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ISSUE #144 - 28th
|% of GDP
||% of USA
|EU Big Five
|Whole EU (est)
Whether the Islamicists are successful in their ambition is a
separate issue, but that will not take from the universal carnage
they will inflict on us infidels in the attempt.
This is not idle speculation. I cannot envisage any other
outcome of an American defeat in Iraq. Can you?
Those who wish defeat on America can only give heart to its enemies,
who we should never forget are also the enemies of all western
civilisation. Thus their defeatism prolongs the war.
Which makes the recent antics of America's own legislators, both
Democratic and Republican, all the more astonishing.
Love him or hate him, at least George Bush is trying, whether
competently or incompetently, to win.
To win for the 12m Iraqis (77%
of adults) who voted with their purple fingers for a new
To win for the many millions in the wider
Middle East, for whom a successful Iraq will bring closer their
own liberation from their respective despots.
To win for America which wants to deter
future 9/11s (and has been singularly successful in the five
To win for western civilisation (even if a
huge chunk of its beneficiaries want to lose).
His recent change of tactics should be a cause of
hope. He has a new Defence Secretary (though Robert Gates
seems singularly invisible), and a new, imaginative military chief
in Iraq; he has ignored (while diplomatically praising) the
extraordinary call for de-facto surrender of the Iraq Study Group;
and he has instituted a 22,000 man surge in military deployment
while beefing up their terms of engagement.
Finally, in his State of the Union
address, he pled with Congressmen and Senators to support the
troops in the field and to give his new plan a chance.
Now, notwithstanding their various party
affiliations, these intelligent men and women are free agents free
elected and are free to develop different ideas from the
Commander-in-Chief. They are free to suggest different courses
of action that they might think are better. The one thing that
they should under no circumstances do is to decry their president's
efforts without proposing realistic alternatives. For this -
like the behaviour of so many Europeans - will achieve only one
thing: encouragement for the enemy.
Yet this is precisely what a large proportion of
them are doing. Whether it is
Senator Jim Webb delivering an official
response to the effect that the surge won't work,
or unhappy Republicans such as Senator Norm
Coleman saying most Americans reject the surge,
or the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
voting that the surge is
“not in the US national interest”,
or Senator Edward Kennedy demanding that
Congress cut off funding for the extra troops,
or Republican Senator John Warner's deeply
there can be only one conclusion drawn by
America's enemies in Iraq: that the US is fast developing a
resolute will ... to lose. That it is only a matter of months
before American public opinion - not Iraq's deadly
minority of Saddamites, Ba'athists,
Al Qaeda groups, local and foreign jihadists, Sunni and Shi'ite
gangs, common criminals, hangers-on and dead-enders - will cause
America to withdraw, to in effect declare defeat and retreat.
This conclusion may not be true - I hope it isn't
and clearly Mr Bush and the military under its new commander in
Iraq, General David Petraeus, don't believe its true. But it
can only strengthen the resolve of their enemies and encourage them
to wait out the surge. And that's what the General
thinks too. In turn, any boost in morale for the enemies
must inevitably lead to more American casualties.
Vietnam was not remotely a military defeat.
In 1975, America cut and ran and deserted its friends and broke its
promises solely because American public opinion developed an
indomitable will to lose. Ho Chi Minh marched into the South,
tens of thousands died in the resultant purge, and Vietnam remains
to this day a Communist dictatorship, albeit more benign and
competent than it once was.
Is America today developing and
renewing a similar will to
lose in Iraq? If so, all of us here in the west are in danger
of paying a terrible price.
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Antidisestablishmentarianism Not Yet
Gay Adoption in the UK
Equality Act of 2006 is a piece of legislation pushed into being
under EU pressure. Its laudable aim is to outlaw
discrimination towards people on grounds of - listed in this order - age,
disability, gender, sex-change, race, religion, belief or sexual
orientation. (The order is interesting. Is there an
implied hierarchy that values my aged transgenderism over your
On a general level, there is nothing much controversial about the
bill, which was passed with ease. But, as always, the devil is
in the detail.
The devil in this case is the issue of child-adoption by gays: the
law as it stands makes it illegal to refuse to hand a child over for
adoption if the sole reason is that the prospective parents are gay.
The Catholic church, which handles a third of Britain's thousands of
adoptions, has, in a rare bout of courage, denounced this part of
the legislation, and said that in the absence of a derogation, it
will close down its adoption agencies rather than comply. The
Church of England quickly followed suit, as did a few Muslim
leaders. They all make the point that, to them, homosexual
practices are sinful and provide an unsuitable backdrop for bringing
up children. Even many atheists, for whom the concept of sin
does not exist, might however agree with the second part.
The Cabinet, with the exception of the prime minister whose wife is
a Catholic and the doughty Opus Dei diehard Ruth Kelly, have all
declared - including even the Catholic heavyweight John Reid - that
the churches will get no exemption.
When I was small, the
longest word I knew (but couldn't spell or understand) was
antidisestablishmentarianism, which I eventually learnt meant
wanting the state to remain wedded to the Church (of England); a
desire for some continued theocracy you might say.
Well, other than the Head of State being also the chief of the Church
and not being allowed to marry a Catholic, that's clearly a lost
cause in the UK - for the moment anyway. If you ever
doubted the separation of Church and State, the Cabinet's
determination to stampede the Christian churches is the definitive
But will it prevail; can it win a confrontation?
This depends on whether the churches - particularly the Catholics
- will continue to be strong on the issue. That means that
when, for example, a Catholic adoption agency is first confronted
with the possibility of having to assign a child to gays, it
must either dissolve itself, as Cardinal
Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Catholics' boss in England and Wales, has
threatened, or else deliberately ignore and flout the law as
Mario Conti in Scotland has threatened.
This will lead to a classic confrontation of values and
discrimination hierarchies. Will the British government be
to assume responsibility for countless would-be adoptees
thrown onto the street by dissolved agencies, or
to mount a criminal prosecution against the Catholic church?
The church will argue it is acting in accordance
with its own sincerely-held
beliefs and teachings, and claim that to prevent it from doing so is to
discriminate against it and its members on purely religious grounds,
itself a breach of the 2006 Equality Act. And note that the
Act places religion ahead of sexual orientation in the list of
things that are discrimination-worthy.
