Terrorism behind bars?


by Rumbold
23rd October, 2007 at 8:41 pm    

How should the government deal with convicted terrorists?

A BBC report indicates that prison is reinforcing the beliefs of jailed terrorists:

“Al-Qaeda prisoners in UK jails are being hardened instead of reformed, top Whitehall sources have told the BBC. A major programme of radicalisation is underway in prisons, targeting vulnerable young men and preaching violent jihad, it has been claimed.”

Most of these unreformed people will be released at some point, and as they are unlikely to be deported, they will still be a danger to this country. Terrorism is a crime fuelled by ideology, rather than self-interest (like a bank robbery for instance), and so reformation of character is much more difficult. How should released terrorists be dealt with then? Fairness dictates that we treat them as we would any other released prisoners, but is that enough? Paedophiles and those with mental illnesses are monitored after leaving prison; should this be the fate of released terrorists too?


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  1. douglas clark — on 23rd October, 2007 at 10:48 pm  

    Rumbold,

    I would be astonished if those convicted on terrorist charges were not monitored, and probably by the security services at that.

    What is of more concern to me is the latter part of the article that you linked to, where it is pretty plain that the concern is about the radicalisation and recruitment of people who are in jail for other things. That would seem to me to have been an obvious possibility that ought to have been tackled before now.

  2. soru — on 23rd October, 2007 at 11:15 pm  

    The story of the jailing of the IRA is pretty interesting. They locked all the lifers up in the same jail, let them have endless discussions with each other, and gave them full access to all kinds of literature. The Maze library was a world-class collection of south american Marxist pamphlets and the like, covering every aspect of the theory of armed struggle.

    Some say it was out of that discussions that the the seed of the peace process was born: having thought about it hard and well, they were unable to avoid the realisation that they couldn’t win any kind of military victory.

    On the other hand, the jailing of Hitler didn’t work so well:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler#World_War_I

    On April 1, 1924, Hitler was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment at Landsberg Prison. Hitler received favoured treatment from the guards and had much fan mail from admirers. He was pardoned and released from jail in December 1924, as part of a general amnesty for political prisoners. Including time on remand, he had served little more than one year of his sentence. While at Landsberg he dictated Mein Kampf

    I think the moral of this story is that you shouldn’t ever lock someone up for political violence for a _short_ sentence. You might have cause to shoot a tiger, but shouldn’t ever slap one.

    30+ years to be served, or nothing. Creating new semi-terrorist offences with low penalties is a dangerous mistake.

  3. Kesara — on 23rd October, 2007 at 11:39 pm  

    Fairness dictates that we treat them as we would any other released prisoners, but is that enough?

    Sadly terrorists tend not to play by the rules of fairness. Which generally puts them a step ahead of the societies they’re terrorising…

  4. Random Guy — on 23rd October, 2007 at 11:47 pm  

    Kesara, what part of fairness involves bombing and massacring innocent civilians? Peddle that bull somewhere else please…

  5. Sunny — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:03 am  

    You might have cause to shoot a tiger, but shouldn’t ever slap one.

    haha, love that analogy.

    I think Kesara’s point is well made though Random Guy. But then no criminal really plays to the rules of fairness otherwise they wouldn’t be in prison.

  6. douglas clark — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:22 am  

    Soru,

    Ré the Maze, it was also said, probably by Republicans, that the Loyalists had a huge collection of body building books…..

    Random Guy,

    did you miss the word ‘sadly’ at the start of Kesara’s post, or am I missing something?

  7. Ravi Naik — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:23 am  

    But then no criminal really plays to the rules of fairness otherwise they wouldn’t be in prison.

    Kesara’s argument is exactly what led to Guantanamo Bay and secret prisons in Eastern Europe. The idea that we shouldn’t play by the rules because they are one step ahead.

  8. douglas clark — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:44 am  

    Ravi Naik,

    Is that not a bit of a stretch? We have locked some folk up for terrorism, after due process. I have no arguement with that, and I doubt you do either. If they are then able to radicalise other prisoners when they are in jail, then that is a legitimate concern, is it not?

    I happen to think that everyone who is accused of being a terrorist is entitled to a fair trial, and if the evidence isn’t produced by the state to convince a jury – remember them – then they should be free to go. It would however be completely naivé of me to assumed that even folk found innocent would not be subject to continued monitoring.

    Tying extraordinary renditions and Gitmo into this story seems to me to be a wrong step. Sorry.

    Gitmo and extraordinary rendition are, to my mind at least, the state acting in an extrajudicial manner and is a bellweather, frankly, of how corrupt some politicians have become. That is not even the other side of a coin, it is a completely different coin.

  9. Boyo — on 24th October, 2007 at 8:38 am  

    Isn’t it bloody obvious that this would happen? Many would-be jihadis are drawn from the criminal classes, so it is natural that prisoners should be an obvious catch.

    What the govt. SHOULD do is isolate prisoners convicted for terrorist-related offences, as they did in N.Ireland, in their own prisons/ wings and develop a separate regime of rehabilitation.

    But there is still very much a head-in-sand thing going on here – the state just can’t seem to accept the fact that these people are NOT just criminals but ideologically-driven warriors (in their own eyes).

    While they could accept the Irish (damn foreigners) might be like that, they can’t accept it is happening on mainland Britain (and their policies re integration have in this regard essentially failed).

    Therefore they do not just label them criminals (which is as they should) they treat them like criminals (which they are not) thereby enabling them to spread their creed among the criminal classes.

    Pure ostrichism!

  10. Random Guy — on 24th October, 2007 at 9:03 am  

    @douglas, #6: I was actually contrasting Kesara’s view of terrorists with the actions of this government and the U.S. in Iraq, i.e. Terrorists don’t play by the rules, but Western governments haven’t either. Therefore her point is a bit irrelevant in the context of ‘societies’ that kill innocent civilians somehow being more fair than terrorists who kill innocent civilians.

    More to the point, it is a certainty that incarceration will not reform those convicted of terrorist offences. Boyo’s point, although well made, refuses to acknowledge the main justification that these people make for their terrorist actions – UK foreign policy killing other muslims in other parts of the world. And that causes a head-in-the-sand type response from those who argue that the problems lie in integration, the muslim community themselves etc. (I am not saying there are no issues to address here).

    So we have a unique situation where both parties have buried their head in the sand and are arguing about different factors as causing the problem. Which IMO, is a typical response with the amount of misinformation, interest groups and pure hatred being tossed about by all concerned.

