Monday, December 31, 2001
Happy New Year

And now my new year question, does anyone know how I can enable discussion on the web log entries? E-Mail me with suggestions.

Margolis caught out

Eric Margolis has just penned a piece "India, Pakistan Rattle Their Nukes" in which he claims that:

Hindu fundamentalists, led by Home Minister L.K. Advani and Defence Minister George Fernandes, are beating the war drums.

Great stuff, except that George Fernandes is a Catholic.

And look at the comment at the end of the Margolis piece!
Free Republic Feedback

OK some feedback from Free Republic. One chap is rather annoyed at the restrictions placed on shoe wearers at airports, a second appreciates a comment I made on guns and the third uses the opportunity to complain about, claiming that I'm a pseudo-Marxist and pacifist (not guilty on both counts M'Lord).

There's also a couple of comments on my screed on the Government increasing Britain's vulnerability to terrorism. And an unappreciative audience for my piece "Get Our Boys out Now", although nothing like the feedback I got directly. Some intelligent "you're just a bunch of commies" remarks on my report of the Parliamentary debate on the war.
Who said this?

Indeed, because we share the euro with our neighbours in Europe, our money will be a true catalyst for integration, and is helping to build a community enriched by our diversity of cultures and strengthened by our common values of democracy and individual opportunity.

or this:

You know that one side of the banknotes depicts the windows of a society open to the world. And the other side of the banknotes shows the bridges of a community of people working together with their neighbours, both inside and outside Europe.

It's Wim Duisenberg the President of the European Central Bank, giving a speech at a rather Orwellian awards ceremony for children who had been best indoctrinated to love the Euro.

This man's a Central Banker for God's sake, not a third rate vicar on a slow Friday afternoon. No wonder the exchange rate loses ground against the Uzbeck rouble with this sentimental fool in charge.
Bennett's Petard

I've been directed (by Iain Murray) to the indefatigable Jim Bennett's latest "Anglosphere" column in which he praises web logs. Saith Mr Bennett:

This pan-Anglosphere aspect to blogspace has permitted a much richer, closer and more critical examination of precisely who is saying what. The typical chattering class anti-Americanism of, say, the Guardian or The Nation is raked through point by point and torn to shreds within hours of publication.

All well and good, but in the previous sentence he says:

For every link to, say, the English edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, there are hundreds to the London Evening Telegraph or the Times.

As any Londoner would be able to tell their fellow Anglospheracist Mr Bennett, there is a London Evening Standard (very rarely with London appended) and a Daily Telegraph (only called the London Telegraph outside the UK), but no London Evening Telegraph.

Sorry, I just could not resist.

Pakistan and India, yet again

My developing obsession with the India - Pakistan stand off is getting me to wonder what the Anglosphere angle is. The Anglosphere is the idea that Britain and America share so much that we should forget strategic interests and look at shared cultural references as the basis for foreign policy or as Mr Bennett says "that the English-speaking nations of the globe constitute a community possessing a natural basis for cooperation on a wide range of issues". It is, as I will be the first to admit, the hot new foreign policy idea on the right in Britain rather than the "crackpot realism" that I wail on about.

Any way, both India and Pakistan have some claim to be within the Anglosphere. After all English is their de facto national language, more then Punjabi or Hindi. They both have a considerable amount of British civic infrastructure and through their substantial emigre communities they have strong living links with many of the "White Commonwealth" (plus the US) that forms the core of the Anglosphere.

So if culture beats geography in national interest, should we back India or Pakistan; or are neither fully within the Anglosphere?
India and Pakistan Redux

Another point on India and Pakistan. Doesn't it seem to some of you that the reason that both sides are getting closer to the brink than usual is that they both think that they can get American support? Pakistan because a grateful America may wish to repay Pakistan for its pivotal role in the Afghan adventure, and India because it is fighting terrorism in exactly the same way as America - by punishing the harbourers of terrorists.

Of course America doing nothing in the event of a conflict will help India, because Pakistan is obviously relying on Uncle Sam, and so whatever the US does if shooting breaks out it is helping one side in the conflict. Justin Raimondo has a typically acerbic piece on this very conflict.

Today's article

Little feedback (alright no feedback) on today's article "The Lessons of Richard Reid". Forget peacekeepers and nation-building, terrorism is a domestic problem. Agree or disagree, either way let me know and I will publish your thoughts. Well, put your thoughts on this web log, which isn't quite the same thing as publish, as the public will hardly be aware of your opinions.

Hit parade

Greetings to the Aussie who got to my site by looking for "airport equip".

Before I go I would also point you towards the usage stats for Free Britannia. I refered 47 viewers to them (28+19 they have my stats in two different places). Not a massive amount, agreed, but bigger than the 3 who came here from their site. One of the reasons they banned me was because they were agrieved that I publicised the debates. Looks like they could have done with the traffic.

Sunday, December 30, 2001
The Guardian makes sense - shock

The article that has the left wing talk boards buzzing with indignation. Larry Elliot, economics editor of the Guardian, denounces the Euro. And then there's this piece on how the Euro will provoke allergic reactions in the one in seven who react to nickel. Apparantly the Euro really will make you ill.
Another one

James Alexander McLintock is being held on suspicion of having links with Al Qaeda. What is this thing about people with Scottish names and extremist Muslim outfits?

Is it something to do with oil?
No nonsense or too boring for words?

Any comments on the new layout?

One comment from me - you'd never know how much work it takes to look as boring as this.

What a wag

George Fernandes the Indian defence minister sure is a wag. In an interview with the Hindustan Times he comes out with this couple of gems.

On a possible escalation of war:

We could take a strike, survive and then hit back. Pakistan would be finished.

and this on troop morale:

In fact, something that actually bothers them is that things might now reach a point where one says there is no war.

He peppers the speech with reasonable sounding statements (including, to be fair, the first statement above which is surrounded by predictions that there will not be nuclear war) however the two statements above give the impression that the Indian government wants a war far more than the Pakistanis.

War Fever

It seems that Indian public opinion is behind this as all the parties have pledged their support. The stock is sold, the press is squared, the Middle Class is quite prepared.

Which brings another interesting question on British attitudes towards the confrontation, what if it goes nuclear?

And the obvious answer is, so what? It will matter little for the strategic situation in the British Isles, which is after all where we live, if either India or Pakistan is weakened.

Yes, it will be an unspeakable human tragedy, although I notice far less concern for those who died in the monsoons in Orisa or the earthquake in Gujarat. For that matter any death toll from a nuclear exchange is unlikely to rival the estimated five million who died during the partition of the Indian Raj in 1948.

If the people of India or Pakistan want to stop putting themselves at risk of war then surely it should be up to them, and not Western governments, to tell their rulers this.

On to Baghdad

The fact is that non-proliferation is now a dead letter, which is not to say that it was a bad idea, but stopping the spread of scientific knowledge and technical ability can only ever be a stop gap. We now live in a multi-nuclear world, and we have to try to come to terms with this (something that Bush, with his Missile Defence shield, is at least trying).

And so on to another question, Iraq. "What could be worse" they ask "than Saddam having the bomb". Well a whole lot if you're talking about the British. Last time I looked at a map Britain was not in the Middle East. If I was in Israel then I would worry, and Israel has every right to destroy any nuclear programme. But we are not in Israel. Or do I repeat myself?

Iain Murray has highlighted an article in the Times on the best king of England. I hate to say "me too" but I'm in agreement on the no-nonsense Henry VII, a good example of how modernisation (ending feudalism) can work - and a man who saw war as a waste of money.

Far better than the jumped up Colonel Cromwell with his needless wars and Henry's spendthrift, schismatic and self-indulgent son.
Saturday, December 29, 2001
More evidence that Charles Kennedy is doing Iain Duncan Smith's job, when he against an attack on Iraq:

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has warned against any strikes on Iraq in the absence of concrete evidence of its involvement in the 11 September attacks.

IDS's performance has been fairly good so far, especially on Ulster and Europe, it is just that his stance on the war seems to more closely mirror the ravings of a couple of the more unbalanced Think-Tankies in Washington rather than a balanced assesment of the national interest. Getting us into another stage of the war will do us no good.
With this India-Pakistan standoff still inching ahead what happens if there is a war?

Firstly what about our boys over in Afghanistan? They are to be deployed in five cities, including the predominantly Pashtun cities of Kandahar, Herat and Jalalabad. What happens if the US don't take Pakistan's side? The Pakistanis sided with the US because (1) they didn't want to be walloped and (2) they wanted American help. If (1) happens anyway and (2) doesn't then happen, what would a sinister ISI chap with links to Pashtun warlords do? Realpolitik would suggest an about face.

The idea that the Pakistani military and intelligence are just a bunch of cowering Mummy's boys awed by a superpower might totally ignores the role they played in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

The best hope (apart from Pakistan and India not coming to blows), is that the troops will take a while to be deployed.

