Lest people forget, history has a strange way of repeating itself but in reverse. In the early days, Christians were persecuted and in time they became the Persecutors. Jews were slaughtered wholesale by the Nazis but only 50 years later it is hard not to see Nazi tendencies in the government of Ariel Sharon.
In time, the US will not be quite so powerful. What will happen then? What of the Geneva Convention and International Law then? Their tanks and planes won't run without oil. Was that what Iraq was really about?
Maybe that fateful day is sooner than you think.
Re : Violent Religions
Tell me, Tony, are they really still teaching this stuff in Sunday school in Dublin? 'Cause over here in the U.S., we generally get a substantially less provocative (and more accurate) version. (Psssst! The Romans did it!)
All sarcasm aside, I'd really be
interested in what led you to write that
I don't agree that David Kelly is poor man. Why are you propagating so surely that he committed suicide? It's a shame a country that had world wide idols as Sherlock Holmes, writers as Edgar Wallace, Agatha Christie....and Scotland Yard, make such a haste judgment. on an improbable policial (or I would say political) occurrence.
It's Blair spirit riding again: If
it's not complete, if it's not
David Kelly it's another Iraqi revisited.
14 July 2003
Click here to read the response from the Mayor of Bayeux , which prompted an apology from me.
The Centre is a very unassuming (and surprisingly small) building set back from one of the main roads out of the town. We pass it regularly on our way to the golf club, and have often joked about its name, wondering just what they were supposed to be coordinating and following up! Perhaps you have unveiled the unwelcome truth?
Graham, Abu Dhabi
(1) "In a stunning military performance of unparalleled virtuoso by America and Britain," STUNNING for its victims only. It was a turkey shoot of a defenceless conscript army.
(2) "an unprecedentedly small number of their own and of non-combatant casualties" THE BODIES have not yet been counted. The 30000 or so "military" casualties need to be counted to.
(3) "UN incompetence has prevailed in Iraq, where for 12 years it failed to deal with Saddam beyond issuing 17 high-minded Resolutions, which it then failed to implement." IT IMPOSED VICIOUS SANCTIONS sustained chiefly through US pressure.
(4) "As a result, Saddam was able to continue murdering his civilians at a rate of 5,000 per year as well as financing every suicide bomber in Israel and hanging on to his WMD." I have seen it argued that the Sanctions tightened Saddam's grip. As to his WMD, they seem to have all gone...
(5) "When he didn't disarm, the UN pretended that "serious consequences" didn't mean war" -- not pretended, the code for war is "all necessary means" and apparently war cannot be threatened in advance by the UN according to its own rules.
(6) "more resolutions, more inspections, more troops on the border with orders not to invade" -- which would have been more than adequate as we now see, for WHERE ARE THE WMDs.
(7) "The USA has once again had to go to war to rescue others" -- but that was not the issue! And the primary motive of the war was not the rescue of Iraqis but the appropriation of Iraq oil for geopolitical purposes, as well as permanent access to military bases in Iraq.
(8) "In all the other major international confrontations with totalitarian regimes, the UN has shirked its responsibilities and left the dirty work to America while simultaneously disapproving and trying to prevent it." Hmmm, where has postwar America undone totalitarian regimes and replaced them with democracy? Generally it has rather tried to do the opposite. Perhaps the Sandinistas were as "totalitarian regime" and the Contras represented "democracy"?
(9) "Only America has the ability to lead and co-ordinate this reconstruction, and - through war - the authority to do so." Colonialism means that force of arms gives you the right to administer conquered territories. But I thought we were supposed to have got beyond that and to be constructing a world order based on International Law?
(10) "The UN can serve a worthy and useful role by offering to America its services, such as humanitarian assistance." That would suit America fine; it has always sought to weaken the UN in order to put International Law at the service of its neocolonial designs. The Rule of Empire is perhaps easier to arrange than the Rule of Law. If the US would put its imperial power behind the Rule of Law it would indeed be making the world a better place. But we have seen it contemn international law again and again.
(11) "Nevertheless, the better the UN performs, the more responsibility it should be given in the months and years ahead." Performs as docile, uncritical boy scouts? But that would be a betrayal of what the UN stands for: the Rule of Law.
(12) "And who knows, at some point in the (distant ?) future, it might once again be trusted to take a leading position in a delicate and difficult international situation. But not yet. It must re-earn its spurs." SUCH CONTEMPT for the rule of law has delegitimized the US in the eyes of the world. It is the American Empire not the UN and International Law that is now coursing to collapse.
JS II, France
newsletter is a pleasant an interesting read. As a somewhat conservative
American, I am intrigued to encounter the conservative perspective of a
You are pretty much full of the crap you have imbibed from the religious fanatics and the right wing political extremists. The only way to have peace in this world is to treat all nations and all peoples with justice, fairness and equity. War may be necessary, but it is not the first choice of reasonable, sensible people.
