IRAQ IN BRIEF

Bush lied! Fingers dyed!

Paul Zrimsek

UPDATE. Mark Steyn:

And so the “looming Iraqi election fiasco” joins “the brutal Afghan winter” and “the brutal Iraqi summer” and “the seething Arab street” and all the other junk in the overflowing trash can of post-9/11 Western media fictions. The sight of millions of brave voters emerging from polling stations holding high their purple dye-stained fingers was so inspiring that, from America’s Democratic Party to European protest rallies, opponents of the war waited, oh, all of three minutes before flipping the Iraqis their own fingers, undyed.

Posted by Tim B. on 01/31/2005 at 04:24 PM
    1. Damn you Zrimsek.

      Posted by bc on 2005 01 31 at 07:02 PM • permalink

 

    1. Steyn also mentioned the British Tories who have turned into “Michael Moore conservatives.�? I argued a year or two ago with a British self-styled conservative at the Financial Times Website (after FT named Bush its Man of the Year or whatever they call it). He said various Moore-like things about the Bush family, plus he was a snot and a half, even as he dismissed my use of “big words�? like “technological.�? With “conservatives�? like that, we don’t need leftists and ding-dongs. Can somebody tell me what the hell is wrong with the Brit Tories?  It’s like there’s no conservative party in Britain. I guess it’s no surprise that there is no real UK any more, just the British Province of the EU.

      Posted by ForNow on 2005 01 31 at 07:11 PM • permalink

 

    1. Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan, a pantomime horse in which both men are playing the rear end

      That really works for me in so many ways. Steyne nails it.

      Posted by Henry boy on 2005 01 31 at 07:12 PM • permalink

 

    1. Semi-offtopic, I see Mark Steyn is now called a “regular contributor” to The Australian (and googling, I find it’s been like that for about a month or two)…looks like the Steynization of the Anglosphere is finally complete. On to the French and German media, Mark! God knows they need ya even more.

      Posted by PW on 2005 01 31 at 08:30 PM • permalink

 

    1. Don’t say anything like the “Steynosphere,�? it’ll go to Mark’s head.

      Posted by ForNow on 2005 01 31 at 08:32 PM • permalink

 

    1. Tim, it is good to see that you have directed your readers to the piece by Mark Steyn in The Australian.

      Perhaps you and your readers could also apply your rigorous intellectual analysis to the piece by Lawrence Kaplan (it’s on the same page). Rather than flinging insults at his political opponents (as Steyn does), Kaplan places the current events in Iraq in their correct historical and geopolitical context. Surely this also warrants your attention.

      Could it be that the world is not black and white?

      Cheers!

      Posted by Damian Doyle on 2005 01 31 at 09:08 PM • permalink

 

    1. Could it be that you’re an asshead who is going to get banned? Cheers!

      An apology for insulting the other commenters here might keep me from deleting your account in the next few minutes, intellect-boy.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 01 31 at 09:14 PM • permalink

 

    1. Hi Administrator,

      I intended to insult nobody, so I apologise if my comments were construed that why. A regular reader encouraged me to contribute here, so that is what I am doing.

      Again, I am simply asking – can we discuss a piece that Tim may disagree with as well as the one he likes? After all, they are on the same page of the same newspaper. I am concerned that the Kaplan piece is to be ignored, yet Kaplan raises points of relevance to discussion on this and other threads.

      Viva free speech!

      Posted by Damian Doyle on 2005 01 31 at 09:30 PM • permalink

 

    1. Steyn is not insulting.  Leave that sort of humdrum style to the Alan Ramseys. What Steyn has is a wonderful turn of phrase that instantly transfixes his victim with a single witty image eg Kim Beasley tottering on the edge of retirement for five years before plunging into an abyss of yesterday’s cliches.

      I don’t care what your politics are, you have to admire the man’s elegant style. It’s a pleasure to read and there aren’t too many writers like him in the world.

      Posted by mr magoo on 2005 01 31 at 09:45 PM • permalink

 

    1. Kaplan’s commentary summarized for those who don’t want to read it:

      Things aren’t perfect now, so they never will be, so this exercise is a failure.

      How’s that for rigorous intellectual analysis, Doyle? Who’s seeing the world in black and white, Doyle?

      Posted by Crispytoast on 2005 01 31 at 09:46 PM • permalink

 

    1. I don’t know about this Kaplan guy, but Mark Steyn is fun to read, Damian. Plus, this is Tim’s site, so he gets to pick the articles.

      Funny you should mention flinging insults; the lefties have been doing a lot of that lately. They routinely call Steyn – and George Bush, for that matter – all sorts of ugly names, and yet they themselves have nothing to offer except cynicism and defeatism.

      As for me, I like Steyn, and I like our president. George Bush has been the target of endless insults over the past four years (village idiot, moron, swaggering Texan, cowboy, dyslexic blathering fool), and yet he’s gone about his business without complaining. And it turns out he was right. And so was Mark Steyn.

      Why do people who have nothing to say demand to be heard?

      Posted by Butch on 2005 01 31 at 09:48 PM • permalink

 

    1. It would have been so easy to say simply that the passionate neocon Lawrence Kaplan is in despair because Baghdad still smells and because he thinks islamist elements have won too much power in the election. One might even go so far as to provide a URL. Nobody cares whether it’s on the same physical page as another article.  It would be easier than to enter sneeringly testing the ground rules, spoiling for an argument about them.

      Posted by ForNow on 2005 01 31 at 09:48 PM • permalink

 

    1. All right, Damian, I’ll bite. Kaplan is a delusioned fool who expects democracy in Iraq to be served like a Wendy’s milkshake—instantly and in his preferred flavour. eg
      But in Iraq, the centrepiece of the US campaign to export democracy, “democratic movements and institutions” are dying, the result of illiberalism, US neglect and, above all, sheer physical insecurity. As it grinds into its third year, the war for a liberal Iraq is destroying the dream of a liberal Iraq.
      Would one of those “democratic movements” be the Baathists? Oh and that illiberalism and US neglect, that’s why they’ve not had an election, right. They’ll never have an election while immersed in the US quagmire, will they? Will they?
      Anyhoo, the only sector in Iraq that would welcome head-tiltin’, whining US-style liberals would be the fascists. Never get easier targets than that.

      Posted by slatts on 2005 01 31 at 09:49 PM • permalink

 

    1. “damian doyle,”
      [my] rigorous intellectual analysis [of] the piece by Lawrence Kaplan

      bilgewater.

      you’re welcome!

      Posted by guinsPen on 2005 01 31 at 09:49 PM • permalink

 

    1. Good on you all. It is good to see this stuff!

      Steyn’s description of the UN was the insult I referred to – a horse suit with Annan and Chirac beneath it.

      Many critics of the UN forget that it is a world body and its actions are the sum of its parts. In fact, the US (as a member of teh Security Council) is responsible for vetoing far more UN activities than any bureaucrat. Is that the inaction we are talking about?

      Besides that, the actions of the UN through it’s food, poverty, health, science, and development arms during the last half a century are often ignored by those who argue for unilateralism. These kinds of blind assertions are unhelpful – a lot of people would suffer were the UN to be dismantled.

      Re Kaplan,  he’s widely considered to be an expert on Iraqi history and politics (hell, I think he has actually been there!) despite not being as fun to read as Steyn. And he is hardly a leftie!

      The fact remains that the invasion and destruction of Iraq, its way forward, and the repercussions for the region, are for more complex issues that Steyn would have his readers believe.

      When we have unknown thousands of civilian deaths, daily attackes on the Allies, a loss of infrastructure on a massive scale, how can you criticise those who question the simplistic media or political explanations for what’s really going on?

      URL for Kaplan: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12107386%5E7583,00.html

      Posted by Damian Doyle on 2005 01 31 at 10:27 PM • permalink

 

    1. You know what? You’re a patronizing little fuckwad, Doyle.

      And this is for the “regular reader” who invited you here as if this were HIS blog: thanks a lot. I’ve just suspended your friend’s account. Hope you enjoy being whined at.

      (Edited for clarity. A.H.)

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 01 31 at 10:52 PM • permalink

 

    1. C’mon damian, quit the generalities. What “democratic movements and institutions�? are dying in Iraq as Kaplan claims? The Baathist Party? The domination of mullahs? The subjugation of women?
      It’s a preposterous, indefensible statement, yet you are endorsing it.