Another interesting point is the effect this will have on mixed Asian areas like Southall or Leicester. A couple of inter-ethnic riots could do wonders for the vote of the fascist BNP, at a time when they are aiming to win council seats in various parts of the country in May next year. This will be a nasty development.
There they go again

Is there anything good about the EU? First they want to force all of Eastern Europe to allow abortion, and now they want to shut down a million small Polish farms.

EU officials say Polish farms like the Wojcik's are inefficient, unsanitary, and perpetuate poverty. EU agricultural policy requires that Poland modernize and restructure its farming sector over the next eight months. That means instituting regulations that would keep the Wojciks from selling their produce and push more than a million farmers off their land. But most Polish farmers are saying no, fearful that they will end up as an even poorer class of urban unemployed.

"The communists tried to force us off of our land in the 1950s and they failed," Mrs. Wojcik says, her face breaking into a crinkly smile. "We are staying. This is the only life we know and it suits us fine. Who are those politicians to say our farm is too poor?"

Will this be the next crusade? Sam Francis starts (and thankfully stops) playing the war drums on Zimbabwe.

Lest there be any doubt where the government stands on Northern Ireland Peter Mandelson, Blair's mouthpiece has proclaimed the IRA as 'freedom fighters'. He then tries to say that Al Qaeda is not oin the same catagory as the IRA because they don't have political aims. Eh?

So why do they plot and plan and die, because they just randomly hate the west?

Friday, December 28, 2001
Shock. Terrorism at home

Does Welfare Cause Terrorism, asks Mickey Kaus. Surely there can't be a domestic angle to terrorism?

How to work my links

I have finally got the links working on this web log, which means that you can reference to individual entries.

How to link

At the end of this little piece you will see a link which will show the time like this:


To be able to reference this article in your own web page, or to send a reference to your friends simply click on this link with your right hand mouse button and choose copy shortcut. You can then paste the shortcut on to your web page or e-mail at will.

From now on you will be able to reference all these insane ramblings.

Video Nasty

Bin Laden's latest video has been pored over endlessly for its various gestures, I'm fascinated by what I think has been a change in content:

Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people.

Why not his usually insistent inclusion of American troops in Saudi Arabia or the blockade of Iraq?

Does anyone know where a full translation of this broadcast is?

It is interesting that the collapse of American power is not seen as an end in itself (as we are constantly being told) but as a means to an end:

It is important to hit the economy (of the United States), which is the base of its military power...If the economy is hit they will become preoccupied.

Forget hating the West, the real gripe is that America is the roadblock on the way to Islamicist domination of the Middle East

Another random comment. Isn't the tone of the jihadists similar to some of the armchair generals. Osama says the West hates Islam. Horowitz says Islam hates Western freedom. It seems easy for us in the West to scoff at the idea that we are going in to kill off Islam, we know its preposterous. Yet why do we find it perfectly plausible to think that the Islamicists did what they did due to an irrational hatred of Western freedom?

Are limited strategic goals the sole property of the west, discovered somewhere between perspective in painting and moveable printing type?

India and Pakistan

Now that they are edging closer to war, doesn't it feel great that we may have 1000 odd British peacekeepers close to the first direct war between nuclear armed states?

A good analysis of this is from Stratfor.

The EU have put out a list of groups they regard as terrorists. No surprise that the IRA is not included, but a bit of a surprise that the Ulster Defence Association are. Aren't they still on a precarious ceasefire?

On another tack, the EU will be insisting that East European applicants legalise abortion. What this has to do with the free movement of goods, persons and money escapes me. However, it is a handy reminder that there is no wickedness that the EU will not endorse. No one, it seems, has told the Catholic church in Poland - who are rushing to bless the EU.

Finally a nice little web log, Eurotrash, which is chronicling the introduction of the Euro. As they say:

EUROTRASH is devoted to chronicling this historic leap and the ensuing chaos. We don't care about macroeconomic theory. We just want to know if the Coke machines are still going to work.

One particular item of interest is about delivery trucks for the new money being immune from road laws.
Scared of logic

To those few of you who have been following the "Free" Britannia saga, they've finally had too much and banned me. Brits, it seems, can be preached to but should not speak out of turn. A couple of people have started asking questions, one asking why he keeps on having his messages altered, and another person has started asking questions about the holy of holies - the Special relationship.

I'm not saying that the moderators of a bulletin board should not have the power to ban posters, or specific posts. I do find it bad manners when they do it without stating their policy, but the neo-conservative cuckoos in the right wing nest were never the politest people. What does rankle me is when they claim to be British when they are not, when they claim to believe in Free Speech when they don't and when they claim to be right wing when in fact they are just big government utopians with blue rosettes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

This from an irate reader:

Thanks for the ANTIAMERICAN COMMENT your timing over Christmas is perfect! You're somewhat of a HYPOCRITE for using this "American run forum" (yahoo). UP YOUR BUCKET!

What does that last expression mean?

And this from someone who seems to actually miss my commentary:

Since last weeks announcement that Britain would send armed peacekeepers to Afghanistan (with rifles that don't work). I have been waiting with trepidation to hear your commentary on this development and why, or why not, such a move should be viewed with skepticism or contempt by the isolationists. So far I've either missed any editorials on this subject or there hasn't been any. If the latter is the case then please consider this topic worthy of comment, I look forward to seeing your views in print at Airstrip one
Tuesday, December 25, 2001
I know it's Christmas, but before I forget I've been told by one of the Yanks who runs Free "Britannia" that I'm "skating on really thin ice with this blurb on your home page" he refers of course to posting verbatim some public criticism of me.

Oh, and they locked another post - this time not waiting for any argument. 3-0, the crowd goes wild.

I suppose that "skating on very thin ice" will mean that they will not be pleased if anyone points out that for a British bulletin board they have almost twice as many posts on America than Britain. Fair enough, they're from America, but what is really puzzling is why there's more posts on Israel than on the UK.

Happy Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2001
Now I find it is thanks due to Brian Linse for paying for my blog. He's even linked to me, despite the fact that I'm on the other side of the spectrum to him. He runs an uncomfortable site for Conservatives.

Thanks Brian.

A great piece from Matthew Parris, who lampoons faux conservatives who want us to spread ourselves around our old colonies for old times sake. Get emotional, he says, just don't pretend its conservatism. Conservatism is about the national interest and that alone.

Although I tend to think self determination is important (if the residents don't want us in then we should have a good reason for staying) and I think that Northern Ireland will be a nightmare if we hand it over to the South without giving the Ulstermen a chance to run their own show, I give it 8 out of 10.
They don't like it up 'em

The Yanks over at Free Britannia really don't like criticism:

Openly bragging and encouraging others on different boards to come over and watch you play your dirty tricks is the height of arrogance and stupidity.

So, let me give your friends a real good taste of what I think of you and your cowardly deceit. You, sir, and I use the term loosely, are dirt. You have a Death Wish as do all those of your ilk. You hate the very idea of freedom because you are too frightened to stand up for yourself and be a man. You're even too frightened to be a woman. You are a nonentity intent on spreading your insanity to the rest of us.

Your posts are not debates because you lie in each and every one of them. The truth to you is just a plastic tool to be used to justify your own ends. Your lack of honor, integrity, and morality doesn't matter to you in the slightest because you are dead within.

You are the lowest of the low, a zit, a pustule on the face of humanity.

I do hope that your friends read these words and take them to heart. Since you feel that you must perform for your audience on the Free Britannia stage, I will be happy to slap the clown make-up on you any time and skin you alive for fun and profit.

and just to make sure:

The last thread we locked on you was because of reader feedback. You bored everyone silly.

The reason why I'm locking this one is that you are a jerk.

So, this thread, like a previous one where they were on the run, has been closed. If I said 2-0 away they'd understand if they were actually British, but they think that football is a game for which you need body armour.
Gee, thanks.

A real Goldstein paid for my web log to lose its advert. Jeff Goldstein of protein wisdom did it and I never noticed. Thank you.
I suppose its fame of a sort. I've been positioned as blog worth reading number 175 on MIT's blogdex popular link index, with an awe inspiring 1.67 points. No I don't know what it means, but I'm right in there between Zapnet cards of Natal and an Ananova story about a man dressing up as a gnome twice a week. In their far more important "all-time link index" I come in at 22,512.
Thank You

To whoever removed the advertising from my site. I've been aware of this campaign to remove the adverts from web logs with good war reporting, and I didn't realise that all of them had been done and some poor sod had to remove my ads as well.

Please tell me who you are, and if you mind being publicly named.

Thank you also to Instapundit's Ken Booth for starting this series of random acts of kindness.

I suppose as a service to readers I'd better start to tidy my site up - if any one has any hints on what I should do, please let me know.
This is more or less what I sent out to the subscribers of my e-mail group:

I am not writing a column this week. If, however, you want to see my take on the events, you can try it on the Free Britannia forums, which despite the name is run by Americans - telling us Brits how we should think.

For a fine example of abuse in lieu of argument, check out here.

Another current example is a discussion on free trade.

