COLUMN ARTLESS

Latest column. Alas, no noir art, but the print edition has a nice Pasha Bulker photograph.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/29/2007 at 03:09 PM
    1. “the online edition has a nice Pasha Bulker photograph”

      Not anymore, Tim.  Still, nice column.  I love your use of “inactivist” – that’s gonna leave several marks!  ;-p

      Posted by Barbara Skolaut on 2007 06 29 at 03:38 PM • permalink

 

    1. I’m looking for a wet dog to throw at an inactivist.

      Posted by M Box on 2007 06 29 at 03:40 PM • permalink

 

    1. Wet dogs and lefties; evocative.

      Posted by JAFA on 2007 06 29 at 03:53 PM • permalink

 

    1. Good take on the Left, Tim.

      Ah, Chemical Ali! I’d gladly pull the lever on the gallows for that one, myself, and play “Onward Christian Soldiers” on my harmonica while he danced the devil’s tattoo in the air.

      Hey, Media Watch! Are you, y’know . . . watching?

      Posted by paco on 2007 06 29 at 04:02 PM • permalink

 

    1. Looks like Media Watch are busy  paco.

      Posted by M Box on 2007 06 29 at 04:11 PM • permalink

 

    1. One of your best Tim – most enjoyable!

      Posted by PeterTB on 2007 06 29 at 04:11 PM • permalink

 

    1. #5: Ah, examining their own consciences, are they? Well, as long as they’re engaged in something worthwhile . . .

      Posted by paco on 2007 06 29 at 04:14 PM • permalink

 

    1. Art Vandelay is dead? Oh, sorry. Wrong Seinfeld-related thread.

      Posted by andycanuck on 2007 06 29 at 04:51 PM • permalink

 

    1. Tim, letting SMH’s Alan Ramsey break into your column with that divisive comment must have Media Watch in a frenzy.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 06 29 at 04:55 PM • permalink

 

    1. No wonder the wankers hate you. Brilliant.

      Posted by Latino on 2007 06 29 at 06:00 PM • permalink

 

    1. passive bulkers

      heh

      Posted by paulris on 2007 06 29 at 06:13 PM • permalink

 

    1. Chemical Ali, murderer of thousands of Kurds, is the latest to buy a one-way rope ticket to the hereafter.

      Should’ve called it a hemp ticket.  The collective teeth-gnashing would be audible on Mars.

      Posted by Achillea on 2007 06 29 at 06:16 PM • permalink

 

    1. Has anybody noticed that Tim is a cheeky bugger.
      The attribution of the column quoting Costa to Alan Ramsey …almost wicked…

Not for the first time I think he has heard this …. ” Timothy Blair, I had just about enough of your cheek !!! Stand in the corner !!!! ”

The last day of financial year 2006/07 has been completely ruined for Alan Ramsey thanks to one very cheeky boy…

Posted by Wacko on 2007 06 29 at 06:45 PM • permalink

 

    1. O/T – Thought-provoking op-ed in The Weekend Australian about how carbon dioxide is the the new symbolic filth.  We must be cleansed of it—

      “I was saying that unclassifiables provoke cognitive discomfort and reactions of disgust; hence negative attitudes to slime, insects and dirt in general,” she said.

      This may seem like much ado about nothing. However, the notion that purity and pollution are ritual categories, at least as much as they are matters of objective fact, is a powerful analytical tool.

      Douglas went on to consider environmental risk and threat in the context of contemporary fears over greenhouse gases, global warming and the next ice age.

      Invoking the power of magical thinking is the most persuasive explanation I’ve seen of how carbon dioxide, the stuff of which plant life is built, has come to be seen as a form of pollution. Has there been a starker modern example of secular millenarianism?

      Ritual purity, in the matter of greenhouse gases, is also primarily a matter of gestures and going through a set of forms. Recent television programs on how to minimise your family’s carbon footprint come to mind.

      Weekend Australian – Opinion

      Posted by walterplinge on 2007 06 29 at 07:02 PM • permalink

 

    1. Not much of the Lenin, Castro and Mao “let’s go and overthrow the government” sort of energy remaining in today’s left. Now it’s “let’s hold a summit on the best way to approach the possibility of overhrowing our neo-conservative oppressors. Natasha, you organise a smoking ceremony to welcome delegates, Margo, you had better ensure we do not do or say anything that might offend women, the disabled, indigenous Australians or people from non-English speaking backgrounds and Bryan, would you go on the internet and work out our carbon offsets.”