  11. Refresh — on 24th October, 2007 at 10:05 am  

    Rumbold, I am not sure about the value of the story.

    I am with Random Guy in general. But to make a practical point – how long have they been in prison and how are they meant to be ‘rehabilitated’?

  12. Rumbold — on 24th October, 2007 at 10:25 am  

    Douglas:

    “I would be astonished if those convicted on terrorist charges were not monitored, and probably by the security services at that.

    Possibly, but given the limited resources of the security services there is only so much they can do. We will not start to feel the impact of realised terrorists anyway for a few years now.

    Ravi Naik:

    “Kesara’s argument is exactly what led to Guantanamo Bay and secret prisons in Eastern Europe. The idea that we shouldn’t play by the rules because they are one step ahead.”

    Exactly. My point was that the seriousness of the crime is reflected in the length of sentence (or should be), so how can the state then turn around and inflict additional punishments on terrorists, but not murderers or rapists?

    Refresh:

    “Rumbold, I am not sure about the value of the story.

    I am with Random Guy in general. But to make a practical point – how long have they been in prison and how are they meant to be ‘rehabilitated’?”

    The latter part is not clear. I do think that this story is an important one though, because one day these prisoners are going to be released into the community, probably unreformed.

  13. douglas clark — on 24th October, 2007 at 10:59 am  

    Random Guy @ 10,

    Fair enough. I see what you are saying and largely agree with it.

    As a by the way, if you are found to be mad and dangerous, as I understand it you will not be released until you are rediagnosed as sane. Given that blowing yourself up, along with your fellow citizens is clearly insane, perhaps they should be held under mental health legislation, rather than criminal legislation?

    Rumbold @ 12,

    Is the solution not to isolate the terrorists from other prisoners? At least that way their foul ideology wouldn’t spread to others? I don’t have the figures but I’d be astonished – my favourite word today apparently – if the government isn’t putting as much resources into the security services as the security services ask for. Which might not be a good thing, but there you go.

    If Brown gets us out of Iraq, which looks likely, then a lot of this shit will stop. Afghanistan is a completely different story, I think.

    What I would like to see the West doing is insisting that the Geneva Conventions do apply to those they have captured and live up to those standards. Where random guy is completely correct is in saying, I paraphrase, that we have sunk to the level of the terrorists in our response. This is, frankly, not good enough.

  14. Ravi Naik — on 24th October, 2007 at 11:24 am  

    Tying extraordinary renditions and Gitmo into this story seems to me to be a wrong step. Sorry.

    I was not tying Gitmo to this story, but to Kesara’s comment which I believe insinuates that the rule of law applied for criminals does not apply to terrorists because they are “one step ahead”, and thus extraordinary measures are required for these super-villains, because their special power is the ability to bend the rules of fairness.

    I am not trying to minimise the problem of terrorism, but I do believe that we have a solid framework that deals with people that could be a threat to society if they get out of prison. Perhaps if we think of them as dangerous criminals rather than “terrorists”, this might sink in.

  15. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 11:25 am  

    Douglas, there’s a lot of nonsense talked about the Geneva Conventions. If you actually read them, the protections therein applied to legal combatants don’t actually apply to the likes of Al-Queda. Remember the famous photograph from Vietnam of the VC Spy being summarily executed by Nguyen Loan? Under the Geneva Conventions, that was perfectly legal.

  16. Ravi Naik — on 24th October, 2007 at 11:37 am  

    By the way, I do have faith that Britain will not do something as attrocious as the US. And I do believe in intelligence gathering, and that suspects should be monitored. But that is only half the battle. The other half concerns zero tolerance to radical speech. And that means closing down mosques and centres which either harbour radical speech or which have chosen to ignore this problem. If athis country managed to get virulent white racism out of the mainstream, it can also stand against any other kind of bigotry.

  17. douglas clark — on 24th October, 2007 at 11:40 am  

    Morgoth,

    It all comes down to a definition of what a legal combatant actually is. It is pretty clear, to me at least, that the US Justice Department has driven a coach and horses through any reasonable interpretation of that definition and have assumed that their putative enemies are to have no legal protection whatsoever. Unless of course you consider the Star Chamber system to be a legal system, which it clearly is not.

    That is the hallmark of a dictatorship. You happy with waterboarding and the like? Not in my name, mate. Perhaps in yours?

  18. Ravi Naik — on 24th October, 2007 at 11:42 am  

    “If you actually read them, the protections therein applied to legal combatants don’t actually apply to the likes of Al-Queda”

    I am glad you are using Bush’s technical terms such “legal combatants ™”, it just gives more credibility. But if it is “War on Terror” ™, and Al Qaeda is the enemy and they are caught, aren’t they prisoners of war? In either case, they deserve a trial. Don’t you agree?

  19. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 11:44 am  

    Frankly, Douglas, I’d be happy with Al-Queda members being summarily executed and then buried in pig fat, pour encourager les autres. They’re the modern day equivalent of the SS.

  20. Ravi Naik — on 24th October, 2007 at 11:54 am  

    “happy with Al-Queda members being summarily executed and then buried in pig fat, pour encourager les autres.”

    Lovely… no trial, mass execution, and humiliation of prisioners. Check, check, check… you are really going for the Pickled Politics’s troll of the month award, aren’t you? :)

  21. Rumbold — on 24th October, 2007 at 11:56 am  

    Douglas:

    “Is the solution not to isolate the terrorists from other prisoners? At least that way their foul ideology wouldn’t spread to others?”

    Sadly, that could be the best option.

    “If Brown gets us out of Iraq, which looks likely, then a lot of this [expletive deleted] will stop.”

    I doubt it- most of these people are motivated by a twisted, murderous ideology. They will find other reasons to be terrorists (e.g. Bin Laden justified the Madrid bombing by claiming revenge for the destruction of Granada in 1492).

    Morgoth:

    “Frankly, Douglas, I’d be happy with Al-Queda members being summarily executed and then buried in pig fat, pour encourager les autres. They’re the modern day equivalent of the SS.”

    It does not matter how bad Al-Qaeda is, but how we conduct ourselves. Gitmo is wrong, no matter who you are holding there. Extraordinary rendition is wrong, no matter who it is done to. Why bother battling Al-Qaeda if we don’t hold oursleves to higher standards than them?

