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  • Technorati: graph / links

    The Guardian’s own Melanie Phillips


    by Rumbold
    19th March, 2009 at 4:51 pm    

    On Pickled Politics we like to highlight the writings of people like Melanie Phillips and Peter Hitchens, for obvious reasons. But it is also important to remember that they have equals throughout the journalistic world, one of whom is The Guardian’s Seamus Milne. In his latest article, Mr Milne deplores the suicide bombings taking place in Iraq, and then goes onto praise the very people who ordered them. Furthermore, Mr. Milne revealed that far from trying to oppose sectarian violence, the US actually set out to cause it. He doesn’t really explain why, but I can only assume that he is angling for a job at the Daily Mail, and so wants to prove that he can write articles without any facts to complicate matters.


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    Filed in: 'Honour'-based violence,Middle East,Terrorism






    52 Comments below   |  

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    1. pickles

      New blog post: The Guardian’s own Melanie Phillips http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/3791




    1. Leon — on 19th March, 2009 at 4:55 pm  

      I’m not sure he is the Guardian’s own MP, he’s confused where as she is quite blatantly insane.

    2. munir — on 19th March, 2009 at 4:55 pm  

      Are they really the same?
      Milne attacks the US army -the biggest superpower in human history

      Phillips/Hitchens etc attack and demonise the Muslim community in the UK- a powerless minority

    3. Rumbold — on 19th March, 2009 at 4:56 pm  

      Leon and Munir:

      Their targets are not the same, but their MO is; baseless assertions masquerading as fact.

    4. munir — on 19th March, 2009 at 4:57 pm  

      “Furthermore, Mr. Milne revealed that far from trying to oppose sectarian violence, the US actually set out to cause it”

      Yeah no colonial power would try a policy of divide and rule. Imagine even thinking such a thing Rumbold!

    5. munir — on 19th March, 2009 at 4:58 pm  

      ” baseless assertions masquerading as fact.”

      yeah because the CIA are actually a bunch of boy scouts who just want to help people

    6. Rumbold — on 19th March, 2009 at 5:01 pm  

      Munir:

      Looking at it logically, what would be the purpose of such a policy? Sectarian divides meant that the US had to spend more and more money and send more and more troops into Iraq. But if sectarian violence had really been their intention, then why make peace with some of the Sunni tribes and work to reduce sectarian violence? Unless the US authorities are so twisted and cunning that they pursue two utterly contradictory policies at the same time as part of a supersinister goal (which is?).

    7. fug — on 19th March, 2009 at 5:48 pm  

      put him in pickled guantanamo then

    8. susie — on 19th March, 2009 at 5:59 pm  

      Certainly some Israelis (and maybe certain of their neocon supporters) have long favoured sectarian strife in the Middle East, and the creation of sectarian “statelets”, as this creates chaos and distraction away from Israel, and reinforces Israel’s position as a sectarian state in the Middle East. One reason why Israel supported the Maronites in the Lebanese civil war. What Seamus Milne says about the US instituting sectarianism from the beginning is true, and it is also true that it later tried to portray armed sects off against one another. Is there not some mischievous misreading of the original article going on here?

    9. MaidMarian — on 19th March, 2009 at 6:31 pm  

      Rumbold (3) - Yes, that is about right. Whatever their targets, Milne and Phillips are two cheeks of the same arse.

      Both are manifestations of a dreadful type of faux- journalism that I would suggest has exploded since the talkboards really took off.

      It’s a brand of journalism that just doesn’t care - the worst kind of wet lettuce thought. Belief in something - anything - right up to the point that a shrill rant can be written in the opposite direction. Any belief these people hold is immediately sacrificed at the altar of waving their willy at our government, society and alliances.

      Personally, I would argue that this is not journalism. It’s more an unhealthy, self-indulgent obsession with finding any stalking horse to use to bash at government. It’s how (for example) Milne can write as if Vladimir Putin is the second coming despite modern Russia’s hyper-aggressive foreign policy.

      Milne and Phillips both demand tough leadership from government, but will short-sightedly drop to their knees and worship at any tyrant/head case etc that allows them to write shrill anti-government polemic.

