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Napolean Blairnoparte

He’ll fight anyone for a quid.

Tony Blair has called on the west to stop “wringing our hands” as he endorsed intervention against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and warned governments against ostracising the military dictatorship in Egypt.

Shouldn’t The Blairster be gardening or enjoying a round of golf with Jacklin Straw or something and keeping the eff out.

In his first intervention since the chemical weapons attack last week, the former prime minister said the west should not be neutral in protecting Syrians from the Assad regime and “affiliates of al-Qaida” seeking to exploit the instability.

Blair made his remarks in a Times article in which he said the west should acknowledge the threats in Syria and Egypt. 

Why? So Blair can bestride the World like a colostomy bag? Again.

He wrote: “Western policy is at a crossroads: commentary or action; shaping events or reacting to them. After the long and painful campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, I understand every impulse to stay clear of the turmoil, to watch but not to intervene, to ratchet up language but not to engage in the hard, even harsh business of changing reality on the ground. But we have collectively to understand the consequences of wringing our hands instead of putting them to work.”

He is utterly incorrigible. The last time Tony put “hands to work” thousands died and many more were maimed and the current result is the creation of two more Islamic Republics and absolute chaos and ongoing slaughter. I mean if you’d been instrumental in two horrendous car crashes in short order you need a face of brass to apply to subsequently apply for a job as a taxi driver in the same manor? The tonemeister though doesn’t have a face of brass. He has one of diamond.

“I hear people talking as if there was nothing we could do: the Syrian defence systems are too powerful, the issues too complex and, in any event, why take sides since they’re all as bad as each other?” he wrote. “It is time we took a side: the side of the people who want what we want; who see our societies for all their faults as something to admire; who know that they should not be faced with a choice between tyranny and theocracy.”

Unfortunately, that would appear to be the non-choice. If His High Tonyness can actually explain precisely what the difference between theocracy and tyranny is then maybe doing something might be in order but it seems to me (this is a general point) that if you are going to be actively involved in a war you need to choose a side otherwise you are going in against everyone: Assad, the military, Sunni, Shia, whatever. We did that in Iraq and that worked out terrific did it not? Look, it might be unpalatable  but if two sides  are “as bad as each other” then surely the only sensible option is to stay out of it. Well, militarily at least. Perhaps helping out Turkey, Jordan and Iraq* with the huge numbers of refugees but Blair getting his missile aimin’ finger ready by proxy is not the way. That way madness lies. We’d have to ally with some nasty pieces of work either way or, as Blair seems to imply make ourselves the cheese and the pickle sandwiched between one form of tyranny and another. You can’t force people to be “free” at gun-point, Mr Blair. Heaven knows mind (and I hope St. Peter is taking notes) he tried both here and abroad. Dismally.

Blair, who was close to the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, also warns it would be a grave strategic error to ostracise the government that has overthrown former president Mohammed Morsi.

Hold on! I thought Blair wanted an er… third way between Islamist nutjobbery and Nationalistic/Militaristic tyranny for Syria? So why is Egypt different? Also isn’t Blair one of those true Beliebers in the idea that the Great God Democracy is the be all and end-all of freedom and all the flowers coming-up pretty and every day being the first day of spring and all that jazz? Call me an old git and all but democracy only works on a substrate of the rule of law and general decency within a society. Hosni Mubarak was and is not a decent man. But he was mates with The Tonemeister so that’s OK for his old army pals to toss aside the democracy Blair so idolizes. I mean Morsi and his minions ( let us not forget that the Muslim Brotherhood is very much the “intellectual” foundation of Al Queda and all the rest of Sonny (if not precisely Cher) Islamic nutjobbery). Blair here is guilty of the sort of Realpolitik that would have had Bismarck blushing. Bismarck at least could be cunning about it. Blair is blatent in a way that could take the breath of a sperm whale surfacing after a long squid-hunt.

He wrote: “You can rightly criticise actions or overreactions of the new military government but it is quite hard to criticise the intervention that brought it into being … We should support the new government in stabilising the country, urge everyone, including the Muslim Brotherhood, to get off the streets, and let a proper and short process to an election be put in place with independent observers.”