  22. Sid — on 24th October, 2007 at 11:57 am  

    oh yeah and he’s been offered a blogging position by Dickhead’s Kitchen. Some people who are also blog there should be careful who they accuse of “guilt by association”

  23. Sofia — on 24th October, 2007 at 11:58 am  

    Morgoth..you are reminding me more and more like the fascists you claim to hate

  24. Sid — on 24th October, 2007 at 11:59 am  

    This is worth a read:

    Legitimacy is not something that can be conjured out of illegality by finding the right political or military strategy. International law requires us to end our offensive military operations and to submit the crisis we have created to the UN Security Council without prejudice, not to win approval of a new U.S. plan for Iraq, but so that we can withdraw our forces, Iraq can regain true sovereignty, and the UN can offer its assistance as needed or requested by the Iraqis. The legitimate ongoing role of the United States in this process would be the payment of reparations to enable the Iraqi people to recover from the war and to rebuild their country.

    The principal lesson for future U.S. foreign policy is that the many diplomats and lawyers who worked so hard to create the current framework of international law deserve our profoundest deference and respect. Our predecessors bequeathed us an international legal code that embodies great wisdom forged from bitter experience in times at least as difficult and dangerous as our own. We can begin to unwind this spiral of uncontrollable violence by renewing our own commitment to international law, by supporting efforts to strengthen judicial enforcement of its provisions in both national and international courts, and by insisting that military and international lawyers be consulted in the formulation of U.S. defense policy.

  25. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:02 pm  

    Oh yes, Sid, International Law was so great at deposing Saddam, or stopping the Genocide in Rwanda, or protecting Srebenica, or getting rid of Kim-ll-Jong, wasn’t it?

    Sofia, just using the religious’s own fears against them. In the case of Jewish terrorists, you could bury them in polyester, for example.

  26. Sid — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:06 pm  

    Morgoth, do you think you have moral authority to dictate who the “evil leaders” when your own back yard is strewn in dead, mutiliated and tortured bodies. The last one was Fallujah. Do you even know what went on there?

  27. Random Guy — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:12 pm  

    Sid/Sofia, I would recommend ignoring Morgoth. He is not here to discuss anything, just to provoke and anger other posters.

  28. douglas clark — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:13 pm  

    Morgoth,

    One other point of clarification, if I may?

    The point about the Geneva Convention was, inter alia, that it dealt with captured enemy combatants. It allows, whilst hostilities continue, for folk who were fighting for the other side (that you happen to catch), to be locked up until such times as the hostilities cease. Their incarceration, which is not a punishment as such, is surrounded by various protections, all of which the US has denied to folk at Gitmo, and more seriously those that have been rendered. Allegedly, nearly 12,000 folk. All of this so that G W Bush can smirk on Fox TV.

    You are coming across as being an apologist for torture and disappearances if it’s done by the Christian Right. I trust that that is just my paranoia and is not reflected in your reality.

    Meanwhile, the US takes Iraq into the stone age. And sabre rattles over Iran.

    Friends of the nuclear option, Oliver Kamm comes to mind, get to write pieces that say, “hey, Nagasaki and Hiroshima were OK folks, get with the programme”.

    Christ, what’s not to love about the new Rome and it’s sychophants?

    We used to have a half decent civilisation here, once upon a time.

  29. Rumbold — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:14 pm  

    Random Guy:

    Actually, Morgoth is addressing the very purpose of this thread- how convicted terrorists should be dealt with.

  30. j0nz — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:16 pm  

    Soru #2 good point

  31. Sid — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:17 pm  

    Random Guy — you’re so right.

    Shall we initiate a Blank the Wanker policy by the regular posters on Pickled Politics? That should bring on death of trolls by removing the oxygen of attention.

    Start by blanking the wanker: the troll Morgoth

  32. Rumbold — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:21 pm  

    Morgoth:

    ” International Law was so great at deposing Saddam, or stopping the Genocide in Rwanda, or protecting Srebenica, or getting rid of Kim-ll-Jong, wasn’t it?”

    The Geneva convention is a good bit of international law though. Not because it isinternational, but because it provides for the humane treatment of captives.

  33. Random Guy — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:27 pm  

    @Rumbold, #29: Is he? If so, it is getting lost in the endless torrent of BS he keeps spouting.

  34. Refresh — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:29 pm  

    Rumbold, I wasn’t clear.

    How do you rehabilitate anyone? My approach would have been to demonstrate to the prisoners that the world isn’t as they think it is. It may mean cutting them off from all external influences such as radio, TV, newspapers and perhaps creating a whole new world with its own media.

    I guess they should not also hear about the build-up to war on Iran. Nor the anti-muslim invective poruing from all the different parts of the media.

    As for the question of how long, then I am not clear about how many there are in prison – how many for actual terrorist offences, how many for having material (which I am guessing means material as opposed to materiel). So in terms of how long, isn’t it unlikely that any of them have been in prison for longer than a year or two.

    Which brings me to the value of the story. How do you rehabilitate in such a short period of time? And then the question is what do you rehabilitate them into?

    Given its a question of political thought and aspirations – if you were to say ‘look its not about your faith, its the oil’; ‘we need the oil and you have most of it, what would you expect us to do, starve?’.

    Then I think you would actually shift the game dramatically, and everyone will start looking at it differently.

  35. j0nz — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:29 pm  

    own back yard is strewn in dead, mutiliated and tortured bodies. The last one was Fallujah. Do you even know what went on there?

    Was that the Falleuja that had all 60 mosques used as fighting posititions?

    http://www.military.com/ContentFiles/Fallujah_112004.ppt

    Have you any idea Sid, or do you just take the jihadis word for it?

    Fallujah Gains Mythic Air

    BAGHDAD, April 12 — The U.S. Marine siege of Fallujah, designed to isolate and pursue a handful of extremists in a restive town, has produced a powerful backlash in the capital. Urged on by leaflets, sermons and freshly sprayed graffiti calling for jihad, young men are leaving Baghdad to join a fight that residents say has less to do with battlefield success than with a cause infused with righteousness and sacrifice.

    “The fighting now is different than a year ago. Before, the Iraqis fought for nothing. Now, fighters from all over Iraq are going to sacrifice themselves,” said a Fallujah native who gave his name as Abu Idris and claimed to be in contact with guerrillas who slip in and out of the besieged city three and four times daily.

  36. douglas clark — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:31 pm  

    Rumbold @ 21,

    I doubt it- most of these people are motivated by a twisted, murderous ideology. They will find other reasons to be terrorists (e.g. Bin Laden justified the Madrid bombing by claiming revenge for the destruction of Granada in 1492).

    Mibee Aye, mibee naw. The catalyst for most of this violence does seem to me to be about current affairs. I doubt young folk would be as radicalised by events in 1492 as they are about the likes of Fallujah. And, in any event, was the Madrid bombing not really about the presence of Spanish troops in Iraq?