      I’m sure they both feel good for getting it all off their chests, but it would be nice if just once the thought about how they are dragging good newspapers into the gutter. All things must somehow be a triumph or defeat for government - no middle ground or shades of grey.

      Journalism should be about more than shrill, albeit that shrill sells. Hate filled talkboards are not the worst thing about how journalism has adapted to the internet age - it’s that editors can’t say no the likes of Milne and Phillips any more.

      I just want disinterested presentation of news back - with or without a ‘submit comment’ screen at the bottom.

    10. Don — on 19th March, 2009 at 6:38 pm  

      Why do I get the impression that ‘susie’ is not actually called susie?

    11. Ros — on 19th March, 2009 at 7:07 pm  

      #8 Well said, Susie: “Certainly some Israelis have long favoured sectarian strife in the Middle East, and the creation of sectarian “statelets”, as this creates chaos and distraction away from Israel.

      And in this connection, recall the disruptive power of the Israel lobby in the US. Charles Freeman, a vigorous critic of US-Israel relations, had been selected to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). But the lobby smeared him so brutally that he withdrew. But not before revealing the antics of the Israel lobby:
      “The tactics of the Israel lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth,” wrote Freeman. “The aim of this lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views.”

    12. soru — on 19th March, 2009 at 7:45 pm  

      Is that Ros from the BBC’s Spooks? Or some other fictional character?

    13. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2009 at 8:03 pm  

      Rumbold,

      I actually think that the idiots in the White House really believed that when they had invaded, and toppled a statue, and some guy hit it with his sandal…

      I really do believe they thought they had won.

      Which explains George W in military flight gear on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

      There is a pretty massive ouvré of neo-con bullshit about bringing democracy to the Middle East, usually through the Marines. If you like, I’ll try to recall their most persuasive idiot.

      It’s what you get when a land divided by oceanic miles from it’s nearest enemy freaks out. They have a huge concept of attrition, and, frankly, zero concept of responsibility in victory.

      It is that, the failure to secure the peace, that damns them to hell in my eyes.

      Just in case munir is reading, I’d have thought a million dead and four million displaced was too high a price to pay for George W Bush to pay of his fathers’ failues. As the Iraq War had nothing whatsoever to do with the ‘War on Terror’.

      Though I should have known better. We buggered up ‘victory’ in Afghanistan first.

      Has this anything to do with your original post? Only oblquely, in the sense that Mr Milne would appear to be yet another apologist for stupidity.

    14. dave bones — on 19th March, 2009 at 8:17 pm  

      Maid Marian-two cheeks of the same arse

      Fantastic. I’m glad I got out of bed today.

      Seriously tho I totally agree with what you are saying. Big up yourself. Where are these hate filled talk boards? I totally missed out on all that. Everyone is at media war with each other. This is great.

    15. Rumbold — on 19th March, 2009 at 8:41 pm  

      MaidMarian:

      I don’t know. There is a difference between a healthy distrust of government and the sort of nihilism that people like Milne and Phillips go in for.

      Douglas:

      As you say, the failing was in the planning and execution of the thing. I supported the war because of the potential humanitarian benefits, but I didn’t imagine the incompetence that they could sink to, nor the vicousness of the terrorists and Shia death squads.

    16. Refresh — on 19th March, 2009 at 8:47 pm  

      Rumbold,

      Milne’s contention is that these are wars of agression, and they are more of what has gone before. Only the names and faces at the end of the gun have changed. And there are less people to mourn them.

      Philip’s just wants us to hate those names and faces with all the gusto you can muster, such that they no longer represent any species you would recognise. Her aim is to spread hatred far and wide so Israel can be all it dreams it should be.

    17. Rumbold — on 19th March, 2009 at 8:52 pm  

      Refresh:

      But where is Milne’s evidence for his claims in his article?

    18. Leon — on 19th March, 2009 at 8:53 pm  

      I supported the war because of the potential humanitarian benefits

      And they were..?

