Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

Was it worth it?

We go to war for reasons. For resources, for land, for the hell of it. Sometimes for the very survival of civilization.

The last is the only one I fully back. Now Saddam was vile bastard beyond all possible redemption. Am I sad that he isn’t walking this goodly Earth? No. But…

Iraq (twinned with Iran and Irate) is planning to allow 8 year old girls to get married and also to abolish marital rape.

Nigh on 5000 US personnel have died* for the great task of enabling the freedom of preverts in Iraq to shag girls who haven’t had their first menstrual period. Eight year old girls want to play with dollies** and Lego and stuff. In my country (and the US and all the others) if you have sex with an eight year old girl you go to jail. You get put in the Sir Jimmy Saville Memorial Wing for a very long time. Rightly so.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a pacifist. If my land was under threat you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming from the seat of a Typhoon fighter. And, well everywhere I go I visit war memorials. I know my family members have killed and died so basically I can mooch around Europe without a rifle and bayonet. Now that was an appalling cost but it achieved something worthwhile. The legalisation of rape and kiddie-fiddling is not such a cause. It is not one for me or any right thinking person to get their boots on for.

And what right-minded person wants to have sex with a girl that age anyway? Utter sick bastards. They require treatment. I prescribe two spoons and a rusty farming implement. I mean if you don’t and can’t regard the man or woman you have sex with as an equal with absolute agency then what is the point?

We have enabled utter barbarism at the cost of billions of dollars and thousands of lives either wiped out or maimed.

Or to misquote from the end speech at the end of the movie “300″, “We haven’t – at enormous financial, material and human cost singularly failed to ‘rescue a World from mysticism and tyranny’”.

*And a load of Brits and others and God knows how many wounded. And I have recently been watching Prince Harry taking a team of wounded soldiers across the Antarctic. Good on the fella but the wounds are tragic. On folks so young. It is heartbreaking.

**There is a very specific reason I mention this. Aisha was 8 when married to the middle-aged Muhammed.


  1. Paul Marks says:

    In the case of both German and Italy a long established civilisation (I say civilisation not “nation” – as both Germany and Italy were historically many countries) had been overtaken by a few brief years of totalitarianism.

    So restoring the previous civilisation was perfectly possible – and the United States (and allies) did just that.

    Even in the case of Japan – “State Shinto” was not actually ancient at all. Shrine Shinto (nature worship) and Buddhism were the main religions of Japan – with a militant totalitarian ideology essentially INVENTED only a few decades before the Second World War.

    To restore the old Japan (where most people were peaceful) was again perfectly possible.

    Iraq (like Afghanistan) is part of the Islamic world – the neo cons thought they could treat the place as if it was Germany, Italy or Japan after World War II, and they were utterly wrong.

    Iraq has not been dominated by a depraved and vicious ideology for a few years – it has been dominated by a depraved and vicious ideology for many CENTURIES.

    “Islamic civilisation achieved wonderful things” – is the line that the media (and academia) come out with, but they massively over egg the pudding. And they also distort what Mohammed actually taught (and did).

    Many nice people have been born Muslim – but Mohammed himself was not nice (not nice at all).

    When a Christian does terrible things (and many have) he betrays Jesus, when a Muslim does terrible things – he simply does what Mohammed did. That evil (the evil of Mohammed) can always reappear – because it is at the base (the foundation) of the culture.

    As for Iraq.

    Even if one went back to Iraq 500 years ago what would find?

    A land of war – between the Sunni (Ottoman) Empire and the Shia (Persian) Empire.

    Rather like now.

    The “wonders of Bagdad” ?

    Massively exaggerated – and they ended in 1258 (when the Mongols took the city).

    Trying to restore a civilisation that was crushed in 1258 (and was never really as wonderful as the BBC and the universities pretend anyway) was a bit mad.

    Iraq was a land of savage tribes and clans even when my “Uncle Bill” served there in the 1930s.

  2. As for using reason in theological and moral matters – in a way that trumps both tradition and the literal meaning of the text. Well Caliph Mamum (he of the “Golden House of Knowledge”) of 813-833 was a supporter of this view – indeed he used rather harsh means to try and enforce it (not good).

    There wad a reaction against this view after his death (the new Caliph was not his son – it was his half brother who enforced his will with Turkish slave-soldiers, thus bringing in the Turks into the heart of the Islamic world).

    So the decline of the age of reason and science in Islam does not start in 1258 (with the sack of Baghdad) it starts 833 – with the death of Caliph Mamum.

    The idea that reason trumps tradition or the literal meaning of the words of the Koran is considered utterly evil now in Islam, and was a thousand years ago.

    So the necons (in 2003) were trying to bring back a view of Islam that (if it fully existed at all – remember that even Caliph Mamum had his dark side) that had been in decline since 833 AD.

    Do you see why I think the project was a bit mad?

  3. What the specific point about which Caliph Mamum set up an Inquisition to enforce (by force)? And which Caliph Al Mutawakkil (847 – 861) gave up trying to enforce?

    The idea that the Koran was created (thought up by human beings at a certain time).

    It is a common place among Christians and Jews that different bits of the Bible were written by different people at different times – “divinely inspired” no doubt, but still humans writing different things at different times.

    That would be denounced as a “Mu’tazila” view in Islam – the mainstream view (for more than a thousand years) has been quite different.

    The mainstream Islamic view is (and has been for more than a thousand years) that the Koran is “uncreated”.