This one is running out of steam, about the nature of Al Qada:

And finally, a bit dated, is the thread that they had to ban because they were losing the argument so decisively:

Have a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Please spare some time to think (and if so inclined, pray) for the victims of the 9-11.

Emmanuel Goldstein
Sunday, December 23, 2001
Thank you to Natalie Solent for linking to me as her "favourite antiwar blogger". My hits have gone up quite a bit. I also have to thank dawsonspeek and unablogger, who both link to me despite their more hawkish stances. It is impressive to see such openness to debate. Or is it just that I am such a bad debater that I couldn't argue my way out of a paper bag? Who knows.

On another minor note I've finally cut down the annoyingly long link so that it only shows the time. Thank you to all those of you who've complained about this. Please stop. Please.

I wonder what's going to happen over this little difference of opinion over Kashmir? The story so far:

India says two of its border guards have been killed by Pakistani troops in a clash in the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Pakistan, meanwhile, has accused the Indian authorities of kidnapping and torturing one of its diplomatic staff at its high commission in Delhi.

Despite its soap opera feel this is deadly serious. It seems that India is itching for war. What would America do then?

It seems to me that America owes Pakistan big time, but I wonder if the Americans really feel like taking on a nuclear armed regional power?

If America sits this out, it could lead to a revolution in this disafected nation - or at the least a realignment of the government. Blair may have gloated too soon about Pakistani stability.

However if America comes on Pakistan's side, God knows what sort of trouble America could brew up. At the very least it would probably lead India into the China-Russia axis that is coming together behind the smiles.
Saturday, December 22, 2001
Euro Question

Why does the punditocracy assume that people going to the Continent in the next year and a half and handling the Euro, probably 25% of the population, will make a difference to the outcome of the Euro referendum; yet the rioting, lack of pension payments and nationalisation of bank accounts following Argentina's single currency (remembered by probably 60% of the population, even if vaguely) experiment will have no effect?

It may be temporary, but it will make good copy for the No side when things come to a head. Imagine, picture of rioting populace, story of what happened in Argentina and a legend at the bottom:

Get the Euro ... lose your home

Or your pension, or your savings.

Even the Tories, let alone the more competent souls at New Europe could think of that.

What is the truth about this bombed convoy?

If it was full of Al Qaeda fighters, then why would (identifiable) tribal elders say it was full of other tribal elders? If it was full of tribal elders, why would the Pentagon insist on a line that will make them look like bare faced liars in two days time?

It seems to me that neither side has a stake in sticking to its story if not true. But one side is sticking to what is probably a lie.

There are of course two other explanations. One side may not know the full story, although how likely is that in reality? They're not journalists for God's sake. Both US intelligence and the elders' local knowledge is likely to give a good picture of what happened, at least after the event.

Alternatively they could have been both Taliban leaders and tribal elders. After all Pashtun elders are likely to have been Taliban leaders, or at least allies. However if they are no longer Taliban leaders and have switched sides (and if they were going to Kabul to see Kharzai sworn in, which is what this alternative would have presupposed, they did switch sides) then this would tend to confirm the tribal elders' position.

If I had to make a call, and I certainly don't feel confident doing so, I would say that the elders are probably right - and that the Americans made a mistake. If this is the case, do they know that they've made a mistake? Their intelligence must be good enough to have confirmed the real facts on the ground.

So if this is a deliberate lie, why do they continue with it? Probably panic rather than malice. Expect a quiet admission between 24 and 27 December. This may work in the West where the spin doctors honed their skill, but aren't they forgetting that the Muslim world doesn't celebrate Christmas?

As usual I hope I'm proved wrong.
Friday, December 21, 2001
A quick trip over to the Conservative Friends of Israel. It's easy to mock, so I'll take the easy route. It seems that all their contact numbers are now out of date (as they use the 0171 code for London) and the Treasurer of their parliamentary group, a certain Nick Hawkin, is no longer a parliamentarian.

It may be time to tell their webmaster, Adam Griffiths of Connect Support Services Ltd at to actually update the site every now and again.

Well it seems that the most powerful foreign policy lobby within the Conservative Party (more than half its MPs belong to it) is not as savvy as it likes to think.

On a connected point, of interest only to political junkies, did you know that Ken Clarke included John Butterfill as one of the "Eurosceptics for Ken", a man who in his own potted biography admits to being Chairman of the distinctly un-sceptical Conservative Group for Europe, a group he was involved with to a high level until 1995.

As far as I saw no one, including me, noticed this blatant lie on Ken's behalf.

As a service to all American supporters of Sinn Fein, this is what Gerry Adams really thinks of you. The IRA are not just amoral terrorists who like murdering civilians on the basis of ethnicity, they want world revolution too.

NORAID will still get the money in, though.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001
I won the argument. The Counterfeit conservatives on Free Britannia had to lock my topic as they were, um, losing the argument. Poor dears.
Another Blog mention, this time from the American neo con Lake Effect. Thanks chaps.
The House of Lord’s debate on Afghanistan is worth a look. Lord Guthrie was not as critical of the adventure as had been feted in the media. His last few lines were worth noting:

The defence programme was underfunded before 11th September. There is now a new commitment. Is there anything that can sensibly be given up now that we are involved in Afghanistan and the struggle against terrorism?

Priorities--particularly spending priorities--are always difficult. But we must avoid falling into the trap of becoming so mesmerised by Osama bin Laden and Al'Qaeda that other key parts of defence are neglected and underfunded and we are found unprepared when confronted by a new threat. For we live in dangerous times and we can be absolutely sure that new threats will appear.

And IDS's little intervention on the policing of Kabul is also worthy of note:

I thank the Prime Minister for his statement on the Laeken summit and his words on the proposed United Nations peacekeeping force. If I may, I shall address the issues around peacekeeping first, as they perhaps have the most immediate significance for our troops.

The Prime Minister is right to talk about the success of the coalition against the Taliban. Events are still going on and clearly it is too early to say that the coalition has been fully successful, but so far it has been a dramatic success. Throughout, I believe rightly, we have supported the objectives laid out by the Prime Minister and by the President, and we remain committed to those objectives.

Our United States partners are cautious about deploying their troops in a peacekeeping role, as they think that that may be inconsistent with much of what they are doing in search and destroy on the ground in southern Afghanistan. The Prime Minister knows that I have deep misgivings about British deployment on a peacekeeping mission such as he described. My misgivings are based particularly on the reality that we already have troops on the ground with the Americans carrying out search and destroy against remaining elements of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. What concerns me and, I think, the House is that elements of the Pushtun are still unhappy about the settlement, and that members of the Taliban will find an opportunity to pick a target in the peacekeeping process to get their own back.

It goes on, and it is worth reading.

Monday, December 17, 2001
Now we need an alliance with Russia. No matter that Russia is also worrying about its Far East. Is it really our business which language is spoken in Vladivostock?
Some speculation that America was planning to depose the Taliban before September 11.
Something on the roots of Islamic anger. Says that its pretty much a permanent situation, a result of wounded pride. Although they talk about Western arrogance, they really seem to get exercised when talking about what America is actually doing.
Fantastic piece, if two months old, from Justin Raimondo on how utterly useless most of the peace movement is.
Last week's article has sparked off a wide ranging discussion on the Free Britannia forum, among other things whether the Arabs hate us because we are free - and just what protection travelling British citizens should expect from the government.
A revolt

This is news, an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons, among other things:

calls on the Government to support an international inquiry about reported events at Mazar-e-Sharif during which serious abuses of international humanitarian law may have been committed

And the names on the list include such loyalists like Sion Simon (who used to write fawning reviews of Blair in the Telegraph). Times are probably not a changing.
Sunday, December 16, 2001
What are they playing at? Now they're bugging dissidents' phones!
Tora Bora's fallen (they say) and Al Qaeda's been flushed out. So where's Bin Laden?

On a more comic note, Paul Marsden shows that he's learned too well from New Labour toadying. And he was so much less toadying when he was within the party.
Praise to the BBC

I don't usually say that the BBC do a good piece of journalism outside the consumer realm, so I'll say it like a man and recommend a piece from On The Record on some of the various news stories covered up by Labour. As this web log, and its accompanying column try to highlight foreign policy news when they are below the normal radar, so it is only fair that I return the compliment on some domestic issues.
Doubts on the video

Apart from the first point, I think that the rest of this is rubbish. The point on the Arabic video was quite simple, it was a home video not intended for distribution and taken of Arabs, not locals. And on the lack of culpability, I think that this is a sophists point. The existence of Al Qaeda made this event possible, so its continued existence (and the continued liberty of its organisers) is a threat to the United States. However the first point is telling, I was always doubtful about the authenticity of the letters. Anyway I got this through an e-mail list:

A contradiction exists between Bin Ladin's "new video" and the letters of the hijackers. The new video claims to have "proof" that Bin Ladin did the attack, OK, but why does it say that he thought the hijackers did not know they were about to commit suicide? Did not the letters "uncovered" by the FBI from the "hijackers" luggage shortly after the WTC attack claim that they knew they were about to commit suicide? Therefore we have a contradiction, Bin Laden "claims" (on this new "video") that the hijackers did NOT know they were about to commit suicide, yet earlier a few weeks ago when the hijackers luggage was "discovered", letters were found which said the hijackers KNEW that they were going to commit suicide on the planes, why such a big discrepancy? Obviously the lies have reached such a point where they have got clumsy. Also, why was an ARABIC "video" found in Jalalabad where the people don't speak Arabic? If it was for distribution around the Arabic world then they'd at least find much more of these tapes, right? Another thing, this seems to me to be an attempt to further demonise Bin Ladin by saying that he "tricks" people to commit suicide, thus making more people in the Muslim world oppose him and some of the just causes he stands for. More more thing, if the people then explain this contradiction away as "lack of knowledge due to the cells being seperate", then how can Bin Ladin be blamed for organising this if he did not know what they were doing? Think about it, if these "terrorist" cells really don't know what each other is doing, then how can we blame Osama for the attacks? So, if the people explain the contradiction between Bin Ladin's video and the letters of the "hijackers" as due to the fact that these cells don't know what each other cell is doing, then we CANNOT blame Osama for "conceiving, organising and carrying out the attacks."
Saturday, December 15, 2001
Americans 'covered up massacre of 280 Taliban':

But one of the Afghan soldiers who took part in the fighting said yesterday that he was ordered to return to the airport a day after it was captured, where he says he helped bury the bodies of about 280 mostly Arab fighters. The soldier, who used the pseudonym Ahmad Gul to protect his identity, said the majority were killed by American bombs.
Will it get banned this time?

More than a year ago I had one of my columns struck off the "near beer" conservative British Right bulletin board. I've tried posting again on their succesor Free Britannia. Will they take me off again?

Are they more confident of their views?

Excellent Richard Littlejohn piece in The Sun:

ON Tuesday I wondered if the lives of British troops were being put on the line in Afghanistan for the sake of the Prime Minister’s vanity.

Now we know the answer. Yes. The only question now is whether Blair flies out to join them before Christmas.

Well, it started, some are doubting the authenticity of the "Bin Laden" tape. I don't know, I think that it would not be long for such a fake to come to the surface (or a high chance of it doing so).

However, the next couple of weeks could be interesting.

For what it's worth, my money is on it being genuine.
Friday, December 14, 2001
Weirdo Roundup

Is this guy for real? TODAY'S LETTER: An Odinist reader of the immigrationist restrictionist site VDARE writes in to complain about his treatment.

Any more topical weirdness on the net (especially relating to left and right extremists) please email me.
Birds of a White Feather

I know I shouldn't be looking, but Free Britannia, the bulletin board for British make-believe conservatives has some interesting Usage Stats. The number of references they get from Free Republic, the soon to be shut news napster, that FB tries to immitate.
After all the false starts, the Telegraph finally have some evidence, Alice Thompson says that Now no one can believe that Osama bin Laden didn't do it.

Indeed the (translated and edited) transcript does seem to link Bin Laden to the event.

Are there any opinions on the veracity of the translation or the reliability of the video evidence?
So, UK Mortgages are the cheapest in europe. There goes another advantage of Euro membership.
Big Words

From The Sun

TONY Blair was last night slammed for handing EU judges the power to arrest British citizens on trumped-up charges over laws which do not EXIST in the UK.

Will the super soaraway Sun do anything about it? 'Course not.

Meanwhile it seems like Berlusconni is using this arrest warrant in the war against the magistrates.
Thursday, December 13, 2001
Remember when?

Its not instant feedback, but its feed back nonetheless. On a piece I wrote in March 2000 on the demise of Living Marxism (which has since been relaunched as Spiked Online), I got this understandably miffed missive from a former comrade of the Revolutionary Communist Party:

It's all rather old hat now, but I had to laugh when I saw your 'the RCP told its followers to vote Tory' nonsense. As an ex-RCP supporter, it still amazes me what people will believe when it comes to the muck spreading of the old radical left. Let's imagine for a moment that the RCP did think it was a good idea to do such a thing. Well, with such a minuscule amount of followers, how could you make any noticeable difference to anyone's percentage of the vote?! The truth is that that the radical left was, almost without exception, wedded to the labourist tradition, whether they called themselves Trots or not. Hence when an organisation came along that, rather traditionally in fact (in the revolutionary sense), suggested that telling people to do what they were already doing (i.e. voting labour 'without illusions') was hardly the best way to promote a revolutionary alternative, they were castigated for being 'Tories'. It's a shame that arguing for a wholly independent political alternative was taken to be so controversial; indeed, it was considered so controversial that the space cadets on the left 'argued' that not voting labour was identical to voting Tory. Pathetic.

The CIA, eh? Anything different was characterised as a front for the British state by paranoid lefties. Incidentally, I was an anti-racist political activist for 5 years before I joined the RCP. I don't recall anything nutty about them whatsoever, and I have to say again, the idea that voting Tory as a tactic for 'bringing revolution closer' is so fantastic a notion that it beggars belief. The sectarian strife of the 1980s of course produced some bizarre rumours, but that really takes the biscuit. I have fond memories nevertheless of all kinds of, shall we say, eccentric behaviour on the radical left. My personal fave was a groupuscule called, I believe, the Spartacists standing in an underpass in Birmingham burning the American flag and shouting 'death to American Imperialism!' or some such like. Predictably, it terrified mums with toddlers passing by and invited the question from others, 'why do you hate Americans?'.

And this on their rumoured connection with the CIA:

The CIA, eh? Anything different was characterised as a front for the British state by paranoid lefties. Incidentally, I was an anti-racist political activist for 5 years before I joined the RCP. I don't recall anything nutty about them whatsoever, and I have to say again, the idea that voting Tory as a tactic for 'bringing revolution closer' is so fantastic a notion that it beggars belief. The sectarian strife of the 1980s of course produced some bizarre rumours, but that really takes the biscuit. I have fond memories nevertheless of all kinds of, shall we say, eccentric behaviour on the radical left. My personal fave was a groupuscule called, I believe, the Spartacists standing in an underpass in Birmingham burning the American flag and shouting 'death to American Imperialism!' or some such like. Predictably, it terrified mums with toddlers passing by and invited the question from others, 'why do you hate Americans?'.

Any way my apologies to the Revolutionary Communist Party and all members and past members.

It must be said that I'm fairly confident that they won't take me to court!

More on Russia

Bearing in mind Steve Sailer's warnings here's some more on Russia, from the National Review. Obviously the West, here should make common cause with Russia.
Around the Web

An old Free Life Commentary from Sean Gabb is interesting. It's on Israel and what the West should do. However this paragraph says it best - if not on Israel then on foreign affairs in general:

In general, I think the world would be a less violent place if it mainly consisted of nation states, each acting to preserve its own borders and other narrowly defined interests. This would give a predictability to international relations of the sort that existed in Europe between 1648 and 1914 - a period in which, with the arguable exception of those against the French Revolution, hugely destructive wars were avoided. The problem with moralistic crusades for democracy or human rights, or whatever, is that they involve unpredictable actions in support of often unachievable ends. The natural result is unlimited national or ideological hatreds that lead to permanent instability.

I tend to disagree with Dr Gabb on the interest in fighting to preserve closely linked cultures, but it is a very good article nonetheless.

Something New

And this from Steve Sailer's site on Russia's long term interests. Its easier to read here.

Islam Bashing

A bit of Islam bashing from the National Review. Before you assume that I'm tut-tutting, I broadly agree with Berlusconni on the relative merits of Islam and the West, I just think that the most effective way is for the Muslims to find this out for themselves. I do tend, however to agree with Jared Taylor that the Islamic world does not hate us because we are better, but because of what we are doing in their sphere of influence. (I do not agree with Jared's Taylors main sweep of civilised racism, however).

There's an interesting piece on the value of dissent, particularly Ron Paul's missed oportunity, here.

Another article from the Independence Institute, on the close link between the Second World War and Keynesianism.
Wednesday, December 12, 2001
Happenings in BlogLand

For daring to question the Western account of Mazar-e-Sharif I've been confined to the "loopy eddies of libertarian thought" by the Anarcho-Militarists of Samizdata. Such compliments are rare these days. As Madsen Pirie said, first you're mad, then you're dangerous and then everyone had your idea all along.

However, I never seem to get past the first stage.

Here's the full commentary:

Alas similar dark prognostications can be found in the more loopy eddies of libertarian thought as well.

One example is Emmanuel Goldstein of Airstrip One, who is a well thought out, largely coherent libertarian who writes a lot of very good and insightful stuff. Yet it seems to me he become unhinged at the first whiff of US or UK military involvement in pretty much anything. I realise he thinks me far too trusting of the state (a novel concept for me) but I regard his approach, like that of many Muslim conspiracy theorists, as a 'theory of reflexive disbelief' rather than one of skeptical rational analysis.

Of course the irony of sharing some aspects of world view with Emmanual's strain of libertarianism might be lost on Muslim extremists, unless they also have a sense of humour. I certainly think it is funny.