The millions who demonstrated against a
war with Iraq may be accused of well meaning naivety or misguided actions.
But in truth I do not think they were all there to demonstrate against a
war with Iraq, they were there to demonstrate against WAR. And I guess
that amongst the other millions who did not actively demonstrate there are
a great majority implacably opposed to WAR. In fact I am sure that if a
poll were taken amongst the 200,000 soldiers sitting at the Iraqi borders
many of them would be opposed to WAR.
But I think the semantics are all
wrong. This is not a war with Iraq. There is no argument with the Iraqi
peoples. There is no extremist, ideological and corrosive political force
such as fascism or communism alive in Iraq. Iraq is a country being held
to ransom by a tyrant and his gang of thugs. A venal, corrupt, ruthless
In any society, if a criminal holds
hostage his family or other innocents, threatens and executes violence
against his neighbours, poses a threat to his locality then he faces the
full power of the police force who will surround his property, do their
level best first to reason with him, persuade him to discard his weapons
and surrender peaceably. If after a period of time, when it becomes clear
that his hostages lives are all but lost if they do not take action the
police will storm the building, protecting the lives of the hostages as
far as possible, then apprehend the criminal.
On a far greater scale this is
precisely the situation with Iraq. The American and British armed forces
are acting as world policemen. With, we hope and trust, the full authority
of the United Nations they will execute their policing duties, release the
peoples of Iraq held hostage and apprehend the master criminal and his
gang of thugs. How can anyone demonstrate against police carrying out
There is another and interesting aspect to the mass demonstrations. The scale of the demonstration is a relatively new phenomenon. It is a result of the tremendous power of the internet. The organisers were, apparently, a small and dedicated band, yet through the internet they were able to mobilise and organise on such an extraordinary scale. What does this bode for the future? I am sure the implications are a source of debate.
Re : Gerhard Schroeder
Gerhard Schroeder will go, and he will
go early. Your blog covering his recent antics paints a picture of a vain
man who will twist and turn in search of the policy that wins him support.
Why? Because he has no beliefs or convictions, he is a pastiche of liberal
thinking since the second world war. This was illustrated perfectly today
(18th Feb) with a report that his retort to the fact that many people will
die in Iraq if Saddam Hussein is allowed to stay was many
people are dying in North Korea too.
This is similar to the argument that, although the atrocities are
sometimes as bad, and numbers killed as high, the West - or specifically
the US - is not intervening in African trouble spots (see Letters
on your very own Blog). Although I have no trouble refuting the theory
behind such an argument, I treat it pretty much as the playground argument
dad is bigger than your dad
type of response - annoying and irrelevant. The point about
Schroeder is that he is a world leader, and the best he can do to counter
evidence that Saddam is an appalling ruler is refer to North Korea. OK, so
what if America HAS got plans to "sort out" the North Koreans?
Will he agree to invasion then? I speak to Germans daily, and to say they
are embarrassed by their leader is putting it mildly. Frankly, if he
supports a position, you can guarantee that even people who would
naturally adopt a similar stance will find themselves questioning their
Re : France and Iraq
Is France's reluctance to support intervention into Iraq a possible fear of exposure to what they may have sold to the Iraqi's - breaking sanctions ?
Re : Iraq
In the book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom,
Lawrence of Arabia wrote...
Re : Why
Must US Action on Iraq Go Through the UN ?
USA attacked Corea, Vietnam, which is xxxx miles away
USA attacked Panama, Granado, Lybia, were xxxx miles away
The only analogous war USA should make, MUTATIS
MUTANTIS, would be against Canada and
Shame on England that attacked (or took possession,
or both) of India, Egypt, Australia, Malvinas, South Africa, etc.
You always decide alone......
This time it will not be different!!!!!!!!!
14th November 2002
Re : Nigeria
I have read that the U.S. Navy has been considering building a naval base on Sao Tome. The U.S. is looking at ending its oil dependence on the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa is one region with lots of oil.
Having a base would provide a mutual benefit for both
Sao Tome, a mostly Christian nation, and the U.S. Given the information
about the Nigerian moves in the area, I can see one reason why Sao Tome
might want a U.S. military presence.
25th September 2002
Re : To
Warmonger or Negotiate
Really enjoyed the reading. Especially the pieces on Iraq : To Warmonger or Negotiate, and Bin Laden is Dead. This is the first time I've heard about your news publishings. Thank you and keep up the good work. I've taken the liberty to forward this onto others here in the States.
19th August 2002
Re : Chinook and Ukraine Aircraft Crashes
The writer was on a sailing holiday in the Black Sea at the time of the Ukranian air show crash.