      Not surprising considering that Australia’s left consists almost entirely of the spoilt offspring of comfortable middle class families, people who have never known hardship, poverty or even manual labour.

      Posted by Contrail on 2007 06 29 at 07:22 PM • permalink

 

    1. Off topic with sincere apologies. Farfour finally gets his.

      Posted by dean martin on 2007 06 29 at 07:35 PM • permalink

 

    1. Nice smackdown, Tim.  I expect much outraged squawking among the latteleft at your bogan brutality.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 06 29 at 07:41 PM • permalink

 

    1. Mark Steyn made a similar point in various columns and his book:

      As Stephens points out, European countries now have attitudes in inverse proportion to the likelihood of their acting upon them. They’re like my hippy-dippy Vermont neighbours who drive around with “Free Tibet” bumper stickers. Every couple of years, they trade in the Volvo for a Subaru, and painstakingly paste a new “Free Tibet” sticker on the back.

      What are they doing to free Tibet? Nothing. Tibet is as unfree now as it was when they started advertising their commitment to a free Tibet. And it will be just as unfree when they buy their next car and slap on the old sticker one mo’ time. If Don Rumsfeld were to say, ‘Free Tibet’? That’s a great idea!

      The Third Infantry Division go in on Thursday’, all the ‘Free Tibet’ crowd would be driving around with ‘War is not the answer’ stickers.

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2007 06 29 at 07:52 PM • permalink

 

    1. #16: Freakin’ unbelievable.

      Posted by paco on 2007 06 29 at 08:01 PM • permalink

 

    1. Typo Tim,

      What would he have down about the Taliban?

      Posted by phil_b on 2007 06 29 at 08:03 PM • permalink

 

    1. Nice piece Tim. Skewing the Left (or rather watching them as they skewer themselves), gains added impetous from today’s Mike Carlton column in the arthritic SMH.

      All blff and bluster Carlton harumphs and snorts his way through a dreary recital of what he reckons is wrong with Howard’s Saving The Aborigigal Children Plan.

      It basically boiks down to this. This Plan would be a grand idea if only Howard was not it’s sponsor.

      Because it’s Howard’s plan and because it shows up the Left (including Carlton and his ilk), as a bunch of do-nothing, know-nothing inactivists, Carlton, by sheer reflex action claims it’s wrong (a blunder), overboard, and over the top.

      Let Mike, in his whingeing, whining way, have the last word:

      “With goodwill and the involvement of Aboriginal communities, it might yet be possible to rescue this blunder from becoming yet another chapter in our history of failure in indigenous affairs. Howard’s election-year histrionics are not the answer”.

      (You will note of course that Mike Carlton has nothing to offer by way of a solution).

      Posted by Bonmot on 2007 06 29 at 08:11 PM • permalink

 

    1. Phillip “Hanranan” Adams now claims we’ll all be rooned ‘cos it’s too wet.

      This “as one with the agrarian proletariat” schtick is really nauseating; just as well Phatty’s got his 6 figure ABC salary to fall back on and keep him in pate du fois and Bollie, and the missus’ income from her terrible publications and wallet-lightening olive oil.

      All the cockies I know would regard the Bollinger Bolshevik as the sort of blowhard blowin who dominates the shire hall meeting, scoffs all the corn beef and relish sangers then fucks off back to the city in a Range Rover, leaving them to deal with the intrusive and expensive regulations foisted on them by Phatty and his phollowers.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 29 at 08:15 PM • permalink

 

    1. #22: From the article: “Another fight to the death occurred between rain and trees.”

      Oh, no! It’s civil war in Gaialand!!

      Posted by paco on 2007 06 29 at 08:24 PM • permalink

 

    1. The phat phag has a lot more $$$s than the pittance Auntie gives him. What interests me is why the OZ, usually a worthwhile read, publishes such crap. Maybe they’re more subtle than I think and do so just to show the punters what a vile and selfish lot the wannabee ruling class truly are.

      Cheers
      RodC

      Posted by Rod C on 2007 06 29 at 08:31 PM • permalink

 

    1. #22: Really, this Adams cove is quite a pedestrian writer.

      “We’ve never metricated in the bush.” Why? Afraid you’d scare the wombats?

      ” . . . it’s literally the last straw.” Literally, Phil?

      And so on. The only thing more desiccated than Phatty’s farm is his prose.