I'm finding all this reference data from the new web counter. Hours of fun.
That was fast

It was a mere matter of hours ago that I asked, idly, whether anyone knew of a hit counter. And my call was answered by Iain Murray, who writes two excellent web logs himself, The Edge of England's Sword (which links in to this site) and the more respectable Conservative Revival. He got me on to Bravenet.

And within minutes of Mr Murray, I got more help from the hawkish Dawson Jackson, who also suggested Bravenet.

I've been recommended by Natalie Solent's web log. She says its an "an eloquent libertarian anti-war commentary", so can't be too bad. She hasn't started archiving individual entries yet, but you can probably find her recomendation among the entries here.


Does anyone know of a web counter that I can put on my web log, that gives me fairly detailed information about visitors, but is only accesable to me?


Very little feedback from my last article. This somewhat tongue in cheek little one liner from one of my regulars:

So presumably all these Islamic extremists have forgotten that Israel is all our fault in the first place?

And this bit from another correspondant:

I thought the only legitimate purpose for our involvement was to ensure Britannia's status as the American's 'best girl'

It may not surprise you that both of them were Brits. I think sarcasm comes in the water.

More Feedback

There's a little Bulletin Board service that's called "Free Britannia" which is modeled on "Free Republic", but presumably isn't going to get closed down for posting copy-written articles, which doesn't like my stuff. They especially don't like the fact that my writing is allowed to soil the internet. Rather ironic when you think that they are protesting against all the politically correct censorship.
Tuesday, December 11, 2001
Such an easy war, this. Go in defeat the Taliban, find Bin Laden (sometime soon, I'm sure, just not yet) and then go. No? It seems that the plucky Brits are to front a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. The good news is that we are to be replaced by the Turks in three months time, the bad news is that the Mujahadeen don't want us there.
Guess what folded?

I never direct you to the Lib Dems website, but I'll make an exception today, the Pro-European Tories have folded. Most of you will not have heard of them since the ridiculous amount of coverage given to them by the BBC before the 1999 Euro Elections. Despite dying publicly then its taken them almost three years to give up the ghost.

This is important for a couple of reasons:

1) There's no real Tory vote that will desert it because the party is too hard on Europe.

2) It also indicates that there isn't really a floating vote that will come to the Tories because of Europe (the list system of the European elections, and the one off nature of by-elections, should have detached this vote from Labour and the Lib Dems even if temporarily).

3) That plugging by the BBC, and vast subventions from the European Movement, does not make for a popular movement.

All of this is bad news for Tory Wets and the pro-Euro campaign, and so good news for the good guys.
Black Boxes.

Have any of the black boxes become public from any of the planes involved in September 11? There were four planes, and each plane has two black boxes.

Why is it vital that every one is kept under lock and key? I'm sure there is a good reason, but I can't believe that they will all affect the criminal investigation.
Sunday, December 09, 2001
Why oh Why?

That stalwart MP Paul Marsden is a tough chap, but why is he seeming destined to join the Lib Dems? It's just not right, he's far too good for that load of third rate weasels.

By the way, what is Charles Kennedy doing by proclaiming that he 'would welcome Marsden'? Is this masterful psychology, by putting pressure on Marsden, or has he blown cover? Well the next few days will show.
Saturday, December 08, 2001
Blunkett spells it out

According to David Blunkett:

That [security service] information tells us that because of our alliance – quite rightly – with the United States and because of our vulnerability we are at risk.

So the one "national interest" argument for British participation in this adventure - that terrorism is a risk to us - is negated as we are actually at more risk than if we hadn't taken part. I don't think that our rulers really mind as they are not going to be at risk from WTC type attrocities, its going to be Joe Public.

One should not be churlish and thanks must go to David Blunkett for effortlessly confirming the main charge against the British involvement.

More and more feedback

I've got a nice e-mail on my Afghan coverage:

Keep up writing your ed columns! We need more critical (and at times dissenting) voices in this country (US). The main press is pretty opportunistic accepting too easily "feed" from the officialdom and their biased information channels. Keep it up!

This from a British correspondant, on the Mazar article:

I agree with you that there was a massacre, probably with our connivance - but I disagree that, although deeply unpleasant, not to
say inhuman, it was a bad thing. To kill the most warlike & dedicated of one's opponents is an ancient principle of warfare: the alternative is not to spare them to fight another day - which they inevitably will - but to enlist them on one's own side, which, in the case of al-Qa'eda shock troops, I should imagine to be impossible. It is both decent & prudent to take prisoners when you are fighting a country which you hope & expect, once the war has ended, to be on peaceful terms with again; but we neither hope nor expect ever to be on peaceful terms with al-Qa'eda, so their warriors are fair game. The vaunted Arab "street" has fewer terrors than al-Qa'eda,
& I do not see much sign of the massacre's becoming a cause celebre anyway, not least because a little local difficulty in "Palestine" has supervened.

I must hasten to say that I do not know whether this was a massacre, I just don't think that the official version adds up.
Wednesday, December 05, 2001
Egg on face time

Those eighty prisoners, were they the one's who surrendered or not? As there is no specific mention of them being the ones who surrendered I think its best to assume that they are not the same people (and the fact that the San Fransciscan boy was among them and is still very much alive).

Sorry for that.

Another take on this from one of my correspondants:

This tale is really absurd, because a single grenade, even in a confined space, would not kill or even injure 80 men. The men were presumably packed very close together, and the fatal effects of blast and shrapnel would have been absorbed before they hit those on the periphery of the group.

Feedback on Mazar.

The article on Mazar and the dubious rebellion (almost 5000 hits so far) got a few letters. Some friendly:

Yeah well, beats "Shot In The Back While Trying To Escape", doesn't it?

Most not:

The recent article posted on addressing the prison riot and subsequent killings is absolutely deplorable. It shows a lack of forethought such that anyone who objects to the killings would be doing himself or herself a disservice to refer to it in conversation or debate.

The sarcasm with which the article addresses the presence of weapons at a prison shows that the author either gave the matter no thought or has no knowledge of prisons; ALL prisons always include an armory of weapons for those who guard the inmates, so that brutal riots can be quelled if necessary. As for why anyone might surrender on the battlefield and then later attempt to escape or take up the fight once more, consider how much better the odds are when you can fight from within a fortress than when you're in a relatively open city.

People who write for always seem to run into this same problem; they always start with a conclusion and then try to fill in the path to that conclusion using convenient information. This approach is quite in contrast to that taken by most news agencies, an approach of providing the facts first and then drawing conclusions at the end. Ironically, that approach has had a lot more affect on people's opinions, while an article like the one that you published online only serves to underline the belief that your web site is somewhere out in left field instead of looking at the real world.

This chap also has a problem with sarcasm:

I don't mean to be rude about this, but even when you're writing an opinion piece you should try to base it on the facts (or what has been presented as 'fact' at least) rather than ignoring every account which does not mesh with your 'common sense'.

1) They were not being held in a prison, they were being held in the Qalai Janghi fortress--a base used by Dostum during the years of Taliban occupation of Mazar-e-Shariff. The main courtyard where the uprising apparently started was located near a weapons shack.

2) The prisoners had not been S&S'd (searched and secured) and were still carrying knives and shivs apparently.

3) The fortress itself was not secure. There were two CIA agents, fifty United Front (Northern Alliance) soldiers in addition to the general and his staff- the rest of his forces were pinning down Al-Qaeda and Taliban holdouts approximately 30 miles west of Mazar-e-Shariff.

5) The riot was apparently sparked when they began tying the hands of prisoners and leading them into interrogation, the prisoners
misinterpreted this as torture and execution, and fighting broke out.

6) There's a difference between dying in battle and managing to kill an enemy commander after being captured- both will get you martyrdom, but one will help the cause of your allies once you are gone. It is likely that some of the prisoners who were already prepared with melee weapons were waiting for an opportunity to kill Dostum & his advisors.

7) The fact that you are writing an op-ed does not give you the right to be uninformed. If you're going to consider yourself anything even approaching a journalist or an -observer with a VALID viewpoint- you should present an interpretation of the facts that effectively argues what a person did was wrong.

If you're going to accuse people of something (the massacre of prisoners) you should accuse them of it, not hint with sneering derision and sarcasm at the possibility of it. Your article was insulting to the men who died there--no matter what side they were on. People are dead, have some respect for the manner in which they died (making light of a massacre ala the "maybe this was how it happened bit" with Dostum is in poor taste, to say the least.)

You also, by the way said that there weren't any survivors- there were in excess of eighty on the side of the Taliban, and your use of the term 'survivors' is a little slanted. One CIA agent, a fair number of United Front soldiers, British Spec. Ops and American Spec. Ops also 'survived' the fighting and have -meaningful- accounts of what happened.

A concerned one-time reader that hates propagandistic material of any sort.

This was a bit less factual:

I am educated, and against the war, but your article is baseless, based on speculation, speculation can take you where your fears reside.

get a grip

Sunday, December 02, 2001
Why am I not surprised?