This would be a hugely polarising issue, which regardless of the
eventual outcome, could not fail to make the government look
foolish. Yet simply to succumb to the church's defiance will
make it look pretty stupid also. It really cannot win, but the
longer the controversy goes on the worse it will look.
deferral of full implementation of the Equality Act by the
churches until 2009 is merely kicking the issue into touch until
after he leaves office.)
That's why Mr Blair's cabinet should take a leaf out of Bertie
Ahern's book, and without delay grant the churches the derogation they are
seeking. (It won't be the only exemption: as far as I know I will still be
ineligible, on gender grounds, to join the Women's Institute).
Last month, Ireland's Taoiseach faced his own religious row when
a heavyweight parliamentary and cabinet committee chaired by his own
party (amazingly, the
“Child Protection Committee”)
proposed to lower the age of consent from 17 to 16. He
supported this, but the Catholic and Protestant churches
expressed alarm, not because of church teaching but on
morality grounds, a concept very few dare float in today's
non-judgmental times. Mr Ahern,
“the most skilful, the most devious, the most
cunning of them all”,
knew an elephant trap when he saw one and promptly backtracked.
After a few blushes and a bit of bravado, the issue quickly died out.
The prophetic (though
non-Gallic) George Orwell
Tony Killeen's Responsibility
Minister of State Tony Killeen's excuse that his office sends out so
many letters in his name (200,000 of them) that he cannot be expected to
know their contents is disingenuous. In the absence of fraud, he, and
only he, is accountable for ... writing inappropriate letters seeking
freedom for a convicted child-sex offender and a convicted murderer ...
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Quotes of Week 144
- - - - - - - - - -
U S i n I R A Q - - - - - - - - - -
“Whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure.
Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq and I ask you to give it a
chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field, and those
on their way ... Let us find our resolve and
turn events toward victory.”
George Bush, in his
State of the Union address to Congress
“I can't tell you what the path to success is, but it's not
what the president has put on the table.”
“The majority of the nation no longer supports the way this
war is being fought; nor does the majority of our military.”
Typical responses of
Republican Senator Norm Coleman and Democratic senator Jim Webb.
Unless a politician can present a viable alternative,
his/her carping is worthless.
- - - - - - - - - -
I R E L A N D - - - - - - - - - -
“It would be easy to blame the junior officers' conduct in
dealing with various informants and indeed they are not blameless. However,
they could not have operated as they did without the knowledge and support
at the highest levels of the RUC and PSNI.”
O'Loan, Northern Ireland's police ombudsman,
lays it on the line in her finding that
over the period 1991-2003, the police in Northern Ireland
had colluded with loyalist informants
in both perpetrating murders and protecting the murderers.
Sir Hugh Orde, Chief Constable since 2002,
accepted her findings, apologised for the police failings
and will re-open enquiries into the killings.
“Is it wrong that a prisoner who might be in for a long stay,
that they [sic] might get out on humanitarian and welfare grounds,
that they [sic] might get out for an hour for a Communion or for a
Confirmation or for the Baptism of their child?”
in typical obfuscatory and ungrammatical fashion,
uses an entirely spurious, if not frivolous, example
to excuse Minister Tony Killeen,
who dispatched at least five letters seeking the
of a convicted paedophile and of a convicted murderer.
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ISSUE #143 - 21st
On a personal level, each of us tries (though
not always hard enough) to build on our successes, learn from
our mistakes, and climb a never-ending ladder of
self-improvement, family-improvement, career-improvement,
On a societal level, the same process can
happen. Building on success is the easy bit. But not
every society is willing to be consistently open and honest
enough about its mistakes to learn from them, and analysing what
went wrong arguably yields more lessons than the successes do.
And quel surprise. Those open societies are
the same ones that deliver most wealth to their citizens, and the
source of their openness is, of course, democracy. When it is
the people who elect their governments, and can get rid of them, the
politicians in those governments have to be able to back up their
intentions and decisions with hard facts and arguments. There is a
limit to what they can hide and get away with hiding. When
they make errors, they need to correct for them or they won't remain
in government for very long.
They in turn demand openness from those doing
business in their jurisdictions, in terms of providing reliable data
both for taxation purposes and for their shareholders. Thus,
if businesses don't make a profit and don't learn from their
mistakes, their managers don't remain in position for very long.
That old business mantra,
“put it right or I'll find someone else who will”
remains as powerful an incentive to take difficult decisions as it
The net effect of this
openness in democratic societies is continual improvement on prior
practices, manifested in continual growth. This is pure
Darwinism, survival of the fittest, ever adapting and evolving to
meet an ever changing environment.
And it's the reason for the
slower growth and/or lower wealth levels of closed, undemocratic
And it also explains why the
armed forces of democratic countries are also the world's most
powerful - America, Britain, France, Israel, Australia - even though less
numerous than those of say China and North Korea. Because they
too have to operate in the glare of openness, which obliges their
commanders to constantly improve or else find another means of
Israel, for example, is
still smarting over the inconclusive end to last summer's war in
(not against) Lebanon. Its previous wars have all ended in
decisive victories, which earned it a reputation of invincibility
for its first 58 years. Its failure to meet its 2006 war aims
rescuing its two
putting a stop to the
rockets Hezbollah were firing into Israel from Lebanon,
of Hezbollah's infrastructure in Lebanon and
killing their leader
is a serious setback.
When the Arab armies have
in the past suffered defeat at Israel's hands - most spectacularly in the
Day War of 1967 - no serious introspection has followed and
no-one prominent lost his job. Most notoriously, the Arabs'
main leader, unifier and rabble-rouser in 1967, Egypt's president Gamal Abdul Nasser, managed to keep his job - though in fairness he
did offer to resign, but this was
rejected by the masses (orchestrated or otherwise). He
then went on to lead Egypt the following year into
another losing war with Israel, which ended only when he died in
Contrast this with recent
events in Tel Aviv.
After the Lebanon war,
Israel set up a commission of enquiry headed by an eminent,
80-year-old retired supreme court judge,
It is investigating the failings of the
political and security echelon, and its interim and final reports,
due in a matter of weeks,
will be made public.