    19. Rumbold — on 19th March, 2009 at 8:58 pm  

      Potential ones?

      Removal of a brutal dictator and the attendent benefits, and democracy.

    20. The Common Humanist — on 19th March, 2009 at 9:06 pm  

      Agreed Rumbold. He is the Lefts MAd Mel.

      Good piece.

      Milne is utterly blind to the violence and murder of the Sunni and Shia Groups, he is no different to the apologists for IDF violence you find on nasty blogs such as Powerline etc.

      He is an embarrassment and a disgrace to the Guardian and the Left.

    21. The Common Humanist — on 19th March, 2009 at 9:12 pm  

      “And they were..?”

      Here we go….Iraq was just like Sweden really but with more sweet mint tea…..

      During 2001 I spent alot of time with Iraqi refugees. Hard to say ‘Not in my name’ and march with the sixth formers when you have talked to a man who watched his wife be raped (both entrances) with electric soldering irons.

      I am in the enviable/awful position of disliking the ‘Stop the War’ types because it meant crimes like that would continue if they got there way and the NEoCons for bringing post war chaos and crimes of equal measure. The difference being, and this is the only solace, that the political process coming out of the chaos would, hopefully, mean a better where such thimgs could not happen.

      I await your ad hominen attacks.

    22. Refresh — on 19th March, 2009 at 9:15 pm  

      Sorry Rumbold, I hadn’t looked. I was making a general point.

    23. Refresh — on 19th March, 2009 at 9:18 pm  

      Ros, thanks for bringing the point made by Charles Freeman to the fore.

      Even if you are from Spooks.

    24. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2009 at 9:48 pm  

      Rumbold,

      You said:

      As you say, the failing was in the planning and execution of the thing.

      Well, if you took that from what I said, fair enough.

      But it was not what I meant.

      I think the whole caboodle should have been knocked on the head at the planning stage. We, the Western World, should have seen the need to sort out Afghanistan in a positive and constructive way, before doing anything else.. Perhaps that would have been positive, shown that we meant what we said. Instead we followed the cheer leaders for victory into a mire. Those are the wrong consequences we live with, right now.

      That is what I meant.

    25. Refresh — on 19th March, 2009 at 9:52 pm  

      Rumbold, just read Milne’s article. It seems a pretty sober assessment, I cannot for a moment see the comparison you make with Melanie Philips.

      Philips always appeals to base instincts- fear and hatred.

      Milne presents a viewpoint no one can be surprised by, its one of self-determination and the fundamental point that aggression should never be rewarded.

    26. Refresh — on 19th March, 2009 at 9:57 pm  

      TCH

      ‘I await your ad hominen attacks.’

      Not if you have an honestly held belief, and are open to alternative interpretations.

    27. Refresh — on 19th March, 2009 at 10:04 pm  

      ‘Furthermore, Mr. Milne revealed that far from trying to oppose sectarian violence, the US actually set out to cause it.’

      I believe that. Note also Negroponte’s record and that of the death squads in Honduras. [And in another arena the support given to Khmer Rouge even after John Pilger revealed the horrors perpetrated in Cambodia].

      ‘I supported the war because of the potential humanitarian benefits, but I didn’t imagine the incompetence that they could sink to…’

      We didn’t and don’t trust them on humanitarian grounds. Its not appropriate to presume goodwill simply because they were ‘our’ leaders, in fact ‘our’ leaders are never to be trusted. They need to be kept on a short leash, and everything they say needs to be tested against facts on the ground.

    28. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2009 at 10:08 pm  

      TCH,

      You’ll not get an ad hominem from me, but you will get questions.

      Do you think Gulf War 2 met your apparently humanitarian objectives? Do you think that a million dead and four million displaced is the way to go?

      Do you not think that there were options to outright war?

      I think there were, but I’m in a minority here. I think that the Iraq conflict was a conflict of choice, meaning that we could have decided when to fight it or not to fight it at all. The catalyst was a Bush family obsession, I think.