    Your reply to Morgoth in the same post is in the highest traditions of you being an all round good egg.

  37. j0nz — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:32 pm  

    #31 thats a bit strong. Those who disagree can all go away Sid but I’m sure it’s more interesting to the majority to have a cross section of views aint it?

  38. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:38 pm  

    Do you even know what went on there?

    Do you?

    Did you care when Al-Queda, when they took over Fallujah, killed women for actually daring to walk outside in the street. Or when they killed traders in neighbouring provinces for daring to display “male” and “female” vegetables together? No, you don’t give a shit, do you. Unless blame can be put on the West, you don’t actually care in the slightest, do you?

    Start by blanking the wanker: the troll Morgoth

    Sid, I’m the one actually trying to deal with the substance of the post. You on the other hand, apart from being a potty-mouthed Sunny Hundal mini-me, don’t actually serve any purpose here other than to scream “racist!” and “troll!” at anyone who gets in the way of your tiresome tirades, even people like Rumbold, who are posters on this site! You’re nothing but a particularily unpleasant Benjamin Mackie, seeking to reshape Pickled Politics in your own image. Look at how many people have left this website, look at the paucity of commenters here compared to any other blog such as even HP, Samizdata, Popinjays, or even LabourHome or ConservativeHome. Is it surprising when anyone that doesn’t conform to the party line of an out-of-control freak like Sid is immediately treated to a barrage of “troll!” and “racist!”? There’s enough beams and motes in your own eye to plant a whole forest with an ocean around it, you pillock.

  39. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:39 pm  

    And, in any event, was the Madrid bombing not really about the presence of Spanish troops in Iraq?,/i>

    The Madrid bombing was, like the Bali bombing, planned before 9/11, IIRC.

  40. Sid — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:39 pm  

    jonz, not if the wanker in question happens to be a persistent troll who poisons the discourse with repulsive views. I knew you rather sympathise with those views, but you can always go the BNP site or Devil’s Kitchen to satisfy your little urges, surely?

  41. Sid — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:40 pm  

    Morgoth, please try and realise, that you are a racist.

  42. j0nz — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:48 pm  

    Can you define racist? Do you mean likely to make generalisations and oft-use of stereotypes likley to casue offence?

  43. j0nz — on 24th October, 2007 at 12:52 pm  

    Let’s all try not to be venomous dizzy-eyed fustilarians towards each other eh chaps?

  44. Refresh — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:01 pm  

    Morgoth

    “Look at how many people have left this website, look at the paucity of commenters here compared to any other blog such as even HP, Samizdata, Popinjays, or even LabourHome or ConservativeHome.”

    The beauty of Pickled Politics is that we can have a reasoned debate, and often come to some sort of conclusion. But your interventions do not help too much.

    Of course you are entitled to share your views, but equally readers will make a judgement, and over time build a profile of you. In the main I would say Sid has probably captured that snapshot quite well.

    I am not convinced that you are best suited to the type of debate we enjoy here, on the whole people debate to persuade and be persuaded. You clearly are not here to be persuaded and I am certain you are failing to persuade.

    Therefore, for a productive debate, I would say its probably best that you are actually ignored.

    As for the paucity of commenters, its quality that is needed. You are welcome to up your game.

  45. Rumbold — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:02 pm  

    Sid:

    I disagree with Morgoth on this issue, so I debate with him. I feel no need to abuse him, nor does Douglas, as we are merely articulating different points of view. Ask yourself this: if you enjoying debating these issues why the need for all the insults?

    Refresh:

    “How do you rehabilitate anyone? My approach would have been to demonstrate to the prisoners that the world isn’t as they think it is. It may mean cutting them off from all external influences such as radio, TV, newspapers and perhaps creating a whole new world with its own media.”

    A nice idea, but I would whether it would have the impact that you hoped. Also, the unlcear reference was not you your point, but the unclearness of some aspects of the BBC report, sorry for not being clearer. Clear?

    Douglas:

    “Mibee Aye, mibee naw. The catalyst for most of this violence does seem to me to be about current affairs. I doubt young folk would be as radicalised by events in 1492 as they are about the likes of Fallujah. And, in any event, was the Madrid bombing not really about the presence of Spanish troops in Iraq?

    Bin Laden mentioned both the troops in Iraq and Granada. Current affairs do affect radicalisation, but take Bosnia and Kosovo for instance. Many of the Muslims radicalised in the 1990s were motivated in part by these two conflicts, yet Bosnia happened because of the failure of the UN, while Kosovo was saved by UK- and US-led forces.

    “Your reply to Morgoth in the same post is in the highest traditions of you being an all round good egg.”

    Very kind of you to say so.

  46. Refresh — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

    Rumbold

    “A nice idea, but I would whether it would have the impact that you hoped. Also, the unlcear reference was not you your point, but the unclearness of some aspects of the BBC report, sorry for not being clearer. Clear?”

    I was of course being flippant to put it mildly. I think the nice idea was further down in my post:

    “Given its a question of political thought and aspirations – if you were to say ‘look its not about your faith, its the oil’; ‘we need the oil and you have most of it, what would you expect us to do, starve?’.

    Then I think you would actually shift the game dramatically, and everyone will start looking at it differently.”

  47. Ravi Naik — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:07 pm  

    “I’m the one actually trying to deal with the substance of the post”

    I am drawing the line here: if you believe that people should be convicted and executed without a trial, and you believe in humiliating prisioners either before or after they are executed, you are not a just a troll, but someone who is borderline psycopath.

    You obviously have no arguments against douglas and others here, and so you need to rely on flamebait. With all your delusions, let me bring you to reality on just one point: you don’t add any substance to this discussion.

  48. Rumbold — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:08 pm  

    Refresh:

    “Given its a question of political thought and aspirations – if you were to say ‘look its not about your faith, its the oil’; ‘we need the oil and you have most of it, what would you expect us to do, starve?’.

    Then I think you would actually shift the game dramatically, and everyone will start looking at it differently.”

    That would surely only inflame passions (especially as it is untrue).

  49. Refresh — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:16 pm  

    Rumbold

    There is more than ample evidence to show its about oil. It has been for 90 years.

    As for inflaming passions – could it get much worse? We are after all building up for war on Iran.

    But if we face up to the facts, as most of the public does here and around the world, then saying its about oil, will allow us all to deal with the real world and not one created for us. Myths and lies are materiel for the current breed of politicians.