      Posted by slatts on 2005 01 31 at 10:57 PM • permalink

 

    1. Damian,

      Mark Steyn drove all over Iraq post-liberation and wrote entertaining, insightful, and edifying columns about it. If you don’t like his writing style, fine; he’s not to everyone’s taste.

      You’re wrong to dismiss him as some sort of knee-jerk Bush apologist though: Steyn is an incredibly erudite intellectual who writes on a wide range of topics including the arts (or “The Arts” if you prefer) and ideas (“Ideas”?). He can be profound or he can be flip but he’s never boring.

      Kaplan, on the other hand, is merely restating the obvious and at a inopportune time. There isn’t a person on Tim’s pages who hasn’t considered Kaplan’s arguments previously but we are allowing ourselves, like Steyn, to savor the moment, hope for the best, and recommit ourselves to helping our fellow men and women.

      Human progress is possible because of sunny, practical people like Steyn. Kaplan, like a Morrisey CD, will be still looking for the gray cloud in the silver lining when we feel like being depressed. M’kay?

      Posted by JDB on 2005 01 31 at 11:49 PM • permalink

 

    1. Damian — I believe Steyn apologized to horses in a letter column.

      They stole $21 billion from the Iraqis, for crying out loud.  UN officials are being arrested in Indonesia for stealing relief supplies right now.  Being cast in a Benny Hill panto is the least they deserve.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 01 31 at 11:50 PM • permalink

 

    1. Its funny, as has been mentioned, dare to call a “pantomime horse a pantomime horse’ and you will cop it for being ‘insulting’. The only insult I see is the fawning of the media over any pronouncement from the UN, refusing to address any reality. Steyn has nailed it in one, good on him.

      Posted by Nic on 2005 02 01 at 12:02 AM • permalink

 

    1. I despise the UN.  The good they do is far, far outweighed by the harm they have done, and the good they do can easily be duplicated by any one nation in the developed West (France and Belgium excluded).  Fortunately, no single nation has to do it all, as the smarter nations are forming their own coalitions—- without benefit of Mr. Annan’s guidance.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2005 02 01 at 12:33 AM • permalink

 

    1. In fact, the US (as a member of the Security Council) is responsible for vetoing far more UN activities than any bureaucrat. Is that the inaction we are talking about?

      Would these be the vetoes of anti-Semitic slop sponsored by Arab league states in the general assembly, Damien?

      Posted by Adam B on 2005 02 01 at 01:34 AM • permalink

 

    1. It is interesting that Damian Doyle thinks what he says makes any sense. Or that his argument is insightful and will stress me in some way, when all I see is someone who makes no sense.

      Posted by J. Peden on 2005 02 01 at 01:37 AM • permalink

 

    1. I don’t care what your politics are, you have to admire the man’s elegant style. It’s a pleasure to read and there aren’t too many writers like him in the world.

      Exactly – you can admire Mark Steyn without having to agree with him. Before he had his Conversion on the Road to Damascus I enjoyed Christopher Hitchen’s elegant prose, while not agreeing with it.

      Posted by walterplinge on 2005 02 01 at 01:53 AM • permalink

 

    1. “Again, I am simply asking – can we discuss a piece that Tim may disagree with as well as the one he likes?”

      You must be new here. Tim really isn’t in the habit of discussing things he disagrees with. God knows we’ve all tried to draw him out! But he’s just bashful. Well, thanks for stopping by.

      Posted by Jim Treacher on 2005 02 01 at 02:01 AM • permalink

 

    1. When we have unknown thousands of civilian deaths, daily attackes on the Allies, a loss of infrastructure on a massive scale, how can you criticise those who question the simplistic media or political explanations for what’s really going on?

      Oh, my.  Well, at least Damian doesn’t quote the Lancet “study” (danger quotes deliberate) with his “thousands of civilian deaths”.  I hope it’s not lurking in background.

      But I’m curious.  Where is this “…loss of infrastructure on a massive scale…”?

      The Coalition is rebuilding infrastructure on a massive scale—no doubt about that.  Some of the damage is from the war, but was minimized, thanks to precision guided munitions.  The terrorists can’t do much damage—all they have are stacks of explosives and limited delivery methods.  And those seem to be focused on killing people.

      But the majority of the infrastructure problems are from the years of collective and massive neglect under Hussein.  Except where it suited his personal needs, of course.  Ever see his palaces, Damian?  I have—austere they ain’t!