    29. The Common Humanist — on 19th March, 2009 at 10:20 pm  

      “are open to alternative interpretations”

      I am and despite my emotional complications (see above) in the broader strategic sense walking away from Afghanistan in 2002, which has lead directly to the situation we face in Pakistan now, could potentially be a MUCH MUCH bigger problem for the Middle East and the Wider World then the oppression wrecked on Iraq by the Ba’ath.

      Ragaeh Omahs piece in the Telegraph is another sobering segment of news from Pakistan BTW - following on from Dispatchs on Monday. Worrying stuff.

    30. Refresh — on 19th March, 2009 at 10:49 pm  

      Agree with your #29.

      As I said in #27, don’t trust them.

      It wasn’t the walking away, it was grasping a ‘golden opportunity’ of the twin towers to take control of the central Asian oil and gas fields atop Iraqi oil with Iran to follow.

      If they had focussed on the crime and not their own greed and world domination, we’d all be getting on with our lives.

    31. Chris Baldwin — on 20th March, 2009 at 12:16 am  

      No way. Seumas Milne is sane a good 50% of the time, whereas Melanie Phillips is sane 0% of the time.

    32. Amrit — on 20th March, 2009 at 12:52 am  

      I just want disinterested presentation of news back - with or without a ’submit comment’ screen at the bottom.

      MaidMarian for the win, please. Now!

      Me too! I don’t care how elitist it sounds, I’m fuckin’ sick-to of the ‘user-generated content’ culture. One thing I consistently fail to grasp is this: in an age when we have the Internet, why do people want to avoid thinking and reflection so desperately?

      I mean, it’s actually quite impressive in a terrifying way, when you consider it in terms of climate change (not to go too off-topic). Rather than engage with the peer-reviewed science out there, you get loons posting comments linking to their own made-up (and frequently discredited) bull.

      I’m starting to wonder if many people can’t read properly, or are incapable of processing information properly. No-one can know everything, but if you have time to post on comment boards, surely you have time to actually READ ABOUT SHIT?!

      Seumas Milne: ‘wafer of credibility’?! That’s WONDERFUL. I’m going to start using that.

      My reaction to the charming Abu Yahya was summed up by a commenter on there:

      DavidPSummers

      19 Mar 09, 1:10am

      ‘The “resistance Emir” blames everyone for the deaths in Iraq except his own roadside bombs. It is a shame that Mr. Milne shows so little interest in challenging this man, but why bother when you can collaborate in trying to transfer his responsibility to your ideological target.’

    33. Verbal_Reciprocity — on 20th March, 2009 at 12:57 am  

      @ Refresh

      “It wasn’t the walking away, it was grasping a ‘golden opportunity’ of the twin towers to take control of the central Asian oil and gas fields atop Iraqi oil with Iran to follow.

      If they had focussed on the crime and not their own greed and world domination, we’d all be getting on with our lives. ”

      Quite honestly I doubt any of this about oil, while it may be a favorite among certain leftists it really does not stand up to reason. Oil is oil, whether it is pumped from Texas or Iran it is pumped for self-interest and enters the global market hostage to no one. Lets say the US invaded Iran and took over its oilfields, would that really increase the amount of oil available to the US? I doubt that, it just would end up in the world supply chain.

      As for world domination, its is somewhat true in Iraq. Bush et. al. had a vision for spreading democracy through out the Arab world and Iraq where Iraq would be the shining beacon on the hill for the rest. Quite religious in a secular kind of way.

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/video/flv/generic.html?s=frol02p416&continuous=1

      Afghanistan is a far different scenario. Merely describing it as a “crime” is insufficient since its not simply some guy murdering another. It was organized attack by a group who is fully committed to launching further attacks to achieve their goals. The threat does not abate simply because you put a few people on trial.

    34. Roger — on 20th March, 2009 at 1:25 am  

      “We, the Western World, should have seen the need to sort out Afghanistan in a positive and constructive way, before doing anything else.. ”

      The problem is, Mr Clark, that our, the Western World’s, definition of sorting out Afghanistan- or iraq, or most countries- in a positive and constructive way is rather different from the inhabitants’ definition of sorting them out in a positive and constructive way. In Afghanistan and Iraq it meant different things according to which tribe/ethnic group/religious group people belonged to an whether they thought more important- vengeance, justice, peace, equality…Indeed, the difference between our, the Western World’s definition of a positive and constructive society and other peoples’ is worth considering before we provide them with one by force of arms.