  50. douglas clark — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:17 pm  

    Morgoth,

    I wrote, at post 28,

    You are coming across as being an apologist for torture and disappearances if it’s done by the Christian Right. I trust that that is just my paranoia and is not reflected in your reality.

    Little did I know that, whilst I was composing my comment, that you had dashed my optimism with this wonderfully erudite submission:

    Frankly, Douglas, I’d be happy with Al-Queda members being summarily executed and then buried in pig fat, pour encourager les autres. They’re the modern day equivalent of the SS.

    Whilst the more macabre details of your proposal do not seem to be being followed, the general thrust of your remarks is current US foreign policy.

    Unfortunately, as it is largely carried out in secret, without judicial oversight, we cannot be sure. Indeed, why not kill everyone who looks odd, in that way you’d probably eliminate some dubious elements in the process. I know this is a Godwin, but you should really look to Germany in the ’30s to help you buff up your thinking on this topic.

    Then, of course, the world would be safe for the likes of Lynddie England. What a far happier and better place it would be, don’t you think?

  51. sonia — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:17 pm  

    yes what is it with PP becoming a cliquey insultey sort of place? rumbold is right about this trading of insults and surely we can do all this without that.

    i do think that Guantanamo does come into it ( re: douglas’s comment all the way up) – it shows there hasn’t been due process. and that absolutely is part of this debate, surely. ravi makes some good points.

  52. Sid — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:17 pm  

    I don’t mind foul offensive trolls hanging around here, I rather enjoy them, but I draw the line at Morgoth. It’s plain to see from his career as a troll on Harry’s Place how he has managed to completely poison the discourse there with his racist views and his unwillingness to draw the line between Muslims and Islamic extremists. For some reason he and a small coterie of loud, racist regulars (field, Nick (South Africa) and Morgoth) have been tolerated, and permitted to carry on with their poison posting.

    HP have allowed that to happen, that’s their business. But I’m not going to stand around and let PP go the way of HP. Sunny is a personal friend who I like and respect and if I have any influence on his decisions, I’d urge him to IP ban Morgoth.

    I can’t be clearer than that.

  53. Sofia — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:18 pm  

    I think going back to topic…prison is also supposed to be about rehabilitation for those who are not in their for life. How about having people who are trained to question these individuals positions go in and talk..make this part of an education programme where they could re evaluate their lives. Question their beliefs etc. This could come from people from the muslim community itself…just an idea..but i’m sure the shit stirrers on this post will of course laugh this off as siding with the terrorists again. All I can say is, get off your arse and do something instead of talking crap and doing nothing..

  54. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:20 pm  

    The beauty of Pickled Politics is that we can have a reasoned debate, and often come to some sort of conclusion. But your interventions do not help too much.

    Refresh, that a very rose-tinted view of things (I lurked here for a long time, since the Al-Hack days so I should know). The general course of action that happens here in the comments is that Sid decides on a party-line and then spends his time slagging off and bullying anyone who doesn’t agree wth it (when was the last time he contributed something relevant to a discussion instead of his constant “racist!” and “troll!” and “wanker!” refrains?).

    I accept that my views are diametrically opposed to many people here, but my comments and views are always relevant, and I am always willing to attempt to articulate why, for example, I consider religion a particular nasty form of collectivism. And if you want an echo-chamber, fair enough. But what is the point in that? I could go to A Tangled Web or LGF or Samizdata and agree with 90% of what they say, but where is the fun in that? (I don’t even have a login at LGF, for fecks’ sake) I have commented at HP, for example, for about 4 years now because it is challenging to interact with people with different views – and indeed, my views on various subjects have changed because of my interaction with Harry’s Place (most notibly on the role of Trade Unions), and they are changing somewhat on India and Pakistan because of my interactions here.

    What I don’t take kindly to is muppets who think screaming “racist!” or “you don’t like brown people!” is a substitute for argument.

    P.s. Douglas, I’m not actually English, y’know. I reject any “Little England” or “Little Europe” mentalities. The UK is a trading nation, we should be engaged with the whole world in a positive fashion.

  55. Sofia — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:22 pm  

    and Sid I agree that morgoth’s views are distasteful and might indicate that he/it/she is also rather odious, but to ban someone when we could simply ignore them shouldn’t be the road you go down.

  56. Refresh — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:22 pm  

    Sofia

    “All I can say is, get off your arse and do something instead of talking crap and doing nothing..”

    Is it safe to ask them to do something? I fear not.

  57. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

    I think going back to topic…prison is also supposed to be about rehabilitation for those who are not in their for life. How about having people who are trained to question these individuals positions go in and talk..make this part of an education programme where they could re evaluate their lives. Question their beliefs etc. This could come from people from the muslim community itself…just an idea..but i’m sure the shit stirrers on this post will of course laugh this off as siding with the terrorists again. All I can say is, get off your arse and do something instead of talking crap and doing nothing..

    Actually Sofia, I agree completely with your proposal. I’ve been a long standing proponent of compulsory education in prisons, be it either academic or vocational. There was an old saying in Northern Ireland regarding this, “Republican prisoners came out of prison with degrees, Loyalist prisoners came out with new tattoos”. This is one area where I would be willing to support increased public spending on educational programs within jails. Any prisoner who is in longer for say, 5 years or so, should either do a degree or learn a vocational trade to an equivalent level.

  58. Sid — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:24 pm  

    yeah, it’s a lovely liberal sentiment but WordPress does implement a ban functionality. In the case of Morgoth, I want to see it used.

  59. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

    Oh shut up Sid. If you can’t contibute to the debate in a relevant fashion, then don’t contribute at all.

  60. Ravi Naik — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:27 pm  

    “It’s plain to see from his career as a troll on Harry’s Place how he has managed to completely poison the discourse there with his racist views

    HP have allowed that to happen, that’s their business. But I’m not going to stand around and let PP go the way of HP”

    It is somewhat patronising of your part to believe that Morgoth needs to banned so that we are not poisoned by his mediocre arguments. Does that say more about your opinion of us than about Morgoth?

  61. Sid — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:28 pm  

    I’ve contributed on here for years. Why don’t you go hang out at other wells you’ve poisoned. I think you’ve got an offer at Devil’s Kitchen. Please take it and fuck off.

  62. j0nz — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:28 pm  

    Sid, there is no chance PP would ever turn into a place as centrist as HP. :)

    Take a chill pill, and look at the exact words that are being said. Morgoth said he wants to torture Al-Qeada. Is that really a purely psychopathic notion?