The BBC don't like the Swiss army

A cracker of a quote:

Although Switzerland has not been attacked for more than 500 years, it still has one of the biggest and most expensive armies in the world.

Has it not been attacked because its got a large army (including during the Second World War, with a German border and a large German population)?

Obviously there's no mention of the fact that it's also one of the most prosperous nations in the world, and so can afford an expensive army more easily.

Thankfully it is unlikely that it will succeed, an armed citizenry is the only real guarantee of independence and neutrality. If only Britain would learn.

Whoops we lost them again

Just as it seems that they haven't been killing all the prisoners in Mazar-e-Sharif, eighty prisoners - who supposedly surrendered after they ran out of food and ammunition - blew themselves up. With what? Grenades that they ran out of?

And why, pray tell, did they surrender a second time and then die a martyrs death? At least it seems that British forces had nothing to do with this "mass suicide".
Friday, November 30, 2001
An interesting question from an old copy of the New Statesman.

The new "terrorist" groupings are markedly different. They are global in their reach and aspirations. Brought together through a global medium (the internet), the unit they are trying to influence is no less than the whole of humanity. The members of these new movements are shedding the old imagined communities of the nation state. Neither anti-globalisation activists nor jihadists feel that their identity is bound by the territorial nation. The anti-globalisation protesters affiliate themselves to non-corporate humanity; the jihadists stress the unity of the umma (the Muslim people), whatever national boundaries it may cross.

Realists like myself have always pointed out that almost every "alternative power" is actually aiming for a particular nation state, or to control one. It is merely diplomacy by other means.

But are anti-globalisation protesters, Islamic fundamentalists and cross-border executives something different?

I say probably not, for as when Marxism quickly changed nature in 1917 from "workers of the world unite" to "defend the worker's state" (that was from Trotsky in exile) so will the other ideologies change when a fairly thorough-going regime comes into power somewhere substantial. As, it can be argued, multinational capitalists push for greater American influence. They will then fall back into being agents of another power, ideologically charged certainly, but their dreams of changing the world will soon become dreams of pushing forward their chosen power.

And the world will keep on turning.
Tuesday, November 27, 2001
And yet another one rolls in. I think that it stands all on its own:

I do confess. Your columns have me rolling with laughter, talk about cheap entertainment! I listen to talk show hosts and marvel at how some are so skilled that they defeat one caller after another with swordsmanship like moves. They parry all intended blows and somehow come through endless debates unscathed. I see the same power in many columnists editorials. They provide powerful thought provoking ideas that often times seem impregnable to debate. Your columns are somewhat different.

You package a bunch of and try and sell it as gospel, then you have the nerve to print the responses you receive from the readers who seem to be far more articulate than yourself. You must feel somewhat by all the readers who have one up'd you in their response to some senseless wrangling over subjects you appear to know little about. I do take my hat off to you for one of your ploys, you ask for money at the end!! I tell you I'm howling. Ever the proper Jew..

As misguided as you are I want you to know that I support your right to post your views and hope you realize that this right was bought and paid for by brave mens blood.

Some questions on this "prison riot" in Mazar-e-Sharif:

1) If they all wanted to die a martyrs death, why did they surrender on the battlefield?
2) Is it true that none surrendered? Not one out of hundreds?
3) How did they get arms into a prison? A few guns, I can understand, but enough for a three day uprising, together with some reputed heavy arms?
4) Is this in any way connected to Donald Rumsfeld's comments that he would prefer to see the foreign fighters dead?
5) Alternatively is it connected to their treatment by Dostum, who ties soldiers to tank tracks as punishment?

This is giving off an awful smell. The only thing thay argues against this is the idea that our government could not be so stupid as to allow the special forces to be seen to be co-ordinating a massacre of POWs. Oh, help.
This is from a proud son of Dixie:

Aw quit complaining. You want hate mail? Try disputing the state religion of Darwinism or dare to mention that abortion terminates a human as well as a "mass of cells." I can tell you from experience, that is where the hate mail lurks.

Although I've had a few lately (on who have noted that I am "a coward, traitor, pussy, America Hater" and much else. Silly me - I thought I was a veteran, a strict constitutionalist and a patriot. But then, I tend to be anti-war and anti-government so there it is. See ya in the gulag - "When the role is called up yonder I'll be there!" (I guess I've been listening to the opinions of the man on the street too long- funny how "camps" keep coming up!)

Keep speaking the truth as God gives you to see the truth, and your mail box will always be full!

But I'm not complaining about the attention I'm getting. I'd still like to know which "national radio show host" read my column out.
This particularly worrying piece came in today:

What to do if you happen upon a peace rally by stupid naïve hemp-shirt-wearing college idiots, to teach them why force is sometimes needed:

1) Approach dumb rich ignorant student talking about "peace" and saying there should be, "no retaliation."

2) Engage in brief conversation, ask if military force is appropriate.

3) When he says "No," ask, "Why not?"

4) Wait until he says something to the effect of, "Because that would just cause more innocent deaths, which would be awful and we should not cause more violence."

5) When he's in mid sentence, punch him in the face as hard as you can.

6) When he gets back up to up to punch you, point out that it would be a mistake and contrary to his values to strike you, because that would, "be awful and he should not cause more violence."

7) Wait until he agrees that he has pledged not to commit additional violence.

8) Punch him in the face again, harder this time.

Repeat steps 5 through 8 until they understand that sometimes it is necessary to punch back.
Afghan FAQs

1. What are the Afghan FAQ’s and why are you doing them?

Basically I’ve been asked the same questions and have had to send out the same replies to a number of correspondents on the Afghan adventure. While I welcome the feedback I am doing this to save time, and also answer any other questions that correspondants have. I will update this as and when I get in more of the common queries.

2. Do you oppose the American military action in Afghanistan?

No. I think that this is entirely a matter between America and Afghanistan. I only oppose Britain’s involvement, as I believe that Britain has no involvement in the quarrel.

3. Will my feedback be put in the weblog?

First time almost always, subsequently probably not.

4. Are you Jewish

No, it's a pseudonym.

Anyone heard anything on the story in Pravda:


Its not on the BBC site, is that because its not true or because its unhelpful?
Oh no, not more bloody feedback on last week's article! 'Fraid so:

Mr. Goldstein get some help! Everything is blamed on the west. No matter how good we are, there will always be blame and the west will receive it. I well say this, if Tony Blair was running for President right in the US he would have my vote. He is a man of action with defined goals. He is not afraid to stand up and be heard. The UK should count itself lucky to have him. Stop bring paranoid.

I also got forwarded an article entitled "Despite Grim Predictions, U.S. Battle Toll Still Zero", from the LA Times.

And now for some criticism from the left:

I am sorry, but I cannot go along with your cavalier attitude of "fry Bin Laden", "get Bin Laden and get out". I do despise this war with a passion, but "extrajudicial killing" is for thugs, bullies and sub-humans. You will lose the moral high ground and the support of a goodly number of fine people if you continue to characterize murder as perfunctory. This is a countermovement against barbarism in all of its forms -- even the cavalier slogans which don't seem to offend your particular sensibility.

Don't be a moron.

And this, hilarious message is a must read:

Those are not boys in Afghanistan, at least not from the United States. They are not conscripts either, they are professional troops and more than a match for the Taliban rabble. These are men whose personal characteristics of bravery, honor and willingness to sacrifice for their nation is wasted on people like you. You were born with hands up and pants down in the sexually receptive manner designed to appease anyone who is aggressive. People like you want to be abused by anyone with a hatred for America. You are a bed wetter who cannot understand the response of real men. Do us all a favor, if you ever have a heterosexual impulse, wear a rubber so your DNA doesn't pollute the gene pool!

And some (sort of supportive) mail:

I just ran across your web site while checking the news on the Internet, and I have to say that I don't like Mr. Blair fact, I think he's nothing but a Bill Clinton clone, and that in itself is totally revolting, but...
It is my understanding that once this event in Afghanistan is over, that we (the Americans--I don't know about the British)--will get out.
I'm not sure, but I seem to recall reading a statement by President Bush that once this Taliban/bin Laden business is over with and the country has stabilized (if that's possible), that we, the Americans, will leave Afghanistan.
Our motives (because of the WTC destruction) are good, I think, and most of my friends and family do want us to clean up that mess, get out of that country and let them "govern" themselves--if they are capable of doing so.
Anyway, I surely do understand your feelings...I don't want even one soldier--British or American--to be a casualty in that miserable place. But are we simply supposed to forget what happened at the WTC?
Even worse than that, to me, is the fact that in America, 4,000-5,000 people are being killed EACH DAY through abortion...but no one seems to remember that!
I read somewhere not long ago that when the British were in Afghanistan years ago, that one of your commanders made the statement to the effect that..."I wouldn't wish this place on my worst enemy..."
I wish you the best in your campaign, even though I don't entirely agree with you.

