Help save some Iraqis


by Sunny
25th July, 2007 at 11:43 am    

Since British troops occupied Southern Iraq in the spring of 2003, thousands of Iraqi citizens have worked for the British Army, the Coalition Provisional Authority (South) and for contractors serving UK forces. There is now considerable evidence that their lives, and the lives of their families, are at risk: some former workers for the British have been murdered, and many others have fled to neighbouring countries or gone into hiding in Basra. The British Government, for whom they were ultimately working, has not offered them the right of asylum in the UK. This is morally unacceptable.

The most detailed recent report, by Jonathan Miller of Channel Four news, notes the murder of 17 translators in one single incident in Basra. It cites the cases of hundreds of others who have fled to a refugee existence in nearby Middle Eastern countries or are in hiding in Iraq. The British Government response has come from the Home Office, which has suggested that Iraqis put at risk by their work for British troops ‘register with the UN refugee agency’. Other reports provide supporting detail: Iraqis are being targeted for murder because they have worked for British forces.

Marie Colvin’s report for the Times of April 8 speaks of desperate former workers for the British Army being turned away from the British embassy in Syria by staff who had orders not to admit any Iraqis. These brave men and women have testimonials written by British officers stating that they are at risk from jihadi violence: and yet we are still refusing to admit them to the United Kingdom.

Course of action:

1) Look up your MP.
2) Write to them. A draft version of the letter is below.

******
Dear (MP’s name)

As your constituent, I am writing to discover your views on the treatment of Iraqi citizens who are working or have worked for the British Army, for the contractors supporting it, and for the Coalition Provisional Authority in the South of Iraq. In particular, I would like to know if you support the right of these people to indefinite asylum in the United Kingdom. I strongly suggest that they do indeed have this right. They have, by definition, put their lives at risk by the support they have given to British soldiers who were sent to war by a vote of the House of Commons.

Whether you- or I- supported or opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq is immaterial. The risk run by Iraqis working for British troops is even greater than that run by the soldiers themselves. British soldiers are now suffering very high casualties in Iraq, and are continuing to serve bravely- but their local staff are obliged to live among neighbours who will, in many cases, be sympathetic to or even belong to the armed groups fighting the British army. We owe these people a clear moral debt. We cannot allow them to be murdered for the ‘crime’ of helping our service men and women.

The most effective way of helping these brave Iraqis is to offer them indefinite right to remain in the United Kingdom. There is plentiful evidence that armed groups in Iraq make a practice of murdering not only their ‘enemies’ but their families too: and for this reason we must extend the right of asylum to the families of those who have worked with us. This policy should be enacted immediately whether our forces stay in Iraq or are soon withdrawn. Applications for asylum cannot be ‘processed’ in a lengthy fashion: the situation in Basra is deteriorating, the ability of British soldiers to protect those that work for them is seriously compromised and any delay is likely to lead to the murder of Iraqis who have worked for the British military. I would appreciate your views on this matter.Yours sincerely
NAME
******

A blog campaign started by Dan Hardie, and supported by: Crooked Timber, Harry’s Place, Rachel North, Chickyog, Davide, Rosie Bell, Europhobia, Blairwatch and others.

There’s also a Downing Street Petition.

So what are you waiting for? The Danish recently did it, why can’t we?


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Filed in: Current affairs,Middle East






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  1. Pickled Politics » Iraqi translators campaign update

    [...] campaign update by Sunny on 8th August, 2007 at 8:38 am     I recently wrote of a blog-campaign to petition the government to help save Iraqis who helped the British military. As with other [...]


  2. Pickled Politics » Help save their lives

    [...] that people: 1) Blog about the issue and carry the banners; 2) Look up your MP. 3) Write to them. (draft letter) 4) Tell us about your MP’s response. There will be more updates to this campaign as we plan [...]




  1. Leon — on 25th July, 2007 at 12:00 pm  

    To add it is also a good idea when writing to an MP to actually post it rather than email. A good number of them still take post more seriously than emails and you’re more like it’ll be read by their researchers/PAs/etc than it being lost in an inbox.

  2. Max — on 25th July, 2007 at 12:49 pm  

    Use FaxYourMP.com (forwards to WriteToThem.com).

  3. sonia — on 25th July, 2007 at 1:39 pm  

    ha bloody ha – morally unacceptable! bit late to be saying this now. god. this is why us anti-war people found ridiculous about the whole war effort – we knew full well, nation-states being what they are, they will go and intervene elswhere, then when there is trouble, will say, but of course you can’t come back to ours, when it gets really unsafe.

    everyone else pooh-poohed it, well now what to do? sure lets get involved, a nice political project for us, isn’t it. BUT next time someone wants to support a war, maybe they might want to think it through.

    and we can’t detach this is from the moral unacceptability of the wider iraq mess.

  4. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 1:59 pm  

    I’m quite outraged by this. These are people who have assisted our forces and clearly shown who’s side they’re on, then they get shit on and left for the militias. Once word gets around that they can’t trust us, it’ll mean we can’t trust them – and that helps nobody.

    Unless they were paid masses to compensate for the dangers – haha – we have a duty to get these people out if they so desire.

  5. Leon — on 25th July, 2007 at 2:06 pm  

    For those on Facebook the group is here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2535669347

  6. The Dude — on 25th July, 2007 at 4:16 pm  

    If you engage in business with a snake you shouldn’t be suprised when you get bitten.

    I have very little sympathy for ex-employees of the British Invading Forces in Iraq. They made their bed now let them lie in it.

    My local MP is a dude named David Lamy and he is one piece of work. If I was to be stupid enough in sending that letter to him, he would more than lightly laugh himself silly. When will we learn that there is no honour amongst theives?

  7. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 4:20 pm  

    They weren’t employed by the invading force, they were employed by the occupying force that came after.

    Be interested to hear why you’re unsympathetic? What harm do you think translating for the British and briefing them on local culture, personalities and groups has done?

  8. sid — on 25th July, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

    Dude

    These Iraqis deserve our utmost help but the spare your derision for the supporters of the war. Reserve your spittle for Nick Cohen and Co, and dig deep in your pockets for these poor Iraqis.

  9. The Dude — on 25th July, 2007 at 4:36 pm  

    As a matter of fact, they were employed by both.

    As for my lack of sympathy. No one forced these people to work for the Brits and the Yanks. They made their choice and got paid. There are many in Iraq that is deserving of my sympathy but alas these ex-employees of the British “occupying” forces are not one of them.

  10. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 4:45 pm  

    How were they employed by both? Did they hop over the border, hook up with the British army then ride back in with them?

    You’ve still not given a reason you don’t like them, beyond ‘I don’t like them’ or ‘I don’t like Brits, Yanks and anyone associated with them’. Is there another reason?

  11. GM — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:05 pm  

    The aim of the campaign is comendable, but why just these Iraqis? I’m inclined to partially agree with the tone of Sonia’s post – this is a very targeted moral cause. Should resettlement in the UK be contingent on having been willing and able to assist UK troops? There are four million people displaced within Iraq or just across its borders. More….

  12. Anas — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:35 pm  

    I understand Dude’s point. These people were collaborators with an occupying army, so I’m not surprised they’ve been targeted — not saying it’s right but collaborators are never the most popular people.

  13. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:49 pm  

    Which is why we should get them out.

    I can’t see why anti-war people could be against this. I’m trying to push the suspicion to the back of my mind that it’s gloating or each death is ammunition to the cause.

  14. Don — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:52 pm  

    The question is not whether the occupying forces have a moral right to be there but whether, being there, they have a moral obligation to protect those who work for them.

    I watched the C4 programme and the people included didn’t strike me as being quislings, but rather people who thought it best for their country that the heavily armed forces at large there had an understanding of how Iraqi society worked and saw Iraqis as people.

  15. sonia — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:52 pm  

    “collaborators” – Anas, for christ’s sakes, you are starting to sound more like a terrorist every day

  16. sonia — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:55 pm  

    it’s not that i am ‘against’ this – i just think if you’re going to focus on this, it brings the whole bloody mess into focus. Like i said, everytime a nation talks about intervention,

    yes, if everyone knew that when it went wrong, they would have to let those people into their own precious country, then they would think bl**dy twice about intervening. Absolutely, that’s what i said in the run up to the war, especially to the ‘oh we must help them’ crew – what are you going to do when they don’t feel helped, but bombed out, and nowhere to live? are you then going to be prepared to offer up your own house? if yes, then go ahead. if no – then f**ck off.

    its all about being prepared to deal with the reality of the situation.

  17. Anas — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:56 pm  

    Which is why we should get them out.

    Yeah, and along with them our troops should get out too.

    I can’t see why anti-war people could be against this

    I’m not against it, regardless of their (IMHO morally unjust) collaborations with coaltion forces, these Iraqis shouldn’t be murdered — and yes they should be given asylum here. My point is that they are collaborators with an occupying force, so we shouldn’t idealise them. Personally I’m not too moved by their plight — in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of other dead in Iraq and the millions suffering thanks to the illegal war initiated by the US+UK.

  18. Anas — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:59 pm  

    “collaborators” – Anas, for christ’s sakes, you are starting to sound more like a terrorist every day

    Huh? Explain, please.

  19. Anas — on 25th July, 2007 at 6:02 pm  

    Personally I saw this as a hopeful sign:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,2129677,00.html

  20. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 6:04 pm  

    Anas – the reason we have to get them out is that we’re getting the troops out.

    How is ‘collaborating’ with a democracy morally unjust while ‘collaborating’ with theocratic militias isn’t?

  21. sonia — on 25th July, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

    explain? nothing to explain, just the dude’s comments do betray a complete lack of empathy ( not just sympathy) and you seemed to agree with him. these people are in a bombed out country for f**k’s sake, some are going to try and work to rebuild it, instead of being more destructive. neither of you seem to get that, and be more inclined to the view of those who are attacking these people. you’re buying into the us/them thing from their side.

  22. sonia — on 25th July, 2007 at 6:13 pm  

    i think anyone who actually believes that a country’s alleged claims to hold up asylum commitments – is anything but lipservice – is living in cloud cuckoo land, just thought i’d point it out.

    some of you might not know this- but the USA evacuated some of its citizens when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Britain and Canada did the same. People were under the impression it was for ‘free’ being an emergency service and all. Unfortunately, some people have now – all these years later – been billed (ridiculous sums of money) for being evacuated. But that aside, the main hoo-ha that happens when the public realise the insidious side of ‘nationality’ is when in times of crisis, countries will only evacuate/take care of its citizens ( not surprising given they will only take care of their members, but suprising to some who believe the lip service to human rights) Human rights in times of crisis don’t fit well with countries saying ‘i am only going to look after my members’ – of course this happens all the time, but it is only in times of crisis the other muggins wake up and realise this. Take the example of the tsunami, some British woman was mad at the foreign office for not helping her husband, who wasn’t a british national. The papers here seemed outraged about it, which made me laugh. By all means be outraged, but its a bit silly if you haven’t realised that’s what the nation-state system is all about.

    its the kind of thing where you don’t understand the problems the system will generate – given that that is the way the system is designed! naturally there will be that problem. So address the wider cause as well or look like a bunch of muggins.

  23. ZinZin — on 25th July, 2007 at 6:20 pm  

    Anas, Its not quite occupied France, although I do understand your point.

    Can everyone lay off him? He has not called for them to be left behind so they can have their throats cut. So why give him a hard time?

  24. Rumbold — on 25th July, 2007 at 7:41 pm  

    I think that Bert Preast hits the nail on the head:

    “I can’t see why anti-war people could be against this. I’m trying to push the suspicion to the back of my mind that it’s gloating or each death is ammunition to the cause.”

    As does Don:

    “The question is not whether the occupying forces have a moral right to be there but whether, being there, they have a moral obligation to protect those who work for them.”

  25. The Dude — on 25th July, 2007 at 7:56 pm  

    Zinzin

    I’ll second that motion. In fact I ‘ve read nothing from Anas which is factually incorrect. I’m getting sick and tried of lilly livered liberals who think they can cherry pick a deal with the devil. We went into Iraq on a lie. We stay in Iraq on a lie and so will we leave. We’re the bad guys for god’s sake.

    Nowhere in any of my post have I said that the Iraqi ex employees of the British and American occupying forces deserved to be murdered but this is Iraq where very bad things happen everyday to perfectly innocent people. The people who decided to work for the occupying forces sold their innocence for so much pounds, dollars and cents. These people made their bed and now they expect me to lie in it. I don’t think so. They made their deal with the devil (us) and we are all naive to expect the devil (Bush and now Brown) to act with honour now.
    If these people really wanted to help their country they should have kept far, far away from doing ANYTHING with the occupying forces. There are many more people in Iraq who are more deserving of our help than these freeloaders.

  26. The Dude — on 25th July, 2007 at 7:58 pm  

    So the devil has a moral obligation…Ha, ha! Pull the other one it’s got bells on.

  27. sid — on 25th July, 2007 at 9:12 pm  

    If there is a nail and if it has a head, the only hit is post #11 by GM.

  28. sid — on 25th July, 2007 at 9:18 pm  

    needless to say sonia is brilliant as usual.

  29. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 9:40 pm  

    The Dude #25 – “There are many more people in Iraq who are more deserving of our help than these freeloaders”

    Who? The ones who didn’t bother supporting democracy beyond a purple finger for a day? The ones who support the militias? Which militia would you rather see in power over the present governemnt?

    Tell me who?

  30. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 9:44 pm  

    Sid #27 – so you’d say that even though those who have assisted UK forces have intentionally made themselves targets, that it’d be fairer to have some sort of lottery as to who we help out?

  31. The Dude — on 25th July, 2007 at 10:54 pm  

    Bert

    We turn Iraq into a living hell and you talk about democracy. Wonders will never cease.

  32. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 10:59 pm  

    So you think the Iraqis assisting our forces were in fact attempting to bring about a colonial government that would subjugate the people to their will?

    Why can’t you accept that maybe they believe in democracy? That they see the British forces as a better bet for the future than their local militias?

  33. The Dude — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:11 pm  

    I’ve just re-visited post No:11 and even though I couldn’t agree with everything it said, it’s main thrust and agrument ( the fact that great swaves of the Iraqi population are now displace and need help) was sound. By right, we should allow everyone of these people into our country but I don’t think this will happen any time soon. Not in our democracy.

  34. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:16 pm  

    Yes, they do need help. But no, they are not our responsibility. They are displaced by sectarian violence, and the reason no one wants them is because they’ll bring that baggage along with them.

    How come you’ve not answered a single one of my questions?

  35. The Dude — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:22 pm  

    Bert

    You don’t need to persuade me, I’m a lost cause. Why don’t you take your soapbox to Basra and see how long you would last. When will YOU learn that democracy is worth nothing if it
    1. Comes at the end of a gun and
    2. If you’re dead!
    These are the simple truths that we all need to learn. You, me, everyone.

  36. The Dude — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:33 pm  

    Then Bert if “they are not our responsibility” why are we having this agruement? Oh I forgot you want to cherry pick on who you let in and on who you keep out.

    Lest we forget, before the invasion of Iraq, there was no
    1. Insurgency
    2. Sectarian Violence
    3. Terrorist Cells
    4. Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    On all four counts, there is now and WE brought it to them NOT the other way round.

  37. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:35 pm  

    So Iraqis hoping for democracy should just pack it in and let the militias take over? Do all your politics come at the end of a gun?

    And I’m not in Basra because the recruiting age is 33, and I am 37. I was, however, involved in the run to Baghdad 16 years back. That’s why I know this wasn’t about a threat to launch gas filled SCUDS at Cyprus in 45 minutes, that was just to scare the plebs into compliance. I take a bit more of a long term view on these things.

  38. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:38 pm  

    What on earth is wrong with cherry picking who you let in? Call me a mad idealist, but I’d rather as a democracy we let in people who’ve shown some sort of commitment to democracy.

    And you’re utterly wrong on 3 of the 4 counts, as the WMD one depends on your definition of what constitutes WMD.

  39. ZinZin — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:43 pm  

    Bert how naive you are its actually quite touching, in fact it mirrors Anas position on US/UK middle eastern policy. Bookends that is what you both are put Anas on one end and Bert on the other and thats the spectrum of opinion.

    All that money spent on securing oil and Iraq is still an oil importing nation.

    How about apologising for calling Anas a terrorist Sonia? Thats beyond the pale and I must say that it is out of character for you.

  40. ZinZin — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:49 pm  

    And you’re utterly wrong on 3 of the 4 counts, as the WMD one depends on your definition of what constitutes WMD.

    Bert were you asleep when it was revealed that there was no WMD found. Or is an IED now a WMD?

    This is descending into sophistry. Desperate. Bert this is the type of thing that Anas comes up with when he is in a tight spot.

  41. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:49 pm  

    Naive? You been there? Was I naive in Bosnia too? Damn foolishness, should’ve left ‘em to their sectarian violence. May the best man win, eh?

  42. ZinZin — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:52 pm  

    Your naive because you think the war was about bringing democracy to one of the worlds largest petrol stations.

  43. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:52 pm  

    Re: WMD.