The military has conducted a
separate enquiry, which has
criticised poor planning, poor strategy and poor
execution of the war, with too much reliance on air power and
waiting too long to send in ground troops, many of whom were poorly
a result, the head of Israel's armed forces, Lt Gen Dan Halutz, a
decorated former fighter-pilot, has resigned, which some liken to an
There is wide expectation that, once the Winograd
reports are out, if not before, prime minister Ehud Olmert and
Defense Minister Amir Peretz, as the war's political leaders, may
have to go, which could well be followed by loss of power by the
ruling Kadima party.
Hezbollah, who as far as we know have conducted
no similar post-mortem on the war (nor have its sponsors Iran and
Syria), are celebrating the downfall of Lt Gen Halutz as yet another
victory against the hated Israel. This shows a deep and
dangerous misunderstanding of the way Darwinism works.
They should instead be fearing his departure,
because it signifies that Israel is determined to learn from its
mistakes and emerge stronger. It is, in fact, engaged in a
process of Darwinian evolution in pursuit of its own survival
through being the fittest in its fraught neighbourhood. If and
when the war in Lebanon resumes, which seems likely given the
inconclusive outcome of Round One in 2006, Israel will conduct
itself very differently and Hezbollah will rue the day.
Charles Darwin was not just about animals and
plants, but - for better or for worse - about the ways of humankind
That a person of one particular race had accused another
race of being intrinsically inferior.
That someone had behaved in an abusive or discriminatory way
against someone else because of race difference.
That there had been an incitement to hatred or violence
against a particular race.
what actually happened.
Plenty of people deserve having their accents made fun
of, and comedians do it all the time.
Coronation Street would be the top of my list of
horrible accents deserving to be ridiculed.
But I mean, ee-bah-goom, how did this become racist?
Since when did referring
to someone by
what she factually is become racist?
Maybe if she had been called by
the wrong nationality (eg
it would have been marginally rude, though hardly racist;
arguably calling her
which is both incorrect and derogatory might just about
qualify as racist.
“the Indian”? (I
better be careful whom I refer to as
Another contestant, Jo
suggested that Indians were thin because they are always ill as
a result of undercooking their food.
This is just a silly non-sequitur based on ignorance,
about both Indian cuisine and human physiology; nothing
racist about it. Had she said millions of Indians are
thin because they are too poor to eat themselves into Ms
Goody's level of overweightedness, Ms O'Meara would probably have
been praised for her cultural sensitivity and social
They objected to Ms Shetty having touched housemates' food,
“You don't know where those hands have been”.
I too would object to someone sticking his/her fingers
into my food, even if the fingers were attached to the Queen
of England, and for precisely the same reason, and
it's nothing to do with racism, just hygiene.
If that's what Ms Shetty makes a practice of, she better
bone up on the social graces required when she visits
Europe. Just as I need to use chopsticks when I go to
In an argument that started over an Oxo cube, Ms Goody
told Ms Shetty,
“You're not some princess in f*****g Neverland ...
You're so far up your own a**e you can smell your own s**t ...
F*****g go in your community ... You f*****g fake ... Go back to
the slums and find out what real life is about, lady”,
whilst Danielle Lloyd muttered,
“I think she should f**k off home”.
These are the words of two
thoroughly unpleasant, foul-mouthed Englishwomen (which are
qualities that doubtless contributed to their selection as
contestants). But this doesn't make them, or their
They're entitled to dislike, to
want to get rid of and to be rude to anyone they want,
including Ms Shetty. To say that being ill-mannered to
someone is unacceptable because she happens to be Indian is
itself a racist attitude, because it infers the singling out
of a person for special (kid-gloves) treatment based solely
on her race.
Curiously there has been no outrage
over Ms Shetty's own
remark, when she told Ms Goody,
“Oh please, learn some manners. You know what you
need? You need elocution classes”.
And that's it. That's what the furore is about.
Thoroughly obnoxious nobodies being horrible to each other.
But that's what prompted even respectable broadsheets like the Independent
to carry a front-page headline which screamed
why UK's putative future prime minister Gordon Brown
grovelled to the Indian government, why the Carphone Warehouse
withdrew its annual £3m sponsorship of Big Brother, why a dozen people
ridiculously burned an effigy of the TV producers in the streets of
Patna in the east of India.
Of course the real transgression was not
really of a racist nature. It was the sin of political
incorrectness, that strange creed that says no-one (particularly
no-one non-white) must ever be offended, especially on prime time
TV and especially not by a white person.
It is kind of scary to see how many people
sign up to this new religion.
But if you want to see some real racism,
executed in the most subtle and masterful of fashions, tune in over
the next few months to the, er, race for the democratic nomination for US
The object of racist attack will be 45-year-old
Senator Barak Obama, who has rocketed from nowhere to fame and
rockstar adulation in just a few months, and is now one of the two
certainties, with Senator Hilary Clinton, to clinch the nomination.
And it won't be redneck white guys and gals
doing the racism.
It will be the traditional, long-serving,
American black Left establishment, led by people like Jesse Jackson
and Al Sharpton, both past presidential hopefuls, and singer Harry
Belafonte, famed for calling Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice
for consorting with the hated George Bush. They are furious
that Brother Obama has so suddenly and effortlessly passed them by
and owes them no special subservience, and is so - well - polite.
So when they
carp that Mr Obama has
no “meat”, he's “just the king's clothes”, and
a Democratic strategist observes that
“along comes this son of a Kenyan farmer and suddenly he’s
measuring the drapes in the Oval Office”,
be clear what you're hearing:
that Mr Obama is not a “proper”
that he hasn't a drop of slave blood in his veins;
that he is only a second generation Kenyan blow-in.
sentiments represent pure, if discreet, racism - racism against
African Americans who actually come from Africa. Expect more of
And don't expect
Brothers Jackson, Sharpton
and Belafonte to take any racism lessons from Big Brother's Ms Goody.
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Enda Kenny's Makeover
Enda Kenny is the effeminate, youthful-looking, whiny-sounding
leader of Ireland's main opposition party Fine Gael.
by the way is a male name in this country.
Since his party's policies barely differ from those of the ruling
Fine Fail party (they were formed out of the opposing sides of the
1922-3 civil war), whose only ideology is to remain in power by
keeping the good times rolling, Mr Kenny has little chance of
becoming Taoiseach. The current incumbent, Bertie Ahern, is an
adept survivor, who was aptly
described by a crooked predecessor as
“the most skilful, the most devious, the most
cunning of them all”.