      Posted by paco on 2007 06 29 at 08:35 PM • permalink

 

    1. Ceretainly not Phatty- if he was any more hydrated he’d be a gazetted geographical water feature (and Morris Iemma would be putting out tenders for a combined desalination/treatment works for his arse).

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 29 at 08:42 PM • permalink

 

    1. ot – anti-communism alive & well in brno

      Posted by KK on 2007 06 29 at 08:48 PM • permalink

 

    1. Lefty Kim pitches a fit over Tim’s column in five… four… three…

      Posted by Blue State Sil on 2007 06 29 at 08:59 PM • permalink

 

    1. #28: Speaking of Kim, I’ll be looking forward to her opiniuon on this .

      Posted by paco on 2007 06 29 at 09:07 PM • permalink

 

    1. And her “opinion”, too.

      Posted by paco on 2007 06 29 at 09:08 PM • permalink

 

    1. Correction: the Pasha pic is in the print edition, not online.

      Posted by Tim B. on 2007 06 29 at 09:21 PM • permalink

 

    1. From paco’s link in #29:

      Egypt’s renowned feminist activist, Nawal el-Saadawi, 76, who has published a biography on her own experience with circumcision, wrote of Shaker: “Badour, did you have to die for some light to shine in the dark minds? Did you have to pay with your dear life a price … for doctors and clerics to learn that the right religion doesn’t cut children’s organs.”

      No doubt our little buddy Kimmie will say that Ms. el-Saadawi is too deeply influenced by her own experience to view cutting up little girls with a properly tolerant, enlightened mind.

      Posted by Blue State Sil on 2007 06 29 at 09:22 PM • permalink

 

    1. From Hamas with love.

      Posted by paco on 2007 06 29 at 09:25 PM • permalink

 

    1. Thufferin’ thuckotash!

      Incidentally, does the, er, person in the picture remind you of anyone? Looks like a slimmed-down Phil adams, to me.

      Posted by paco on 2007 06 29 at 10:09 PM • permalink

 

    1. “ . . . it’s literally the last straw.” Literally, Phil?

      He means ‘literally’ metaphorically.

      Posted by walterplinge on 2007 06 29 at 10:14 PM • permalink

 

    1. #25 If Adams hasn’t metricated in the bush it must mean he has never been there before – the man is a chronic metricator.

      PS

      Hey Blair – you won’t impress me with your well written and amusing columns.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 06 29 at 11:16 PM • permalink

 

    1. My favourite quote from Kim:

      …That scarcely suggests that liberal secularism is a necessary precondition for women’s path to equality nor that Algerian women are being trodden under the thumb of some archaic 7th century culture.

      My favourite quote from Peter FitzSimons came when a caller to his radio program suggested that with regards to a certain illiberal sheik, his sometimes translator was part of the problem:

      …but Keysar Trad isn’t an extremist.

      Posted by monaro on 2007 06 29 at 11:17 PM • permalink

 

    1. If you can’t Pasha Bulker, pasha me instead!

      p.s. Hey Blair- I’m impressed with page 54 of your book, we need to try it sometime.

      Posted by 1.618 on 2007 06 29 at 11:18 PM • permalink

 

    1. Check out the comments – some well earned praise for Alan Ramsey.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 06 29 at 11:21 PM • permalink

 

    1. By the way, isn’t it time someone liberated Phatty’s collection of Egyptian artefacts and repatriated them to their homeland and rightful owners?

      Posted by monaro on 2007 06 29 at 11:26 PM • permalink

 

    1. Actually, Joe Tripodi’s eyebrows look like the snapped tug boats.

      Posted by 1.618 on 2007 06 29 at 11:28 PM • permalink

 

    1. excellent column Tim.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2007 06 30 at 12:05 AM • permalink

 

    1. As Alan Ramsay once told me – “These columns write themselves. Now fuck off.”

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 06 30 at 12:05 AM • permalink

 

    1. #33 The story of Farfour’s demise is the funniest thing I’ve read all year.  I haven’t laughed this hard since Poochie got written out of The Itchy and Scratchy Show.  Come to think of it, why didn’t Hamas rip-off Itchy and Scratchy?  They wouldn’t have even needed to change the theme song:
      The fight, they fight, they fight and fight and fight – fightfightfight, fightfightfight…

      Posted by cuckoo on 2007 06 30 at 12:28 AM • permalink

 

    1. Art Vandelay is dead? Oh, sorry. Wrong Seinfeld-related thread.

      #8: andy, I’m still here – not dead, just pining

      😉

      Posted by Art Vandelay on 2007 06 30 at 12:55 AM • permalink

 

    1. On the subject of girl cutting, I linked here previously to a website run by Tig Tog (of Larvatus Prodeo fame) called “Finally, a feminism 101 blog”. Previously, when you performed a search for “fgm” at this site, it unsurprisingly came up with the message that there was no information.