    It depends on whether you think we should have gone for Saddam on the grounds they were in brech of treaties over what weapons they were permitted to have. They weren’t permitted to have anything that could range Israel – for obvious reasons. And they did. So they broke the treaty.

    Whether they had an NBC capability to stick on those rockets? Turned out they didn’t. But were I an Israeli, taking into account Saddam’s past records, I’d not have been overly inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    See?

  44. Bert Preast — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:53 pm  

    Bosnia got democracy, of a sort. You’d have said I was racist had I said the same could not be achieved with Arabs.

  45. ZinZin — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:56 pm  

    Post 43 more sophistry here was I thinking that WMD was chemical,biological and nuclear weapons.

  46. ZinZin — on 25th July, 2007 at 11:57 pm  

    Don’t put words in my mouth. RE post 44.

  47. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:01 am  

    #45 Yes, it is. But the difficulty is the delivery systems, and Saddam had that down pat. Putting nasty things in them is child’s play. See the chaos caused by the anthrax dude in the US.

    #46 Sorry, don’t mean to put words in your mouth. But had I said prior to the invasion something along the lines of “Ha! Might’ve worked in Bosnia but they’re Euro-muslims. As if you can get Arabs to run a democracy *snort*” I feel fairly sure I’d have been made to feel rather unwelcome.

  48. ZinZin — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:14 am  

    Bert he didn’t have the nasty things.

    Please stop projecting your anti-arab racism on to me. I have not forgotten that you supported the torture of arabs at Guamtanamo bay.

    I do believe that the Iraqis who have assisted/collaborated with US?UK troops should be granted asylum. The French gave asylum to their harki’s after the Algerian war so why not our Iraqis?

  49. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:24 am  

    If the nasty things could be obtained by the anthrax dude, there’s no doubt they could be obtained by a state actor.

    I don’t remember condoning torture at Guantanamo? Just detention. Did you see the Taleban commander they let out, the one who blew himself up rather than be recaptured two days back? I would condone torture by the way, but it’s absolutely pointless if it’s not done within 48 hours of lifting the bad guy. After that his mates know you’ve got him and everything changes. But if it gives you a lift then yes, Bert condones torture and is thus evil verily.

    I’m damned glad to see we agree when we stay on topic though, those who have worked for us merit our assistance in every way and if that means bringing them here then fine. If they don’t want to come we should still help them out with a lump sum to the value of. Least we can do. Get behind them.

  50. ZinZin — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:39 am  

    Condone torture. Better read A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-62 because you don’t understand anything about torture.

    The Anthrax dude probably worked in a US government lab. I do hope the bastard licked the envelope before he posted it. So why raise the issue of the “Anthrax dude”? they don’t sell that stuff in your local pharmacy. Any more lame arguments?

  51. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:47 am  

    Ah yes, a book will teach me all about torture. Sure it will.

    And I use the anthrax thing as an example. Saddam had retained the capability to make chemical weapons – just he hadn’t bothered making them. You know why? It’s because in 1991 he learned they were useless. They failed to scare us off, and his own commanders in the field were too frightened to use them. Either from a lack of confidence in the manufacturing techniques, or more likely the outrageous reprisals they would have faced.

    When I was there it was NBC drills hourly, and believe you me had any fucker been arsewit enough to use them on us the reprisals would most certainly have been outrageous. No officers of that division would have been permitted to escape, and they knew it. Any trying to surrender would have regretted it, and they knew that too.

    They’re perhaps not quite as naive as your good self?

  52. ZinZin — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:15 am  

    Torture doesn’t work. It cost the French Algeria even if it helped them win the Battle of Algiers.

    Bert, Confessing to a propensity for War crimes as well. My what a charming fellow you are.

    Do you have a moral compass Bert? Then again it alway Tu quoque with you.

    Democracy, torture and war crimes, yet you want asylum for collaboraters/allies of the UK army? Yet you would happily turn away victims of torture who claim asylum.

    “I can’t see why anti-war people could be against this. I’m trying to push the suspicion to the back of my mind that it’s gloating or each death is ammunition to the cause.”

    Not exactly a humanist but most certainly a hypocrite. Stick your concern for these poor bastards up your arse its insincere and you know it.

  53. Sunny — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:35 am  

    Wow, Zinwin I have to say your level of debating and arguments have improved immensely since you first started posting on PP. Am agreeing with pretty much everything you said on this thread.

  54. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:37 am  

    All depends on your definition or torture. As I said, handing people over to ‘interrogators’ for the professional tickling up is a waste of time – by the time they get there and the information gets back it’s worthless. Things move fast.

    On the other hand if I capture 2 militants and smash one’s teeth out, then the other will likely tell me where the rest of his lads are. So I can hit them before they hit me. When people are captured after an assault they’re terrified enough that they’ll tell you whatever you want with no more than a good slap and some fine raging features. They know the score, that’s why they chose to get captured.

    I don’t have time or need for car batteries, waterboarding or any of that unpleasantness – it may be necessary for people tied up in the espionage game but that’s not something that’s ever lit my candle. In cold blood I couldn’t do it unless I had some personal issue with them. It’s just not in me.

    Those who do get involved well, I believe they can’t often claim to be innocent victims. Though I admit there are groups who use torture on sectarian grounds which means it’s purely for fun, and those are people I’d kill without a moment’s hesitaion whenever given the opportunity. You know, make the world a better place and all that. Those are also the people threatening the Iraqis who worked for us. What do they hope to gain from torture, exactly?

    And I’ve checked the UN lists of those wanted for war crimes, and I’m not on it. Unlucky mate. maybe soon?

    You’re right in that what I’m saying doesn’t make me a humanist, but then I never claimed to be. But it don’t make me a hypocrite either.

  55. douglas clark — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:38 am  

    Bert,

    You say:

    “I would condone torture by the way, but it’s absolutely pointless if it’s not done within 48 hours of lifting the bad guy.”

    You do realise that there is a huge assumption there, like you actually have lifted the bad guy? And not some farmhand?

    ‘Tis a slippery slope Bert. Obviously if it’s sauce for the goose, it’ll be sauce for the gander too.

    Which other aspects of the Middle Ages would you like to see back? I’m sure I could make a list.

  56. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:42 am  

    Douglas – I know who I’ve lifted because he’ll have been shooting at me a few minutes previous. That’s the nice thing about being infantry, it’s the clean end of the fight. Not up to me to say which villagers are bad guys and which couldn’t care.

  57. douglas clark — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:55 am  

    Bert,

    That is battlefield heat of the moment stuff. Please do not mix that up with the torture we know and love.

    Which seems to started with the Yanks offering huge bribes for people to ‘snitch’, which they did and a lot of innocent people were consequently lifted. It’s money talking, really.

    The last time I looked 14,000 odd folk had been ‘rendered’ to regiemes that are not as squeamish as our own. That, sir, is someone making a political point, or sending a message. It has absolutley nothing to do with intel.

  58. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:07 am  

    That’s the exact distinction I’m trying to get across. What happens on the battlefield is accepted by all concerned, whereas what happens in Abu Ghraib is appalling stuff carried out by ‘soldiers’ who never fix bayonets and are held in nothing but the utmost contempt by those who do. They may think that in going to jail they’ve paid for their crimes but they’ve paid jack shit – it’s the infantry who pay.

    The Yanks did indeed offer bounties for known Taleban but the keyword there is ‘known’ – if your name wasn’t on their wanted list then your accuser was invited in to receive his payment and staggered out with his teeth in his hat after. Then you were let go. Well served. No one was wasting resources on farmers or militiamen unless they’d been fingered by a reliable source. Of course not all such sources may have been as reliable as we liked, but the exercise outed a lot of the unreliable ones too. Worthwhile I’d say, and not money talking.

    I don’t know much about rendition, but going on those I’ve read about who were on the receiving end I’ve yet to see one that made me think ‘woah, what was he doing there?’. Doubtless they exist mind, and sadly we probably haven’t heard about the innocents as it was far easier to kill them. Which is why I’ve not lent my support to extraordinary renditions.

  59. Katy Newton — on 26th July, 2007 at 8:27 am  

    None of you have any right to pass judgment from your English and Scottish armchairs on the choices of people living in conditions that you cannot begin to imagine.

    These “collaborators” are people who took jobs that were available because they had families to feed. Who the hell are any of you to label that “morally unacceptable”?

  60. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 9:26 am  

    It is interesting how the US and UK are always blamed for 650,000 Iraqi deaths, when it appears to be the Sunni insurgents and Shia death militias that are doing the killing. It was the invasion that led to this situation, but with that logic it could be argued that the only reason why there were so many casualties in WW2 was because of the Allies’ decision to fight Hitler.

    The problem with the torture you are describing Bert Preast is that, as ZinZin said, it is a very slippery slope. However, you seem to be one of the few commentators on here that has not taken the attitude that if you work with UK/US forces you are somehow deserving of death.

  61. sonia — on 26th July, 2007 at 10:36 am  

    yes Katy absolutely, thanks for pointing that out, i didn’t manage to get it across in my post, ( i was too annoyed some folks were displaying no empathy ) but the fact that they are stuck in these bombed out no jobs places, who the hell is able to judge them for their actions – hardly as if they have/had a whole bunch of wholesome choices. given no one else was paying anyone to work, ( apart from the ‘terrorists’ or insurgents or whoever) what can we expect?

    And this is back to the point of the chaos war causes. if none of you have had the misfortune to be in one, you aren’t going to know the desperation and the complete mess it creates. the situation becomes each man for himself type thing – precisely why people like me keep saying war even for ‘so-called humane’ reasons is never humane in the end! it forces too many difficult actions on people and there are consequences. i wouldn’t wish these things onto even my worst enemy.

    (i mean for goodness sakes a flood in berkshire and they’re looting.)

  62. sonia — on 26th July, 2007 at 10:39 am  

    it would be nice if this realisation meant we were finally going to do something about the whole/wider Iraq situation – that is what we should make sure we don’t keep schtum about. that we make sure people KNOW ( and later generations!) what the human cost of this f**king ‘hearts and minds’ and democracy project carried out with weapons and tanks.

  63. sonia — on 26th July, 2007 at 10:42 am  

    thank you sid! but as i have found myself stuck in a war, but luckily for me i got out, so i feel even worse for having the insight.

  64. sonia — on 26th July, 2007 at 10:47 am  

    anas –

    “Personally I’m not too moved by their plight”

    how positively unfeeling. you should be just as moved by their plight as anyone else’s plight – all the people dead, and you know what? living stuck in a warzone is a living hell. you should be just as much moved as much you might be moved by any palestinian/any human on this earth.

  65. sonia — on 26th July, 2007 at 10:56 am  

    oh sorry – in my post no. 22 – i didn’t clarify – it was the US government who had the cheek to start billing people for evacuating them from Kuwait in August 1990 – not the British or Canadian governments ( who were clearly far more sensible).

    this poor person i’ve spoken with whom it happened to – might end up spending a huge amount of money on this when they thought they were getting evacuated for free! $46,000 they were quoted…

  66. sonia — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:00 am  

    i’m disgusted at this talk of torture being ok. vbert?
    ( thank goodness other people have more sense)

    NO IT F***ING ISN’T !

    and you know what – it never works either. just screws a lot of people up. include the interrogators i might add.

    i can’t believe the state of the world still -that some people think that’s ok and that they can say it just as if it isn’t the same as announcing one is practially a psycopath with ZERO empathy – and we THINK WE’RE CIVILISED? why not just throw the towel in, get the gloves off, and show our fangs, and be done with.

  67. sahil — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:04 am  

    Great posts from Sonia, completely agree. For those who don’t want to sign the petition, think about the many Iraqis who had to help torture and maintain the state apparatus of the Baathist party because there were few options at that time. Did that make them evil? Maybe or maybe not. That’s the twisted things about war and tyrannical regimes. Who are we to judge the actions of people trying to feed their family. Why don’t we actually judge the suicide bomber who blows up average IRAQIS in the market place, including women and children. Should we feel more sympathy for them?

  68. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:09 am  

    Sonia:

    “On the other hand if I capture 2 militants and smash one’s teeth out, then the other will likely tell me where the rest of his lads are. So I can hit them before they hit me. When people are captured after an assault they’re terrified enough that they’ll tell you whatever you want with no more than a good slap and some fine raging features. They know the score, that’s why they chose to get captured.

    I don’t have time or need for car batteries, waterboarding or any of that unpleasantness – it may be necessary for people tied up in the espionage game but that’s not something that’s ever lit my candle. In cold blood I couldn’t do it unless I had some personal issue with them. It’s just not in me.

    Bert’s posts were hardly a defence of torture. He condemns cold-blooded/planned torture, and extraordinary rendition. All he was saying was that in the heat of the battle, soldiers will sometimes get a bit rough with their captured enemies in order to unlock information that will save them and their friends’ lives. It obviously is not ideal, but when you are surrounded by people trying to kill you and your friends, you are not going to be worried if you have to break a few teeth in order to save lives.

    All your other posts were excellent, mind.

  69. sonia — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:33 am  

    sahil, during the ‘baathist’ regime – like it or not, the situation was not a war one – ordinary people kept their head down – yes it was repressive, but it was completely different to the situation now. people had jobs like being museum curators, doctors, engineers, etc. Straight after the Allies went in, i think you’ll find that most people lost their jobs. so it was completely a different situation – that’s my point, yes its not to say people don’t have to make difficult choices in non-war time ( and i don’t believe in ‘evil’ anyway, i think its a silly religious construct) but it is Different in out and out war. of course if you haven’t got experience of war i can’t expect you to understand that.

  70. sonia — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:37 am  

    well perhaps i misunderstood what bert was saying ( sorry if that’s the case old pertie..) but its silly to use terms like ‘torture’ which never happens in the heat of battle anyway, and certainly it is not ordinary soldiers who are left with the task of ‘interrogation’ – everyone knows that.

    and i think that if one is sending soldiers into battle – thinking that’s ok – then of course it is stupid to turn around when that soldier does something awful in the course of war – that’s what happens, and that’s why i’ve always said No Wars thanks because you’re sending someone straight into a situation and i don’t believe that war commanders don’t know full well the kind of crazy pressure they are putting their soldiers in.

    my points are very simple: if people want to engage in war, then they need to think very clearly and simply before they go in, about what that reality is – for civilians who are under attack, the soldiers who are having to attack and also under threat of attack, for everyone.

    no one wins in the end – absolutely everyone ‘loses’. it ain’t good for anyone.

  71. sahil — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:44 am  

    Sonia I agree, that’s why I said war and tyrannical regimes. They create different scenarios and both scenarios are amongst the worst people can suffer from. I’m simply saying that before the build up of the war, many people had argued that all (except the ‘bosses’) ex-civil servants must be pardoned for the crimes that they committed during the Baathist regime. That’s why I find people who are not sympathetic to the current civil service hypocritical. The current situation in Iraq is complete mayhem, and you’re right I do not have clue as to how one would survive in that environment, and that’s why I’m in support of the idea: that ANY Iraqi should have the right to settle in the UK and the ‘coalition of the willing’ states.

  72. Random Guy — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:46 am  

    Lets keep some perspective here:-

    - At least 1 million dead (probably more, but we never took body count statistics, did we?)

    - At least 1 million homeless (those huge tent cities in the desert? They weren’t there before)

    - Completely flattened infrastructure (roads, water pipes, schools (ffs!), electricity)

    - Massive brain drain after proffesionals were being assasinated (where is the hope for the future generations?)

    - Daily suicide bombings, murders, reprisals

    - People scared to go out on the street to retrieve or check bodies because of explosive booby traps

    - Prospect of further war ahead…

    Particularly @Bert, at what point here does anyone believe that anything that has happened in Iraq is for the better. Do we take the politicians’ view point and close our eyes and picture an enlightened modern state in the next 50 to 70 years? And thats it? Deal with the reality. Nothing that has happened in Iraq has been good for the country since the UK/US invaded and illegaly occupied it.

    I feel sorry for those who have worked with the UK government because they did what they had to, and I doubt they did it out of any love for the occupying forces and their idealistic ‘crusade’. I feel sorry because there is no way that the UK will bring all of them to safety (maybe only the talented ones they can exploit for intelligence work), as it will open the floodgates for hundreds of thousands more to ask for the same.

    People who think this war was justified IMO, should be hiding under the biggest rock in the deepest cave they can find, such is the scale of human tragedy and suffering that it has caused. Unfortunately, their services are required by Big Oil and the Developed World for now…

  73. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:22 pm  

    Random Guy – I’ve never said this war has made things better for Iraqis. It quite clearly hasn’t. Hopefully we’ll learn from our mistakes – and so will the anti war lads. Looking back, had Saddam been walloped by a Tomahawk as he stood in front of the cheering crowds firing his rifle into the air whoever fired the missile would have been pilloried in the international community for the few hundred civilian deaths such a strike would have caused. Bloody cheap price to pay with hindsight though.

    Who’s anti war yet would have supported such an act?

  74. Kismet Hardy — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:29 pm  

    If all Iraqis, Afghanistanis, Palestinians and Iranians were wiped off the planet by the USA tomorrow, some of you would say: Let’s not get too bogged down by who’s at fault. The important thing is that we help rebuild these countries and for that, we have to look to the USA for support…

  75. ZinZin — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:34 pm  

    Kismet-LOL

  76. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:42 pm  

    Kismet, don’t be so cynical.
    We went to war for, amongst many other things, establishing American Freedom and European Enlightenment values in Iraq.

    Now that they have them, they all want to come here? Typical!

  77. Random Guy — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:42 pm  

    Bert, it was never the UK/US’s business to be in Iraq in the first place. I would not condone a single act of war by an agressor if it killed even one innocent civilian. Any agressor, any war. So the tomahawk suggestion leaves me very confused. Your position is that the US/UK can go and just fire a tomahawk at the ruler of another country? I am flabbergasted at that.

    Also, ‘looking back’ does not cut it. If they had wanted to, the US and UK could have mounted a much more surgical strike to kill Saddam. But then the entire international community would correctly call them out for the terrorists they were. This whole expensive logistic operation served a very different purpose: -

    (a) send a message to the region
    (b) cover an illegal action by making it look like a legitimate good guy/bad guy WW2 scenario.
    (c) massive troop presence to protect the rapidly diminishing oil reserves. Have you seen the new American Embassy blueprints for Baghdad? I suggest you google it.

    The truth is that in hindsight, the only thing the UK/US would do differently would be perhaps to use more explosive ordnance and depleted uranium, had they known just how much resistance they would find.

  78. Kismet Hardy — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:46 pm  

    Sid, the west never learns. First they went all over the world killing people in the name of civilisation, then democracy, and now to purge them of terror, and everytime they want to leave, the natives go: where are you going? We’re coming with you

  79. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

    Yes, and don’t forget, the war failed because of the intransigence and backwardness of the Iraqi People who failed to seize the opportunity of having Western values thrust upon so generously. Makes me wonder whether Winston Churchill, who advocated gassing Arabs, wasn’t right to begin with. sheeeh!

  80. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

    Did we have business there when he invaded Kuwait? Random, had he not invaded his neighbours we’d have had no business there at all, and no one would have cared. But he did.

    And the UK and US undoubtedly had many plans to assasinate him surgically, the fact that it didn’t happen shows that it couldn’t be done. Had we got him, the usual suspects would’ve moaned about state terrorism yes, but I don’t reckon many would have listened to them.

    And the US needs an embassy that has a radius greater than that of a mortar strike. Our base in Basra is currently taking over 10 rockets and bombs a day for that reason.

    Not sure what you mean with your last paragraph?

  81. Kismet Hardy — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:52 pm  

    “If they had wanted to, the US and UK could have mounted a much more surgical strike to kill Saddam.”

    All those James Bond and Hollywood spy movies are all lies, lies, lies. British/ US intelligence can’t sneak in and kill anyone in the dead of the night with a silencer

    Which is why, my deep political insight can exclusively reveal, in the real world, they need big bombs and tanks and stuff and kill loads of people in the hope they might kill someone that might need killing

    Only difference between war movies and wars is that less people die in the movies

  82. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:53 pm  

    Bert, you and Nick Cohen are so fucking in the right, it’s untrue.

  83. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 12:53 pm  

    Sid, the gas Churchill advocated was CN, the forerunner of today’s CS. Today we even use it on hippies and no one minds.

  84. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:01 pm  

    Dead hippies, dead Arabs. Do you care?

  85. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:03 pm  

    They’re not dead, just rather unimpressed with air quality.

    And believe it or not, I’m a hippy.

  86. Katy Newton — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:04 pm  

    I don’t think anyone wants anyone to be dead, do they? Argh, where is this thread going?

  87. Katy Newton — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:05 pm  

    (That’s true. CS gas isn’t lethal. It’s not nice, though.)

  88. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

    Katy, you’re so right. After all, they dropped marshmallows on Fallujah, didn’t they.

  89. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

    It’s that 80 posts thingy again.

  90. Kismet Hardy — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:13 pm  

    “had he not invaded his neighbours we’d have had no business there at all, and no one would have cared.”

    Same with that Adolph chap with his lebensraum fixation

    When will these stupid so-called dictator learn that you can’t just go into a country and kill people just because you don’t like them?

    God bless America. They only do that when they’ve been provoked and even then, they only target those countries responsible. Like when a bunch of Saudis board planes and go on a kamikaze mission

  91. Random Guy — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:13 pm  

    @Bert: My last paragraph meant that the US/UK would have used even greater force if they had been aware of the scale of resistance they would find.

    You bring up Kuwait. Interesting one that. They f**ked up that time as well. Bert, the US and UK have never had business in that region, apart from the oil business.

    The US Embassy in Iraq does need to be big enough, but my points regarding it are actually more along the lines of the scale of the building and the rationale behind it – definitely a long term prospect. “We are here to stay! We need to rape your country’s oil reserves.”

    @Kismet: By surgical strike I did not mean any James Bond shenanigans. I did not meant aything in particular tbh, just anything apart from a mass-scale military occupation.

  92. douglas clark — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:14 pm  

    This entire debate reminds me, rather tragically, of a post some time ago on CiF by Conor Foley, where he pointed out that when International Relief Agencies felt that a situation had got too dangerous, their local staff ot partners were left to their own devices when they withdrew. Usually that meant being left to the wolves.

    I do not agree that it ‘opens floodgates’. There is presumeably a payroll somewhere, if your name is on it, then you and your family should be protected. It is inhumane to do otherwise.

    The UK can surely do what the Danes did?

  93. Kismet Hardy — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:16 pm  

    RG, I know (re: James Bond). But wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where bad guys get killed by good guys and succeed without killing all the random guys in the way instead…

  94. Don — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:20 pm  

    I got CS’d out of my own classroom once. First teaching job, should have taken it as a warning.

    There seems to have developed a sense that because the US/UK governments were wrong to invade then those Iraqis on the ground who have chosen to help rebuild the mess have somehow signed up to an evil agenda and if the insurgents get hold of them, tough shit.

  95. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

    Random, sorry, still not with you. Are you referring to the Iraqi military resistance or the current situation with the militias? I’ll assume you mean the latter, in which case in what way would we have used greater force and why haven’t we?

    How was Kuwait a fuck up? Should we have left it to sanctions to get him out?

    For the embassy it should look solid. The violence is increasing because no one in Iraq expects the US or us to be there for much longer. Our usual short-sightedness again defeated by their patience and long term view. Not sure how it’s all about raping oil reserves though – I’m no economist but even I can see that it’s a lot cheaper just to buy the stuff.

  96. Katy Newton — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:26 pm  

    Katy, you’re so right. After all, they dropped marshmallows on Fallujah, didn’t they.

    I was talking about people on this thread. Do I look like a moron?

  97. Kismet Hardy — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:30 pm  

    I do

  98. Random Guy — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:33 pm  

    Bert, I am going to try and get back on topic so will answer briefly. Yes I was talking about the militias. Greater Force = Less Resistance = More Troops initially. Kuwait set stage for this current period. AAARGH you no get it still…WE have nothing to do with him, never had. Embassy Size proportional to Occupation time. Oil reserve problem not monetary but supply related.

    @Kismet: LOL at the ‘Random’ comment.

    Okay, I am done with that (possibly hilarious) answering session.

    @Douglas: what is the scale of what the Danes did compared to the scale of what the UK will have to do? I am assuming that the UK may be responsible for many more than the Danes? Not sure.

  99. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:34 pm  

    Don, the Iraqi’s looking for asylum now are probably deeply unpopular in their own country. The death threats alone mean they need to be given asylum in either USA or UK. But the damage done to Iraqi society as a result of war goes deeper than a handful of Iraqis working for the coalition. Would you be OK with providing asylum to the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have suffered as a result of death, dislocation and emotional damage? And if not, why not?

  100. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:37 pm  

    I’d say what we’re proposing here is comparable in scale to what the Danes have done. It’ll be 10 times the number but then we have 10 times the population.

  101. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:39 pm  

    And many times the accountability.

  102. Don — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:45 pm  

    Sid,

    I’d be in favour of giving asylum to anyone specifically targeted. I would guess that those affected by the widespread suffering are more likely to number in the millions, so while I take your point in principal it couldn’t happen in practice.

    How sure are we that these people are deeply unpopular and seen as collaborators by the general population, as distinct from the insurgents? Is this based on anything, or just projecting?

  103. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:49 pm  

    Are they being considered for asylum simply because they worked with coalition soldiers and no other reason? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure they’re regarded as collaborators. I have no idea whether collaborators are regarded with suspician or if they are showered with flowers and sweetmeats by the average Iraqi.

  104. Jagdeep — on 26th July, 2007 at 1:57 pm  

    What a mess. Harry’s Place, main left apologists for the war, do you think they feel any moral culpability for any of this, or have they steeled their hearts, and are in the biggest state of denial in the blogosphere.

    Yesterday I read that Iraq’s football team had reached the final of the Asian Cup for the first time ever, and thousands of people took to the streets in jubilation to celebrate. And suicide bombers exploded a couple of cars in a crowd of celebrating football fans killing dozens.

  105. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:03 pm  

    Jagdeep:

    “What a mess. Harry’s Place, main left apologists for the war, do you think they feel any moral culpability for any of this, or have they steeled their hearts, and are in the biggest state of denial in the blogosphere.

    They posted this appeal before Pickled Politics did (not a criticism Sunny).

    “What a mess. Harry’s Place, main left apologists for the war, do you think they feel any moral culpability for any of this, or have they steeled their hearts, and are in the biggest state of denial in the blogosphere.”

    So what you are saying is that it is the US/UK’s fault that suicide bombers are murdering Iraqis?

  106. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:04 pm  

    You’re blaming that on the US and UK?

  107. Jagdeep — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:21 pm  

    So what you are saying is that it is the US/UK’s fault that suicide bombers are murdering Iraqis?

    No Bert. That was written more in sorrow at the tragedy of that country, than as a counterpoint to the denial and moral turpitude of the Harry’s Place tendency who war mongered at that time.

    Although a central plank of the reasoning, articulated by Andrew Sullivan amongst others, and presumably endorsed by Harry’s Place at some stage, was that invading Iraq would create a ‘honey trap’ for jihadis, from whence they could be picked off and the ‘swamp could be cleared’. Let’s just imagine for a moment that this was to happen — it meant that prior to the invasion, the warriors were actually inviting terrorist to come to Iraq, without actually considering that they would unleashe their hell on the Iraqi people, despite everything that everyone said. The callousness of that was quite breathtaking.

    Although I wonder — the failure to secure the country and prevent these attacks under American / British jurisdiction. If the Harry’s Place Sahibs and the war leaders wanted to take the credit for all the good things that they anticipated would happen after the invasion, why don’t they take the credit for the bad things that have happened to the Iraqi people, including not providing the security for celebrating football fans?

    Harry’s Place, after all, have never produced a post explaining any sense of introspection on this matter. so you must presume they still believe they were right to support it, even though their boss and gaffer Norman Geras repented publically. Big time DENIAL.

  108. douglas clark — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:26 pm  

    Bert, @100. I’d have assumed similar figures to you.

  109. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:30 pm  

    Jagdeep:

    “If the Harry’s Place Sahibs and the war leaders wanted to take the credit for all the good things that they anticipated would happen after the invasion, why don’t they take the credit for the bad things that have happened to the Iraqi people, including not providing the security for celebrating football fans?”

    There has been plenty of criticism on HP of the failure of the coalition to provide enough security for Iraqis. Just look at this very appeal. What you were implying in your previous post was not only that the coalition had failed to provide those football fans with protection, but that it was the coalition that was responsible for their deaths. I think that the suicide bombers bear more responsibility.

  110. Jagdeep — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:40 pm  

    Oh for goodness sake Rumbold, we all know that the suicide bombers bear direct responsibility for the people that they kill.

    My mentioning the most recent atrocity was a plaintive lament for the horror that Iraq is. Dozens of people killed as they celebrate a football result. What a horrific tragedy. Maybe next time I will put a crying smilie to indicate what I mean.

    Harry’s Place may have uhmmed and ahhhed about this or that aspect of things, but they have never written a introspective mea culpa for their support for the war.

  111. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

    It was just the way you worded it Jagdeep. Sorry.

    The Iraq war has turned out to be a terrible decision, thanks to the incompetence of Washington and the viciousness of the Sunni terrorists and Shia death militias. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, but based on the evidence available at the time of the invasion, I and many others believed that it was the right thing to do; we could not know that the US would make such a terrible mess of running the country. What purpose then would a mea culpa serve?

  112. Jagdeep — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:50 pm  

    No need to apologise Rumbold, I don’t ever want to have bad words with you *thumbs up*

    That’s the internet though sometimes it’s hard to read what people say.

  113. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:55 pm  

    An apology was in order Jagdeep. I know that you are a sensible individual, and I was just being belligerent. (Yellow smiley face).

  114. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:56 pm  

    Jagdeep – I supported the war, but have written no mea culpa because I don’t feel culpable. The vast part of the violence in Iraq is Iraqi on Iraqi, due to a breakdown in law and order giving deep seated sectarian hatreds and mistrusts a chance to do their worst. We are not exacerbating these tensions as are some other countries in the region, and had Iraqi religious leaders not called for opposition then our troops would be gone by now and those leaders could have got on with the task of fighting amongst themselves for the main prize in earnest.

    This isn’t the war I supported – some of the US actions have been shameful or downright stupid. I favoured going in, defeating the Iraqi military then killing or capturing all the high level Baathists we could lay hands on, and had Saddam done his snurgling off bit, as he did, then burn all his toys we could lay hands on. Then get out again. Take Hope Grant’s mission into China as the model if you like. And at the end of the day Saddam, not a warry lefty cabal, was to blame for the war – all he had to do was leave Iraq as we demanded.

    I’m speaking for myself rather than HP here by the way, I’ve probably not made more than 50 posts over there so have no right to say what they’re thinking.

  115. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:00 pm  

    The Iraq war has turned out to be a terrible decision, thanks to the incompetence of Washington and the viciousness of the Sunni terrorists and Shia death militias.

    Sleight of Hand alert: “incompetence of Washington” elides the barbarity of cluster bombs, high-tech arsenals, state of the art killing machinery is benign whereas Iraqi resistance (irrespective of patrician spin) to the slaughter of their people is “vicious”.

  116. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

    I’d be in favour of giving asylum to anyone specifically targeted. I would guess that those affected by the widespread suffering are more likely to number in the millions, so while I take your point in principal it couldn’t happen in practice.

    If destroying a region for its oil is possible in practice, surely responsibility towards the victims either as asylum seekers or simply as refugee-victims of the war is comensurate with the of spreading Liberal Enlightenment values that were supplied as a motive by our governments.

  117. Jagdeep — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:07 pm  

    What purpose then would a mea culpa serve?

    Good queston. Maybe mea culpa is the wrong term to use. I don’t think that people should be contrite or wring their hands over every little thing that they got wrong; for a start I get things wrong as much as anyone.

    But this is not a little thing.

    The enormity of the catastrophe of Iraq seems to me to need at least some explanation for positions held on it. It is the defining issue of our time, the defining issue and tone setter for the start of the 21st Century. We don’t even know how big the implications of it are because it is so much in ferment, the map has not settled, the ethnic and religious balance has been so changed, that we’re probably only at the beginning of it all. The wrecking of international relations, the mistrust of America and to a lesser extent Britain, the moral implications of it, even to the idea of ‘ethical and legitimate foreign intervention’, are so great that you would hope those who got it wrong understand why, and what they can learn, and how they can deal with the current situation.

    This is not Shambo the Bull or whether import restrictions should be lifted on Kenyan coffee imports. This is the biggest mistake of our generation. I just feel it needs more than cut and pasting appeals for asylum seekers in response.

    By the way, I think Harry’s Place does sterling work in opposing extremist ideology in the UK. Especially David T, who is a good chap. This makes it an even bigger shame they got it so wrong on the war. But I think they got things mixed up in an internecine struggle on the Left against the lunatics who by default side with jihadis, all that anti-imperialism rhetoric covering up their true agenda. They saw Iraq as the canvas on which that battle would be settled. And they got it wrong. It was possible to oppose both those people, and the war itself.

  118. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:08 pm  

    Sid:

    There have been examples of US brutality, such as Abu Gharib and cluster bombs, but it is the incompetence that has really done the damage to the whole country. I would not compare US forces to the ‘insurgents/militias’, as, for the most part, when the US kill civilians it is an accident or collateral damage. When the ‘insurgents/militias’ kill civilians, it is a triumph for them. I do not see a moral equivilence here.

  119. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:09 pm  

    Not all Pro-War Lefties are stupid, mealy-mouthed cowards.

  120. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:10 pm  

    Rumbold, so cluster-bombing and killing by warfare is a noble necessity that is beyond accountability?

  121. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:12 pm  

    Good points Jagdeep (117). I think that it is vital to see where we (as a country, as a civilization) have gone wrong with regards Iraq, and learn lessons for the future. If Harry’s Place did this, it would be great; it is just that I do not see too much point in an apology, as, based on the evidence at the time, plenty thought that it was the right thing to do.