“Stabilising the country”! I recently spoke to Paul Marks on the subject of Egypt. I said basically I’d always wanted to go and see the old stuff there. He reckoned all Hell would reign for decades (cheers Paul!) and moreover I reluctantly had to agree. That’s how stable Egypt is. A place within easy flying time with cool things to see like pyramids and coral reefs and a trip down the Nile on a flash boat with an intriguing murder solved by a dapper Belgian… But nah… Ain’t going to happen is it? The only place in the Near or Middle East I can even conceive of going in any realistic time-scale is Israel. Well, there’s lots to see and do there I guess. I guess the Gulf States are OK (ish) but if I’m expected to pay top dollar for Sharia Disneyland in the UAE then they can bugger off. Even Turkey is looking dicey unless they kick Erdogan into the long grass soonish. And I really liked Turkey when I was there a couple of years back. It’s a tragedy I tells ya! A whole slew of countries and hundreds of millions of people caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of militant nationalism (or Arab socialism or whatever the feck they call it these days) and Islamic craziness.

An aside. In a sense, a very poor sense, I didn’t get much of a view, I have been to Egypt and Israel already. But in utereo doesn’t really count! I mean the view isn’t there is it? I was born in 1973 (my parents visited both countries on their way back from a teaching stint in Zambia in the year of the Yom Kippur War. It was a few weeks before the shi’ite hit the turbofan but I’m not chancing it again!  The minute my parents hit Egyptian airspace they got a MiG escort and their hotel had AAA on the roof. To enter Israel from Egypt they had to dog-leg via Cyprus. For fuck’s sake! That’s like me going to France via Denmark. Anyhow I was safely delivered in Newcastle on the 5th of September 1973. The Yom Kippur War kicked-off on the 6th of October. I reckon I’m down one already on squeaking through all manner of goat-fuckery, chaos and slaughter erupting for no apparent reason. Well, for obvious reasons. Generalissimos who take their style tips from Mussolini or deranged religious fanatics who think a couple holding hands in the street is a sin but are OK with firing rockets at a primary school.

Blair acknowledged that people were acting cautiously after the Iraqi intervention. He wrote: “In this struggle, we should not be neutral. From the threat of the Iranian regime to the pulverising of Syria to the pains of the Egyptian revolution, from Libya to Tunisia, in Africa, central Asia and the far east, wherever this extremism is destroying the lives of innocent people, we should be at their side and on it.

Two small points: the first is Blair is spreading his net astonishingly geographically wide.

I should say though first, bolded, sentence was fucking priceless but I won’t because the rest is the Holy Grail wrapped in the Shroud of Turin and encased in the Ark of the Covenant alongside the Spear of Destiny. It is verging on the unfiskable. Who’s side exactly Tony? if we are not to be neutral? Really, if this is a clash between Islamists and seamingly “pro-western”* militaristic nationalists then how do we honestly take sides. Who’s side are we on? I suspect Blair thinks (at some level – like a daddy long legs banging at the window again and again) that everyone wants the sane and rational World he believes he represents and that reasonableness can be imposed because he believes this is innate to humanity and he’s a “humanitarian kinda guy” and everyone would be like him if they only had the chance which follows in the wake of a great, nay Churchillian*, unloading of JDAMs and 20 mike mike down-range… Well this is Bolockio the Clown on more layers than the Burj Khalifa. It is the myth that everyone  wants good and civilized things – that that is their state of nature. Well, many do. Many want the opposite for all sorts of reasons. And of course we all disagree on what is “good”. I am not Jewish, Muslim, Vegetarian or whatever but I can’t stand pork (bacon and ham and stuff I’m fine with) so that is where I stand on that. Now if anyone reading this is thinking, “Hey, but I had a lovely bit of pork recently!” then fine. Cool. Similarly I don’t eat prawns (the bugs of the seas). That is just Nick. But I don’t want those who violate my  dietary rules to be stoned or hung or whatever. In a counter-intuitive sense (perhaps) the greatest statement of individuality is not to care about what other people like because the genuinely natural corollary of that is that they can’t tell you what you want. Or rather what you should want.