But there is a general election looming in a few months, and Mr
Kenny rightly concludes - though denies - that this not going to be
all about manifestos, but about
Week 143's Letters
to the Press
Three letters to the Irish Times this week, none of
them published. I was bit surprised the innocent one about Enda
Kenny was not; perhaps there is a non-mockery conspiracy.
Enda Kenny's Makeover
I am amazed that no-one seems to have noticed or commented on Enda
Kenny's recent makeover. In a flash, his face has changed from pink to
tanned, his locks from blond to dark ... (See
Once again, Raymond Deane of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
“the Occupied Palestinian
They are neither
They are in fact ...
Repatriation of EU Immigrants
I wonder why it cost the government €300,000 to repatriate 646 destitute
immigrants to their home countries in Central and Eastern Europe last
That works out at €464 each, which is more than twice the average
one-way fare to the countries concerned. Where did the rest go?
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Quotes of Week 143
Quotes I have picked up during the week, not
necessarily uttered during it
- - - - - - - - - - R W A N D A - - - - - - - - - -
Quote: “The view in the past was
that it was our fate to be poor. We don't believe that now. We believe
our fate is to be rich.”
An unnamed minister in the Rwandan government,
reflecting a new sense of purpose and optimism,
all the more remarkable given the still-recent genocide.
- - - - - - - - - - U N - - - - - - - - - -
Quote: “I was very pleased that I ... could at least hold the door
for him to go first.”
Sir Mark Malloch Brown,
the UN's supercilious (British) deputy secretary-general,
on the departure of John Bolton,
America's controversial ambassador to the UN.
Sir Mark also departed, a few weeks
- - - - - - - - - - I R A N - - - - - - - - - -
Quote: “Regime change [in Iran] is preferable to striking
Iran’s sites, but the only course worse than the use of force is an
Iran with nuclear weapons.”
The same John Bolton,
commenting on the possibility of an attack on Iran
to destroy its military sites
- - - - - - - - - - B R I T A I N - - - - - - - - - -
“If we had anticipated [that], we would have wanted to do
something to try to ensure the ratio of profits to total income stayed the
Britain's Health Secretary,
moans that GPs make too much money.
In 2004, incentives were introduced to improve service.
She is now outraged
GPs delivered those enhancements beyond expectations.
Why isn't she delighted that GP services have got so much better?
- - - - - - - - - - LY R
I C S - - - - - - - - - -
“We are 12 billion
light-years from the edge,
“No one can ever say it's true,”
“But I know that I will always be with you.”
Katie Melua, in her hit
“Nine Million Bicycles”
“We are 13.7 billion
light-years from the edge of the observable universe,
“That's a good
estimate with well-defined error bars,
“Scientists say it's
true, but acknowledge that it may be refined,
“And with the available information, I predict
that I will always be with you.”.”
Cosmologist Simon Singh
Other erroneous lyrics
“It’s a long way to Tipperary”
No, it’s not
“I will survive”
No, you won’t
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ISSUE #142 - 14th
January 2007 
accused of crimes against humanity perpetrated against his
and his fellow-countrymen then
tried him publicly - in proceedings broadcast in full on TV,
convicted him and
And all this was carried out in accordance with a constitution
that had been ratified by the people in a free vote barely a year
and half before. Wow.
That is the context in which the execution should be viewed.
Of course there have been unmitigated howls of anguish across the
world from naysayers, Saddam-lovers, Bush-haters, fearful tyrants
you, Mr Qaddafi) and others more concerned about their own
posturing than Saddam's million-plus victims.
Amongst these there have also been many who genuinely object to
capital punishment in all circumstances, and frankly I am one of
However I find it odd how vociferous many of those in this group
have been over the hanging of Saddam, and - from time to time - over America's
executions, especially those sanctioned by George Bush when governor
of Texas. Yet they remain strangely silent over
China's daily executions, or those perpetrated by other such pillars
of democracy as Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia (whither the Irish
prime minister happens to be
leading a large trade delegation this week).
My own objection is one of principle - you shouldn't kill another
human being if you can possibly avoid it. But I must confess
to feeling wobbly about Saddam when I contemplate the alternative
sentence of imprisonment for life. This is not only due to the
enormity of his crimes (in addition to the ones in
Dujail for which he
was sentenced), but because of the ongoing twofold hazard that life
imprisonment would have entailed.
Firstly, you have only to recall Napoleon's first banishment, in
following his disastrous invasion of Russia and the humiliating
defeat of France that followed. From his tiny Italian
island-exile, within months he mounted a
military come-back plunging France into a further three months
of bloody, deadly and pointless warfare culminating in a second humiliating
defeat at Waterloo, at the hands of the Duke of Wellington.
Or think back to the 1950s when many closet Nazis were still
encouraged by their belief that Hitler - whose Berlin suicide the
Soviets refused to confirm - had
death and was living somewhere in South America preparing to
resume, Napoleon fashion, the super-race dream. By contrast, no Italian
fascists harboured such thoughts about Mussolini, for the simple
fact that Communist partisans shot him and then
hung up his body by the feet for all to see for several days
near the magnificent Romanesque
railway station he himself had completed in Milan.
It is, therefore, not fanciful to suppose that Saddam's
continuing existence would have given hope to many a Ba'athist,
Sunni or Tikriti
insurgent that he would one day return and lead them back to glory.
Secondly, under a sentence of life
imprisonment, his return to the fray may well have been facilitated and hastened
by a few kidnappings, atrocities and blackmail. With
Beslan as a recent example, raiding a nice primary school in,
say, Kurdistan and beheading one child per hour on prime-time TV until Saddam
was released would probably do the trick. If not, try the same
in some pacifist haven such as Belgium or Sweden. You get the
But with his execution, all such scenarios have now been
extinguished, and this should be welcomed. He's gone. He's
history. He'll never come back. That's why I find it
hard to condemn the fact of the execution.
Then there is the manner of his hanging, which has
drawn even more widespread disgust. Disparagement came even
George Bush and
Tony Blair, who by invading Iraq did more than anyone to create
the circumstances of its happening.
There are three threads to the criticisms, all of which I think
Conducted in a dingy room by men in balaclavas, it looked
more like a lynching than an execution.
I would have one question to those of this view.
How many executions and lynchings have you witnessed?
If like me the answer is zero, you're in no position to
such a comparison; the comment is meaningless.