  122. Bert Preast — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:14 pm  

    Sid – beyond accountability? Think you’ll find investigations and apologies were made.

  123. Jai — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

    There was some programme on TV last year (I think it was on More4) which stated that apparently Al-Qaeda had “planted” false information into Western intelligence circles via captured terrorists regarding Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons capability and agenda, with the intention of deliberately triggering an American-lead invasion of Iraq in order to destabilise the region and escalate the “jihad”. OBL was supposed to have planned this all along. Apparently.

  124. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

    Me:

    “There have been examples of US brutality, such as Abu Gharib and cluster bombs.”

    Sid:

    “Rumbold, so cluster-bombing and killing by warfare is a noble necessity that is beyond accountability?”

    I do not like it when the US or UK kill civilians. My point was that there are differences in terms of intent between coalition forces in Iraq and the terrorists/death squads.

  125. Jagdeep — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:21 pm  

    Rumbold — maybe I use Harry’s Place generically as an example for those not of the Right who threw their lot in with the neo-cons. It’s quite amazing that people like Arronovitch and Nick Cohen could accuse everyone opposed to the war as apologists for the Islamist Right. Some of them were and are — most were not. It would have been trickier and more difficult to walk that line of opposing the war while simultaneously condemning those who apologise for suicide bombing, make pacts with anti-semites, and all the rest of it that is shown in the Lenin’s Place tendency. But they took the bull in the china shop route, by fully endorsing those who the Lenin’s Place-ites opposed because of their repulsion at the compromises that section of the Left made with the extremists. It was almost like in the heat of the moment, those months leading up to the war, they were filled with fury themselves, and lost perspective. I think by doing this, they compromised themselves.

  126. sahil — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

    I was just thinking about how desensitised we have become about Iraq, even the recent bombings of footballs supporters didn’t get any airtime, and I thought about this music video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hii17sjSwfA&mode=related&search=

  127. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 3:45 pm  

    I suppose that there was a bit of that Jagdeep; I see your point.

  128. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:00 pm  

    Think you’ll find investigations and apologies were made.

    by whom?
    it’ll be another generation before the full extent of the blame of the Iraqi atrocity is fully countenanced by the west.

  129. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

    I do not like it when the US or UK kill civilians. My point was that there are differences in terms of intent between coalition forces in Iraq and the terrorists/death squads.

    yeah, some of the killers are tall white guys and others are small, swarthy darkies.

  130. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:08 pm  

    So I am a racist now eh Sid?

    Sunni insurgents plant bombs or blow themselves up in order to cause the maximum carnage possible. They consider it a job well done when they can say that they murdered 100 Iraqis today. Shia death militias seek out their victims, usually torturing them for the sake of it before executing them.

    Coaltion forces are not perfect, but they do not start the day with the aformentioned aims in mind. That is the difference.

  131. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:09 pm  

    Must I remind you of Fallujah?

  132. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

    As I said before Sid, there have been acts of barbarity, and I have never tried to excuse them. But the insurgents/militias go out to commit barbarous acts everyday, a fact which you seem unwilling, or unable, to grasp. When you see that dozens of Iraqis have been murdered everyday, or that the morgues are overflowing with civilians’ bodies, remember that it was not the Americans who killed them.

  133. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:20 pm  

    Rumbold, I admire your attempts at spin, but excuse me if I see it as the kind of doubletalk pushed on us by people who talk out of the sides of their mouths, like Nick Cohen and the not-so-beliigerant-anymore Harry’s Place etc. Give it up man, it doesn’t suit your otherwise broad outlook.

  134. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:22 pm  

    you’ll be telling me Bernard Manning wasn’t a racist comedian, next.

  135. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:26 pm  

    Taking a sidestep to a more theoretical plain for a moment, do you agree that intent is important? E.g. If I ran you over, does it matter whether I meant to or not? In one sense, it does not matter, as you have still been flattened, but it should matter in terms of the seriousness of the crime, and the appropriate setencing.

    That is my point; the Coalition, by and large, does not try and murder Iraqi civilians. Their enemies do. It is not mean to be spin, or sophistry.

  136. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:27 pm  

    Sid (134):

    Ha ha. He certainly was racist. And unpleasant.

  137. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:28 pm  

    I’m thinking of starting a new facebook group:

    BLAME THE WAR ON IRAQ ON IRAQIS

    I can see I’ll have plenty of punters.

  138. Random Guy — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

    Rumbold, without the help of the US and the UK, those insurgents would not be out there in the first place. Do you disagree?

  139. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

    The vast majority of deaths are caused by Iraqi killing Iraqi (or foreign Islamists killing Iraqis). Do you dispute this?

  140. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

    yep.

  141. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

    Random Guy:

    I cannot see what would happen in an alternate universe; I am not a counter-factual historian. They probably would not be there, but that is like saying that the Versailles Treaty (and therefore the French) is to blame for the Holocaust because it led to the rise of the Nazis who tried to kill all the Jews.

  142. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

    No, what you’re saying is the Jews were responsible for the Holocaust.

  143. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:36 pm  

    Or worse: if there weren’t so many Roma, homosexuals and cripples, there wouldn’t be as many as six million dead in the Holocaust.

  144. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

    Sid:

    In the past few weeks you have accused me of being:

    -An avid supporter of Mao’s regime
    -A racist
    -Someone who celebrates all American brutality in Iraq

    And now I see that I believe that the Jews were responsible for the Holocaust. Would it be possible for you to write all your insults in one post, as I am sure that it would save the both of us some time.

  145. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:46 pm  

    You could be worse Rumbold, you could be Nick Cohen. ;-)

  146. Rumbold — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:49 pm  

    You have gone too far this time Sid. I am not a leftie!

  147. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 4:53 pm  

    As the President of the Air Council, [Churchill] advocated the use of poison gas against tribesmen revolting in what was soon to become Iraq. According to Churchill:” I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes … to spread a lively terror”.

    Not sure whether poison gas was CN or something more potent, like garam masala.

  148. Random Guy — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:00 pm  

    @Rumbold: I would dispute “vast majority” because we simply don’t know how many ancillary deaths the war is causing on an hourly basis.

    Your statement “The vast majority of deaths are caused by Iraqi killing Iraqi (or foreign Islamists killing Iraqis)” does not make any sense as a response to mine. If you are admitting this then you are basically agreeing that – like I just asked you – that “without the help of the US and the UK, those insurgents/militias would not be out there in the first place. Do you disagree?”

  149. Anas — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:08 pm  

    Sonia, personally I’m sick of people saying I’m a terrorist apologist or that I sound like a terrorist. If everyone who betrayed a complete lack of empathy towards people in Iraq sounded like a terrorist, that’d be pretty much everyone involved with the whole fucking war — and in fact a large number of people in the West who have commented on the war. So don’t throw out names like that unless you can substantiate them a bit more than “oooh, he said something I don’t like, he sounds like a terrorist”. And, Sonia, quoting me as saying “Personally I’m not too moved by their plight” and then leaving out the rest of the sentence which put that in context is a bit off too? Zinzin is right, this is out of character for you. I hope you’re big enough to apologise.

    And I can’t believe people still think that Iraq was invaded to spread democracy — in fact the US is planning and has always planned to install a permanent presence in Iraq and establish a pliant regime. Fuck according to most opinion most of the Iraqis want the US out, so if we were talking about democratic decisions here shouldn’t that entail the withdrawal of troops for a start?

    Also, it’s absurd to suppose you can invade a country kill thousands of people and then “introduce” democracy there when most of the people want you out and pretty much see through your actions that you don’t give a flying fuck about the wellbeing of the people of the country — to put it mildly — and that you want to exploit their resources as much as you can. The Iraqis want the US out and it’s clear the US won’t leave without a fight, that’s why I hope the Iraqi anti-US resistance who are against sectarianism and the murder of civilians gain more power and succeed in their aims.

    And Bert I have talked about this before — about the obligations of the coaltion forces towards the population of Iraq under international law — and about the crime of aggressive war initiated by the coaltion, for which war criminals were HANGED at Nuremberg. There’s a lot more to this but I don’t have time to go into it now — tho there is stuff online discussing it. But basically by initiating an aggressive war, we are responsible to a very substantial extent for the resulting catastrophe — in other words “Yes, they do need help. But no, they are not our responsibility. They are displaced by sectarian violence, and the reason no one wants them is because they’ll bring that baggage along with them” is bullshit.

    Didn’t read the rest of the thread, so don’t know if anyone else has brought up these points.

  150. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:12 pm  

    Didn’t read the rest of the thread, so don’t know if anyone else has brought up these points.

    Well you missed some class jousting between Rumbold’s moribund Cohenisms and my skillful parlaying.

  151. Anas — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:15 pm  

    these people are in a bombed out country for f**k’s sake, some are going to try and work to rebuild it, instead of being more destructive. neither of you seem to get that, and be more inclined to the view of those who are attacking these people. you’re buying into the us/them thing from their side.

    Oh and Sonia, are you saying anyone who doesn’t want to collaborate with the coalition forces in Iraq is a terrorist?

  152. sahil — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:34 pm  

    Massive difference between not collaborating with the CAP and bombing the crap out of a market place.

  153. Jai — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:35 pm  

    Crikey, Anas must hold the PP record for using the word “f***” the maximum number of times in a single post.

    Dude, I’m wondering what kind of company you work for, if they allow people to use their internet facilities in order to submit posts including such expletives without the bureacratic nutters in Compliance jumping all over you and hauling you off to HR for a “little chat” ;)

  154. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

    those finance company firewalls and being a blog commenter sucks, eh Jai?

  155. Jai — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

    Hence my very limited “hit-and-run” drive-by commenting on PP during the weekdays, Sid Bondu ;)

  156. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 5:52 pm  

    ah it’s a slippery slope from there jai.

  157. douglas clark — on 26th July, 2007 at 6:35 pm  

    Well I think poor Anas feels pretty well misunderstood on here. He supports the Iraqi people and feels they are being fucked over – there, I’ve said it too – by both the Coalition and the Jihadists. A position I have some sympathy with. I have to agree that the death toll seems to only exercise a very limited number of people here in the West.

    Where Anas and I part company is on this:

    “The Iraqis want the US out and it’s clear the US won’t leave without a fight, that’s why I hope the Iraqi anti-US resistance who are against sectarianism and the murder of civilians gain more power and succeed in their aims.”

    Who, exactly, are these brave Iraqi counter insurgents? All I see is Sunni -v- Shia civil war, local players like Syria and Iraq at least tacitly supporting ‘their side’, and a bloodbath in the offing. This is civil war territory, and we might reasonably be informed of the likely outcome by looking at the Partition of India as a typical Western response to religious intolerance / violence.

    Shouldn’t be at all surprised if the Pentagon isn’t reading about Mountbatten right now.

  158. ZinZin — on 26th July, 2007 at 6:40 pm  

    Well I think poor Anas feels pretty well misunderstood on here.

    Agreed. I gave him a tough time when he first started posting here. Now I’m ashamed about it. Recently though his treatment by other posters here is beyond the pale.

    Anas is a moral man even if he is misguided or plain wrong. That is enough to gain my respect and it should be enough for others on this blog.

  159. douglas clark — on 26th July, 2007 at 6:51 pm  

    Re 157,

    Err, should have been Syria and Iran, obviously….

  160. Don — on 26th July, 2007 at 7:33 pm  

    @116

    sid,
    I have seldom been angrier in my life than when Bush & Blair started their geasy pi-jaw about how beastly Saddam was and how we just had to help all those poor people when it just patently wasn’t true. They’d supported and backed the bastard when it suited them and then got all indignant. I’m talking red-mist, vein-popping angry here.

    As I may have mentioned before, I reluctantly supported the invasion of Afghanistan as it seemed both necessary and possible given the resources available, and that the invasion would be ultimately beneficial and save lives. The invasion of Iraq screwed that chance.

    I opposed the Iraq war, but after a while it was pretty hard to find an anti-war movement that wasn’t hopelessly compromised.

    But on a purely practical level, I really don’t think it is possible to air-lift five or ten or twenty million Iraqis over to the UK. Do you?

    By the way, do we include as collaborators those Iraqi workers who are restoring the infrastructure? Does the labourer digging a sewer deserve everything he gets, as The Dude suggested? Or just the interpreter who passes on the instructions? (that part was not @ sid, just generally)

    I have seen several news clips where (apparently) ordinary Iraqis have seemed more than happy to explain that the ordinance aimed at troops is coming from the mad bastards holed up over there, and not from their homes over here. Is the guy who risks his life to make that comprehensible to the troops really a reviled pariah?

    This whole ‘collaborator’ thing needs a little examination.

  161. Katy Newton — on 26th July, 2007 at 9:37 pm  

    Oh and Sonia, are you saying anyone who doesn’t want to collaborate with the coalition forces in Iraq is a terrorist?

    Obviously not. You’re the one who’s painting this as either/or, with one group of bad guys (“collaborators”) and one group of good guys (the other Iraqis). Sonia is clearly trying to get away from that and towards something which more adequately represents the forest of different interests currently at war in Iraq.

  162. douglas clark — on 26th July, 2007 at 9:50 pm  

    Katy,

    It was quite clear that Sonia was saying nothing as simplistic as Anas proposed. As usual, I agree with Sonia!

    But Anas is being forced onto a very defensive footing here. The history of the guy on PP has been to condemn terrorists and condemn the West equally. I have a big issue with why that is wrong. Whilst this might not be good enough, it in not either/or it is neither/nor.

    If that is his position, I support it. Otherwise, let’s get to it.

  163. Katy Newton — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:03 pm  

    Look, I’m sorry but I don’t get this sudden “poor defenceless Anas” thing that’s sprung up here. He’s intelligent, articulate and more than capable of defending his viewpoint. He doesn’t need to be wrapped in cotton wool.

  164. douglas clark — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:33 pm  

    No, he certainly doesn’t need to be wrapped in cotton wool. But his opinion ought to be given some degree of equal treatment. Which, I would submit, it is not getting.

    For goodness sake, I disagree with quite a lot of what he writes; but as Zinzin said, it is honestly said. It does not require the entire establishment here to fall down on the top of him. It requires a reasoned response, including sweary words if necessary…..hopefully this will never become a Harrys Place clone.

    Reasoned response. Fair treatment. Key words. Gedditt?

    ——————————————————

    Oh, and I was so trying not to fall out with you.

    Why is it that you and I end up on the other side of most arguements on PP? I happen to think that, when you put your mind to it, you can knock spots off most folk here, in terms of an arguement. You have persuaded me that you were right when everyone else thought you were wrong, at least initially. That, Ms Newton, is as near as you are likely to get for praise from me. Just sometimes, arguement is not enough. Empathy is good too.

  165. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:02 am  

    Katy,

    Is it either/or or neither/nor? Your shout.

  166. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:19 am  

    Katy

    For me, calling Anas a “terrorist” for simply speaking his mind was just one step too far. Sonia overstepped that mark and I had no problems and make no apology for defending him against such a slander. This has been a worrying trend of late of people criminalising the views of others that they don’t agree with.

    There as been a lot of ruddish written on this forum by people who thought that throwing insults was far easier than making a good arguement. Don is a case in point (message no: 160) and his blind accusation of me, of something I never said. But read the rest of his post and even he made a great deal of sense. Iraq is a mess. Of this I think everyone on this forum can agree but this did not come about by accident. It was a deliberate act of terrorism (for want of a better word) on OUR PART of us upon them, the people of Iraq. No amount of wringing of hands and beating of chests are going to change those facts on the ground. Whether I think the those Iraqi’s who choose to work with the British and American occupying forces were collaborators or not is pretty much immaterial. What matters was that there were those in Iraq who evidently thought that they were. To call this an unreasonable reaction as some have said on this thread, is in itself unreasonable. The same also applies to the arguenment mainly advocated by Katy and Sonia, that these “collaborators”
    did what they had to do to put food on the table and clothes of their backs. That arguement didn’t wash in Numerburg and it shouldn’t wash here. More than this and I come back to my original point, expecting the unhonourable (our government) to now honour an unhonourable contract is a exercise in futility in the extreme and I ‘m not going to waste my time on something that is NEVER going to happen. That’s why I mentioned my MP. He voted for the war against my wishes, he suppoted the war against my wishes….What the fxxk do you think he is going to do now, say sorry and hand the keys of London to the people of Bagdad. I don’t think so and neither should you.

  167. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:29 am  

    Dude,

    I do not agree that we have no moral and utilitarian responsibility to those that supported us in Iraq. Whether you think we were right or wrong. Don’t matter, They helped us, and now HMG is willing to wash their hands of them? Pontious Pilate should have been so lucky to have idiots like you in his chain of command.

  168. ZinZin — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:36 am  

    hopefully this will never become a Harrys Place clone.

    I hope not but this thread is periously close to be becoming a HP thread. There has been too much ad-hominem and vitriol, and Anas has bourne the brunt of it.

    Those Iraqis deserve asylum but those who would grant them asylum would deny asylum to others fleeing the disaster that is Iraq. A disaster that is of our own making.

  169. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 9:14 am  

    Sid:

    “Well you missed some class jousting between Rumbold’s moribund Cohenisms and my skillful parlaying.”

    Not too moribund methinks, otherwise there could not have been class jousting (for that needs two skillful participants).

    Random Guy:

    My point was that although the present situation has come about as a result of the invasion, we cannot assume that Saddam’s Iraq 2007 would be better (because we simply do not know). Also, it is the insurgents/death squads who are doing most of the murdering, so it is not the US/UK’s doing.

  170. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:49 am  

    Douglas Clark wrote

    “Dude,

    I do not agree that we have no moral and utilitarian responsibility to those that supported us in Iraq. Whether you think we were right or wrong. Don’t matter, They helped us, and now HMG is willing to wash their hands of them? Pontious Pilate should have been so lucky to have idiots like you in his chain of command.”

    Well Douglas

    We don’t only have a responsibility to those Iraqi’s that activily supported the US/UK’s occupations of their country but I submit we also have a responsibility to those Iraqi’s who didn’t. And yes HMG are going to wash their hands of the whole dirty mess. The words “rats”, “leaving” and “sinking” come to mind. We went into Iraq without honour and so we will leave. Doing right by a handful of helpful Iraqi’s is a drop in a ocean compared to what is really needed. If you’re going to wash your hands, you wash the lot not just tip of the pinky finger and that’s what you’re advocating. Dip your pinky finger of your blood soaked hand into the clean water of conscience, then walk away smiling, safe in the knowledge that the pinky is clean.

    Something else, leave your insults at home at stick to the arguement. If you have a problem with dealing with robust debate then do us all a favour and grow up. Calling me a idiot (without backing it up with fact) doesn’t do either of us any favours, you the least.

  171. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:02 am  

    “Calling me a idiot (without backing it up with fact).”

    Ha ha.

  172. Bleh — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:11 am  

    So lemme get this straight – Jagdeep wants us to apologise for supporting the overthrow of a genocidal fascist tyranny?

  173. Bert Preast — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:19 am  

    And Anas wants us to have a reversed Nuremburg where the losing facists try the winning democrats. The whole thing’s become rather odd.

  174. sid — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:20 am  

    no he wants you to apologise for being a genocidal, fascist, spreader of Enlightment-values.

  175. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:20 am  

    In defence of Anas

    He didn’t start this “them’ and “us”, “bad guys”, “good guys” thing on this thread. Sunny did.

    I’ll explain. Let’s all remember how this debate all got started. It was an appeal to help and support an handful of Iraqi ex-employees of the British Armed Forces in Iraq who were being screwed over by their erstwhile paymasters. Unless I’m mistaken I didn’t read a word about “the rest” of the people of Iraq. So Katy, Sonia and Bert . Don’t blame the player, blame the game.

  176. Sahil — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:22 am  

    “So lemme get this straight – Jagdeep wants us to apologise for supporting the overthrow of a genocidal fascist tyranny?”

    And replaced it with what? 1 million dead, many more displaced? But as long as the oil is coming, does it matter, eh?

  177. Bert Preast — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:26 am  

    When we occupied Kuwait and Saudi the oil kept coming.

  178. Bleh — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:36 am  

    Sahil, your ludicrous argument could be applied to WW2, or any other war in history, not withstanding the increasingly-inflated death-toll claims of anti-war types (currently ranging between 1 and 2 million, soon no doubt to be a billion) that remind me somewhat of an inverse Monty-Python-gravel sketch.

    As for oil, the fate of Iraq’s oil is now solely in the hands of Iraq’s democratically elected and internationally elected government. You seem to have preferred for it to remain in the hands of Saddam. France and Russia certainly did.

  179. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:43 am  

    Bert

    Nuremburg wasn’t about the losing fascist facing the justice of the winning democrats. Rather it was about right having dominion over wrong. In the 2nd WW, Hilter and friends were in the wrong. In the illegal invasion of Iraq, so was Bush and Blair.

    The people of Iraq deserve justice and if only one good thing comes out of this whole unholy mess, it should be the successful conviction of both Bush and Blair on the ground of crimes against humanity. But I jest, hell will freeze over first.

  180. Bleh — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:46 am  

    Dude, *how* was the liberation of Iraq “illegal”?

    I do notice you’re a lot more frothy about Bush and Blair than you are about Saddam.

  181. sid — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:48 am  

    Bleh, you seem to be living and breathing in an alternative dimesnsion where the Iraq War has been a victory for the Neocons, Iraq is a stable, viable progressive, pluralist liberal democracy, Bush is a philospopher-king and Blair is an honest man. How long does the effect of whatever it is you’re smoking last?

  182. Sahil — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:53 am  

    To Bleh: I did not realise that you still believed Saddam was planning on launching an imminent attack upon the UK. Apologies.

    Inflated death tolls? Of course only 600,000 dead, is an acceptable price to pay. Especially when you don’t have to pay for it, right?

    As for oil, read this highly left wing publication:

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2006/07/iraq-060721-usia02.htm

    Just as CPA supposedly acted in the interests of the Iraqi taxpayer (What did KPMG say: a missing $20 billion or so), I have no doubt that the current (incorruptable) Iraqi coalition will act in the interests of the Iraqi citizen.

  183. Bert Preast — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:57 am  

    Dude #179 – Let’s say Poland and the Allies had fought the nazis off, and Hitler’s am,bitions had been utterly blunted for the present. Hitler signs a peace treaty promising to be nice to everyone, but then he keeps on with his programs of extermination for some sections of his own populace and continues work on his rocket program. Let’s say after a decade of this the Allies have had enough and invade Germany to topple him. Hitler hides away, and Germany dissolves into civil war. Can you see where I’m going here?

    You’re saying the Allied leaders should then have been charged with war crimes? Who would you have try them?

  184. Bleh — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:57 am  

    I did not realise that you still believed Saddam was planning on launching an imminent attack upon the UK.

    I supported the overthrow of Saddam because he was a vile genocidal dictator of the type that we as a human race should be ashamed of allowing to exist in the 21st century. If you’re some sort of Buchananite, come out and say it…

    Sid, I live in a world where facist dictators such as Saddam are a bad thing. Leaving aside the fact that I have never, and couldn’t bring myself to vote for Blair, or indeed Bush, you’re falling into some sort of mad Hari-esque false dichotomy syndrome.

  185. Sahil — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:06 pm  

    “I supported the overthrow of Saddam because he was a vile genocidal dictator of the type that we as a human race should be ashamed of allowing to exist in the 21st century. If you’re some sort of Buchananite, come out and say it…”

    Oh, how noble of you. So you would be willing to go into Iraq as a soldier and physically fight the Jihadis. Or are you some arm chair chicken-hawk?

    PS International relations are rarely about such noble sentiments.

  186. sid — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:08 pm  

    why personalise it to Hari? There are millions and millions in Iraq who think you’re a deluded fantasist.

  187. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:09 pm  

    The Dude,

    Sorry.

    What can I say? Post 167 was rushed off in the heat of the moment. In the cold light of day, it was cheap and insulting. You were quite right to pull me up over it.

    I apologise.

  188. Bleh — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:17 pm  

    Oh, how noble of you. So you would be willing to go into Iraq as a soldier and physically fight the Jihadis. Or are you some arm chair chicken-hawk?

    I didn’t realise we were living in a Heinlein-esque militocracy…

  189. Bleh — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:18 pm  

    why personalise it to Hari? There are millions and millions in Iraq who think you’re a deluded fantasist.

    Tell you what Sid, you can go and tell them why you supported the continuence of the Saddam regime. you can go and tell these chaps as well.

  190. Sahil — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:20 pm  

    “I didn’t realise we were living in a Heinlein-esque militocracy…”

    No but if you feel so strongly about the issue why don’t you help ‘liberate’ the people of Iraq. Or you know what, there are plenty of tyrannical regimes e.g. Dafur or Burma, go there and help liberate those people.

  191. ZinZin — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:29 pm  

    Oh Lord has it now descended to the level of counterfactual history.

    And Anas wants us to have a reversed Nuremburg where the losing facists try the winning democrats.

    Losing fascist that sums you up quite nicely Bert. You lost about 120 posts ago but your still swinging wildly.

    Does the Pro-war camp actually have any humanitarian concerns for the Iraqis?

  192. Bleh — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:29 pm  

    I also feel strongly about crime, but I’m not a policeman. I also feel strongly about house fire, but I’m not a fireman. I think I would make a good holder of a fire hose, mind you, but my latent vertigo would get in the way. I am very much against honour killings but I’m not out there personally rescuing women from their mysogonistic families in the Punjab.

  193. Kismet Hardy — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:34 pm  

    I still look at the term ‘pro-war’ with absolute bewilderment. How a person who believes using innocent kids as soldiers to commit mass murder on innocents is somehow pro-peace will never make any sense to me

    The old hippy grafitti springs to mind: fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity…

    :-(

  194. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:36 pm  

    ZinZin:

    Bert ‘lost’ did he? I suspect that nobody has changed their minds on this thread, so how does one ‘win’ or ‘lose’? Or is that just another way of avoiding the arguments?

    Most people from the pro-war camp care about the lives of ordinary Iraqis. Those from the pro-Saddam dictatorship camp seem to care less about them, as they seek to excuse the insurgents/Shia militias.

  195. Kismet Hardy — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:37 pm  

    “so how does one ‘win’ or ‘lose’”

    They don’t do they? Just lots of people die and the leaders on each side uses their propaganda machines to show how smug they are about it

    It’s a shit world

  196. El Cid — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:41 pm  

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    There. I’ve said it.

  197. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:43 pm  

    Nobody is forcing you to read it, El Cid.

  198. ZinZin — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:46 pm  

    Bert has asked for Iraqi translaters to be given asylum, yet defends torture, has a propensity for war crimes and would refuse asylum to a great many others fleeing persecution in Iraq.

    Yet comes up with this:
    I can’t see why anti-war people could be against this. I’m trying to push the suspicion to the back of my mind that it’s gloating or each death is ammunition to the cause.

    The hypocrisy of this statement is staggering.

    Most people from the pro-war camp care about the lives of ordinary Iraqis. Those from the pro-Saddam dictatorship camp seem to care less about them, as they seek to excuse the insurgents/Shia militias.

    That Rumbold is the kind of petulant, immature pro-war rubbish that Nick Cohen has spewed forth in the observer for the past 4 years.

  199. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:56 pm  

    ZinZin:

    I am always being told that because I was pro-war, that I do not care about Iraqis. I was just applying the same logic to the anti-war/pro-Saddam movement, in order to make the point that the majority of people on both sides of the argument do want Iraqis to have a better future, they simply disagree over the various details.

  200. El Cid — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:58 pm  

    True Rumbold
    But there’s a certain circularity… no, that’s not the right word, anyway..
    ..many anti-war commentators seem to have an axe to grind each and every time Iraq is brought up.
    It’s as if winning the argument is the most important thing in the world.
    The decison to go to war was a great fucking mess and Bush/US neo cons in particular take responsibility for that. Blair’s responsibility lies in taking us along to the party too, even though a majority of Brits were reluctant if not opposed.
    We all know that (most of us do). The arrogance of power, the poor post-war planning, etc.
    But who in their right mind — aside from fucking idiots — would go so far as to say 1) the status quo before the Iraq war was worth preserving 2) Sadaam wasn’t a long-term (read my words very carefully) liability 3) we should never ever intervene militarily in foreign affairs, no matter the circumstances.

    Whatever, as I’ve said, I’m bored with the subject. Talk to the virtual hand.

  201. ZinZin — on 27th July, 2007 at 1:07 pm  

    To clarify Rumbold I have never claimed that the pro-war camp don’t care about Iraqis but Jagdeep has encapsulated the reasons behind the polarisation between the Pro-war and anti-war left. I may be anti-war but that does not make me a saddam supporter as you surely recognise. I was against saddam and against the war.

    My reason was that it would make things worse for the Iraqis not better. I fear for Iraq, Ireally do and i do hope that the US/UK leave behind a democracy but the chances of that happening are nil. They will get a new dictator once the civil war is over.

  202. sid — on 27th July, 2007 at 1:09 pm  

    Rumbold, Sahil’s point stands. Why aren’t you and your pro-war friends people advocating war on Zimbabwe or Sudan or Burma?

  203. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 1:52 pm  

    ZinZin:

    I did not mean to paint you as a Saddam supporter. It was just me being emotive.

    Sid:

    I would happpily support invasions of all three, but I suspect that we do not have the resources to operate on so many fronts, as well as the fact that people would immediatly start complaining that the US and UK did not have UN approval (why we seek legitimacy from China, Russia and France I do not know. They are hardly shining examples of modern states).

  204. sid — on 27th July, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

    Tibet as well? Why not bomb them into a democracy?

  205. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 1:57 pm  

    Attacking China is far too difficult, unless we used nuclear weapons. Even if we somehow managed to take Tibet, we could never hold it.

  206. Tim B — on 27th July, 2007 at 2:18 pm  

    Anas: ‘Fuck according to most opinion most of the Iraqis want the US out, so if we were talking about democratic decisions here shouldn’t that entail the withdrawal of troops for a start?’

    Well, to be more accurate, according to this opinion poll that was conducted for the BBC a few months ago:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2007/03_march/19/iraq.shtml

    ‘Asked how long coalition forces should remain in Iraq, only 35% said they should leave at once, while 63% said they should go only after security was better and the capacity of the Iraqi government and security forces had improved.’

    By the way, personally I disagree with those 63% of Iraqis – I think that Western troops should withdraw at once, not because that’ll serve the interests of Iraqis particularly, but because young Brits and Americans should not be dying in a pointless cause.

  207. Sahil — on 27th July, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

    Bleh 192: fair enough I’m not a soldier either but I do believe in intervention in tyrannical states. The question maybe you should ask yourself is: Are the Iraqi people better off now compared to before the war. I’m not sure whether anyone has bothered to as them. But as long as you feel better then its all good, right?

    PS British Soldiers may just be doing their job, but you do realise that this is the most dangerous job in the world, and you by advocating such intervention have put them in the firing line. Again, as long as your conscience is clear, we can all live happily ever after.

  208. sid — on 27th July, 2007 at 2:34 pm  

    Bangladesh and Pakistan need democracy. More bombing?
    What about the balkan states – bomb them into shape?
    Why not the entire Global South? Pre-emptive bombing migtht mitigate any fast moves from those slipping away from liberal democracy?

  209. BevanKieran — on 27th July, 2007 at 2:36 pm  

    Does the Pro-war camp actually have any humanitarian concerns for the Iraqis?

    The question could be applied to the anti-war camp. I’m sure on the anti-war marches you scribbled out the “Freedom for Palestine” slogan that was coupled with no war on Iraq with “Let’s end sanctions”.

    Are the anti-war people saying policy of containment, weakening Saddam’s potential power over his neighbours but strengthening it over his people and resulting in the lives 5000-10000 children a month (the statistics came from the Iraqi goverment but the Garfield report and U.N survey put the total at hundred of thousands) is preferable to the situation now. There were huge mistakes made in post-war planning such as Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld contradicting Shinseki’s estimate for post-invasion stabilisation. Whether in the future the leadership in America or/and Britain would have the political courage to sustain this size of force, necessarily involving conscription, is another thing. Those lessons should be learnt and may in fact make an effective intervention with the ambition the Iraq War had less feasible.

    3) we should never ever intervene militarily in foreign affairs, no matter the circumstances.

    The Chomskyan/High Tory realist position which I would consider to be more of an insult than neo-conservative. Not our land, not our people, not our problem. It’s the position which most of the world occupies and I am proud that we are a little different

  210. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 2:37 pm  

    Good points Sid. Now that we are replacing Trident, we might as well use up the old bombs, and to make sure that taxpayers get value for money.

    It is not just the Global South that has problems though Sid. I am sure that countries like France and Belgium could do with a spot of bombing.

  211. Bleh — on 27th July, 2007 at 3:44 pm  

    Sahil, re. your 207, yes, my conscience is fully clear. Were there an alternative course of action available to overthrow the Baathist regime that would that resulted in less loss of life, I would have supported it. But there wasn’t. There were no Nelson Mandela international peace brigades standing by ready to go overthrow Saddam. What we had were fully volunteer armies of the US, the UK and others, whose behaviour were (and is), (with the horrible exceptions of Abu Graib – exceptions that are so horrible because our standards as so much higher, and rightly so) much more careful and civilised than any other armies in history.

    I had hoped for a much smoother course of events that would lead to Iraq rejoining the civilised world, but no one (not even the “anti-war” movement) predicted just how absent any vestige of civil society in Baathist Iraq was – or just how controlling the Baathist regime was (the best analogy I can come up with was that Saddamite Iraq was one giant concentration camp). But take me back to 2003, with the knowledge of what has happened, and ask me if I still support the liberation, then I would say, yes, definitely. Even more so now we know what Saddamite Iraq was really like. Human beings do not deserve to live the way they were forced to under Saddam. And it really is a disgrace that in the 21st century people are making excuses as to the continued suffering of people under tyrannies. Iraqis have a chance now to live their lives free of a genocical dictator like Saddam. My view is simple: No more human shredders, ever, anywhere.

