maliki and enhancing the capabilities of terrorist thugs like Muqtada al-Sadr. It is challenging its Arab neighbours across the Gulf, threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz and target the US bases and facilities there (as well as Nato forces in Turkey). Tehran is obviously willing to shed considerable Syrian blood to keep Assad's dictatorship in power, and Hezbollah effectively in control in Lebanon. And Iran moves inexorably closer to its long-sought objective of nuclear weapons deliverable by intercontinental ballistic missiles.
IT IS QUESTIONABLE WHETHER the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq will increase Iran's relative regional power. America's Arab allies in the Gulf Co-operation Council are extraordinarily nervous about THEIR OWN PEOPLE DEMANDING REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENTS, especially under the STRONG, PRINCIPLED AND DECISIVE Obama presidency. Containing and ultimately overthrowing the regimes in Iran and Syria could have been A CATASTROPHIC MISTAKE ON A PAR WITH the US military presence in Iraq, and will clearly be much EASIER after our withdrawal. Those who say they want Iran contained should have supported WITHDRAWAL FROM Iraq A LONG TIME AGO OR, BETTER, SHOULD HAVE STOOD AGAINST GOING IN 9 YEARS AGO.
In short, our withdrawal from Iraq presages a world where Obama-style policies of American DECENCY and UNDERSTANDING have prevailed. Be warned: you'll miss OBAMA when HE'S gone. By then, of course, it will be too late.
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
What happens if the airbags refuse to open?
Gingrich has a litany of sleaze, fraud, flip-flops, affairs and convictions on his record that no other politician can boast.
His presence has made the dialogue horrifying. Take his comments about 'helping' children from poor backgrounds:
This could get SO ugly.
Sunday, 4 December 2011
Monday, 19 September 2011
Thursday, 11 August 2011
Everyone seems to think they have an answer as to what the riots have been about. Everyone has different ideas as to the primary causes, be they social, economic, racial or what have you.
People tend to see their own political reality made flesh by these riots. Socialists think it is the bare bones of a class struggle, right-wingers think it is a result of excessive immigration, economists think it is a result of economic uncertainty and pompous intellectuals attribute pompous intellectual reasons for the riots.
I am frustrated by this trend of commentators imprinting their own political philosophies on a situation that does not neatly fit any philosophy or motivation
The riots have been about greed, about social division, about unemployment, about anger, about frustrated consumerism, about youthful vanity, about racial tension, about a lack of respect for society, about a lack of recognition from society, about police brutality, about disenfranchised adults with no path to the dreams they've been sold, about mindless copycats, about intelligent people who want to destroy a society that has rejected and abused them and about cuts to public spending.
With all of these motivations apparent in the actions and the back-stories of rioters, I feel comfortable in saying that there are as many different motivations for as people involved in these riots. So maybe we're asking the wrong question.
The idea my brother had was that sometimes "Because I can" is sufficient motivation for rioting. Variations on "...and because I can" can be placed after every motivation one can name. The real question to ask is not why people did riot, but why didn't they not riot?
What is it that makes "Because I can" a sufficient motivation to do this stuff?
I guess you could restate "Not believing in society" in such numerous ways with enough leeway in the interpretation that it could be seen as in some way fundamental to the answer.
You could boil down reactions to the question "Why did you riot?" to: I don't believe in society: I don't believe in consequences; I don't believe I can succeed; I don't believe in authority; I don't believe I will ever afford these trainers; I don't believe you will ever help me; I don't believe I can be stopped; I don't believe I am treated fairly; I don't believe in money, etc.
All of these are a part of saying "I don't believe in society".
Without that belief, society does not function effectively. If one lacks the belief in society, simply being able to riot becomes motivation enough because at least then someone will notice you. At least then society will prove that it exists in one form or another.
It's like taking a train at random: at the end of the trip maybe things will be better but, at the very least, things will be different. It's a symptom of hopelessness: jumping on a train just to land up somewhere else, the one and only certainty is the ride.(Picture by http://www.flickr.com/photos/madtea/)
Friday, 20 May 2011
Thursday, 19 May 2011
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
One needs to be careful when discussing rape. I have been wrestling with the proper way to express my own views on 'Slutwalk' for the last couple of days, which I see as intrinsically linked to how society treats claims of rape and talks about prevention (as this is what sparked the movement).
Then I see on Yahoo news this story: It describes how Kenneth Clarke was being targeted by Ed Milliband for comments he made that, it was reported, caused outrage . The line that caught my attention was this:
"Mr Clarke sparked calls for his sacking after appearing to say that some rapes were less serious than others during a BBC Radio 5 Live interview." http://uk.news.yahoo.com/clarke-must-over-rape-comments-112949184.html
Of course, this could mean a range of things. The reporting made it sound like he was drawing a distinction between cases of withdrawn consent and those of forced sex.
However, he was not. He was drawing a distinction between statutory rape and other forms. Here is the important quote, from the BBC:
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Friday, 6 May 2011
Thursday, 5 May 2011
Hamas, the Palestinian authority in the Gaza Strip, mourned his death as the killing of an "Islamic holy warrior". Somebody should show them the Coca Cola: what kind of holy warrior enriches the beast he is supposed to be slaying with both his money and his body?
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
Friday, 29 April 2011
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Monday, 25 April 2011
Friday, 22 April 2011
The frightening statistic here demonstrates that Sarah Palin is beginning to lose out to the nuttier Donald Trump. What's that you say? "Palin's as crazy as they get"? Well, I won't disagree with you, but she had not until now been a 'birther', i.e, someone who believes that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and is therefore not eligible to be president. Quite apart from the fact that even if he was born in Kenya, his mother was a US citizen and so he would be too: it is clearly a sleight with racial undertones.
It was thought that to identify yourself as a birther would be to effectively give up on being a serious presidential candidate, because it is such a nutty thing to espouse. However, Donald Trump has been making headlines, climbing polls and getting a lot of coverage for his stated birtherism. Coverage that he has taken from Sarah Palin.
I guess the point I'm making is this: Sarah Palin is not right-wing enough, not crazy enough, to court today's Republican party. Two years ago she was plenty nuts enough: probably too crazy. Not any more.
And if that doesn't scare you, you haven't been paying attention.