The Blairite agenda here is precisely the idea of deciding not just what is good for people but an imposition of will and  this based upon a very deep assumption that fundamentally everyone is like him deep down and therefore wants what he wants. Or should do. It’s an old, old story. Rouseau believed in “forcing people to be ‘free’”. Of course this was for whatever value of “free” Rouseau believed in. Or Blair. Or Khomeini, or Monbiot, or whoever. You just cannot force people to be free. To be fair to Rouseau I think he knew he was taking ze piss. I don’t think that about Blair. He believes. That his beliefs wander like a Markov process between ill-starred paternalism and wishful-thinking is no matter. It’s the genius delusion. It goes like this. If he believes he is a genius (and he does – in the original sense) then he must be right however stupid, barking-mad, self contradictory (getting involved in a civil-war without taking sides – very “third way”), unpopular, deranged, irrelevant or solipsistic the actual scheme is. Or, let’s sum-up the last 1896 words shall we?  Blair believes with a clinched and absolute certainty that he is right and that he is good and that all it would take for everything to be OK and fair and democratic and decent and nice and the Lion would safely kip with the lamb and the planet would look like a ton of Duplo in a play-pen and all that is for him to impose that by force. He is utterly deluded. Freedom, decency, everything that matters comes from down-below.  Sorry Tony but it’s me sticking a 50p piece in a pot for “Help for Heroes” and not you putting them in the way of harm in the first place in the name of some deranged dream of democracy as a panacea (when you deem it convenient, natch) in some shit-hole (and Afghanistan is a spherical crapulation beyond measure – well, maybe Somalia pips it) where we don’t have any palpable interest.

I am astonished that in this day and age, years since he left power Blair still has the capacity to astonish with his shark-jumps. It is stunning. They broke the mould when they made Blair.

At least I hope so.

 

 

* Or should that be Chinchillian? I dunno. the chinchilla is a cute critter and Blair is a deranged fantasist.

32 Comments

  1. Mr Ed says:

    After the Kosovo/Serbia aggression I dubbed HM Forces ‘the Blairmacht’, crappy kit, PC attitudes creeping in, but with enough historica legacy of fighting spirit to be dangerous, except to Iranian iPod thieves, the Blairmacht marches on.

    Yet it might just upset the Russian Bear, and frankly, a good drubbing might be just what we need to make reality dawn. Anyone who has joined up (or failed to quit) the Blairmacht since 2nd May 1997 is frankly, fair game. If you are prepared to sign your life away to a politician’s whim, you have failed a simple Darwinian test.

  2. John Galt says:

    I fundamentally disagree. Many squaddies sign up not to pursue the harebrained politically corrupt schemes of Blair, Brown and Cameron, but because of a sense of history, patriotism and honour.

    Just because I am a cynic, does not mean I am prepared to disdain those who cannot see through the looking glass. They may be misguided, but honour and sacrifice still have a place in my psyche, even if they are lions led by donkeys.

  3. RAB says:

    Keep checking Blair’s hairline for the 666. It’s there somewhere.

    And where did Tony do his in depth research for this Times piece? Bagdad? Damascus? Tel Aviv? Nope on some of the biggest floating Gin Palaces in the Med, owned by the most mega Billionaires on the Planet. He is supposed to be the Quartet’s Middle Eastern Peace envoy for fuck’s sake! How does bomb the fuck out of Assad fall into the categories of “Peace” and “Envoy”?

    The worst kind of Evil on the planet has always been perpetrated by those who actually believed they were doing good, and were infallably right. Our ex Prime Cuntulator, is that very man.

  4. John Galt says:

    Unfortunately Tony B. Liar is not some reincarnation of the Antichrist, but simply the obvious amalgam of socialism and the corporate state.

    He cares nothing for “We the People”, only what he can cream off for himself and his tribe.

    Tony doesn’t give a flying fuck for the Syrians of any description, he just wants a shovelful of Danegeld and to be pointed in the right direction by a motley collection of swarthy types.

    Fuck Tony, fuck his gobby wife and fuck his family.

  5. Mr Ed says:

    JohnG, the reason why they sign up might well be patriotism etc., but the practical consequence of signing up is to hand their lives over to a politician to be disposed of at that politician’s whim. Lions they may be, but they may be led by donkeys not to do good, but at the very least folly if not harm (torturing hotel receptionists to death in Basra etc.), and if the order and incident came, they would do the same to you and I, ask a Cossack.

    And any who joined after the 2003 Iraq invasion was evidently based on lies can have no mitigation other than stupidity.

    How any MPs have offspring in the UK Armed Forces?

  6. NickM says:

    RAB, what I said only more concise. Respect!