Killing someone is necessarily ghastly. Why would
it has to be pretty? How would you do
it? How would you make
it not look like a bunch of powerful men
taking the life of
a fragile and pathetic victim?
He was mocked and taunted by onlookers in his last moments.
This is a valid criticism, but utterly petty when you
about the manner in which Saddam sent so many to their
On the other hand, the
whole thing was conducted very
and from his bewildered demeanour (compared, for example to
his court appearances) he was clearly
tranquillised to minimise the
pre-death mental anguish and
allow him to behave in a dignified
No-one should have been permitted to film the execution,
much less release it on the internet.
Why not? Everyone repeats the
should not only be done but be seen to be done”.
and broadcasting the execution on the internet
injunction to the letter. Moreover, it has
absolutely everybody that Saddam - like
Mussolini - is really, truly dead.
The real objection is, I suspect, one of squeamishness.
An execution is intrinsically nasty and we'd all much rather not
reminded of the sordid details. In the same way, we
avoid a tour round the local abattoir, before pulling on our
donning our sheepskin coat and heading
off to our favourite restaurant
for a juicy medium-rare
Personally, I think the execution was of
it should have been filmed professionally and not
bystander with a mobile phone and a shaky
he has done the world - and Iraqis - a service.
In conclusion, it is well to recall once more
the simple but brutal history of Saddam, as recently
recounted by Brendan McMahon.
Having used intrigue, chicanery and murder to
wrestle himself on to the Iraqi presidential throne in 1979, the
following year he invaded neighbouring Iran, a war that cost over a million lives. When this military adventure failed he exacted
revenge on the Iraqi Kurds, whom he accused of supporting Iran,
and killed thousands of them in chemical attacks on Kurdish
He then turned his attentions to the south,
where he made an unprovoked attack on Kuwait, again
resulting in the death or disappearance of thousands. When it
looked like he had misjudged the situation and many of the
neighbouring countries joined the United States and others to
oust him, he ordered the firing of missiles at Israel in an
attempt to provoke a third war. When forced to leave Kuwait he
“scorched earth” policy which involved the destruction
of Kuwaiti oilfields. A catastrophic environmental disaster was
only narrowly avoided by a speedy response by oilwell blowout
specialists from all over the world.
After this, he ruthlessly suppressed an uprising in
the south of Iraq and caused irreparable damage by maliciously
draining an area
inhabited by an ancient civilisation, the Marsh Arabs, in an
attempt to wipe them out.
He then concentrated his attentions on the
Shi'ite population of Iraq, again killing thousands, as the
continued uncovering of mass graves testifies. In addition,
during this time he was also an enthusiastic sponsor of
international terrorism with his support, both moral and
financial, of suicide bombings against civilians in Israel and the
Death by hanging was a mild price to pay for his
heinous, multifarious crimes.
May other tyrants tremble.
Back to List of Contents
Will Be Bad for Turkey
It is becoming ever more obvious that, though no-one is prepared
to stand up and say so, the EU doesn't really want Turkey in the
club. The reasons are a mélange of the good, the bad and the
ugly, and I have written about some of them
But what is puzzling, at least to me, is why successive Turkish
governments seem so keen to join, that they are prepared to put up
with perpetual rebuffs, if not humiliations, the latest being Joseph
Daul of the European People's Party who last week declared that
“Turkey is not
ready for EU membership and the EU is not ready to absorb Turkey”.
But like the Chumbawamba hit,
“Tubthumping”, Turkey gets knocked down, but it gets up again, you're never goin' to keep
On the one hand, the economic benefits of EU
membership are plain. As a
member you get free access to
490 million more
consumers, suppliers and investors - rich ones at that - than you
have at home, and you get gifts measured in €uro-billions to beef up
your infrastructure. Wealth creation under the invisible hand of Adam
Smith is sure to follow, as it (eventually) has for every other new
member which has joined.
On the other hand, prospective membership also provides excellent
cover for pushing through constructive economic and political
reforms that you know you should be doing anyway, but which might be
painful and unpopular. They usually boil down to cutting
services, slashing subsidies, increasing taxes, privatising state
assets. You simply tell
your people that you don't agree with the reforms either, but you
have no choice due to those damned, faceless, heartless EUrocrats in
gone a long way down the reform path using this simple
expedient and deserves much praise for doing so.
been dragged down from
45% in 2002 to an
8%, the currency revalued and economic stability regained.
power of the army has been reduced,
Kurds no longer break the law by
there has been some softening on the fraught issue
of Armenians killed in the First World War,
torture and internment
are much reduced,
its approach to the Northern Cyprus problem has
become far more constructive in recent years.
On the economic front, protectionist barriers have been
dismantled, foreign investors welcomed, markets opened.
These are the kind of measures that have, both
directly and indirectly, contributed mightily, since the
massive earthquake of 1999 and the
economic meltdown of 2001, to
Turkey's healthy GDP growth currently cracking
along at about
So why the eagerness to actually join the EU
when it is getting anything but a welcome?
There is a more or less permanent free trade deal on the table,
together with generous grants, which stops short of
membership. It's there for the taking. So why would this
not be good enough? What is the vital ingredient that makes
Turkey feel it must strive for all or nothing, even if the nothing
is the more probable outcome?
It must be the free movement of people that
Turkey desperately wants, which is the very same ingredient that the
EU so desperately fears.
Notwithstanding all the positive things I've said
about Turkey's reforms above, it is still a good bit behind the main
EUropean nations in key areas such as democracy, human rights,
control of the army, freedom of expression, minority rights,
religious freedom, civil liberties. Such factors help to
explain its relative poverty - an annual GDP of only
$7,950 per head, ranking it 75th in the world, compared with the
EU average of
$28,100 which puts it at 23rd.
Free movement of people through full membership
of the EU would thus provide an enormous safety valve for Turkey's
not only allowing individuals to escape to more prosperous
economic environments, whence they would send home remittances,
by so doing relieving the government of the having to worry about
them and having to create a more wealth-creating climate at home.
Dissidents could likewise be encouraged to emigrate to where they
would experience less harassment.
Moreover, once inside the
EU, the EU's power to influence Turkish policy would necessarily
diminish. In effect, Turkey would be sorely tempted to export its
problems rather than solving them.
If you doubt that, look west across the Atlantic.
What is the primary export
from Mexico (GDP
$10,000 per person, unemployment rate up to 29%, 40% below the
to America ($41,600,
5% and 12% respectively)?