    Call this position idealistic if you wish, but I am fully aware of all the consequences of advocating military action. I have lost close friends and relatives to Irish Republican terrorism – friends and relatives who freely chose the careers they did, taking note of the attendant consequences. I am fully cognisant of advocating courses of actions that results in the loss of life. It doesn’t make me feel good, but sometimes we have no other choice. It is a risk of living in a representative democracy with volunteer armed forces, whilst other countries are host to dispicable tyrannies. The difference between good and evil is that good knows when it is doing evil, and doesn’t like it.

  212. sid — on 27th July, 2007 at 3:47 pm  

    gosh Rumby, you’re dead sexy when you speak in Cohenisms.

  213. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 4:01 pm  

    Steady now Sid, or you will drop ‘Das Kapital’ in a fit of passion and Karl will be angry with you.

  214. sid — on 27th July, 2007 at 4:28 pm  

    I feel I’m being misrepresented here. More George Santayana than Karl Max.

  215. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 4:36 pm  

    You feel that you have been misrepresented? What about me? You can have George Santayana, and I will have Montaigne. Then we will both be happy.

  216. sid — on 27th July, 2007 at 4:42 pm  

    Only if we have Max Wall as well.

  217. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 4:45 pm  

    Knock yourself out.

  218. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 5:00 pm  

    First off… Let me make my position clear. I’m anti Saddam but pro the people of Iraq. I am sick and tried of being accused of being somehow some kind of pro Looney Tunes Baathist just because I happened to be against the original illegal invasion of Iraq.

    We went to war on a false premise. We were told that Saddam had and was prepared to use weapons of mass destruction against US. This was a lie, therefore the original invasion was illegal. In the grand scheme of things the fact that Saddam was a absolute tyrant matters not one jot.

    It was for the people of Iraq to have dealt with Saddam and his crimes in exactly the same way that it is the prime responsiblity of the people of Zimbabwe to finally deal with the corruption and mismanagement of Robert “The Robber” Mugabe. My old friend El Cid keeps making this basic mistake. Whether you agreed with the regime of Saddam Hussein or not, the fact remains that it was none of our business in changing it.

    Neo Conservative Contributors to this thread such as Rumbold, Bleh and Bert are keeping firm in their belief that the invasion of Iraq was a good thing and nothing I say or do is going to change their minds and bring them down from cloud cuckoo land. I just wish they would take off the blinkers occassionally along with the rose tinted glasses.

    Douglas, your apology is accepted. Go in peace. Katy passed it on to me so I will pass it on to you.

    Zinzin, you’re one funny man. keep up the good work.

    And finally lets keep it real.

  219. Anas — on 27th July, 2007 at 6:24 pm  

    DC:Who, exactly, are these brave Iraqi counter insurgents? All I see is Sunni -v- Shia civil war, local players like Syria and Iraq at least tacitly supporting ‘their side’, and a bloodbath in the offing. This is civil war territory, and we might reasonably be informed of the likely outcome by looking at the Partition of India as a typical Western response to religious intolerance / violence.
    Shouldn’t be at all surprised if the Pentagon isn’t reading about Mountbatten right now.

    Douglas there was an important article in the Guardian last week you should read, I’ve posted the link further up in the thread but fuck it, I’ll post it again:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,2129677,00.html

    All you see on the news is indeed Sunni/Shia civil war, but the majority of attacks by insurgents are on coalition forces. And as the article says, the anti-sectarian insurgent organisations are trying more and more to get their voices heard.

    ZZ:Anas is a moral man even if he is misguided or plain wrong. That is enough to gain my respect and it should be enough for others on this blog.

    Cheers, big man. The feeling is mutual. I’m glad there are people like you and Chairwoman on PP — who even though we disagree manage not to hurl insults and ad hominem at each other constantly — and so we are able to debate stuff. Otherwise I don’t think I could stick it around here.

    KT:Obviously not. You’re the one who’s painting this as either/or, with one group of bad guys (”collaborators”) and one group of good guys (the other Iraqis). Sonia is clearly trying to get away from that and towards something which more adequately represents the forest of different interests currently at war in Iraq.

    Katy, she said I sounded like a terrorist and when pushed to explain she said it was because : a) I betrayed a lack of empathy b) I’m inclined to the view of those who are attacking those people. This was even tho I explicity stated I was against the murder of any civilians — even those who I saw as having collaborated. In that case I must have sounded like a terrorist when I stated I was against cooperation with coalition forces — which is clearly the view of those “attacking these people” — something which puts me in the same bracket as the majority of Iraqis, certainly the majority of Sunnis. It was sonia’s insistence on saying I sounded like a terrorist that bothers me — and her explanation was pitiful. When have I ever endorsed attacks on civilians — in fact I constantly say the opposite? She must know that accusing someone of sounding like a terrorist is something you have to back up properly otherwise it’s just plain nasty — especially when you’re attacking someone who’s a Muslim or at least has a Muslim name. I expect this kind of demonisation and name calling from someone like Jagdeep, but not sonia. Misrepresenting me by quoting half of something I said was also not something I’d expect from sonia.

    KT:Look, I’m sorry but I don’t get this sudden “poor defenceless Anas” thing that’s sprung up here. He’s intelligent, articulate and more than capable of defending his viewpoint. He doesn’t need to be wrapped in cotton wool.

    No, but it does make a difference personally when it isn’t just me against everyone else posting on the thread — you yourself have seem to given voice to that feeling on other threads.

    BP: And Anas wants us to have a reversed Nuremburg where the losing facists try the winning democrats. The whole thing’s become rather odd.

    BP, are you saying when democracies commit attrocities they should be excused and not held to account — especially when most of the people in those democracies know little about what’s being done in their name? Don’t you see how that could maybe not be the best state of affairs? How that would maybe FUCK UP THE WORLD MORE THAN IT ALREADY FUCKING IS? How maybe when you’re killing thousands of innocent people in the end it shouldn’t matter if you’re democratically elected or not? Don’t you see how that destabilises the very basis of international law?

    Tim B:

    Thanks, that was an interesting poll. For example, it states:
    78% opposed their presence and 69% thought they had made the security situation worse. Just over half (51%) thought politically–motivated attacks on coalition forces were acceptable (17% in 2004
    So according to Sonia, 51% of Iraqis sound like terrorists. And 78% of Iraqis oppose the presence of the coalition forces. There are quite a few other recent polls where the vast majority definitely want withdrawal immediately or within a year (e.g., http://www.gulfinthemedia.com/files/article_en/271345.pdf). I think maybe you would have got a different result if you’d given a time period of say a year or so as an option.

    And yeah, I use the word “fuck” a lot, but what the fuck it’s just a word?

  220. Anas — on 27th July, 2007 at 6:35 pm  

    Also according to Tim B’s poll 31% of Iraqis blame the US most for the violence that is occuring — the single most popular answer to who’s to blame for the violence (al-Q/foreign jihadis is 18%). Stick that in your pipe and smoke it pro-war dickheads.

  221. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 6:37 pm  

    Anas

    So what about me, you ungrateful pup? Next time I’ll just let the likes of Jagdeep, Katy and Sonia tear you apart, without a word said in defence of your sorry ass. NOT!

  222. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 6:39 pm  

    Getting your stats from the BBC, well wonders will never cease.

  223. Anas — on 27th July, 2007 at 6:39 pm  

    Sorry, the Dude. You’re a top bloke too.

  224. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 7:34 pm  

    Anas,

    You are not alone on here. You have been misrepresented right, left and centre for having views that are not mainstream.

    I’ll be damned, or banned, before I’d surrender your right to your voice. Although hijacking the occasional I/P thread to discuss organic carrots might boost your street cred :-)

  225. Bert Preast — on 27th July, 2007 at 8:25 pm  

    This is just ace. I’ve now been called a racist, facist, inhumane, torturing, hypocritical, imperialist, naive, gun-toting war criminal. Think I borke my own record here. YAS \o/

    Still seems to be rather a lot of the points I raised remaining ignored though.

    Bert gets no love :(

  226. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 8:27 pm  

    Let’s hope that the message goes out far and wide that the demonisation and criminalisation of ones views on this forum will not be tolerated. Just keep down the swearing. Chairwoman has a long reach, even as she rest in hospital. Mess with her and you’re on your own.

  227. Bert Preast — on 27th July, 2007 at 8:29 pm  

    Pfft. She doesn’t scare us. We’re well ‘ard.

    For a fortnight, at least.

  228. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 8:36 pm  

    Bert

    I think that you’re one sorry mother but let it never be said that haven’t got the right to be heard and to be you. Being a pain in the arse is just something we all have to deal with. At least you are better than bowel cancer. And that’s no joke.

    What I’m trying to say is that for this forum to work, everyone must feel free to say what they think and have what they think tested inthe heat of public debate. For that test to be a value, the debate must be robust and full. Bert you are a valuable member of this community and though we will rarely agree on anything, I hope that we can agree on this. Now crawl back under whatever rock from which you came. Love The Dude.

  229. Bleh — on 27th July, 2007 at 8:36 pm  

    Dude, I’ll ask you the same question I have been asking “anti-war” types for years (and I expect the same answer, i.e. none) – just *how* was the liberation of Iraq *illegal*?

  230. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 8:38 pm  

    The Dude and Berty Boy,

    Chairwoman has in fact been one of Anas’s biggest supporters on here. She wouldn’t have put up with no shit, I tell ya!

  231. Bert Preast — on 27th July, 2007 at 8:42 pm  

    Add ‘soory mother’, ‘pain in the arse’ and ‘troglodyte’ to my score.

    On the downside I’m better than bowel cancer and a valuable member. And somebody loves me.

  232. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 9:22 pm  

    Bert

    You make a valid point. Name calling which includes the words “facist”, “racist” or “anti-semitic” are plainly out of order. As downright nasty as you are none of the above apply to you. I just think as soon as you sink to the level of name calling and worse, you devalue the debate and surrender the arguement. Everyone looses.

    Bleh.

    I’ve explained several times on this forum why IMHO I think that the invasion of Iraq was illegal act. The last time was yesterday. But Bleh, I’ll stand corrected if you can manage locate Saddam’s said weapons of mass destruction. Find them and I’ll shut the fxxk up.

  233. sahil — on 27th July, 2007 at 9:24 pm  

    Bleh read this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1089158,00.html

    If you want a more technical legal reason, go consult any number of international lawyers. But I doubt anything would change your mind concerning the Iraq war, especially if you still think it was worth it.

  234. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 9:43 pm  

    I must make one other point. I have views that I’m too scare to express here because to do so would risk me being reported to the authorities (ie: the police) and going to jail. Even though I maintain that these views are perfectly valid that would not prevent the powers that be from dragging my sorry arse to court and then prison.

    Today if you’re the right kind of racist you can say just about anything, be sent to court and still come out clean but if you say one word about the legitimacy of the state, your feet won’t touch the ground. Today some opinions are more equal than others. Bert and Bleh have little to worry about on this score as both adhere to the offical version. Anas on the other hand does not and risk the odious attentions of the secret police. Nuff said!

  235. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 9:58 pm  

    The Dude,

    Thanks. I’ll keep the message going. If someone falls out with me, I’ll pass the baton on. Then it will be known as the Katy / Dude / Dougie thingy. And, hopefully, so on…

    Maybe it should have a proper name.

    Much respect.

    Doubt our friend Anas needs to shut up. Do you read other sites? His is a voice of moderation.

  236. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 9:58 pm  

    Douglas

    Apart from the fact I fancy her daughter (which could account to why the Chairwoman hates my guts) are you saying that “she who must be obeyed” has her favourites and that Anas is nothing more than a teacher’s pet?

    Case in point is the matter of swearing. My language now is as clean as soap because of that woman. So why is Anas still using four letter words? This is so unfair.

  237. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

    The Dude,

    Bloody Hell, you read and you posted within a minute!

    As Katy Newton and I are best enemies I cannot advise you on that matter. Though, if you swore more, like Devils Kitchen, and adopted a rakish attitude to facts, you might be in with a chance! She seems to like that.

    Her dear mum, of whom I’d like to hear more, is a woman of broad tastes. She happens to be Anas’s best chum here, and that is one of the wonders of Pickled Politics.

    Yes, it is unfair, but AFAIK, Anas doesn’t fancy her daughter.

    You do, however.

    Me? I just like to keep a distance.

  238. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:22 pm  

    Thanks Anas

    I’ve just read the Guardian article and reading between the lines, the presence of al-Qaida in Iraq would be seriously undermined if and when the American and Brits were ever to leave. So far the American have been like headless chickens with regards to al-Qaida. What we need arfe people who can really do the job of giving those buuch of thugs a good kicking in. It seems that the insurgency in Iraq are the only people capable to taking on Bin-laden’s boys and beating them. Ironic isn’t it.

  239. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:26 pm  

    I can’t help it, Douglas. I’ve got a thing for freckles.

  240. ZinZin — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:29 pm  

    So why is Anas still using four letter words? This is so unfair.

    Anas has been called a terrorist on this thread and as far as I am concerned that legitimises all manner of foul and abusive language.

  241. Chris Stiles — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:29 pm  

    I’ve just read the Guardian article and reading between the lines, the presence of al-Qaida in Iraq would be seriously undermined if and when the American and Brits were ever to leave.

    Which incidentally, is a view that is not restricted to ‘the left’:

    http://www.amconmag.com/2007/2007_07_16/article1.html

    AmConMag is very isolationist, though Lind is just extremely conservative.

  242. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:33 pm  

    I like you Bert. There is no point telling these people that being surrounded by snipers in an Iraqi street produces a rather less civilized response then reading about it the next morning in the Guardian. They just block it out, and call you a fascist.

    Anas:

    #219:

    “I’m glad there are people like you [ZinZin] and Chairwoman on PP — who even though we disagree manage not to hurl insults and ad hominem at each other constantly.”

    #220:

    “Stick that in your pipe and smoke it pro-war dickheads.”

    Hmm…

  243. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:37 pm  

    The Dude,

    That is so superficial. Katy and I disagree with each other for profound philosophical reasons, that I forget right now. Freckles, you say…

  244. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:41 pm  

    Hmm…Indeed Rumbold. I suppose you’d like Iraq to be a dinsey theme park. Dream on!

  245. ZinZin — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:43 pm  

    Rumbold you are defending a man who condones torture.

  246. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:45 pm  

    The Dude:

    Reprinted from my #111 post-

    “The Iraq war has turned out to be a terrible decision, thanks to the incompetence of Washington and the viciousness of the Sunni terrorists and Shia death militias. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, but based on the evidence available at the time of the invasion, I and many others believed that it was the right thing to do; we could not know that the US would make such a terrible mess of running the country.”

    I stand by my view that the US was right to invade at the time, and am still neo-conservative in the sense that I believe that sometimes military action is necessary without the backing of the morally-bankrupt UN.

  247. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:45 pm  

    Douglas

    What do you want me to do? If thy eyes offend thee, pluck them out! Opposites turn me on. Thank goodness I’m happily married. My wife is a opposite too. We never agree on anything.

  248. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:50 pm  

    ZinZin:

    He was not defending torture, he was defending battlefield interrogation. There is a difference, as the former is cold-blooded brutality. It made me a bit squeamish reading about it, but I recognize that in the heat of the moment, when one’s unit is under attack, you might be a bit rough with prisoners in order to find out vital information to keep you all alive. Obviously this is not an ideal situation, but just pictures yourselves in the same situation; somebody has just been trying to kill you for the past ten hours and you know that if you punch him in the stomach then he will give you the location of the other soldiers then your friends will be safe. That is what Bert was saying in this particular instance, but I find myself disagreeing with him on other issues.

  249. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:53 pm  

    Rumbold

    I need some clarification. Did you support the invasion of Iraq because of
    1. Said weapons of mass destruction or
    2. The overthrow of an evil regime or
    3.Oil or finally
    4.All three?

    Please pray tell.

  250. ZinZin — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:57 pm  

    I don’t remember condoning torture at Guantanamo? Just detention. Did you see the Taleban commander they let out, the one who blew himself up rather than be recaptured two days back? I would condone torture by the way, but it’s absolutely pointless if it’s not done within 48 hours of lifting the bad guy. After that his mates know you’ve got him and everything changes. But if it gives you a lift then yes, Bert condones torture and is thus evil verily.

    Post 49 Berts words not mine. Bert condones more than a punch in the stomach. He condones stress positions and shoving broomsticks up anus’s.

  251. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 10:59 pm  

    My apologies The Dude. I supported the Iraq war because I wanted Saddam overthrown. I was never convinced on the weapons front, and thought that there were other states who were more dangerous in that sense. As for oil, it seemed that a conflict would only drive the price up, as refineries would be damaged. I am a staunch supporter of moving away from oil dependence anyway, so that would not have been the reason. Hope that clears things up.