    JG, I agree. I wanted to joint the RAF as a fighter pilot. It had fuck-all to do with politics. It was doing Mach 2 and waxing a Mig or Sukhoi. It was Yeat’s “lonely impulse of delight”. Of course I never managed it being R/G colourblind (I think of colours in terms of 00,00,00 to FF,FF,FF) and also short-sightedness and astigmatism.

    Having said that… The highest scoring Brit fighter pilot was Edward “Mick” Mannock who was an Irish nationalist in WWI and nailed 80. He was blind in one eye. He passed the eyesight test by the expedient of bribing a lad in the MO’s office to get the letter charts and learning them by heart.

    I didn’t exactly have that option in the ’90s. But then I didn’t die in flames.

    i just wanted to fly and fight (like Mannock) for the sheer fucking caper of it. My absolute fighter heroes are the… Well, guess!

    Though there are others. Many others… .

  7. NickM says:

    Mr Ed,
    I think you are being too pure. I get your point. But there is still the point that the UK needs genuinely to be defended. Regardless of the arseholery of Blair et el. I still think there are just reasons to join-up. We are far from perfect but when you look at the alternatives… Jesus fucking wept. Regardless of the fuckwittery of pointless intervention in the Middle East we still have something worth defending.

  8. Mr Ed says:

    Nick,

    I agree that the UK is worth defending, but at present, the strategy seems to be to chase goat-herders in Helmand or thereabouts who are no threat to the UK, whilst letting in to the UK any number of true foes and giving them houses and benefits.

    The Armed Forces are not permitted to defend the UK in that respect, or, say, Gibraltar, by putting an end to Spanish Civil Guard incursions.

    If Labour get in in 2015, the UK may not be worth defending after a few years. Socialism is a Death Cult.

  9. Lynne says:

    Blair, iDave and Little Willie are so excited for war I can hear their fly buttons pinging off walls from here. They simply can’t wait to fuck everything and everyone.

    So Blair can bestride the World like a colostomy bag? Again. 24 carat!

  10. Lynne says:

    PS Re the title. I’d have gone with Blowemaparte. :D

  11. Paul Marks says:

    Yes Nick – Mr Blair appears to have learned nothing from what has happened in Iraq. His mind appears to be stuck in a mental vision of the statue of the dictator falling and the crowd chanting “Tony, Tony, Tony”.

  12. NickM says:

    Oh, I dunno Paul. Mr Blair learned he could monger pointless war and get away with it plus-ultra. To the extent that 10 years later he could still be chearleader for an even less relevant war whilst which as creosote and immune from prosecution. He is a fabulous cunt and I’m not even going to say doodly about his utterly venal missus.

    You know the point at which I realised Blair was so far beyond the pale that he was in Boston? His piss-poor attempt at making out to be a Newcastle United fan. Now, I, for my sins, am. Blair ain’t. He ballsed it-up big time – bigger than NUFC ever did and that is saying something. He wittered on about being in the seats of a stand that was all standing at the time. Every Geordie on the planet knew he was bullshitting it. He was and is Harold Saxon. Goebels said, “If you’re going to tell a lie, tell a whopper”. Or German to that effect. Blair knew that, as did his mates. Why lie about being a Newcastle United fan? It’s something that I tend to keep quite about. Well, living in the North West with Man Utd and Man City and Liverpool and Everton and all I am best served by keeping my counsel. Mind we also have the disaster area that is Stockport County.

    Last footie match i went to was swell. It was the 100th anniversary of New Mills FC – a bunch of part timers – Evostick Northern League – I kiddeth ye not – and they’d got MUFC’s reserves to put in a show and beat ‘em 7-0. It was great. There was a bar and a BBQ (with pretty good burgers) and on more than one occasion a small child was sent to retrieve the ball that had been kicked out of touch. At one point a little girl ran on the pitch and was briefly New Mill’s “twelfth man”. Until her dad grabbed her back.

    OK, and I am straining here but why the digression? Possibly because Syria matters less to me than the town of my wife’s birth that is just about walking distance from me? Perhaps because (outside of science – where it is compulsory) don’t fuck with things you don’t understand. Perhaps because I don’t really care. But mainly because I suspect this will be an expenditure of blood and treasure that will only make things worse. Apart from anything the Israelis are distributing gas-masks. Due, at least partially to boundless rhetoric from the likes of Blair who doesn’t have to answer for it. Everyone else, alas, does.