800,000 illegal Mexican emigrants fleeing north per year.
The army of Mexican émigrés then, through their remittances home,
add a welcome
billion a year to the Mexican economy.
Thus, the Mexican government, far from feeling
concern at the never-ending loss of so many citizens, protests any
United States action to curb the flow - such as building a physical
barrier, and urges the US to grant amnesties to all those illegal
Mexican incomers. This is all because the illegal efflux helps
to hide dismal domestic policy failures,
to get rid of excess unemployed penniless
to relieve it of the burden of implementing
painful policies that would make Mexico a more attractive and
economically viable place to remain in.
This is hardly a recipe for the advancement of
Thus, for the good of its own people, the Turkish
government should abandon its futile aspiration to join the EU, and
instead continue vigorously with its political and economic reform
process, whilst robustly negotiating an immediate free trade
agreement with the EU. Full membership will be bad for
Back to List of Contents
Iona Institute Launched
An interesting new think tank was launched in
Ireland this month - the
Institute, which is dedicated to strengthening civil society
through making the case for marriage and religion.
Its underlying premise is that data consistently
show that, statistically, children raised by married (heterosexual)
parents consistently do better in life than those brought up in
other family or non-family situations. This is what most
people would intuitively expect.
Less intuitive, and thus in need of evidence to
back it up, is the view that religious practice (note - not
necessarily religious belief) leads to a stronger,
more benign civil society, with less crime, drug and alcohol abuse,
suicide, family breakdown etc. This would have to be qualified
by defining what religion you're talking about. One which
advocates limb amputation and conversion by the sword might not have
such beneficent effects as one that says you should love your
neighbour and avoid murder. The Iona Institute is unabashedly
Christian and Catholic.
It kicked itself off with a poll regarding family
arrangements which sought, from a cross-section of 950 people across
Ireland, their agreement/disagreement with seven
The results are not in themselves surprising but these kinds of
questions seem not to have been asked systematically before.
The institute has presented the poll results a bit awkwardly as two
files, so I've summarised and rearranged the main findings
below. Those who agreed with the statements were roughly
double the number of those who disagreed, the rest being
It is evident from this that a majority of Irish
people still support, and want the State to support, the traditional
two-parent family and marriage, and would like, for example, to see disincentives
to marry removed from Ireland's tax and welfare code.
The Iona Institute is a privately funded NGO
which is headed by David Quinn, an Irish writer on social and
religious affairs - he who gave professional atheist
such an unaccustomed mauling on Irish radio last November. I engaged in some
conversations with Mr Quinn about that, and wrote a post entitled
“DawQuinn: Atheism Nil,
where you can hear the infamous interview with Mr Dawkins.
then asked me to contribute writings from time to time to the Iona
Institute, which I will be pleased to do, with links to this blog as
Back to List of Contents
this is nothing to do with any new three-coat crimson livery of
McLaren's Formula One machines.
Alerted by Graham in Perth, I was fascinated by the story about
another McLaren, a recovering alcoholic-druggie who plays (played?)
In a Scottish First Division football match between Clyde and
month, Dundee striker Andy McLaren lived up to his positional
title, and achieved a seemingly impossible hat-trick at the same time.
the 87th minute Dundee, who were 2-0 down, scored from a penalty, after which
Mr McLaren tried to wrestle the ball from the Clyde keeper, David
Hutton, who was
naturally attempting to slow things down to bring the 90th minute
closer. Both players were booked.
Just seconds later, on his way back into his own half, Mr McLaren was
goaded by another Clyde player, Eddie Malone, and the shoving match resulted in a
second yellow for Mr McLaren, and thus an automatic red, and sending
On his way off the pitch, he hit yet another Clyde player, this
time Michael McGowan. But Dougie McDonald the
referee was only alerted to this by one of his assistants, and thus
when the match was over (final score 2-1 to Clyde), the ref called
Mr McLaren to his dressing room
to show him the second red card.
The hapless Mr McLaren was so incensed that he
kicked a hole in the door, for which the ref made it a
full hat-trick of red
finish off the saga if not the man, he was then given an
eight-game ban and was fired by Dundee. As an added quirk and
irony, Dundee now seems to have replaced him by
snaffling Clyde's captain Paul McHale.
Who says soccer is dull (apart from me).
Back to List of Contents
Week 142's Letters
to the Press
142 is a bit of a misnomer because it covers the seven weeks since I
last blogged. That's why there are no fewer than ten letters
below, of which three were published (P!)
- in the Irish Times, the Economist and on Mark Steyn's site.
A thirty percent success rate is about par
for 2006, when I wrote a total of 75 letters, of which 23 were published, or
Civil vs Mechanical Engineers
UCD lecturer David Browne observes, in relation to Irish pioneer
scientist Robert Mallet, that
“Engineers were generally classified as being either civilian
or military 150 years ago (the origin of today's civil and mechanical
The traditional distinction is more stark. Civil engineers build
targets, mechanical engineers build weapons.
Execution of Saddam Hussein
The various letter-writers in
recent days decrying Saddam's execution hate to face up to some simple
facts. Iraq - despite the mayhem caused by a small minority - is a
constitutional democracy, whose constitution was ratified by the people
in 2005, and whose current democratic government is the result of an
election just over a year ago in which no fewer than 12 million Iraqis -
an astonishing 74 per cent of the country's adults - voted in the face
of daunting intimidation ...
Minister Seamus Brennan is right to emphasis the importance of
integrating immigrants into Irish society and that the responsibility
for this lies equally with both the native population and the incomers.
But he is wrong to raise the spectre of what is now widely regarded as
the French initifada ...
Pinochet and Castro
The denunciation, by Amnesty International's Sean Love, of Augusto
Pinochet's 17-year reign of terror, which killed or "disappeared" over
3,000 people and imprisoned and tortured many more, is admirable.
I would hope he reserves even greater vituperation for Fidel Castro who
in his 47 years of power has killed 70,000 people so far ...
A Bird's Tale
English merchants in Turkey discovered a most delicious bird to eat and
exported it back to England, where it became very popular, and was known
as a ‘Turkey bird’ or simply a ‘turkey’ ...