    What worries me is when 31% of UK Muslims think it’s ok to murder somebody if they change their religion. Somebody changing their religion being an inncoent act, whearas belonging to Al-Qeada, not so much!

  63. Sid — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:29 pm  

    Ravi, there’s medicore and there’s racist poison and there’s mediocre racist poison. i have a very high opinion of everyone that’s why i almost live here…

  64. j0nz — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:31 pm  

    Sid doth protest too much

  65. Refresh — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:32 pm  

    Morgoth

    I want reasoned debate. Nothing else. If you can do that, that would be fine. One way is to keep on topic, avoid stereotyping, and give us something worth digesting.

    And if your views support Guantanamo type activities, then you are best suited to HP and LGF etc.

    As for Sid, I have to say I can’t agree with the picture you paint of him. He clearly has seen your interventions elsewhere and I respect his judgement.

    He obviously thinks you are a clear and present danger to debate.

  66. Sid — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:33 pm  

    j0nz wetteth own pants

  67. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:34 pm  

    No, J0nz, never torture. I cannot hold any other conclusion than John McCain, for example does, which is that, despite our atavistic urges to the contrary, torture is wrong in all circumstances. What I am advocating is summary judicial execution (in a similar fashion as battlefield high treason was treated by the Allies in WW2), and their remains disposed of to have the maximum psychological effect afterwards.

  68. j0nz — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:35 pm  

    Sid can you explain the “racist poison and there’s mediocre racist poison”- I am genuinely interested. I know the pigs blood thing would be particulalry offensive to Muslims (however most Muslims do assert that Al-Qaeda terrorists aren’t actually Muslim anyway??)

  69. Refresh — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:37 pm  

    Enough j0nz. get back on topic.

  70. Sunny — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:44 pm  

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

    Therefore, for a productive debate, I would say its probably best that you are actually ignored.

    Can we stick to this policy? If Morgoth / j0nz are coming out with crap then please ignore them and address other points. What is the point of arguing over it ad-infinitum?

    As long as Morgoth doesn’t start trolling as he used to (and he’s calmed down a lot) then he can post. Same for j0nz, who admittedly hasn’t trolled in a while. Please just ignore them if you don’t like them.

  71. j0nz — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:45 pm  

    Paedophiles and those with mental illnesses are monitored after leaving prison; should this be the fate of released terrorists too?

    One would sincerely hope that released terrorists are monitored with the best efforts of the security services.

  72. douglas clark — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:46 pm  

    Morgoth,

    Where did I say you were English? I might not like your opinions but I hope I’d never be that insulting to a complete stranger ;-)

  73. Sunny — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:47 pm  

    but my comments and views are always relevant, and I am always willing to attempt to articulate why, for example, I consider religion a particular nasty form of collectivism.

    And you’re being rather rose-tinted yourself here Morgoth. All you do is scream that religion is a pile of shit etc etc and then people stop taking you seriously. Well, I’ve never really taken your arguments seriously. Rohin for example is an atheist, but he makes arguments and doesn’t just start spouting off. Your religion is atheism, you sound like one of those Hizb-ut-Tahrir chumps who tells others they’re going to hell for not following his beliefs.

  74. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:50 pm  

    Douglas, hehe.

    Part of the problem with the situation is the whole treatment of religion in prisons. Naturally, for someone such as myself, I view religion in prison the same as I view religion in schools – it shouldn’t be a part of it, full stop. However, if a self-coalesing group of religious nutters forms inside a prison (which I understand what is partially happening), then it is time for a special category of prisoners to be defined, the “religiously-motivated”, as it were, and measures taken to counteract them, just as special measures are taken for sex-offenders and for drug-dealers and suchlike. In any case, the current situation cannot go on as is.

  75. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:52 pm  

    Well, sunny, you have me there. With the proviso that I’m not atually atheist per se, mind you.

  76. soru — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

    What worries me is when 31% of UK Muslims think it’s ok to murder somebody if they change their religion

    It was only 50 years ago that William Joyce was executed for changing his nationality; the laws under which he hung were repealed in 1967. And I bet a death penalty for non-violent high treason they would still get at least double-digit support if someone did a poll on that topic.

    Don’t make the mistake of confusing IslamoDailyMailReaders with your actual religious ultranationalists.

  77. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 1:59 pm  

    Well, he was actually convicted upon the basis of committing high treason, was he not? The whole passport thing was an attempt to prove jurisdiction so that high treason could be applied, IIRC.

  78. j0nz — on 24th October, 2007 at 2:11 pm  

    “IslamoDailyMailReaders” Hahaha. I like that. It explains it very well to me. Thankyou.

  79. soru — on 24th October, 2007 at 2:50 pm  

    From wiki link above, the charges included:


    William Joyce, on 26 September 1940, did aid and comfort the King’s enemies by purporting to be naturalised as a German citizen.

    Also, from the definition of High Treason.

    becoming a citizen of an enemy state during wartime is high treason, as it constitutes adhering to the Sovereign’s enemies.

    That’s seperate from the jurisdiction issue.

  80. Sofia — on 24th October, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

    why do people persist in spelling “separate” as “seperate”…

  81. soru — on 24th October, 2007 at 4:44 pm  

    I always get independent wrong too. Probably some kind of syndrome.

  82. gorilla — on 24th October, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

    Putting these AL Qaeda terrorists up against a wall and shooting them for high treason will solve this “hardening” problem.

    Oh wait – we’re in the EU , so we can’t reintroduce the death penalty.

  83. Rumbold — on 24th October, 2007 at 5:20 pm  

    “why do people persist in spelling “separate” as “seperate”…”

    Or not use a capital letter when they start a sentence. Heh.

    Refresh:

    “There is more than ample evidence to show its about oil. It has been for 90 years.

    As for inflaming passions – could it get much worse? We are after all building up for war on Iran.

    But if we face up to the facts, as most of the public does here and around the world, then saying its about oil, will allow us all to deal with the real world and not one created for us. Myths and lies are materiel for the current breed of politicians.”

    If it is about securing oil for the American public, industry and military, then they have been remarkably ineffective, given the price rises these past few years.

  84. Ruby — on 24th October, 2007 at 5:28 pm  

    Muslim extremists have always found fertile ground for recruitment inside prisons. A large number of dissaffected, alienated, socially marginalised, often violent and angry men, are ripe for conversion to that creed.

    Another factor is the alarmingly high number of Muslims in prison, out of proportion to their population in wider society. In terms of disproportionate incarceration and crime rates, it begins to mirror the experience of black men in prison. Something is going wrong in some parts of British Muslim men that is leading them to crime. It’s something that needs to be debated in its own right.