      Now when you do the same search you get this. If you read this primer carefully, you will discover that feminists are okay with WHO Type 1 genital mutilation, which is the cutting off of part or all of the clitoris, typically performed on a girl of the age 4 to 10.

      Apologies in advance, but I think this is important – the face of a girl undergoing this operation looks like this.

      A recent WHO study found that many girls who undergo girl-cutting Type I are more likely to be susceptible to infections and death, and are more likely to have their baby die in child birth.

      When I visited the Feminism 101 site about a week ago, Tig Tog had this to say (It has since been removed – sorry no screen grab, but it gives a clue about the thought processes of Australian feminists):

      1.Type I genital cutting is often a simple nick/notch of the labia as an initiation into womanhood, or a trimming of the clitoral hood (simple clitoridectomy).
      Simple clitoridectomy actually increases sexual sensitivity, rather as penile circumcision increases sexual sensitivity is very similiar to typical male circumcision (which has its own controversies, see ballgame’s comments below). Radical clitoridectomy starts excising clitoral tissue rich in nerve ends, which is why the distinction is made. It is problematic that WHO’s definition of Type I appears to not make a distinction which is very important to some of the cultures involved.

      So if anyone was wondering why there are no loud denunciations of girl cutting by Australian feminists, its because many don’t think there is anything wrong with clitoris removal – in fact, it may increase sexual sensitivity.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 06 30 at 03:04 AM • permalink

 

    1. Type I genital cutting is often a simple nick/notch of the labia as an initiation into womanhood, or a trimming of the clitoral hood (simple clitoridectomy)

      She’s a bit of an ignoramus, isn’t she?  The “-ectomy” part of the word means “removal of,” e.g., appendicectomy.  Cutting a nick in an appendix and then leaving it in situ when it’s all swollen up, boggy and full of germs and pus would be bad.

      Posted by Janice on 2007 06 30 at 05:29 AM • permalink

 

    1. Lisa Pryor, in today’s SMH, analyses the census, which tells us what we already knew, that is, those who like to think of themselves as the most ‘right on,’ the most ‘progressive’ and morally superior to us ‘uneducated’ redneck types, live in the whitest suburbs:

      A while ago I spent some time in Greenacre. The south-western suburb near Bankstown is home to palatial homes, big cars and some of the best bread in Sydney…

      “Palatial homes and big cars.”

      It’s important to note here that although Lebanese Muslims may be over represented in unemployment figures that doesn’t mean that those who have jobs are all on minimum wage.

      …Not only do suburbs such as Annandale and Newtown have fewer migrants than the average Sydney suburb, they have fewer migrants than many genteel northern suburbs which have a reputation for being white. Annandale and Newtown have fewer migrants than Turramurra, Pymble, Castle Hill, Kellyville and Roseville. About a third of Sydney’s residents were born overseas compared with 24 per cent in Annandale and 27 per cent in Newtown. Who’s calling who bland now?

      …And what about Paddington, still riding on its reputation of being bohemian briefly a long time ago? Well, the whites moved in and they took over. In the 2021 postcode, which takes in both Paddington and Centennial Park, residents born outside Australia were most likely to come from England, followed by New Zealand, the US, South Africa and Scotland. And last time I was in Paddington, the South African accents were not coming from black people.

      Posted by monaro on 2007 06 30 at 05:31 AM • permalink

 

    1. #48, monaro,

      While we were visiting the Sunshine Coast last week we went shopping at suburban or town centres on five days out of seven.  Amost everyone I saw there was of European descent.  In fact I only saw one person who wasn’t.  He looked Chinese.

      It really surprised me.  Which reminds me of my son who, after spending three years in Canberra, visited my mother (who still lives near Greenacre) and went shopping with her at Bankstown.  He later expressed his astonishment to me at how full the place was of veiled women.

      The whitebread inner city luvvies have no idea.