You don't have to pay €120 for your own (clunky)
breathalyser as John Mugan suggests. Over the internet, you can buy from
the UK a tiny one that fits neatly in the palm of your hand or your top
pocket or purse for only around €40 ...
the Palestinians: Disputed vs Occupied Land
I don't know where Raymond Deane of the Ireland Palestine
Solidarity Campaign keeps getting the idea that the land disputed with
Israel is not
remains under dispute for the sole reason that every time the
Palestinians have been offered it as a Palestinian state their leaders
have turned it down ...
The Americans' Lawful Mission
Your leader contains a glaring and
uncharacteristic error, which reads,
“In Afghanistan, as distinct from Iraq, there should be no
quarrel about the lawfulness of the mission. NATO is in the country under a
UN mandate, operating in defence and at the behest of an elected government”.
So is the American-led coalition in Iraq.
Rumsfeld's Unknown Unknowns
Frank Golden betrays himself when he joins the chorus
that likes to mock what he calls Donald Rumsfeld's
“illogical unknown unknowns”.
When Mr Rumsfeld uttered this in June 2002, his central point was that
in war you need at least to allow for the existence of bad things
happening that you haven't thought of. But the same concept
applies in many business contexts as well. For example, the oil industry
talks about ...
to List of Contents
Quotes of Week 142
- - - - - - - - I R A Q - - - - - - - - - -
“The situation in Iraq is
unacceptable to the American people -- and it is unacceptable to me. Our
troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have
asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility
rests with me
“Our troops will have a
well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to
help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the
Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that
Baghdad needs ...
“Countries like Saudi
Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States need to understand that an
defeat in Iraq would create a new sanctuary for extremists and a
strategic threat to their survival ...
“The challenge playing
out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It
is the decisive ideological struggle of our time ... Victory will not
look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be
surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship. But victory in
Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world -- a functioning
democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects
fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people.”
George Bush explains
why he is sending more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq
- - - - - - - - - - I S L A M - - - - - - - - - -
“Anyone who cannot accept the equality of men and women has not
even come close to meeting one of the basic conditions for the 21st century.
It's in Islam's own interest to make that very clear and decisive.”
German interior minister Wolfgang
on the assumption in January of the EU presidency by Germany,
which is to make integration of Europe's 13m Muslims
into European society its priority.
He was commenting that parts of the
had still failed to embrace the Enlightenment,
that Age of Reason embraced by Europe in the 17-18th centuries.
“I wish to reiterate my great esteem for Muslims, encouraging
them to continue to work together, in mutual respect, to promote the dignity
of every human being and the growth of society where personal freedom and
care for others provide peace and serenity for all.”
Pope Benedict XVI,
on his first visit to Turkey,
tries to mend bridges with Islam.
characterised Islam as a religion of
“peace, tolerance, and affection”.
Pity the Koran seems to indicate the converse.
“On November 21st you carried a
‘Medical Students Seek right to wear hijabs’.
I wish to state, as a patient, under no circumstances would I allow anybody
wearing a veil, hijab, burqa, balaclava or a paper bag over their face to
examine me. I have rights too.”
Dubliner Patrick Smith, writing to the
- - - - - - - - - - I S R A E L - - - - - - - - - -
“Iran openly, explicitly and publicly
threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same
level, when they [Iran] are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as
America, France, Israel, Russia?”
Ehud Olmert, Israel's
prime minister, in an interview,
inadvertently implies that Israel possesses nuclear weapons
an admission that for over 20 years Israel has studiously avoided.
He later blamed his
poor grasp of English.
- - - - - - - - U N - - - - - - - - - -
“Nobody intended our aid to subsidise this.”
A United Nations official pathetically
about misuse of UN aid money in Aceh province
to build a Sharia system that flogs women,
oblivious to the UN's own gross if typical neglect
in not attaching and enforcing rigid strings to the money
- - - - - - - - E U R O P E - - - - - - - - - -
Europeans have relied on their American allies for too long. They have to
shoulder their share of the burden by making a national defence effort
commensurate with their ambitions for the Atlantic alliance and also for the
statement issued by Jacque Chirac.
Europeans responsible and paying for their own defence?
Whoever heard of such nonsense? That's America's job.
- - - - - - - - I R E L A N D - - - - - - - - - -
“My intention was to assassinate Gerry Adams and Martin
explains why he stormed Northern Ireland's Stormont parliament building,
firing a pistol and throwing grenades, before being subdued.
No-one was hurt.
Sentenced in 1989 to
684 (!) years for the murders of six Catholics,
he was released under license in 2000
under the terms of Good Friday Agreement,
to a hero's welcome.
he has been re-incarcerated to serve the rest of his punishment,
plus whatever extra he gets for the Stormont attack.
He will leave prison
in a coffin.
“I feel sorry for the Ward family who have lost a father
and is left with young children.”
Padriag Nally, after
being acquitted - at his second trial -
of manslaughter and murder.
He had beaten and shot dead father of eleven John Ward,
who had trespassed on to his property, with presumed intent to rob.
November, I wrote about this case in a post titled
- - - - - - - - - - E N G L A N D R U G B Y - -
- - - - - - - -
Quote: “When England won the World Cup in 2003, it probably
seemed to the outside world that we were travelling on a gleaming, modern
cruise liner. We were not — we were on the Titanic. I realised it even
as Martin Johnson held the trophy above his head in Sydney. It is personally
shattering for me to say this, but winning the World Cup was the worst thing
that ever happened to the England team.”
manager of England's 2003 Rugby World Cup winning team,
on the miserable performance since then of the World Champions.
His closing remark is of course utter
which has no connection with the rest of his long and justified diatribe
against the current management structure of England rugby.
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Ill-informed and objectionable as always
Now, for a little [Light Relief]
Cuddly Teddy Bears
looking for a home
Click for details
Neda Agha Soltan;
shot dead in Teheran
by Basij militia
Good to report that as at
14th September 2009
he is at least
FREED AT LAST,
ON 18th OCTOBER 2011,
GAUNT BUT OTHERWISE REASONABLY HEALTHY
Atlantic Blog (defunct)
Broom of Anger
Cox and Forkum
Carey / GUBU
Thinking Man's Guide
Victor Davis Hanson
Tales from Warri
Graham's Sporting Wk
My Columns in the
What I've recently
“The Lemon Tree”, by Sandy
is a delightful novel-style history of modern Israel and Palestine told
through the eyes of a thoughtful protagonist from either side, with a
household lemon tree as their unifying theme.