    I.E. that it was created by God (not people) and has existed since the start of the universe – even though (it one actually reads the thing) it clearly just Mohammed saying stuff (and pretending it is some Angel telling him) which other men write down much later.

    Right so we are going to establish rationality among people who think that every word of the Koran is the direct will of God – not of PEOPLE trying to interpret God’s will and often getting it wrong (which is what the Bible actually is) and contradicting each other.

    Well good luck with that, utterly hopeless, task.

    The Muslims can always reply (as they did against the Talmudic Jews of Arabia) RAISE YOUR HAND.

    Raise your hand – take your hand off the bits off scripture that are utterly horrible – read them out and ENFORCE them.

    So sorry, the neocon project, was always doomed. – it depends on Muslims accepting that the Koran is NOT the direct word of God.

    And they are not going to do that.

  4. NickM says:

    Paul, interesting stuff. For me it goes back to the idea that “Allah’s hand is not fettered” which came about nigh on a millennium ago (it is in the Qu’ran). What that means is that unlike other civs the Islamic one abandoned the idea that even Allah was bound by logic at all. So the Islamic Golden Age (which I don’t think is exactly over-rated – it was more they were admirably good at being magpies and borrowing). It leads directly to “Inshallah fatalism”.

    And yes Germany, Italy and Japan had “moments of madness” which is not the same thing. The great achievement of WWII was to give them a dry slap and for them to go on to build basically decent and successful nations. Until Afghanistan build a camera to rival my Sony Alpha 55 they can sod off. I recall reading hideous things about the place. And I mean recently but if you know the Holmes stories Dr Watson had a torrid time as a British Army doctor there. It is a terrible thing to say (or even think) but some places are just dreadful. I mean the Intel CPU’s I use in phones and computers are largely designed in Israel. When Intel feels the need to relocate to Kandahar or Basra I shall listen.

    A British soldier was casevaced from the ‘stan have suffered a mental breakdown. He’d been told to win hearts and minds and his patrol took him past a teenage lass and he chatted (this was back in the days of soft hats and giving sweets out a few years back). He thought he was winning the “soft war”. One day on patrol she wasn’t there. She was killed for fraternising with an infidel. He lost it. There was no,, BTW,, suggestion of anything sexual. He’d just been giving sweets and chatting to a kid he’d struck-up a friendship with. Those were his orders. The girl was killed for “honour”. He suffered a mental collapse.

  5. John Galt says:

    Islam is fucked-up and at some point we’re either going to have to take the same approach as we did with the Thuggee and wipe out their horrific paedophile worshipping death cult or leave the earth behind and go out and colonise the universe.

    Fuck it – lets do both! :-)

  6. oldfossil says:

    I don’t quite get the point of this post. Iraq was a fuckedup nation pre-Dubya, so its relapse to that condition is hardly remarkable, if indeed it could be said ever to have lifted itself from ignominy at any time in the last twelve years.

  7. John Galt says:

    @Old fossil:

    Ultimately it was hyped as a new Jerusalem, the USA were going to roll into Baghdad with the marines do a regime change and roll-out leaving a shiny new democracy behind them with Iraqis watching sports on their imported 46″ TV’s and polishing their imported Chevy Blazers, while flogging their oil to Americans who all make nice profits and big political contributions

    This polished turd vision was the pig-in-a-poke that Dick Cheney and his cronies flogged to George W. Bush, that and finishing the job his daddy failed to see through first time around.

    You’re not surprised that Iraq remains the same shithole tinpot dictatorship that its been with small variations since the 8th Century? Neither am I, but importantly the USA has pissed away a fair percentage of US GDP chasing Cheney & Co’s dark illusion.

    The point is “Cui bono?” as Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla always said

    Who benefits?

    …because I know it wasn’t me…

  8. John it was not a “dark” illusion – it was a bright shiny illusion. Full of sunshine and lollipops. Hard to think of Dick Cheney that way – and he was actually rather hard to win over (Blair believed in the idea of a Democratic Iraq long before Dick Cheney did).

    It is really sad that it (the idea of a liberal [in the old sense] Middle East) was an illusion.

    I am not being sarcastic – I actually mean that it was sad. It would have been better (for everyone) had it not been an illusion.

  9. John Galt says:

    Quite correct, mixing up my Straussian “Noble Lies” with the “Dark Illusions” of Richard Pipes and Team B. All very Machiavellian anyway.

    Just can’t see Cheney flogging dreams of sunshine and lollipops, something deeply repellent about that man, even though we probably agree on most things.

  10. Tim Newman says:

    This polished turd vision was the pig-in-a-poke that Dick Cheney and his cronies flogged to George W. Bush, that and finishing the job his daddy failed to see through first time around.

    Hmmmm. The original plan was to kick out Saddam Hussein – something that very much needed doing, IMO – but they were consistent in saying they were not interested in nation-building. Certainly, Donald Rumsfeld wasn’t. The original plan was that Jay Garner would do just enough reconstruction to hold snap elections and then get the hell out, but somehow this was changed and Paul Bremner was brought in to do wholesale reconstruction. The enormous shift in aims went largely unnoticed amid the post-war chaos of Iraq, and if we had a half decent media we might have been told the reasons for it, but when the dust finally settles and the memoirs are written we’ll find out who pushed for this and why. But I think it’s a bit unfair to blame Cheney and his cronies for selling Bush the idea of democracy in Iraq, I think they were mainly interested in 1) getting rid of Saddam Hussein followed quickly by 2) getting their army out of Saudi Arabia and into Qatar.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: