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KAYLEE: ...I got pinned down and there were three guys, and I couldn't...And then River comes up. She looks out, sees 'em all. And they was spread out, you know? Had some cover. She ... she didn't only looked for a second, and took my gun, closed her eyes ... killed 'em.

[...]

SIMON: She probably didn't even know what was going on. You know, thought it was a game.

JAYNE: Later on, you can explain to me how that's a comfort.

I never had trouble believing that Tony Blair meant what he said. Never had any difficulty believing that he saw Saddam as an imminent threat that had to be dealt with. Never had a problem with the idea that, however cautious the language in the intelligence reports, he thought that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction ready to go. When Lord Butler said, in his announcement yesterday, that it would have been idiotic for Blair to lie knowing that he would be found out by the success of that lie, he was quite correct. It would have been stupid, and I don't think Blair is stupid.

So I'm quite prepared to believe that the Prime Minster believed everything that he told the Commons - ready to believe that he was acting 'in good faith.'

But later on, I hope he explains to me how that's a comfort.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Well, clearly he won't. :) But if he were to do so, it's conceivable that he'd argue something along these lines:

Lots of our friends have weapons of mass destruction. But their governance is by way of stable liberal democracy, and they are led by elected officials who are ruled by checks, balances, and international law (and, before anyone says it, the fact that GWB and TB perhaps did not abide by international law does not make their countries rogue states). The problem with Saddam was not that he had weapons of mass destruction but that, if he did, he was likely to use them. Because he was as mad as a barrel of murdering monkeys. The justification for war was in this sense never the issue of weapons of mass destruction, but rather the continuing undesirability of Saddam. So, while weapons of mass destruction seem to have not, in fact, been in Iraq when the US and UK invaded, what was in Iraq was a leader as mad as a barrel of murdering monkeys. Which is what we were always after, really.

Honest.
Oh, I'm down with the idea that a Good Thing was done, believe me. I'm glad he's gone. I think that it will take time and committment on our part, but that Iraq will be a better place. But the good thing was done in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons, and that's what really worries me; fighting just to get the other guy ain't the way to go.

And you meant a barrel of murdering space monkeys, right? :)
I think suggesting that the US is a 'liberal democracy' would be repudiated by the current regime. I've always been puzzled why some people in the US think that 'liberal' is a bad word, but visiting the US at the moment makes you feel as if liberal is the new communist. There's even a well publicised and, presumably, well selling political book whose subtitle calls for the defeat of liberalism.

I'd like to know what these people think 'liberal' means!
Well, they'd certainly dispute that the US is a democracy that is liberal, but in the political science sense it's obviously a liberal democracy (and arguably the first fully-realised one in the world). Of course, let us not go as far too assume that, in a second time, Bush would not try to redefine word definitions with which he disagreed. :)
It's not a democracy, it's a republic. /Jed Bartlet
I believe Bush and Blair thought they knew how they could lie and get away with it:

First, they thought that there would be something they could point to and call the fabled WMDs,

And second, they thought that in the joy of the Iraqi liberation and reconstruction, they would be forgiven if their reasons for going to war were a little weak.

As for the first, while I never thought there was anything there worth attacking a sovereign nation for, I'm as shocked as they were that they found nothing. I truly thought there would be some ordinance and facilities, however pathetic, they could wave around for the cameras.

As to the second, I expect Blair wasn't prepared for how truly incompetent Bush and the neo-cons would turn out to be.

It's still a possibility for me that Blair was sincere, although on the balance of probabilities I think he lied. But either possibility warrants his resignation.

I don't think Blair is stupid either. But I do think he is a morally bankrupt, mendacious piece of shit who was dazzled by the possibility that history might remember him if he did something Good (yes, that's moral capitalisation there), and who agreed to follow George up the creek without the proverbial paddle on that offchance. I believe he should have resigned long ago and taken the personal responsibility that he acknowledges seriously (read today's Simon Hoggart sketch in the Guardian for a lovely portrait of Blairite doublethink).

He has sold out his country, his party, and his erstwhile principles, and since I absolutely do not believe in any kind of afterlife, I hope he meets an exceptionally unpleasant end (stomach cancer would do nicely). As Hoggy might say, CHOKE ON MY FUCK, BLAIR.
I don't think we disagree that much. I also think that he was dazzled by the lights of history (see my reply to Dan)...I just don't think he consciously abandoned any principles along the way. I think he still sees himself as a good guy.

I'm trying to remember something tinyjo said on this topic a while ago. I know it was something I thought was very perceptive, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was...
I just don't think he consciously abandoned any principles along the way.

This kind of assumes that Blair had any principles to start with, and I think that is debatable.

We have to remember that Blair is a lawyer, and they are always concerned with pushing the position of their client. Every time I've heard from Blair (or Bush) about the Iraq war, I have had the impression that what we have been hearing is the prosecution's case. We thus don't get to hear the doubts of various intelligence analysts about the presence of WMDs, we don't hear from Blair about the shaky grounds for belief that bin Laden and Saddam were cooperating, but we do hear about the 45 minute launch claim when that arrives as a piece of hearsay (which wouldn't be admissable in a court of law).

Saddam has been prosecuted and he had no defense council.

And the same approach, of ignoring contrary evidence, of promulgating only what supports the case, is happening in many otgher areas - ID cards, jury trials etc..

I'm not saying that Blair's government is unique in this practice, but they seem to have honed it to a fine art, and are not bothered about the consequencies. Nor does it appear that they have any principles except securing their own election.

Being a war PM worked for Thatcher. My guess is that Blair thought it would be good for him.
Did it involve the words "messiah" and "complex"? ;-/
Not in so many words. :-p

(I remembered something about America that I first heard from my dad, though; that America isn't acting evil so much as it's acting immature. It's like a spoilt child - it hasn't worked out how to relate to other people yet. I think there's more than a little truth in that.)
Well, it's over 200 years old and it should start acting like it :-/

The real problem is that there is no parent to slap them down, since they've refused to recognise/grant any authority of the UN. The world being terrorised by a giant toddler is not a happy situation [though see here for beautiful Onion-flavoured satire - unfortunately the Onion have now gone subscription-only for archived articles :-( ]. I say we bring out the harpoon guns and take it down.
I can't believe he wasn't forced to resign after the Kelly fiasco. You want morally reprehensible? Let's force a non-political government scientist to take the flack for our hideous ineptitude at attempting to conduct realpolitik. When a war you "won" takes casualties at home something ain't right in the state of Denmark.
Right there with you. He should have rolled over and died so many times, yet Teflon Tony just keeps on churning out the bullshit - how is it that people believe him? Do they believe that maybe they'll be able to bask in his reflected glory?
I don't think that Bush ever believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. At the time I thought (and I still do) that the US invaded because they knew he didn't have any. They knew he would be easy to take out. In that respect I think they were wholly cynical and dishonest. And this stuff about 'the CIA let us down' is creepy.

I guess that the US put economic pressure on Blair to support the invasion. Just as LBJ put economic pressure on Wilson to support the invasion of Vietnam. Blair thought (correctly) that Saddam deserved to be overthrown and (incorrectly) that the US led forces would be blatantly much, much better for the Iraqi people from day one. So he had reason to want to believe what he was told, and to think that even if he was wrong, that things would work out for the best in the long run.

Where he made a mistake - and I think it was an egregious one - was to trust the Bush administration. He trusted them to when they assured him that they knew what they were doing, that they would conduct the invasion to the highest standards, and that they would include him in high level decision making. Now he must pay the price for that misplaced trust.
Yeah, I can buy that - it's easy for me to believe that Bush was cynically motivated, that the politics came first, whereas I do think Blair is still an idealist, even if a deeply misguided one. This doesn't mean I think Blair is better than Bush; on the contrary, if Blair was in Bush's position - if he was the one with the power - I think I'd be outright scared, rather than merely very concerned.
I agree with you. Blair may be irredeemably autocratic in style, but I think he sees himself as a man of moral and ethical principle. He does things for the right reasons. I absolutely believe that. The trouble is, having the right reasons doesn't stop you doing the wrong things, in the wrong way. He has a bad case of "I know I'm Right So That Justifies Anything I Do And You'll All Agree With Me Eventually". :-)

I still believe he's a darn sight better than the conservatives, but in general, I'm very jaded about politicians and governments. They all lie, and dissemble, and pursue their own ends, and there's little to choose. For me, Blair and Labour are really the slightly preferable alternative.
PS - he will never explain how that's a comfort, because the whole mess is fait accompli and he doesn't need to. We let him get away with it,and it will happen again because the majority of people are either not paying attention, too slow to act, or too in hoc to someoneorother to be able to act freely.

In short, we're screwed.
http://www.livejournal.com/users/davywavy/164143.html

Mind you, he is decidedly Conservative, and can be amusingly caustic - but he nevertheless is making observations that you may share.
No, I'm not buying that. I read today's Daily Mail, in which they gleefully tromp all over the Labour government's sins re: the Butler Report, never mentioning that their beloved Tories would have been worse.