But it's not
entirely honest in its subtle pro-Palestinian bias, and therefore needs
to be read in conjunction with an antidote, such as
This examines events which led to BP's 2010 Macondo blowout in
the Gulf of Mexico.
BP's ambitious CEO John Browne expanded it through adventurous
acquisitions, aggressive offshore exploration, and relentless
cost-reduction that trumped everything else, even safety and long-term
Thus mistakes accumulated, leading to terrifying and deadly accidents in
refineries, pipelines and offshore operations, and business disaster in
The Macondo blowout was but an inevitable outcome of a BP culture that
had become poisonous and incompetent.
However the book is gravely compromised by a
litany of over 40 technical and stupid
errors that display the author's ignorance and
It would be better
to wait for the second (properly edited) edition before buying.
As for BP, only a
wholesale rebuilding of a new, professional, ethical culture will
prevent further such tragedies and the eventual destruction of a once
mighty corporation with a long and generally honourable history.
Note: I wrote
my own reports on Macondo
A horrific account
how the death
penalty is administered and, er, executed in Singapore,
the corruption of
Singapore's legal system, and
enthusiastic embrace of Burma's drug-fuelled military dictatorship
More details on my
nonagenarian Alistair Urquhart’s
incredible story of survival in the Far
East during World War II.
After recounting a
childhood of convention and simple pleasures in working-class Aberdeen,
Mr Urquhart is conscripted within days of Chamberlain declaring war on
Germany in 1939.
From then until the
Japanese are deservedly nuked into surrendering six years later, Mr
Urquhart’s tale is one of first discomfort but then following the fall
of Singapore of ever-increasing, unmitigated horror.
After a wretched
journey Eastward, he finds himself part of Singapore’s big but useless
Taken prisoner when Singapore falls in
1941, he is, successively,
part of a death march to Thailand,
a slave labourer on the Siam/Burma
railway (one man died for every sleeper laid),
regularly beaten and tortured,
racked by starvation, gaping ulcers
and disease including cholera,
a slave labourer stevedoring at
shipped to Japan in a stinking,
closed, airless hold with 900 other sick and dying men,
torpedoed by the Americans and left
drifting alone for five days before being picked up,
a slave-labourer in Nagasaki until
blessed liberation thanks to the Americans’ “Fat Boy” atomic
distraught and traumatised on return to Aberdeen yet disdained by the
British Army, he slowly reconstructs a life. Only in his late 80s
is he able finally to recount his dreadful experiences in this
There are very few
first-person eye-witness accounts of the the horrors of Japanese
brutality during WW2. As such this book is an invaluable historical
“Culture of Corruption:
Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies”
This is a rattling good tale of the web
of corruption within which the American president and his cronies
operate. It's written by blogger Michele Malkin who, because she's both
a woman and half-Asian, is curiously immune to the charges of racism and
sexism this book would provoke if written by a typical Republican WASP.
With 75 page of notes to back up - in
best blogger tradition - every shocking and in most cases money-grubbing
allegation, she excoriates one Obama crony after another, starting with
the incumbent himself and his equally tricky wife.
Joe Biden, Rahm Emmanuel, Valerie Jarett,
Tim Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Steven Rattner, both Clintons, Chris
Dodd: they all star as crooks in this venomous but credible book.
ACORN, Mr Obama's favourite community
organising outfit, is also exposed for the crooked vote-rigging machine
This much trumpeted sequel to
Freakonomics is a bit of disappointment.
It is really just
a collation of amusing
little tales about surprising human (and occasionally animal) behaviour
and situations. For example:
Drunk walking kills more people per
kilometer than drunk driving.
People aren't really altruistic -
they always expect a return of some sort for good deeds.
Child seats are a waste of money as
they are no safer for children than adult seatbelts.
Though doctors have known for
centuries they must wash their hands to avoid spreading infection,
they still often fail to do so.
Monkeys can be taught to use washers
as cash to buy tit-bits - and even sex.
The book has no real
message other than don't be surprised how humans sometimes behave and
try to look for simple rather than complex solutions.
And with a final
anecdote (monkeys, cash and sex), the book suddenly just stops dead in
its tracks. Weird.
A remarkable, coherent attempt by Financial Times economist Alan Beattie
to understand and explain world history through the prism of economics.
It's chapters are
organised around provocative questions such as
Why does asparagus come from Peru?
Why are pandas so useless?
Why are oil and diamonds more trouble
than they are worth?
Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine?
It's central thesis
is that economic development continues to be impeded in different
countries for different historical reasons, even when the original
rationale for those impediments no longer obtains. For instance:
Argentina protects its now largely
foreign landowners (eg George Soros)
Russia its military-owned
businesses, such as counterfeit DVDs
The US its cotton industry
comprising only 1% of GDP and 2% of its workforce
The author writes
in a very chatty, light-hearted matter which makes the book easy to
However it would
benefit from a few charts to illustrate some of the many quantitative
points put forward, as well as sub-chaptering every few pages to provide
natural break-points for the reader.
This is a thrilling book of derring-do behind enemy lines in the jungles
of north-east Burma in 1942-44 during the Japanese occupation.
The author was
a member of Britain's V Force, a forerunner of the SAS. Its remit was to
harass Japanese lines of
command, patrol their occupied territory, carryout sabotage and provide
intelligence, with the overall objective of keeping the enemy out of
is admirably yet brutally frank, in his
descriptions of deathly battles with the Japs, his execution of a
prisoner, dodging falling bags of rice dropped by the RAF, or collapsing
in floods of tears through accumulated stress, fear and loneliness.
He also provides some fascinating insights into the mentality of
Japanese soldiery and why it failed against the flexibility and devolved
authority of the British.
The book amounts to
a very human and exhilarating tale.
Oh, and Irwin
describes the death in 1943 of his colleague my uncle, Major PF
Click for an account of this momentous,
of March 2009
Click on the logo
to get a table with
the Rugby World Cup
scores, points and rankings.
crackling, compelling, captivating games, the new World Champions are,
England get the Silver,
Argentina the Bronze. Fourth is host nation France.
No-one can argue with
the justice of the outcomes
Over the competition,
points per game = 52,
tries per game = 6.2,
minutes per try =
Click on the logo
to get a table with
the final World Cup
scores, points, rankings and goal-statistics