  13. John Galt says:

    The problem with Syria is that it’s the same old shit time and again. They are playing the same game in the same way as Libya and to a lesser extent Iraq. At some point Bashar Hafez al-Assad will either get killed or handed his hat-and-coat to live out his days in an apartment in Jeddah like Ugandan laughing boy Idi Amin. Then we can deal with whichever new would-be-tyrant pops up in his place.

    Someone needs to make it clear to Tony B. Liar and the rest of the political pygmies that these bastards in Syria are all as bad as each other and pissing away billions in UK taxpayers funds to support regime change so that Syrians can elect the local rep of The Muslim Brotherhood INC as new president and dictator for life will not demonstrably change anything.

    Not worth a single Tommies toenail clippings, let alone another series of body bags.

    When Syria invades Southend-on-Sea there might be justification for the UK to act militarily, but until then leave them the fuck alone.

  14. NickM says:

    I think Bismark said much the same. He once said of a certain cause (why am I thinking of the Balkans?) that it was not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian Grenadier. Quite. He was talking of the Balkans but much the same applies here and now. If someone wants to cause chaos and tribulation (in the Biblical sense) in some shiterola in the Middle East I can’t honestly give a flying one. Kick-off somewhere that matters (and this is no longer geographical – geography is history since the ISO container and the 707 and all – then I care. If Comrade Kim wants to nonce with my suppliers in the RoK then fair enough. That is in our interest but what the fuck does Syria produce? Olives? Well, I can get them from Italy can’t I?

    We do need to take action here. We need to help the countries taking the refugees. I think that is a moral imperative but we don’t need a superannuated git like Blair behaving like some sort of pound-store GI Joe knock off. Every great actor knows when to leave the stage. Tony clearly doesn’t. I suspect he’s aiming for mass maiming because he’s bored and like nobody takes him seriously no more. Gods! It’s pathetic. It’s like the town-square drunk who used to be a contender etc. He’s bored.

  15. John Galt says:

    In fairness to Otto von Bismark, his 1875 Reichstag speech included the line that “…the Balkans were not even worth the healthy bones of a single Pomeranian musketeer”. In subsequent speeches he changed this to a “Pomeranian grenadier”.

    A fair assessment at the time.

  16. Mr Ed says:

    JG Jeddah is the last place that Assad would go after Israel and the US, the Saudis are trying to get him out. Venezuela or Russia?

    There is a Vulcan Bomber at Southend Airport, so I doubt the Syrians will try it on there. Next visit date 29th September 2013, it doesn’t taxy yet, but you can still get a cockpit tour.
    http://www.avrovulcan.com/

  17. NickM says:

    JG,
    ?
    !

    So grenadier < musketeer. Eh!

  18. NickM says:

    Mr Ed,
    A couple of years back I saw XH-558 at Southport Airshow. It was mag-fucking-nifiocent. It cam in at very low altitude from the North and then pulled a turn that would disgrace a Tornado and just went up leaving me hot and very bothered. I have seen some things of note in my life. That was one. I felt the heat of it’s Olympus jets. It was fe-ucking-motional I can tell you. It was utterly awesome. It then did aerobatics like a fighter.

    I want one.

  19. Mr Ed says:

    Nick, it is still flying, doing Bournemouth and Shoreham this weekend, and it may go as far as 2015, all on voluntary donations.

    http://www.vulcantothesky.org/appearances.html

    I saw it at Clacton last week, smelt the exhaust fumes on the pier as it howled by almost overhead, and did a spiral climb and wing-over, absolutely spine-tingling, and the howl of the inlets is something else, the whole crowd were hushed in awe.

    And swerving back on topic, Blair would send others to fight in his place, and not his children.

  20. RAB says:

    Ok. Let’s take this a bit at a time, because I’m having trouble with the logic here in relation to Syria. Yes I know logic is a strange word to use in a war situation, but nevertheless War does have a logic, or it used to. Fighting a war used to mean total defeat and subjugation of your enemies. That was the aim or else you were just wasting your time, men, money and resources, and very likely to lose.

    That is what the First and Second World Wars were fought for, to defeat a great evil by whatever means possible for the future good. But though the First was supposed to be the War to end all wars, that didn’t pan out quite as expected eh?