  252. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:01 pm  

    Rumbold

    Just imagine. The Insurgency captures one of our boys and in the heat of battle takes away his ipod in order to find out vital information vital in keeping them ( the members of the insurgency) alive…..

    Just remember mate, what goes around, comes around.

  253. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:02 pm  

    ZinZin:

    Fine. Bert can defend himself better. I stick by my 248# post as being on the boundaries of acceptability, but would go no further than that. I do not condone torture, or Guantanamo detention. I see now that Bert went farther than I picked up on, so must also apologize to Sonia.

  254. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:02 pm  

    The Dude,

    You are a married man, and you fancy some dame you met on the internets freckles?

    Fair do’s mate. I agree with you.

  255. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:05 pm  

    It is interesting that those who supported the coalition because they wanted to see the back of a vicious dictator are now cast as holding extreme political views.

  256. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:13 pm  

    Thanks Rumbold for the clarification. I’m going to be blunt.

    Now answer me this. Why didn’t the secret services of both the UK and the US just send in Jason Bourne and James Bond to take the motherfucker out? Hell, it would have been cleaner, quicker and cheaper and the correct use of our tax pounds and dollars. Instead shit for brains Blair and Bush fuck it up for one and all. Don’t figure!

  257. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:16 pm  

    Rumbold,

    It is equally interesting that those that didn’t support the coalition, me for instance, having been proven right, have to put up with this sort of nonsense.

  258. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:18 pm  

    I agree with you The Dude. Assassination would have been cheaper (though nobody ever knew where Saddam was, not even himself, and I suspect that his lookalikes were not consulted about whether they wanted to sign up). We would have also had to have taken out his sons, and a few other top Baathists. There still might have been civil war though, because of the power vacuum.

    What the Americans should have done was to send in more troops at the start for security and to protect utilities, and not sack tens of thousands of Baathist party members, most of whom had guns in their houses.

  259. sahil — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:21 pm  

    Rumbold liberal interventionism is like communism: great on paper, terrible in practice. When you say you are angry at the post-war planning, I do not question your sincerity, but that is not good enough. WAR must be the LAST resort, and it must be accompanied by near perfect nation building to be of any use. And I’m sure you’d agree with me that nation building is a very very difficult and messy business especially in a ‘democracy’.

  260. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:21 pm  

    Put up with this nonsense from whom Douglas? The pro- or anti-war people? Did you really predict the growth of Shia death squads under the agis of the health ministry, or did you oppose the war because you agreed with France, China and Russia?

    The above is not meant to sound snappy, but it does.

  261. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:26 pm  

    Now Rumbold

    If someone like you wasn’t taken in by the tale of weapons of mass destruction, what is the possiblility that Blair wasn’t taken in either and simply lied his sorry ass to war?

    One day the truth will out. Shame Blair will be long dead before that happy day. Hopefully he’ll answer for his actions in next world.

  262. ZinZin — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:26 pm  

    Nick Cohen holds extreme political views? immature political views is more apt.

  263. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:26 pm  

    Sahil:

    Communism was clearly doomed from the start (though you do make a very good point of the failure of grand ideologies). Perhaps the principles behind liberal interventionism do need to be rethought, and war should be the last resort, but the last resort for whom? Liberal interventionism, by its very nature, occurs before the invading country is in immediate danger, otherwise it is just another war. I would like to see some sort of proper force in Sudan, as its black population is being wiped out (the last resort?) but recognize that if it is not African-led then we will never hear the end of it and probably not get anything done in that country.

  264. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:28 pm  

    The Dude:

    I do not like Tony Blair, but believe that it is quite possible that the evidence he was presented with led him to believe that there were weapons of mass destruction. He could well have lied (it is in his nature), but I always think that hindsight is a dangerous thing.

  265. ZinZin — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:33 pm  

    Did you really predict the growth of Shia death squads under the agis of the health ministry, or did you oppose the war because you agreed with France, China and Russia?

    Did you predict a democracy would flourish as soon as the US/UK moved in? I knew that it would be a disaster because it would increase the terror threat, But I am appalled at the carnage unleashed by the US/UK disturbing this hornets nest.

    Good points, well made Sahil.

  266. sahil — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:34 pm  

    Rumbold you just made the case for preemptive action not a morally just crusade against universally evil behaviours by an unelected nation state. Liberal interventionism literally means to go to war to increase the social welfare of the target nation over the long run. What that social welfare function is, is defined by the interventionist. Furthermore there is no evidence to suggest that even if the intentions of the interventionist are good, that this will translate into an improved social welfare function for the target state. Its a eutopian ideal that is just as bound to fail as communism.

  267. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:34 pm  

    Rumbold,

    “Did you really predict the growth of Shia death squads under the agis of the health ministry”

    No, not exactly. I did predict resistance though.

    “did you oppose the war because you agreed with France, China and Russia?”

    No, not exactly. I thought our government was lying to us. And I haven’t changed my opinion since.

    The above is not meant to sound snappy either, but you are buying into a load of bullshitters, Rumbold. Which is your perogative.

    It is my perogative to say that you, and they, were wrong then, and you are ridiculously wrong now. Argue the point.

  268. ZinZin — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:34 pm  

    Liberal imperialism you get democracy we get your oil. Thats liberal interventionism.

  269. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:35 pm  

    Goodnight everybody. I am going to bed. Thank you for debating with me.

    ZinZin: Just a minor point- please could you use quotation marks or something for quotes. I get confused.

  270. ZinZin — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:36 pm  

    “”

  271. Rumbold — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:36 pm  

    I will take up any points raised tomorrow morning.

  272. sahil — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:39 pm  

    Thanks ZinZin

    PS Rumbold as Keynes would say: In the long run we’re all dead.

  273. The Dude — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:39 pm  

    Bleeding hell, Rumbold. Would you please make up your mind. Both France, China and Russia opposed the war for exactly the same reasons you stated. They didn’t buy Blair lies either, just like you. And yes any kid with primary education could have predicted what was to happen to Iraq after the invasion. I know this at first hand, I met many of them in Hyde Park protesting before the war started.

  274. douglas clark — on 27th July, 2007 at 11:43 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Good night, hope the bed bugs don’t bite. I’ll not be able to get back to this until much later tommorrow. Don’t see that as agreement!

  275. Katy Newton — on 28th July, 2007 at 12:41 am  

    Woah there, people!

    @ Anas: I like and respect you and enjoy debating with you even if we never agree on anything.

    @ Douglas and The Dude: guys, please. *preens* I respect your superb taste in ladeez.

    @ Douglas: I’m not saying YOU have to be friends with DK, you know.

    @ The Dude: you’re MARRIED? And you asked me out! Shame on you. SHAME on you. Bad Dude! Bad!

    @ everyone else: The Chairwoman is in pretty good spirits and is already improving from a medical point of view. Hurrah!

    That is all.

  276. Bert Preast — on 28th July, 2007 at 12:43 am  

    ZinZin – the unfortunate fact is that torture works. When people realise they are deeply in the shit, they talk, and they tell the truth because they are too terrified to lie. I know you liberals think it doesn’t work, that people just tell the interrogator whatever he wants to hear, but that’s because you have no idea how it works. The iterrogator isn’t stupid, he’s not going to tell his victim what he wants to hear. He just tells him to talk. It works.

    Problem is we now have to torture people but we can’t. We can threaten a captive with torture but it doesn’t work, because he doesn’t believe we’ll do it. That’s why they go to all that trouble flying them to Pakistan/Egypt etc. Because once the bloke realises where he is and in whose hands he is, he knows he’s getting tortured so he talks. That’s why Guantanamo is where it is – once they realise they’re outside the reach of human rights groups they believe the pain train is coming.

    It’s much the same as the problem we have with our nuclear arsenal. It’s supposed to be a deterrent, but it’s utterly useless as such because everyone knows that short of getting nuked ourselves we won’t use it. I wonder if the Taleban would’ve handed over the lads we wanted a chat with after 9/11 if they were sure the alternative to non instant compliance was a very instant atomising?

  277. Bert Preast — on 28th July, 2007 at 12:44 am  

    Good to hear Chairwoman is doing well.

    Not that anyone will believe I experience human feelings, but there you go. :D

  278. douglas clark — on 28th July, 2007 at 12:57 am  

    Oh, Bert, I don’t have you down as a vampire y’know. I, check with left brain, yeah, we seem to quite like you. It’s your opinions we can’t stand.

  279. ZinZin — on 28th July, 2007 at 1:07 am  

    ZinZin – the unfortunate fact is that torture works.

    Agreed if I wanted you to confess to being Adolf Hitler, I would shove a broomstick up your arse and you would comply.

  280. douglas clark — on 28th July, 2007 at 1:11 am  

    Katy,

    Glad to hear about your mum.

    “Douglas: I’m not saying YOU have to be friends with DK, you know.”

    Oh. Thank goodness, jee whiz, ’cause that would be impossible.

    Really, Katy Newton you can find better men than that.

    Alcoholic white van drivers spring to mind. Dunno why.

  281. El Cid — on 28th July, 2007 at 8:46 am  

    ZinZin

    Are there any circumstances at all where you would torture someone? One could come up with any number of hypothetical situations where most people would crack. In practice, I suspect you would to. And once you cracked, where would you be then, eh?

  282. douglas clark — on 28th July, 2007 at 8:53 am  

    El Cid,

    I would humbly submit that you have been watching too much 24. I’d probably confess to anything if I was tortured. Don’t make it true, though. There is no utility in torture, I wish the White House would get it’s head around that.

  283. El Cid — on 28th July, 2007 at 8:55 am  

    I didn’t say I advocated torture.
    I’m just trying to be honest with myself and open-minded, whilst moral. It’s a tricky balance.
    But I have long ceased to think I know it all.

  284. El Cid — on 28th July, 2007 at 9:01 am  

    I also think 24 is shit — especially that 3rd series, which is when I gave it a go. Pure FOX TV-inspired US propaganda. I hated it and saw maybe 1/2 episodes. Mock the Week and House is more my style.

  285. Bert Preast — on 28th July, 2007 at 9:11 am  

    Torture is worthless for confessions. Read what I wrote – it’s about extracting information, not confessions. Big difference.

  286. The Dude — on 28th July, 2007 at 10:08 am  

    Katy

    It’s good to hear that your mother is getting better. Please send her my best wishes. As for you….well I can’t resist a girl with freckles. I’m the Dude, I’m bad by nature. That’s why my Pasha married me, if you know what I mean. Anyway back to more important business, like saving the world from assholes.

    On principle (and as a Star Trek devotee) I’m dead against interventionism, especially the neo-con type as practiced by George Bush, Dick Cheney and Connie Rice. History as proved time and again that this type of machine gun diplomacy simply doesn’t work. I know people in Tottenham who can perform this type of “smash and grab” with far better results than those three assholes.

    Sahil wrote— on 27th July, 2007 at 11:21 pm
    “Rumbold liberal interventionism is like communism: great on paper, terrible in practice. When you say you are angry at the post-war planning, I do not question your sincerity, but that is not good enough. WAR must be the LAST resort, and it must be accompanied by near perfect nation building to be of any use.”

    I couldn’t agree more with Sahil’s take on the evils of “Liberal interventionism” but there is more. Arrogantly imposing democracy externally upon a society (especially one based in the Middle East) in total ignorance of it’s eventual effects and irrespective of it’s value system is IMHO morally wrong but then doing so by force of arms is nothing short of evil. What pisses me off is the double standard of the west. Bush and Brown wage their war against terror and yet they are one of it’s biggest culprits, along with the Mad Islamic Preachers and the suicide bombers.

  287. The Dude — on 28th July, 2007 at 10:19 am  

    I’m not doubting the sincerity of either Bert or Rumbold but unlike Bosnia or Afghanistan, we went into Iraq without “just cause”, which makes us no better than al-Qaida when they attacked America. Al-Qaida did what they did without just cause. For this both us and them are going to pay dearly in Iraq.

  288. El Cid — on 28th July, 2007 at 10:24 am  

    On principle (and as a Star Trek devotee) I’m dead against interventionism

    Really? Really, really?
    I won’t mention the positive examples where it did/should have been done — too obvious. It’s been done many a time already. I don’t want to go down another virtual dead end.

    I guess we’ll just have to disagree on that one.
    However, that doesn’t make me a neo-con.

  289. Chris Stiles — on 28th July, 2007 at 11:03 am  
  290. Rumbold — on 28th July, 2007 at 12:06 pm  

    ZinZin:

    “Did you predict a democracy would flourish as soon as the US/UK moved in? I knew that it would be a disaster because it would increase the terror threat.”

    It did not think that a democracy would spring up overnight, but with proper planning and constitutional safeguards for minorities a flourishing democracy would have had a far better chance. I refuse to accept the idea that representative democracy does not work for Arabs- that is just racist. The vast majority of Iraqis, despite the threat of violence turned out and voted. It is the actions on a vicious minority that are destroying Iraq.

    Sahil:

    “Furthermore there is no evidence to suggest that even if the intentions of the interventionist are good, that this will translate into an improved social welfare function for the target state.”

    Agreed. But I cannot accept the principle that people should sit back and watch genocide happen simply because it is happening in a different country. That also seems wrong.

    The Dude:

    “Bleeding hell, Rumbold. Would you please make up your mind. Both France, China and Russia opposed the war for exactly the same reasons you stated. They didn’t buy Blair lies either, just like you.”

    China, Russia and France opposed the war because they feared that they would loose lucrative contracts with Saddam’s regime. Their foreign policies do not have the slightest tint of morality, and I do not know why you are defending them.

    Douglas Clark:

    “I thought our government was lying to us. And I haven’t changed my opinion since.”

    Well at least you are consistent. You considered the utility of the invasion on the basis of weapons of mass destruction, and found it wanting. Fair enough. Iraq is in turmoil at the moment, and I do think that British troops should be withdrawn from Basra and sent to Afghanistan, as that is the key country. I still think that it was the right thing to do, I just wish that Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney had actually listened to those around them and planned properly for how they were going to help Iraq.

  291. ZinZin — on 28th July, 2007 at 12:09 pm  

    Torture is worthless for confessions. Read what I wrote – it’s about extracting information, not confessions. Big difference.

    No difference at all. If you torture an individual who has no information they will make something up to placate their torturers. The French had to sift through a lot of duff information extracted under torture when fighting the Battle of Algiers. It doesn’t work Abu-Ghraib increased the terror threat as did guantanamoo. The main torturers in Iraq are still Iraqis.

    El Cid, I realise that we live in a world dominated by shades of grey but somewhere along the line we have to draw a line and say “no this is wrong”.

  292. ZinZin — on 28th July, 2007 at 12:14 pm  

    I refuse to accept the idea that representative democracy does not work for Arabs- that is just racist.

    Oh god more anti-arab racism projected on to me. This is torture.

  293. Rumbold — on 28th July, 2007 at 12:16 pm  

    ZinZin:

    “”- You have the power. Use them.

    What would you call the theory that Arabs cannot handle democracy then?

  294. ZinZin — on 28th July, 2007 at 12:33 pm  

    “sorry”

    Rumbold you are putting words in my mouth. I am not going to tolerate it.

  295. Rumbold — on 28th July, 2007 at 3:10 pm  

    “you are putting words in my mouth. I am not going to tolerate it.”

    Sorry ZinZin. I assumed that is what you meant (it seems to be a common enough argument).

  296. Rumbold — on 28th July, 2007 at 3:20 pm  

    On a broader note, this thread has been one of the most unpleasant ones in living memory. I would like to apologize for my part in the nastiness.

  297. sid — on 28th July, 2007 at 3:45 pm  

    sorry seems to be the hardest word…

  298. Bert Preast — on 28th July, 2007 at 4:00 pm  

    ZinZin wrote: “If you torture an individual who has no information they will make something up to placate their torturers.”

    No, this is why it has to be done very quickly. Let’s say you’re an insugent, and have fallen into my hands. I want to know where your group cache their mortar ammo for example. I know it’s close by, and have a platoon ready for the off to go and get it.

    Now, you can lie to me and have that platoon raid some hapless bugger’s house at whatever address you give – but you’re only going to do that once. An hour or two later when they radio back what you’ve done, well, you’re going to tell the truth next time aren’t you? Because I’m going to be quite angry with you. It’s possible you’re a real hard-case and will just keep schtum, or keep telling porkies. But as generally by allowing yourself to be captured you’ve decided to live through this conflict, that’s unlikely.

    On the other hand, if you know the worst that can happen to you is a few weeks in jail and release to a hero’s welcome, well then everyone’s a hard-case all of a sudden. D’you see?

  299. soru — on 28th July, 2007 at 4:59 pm  

    ‘Arrogantly imposing democracy externally upon a society (especially one based in the Middle East) in total ignorance of it’s eventual effects and irrespective of it’s value system is IMHO morally wrong but then doing so by force of arms is nothing short of evil. ‘

    You do realise you live in a country where democracy was imposed by force of arms by an illegal invader: William of Orange.

    The ‘collaborators’ with him, mostly protestants, hapenned to win the resulting civil war with the Catholic former ruling class. History was recorded correspondingly.