      The post-WWII settlements in Germany and Japan are thought of as ideal examples of sorting out countries in a positive and constructive way. However, to persuade the inhabitants of those countries to accept being sorted out in a positive and constructive way it took several million dead. It looks as if it is only after a large number of people have been killed- and it doesn’t much matter who does the killing- that native populations will accept external definitions of a positive and constructive way and it’s even worth when there are different groups with competing interests subsumed in one state. In Iraq, for example, the psychology of the Sunnis was that they mattered more as they were the natural elite, of the Shias, that they were the majority, of the Kurds, that they were a separate, persecuted people, of other groups that they wanted to survive. Throw in the religious aspects of those self-definitions too and the fact that Iraq had never been ruled except by dictators…

    35. fug — on 20th March, 2009 at 2:04 am  

      potential humanitarian benefits? (end of dictatorship and democracy)

      very very deluded imperial aspirations indeed. whitethink of the most base kind.

      Western upside-downing of iraq has more to do with oil greed, israeli whispers, iraq’s autonomous use of oil wealth and lack of bloodflow to the american brain.

    36. douglas clark — on 20th March, 2009 at 4:28 am  

      Oh shit, I agree with fug @ 35.

      Well, sort of.

      I don’t think that it was all about oil exactly, but I do think that that became a theme. The provisional authority was quick to defend oil fields and not so quick to protect people, which was their legal obligation. What do you expect from Texans? ‘Dallas’ as foreign policy?

      —————————————-

      Fug, please stop assuming a ‘whitethink’ when no such thing exists. It just makes you look stupid. Rumbold and I disagree all the time but I couldn’t care less what colour his skin is, it’s what goes on in his head that worries the hell out of me :-)

      I’ve just, sort of, agreed with you, see above the line. Does that mean I ‘brownthink’ or summat? Or does it mean, as I hope it does, that I am not obliged to fulfill stereotypes?

      Dunno mate, you tell me.

    37. Niels C — on 20th March, 2009 at 8:08 am  

      About Milne’s sober assesment. In summer 2007 he wrote:
      “In Iraq, suicide attacks and sectarian killings grab the world’s attention. But it is the guerrilla war being waged by the Iraqi resistance that is having such a devastating effect on US and British forces. And now these insurgent groups want to create a united front - and a political platform. Seumas Milne talks to some of their leaders in Damascus”.
      The quote above is from the Guardian july 2007
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jul/19/iraq.features11
      Funny, then that the sunni groups at the same time decided that sectarian violence wasn’t the way forward.
      If you look at the article yesterday in Guardian, then it’s based on a talk with someone, but who is the Iman, which groups does he represent, whats their intentions. It should be a journalist task to explain and analyze developments. But not Milne, he writes what he wish for.
      Possibly the Iman is a member of the sunni salafist ‘Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq’ we don’t know, Milne should tell us.

    38. douglas clark — on 20th March, 2009 at 8:42 am  

      Roger @ 34,

      The problem Roger - and I answer to all sorts of diminutives like Dougie and the like, there is no need for the Mr. - with Afghanistan was that it was harbouring people who had arranged 9/11. If you don’t think that needed sorted out then you are being completely naive. It was unfortunately inevitable when the regieme there refused to give up OBL to the US. Is it that hard to remember just how united the world was back then?

      Though, with that off my chest, I do not think the West did sort it out. They just sort of meddled and muddled. Which is my beef with our politicos, always has been. Do what is necessary to placate the media and then bugger off. It seems to me to be a recurring theme with governments, don’t you think? A failure to deliver a proper, lasting, solution. They are gad flies, perhaps.

      Don’t disagree particularily with your analysis on Iraq, but I was writing specifically on why we shouldn’t have gone there unless and until we’d fixed the first problem, which was and is Afghanistan. Perhaps if we’d learned (in advance) how to deal with the equally fractured culture there, we’d have been less willing to invade Iraq for no good reason whatsoever.

    39. fug — on 20th March, 2009 at 9:23 am  

      whitethink is a reality and black, brown, yellow, grey(jewish) and white people alike are advised to pull themselves out of its wrong recesses.

      in a way i think its something peculiar to anglo saxon cultures, an auto imperial posture. others are in a better position elaborate. but it does exist, and its well annoying, especially when embedded in the brown captive mind.

      Attacking afghanistan was wrong also btw. A lot of whitethink tells itself that it is the solution to the worlds ills and women must be liberated from them and that they can use people to fight their poxy proxy battles.

    40. Rumbold — on 20th March, 2009 at 9:27 am  

      Refresh:

      Come on. You can’t really believe what Milne says. Apparently the US is now planning to attack/invade Iran, and has been for some time. This, to me, sounds plausible. But if this is the case, then why, as Milne claimed, would the US and Iran have cooperated in backing Shia death squads? And attacking foreign troops is one thing (even though the democratic Iraqi government wants them there), but how does setting out to murder dozens of Iraqi civilians each day constitute justifed ‘resistance’? For example, if French troops occupied Britain, would I be justified in blowing up dozens of British civilians as an act of resistance?

      Douglas:

      You have to remember that Fug is a racist. You can tell by the fact he uses the colour of someone’s skin repeatedly as an insult. Therefore, he has little to add to debates but bile.

    41. fug — on 20th March, 2009 at 10:04 am  

      and your contrived equation of philips and milne is an adition? you wish.

      you have a powerblind idea of racism.

    42. platinum786 — on 20th March, 2009 at 10:05 am  

      It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch of the imagination to suggest that certain elements surrounding the US government, think tanks etc, are interested in a secatarian divided Middle east.

      Take a look at this map which has been folating around.
      http://pakalert.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/afjpeters_map_after.jpg

      The creators will argue it’s a map of a more stable middle east, residents of those countries would argue it’s a map of the re-conquered “greater middle east”. You can cearly see the secatarian lines there.

      So Neocons would suggest that with a middle east broken as such Israel is safer, as the Muslims are busy fighting themselves, people would argue the war in Afghanistan and Iraq is a step towards that.

      Whether the US government has that plan in mind or not, i don’t know, but you can understand why people might think that is the case. Look at Iraq and Afghanistan. They took out governments run by the thenic majorities(or in Iraq’s case you could argue the strongest party, the baathists) and replaced with them weaker governments, made from minority groups. It could just be that those are the people they found to side with, but on the other hand some could argue it’s to cause civil war.

      Is it too far fetched to see Iraq break into three states due to this. Had major sunni tribes and some baathists been involved in some parts of government, do you not think the army and police and state would be stronger? Rather we saw Shia death squads. The execution of Saddam Hussain on Eid angered even a kurdish fella i know who’s father was harmed by Saddam.
      They say it as an insult to the sunni’s. Kurds are also sunni btw.

      Is it too far fetched to see Pakistan potentially falling into civil war due to talibanization?

      suddenly that map you just dismissed looks a lot more possible right?

    43. Leon — on 20th March, 2009 at 10:20 am  

      Apparently the US is now planning to attack/invade Iran, and has been for some time. This, to me, sounds plausible. But if this is the case, then why, as Milne claimed, would the US and Iran have cooperated in backing Shia death squads?

      Haha, seriously you can’t see that that isn’t a contradiction when it comes to the Great Game?? :D

    44. Refresh — on 20th March, 2009 at 8:17 pm  

      Rumbold, totally with Leon on this one.

      Divide and rule, minimises your own losse - tires out the indigenous population making it more compliant, but as every other colonised people all the more resentful.

    45. Roger — on 20th March, 2009 at 8:25 pm  

      “The problem Roger … with Afghanistan was that it was harbouring people who had arranged 9/11. If you don’t think that needed sorted out then you are being completely naive.”
      The only sorting out the West could effectively do was getting rid of the Taleban and leaving the Afghans to sort themselves out after that. Yes, humanitarian aid organisations and N.G.O.s might help, but every external military intervention in Afghanistan has failed unless- like Genghis Khan’s and Alexander’s- it was a deliberate and systematic slaughter.

    46. Jai — on 22nd March, 2009 at 2:00 pm  

      but every external military intervention in Afghanistan has failed unless- like Genghis Khan’s and Alexander’s- it was a deliberate and systematic slaughter.

      Not quite. A certain early-19th century Indian general called Hari Singh Nalwa would disagree…..but that’s a whole different story.

      However, I think that the following…..

      The only sorting out the West could effectively do was getting rid of the Taleban and leaving the Afghans to sort themselves out after that.

      …..would definitely have been the best solution. The alternative would have been the morally far-more-dubious reaction of going for an explicitly imperialist “conquer & annex” approach.

      The problem Roger … with Afghanistan was that it was harbouring people who had arranged 9/11.

      Douglas is spot-on here. Something certain belligerent parties (I don’t mean you personally, Roger) conveniently choose to ignore is the fact that the invasion of Afghanistan was a direct response to 9/11; Al Qaeda, having cynically exploited the traditional cultural principle prevalent amongst some groups in Afghanistan of giving shelter & protection to those who ask for it (and subsequently not handing their “guests” over to their enemies), basically “fired first”.

      The response could have been even worse, considering that it was a “first strike” on deliberately-chosen, mostly civilian targets in a nuclear-armed country. I’ve wondered if under different circumstances (particularly if the prevailing political & military norms in the US were the same as they were towards the end of WW2) they would have actually nuked Afghanistan in retaliation.

      I expect some other modern-day nations certainly would have (China possibly being the most obvious example), as would several historical “real” imperial powers if they’d possessed that kind of weaponry at the time.

    47. Jai — on 22nd March, 2009 at 2:09 pm  

      mostly civilian targets

      Meaning that most of the targets were civilian sites, not that the vast majority of people in every single one of the buildings concerned were civilians. I’m aware that the Pentagon (or its occupants) wouldn’t be classified as “civilian”.

      Some clarification, before anyone jumps in to correct me.

    48. fug — on 22nd March, 2009 at 2:15 pm  

      it was a segment of afghanistan. mind your lun.

    49. Jai — on 22nd March, 2009 at 3:14 pm  

      One piece of belated friendly advice, Fug. There’s no point in writing comments on an internet talk-board if the people reading them can’t understand what you’re saying or can’t tell specifically what you’re responding to. It kills the whole concept of effectively using language as a medium to convey one’s own thoughts & opinions to other parties, which is the whole point of communication between people in the first place.

      Which means, in a nutshell, less ‘creative word customisation’ and, simultaneously, greater clarity regarding specifically what part of other commenters’ previous posts you’re referring to, please mate ;)

    50. Rumbold — on 22nd March, 2009 at 3:33 pm  

      Sound advice Jai.

    51. Roger — on 22nd March, 2009 at 10:39 pm  

      Admirable and heroic chap though Hari Singh Nalwa undoubtedly was, Jai, i don’t think his example disproves my point that every external military intervention in Afghanistan has failed unless- like Genghis Khan’s and Alexander’s- it was a deliberate and systematic slaughter. He responded effectively to an Afghan invasion and withdrew. Possibly the British long-term rsponse- gradual expansion and increase in control of border areas would have succeeded if Britain had controlled those areas for a few hundred more years, but we’ll never know. The consequences in and to Pakistan since the British left have been disastrous, though.

      “The response could have been even worse”
      It’s an interseting moral question- and I’m not joking here- the rsponse of the U.S.A. to the W.T.C. attacks and of Israel in Gaza may have been disproportionate to the actual harm done to them but were very moderate compared to the harm they could have done in retaliation. By which standard should we judge their deeds? Incidentally, were the Taleban ever presented with effective evidence for al-Qaeda’s involvement in those attacks and given the chance to expel or try the alleged perpetrators before the invasion began?

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