    All wars since the Second have ended in, at best, stalemate. From Korea through Vietnam onwards…Unresolved festering sores on the World body politic.

    So here we are confronted with the Syria problem, after the Iraq and Afganistan problem and the Libya problem, after the Arab Spring which was never a Spring but an Islamic Winter, nay new Ice Age of Caliphate dreaming (love to hear the Mama’s and Papa’s singing the praises of that) and Egypt which has flip-flopped both ways now. Nasty old dictator ousted, even nastier Muslim Bortherhood installed, now back to the stasis of military rule (read nasty old dictators again, but not as nasty as the Islamic Theocrats). What the fuck is going on???

    Can Syria be “Cured” of it’s evil ways by a clinical strike by the almighty West? In a pig’s eye! They already know how impotent we are after Iraq etc. And this is where I lose the logic of Assad supposedly using WMD, or chemical weapons, to the rest of us who are not Politicians that is, cos dropping a 1000 pound smart bomb on my arse is as final as choking to death on Sarin Gas in my book. But Chemical and Nuclear are beyond the pale arn’t they? To me they are just a bigger and more efficient bomb, the victims end up just as dead either way.

    But to politicians it’s just fine to kill people in increments in a half arsed way, which is why all the wars since the Second have been stalemates or outright losses to the West, just don’t do it finally and completely so that some resolution and restitution can come of it. There is no closure with these clown politicians of ours, just perminent crisis (If I thought they were even half way smart, I’d think they had arranged things this way).

    So back to Syria… Why the hell would Assad break the great taboo of using Chemical WMD’s when he is holding his own nicely with conventional ones, and has the very great backing of Iran and Russia? No idea. But did he? Or was it one of his swivel eyed Generals? Maybe it was all photoshopped by the Rebels? Not out of the question in my book, to draw the West into the confligration on their side.

    Sarin is supposed to do this to you…

    Initial symptoms following exposure to sarin are a runny nose, tightness in the chest and constriction of the pupils. Soon after, the victim has difficulty breathing and experiences nausea and drooling. As the victim continues to lose control of bodily functions, the victim vomits, defecates and urinates. This phase is followed by twitching and jerking. Ultimately, the victim becomes comatose and suffocates in a series of convulsive spasms.

    So victims will look like a shitty mess won’t they? Did all those rows of supposed deceased children look like that to you? They looked like they’d passed away in their sleep without a mark on them. Or perhaps they were all told to lie very still until the nice photographer took a pic of them, then they could have ice cream. Who fuckin knows anymore!!!

    One thing’s for sure, we in the West should not touch this with a bargepole. What kind of politico schizophrenia are we dealing with here? We whack Assad to deliver “a message” that says an impotent nothing, reduces his capacity to fight the Islamic Fundamentalists who we are already supposedly fighting, and if they end up winning gifting them all of Assad’s arsenal, chemical, biological and normal, so they can say thanks for nothing you Infidel swine and turn it all round and use on us or more likely Israel.

    Nope. Stay the fuck out of it, sit on our hands and let the Middle East turn itself into rubble. That’s a win win situation, anything else is another nail the the West’s coffin.

  21. Edward Lud says:

    Ok, I’m going to lob a smallish Mills bomb into what seems to me to be the increasing consensus among libertarians that the foreign adventures of the last few years have been wrong in principle and the more so in practice. In saying the following, I’m accepting that we don’t live in a libertarian world where armed forces exist if they exist at all only for national self-defence; the fact is we have armed forces that are capable of being deployed elsewhere in the world. In those circumstances, what is the appropriate reaction to tinpot thugs?

    So my starting point in considering the moral angle is: what if I heard my neighbour properly duffing up his missus? Well, I live in England and we have a police force, so I’d call the rozzers. Give them a statement if necessary. What if I saw it happening in the street? Well, if I was alone, I’d intervene to the best of my ability – even if that meant, because of the gorilla’s size, merely calling the rozzers and making the oaf aware that I was filming him on my ‘phone.

    In neither situation would I do nothing. I’m aware that violence is being used on someone who cannot defend themselves and I take the view that it would be cowardly and wrong to close my ears and eyes to the fact.