    Similar points apply to the USA, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, India and essentially all other successful democracies. Democracy is, of it’s nature, something imposed fom abroad after a native ruling class has been defeated: it cannot be otherwise, a democracy without an invasion would be like a chicken without an egg.

  300. Bert Preast — on 28th July, 2007 at 5:42 pm  

    Er, King Billy restored democracy. He didn’t impose it.

  301. soru — on 28th July, 2007 at 8:39 pm  

    I don’t think there is any solid historical evidence of much of a local tradition of democracy existing before the Dutch invaded. The odd pamphlet, some isolated rhetoric, quickly backed away from, by peasant or baron revolt leaders, or Cromwell’s military dictatorship: doesn’t add up to much.

    There’s nothing in Chaucer, Shakespeare, Bunyan or Milton that praises democracy. No songs, folk tales, legends. Compare Robin Hood and William Tell: one is a nobleman fighting for the rightful but absent king against corrupt officials, one an honest townsman fighting for his dignity against arbitrary authority.

  302. Bert Preast — on 28th July, 2007 at 9:17 pm  

    There’s nothing in Joseph Heller that praises democracy either (couldn’t think of a modern age English writer comparable to those you meantion).

    Robin Hood and William Tell are legendary figures, and as usual with legendary figure this probably means they weren’t the first with their ideas. Their legends are updated versions of more ancient tales. The English have always struggled for a say in government and have never been happy submitting to absolute dictatorships – look up the Witan which William the Bastard came along and roundly trashed, then look at the Magna Carta his successors were forced to sign. Look how the C of E came about. There’s a long history of poking authority in the eye, even when just for the sheer devilment of it.

  303. Rumbold — on 28th July, 2007 at 10:14 pm  

    Soru:

    William of Orange did not ‘restore’ democracy. He simply ejected the Catholic off the throne, his father in law, James II. Though William was not widely popular, James II had even fewer core supporters, so there was not really a civil war; more a series of rebellions.

    It was not really an invasion anyway- Tthat is why we call it the ‘Glorious Revolution’.

  304. soru — on 29th July, 2007 at 12:37 am  

    It was not really an invasion anyway- Tthat is why we call it the ‘Glorious Revolution’.

    If the civil war in Iraq goes the analogous way, no doubt iraqi text books in 50 years time will say the same thing.

    Really, there was a civil war, with battles (Killiecrankie, Dunkeld, Boyne), massacres (Glencoe), even if english textbooks didn’t mention any of that until about the 1970s. It still never gets taught at GCSE that I have ever heard of: Britain is an absolute Catholic monarchy one term, a symbolic Protestant one the next, with over a hundred years going by in the holidays.

    It’s the same deal with americans descibing their theatre of the anglo-french war of 1777-1783 as a ‘revolution’, as if it was a matter of revolting peasants, not British and French armies and navies with a few militarily insignificant local auxiliaries on both sides, some of whom later went into politics.

  305. El Cid — on 29th July, 2007 at 1:26 pm  

    On a broader note, this thread has been one of the most unpleasant ones in living memory. I would like to apologize for my part in the nastiness.

    Nasty? I thought it was pretty restrained considering the hard themes. Maybe I’ve become desensitized by years of armchair Iraq war.

  306. Katy Newton — on 29th July, 2007 at 1:44 pm  

    *cough*

    Excuse me. William of Orange (William III) was the monarch who passed the Bill of Rights, which placed limitations on the Royal Prerogative and was therefore an important stepping stone in the evolution of British democracy. But to suggest that this amounted to introducing democracy to Britain is utter rubbish, with respect. Various other enactments had placed fetters on the Royal Prerogative, starting with Magna Carta in 1215, and much of the Bill of Rights merely consolidated those earlier enactments and their gradual encroachment upon the royal prerogative.

    “Democracy” is a relative term anyway; whatever happened in 1688, it wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that more than 10% of the male population got the vote.

  307. Katy Newton — on 29th July, 2007 at 1:50 pm  

    It still never gets taught at GCSE that I have ever heard of

    None of the interesting history ever is.

  308. Rumbold — on 29th July, 2007 at 5:05 pm  

    Soru:

    “Really, there was a civil war, with battles (Killiecrankie, Dunkeld, Boyne), massacres (Glencoe), even if english textbooks didn’t mention any of that until about the 1970s.

    James II relied almost entirely on French arms and money to try and retake his throne. William III defeated him fairly easily, as he had little support in England, the key country. When William first arrived, most of the army went over to his side. If it was a civil war, it was a very one-sided civil war.

  309. Anas — on 29th July, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

    Re:242
    Yeah Rumbold, good point. In my defense I was talking about pro-war people in general and wasn’t referring to anyone in the thread. I’ve been a bit egoistic (and short of time) and only read the posts where my name is mentioned using Ctrl+F. Also my post was kind of inconsistent where I defend the word fuck by saying its only a word, but get upset at the word “terrorist” — which is just a word too.

    And re: post 237 I don’t know if I fancy Katy or not, I haven’t seen a picture of her yet. And yeah, I’m glad to hear CW is getting better too.

  310. Anas — on 29th July, 2007 at 5:55 pm  

    Ah I see William of Orange’s been mentioned now. A name that resonates well with all Glaswegians.

  311. Bert Preast — on 30th July, 2007 at 12:28 am  

    Sanas, sanas, culito de ranas, si no sanas hoy, sanas mananas.

    Sorry, just trying to fuck Anas about on his Ctrl+F’s.

  312. The Dude — on 31st July, 2007 at 11:29 am  

    Zinzin

    There are no absolutes in the universe but neither is it the case that exceptions should be allowed to kill the rule. The Prime Directive is crystal clear about the perils of liberal interventionism. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Mind you, I don’t think Bush and Blair had a single good intention between them.

    Soru

    Take off your blinkers and read my post again (taking in the recent history of the Middle East).

  313. Bleh — on 31st July, 2007 at 11:46 am  

    Neo Conservative Contributors to this thread such as…Bleh

    Dude, it is interesting that you know absolutely nothing of my politics whatsoever (apart from my self-declared hatred of tyranny and facism), yet you label me immediately as “neo-conservative”. Neoconservatism is a particular political philosophy and is best used to describe a group of former liberals in the US who moved right during the 1980s but who still hold domestically traditionally liberal views on the welfare state. That’s quite an impressive extrapolation – do you do tarot per chance?

    . The last time was yesterday. But Bleh, I’ll stand corrected if you can manage locate Saddam’s said weapons of mass destruction. Find them and I’ll shut the fxxk up.

    Legality or non-legality does not hinge upon the absence or presence of WMDs in Iraq – indeed, legality has sod all to do with the UN. If you *are* determined to go down the UN route, then Saddam was in violation of the 1991 ceasefire agreement.

    Oh, and Dude, re: your #249, I pick Door No. 2. And re: your #273, France and Russia’s opposition to the overthrow of Iraq wasn’t anything to do with high-minded principles of liberalism but more to do with the multi-billion dollar arms and oil sales they had signed with Saddam, as Rumbold mentions in #290. And #286, it’s all very well for you and Sahil to go on about the evils of liberal interventionism from the safety and comfort of a liberal democracy. What about the people suffering under a fascist dictator? Do they just go hang? Zinzin has it right in #292.

    #284 and El Cid, Series 4 and 5 were much, much better of 24. Series 6 kinda jumped the shark a bit though.

  314. Katy Newton — on 31st July, 2007 at 11:46 am  

    I don’t know if I fancy Katy or not, I haven’t seen a picture of her yet.

    Does my personality not do it for you?

    :-D

  315. Anas — on 31st July, 2007 at 3:22 pm  

    Well you can’t fancy a personality can you, Katy?

  316. sahil — on 31st July, 2007 at 3:40 pm  

    “Oh, and Dude, re: your #249, I pick Door No. 2. And re: your #273, France and Russia’s opposition to the overthrow of Iraq wasn’t anything to do with high-minded principles of liberalism but more to do with the multi-billion dollar arms and oil sales they had signed with Saddam, as Rumbold mentions in #290. And #286, it’s all very well for you and Sahil to go on about the evils of liberal interventionism from the safety and comfort of a liberal democracy. What about the people suffering under a fascist dictator? Do they just go hang? Zinzin has it right in #292.”

    Excuse me Bleh but when the FUCK did I go on about how moral French Government has been? Or how useful Sanctions have been?? I have never been in favour of each methodology. So do not make assumptions about me as I have made none about you. As for the my safety I have lived in a one party state, so do not pontificate on to me about freedom. As I have said, I have taken you for your face value, do not presume assumptions about me. If anything why don’t you go to Iraq right now to see what it is actually right before you bang on about so called Libertation. Libertation with blood in your mouth if useless and painful.

  317. Bleh — on 31st July, 2007 at 4:12 pm  

    Calm down Sanil, and reread my reply carefully – I was referring to Dude and the French, not you.

    Mind you, the time is right to point out that you and rest of the anti-war movement with your travails against “liberal interventionism” have become almost Kissengerianm, nay, Buchananite, in your adoption of Westphalian realpolitick. There would be a delicious irony in this if it wasn’t for the fact that such attitudes resulted in near-genocide in Bosnia and genocide in Rwanda, to give but two examples.

  318. sahil — on 31st July, 2007 at 4:21 pm  

    “And #286, it’s all very well for you and Sahil to go on about the evils of liberal interventionism”

    Heh??

    Buchanite. Well I guess if that’s what I am then I can simply call you a silly Neocon-PNAC-Zionist-Pro-cocaine-Slavery-Scoalist-Pro-Hamas White guy.

  319. Bleh — on 31st July, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

    Well, I am pro- the legalisation of Cocaine, even though I never touch the stuff myself. And my skin colour is technically described as “Celtic Flaccid” rather than white…

  320. ZinZin — on 31st July, 2007 at 5:06 pm  

    This thread should be closed, especially as the Indy have got the lawyers in over a spat between Johan Hari and Nick Cohen.

    Thus far only Anas has been libelled on this thread.

  321. The Dude — on 31st July, 2007 at 7:43 pm  

    Bleh

    If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck! As for your lame attempt of divide and rule between Sahil and me, you can stick that where the ducks don’t swim. Something else, call the French and Russians what you will, what they were engaged in was a commercial deal. What the UK and US did was quite different. That was straight up daylight robbery of Iraqi natural resources. Haliburton and co is sucking that country dry. Rampant corruption and mismanagement is doing the rest.

    I told you I would shut the fuck up if you could come up with WMD’s. Lest we forget, that’s why we (the UK) were dragged into war in the first place. You show me the weapons, I shut the fuck up! Everyone’s happy. I didn’t say dick about the UN. Now, how you come up with the goods in question is your problem BUT until you do, do us all a favour and……

  322. Bleh — on 31st July, 2007 at 9:56 pm  

    If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck!

    So you’re joining the ranks of the ranting fools at CiF to whom “neo-con” is the standard insults thrown about with wild abandon? What next, throwing about “zionist” or “jew”?

    Now, how you come up with the goods in question is your problem BUT until you do, do us all a favour and……

    Given how you opposed, and continue to oppose the overthrow of a fascist tyranny, I think it would be incumbent upon yourself to enter an extended period of silent reflection.

  323. The Dude — on 31st July, 2007 at 10:18 pm  

    No Bleh

    It’s incumbent upon you on showing me the WMD’s! Surely for an intelligent man, you can’t be that dense. You don’t want me to call you a “duck”. Cool. Show me the weapons and I’ll call you anything you want. Until then Daffy, I’d advise you to starting looking (for the WMd’s) and stop talking….ruddish.

    I’ll give you a flying start. Your first port of call should be Colin Powell. He might have a good idea where to look. John Scarlett is closer to home if you can’t afford the air fare. If pigs could fly, these you men would be the first to see them.

  324. Katy Newton — on 1st August, 2007 at 12:50 am  

    Well you can’t fancy a personality can you, Katy?

    No, I suppose not. Although you can sort of build up an image of someone based on their online “voice” and then fancy that, I suppose. But no, really you’re right.

  325. Kismet Hardy — on 1st August, 2007 at 5:32 am  

    No he’s not. I love you

  326. Jai — on 1st August, 2007 at 7:20 pm  

    Kismet, what the hell were you doing surfing the net at the ungodly hour of 5.30 in the morning ?

  327. Don — on 1st August, 2007 at 7:31 pm  

    Doubtless back from watching a new planet swim into his ken.

  328. The Dude — on 1st August, 2007 at 9:05 pm  

    Earlier in this thread I was accused of being unsympathetic towards the needs of those poor Iraqi assholes who were stupid enough to find work with the British and American armed forces occupying their country. To this charge I plead guilty. Alas I do have total sympathy for those poor soldiers of the British and American armed forces who were sent through no fault of their own to fight an illegal war in an foreign country. It seems that my sympathy for these brave men and women doesn’t extend to some residents of a private estate in Surrey. Local residents objected to new accommodation for the families of wounded soldiers as they see it (and get this) as a terror threat. How low can NIMBIES go?

  329. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 9:20 pm  

    I would certainly agree with TheDude on this particular matter, no matter what our other disagreements on this thread….

  330. Don — on 1st August, 2007 at 9:48 pm  

    Ditto.

  331. Katy Newton — on 1st August, 2007 at 9:55 pm  

    I love you too, Kismet.

  332. sahil — on 1st August, 2007 at 10:11 pm  

    Dude where is the link for that. This is appalling. Just like that story in Windsor about how a Muslim was threating soldiers when it was the residents of the area that the soldier actually lived in:

    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=10063

  333. Bert Preast — on 1st August, 2007 at 11:07 pm  

    The battle is already won, but thanks for your interest.

  334. The Dude — on 1st August, 2007 at 11:32 pm  

    It seems that sense prevailed in deepest Surrey but still this whole episode is one of shame. I can’t prove it but I reckon that most of the people on that estate were in full support of the invasion of Iraq. Yet look what they do the moment the consequence of that land on their doorstep. They turn their backs.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/surrey/6927013.stm

  335. Bleh — on 2nd August, 2007 at 12:25 am  

    I can’t prove it but I reckon that most of the people on that estate were in full support of the invasion of Iraq.

    That’s a rather lame assertion to make and to be honest that you attempt score cheap points out of it says more about you than it does about them, alas.

  336. Rumbold — on 2nd August, 2007 at 8:34 am  

    #328 The Dude:

    Exactly. It is disgraceful.

  337. The Dude — on 2nd August, 2007 at 11:31 am  

    Bleh

    The local tory MP for Mole Valley is a dude called Paul Beresford (Majority: 11,997 votes. — 195th out of 639 MPs). His record on the war in Iraq is a pretty clear one, as he voted for it. Now I don’t know if this amounts as proof to you (of my arguement) but at least it’s an awful lot more than those missing WMD’s that you’re still searching for.

    As for the cheap political points scoring, you tell that to Capt Peter Norton who was awarded the George Cross for bravery after losing a leg and part of an arm in Iraq. His arm and his leg didn’t go cheap. In fact it cost him and his family their whole lives.

  338. Rumbold — on 2nd August, 2007 at 11:41 am  

    Accrording to the article you linked to The Dude, the local MP is Chris Grayling, and he supported the scheme.

  339. The Dude — on 2nd August, 2007 at 12:38 pm  

    Rumbold

    You’re right. Chris Grayling is a local MP for the area and (To his credit) he did support the scheme. Alas he (along with his neighbouring colleague, Paul Beresford) also voted for the war and that was my original point. If either Chris Grayling or Paul Beresford are a reflection of the views of their constitutes, then I submit that a broad band of their constitutes (ie: most of the residents who were against the scheme), if fact supported the war.

  340. Bleh — on 2nd August, 2007 at 2:59 pm  

    Dude, you’re digging yourself deeper into a hole. Stop it. Its not pretty.

  341. The Dude — on 2nd August, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

    Bleh

    My hole is full of life fore-filling pure clean spring fresh drinking water, while your hole is full of shit.

  342. The Dude — on 2nd August, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

    …..And you’re right. Your hole isn’t pretty.

  343. The Dude — on 2nd August, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

    Thanks Sahil

    For the Socialist Worker link. Very informative it was. Alas I don’t think this kind of inconvenient truth is going to turn the likes of Harry or Bleh.

    One other thing, The Commissioner of the Met, Sir Ian Blair and his Ass Comm, Andy Hayman should resign and resign now, then a proper chain of commander should b e re-established at the Yard as a matter of urgency. This situation would have been unthinkable under the stewardship of Sir John Stevens. For Sir Ian Blair to be “the last to know” about the true circumstances surrounding the murder of Jean Charles de Mendes, is simply taking the piss.

  344. Leon — on 4th August, 2007 at 10:05 pm  

    So did anyone else write to their MP? I got my reply back today from Frank Dobson. He looked like he agreed with the letter and said he’ll write to the Foreign Secretary and write back to me if he gets an answer…

  345. Random Guy — on 7th August, 2007 at 12:55 pm  

    Just read in the paper that 91 translators in Basra have been abandoned by the UK government. How many more to come?

  346. sahil — on 7th August, 2007 at 1:39 pm  

    Unfortunately probably many more. :(

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