      Posted by Janice on 2007 06 30 at 05:56 AM • permalink

 

    1. Lefty inactivism, good stuff. Because even they know now what lefty activism means.

      Posted by dean martin on 2007 06 30 at 06:17 AM • permalink

 

    1. …if he was any more hydrated he’d be a gazetted geographical water feature.
      We may never look upon his lake again.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2007 06 30 at 07:24 AM • permalink

 

    1. Farewell cut and paste …
      From now on it’s Ramsectomy!

      Posted by blogstrop on 2007 06 30 at 07:27 AM • permalink

 

    1. Sorry Timbo, but on the subject of the Iraq War and the reasons for invasion you talk about as much sense as Flannery on global warming.

      The invasion of Iraq was an incredible mistake, both politically and militarily. It’s one thing to invade a weak country and have the dictator executed. Its quite another to forge a new nation, especially when you had Rumsfeld intent on creating a nice big vacuum in the middle which sucked in the worst elements of Islamic fundamentalism into the void. The result is a three-way Bosnian style civil war that the might of the US is narrowly averting – for the moment – but there is a limit to the willingness of Americans to risk lives of their sons and daughters to hold this position.

      You might not like it, but the situation in Iraq today is not an improvement on Saddam’s regime. When the bullets finally stop, then Iraq faces being a shadow country dominated by one or more powerful neighbours, just like Lebanon after its catastrophic sectarian civil war.

      It’s no use saying that Iraq will be better in the long run, because that makes about as much sense as global warmers on climate model predictions. While everyone hopes that Iraq will be better in the distant future, people are dying right now who will never see that future. Sure living under Saddam’s rule was no barrel of laughs but death on the streets of Baghdad or Samarra or Sadr City or Kirkuk every single day is no improvement.

      This isn’t “inactivism” – its political reality. And political reality is that the neo-conservatives who hatched the Iraq War will have hell to pay when it falls apart again.

      If you want to be “activist” lets see the campaign for invasion of Burma to demolish the tyranny of Ne Win and the brutal military junta that enslaves the population and denies basic civil rights to its population. What? No Tim, there’s no large oilfields there. Sorry.

      Reality means that you don’t put the sons and daughters of your electorate in harm’s way without reeeeeaaaaalllllyyyyy good reason. Saddam did not pose any threat – not by 2002 – so you leave it alone and focus on the threats which are credible and immediate like Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

      Posted by John A on 2007 06 30 at 09:58 AM • permalink

 

    1. #53: Sure living under Saddam’s rule was no barrel of laughs

      If nothing else, John, you are at least a master of understatement.

      Posted by paco on 2007 06 30 at 11:31 AM • permalink

 

    1. John A… And if your campaign to invade Burma or Darfur or fill in the ________ goes south will you be willing to stay for the long painful slog? I doubt it. It’ll be ”  I was for it before I was against it “.

      Posted by greene on 2007 06 30 at 11:44 AM • permalink

 

    1. Paco: It wasn’t a barrel of laughs – partly because of Saddam and partly because of the extremely tough sanctions imposed by the UN.

      It’s still better than the near civil war that there is today.

      Greene: No I’m not recommending invasion unless there’s a really compelling reason to do so. In the case of the Taleban and Afghanistan there was (and is) a compelling reason to do so – with Iraq, no there wasn’t.

      As for going south, unless you have a plan to secure the country and a buy-in from all sides, then winning the battle for the capital and executing the leader isn’t enough – nowhere near enough, because it heads south from there and picks up momentum as it does so.

      In real politics rather than fantasyland, you work out what you’re going to do and get buy-in from all the parties before you go in.
      It is not “inactivism” to reject invading countries just because their leaders are evil. Saddam was not the worst thing that could happen to the Iraqi people. A Bosnia or Beirut-style meltdown is much, much worse.

      Posted by John A on 2007 06 30 at 12:11 PM • permalink

 

    1. In real politics rather than fantasyland, you work out what you’re going to do and get buy-in from all the parties before you go in.

      And by gosh, nobody would ever go back on their word, or change their opinion halfway through, or was simply lying in the first place, right?

      Talk about fantasyland.

      Posted by PW on 2007 06 30 at 12:23 PM • permalink

 

    1. #56: It’s still better than the near civil war that there is today.

      No, it isn’t. The people of Iraq now have a chance to work out their destiny. It may not be a particularly good chance, let alone with a guaranteed chance of success, but it is a chance, which is something they didn’t have under Sadaam. I sincerely doubt the previously-oppressed Shiites would share your view; certainly the Kurds wouldn’t.

      Posted by paco on 2007 06 30 at 12:40 PM • permalink

 

    1. #56 sounds like someone who thinks Michael Moore is a serious documentarian.

      Posted by Latino on 2007 06 30 at 12:46 PM • permalink

 

    1. PW: Why is it that no-one actually reads the argument but can pick out individual sentences and use that to attack the arguer? Is it the water or something?

      Let’s read it again with emphasis for the hard-of-thinking:

      As for going south, unless you have a plan to secure the country and a buy-in from all sides, then winning the battle for the capital and executing the leader isn’t enough – nowhere near enough, because it heads south from there and picks up momentum as it does so.

      In real politics rather than fantasyland, you work out what you’re going to do and get buy-in from all the parties before you go in.

      So the idea that I live in fantasyland is bollocks. The real residents of fantasyland are those who still cling to the idea that this unnecessary invasion did anything other than to destabilize that part of the world, embolden and strngthen fundamentalist terrorism and their sectarian backers and most of all put lives of men and women on the line for no good reason.

      In fantasyworld where Tim Blair is US President, he’ll be able to look in the eyes of the parents and relatives of those hwo gave their lives and tell them the world is a safer place for their sacrifice.

      It’s amazing how willing some people are to put other’s lives in the firing line for no good reason. Those people clearly live in fantasyland.

      Posted by John A on 2007 06 30 at 12:46 PM • permalink

 

    1. Latino: No I don’t. Perhaps you’d like to line up a few more good straw men and I’ll knock those down as well.

      Agreeing with Michael Moore on the Iraq War is a temporary lapse of reason on Moore’s part, not mine. I am no more likely to believe in Moore’s views on most things because of Iraq than I am of GWB just because he’s unimpressed with global warmening.

      It’s pathetic to claim that because I oppose the Iraq War that I suddenly think Michael Moore is a saint. I get this crapola from global warming advocates who think I lurve ExxonMobil because I might share their view on AGW and its just as pathetic from them as it is from you.

      Posted by John A on 2007 06 30 at 12:52 PM • permalink

 

    1. #60 John A:

      Since I was apparently too subtle, let me flesh out my argument:

      A demand for “a plan to secure the country and a buy-in from all sides” before deposing Saddam (or any other invasion scenario you may want to think of) is either

      a) a demand rooted in the silly belief that more diplomacy is the answer to everything, as though you’re not constantly dealing with potential back-stabbers of the worst kind in the realm of international diplomacy whose promises aren’t worth the paper they may or may not be printed on, or

      b) a demand intentionally phrased such that it is unachievable for practical purposes, making it merely a veiled call of perpetual inaction.

      So, which mantle would you like to claim, that of the deluded fool, or that of the inactivist as Tim has so aptly pegged the latter mindset?

      As for cherry-picking the argument I took on – that’s the thing about comprehensive strategies, they’re only as good as their weakest link. You’re more than happy to criticise the Coalition’s Iraq strategy the same way, so please don’t whine when people criticize your argument based on the most flawed parts of it.

      Posted by PW on 2007 06 30 at 01:08 PM • permalink

 

    1. PW: Let me take this in little chunks

      A demand for “a plan to secure the country and a buy-in from all sides” before deposing Saddam (or any other invasion scenario you may want to think of) is either

      a) a demand rooted in the silly belief that more diplomacy is the answer to everything, as though you’re not constantly dealing with potential back-stabbers of the worst kind in the realm of international diplomacy whose promises aren’t worth the paper they may or may not be printed on, or

      I didn’t say that there should be endless diplomacy instead of action. I didn’t imply it either.

      I said that unless there’s a buy-in from the major groups that you’re meant to be liberating before you go in, then you’re pretty much on a hiding to nothing because once the witch is dead, no clicking your heels together will magically take you back to Kansas.

      Instead what happens is that the most extreme elements fight you and each other to cause maximum mayhem. Which is what has happened.

      b) a demand intentionally phrased such that it is unachievable for practical purposes, making it merely a veiled call of perpetual inaction.

      Crap. The only impractical step is to invade a country without a fucking clue about how to secure the peace. Destroying the security and political apparatus is a good way of producing a lawless vacuum in the middle of society into which the most extreme, the most motivated and the most murderous rush in.

      HINT: Killing the dictator doesn’t increase the peace. You might have noticed this by now.

      So, which mantle would you like to claim, that of the deluded fool, or that of the inactivist as Tim has so aptly pegged the latter mindset?

      “Inactivist” must be the new codeword for coward.

      Try this for size:

      The real fantasists and cowards are those who believe that its right and moral to send men and woman into a warzone without counting the cost beforehand.

      As an example try the nice little battle that began in Belgium almost exactly 91 years ago. That nice little battle cost 420,000 British lives, 200000 French and 400000 German lives. It was the Somme.

      All of it directed by armchair generals who made absolutely certain that none of their loved ones were anywhere near the front line. Perhaps there was an idea in some idiots mind that the only way to defeat the enemy was to get them to run out of bullets having to shoot so many people dead.

      Armchair generals like the people on this thread who think that wars are like playing a game of Risk.

      Here’s the deal: when you invade a territory in the real world, you don’t shake a dice, collect cards and receive 100,000 new soldiers instantly.

      We’ve had a load of armchair generals who think that its all a game played on maps with symbols to move around and that talking and diplomacy are for cowards. It’s called the First World War and for some reason, there are still some of those fuckers around. On this thread.

      Posted by John A on 2007 06 30 at 02:01 PM • permalink

 

    1. John A., your comments on how Iraq was so much better off under Saddam just reminded me of Moore’s identical fantasy. Stability is not that desirable if it propagates an evil dynasty which, technically, has been at war with us since the first Gulf war, that gave support to al qaeda, that everyone in the world believed to be stocking WMD, and which, as Tim pointed out, would have been continued by Saddam’s demented rapist sons. Iraq, the world and the region are better off without Saddam.

      Posted by Latino on 2007 06 30 at 02:02 PM • permalink

 

    1. #63, Talk about fantasies. Can anyone ever know all the costs of war beforehand? In the real world you evaluate the threat to your own nation and decide to act on that basis. No one can predict the costs and plan the perfect outcome. On the basis of what we knew in 2002, the invasion was the right decision.

      Posted by Latino on 2007 06 30 at 02:06 PM • permalink

 

    1. Latino: Nowhere did I say that Iraq would have been “so much better under Saddam”. I actually wrote that

      You might not like it, but the situation in Iraq today is not an improvement on Saddam’s regime.

      There’s a difference.

      Secondly, “technically still at war with us” is a fatuous statement. Iraq was in no position to threaten anybody by 2002. All of that “inactivism” had a very big effect on Saddam’s ability to do anything, with regular inspections and tight sanctions, all Saddam could do was prevent civil insurrection (which he was good at, having been trained by the CIA).

      You also repeat a statement that is demonstrably and repatedly untrue. Saddam had nothing to do with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden hated Saddam’s pudgy guts.

      There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq under Saddam – but there sure is now.

      There was no WMDs and no ability to maunfacture them – again all that “inactivism” had a very big effect.

      Also, not “everybody in the world believed that Saddam had WMDs”. Only those willing to believe in the extremely unlikely excuses proferred (and France and Germany weren’t two of them) showed that the intelligence wasn’t very intelligent.

      So the answer is bollocks. There was no excuse before it other than a cowardly willingness to believe everything that came from the White House and 10 Downing Street. You don’t believe everything that comes from Canberra as well, do you?

      Posted by John A on 2007 06 30 at 02:16 PM • permalink

 

    1. #63, Talk about fantasies. Can anyone ever know all the costs of war beforehand? In the real world you evaluate the threat to your own nation and decide to act on that basis. No one can predict the costs and plan the perfect outcome. On the basis of what we knew in 2002, the invasion was the right decision.

      No outcome is perfect. But the it wasn’t the intelligence that was flawed – it was the willingness of idiots to discount the lack of information that led us into an unwinnable war of occupation.

      Of course, some people like to fanatasize that they know better, but as we’ve seen on this thread, they don’t.

      Posted by John A on 2007 06 30 at 02:19 PM • permalink

 

    1. John A
      Most amusing but none the less bull shit. You do not have evidence from reliable sources to back any of your claims. And you too easily redefine your statements to amend your original meanings. Saddam linked to Al Qaida? True. WMDs in Iraq? True. Oh, and France and Germany were on side.

      Of course, some people like to fanatasize that they know better, but as we’ve seen on this thread, they don’t.

      Et tu, John A

      Cheers

      Posted by J.M. Heinrichs on 2007 06 30 at 03:57 PM • permalink

 

    1. #63John A…. Armchair Generals? It may surprise you to learn that there are quite a few people that comment on Blair’s blog that have serious skin in this game. I won’t presume to speak for them but to assume that they’re cheerleading from afar is wrong.