And this thoughtful little piece:

i am an american so you will probably not be shocked that i totally disagree with your stance. your troops are helping in the war because your great country and mine are allies. also there were decent british citizens killed in the attacks on september 11th. not to mention numerous other victims from many other countries. you dont have to have an intrest to help a friend because your friend is your intrest. i have no doubt if your nation were attacked or threatened as ours has been there would be hundreds if not thousands of american troops sent to help. this would not bother me in the least as i have a great respect for your country. you are complaining about your leader Prime Minister Blair and showing no regard for the pressure he is under. all of the leaders of the coalition are under a great deal of stress right now and they need our support not our barbs. i am sure you have your gripes about your leadership and its probably often warented but try to understand that he nor George W. Bush started this. and it is their duty as leaders of two great nations to make sure this does not happen again. next time it may be in london or berlin or perhaps moscow. if we dont try to eliminate this now then it will be allowed to fester and build as the nazis did before. i know you will not be swayed by the rantings of a patriotic american who happens to respect your leader as well as his own but at least think about what i have written

It's that appeasement anology again:

You are of the opinion that we should ignore throughout the world terror and genocide because it is of "no conceivable national interest."

Since when is it not in the interest of a free and democratic society to take the strongest possible stand against terror and genocide?

Thank God Mr Blair doesn't share your weak will.

You are no more a voice of reason than was Neville Chamberlain.

And this challenging idea of what freedom is:

Freedom for you to broadcast your feelings did not come free and neither will the freedom for our children and grandchildren.

It is a pity that people like you had enough influence for the terrorist to get a foothold to begin with.

Tolerating your opinions is an unfortunate byproduct of the freedom umbrella that many pay a dear price for. And, one that you hide under.

And some more:

I'm replying to your editorial of 11-19-01, Bring our boys home. I only reply because 30 years ago I was one of those "boys" that
the so called peace actifists wanted to bring home. In retrospect I think all can agree that their efforts prolonged the very war that history now says claimed the life of the Soviet Union. If it were not for these misaligned efforts the job could have been done more
efficiently with a far less total of lost lives. The economic advances the world has made since the demise of the USSR has brought a higher standard of living to most all of the world's population, even those in China and other dictatorships. The threat of nuclear war has been more diminished by the outcome of this conflict than any act the peaceniks ever dreamed of. All men MUST conclude that our creator endowed us with a free will, and history is replete with examples of those who used it for evil. We must never concede to evil and if that takes our "boys" being somewhere other than home then so be it. As a veteran I more than anyone want to see peace and an end to hostilities. This is my only reason for taking the time to reply to that ridiculous editorial of yours.

Another complaint about the use of the word "boys":

If they are old enough to serve their country in a foerign land,or anywhere for that matter ,they are old enough to be called men and women.
Monday, November 26, 2001
Before you say it, no my last column is not wrong already. The fact that Americans are now in Kandahar does not mean that its an open ended operation (although it could develope that way. Also note that British troops have been taken off their 48 hour alert, although it was not the result of American unwillingness to get involved in this particular quagmire, it was "a direct result of the situation being better than anyone could have predicted" said Mr Blair's spokesman. So much for remaking the world about us, eh Tony?

I got this nice little bit of feedback already:

Thank you for the good portion of laughter over your very last piece.
Saturday, November 24, 2001
Some late feedback, first on the other feedback:

Can these people read properly? You seemed to me to be saying that we should get Bin Laden and get out-wipe out the terrorists and bring our troops home. What's their objection to that? Because frankly I wouldn't take Afghanistan as a gift.We must of course have the intelligence necessary to guard against any terrorist resurgence-but otherwise, who rules Afghanistan ain't our war!

And this on my column:

The Kosovo adventure had a truly worrying side to it as Blair committed 50,000 troops, more than half the British army, to an operation with no conceivable national interest. That turned out OK as the Serbs surrendered without a land invasion. Has the man's luck run out?

I'm surprised that you seem to be supporting Blair's interpretation of the outcome of the 1999 war against Serbia, saying that the Serbs surrendered. Perhaps you're being ironic?

From Blair's 2 October speech:
I have long believed this interdependence defines the new world we live in. People say: we are only acting because it's the USA that was attacked. Double standards, they say. But when Milosevic embarked on the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Kosovo, we acted. The sceptics said it was pointless, we'd make matters worse, we'd make Milosovic stronger and look what happened, we won, the refugees went home, the policies of ethnic cleansing were reversed and one of the great dictators of the last century, will see justice in this century.

AAUI it was Nato that gave up the Rambouillet Appendix B demands that caused the war - the demand for a referendum on independence for Kosovo and for the military occupation of all of Serbia (the latter, as the Spectator pointed out at the time, very like the demand by Austria-Hungary in 1914 that started the World War). If Serbia loses Kosovo then Milosevic can say it wasn't he who gave it away (if he's ever allowed to speak from his prison cell).

The failure of Nato quickly and decisively to defeat a small impoverished country in the Balkans can't but have encouraged the Taliban and other regimes to defy the US, ISTM. Who's next, I wonder?

I personally think that as the west did achieve its main stated war aim, the evacuation of the Serbian armed forces from Kosovo, it is fair enough to use the term "surrender, although it may be a bit sloppy as the Serbs did not agree to be occupied as was envisaged at Rambouillet. Where did Blair get this idea that Milosovic was one of the great dictators of the twenty first century?
Thursday, November 22, 2001
A late addition from "Republican Catholic and Parent":

I am guessing by your last name that you are of Jewish background how you can host or write a page like this is unreal to say these things about the British and one only makes me think you feel this about the USA and if not for the USA your [Expletive deleted] would be toast would you please stop this [Expletive deleted] with get our boys out yadda yadda yadda damn I would love to take you on one on one in a debate on what you really have as views cuz none of what you say makes any damn bit of sense.......grow up and see the world as it is and quit your [Expletive deleted] [Expletive deleted]......

This is a fairly centralised point for the responses to my article on Afghanistan, "Get our boys out now":


You can also go to my Afghan FAQs for some of the common answers.

The rational debate continues:

Came across your website and I have one word for you: "[Expletive Deleted]." People like you should be hung for treason.

This is even better. I thought that the isolationists were smeared as anti-semites:

GO fight for Israel, hypocrite.

This is from a previous correspondant, obviously taking optimism pills:

Don't worry about it , we as the policemen of the world (sic) will find Bin Laden and he will kill himself. And we, in the USA, are better for it after 9/11 because now we have a purpose,in our madness, to face up to a common enemy, terror. I can't say how you Brits feel but until you have had someone you know die, say a sister or father, then tell us what you would do. What you think this can't happen on British soil, think again. Talk to some of the ones from WW l l about bombs from across the Channel . Terror will strike again , Paris, London, or Rome take your pick. We all must find them and root them out, evil hates all of us, everywhere.

And here's from the French, unusually polite for that nation:

You can consider yourself lucky that your parents were not stupid pacifists as yourself otherwise you would be speaking German
or Japanese right now.

he goes on

I read the article again. . But it reads as an pacifist pamphlet. Are you a bunch of isolationists who don't want to get involved with anything outside your living room ? I hope the WTC made clear to you that this is not possible. What is the point you are trying to make ? Why are you against fighting terrorism ? You like terrorists ? You want to convert them to christianity ?

and in his last e-mail:

It seems your group is concerned with only "vital national interests". Wake up fellows. Killing as many terrorists as possible is a vital national interest. I hope 9-11 at least taught you that. Even an ex-isolationist as George W got the message.

You guys claim to be right wing conservatives. If I read a few more of your articles I am going to start believing that socialists are not that bad after all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2001
The responses keep coming.

First a question, who is the "national talk show host" that this chap mentions:

Next time you crawl out on that limb make sure it will support your body weight. Predictions from and by amateurs are taken seriously by few people. But some solace may be forthcoming as a national talk show host today commented on it and your military expertise!

This response particularly focussed on the web log:

I have had a look at the hostile responses on your web-site, & most of them seem, either not to notice that you were *in favour* of American action against al-Qa'eda, merely against the mad plans being mooted for the colonisation of Afghanistan, or to come from unintelligent I.R.A. apologists with no knowledge of history. Round One to you!

He had earlier said this:

"Get bin-Laden & get out." Yes, I think that very neatly sums up the most sensible attitude to the war. There is patently no possibility of a Western-style government in Afghanistan: the only solution would be full-scale colonisation, which would cost millions of pounds & thousands of lives, & end in the colonial power's withdrawal & the same old anarchy in Afghanistan. Blair's incomprehension of difference is terrifying. Imagine the evil lunatic as President of the United States. Or President of Europe...

But that was about the only positive response, although a couple were non commital. So here's for the nasty responses:

Surely an educated Brit of all people would allow the lessons of history to pave the way for some enlightened thinking. Did you not read your history books? Does the name Neville Chamberlain ring a bell???

And then there was this from the Marine:

"Strategic Interest" -are you kidding me or yourself. There are frames in history that show a picture of good or evil, right
and wrong. But there are some frames of time that show a blur and that is because sometimes things are not always black and white but gray. Sometimes you have to walk down the center of the road rather then the left or right before you see the traffic coming.
You give up certain freedoms sometimes to keep your freedom. The soldier gives up many of her/his freedoms to protect you, what makes you any better?
Why should you complain about some of your freedoms being sacrificed for the betterment of the world?
Oh I get it now! Freedom is great as long as it doesn't interfere any way shape or form with your live!
We - that's right mate - we are so damn lucky to live a life as we do in these countries compared to others around the world! You my friend have every right to say what you wish and I have every right to thing you wrong!

Continuing the military theme, I got this from a Vietnam vet:

I am a Vietnam era veteran, I was involved in a war that I didn't understand, what we expected
to do, or why we were doing it. I could understand the protesters, as I didn't understand the war, but being 19 years old at the time I did what I thought was the proper duties for an American soldier. Because I thought (at the time) that our powers to be would order us into battle only if it was our countries benefit to do so. Now I am older and understand things a little more, I wish that I could have refused to participate.

But now there is a totally different perspective, we are under attack by a very dangerous enemy, that if left alone endangers the entire world, inviting a total holocaust upon all living things (namely) with chemical weapons, nuclear weapons and a bunch of loyalist that don't give a damn about themselves, they can't wait to get to Allah. This is a just campaign, win or lose this is worth the effort to try and stop this madness. I am not a war mongel, a republican, a leftist or a radical. I am a Proud Loyal American Citizen who believes that there are some thing worth fighting for, as well as dying for.

We are under attack, this is not a dream, this is not TV, this is not a playstation game, dammit this is for real, and yes if all of the leaders in the world were sane we could intelligently settle all disagreements in a civilized manner, but they are not, some are hell bent on destroying whatever it takes for them to gain power and change the world into the slaughter houses that they call Holy,
depriving the people of this world it's freedom, choice of religion etc..

I didn't vote for this president, and may not next election, BUT you can be sure that while he is president, HE HAS ALL OF MY SUPPORT. And if you stop to think, maybe yours.

Is the next guy trying to scare me:

Let the angels of death go and all will be better in the world! Get out from under your bed, the mosters are not in the closet but on the world stage. It must be hard to be afraid of the dark all the time. That is why we have laws, by men and by nature,against crime. When crimes are commeted, one doesn't look the other way, you take a stand and call the police. Because if you don't you will be next on the list that misfortune awaits. You not only give in but you have giving up your soul to the devil. Stop with this and do something for yourself an grow-up. The world is very big and bad but along with that is allot of wonderful people that given the time are not afraid to make a stand against terror and evil. Stand up and be counted upon to fight against evil but I forgot you won't fight so be afraid, very afraid. Oh, don't open that closet door.

What is it about the anti-semites, are they really unable to understand the word "pseudonym":

Another Liberal Jew screaming pacifist propaganda. Now if our boys were protecting Jewish interests it would be an entirely different message . You make me sick .World War Two was a classic example . Pacifist screamed about the U.S. entry into the War but when atrocities toward Jews was discovered the charge was we did not move fast enough. Go to Normandy you creep and visit the cemetary . By the way you will see VERY few Star of David markers .

I hate it when they call me a Liberal.

Now spot the facts that this guy's quoting, I couldn't:

They are not your boys, they are grown men in the military. They are obviously not your "boys" since they could never have grown up under the roofs of peaceniks who use misleading information and innuendo to write the so called "news". You can demean your own government this way as your right, but right is only right when you present honest, real facts.

This is quite a good one, and the first female comment I've got in the avalanche:

What i find ironic regarding the title of your 11/19/01 article is this:

I don't think you could get them to come out. It seems clear to me from all I have seen and heard regarding our armed forces, that they want to be there. Good luck.

Now back to the strong stuff:

As far as I am concerned you are nothing but a left wing commie jew disease. Wait until the terrorists start putting bombs up your [Expletive Deleted] then see how you scream for protection. You and that English [Expletive Deleted] Chamberlin would have made great team. Wait until the enemy is powerful then waste even more lives trying to eradicate it. You can't see what is in front of you because you are stupid and have never studied history.
The world today is way too small to be isolated, but you wouldn't understand that. Cause you be STUPID.

At least the next one was polite:

Fine. Pull your troops out. Let everyone pull their troops out. Then London is the new site for terrorist activity. Is that what you want. Pull your troops out and the terrorists run free.

Use your brain man

And another supportive e-mail (sort of):

I think most people in the "West" realize that Afghanistan and the "Middle East" in general is a mess and I'm sure we will get Bin Laden and get out. A lot of people will starve and or freeze to death afterwards. I believe that the majority of the people in the US would like not to be involved in the Middle east at all, but I'm not really sure our own government here really cares any longer what we think economically or politically.

The dictators and rich oil emirates in the Middle East have brought this havoc upon their own people. The Israelis and Palestinians need to start dealing with their own problems. Blatant ignorance, lack of education and employment doesn't help matters either.

I mean when you have a situation in one country where 80% of the population is young men under the age of 20 and 65% of them are unemployed, they probably have nothing better to do all day than envy and hate America.

You have fundamentalist people who do even understand the basics of their own religion much less the philosophical/spiritual principles involved. All of the foreign engineers I work with left their own countries because their is no opportunity where they once lived and they have no desire to go back.

The Middle East willingly sells us oil and they willingly accept our money and our culture, nobody is putting a gun to their heads.

The people and the leadership in the "Middle East" need to get their act together and learn how to live together.

I believe we are as a country are humane and forgiving and probably so to many who don't deserve it.

Where is appreciation for all the good we have done in the world? l

What we did in the past, the Cold War, our retched foreign policies, etc.. that is gone.

Where is the forgiveness for America?

I'm sure what ever we do as a Country it will never be good enough.

But I guess it will always be our responsibility to carry the cross and yes, the big stick as long as others refuse to accept responsibility for their actions.

Have a good Thanksgiving

Here's a succinct essay on the relationship of hope and experience:

This whole mess will be solved within a year. Don't be such a pantywaist, stand up and say who you are and give the world a reasonable solution. Because of the U.S. strength and reasonableness, there will be some form of coalition government and no terrorists hiding out to wipe out the US or Great Britain.
Use some common sense!

Not to be confused with this chap:

You whiny little prissy [Expletive deleted], liberal Commie pinko. Bend over and stick your head where the sun don't shine. Wake up and smell the coffee!! This is war and we will win, or die proud trying!!!
How would you like to have one of your loved ones crushed or burned to a crisp and lost forever in the NY Trade Towers?!! You sniveling little trouble making
[Expletive deleted], !! Go crawl under a rock with Osama or Saddam and deplete the surplus population, you worthless agitator and scum!!

This "US Citizen" is more civilised, although it is rather worrying that he starts off as if Britain and America are one country:

It is people like you that keep the world in turmoil. We have had almost 5,000 innocent civilians killed here in the United States and you want us to just to walk away from this tragedy? Shall we allow the terrorists to strengthen their forces so they can wreck further havoc on our society as well as yours? Would you like to walk through the caves of Afganistan with your anti war signs. I'm sure they would give you great protection. Why don't you support getting rid of these terrorists? Your govenment has been a great help to our goverment. I hold Mr. Blair in the highest esteem. What would have happened had we not fought Adolph Hitler? I suspect
you would be speaking German as your native language right now. Find something better to do with your time than to critize our

Where did this come from?:

I enjoyed your article. Your side bar next to the column was interesting, as well. However, it’s an illusion to suggest that you don’t “sponge” off of taxpayers or that you otherwise pursue some “honest” profession and means of earning an income. At the very least, I would imagine that some of your customers have jobs in politics, journalism or civil service. So you really do sponge off of taxpayers.

This about Indiana schools:

I can't speak for education for New York, but in the state of Indiana, USA, we weren't taught as you said "In New York schools, they teach that the British government launched genocide on the Irish, when hundreds of thousands died due to the predictable failure of the state to feed a starving population."

We were taught the potato famine was caused by crop failures. I believe it was weather and insects both (but I'm not certain about the insects). Please be advised that your belief in "mis-information" may be misinformed.

This coming from the descendant of an Irish immigrant because of the famine.

Now some more on Afghanistan:

I pray that you are not in the next building those crazy's from the world of camels and sand blow up or fly an airplane into. Not only must bin Laden be brought to be judged (either by military court or Allah), but we must also bring those "bullies of women", the Talaban, to be judged by the same criteria for sheltering this mad, deranged bin Laden for all these years.

Yea Donald Rumsfeld, yea Tommy Frank USA, USA, USA, USA!!!

Finally some sub-fascism to keep you going:

Have you read last week's newspapers, which all ran stories about the Taliban literally shitting their tunics and running like mama's boys from the Northern Alliance and US bombing? Quagmire? Your article was moot before it ran. And another thing, when, if ever, does your silly e-rag ever think that the use of military force is justified? Foreign invasion of US soil? Get a grip on human reality- only the strong survive, the emotionally strong, the morally strong, and, last but notleast, the physically strong.

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