      And I don’t worry about the “…simplistic media or political explanations…”, because right now, the situation is simple.  Help Iraq stand up on two feet, kill the terrorists, move on to the next objective.  It’s only complicated to you because you make it so.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 02 01 at 02:14 AM • permalink

 

    1. Well, all I can say is it ain’t over till Kerry quietly files suit for a recount in Mosul.

      Posted by ForNow on 2005 02 01 at 02:27 AM • permalink

 

    1. Whatever the merits of Kaplan’s article (none – it’s the usual parachute journalism and unsubstantiated whinging) Damian or his friend should not get the bum’s rush. What are we afraid of?

      “Could it be that the world is not black and white?”

      A word in your shell-like though, Mr Doyle.  Drop the trite condescension. Finally mate, we adopt positions and try to make ourselves understood.

      Complexity is not a virtue in itself.  Everything is complex – the smallest grain of sand. ‘A muddy pool may pretend to any depth; a clear pool cannot,‘says Robert Conquest, a guy who knows his pools from his stagnant ponds. The trick is to clarify without distortion or sophistry.  Kaplan’s piece is a muddy pool and a shallow one at that and so is the unconscious self-congratulation that too often mars leftist commentary.

      Posted by Inurbanus on 2005 02 01 at 02:37 AM • permalink

 

    1. Much like Kaplan, Damian seems to have a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

      Besides that, the actions of the UN through it’s food, poverty, health, science, and development arms during the last half a century

      You didn’t really pay attention to the UN’s “relief efforts” after the recent tsunami devastation, did you? Rwanda and Darfur probably don’t ring any bells either, right Damian? Oil-for-food scandal? Forced prostitution of minors by UN “peace keepers”?

      are often ignored by those who argue for unilateralism.

      On the contrary, it’s exactly their dismal track record that makes most people on this site (and many elsewhere) so leery of the UN.

      These kinds of blind assertions are unhelpful

      Pot, meet kettle.

      a lot of people would suffer were the UN to be dismantled.

      “UN dismantled – fraudsters, bureaucrats-for-life hardest hit.”

      But yeah, in the end it’s all the US’s fault for exercising their Security Council veto too often. Gotcha.

      Do insufferable smugness and a hyper-inflated sense of the worth of one’s opinion come naturally to people like you, or did you have to work at it?

      Posted by PW on 2005 02 01 at 03:30 AM • permalink

 

    1. I read Kaplan’s article, in deference to our visitor. I will not bore you all with a detailed fisking, which is what it deserves.
      Kaplan pines for things which do not exist, and were not going to exist without intervention of some sort.
      That the intervention has not gone smoothly is entirely due to malign forces opposed to the Iraqis being given a new deal.
      Saddam got where he was by being a tough, treacherous and murderous thug in a society where just being tough wont save you.
      Pining for some group other than conservative religious ones to hold talks with and shepherd into positions of influence is all very well. But it is a country where religion plays a large role, so what are you going to do about it?
      There are a lot of secularly inclined people whose voices might be heard at the end of this process. They had no hope before. Kaplan is not selling hope for any likely outcome. He is a wistful and misguided figure on the sidelines of a game that is dirty, but must be won if things are to improve.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2005 02 01 at 04:17 AM • permalink

 

    1. Guys, I’ve banned Damian so asking him for his opinion is kind of useless (unless he registers again with another email). As to the person who asked “what are we afraid of”—well for one thing, having the Same Old Arguments rehashed for the thousandth time.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 02 01 at 07:18 AM • permalink

 

    1. I’m afraid of being bored to death by even more tedious sophisitc bullshit, myself.

      Posted by Sortelli on 2005 02 01 at 08:39 AM • permalink

 

    1. Can somebody tell me what the hell is wrong with the Brit Tories?  It’s like there’s no conservative party in Britain.

      The only thing that is wrong with the Tory party is that they unfortunately elected the wrong leader. They are now stuck with him until he decides to strenghten the party by resigning.

      Posted by jorgen on 2005 02 01 at 12:54 PM • permalink

 

  1. If I spelled like you, Sortelli, I’d be more careful about telling others they’re tedious.  Not too ‘sophisitc’ for you?

    Posted by Inurbanus on 2005 02 02 at 06:00 AM • permalink