      Posted by greene on 2007 06 30 at 05:13 PM • permalink

 

    1. #46. Circumcision increases penis sensitivity? I call bullshit on that one. [tmi]A bloke I lived with for years had been circumcised in his early 30s for medical reasons (not stds) and believe me, he was not happy with the result.[/tmi]

      Where the hell would anybody get the idea that cutting up a nerve centre increases sensitivity from? That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of.

      Unless we’re talking phantom pain, but I don’t know of anyone who’s ever claimed that one for their foreskin.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2007 06 30 at 06:47 PM • permalink

 

    1. Al qaeda remnants fled Afghanistan to Baghdad. They had connections before 9-11. Saddam had WMD and used them. He also had a year to hide transfer or otherwise dispose of them before we invaded.  You can choose not to believe it but you are deluding yourself.

      Posted by Latino on 2007 06 30 at 06:49 PM • permalink

 

    1. #63HINT: Killing the dictator doesn’t increase the peace. You might have noticed this by now.

      Perhaps if the troops had been allowed to do their job properly rather than ponce around trying to win hearts and minds there might not be this mess you are moaning about.

      Our* soldiers, sailors, airmen (and of course the marines) are trained to go in and blow stuff up and kill people. It’s what they do, and they do it bloody well.

      They shouldn’t be out there being nice and making happy faces with the populace.

      Get the bad guys first and then let the support teams come in and help the natives rebuild.

      The reason this has dragged on so long is that our side is too busy trying to look good for the bleeding hearts at home and losing face in a culture that does not respect anything other than force.

      We are withholding our hand and paying the price for it in discord and death.

      *by our I mean Aus, US, and anybody else on our side who is over there, like Poland, Japan and the rest.

      And if this makes me some sort of enemy of the ABC luvvies, my care factor is way below zero right about now.

      JohnA, if your set hadn’t have sat around wringing hands and worrying about opinion polls, then we wouldn’t be here.

      Would we be in a better place? I have no idea, but I do believe that going there was a good idea, and I’m happy for all the fighting to remain over there rather than having car bombs left lying around capital cities as seems to be happening overseas.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2007 06 30 at 07:01 PM • permalink

 

    1. Iraq was in no position to threaten anybody by 2002.

      Really.  So we were burning up all that jet fuel enforcing the no-fly zone for nothing then.

      There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq under Saddam

      So those camps in northern Iraq were just sheepherders’ summer resorts.

      There was no WMDs and no ability to maunfacture them

      So all the truckloads of chemicals, and the stacks of steel tubes, and the buried biological labs were just for show?

      If Iraq is worse off now, please explain the economic miracle that is the Kurdish territory.  Explain the return of the marsh Arabs, and the relative peace in southern Iraq (except where the Iranians are meddling).  And please, to avoid wasting bandwidth, refrain from the same old lefty talking points.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 06 30 at 07:02 PM • permalink

 

    1. Also, here’s something for you to read and consider, John A:  What if we hadn’t invaded Iraq?

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 06 30 at 07:16 PM • permalink

 

    1. Oh I see with the laser at night what it says.

      Don’t do anything
      Coal creates carbon shags

      Posted by 1.618 on 2007 06 30 at 10:56 PM • permalink

 

    1. John A;
      When were you in Iraq? Pretty certain I never saw you there?
      Or are all of your opinions formed from the media, as opposed to actual experience?
      I would guess the former.
      Armchair Generals, indeed. Well, I am a Sergeant, and I am sitting on a couch, is that close enough?
      Tell you what, why don’t you get over to Iraq and ask the people, the ones who the press never seem able to find, what Saddam’s (may he rot in hell) reign was like to live under?
      You know, the kids flying kites, the flowering gardens of Al Anbar, the ditches full of tortured, maimed ordinary citizens (um, forget that last one – you really don’t want to know about that one).
      People like you seem to get ‘enraged’ about this sort of thing, but you never change anything.
      It takes people with guts, some wearing uniforms, some not, to do that.
      Mate, for your own sake, seek help.
      Or FOAD, whatever leaves less mess on the floor.

      Posted by 185600 on 2007 06 30 at 11:25 PM • permalink

 

  1. an unwinnable war of occupation

    Oh ye gods, not the unwinnable war canard again.

    Posted by Achillea on 2007 07 01 at 02:31 AM • permalink