    Translating this to the world stage is obviously problematic, I accept that. The stakes are higher, there are third party imponderables, the rights and wrongs of a conflict may not be as clear-cut, and the resource cost can be vast. Yet we are aware, as never before, if the defenceless (or the relatively defenceless) are being savaged. If a thug government 200 years ago decided to butcher a portion of its citizenry, we’d hear about it, if we heard about it at all, months after it was too late to matter.

    Yet, applying the neighbour analogy above, is it not reprehensible, where we become aware of innocents being slaughtered, to ignore it?

    Of course i realise that there are groups in the Syrian conflict which are equally undesirable. And Kissinger’s observation on the Iran-Iraq war that “it’s a pity they can’t both lose” is attractive. But there’s no police force to call, and civilians are being deliberately killed.

    Now it maybe that the best answer is, rather than active military intervention, both to arm those relatively less armed in Syria and to allow a period of blood-letting under the principle of equality of arms in the hope that from this emerges a polity sufficiently exhausted and appalled by internecine conflict that it does a bit of growing up. I don’t know. Nor do I claim that the military adventures of the last few years have yielded mainly positive results.

    But I do claim that watching the slaughter of the defenceless, and trying to to do nothing to counter it, is indefensible. In other words, there is a moral case for intervention. And the only argument against this that I can think of is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Not that that’s a trivial argument, mind. But it concerns the difference between ethics and practice: if the mixed and sometimes bad results of recent interventions send a message, it’s not that the moral case for intervention was misguided, but that it’s implementation was lacking in some way.

    And as for Bismark, he may not have wanted to waste a Pomeranian grenadier, but he was also aware that the great questions of his day would be settled by “blood and iron”. Assuming I’d seek him out for ethics lessons rather than for a correspondence course in realpolitik.

  22. Mr Ed says:

    Edward, if there is a moral case for intervention, then why not permit cruise missiles to be fired by public subscription? As long as the donors, as belligerents, were identified, and open to reprisal, rather than those living in particular states, it would satisfy those who wish to remain apart from war.

    What if any missile kills innocents? Is that not manslaughter or murder?

    All those who wish to fight for or against Assad could always take a trip to join up, but it might not turn out well.

    I do not see any moral imperative to help either side, nor those caught in-between, those facing evil who dislike it should fight it, not expect me to pay for missiles to rain down on their foes.

  23. NickM says:

    RAB, Edward,
    Much food for thought. Too much for a comment.

  24. Thornavis. says:

    I have just come back briefly to comment on this, as I am trying to wean myself off the commenting habit, to say thank you for this Nick it’s quite brilliant. It sums up everything I would like to say if I had the facility with the written word ,that you do, a fine blend of passion and rational argument, your demolition of Blair’s nonsense is masterful. As for Bestrides the world like a colostomy bag, I’m going to steal that, lock it in my hidden
    safe and bring it out to show guests on special occasions.

    The other comments are good too.

  25. John Galt says:

    I think the usual political shenanigans and spinelessness from the parliamentary invertebrates gave us the right result in the Syria debate (for a change).

    No doubt the Cobbletion will now spin up the hyperbole to get a “correct” vote, aligned as we are as lapdogs to the great Satan. The fact that non-action on Syria pretty much covers the political spectrum of the UK taxpayer is irrelevant to the political machinery and will be ignored after parliament has spoken with its true voice (i.e. the result David Cameramong wants).

    Give me conviction politicians every time, because at least then it says “Warmongering loon” on the outside as well as within.

  26. RAB says:

    The vote was a cock up of complacency and not something we should be awarding brownie points to our Pols for. That potato faced twat iDave thought he’d walk it, so the Whips wern’t whipping very hard. Ten Tories apparently didn’t even bother to return from their holidays, and two were having a fag on the terrace and didn’t hear the division bell. It was only lost by 13 votes for fuck’s sake! A bit more political application and we would be going to war again for no credible purpose or result whatsoever.

    How many more times does it have to be pointed out, that Politicians are a species unto themselves, and don’t give a flying fart what we the Electorate want or feel.

  27. John Galt says:

    RAB – I’m not in the game of “…awarding brownie points to our Pols…”, having unutterable contempt for them to the ending of the world. All I am pointing out is that Cameramong’s monumental arrogance and incompetence are a bad mix and this is a perfect example of it.

    Although the proles and the pols are temporarily aligned I don’t expect this situation to last for long. As with EU referenda, the vote will be forced again with plenty of twisting of arms until the “correct” result is obtained in the form of a vote for military action against Syria.