The president of Ukraine also ordered cancellation of the much-vaunted (and spectacular) Black Sea fleet review due to take place in Sevastopol two days after the air crash - probably a wise move as they apparently make it spectacular by firing live missiles! Unfortunately this news did not become known until the expectant public had been in their seats for several hours that morning - including the crews of several boats in our flotilla, who'd made a special overnight advance dash to catch this event.
We did witness an air-sea rescue display right
next to the marina in Odessa, and although the rather odd-looking
helicopter stayed aloft, we noted that the naval patrol vessel that came
in just before the display
(presumably as a back-up in case of problems) took a chunk out the quayside and it's own rubbing strake!
Moreover, one pseudo-military event that didn't get scuppered was an unexpected (and very loud) 3-gun salute given to us as we were mooring at the yacht club jetty in the previously 'closed' naval ship-building city of Nikolaev. Gives you a bit of a fright when one of those goes off just as your pulling hard on a mooring line!
p.s. I have to admit to NOT being a computer nerd, and thus having to ask what the hell a Blog is ?
Graham - Click on Blogging Explained - T
9th August 2002
Re : Catholic Church and Sex Abuse
I must say that I enjoyed your articles on current affairs in the Tallrite Blog. A most incisive mind you have with the ability to put alternative perspective on issues. I like the way you put the sex scandal business in a more honest perspective.
I befriended a nun here in Limerick, whose order ran a laundry in the old days, for girls that found themselves in the family way. She told me some depressing stories of the treatment of some of the girls by their families. They were cast out and told they were fallen women and had disgraced their families. In many cases their fathers would not have anything to do with them and forbade the mother and any of their siblings contact. At times it was the father who was responsible for their condition and I was also told that a priest was sometimes the guilty party.
The nun is passed on now and she often regretted that they did not know more about care for these unfortunate victims of a sexually repressed society. They had no training in care and had nowhere to obtain it. What gave her great joy was that many of the girls kept in contact with her - often in secret - because they wished to hide their past from their own newfound families.
The nuns never had anything for themselves. They got pocket money. Later on, when the laundry was closed, when my wife and I used to call for our friend, to take her to a concert in the University Concert Hall, it was a major outing for her. Such a simple thing, yet it gave her great joy. The other nuns used to kid her that " her boyfriend was calling for her ". I must confess that it gave me great joy also to take her out for an evening. I used to look forward to it.
Much has been written about the sufferings of these young girls. The cause of course for the situation has been somewhat understated i.e. the attitudes of our society and the lack of moral courage, on the part of our elected leaders, to stand up to the injustice of this attitude. The "Maggie" laundries were just picking up the pieces and attempting, in accordance with their own belief, "to straighten out the path to God for these unfortunate sinners".
Again, in that society, it was the women who were considered the more culpable as it was widely believed that the nature of a man was such that he could not help his sexual drive once aroused to a certain stage by a woman, who of course was always considered to be in complete control of the situation. Now more is written ( I would not say unknown ) about a woman's sexuality. We are not so quick to accept teachings on such matters by those who take vows of chastity - and don't forget that it was those poor mislead chastitutes, who were schooled to believe that it was there duty to give leadership in such emotional and complex matters, in accordance with the convictions of the head of whatever seminary they attended. Many of them, unfortunately were wrong and society, the vast bulk of which were not educated to think and reason for themselves, reacted in fear of condemnation to everlasting flames and eternal misery. Is it any wonder that some banished their own daughters for what they believed to be "the most deadly sin of all" and the public shame which was attached to such a "sin"?
Am I being too judgemental ? I hope not. All I am attempting to do is to find some logic for the grave injustices of the past which was apparently accepted by our forbearers.
The case of Lieutenant De Roiste in 1969 is one which is relevant to the same form of distorted thinking, if it is true that he was dismissed for failing to cover up for a superior officer's misdeed. Was the reputation of an army senior officer taking precedence over natural justice ? Was the lieutenant sacrificed for his moral courage ? If this is so then the files should be opened and the case thoroughly reviewed while there are living witnesses still available ?
Back to the top
Good to report that as at
Atlantic Blog (defunct)
My Columns in the
What I've recently
See detailed review
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 technical sustainability.
Thus mistakes accumulated, leading to terrifying and deadly accidents in refineries, pipelines and offshore operations, and business disaster in Russia.
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 carelessness.
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.
A horrific account of:
More details on my blog here.
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 garrison.
Taken prisoner when Singapore falls in 1941, he is, successively,
Chronically ill, 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 unputdownable book.
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 document.
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 it is.
It is really just a collation of amusing little tales about surprising human (and occasionally animal) behaviour and situations. For example:
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.
It's chapters are organised around provocative questions such as
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:
The author writes in a very chatty, light-hearted matter which makes the book easy to digest.
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.
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 India.
Irwin 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 Brennan.
Other books here
crackling, compelling, captivating games, the new World Champions are,
England get the Silver,
No-one can argue with
Over the competition,