  85. gorilla — on 24th October, 2007 at 5:32 pm  

    read up on “Jihad” Ruby. You’ll get your explanation as to why there are so many Muslims in prison.

  86. Ruby — on 24th October, 2007 at 5:37 pm  

    Well gorilla, most of the Muslims in prison are there for non terrorism ciminal offences.

  87. Refresh — on 24th October, 2007 at 5:53 pm  

    Rumbold

    On the contrary.

    “If it is about securing oil for the American public, industry and military, then they have been remarkably ineffective, given the price rises these past few years.”

    They had been very effective. Two factors now apertain. One, increased demand from other markets eg China and India. Two the fundamental US need for oil to be traded in US$.

  88. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 5:58 pm  

    Soru, meh, fair enough.

    Refresh, at the risk of running even more off-topic…the US could have bunged Saddam a quick quid and hey presto, guaranteed oil supplies for the next 30 years at 30$ a barrel from a friendly dictator. Or spend a hundred billion quid to overthrow said dictator and have oil running at 90$ a barrel.

    Hmmmmmmm…..

    Now you see the problem with the “it was all about oil” hypothesis, don’t you? It doesn’t pass the old William of Ockam test, to say the very least.

  89. Morgoth — on 24th October, 2007 at 6:02 pm  

    Two the fundamental US need for oil to be traded in US$.

    …has nothing to do with it, conspiracy articles not withstanding. America doesn’t get, and never did get, oil from Iraq. America gets it oil from…Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigela and Venezuela mainly. It only imports a minority of oil from the Middle East.

  90. Refresh — on 24th October, 2007 at 6:16 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Actually we are running off-topic. Forgot we are not alone.

  91. Jai — on 24th October, 2007 at 7:28 pm  

    Terrorism is a crime fuelled by ideology, rather than self-interest (like a bank robbery for instance), and so reformation of character is much more difficult. How should released terrorists be dealt with then?

    Two solutions which would result in “rehabilitation”, both overlapping and interconnected, one based on “positive drivers” and one based on more “negative drivers” :

    1. The person concerned develops a sufficient level of empathy for those they do not primarily identify with to result in them becoming psychologically unwilling and/or unable to take actions resulting in their deaths. This will be a combination of the person’s own personality, their social network, how they are treated by other people in general (who they do not identify with) and their own reactions to their treatment (both positive and negative experiences).

    2. Either as a result of internal self-reflection and/or the influence of sources of religious reference which they respect (scholarly works, historical figures, modern-day religious figures they admire, trust and defer to in such matters, etc), they develop a fear of severe punishment in the Afterlife for engaging in terrorist actions resulting in the deaths of innocents. The fear of punishment has to outweigh, and possibly cancel out, the expectation of being rewarded for their behaviour.

  92. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 25th October, 2007 at 6:45 am  

    Morgoth,

    Dead bodies dont fear anything. Its just showing you as a vengeful bastard. After you have killed someone for any offense, their debt is more or less paid. On to the hell fire where they may or may not go.

  93. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 25th October, 2007 at 6:54 am  

    Ruby,

    “read up on “Jihad” Ruby. You’ll get your explanation as to why there are so many Muslims in prison.”

    “Ruby — on 24th October, 2007 at 5:37 pm
    Well gorilla, most of the Muslims in prison are there for non terrorism ciminal offences.”

    Wrong response Ruby. Most Muslims in prison are probably in prison for the same reasons as other criminals. For most Muslims jihad=terrorism.

  94. Morgoth — on 25th October, 2007 at 9:48 am  

    Bikhair, what’s wrong with revenge, incidentally?

  95. Sofia — on 25th October, 2007 at 10:15 am  

    rumbold…I don’t use capitals all the time as I can’t be arsed…not because I don’t know a sentence begins with one..:)

    Bikhair I didn’t understand your point about jihad

  96. Morgoth — on 25th October, 2007 at 10:31 am  

    Bikhair I didn’t understand your point about jihad

    She is a Salafi, therefore as a matter of doctrine no one understands her points about anything.

  97. Sofia — on 25th October, 2007 at 10:35 am  

    I don’t really get bikhair’s point on most muslims thinking jihad = terrorism…

  98. sonia — on 25th October, 2007 at 11:04 am  

    why dont we – if we really want to answer this question – and tying it to ‘ideology’ is interesting, because its about the way a person thinks/believes etc. – see what the reformed HuTs etc. have to say about it. the ex-jihadis should have some ideas about this.

  99. Rumbold — on 25th October, 2007 at 3:14 pm  

    Refresh:

    “Actually we are running off-topic. Forgot we are not alone.”

    We are never alone. Sorry about the delay in replying- I have to agree with Morgoth’s comments on oil anyway.

    Sofia:

    “rumbold…I don’t use capitals all the time as I can’t be arsed…not because I don’t know a sentence begins with one..:)”

    I know- I was just trying to wind you up.

  100. Chris Stiles — on 25th October, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

    America doesn’t get, and never did get, oil from Iraq. America gets it oil from…Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigela and Venezuela mainly. It only imports a minority of oil from the Middle East.

    Oil is one of the ultimate fungible commodities – the US buys oil in a global market – even if the US never bought oil from CountryX, the production of CountryX still has an impact on the global price. Saudi Arabia – incidentally – is also part of the Middle East.

    Iraqi oil did go to the US – in fact, in the run up to the war imports of Iraqi oil were actually increased:

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,,882517,00.html

  101. Morgoth — on 25th October, 2007 at 3:46 pm  

    Or rather, some were temporarily diverted. And yes, Saudi Oil only accounts for a minority of US imports, as I said.

    What however, is disgusting, about the whole oil-politics thing is the way France and Russia (who don’t forget, supplied most of Saddam’s weaponry – the Osirak reactor was jokingly known as the “O-Chirac” in diplomatic circles) were content to allow Saddam to stay in charge to maintain their own oil security.

    How come we don’t hear about that from the usual suspects?

  102. Rumbold — on 25th October, 2007 at 3:54 pm  

    Morgoth:

    “What however, is disgusting, about the whole oil-politics thing is the way France and Russia (who don’t forget, supplied most of Saddam’s weaponry – the Osirak reactor was jokingly known as the “O-Chirac” in diplomatic circles) were content to allow Saddam to stay in charge to maintain their own oil security.”

    Exactly- people will say that most of Saddam’s weaponary came from the UK and US. If you produce statistics showing this to be false, they either ignore you or mutter something else.