(hard to believe, I know, for you youngsters that don't remember the evil that was Thatcher, Tebbit, and oh, look! Michael Howard)

So it is with davywavy. If this were a conservative government, he'd be defending the invasion now. He's just happy to have an opportunity to put the boot into Labour.
Certainly he enjoys putting the boot into Labour ... but he nevertheless makes observations about Blair, and his ability of self-belief, (self-deception?) and how that communicates so well to the masses.
(hard to believe, I know, for you youngsters that don't remember the evil that was Thatcher, Tebbit, and oh, look! Michael Howard)

Not that hard. Labour may be a mess in all sorts of areas, but they're doing some things right, and when there is a mess at least it's a mess I can sort-of understand. More often than not, I just find the conservatives incomprehensible.
While I agree Labour may be doing some right things, its not many.

The key differenfcfe between them and the Tories (and, even more so, the LDs) is that Labour has never had any tradition of (small l) libertarianism. Labour has always had the tendency to wnat to control people, and they have now been in long enough, and with poor enough (Tory) opposition, that those tendencies are coming to the fore.

Thus we have threats to trial by jury, planned ID cards, planned spies in cars etc. We are circling around what Charlie Stross has called The Panopticon Singularity, where we are all monitored all the time.

There is at least a thread of libertarianism in the Tories that would hamper Howard's likely sympathies in this direction. In Labour there are all the ex-trots who would love to see this happen.

This is the real hazard of Labour at the moment, from my point of view, and it is a very real one, because once those liberties are gone, they won't be coming back.
While I acknowledge that Labour are doing some things right, they are doing a great many things very wrongly, and in absolute mockery of the voters and traditions (and in some cases, their own damn manifesto) that handed them power in the first place. Look at what's happening to Higher Education. Look at what's happened to foreign policy.

The Tories never pretended, not even to get into power, that they were going to do anything other than privatise anything and shack up with Big Business. Labour, on the other hand, came to power pretending that they were still going to be socialists, and have proved over and over since then that they were lying through their wretched little teeth. Better the devil you know, if you ask me - I'd actually rather see the Tories in power this second than Labour. At least the Tories don't shapeshift and you know exactly where you are with them. They are a much more honest party than Labour have become.
But for people living in marginal circumstances the difference is very significant: just a few quid a week in tax credit, the establishment of the minimum wage, or a bit more support for childcare, can make the difference between survival and not. And these are a lot of marginal people. If the Tories get in a lot of them - mainly women and kids - will be returned to desperation.
Can I point you at my reply to veggiesu here, since I think that covers my arse sufficiently? ;-)
I'd actually rather see the Tories in power this second than Labour.

Nooooooooooooooooooo! :-p

At least the Tories don't shapeshift and you know exactly where you are with them.

Yup - in deep shit. Just because they're not trying to convince you that they'e soft and fluffy puppy-lovers right now, doesn't mean that they're anything other than Bad News. People right now are complaining that house prices are too high for first time buyers (which is true) - but imagine what it's like to try to buy a house when interest rates are at 15.9%. Imagine trying to buy that house when unemployment rates are more than three times what they are now. Or when there's no such thing as a minimum wage. When the Prime Minister tells you that *if* a mother *wants* to work, her best childcare option is to get her mother to babysit. When "there is no such thing as community, there are only markets" (which might make you wonder who exactly is going to support the mentally ill, when they're forced onto the the streets as part of "Care in the Community"). When 300,000 march (and riot) in protest at the poll tax.
If the tories come to power, they will sell every public service they can from under you, for maximum profit, and if you can't afford to see a doctor, or catch the (non-existent) bus, or send you child to school - well, that'll just be your problem, not theirs. Blair might be untenable, but if you think that tories are an acceptable alternative, try to imagine Bush running this country. Unless/until the LDs become a credible option, Labour are still the best bet, by miles.

Disclaimer: No offence to anyone (except the tories in power last time round and their supporters) intended. This bad-tempered rant bought to you by tiredness and irritability caused by working with dicks (not the good kind, either). Normal service will be resumed shortly.
*sigh* - I know, I know, (just old enough to remember the bad old days of Thatcher; and my parents taught me well) but some days New Labour really leave me so dis-piffed that I would rather Portillo came back from across the political equivalent of the Styx and led them into office.

Of course, what I really want is for the Lib Dems to clean up, but since nobody believes they can do it, they won't :-(

Sorry to have ruffled your feathers - take it as an indication of how truly fucked off I am with Blair.
Of course, what I really want is for the Lib Dems to clean up, but since nobody believes they can do it, they won't :-(

I'm not nearly as convinced of this (of the fact that nobody will ever believe in the Lib Dems) as I used to be, you know...
They look like a much better bet than they used to, I grant you. But they're still labelled with this "third party" thing and that's really slowing them down. I have spoken to a lot of people who would vote Lib Dem if they thought the Lib Dems would get anywhere, but who don't because they don't (if you follow me). It's all about perception, else the Lib Dems would be overtaking the Tories and posing a proper threat to Labour.
That's the problem, isn't it? If you don't have Blair back, what are the alternatives? I can't believe he's going to step down before the next election unless public opinion *really* turns against him in an overwhelmingly dramatic fashion. I'd happily see the LDs in power, but I just don't see them doing it. And the only other option is the tories (spit). So whaddaya gonna do?

Sorry to have ruffled your feathers

You didn't, honestly (and sorry for making you think you did). I just have the overwhelming urge to preach the good word of anti-toryism at any opportunity :-)
I just have the overwhelming urge to preach the good word of anti-toryism at any opportunity :-)

Word. I wasn't yet 18 when they lost the election, but I had already been bitter about the tories' reign for years. Then again, everyone seemed so happy to have Labour in, like everything was going to get so much better with this shiny new party, and I was just very sceptical about it all.
And the only other option is the tories (spit). So whaddaya gonna do?

Preach Lib Dem at everyone I know, I think.

I just have the overwhelming urge to preach the good word of anti-toryism at any opportunity :-)

It's not like that's a bad thing! No apologies required :)
I always vote Lib Dem, knowing it won't make a blind bit of difference. I'm an optimist. :-)

I agree with you that Labour are endlessly preferable to the Tories. I know I'm over-generalising, but at least Labour *have* some ethical and moral principles, however compromised. Most of the things I dislike about Labour policy are areas where they've become too much like the Tories. That doesn't make me like the Tories any better. ;-)

I've always found the Tories strangely elitist, isolationist and, well, conservative at heart. For all their many failings I think Labour fundamentally have a more caring, liberal outlook.
What I can't help wondering is whether Bush will do to the Republicans what Thatcher and Major and the rest did to the Conservatives. I'd like to think so, but unfortunately even with the horrendous radical changes to the American life they are making (and to the Republican Party, I might add), I fear there is that complete lack of institutional memory in US society as a whole (maybe in patches here and there*) to punish an entire Party.

*Examples I can think of...any West Texans who lived through the Depression is 90% probability Democrat, they will never forget which Party brought them electricity; broadly conservative and pro-military northern Virginia voting against Oliver North's run at the Senate - they remembered Iran-Contra well enough.
I too find them mostly incomprehensible. Near as I understand, there are at least two varieties of conservative, and I remove libertarians from this list...

The values-conservatives, who hold to certain defined values above all else - and resolve to enforce those in a blind faith that these values are self-evident/common-sensical and all will turn out for the best when they are applied. It's actually a fairly radical tenent.

The stasis-conservatives, who have a vision of a reality they want to see not only for themselves, but all the world. They defend to the death the smallest part of the world that reflects that vision and abhor any change or deviation from that vision. They have a strong idea of the way things 'should be.' A more radical side of this bunch actively seek to change 'back' the world to that vision ... it puts some Western conservatives as ideological equals of Al Qaeda, though they usually have more effective legal and financial recourses for their agenda.
So it is with davywavy. If this were a conservative government, he'd be defending the invasion now.

Excuse me? I've always been in favour of nailing Saddam Hussein, in much the same way that I'm favour of giving well-deserved kickings to Robert Mugabe, Kim Jong-il, the Burmese junta and a whole bunch of others who make a list as long as your arm. Why? Because they're evil and have it coming.

What I object to about Blair & chuims is the institutionalised moral mendacity that socialismn engenders; it's lovely to have a bleeding heart conscience and all, but they don't work in the real world and (as the historical record demonstrates unequivocally) when people who think that the world would be a better place if we all just held hands and sang a song are put into a position of applying that philosophy in realpolitik it quickly becomes clear tothem it just ain't going to work.
So what you end up with is either (or both) a) Blair et al, who are being realpolitik to the hilt whilst lying ferociously about their moral standards, or b) a decline in civil liberties as it becomes clear that people won't hold hands and sing a song voluntarily, so they'll just have to be jolly well forced to for their own good.

Oh, and if you're gonna comment on what I've said, you might have at least come over to my Lj and say it to me, you know? I'd've been happy to defend my position.

The artist formerly known as Davywavy.