    Cameramong is following in the poodle shaped footprints of Tony B. Lair after all.

  28. RAB says:

    I didn’t mean you personally John, or anyone else associated with this site. It’s just that listening to Any Questions and the pundits in general, you get the meme that this was a victory for Democracy when it wasn’t. It was a badly managed bit of theatre that iDave thought a foregone conclusion.

    The dumb asshole can’t even get the Black Arts of political manipulation right, that’s how friggin useless he is.

  29. John Galt says:

    I never imagined you did RAB as we share similar political instincts from the same cynical roots. What we are observing is not real, but just an apparent alignment of the stars in the favour of reality, it will be both brief and illusory.

    Our political masters will have their way despite our opposition, this is just a temporary setback on the road to Stalingrad.

    If this is theatre, it is the “Théâtre de l’Absurde”, a fitting end for the politics of corruption and contempt.

  30. Mike Mellor says:

    I’m with John Galt on the patriotism thing. In other words we are both as PINC as you can get. Patriotism, nationality and citizenship are things to be ashamed of.

    There do seem to be occasions where wringing hands is not the honourable option. Churchill (Winston S) put his hands to work to get rid of Adolf, Benito and Tojo.

    Saddam Hussein was not the kind of person you would invite for dinner. In my opinion he needed to go as desperately as Hitler did.

    The Coaltion won the Iraq war and lost the occupation. Read Tim Collins “Rules of Engagement” to learn how the Americans ignored all the hearts-and-minds lessons that the British had learned in Northern Ireland.

    Before you read further I advise you to sit down. Imagine that McCain/Palin had won in 2008… and then won re-election in 2012. But fortunately when determining the correct course of action we don’t have to furrow our brows and ask ourselves, “What would McCain do?” because (in between games of electronic poker) he’s not been shy to voice an opinion.

    There’s a legal maxim that hard cases make bad law. Syria’s a tough one. The government in power seems to be as bad as the rebels, although we’ll never know for sure who’s better because the media have trampled all over the crime scene and, often deliberately, contaminated the evidence. In between the rock and the hard place live millions of ordinary people just like me and perhaps like you, provided you’re as sane and emotionally well-adjusted as I am. The only way to sort out the situation is to go in and decorate the lamp poles with anyone who even resembles a combatant.

    Gung ho gung ho pray for war. ~ toast in an officer’s mess of the USMC.

  31. Paul Marks says:

    I remember Iraq.

    I did not support the war, but I do accept the Americans won the “Surge”. And, yes, they got some Muslims to fight on their side (something I had not expected and was surprised by).

    Before Obama decided to give Iraq to Iran – the Occupation could be counted as a (very costly) victory.

    As for the British – the British arrived in Basra in 2003, but never seemed to have made any real effort to hold it. Driven out of the centre of town, the British made a new base near the airport.

    As for “hearts and minds” – my “Uncle Bill” (who served in this areas back in the 1930s) would have had a few words about that. Respect (based on force) and temporary alliances (with various groups of Muslims against other Muslims) yes – “hearts and minds” no (that is a fantasy).

    By the way, Colonel Collins, it does not work in Ulster either (as you should admit – being an Ulsterman).

    What worked in Ulster were the old “B Specials” which London insisted be abolished. Much later infiltrating the IRA worked to – although London did not take advantage of this to destroy the IRA (as they could have done), instead their is the “Peace Process” – with the government of Ulster (more and more) being run by the IRA (Sein Fein) and their Civil Service allies (such as the BBC).

    Someone is either in one tribe or the other tribe in Ulster – “hearts and minds” is fantasy.

  32. Mr Ed says:

    Mike M. If I recall correctly, the British Army’s ‘hearts and minds’ approach includes Bloody Sunday, killing a hotel receptionist in Basra, fleeing to the aiport and leaving Basra until the Iraqi ‘charge of the knights’ kicked out the militias, and wearing berets instead of helmets on patrol, the beret brainwave might have been in Afghanistan. The ‘beret’ idea was to show that they were happy to take shrapnel in the head on patrol, so that they weren’t perceived as a threat. That might explain why they also patrolled in the main in jeeps and vehicles that offered about as much blast protection as go-karts.

    The success of Malaya as not been replicated.

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