  103. Sofia — on 25th October, 2007 at 3:57 pm  
  104. Rumbold — on 25th October, 2007 at 4:00 pm  

    Sofia, that was five years ago but I take your point. Britain is a major arms exporter, it was just annoying when we were being blmaed for equipping Saddam when it was mainly the French and Russians’ fault.

  105. Sofia — on 25th October, 2007 at 4:07 pm  

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199495/cmhansrd/1995-06-13/Debate-1.html

    and our apparent incompetence…i wonder whether this still carries on..doh??

  106. Chris Stiles — on 25th October, 2007 at 4:08 pm  

    Or rather, some were temporarily diverted. And yes, Saudi Oil only accounts for a minority of US imports, as I said.

    and if Saudi Oil suddenly vanished, the price of oil everywhere would go up. This is a specious argument.

  107. Sofia — on 25th October, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/bbc_parliament/3631539.stm

    we don’t get our hands dirty because we just wear gloves.

  108. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 26th October, 2007 at 1:32 am  

    Sofia,

    My bad. I meant to say for most Muslims jihad doesnt = Jihad. Unfortunately there arent enough keys on my computer to represent all of my ideas.

  109. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 26th October, 2007 at 1:35 am  

    Morgoth,

    What you were describing isnt revenge. Taking someones life is the ultimate punishment. After that, their debt is more or less paid until the hereafter. To subject a corpse to what you consider religious fears is both stupid, and vengeful. Unreasonably so.

  110. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 26th October, 2007 at 1:37 am  

    Sofia,

    Seriously I am having an emaciated brain night tonight. For most Muslims Jihad doesnt equal terrorism.

  111. Sofia — on 26th October, 2007 at 9:45 am  

    Bikhair thank you for the clarification…yes people including some muslims mis-represent jihad and then use it as an excuse for their violent interpretations of Islamic texts…

  112. Morgoth — on 26th October, 2007 at 10:47 am  

    and if Saudi Oil suddenly vanished, the price of oil everywhere would go up. This is a specious argument.

    No, its not. And its in the same category as Rumbold’s point on arming Iraq. In the actualite, the US and the UK supplied something like ONE PERCENT of Iraq’s weaponry (one percent too much, I’m sure you agree). Yet we witness ranting STWC fools on Question Time and in the Independent and Guardian still insisting that the West exclusively or wholly armed Saddam. Same with the Oil Supply – the US only imports a minority of oil from the Middle East – yet again, the same suspects would have us believe that the US is heavily dependent on Middle-Eastern oil. And when you confront them with the facts, they just ignore them and continue on pumping out the same falsehoods. Facts don’t just disappear because they prove the US/UK are right in a particular matter, y’know. Yes, there were lies told during the build up to the Iraq war. They were told by the red-brown alliance who were claiming that Saddam wasn’t a threat, or who suddenly conjured up a convenient Westphalian fetish, or who were claiming that because the West made the mistake of supporting Saddam to a small degree in the past, that somehow barred us from making up for our mistakes now by getting rid of him and his terrible regime. Yeah, in a perfect world, it would have perhaps been the Nelson Mandela International Peace Brigades that would have gotten rid of Saddam, but it isn’t, and we had the US Marine Corps instead, who if there had been any justice in the world, should have been awared the Nobel Peace Prize instead of that blustering fool Al Gore.

    Getting back on off-topic…Yes, if Saudi oil suddenly vanished, the price of oil everywhere would go up. The same would happen if Canadian oil vanished. Or Mexican oil vanished. Or Venezuelan oil vanished. So what?

  113. Morgoth — on 26th October, 2007 at 10:49 am  

    Bighair, it’s nothing to do with revenge on a corpse, rather it is a matter of using their own religious beliefs against them.

  114. douglas clark — on 26th October, 2007 at 11:16 am  

    Morgoth,

    The US has had a policy of intervention in the Persian Gulf region since way back. And it does seem to be, at least in part, oil related. It was known as the Carter Doctrine:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter_Doctrine

    It is also interesting, to say the least, that the Coalition Provisional Authority under Paul Bremner almost immediately recinded the previous administrations decision to trade oil in Euros rather than dollars.

  115. sonia — on 26th October, 2007 at 11:39 am  

    very good point douglas

  116. Morgoth — on 26th October, 2007 at 11:55 am  

    This would be the same Carter and the same Brzezinski who anti-war types are constantly lauding, no?

    You do know it was official US Policy to introduce a democratic regime in Iraq? (the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, signed by Clinton)

  117. douglas clark — on 26th October, 2007 at 12:38 pm  

    Morgoth,

    Yes, it would indeed be the same President Carter, plus ca change, etc.

    Anyway, if you are going to be completely satirical,

    Yeah, in a perfect world, it would have perhaps been the Nelson Mandela International Peace Brigades that would have gotten rid of Saddam, but it isn’t, and we had the US Marine Corps instead, who if there had been any justice in the world, should have been awared the Nobel Peace Prize instead of that blustering fool Al Gore.

    it helps if the Nobel Peace Prize Committee had not already made complete idiots of themselves back in 1973:

    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1973/index.html

    I’d hope even you’d agree that oor Al is a little more worthy than the Cambodian bomber?

  118. Refresh — on 26th October, 2007 at 1:53 pm  

    “You do know it was official US Policy to introduce a democratic regime in Iraq? (the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, signed by Clinton)” pushed along by the neo-cons

    aka ‘Maniacs running round with razors’

  119. Refresh — on 26th October, 2007 at 2:06 pm  

    ‘Maniacs running round with razors’

    The Zeitgeist

  120. Chris Stiles — on 26th October, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

    America doesn’t get, and never did get, oil from Iraq.

    Which turned out to be factually incorrect on examination – and the main reason I jumped in, but let us continue.

    Getting back on off-topic…Yes, if Saudi oil suddenly vanished, the price of oil everywhere would go up. The same would happen if Canadian oil vanished. Or Mexican oil vanished. Or Venezuelan oil vanished. So what?

    Proportionately far less, factoring local consumption about 1.5% of world oil is produced in Canada, the Saudi’s produce around 10% of the exportable oil in the world. As a major oil importing nation, the US is keen to stabilise – as far as possible – oil prices. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they want oil prices at rock bottom levels either – some of those Canadian fields only become profitable around the 30-40 dollars zone.

    I don’t think the answers to loony left wing arguments are irrational arguments of a different stripe. I think the US has a self evident interest in stabilising those parts of the world which produce the majority of the oil. The answer to the ‘everything is about oil’ brigade is not to insist that oil was never a factor.

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