Sunday, October 29, 2006
In Le Figaro, France's right wing broadsheet, there is an article which, in the english at least, reads as a 'modest' argument against anti americanism. Its a start! It examines what it views as an era of potential US impotence (which worries me too) and actually warns it 'is not to be welcomed'....with what i view as typical but somewhat 'softened' French arrogance:
"France cannot welcome the destruction of the United States' deterrent power. The United States is a difficult, sometimes even arrogant, ally, but it is an ally, and the only one that we have in order to grant credibility to the resolutions that we jointly adopt within the UN Security Council"
Well precisely. First up. They are an ally. This over fixation with the US as a deterrent power is what people like myself try to challenge - it has become a negative, unhealthy, unbalanced fixation that only centres around Iraq and Bush. This article certainly doesnt labour over the 'was it right to go to war' argument, but it does look at Iraq and the US being 'unsuccessfully' bogged down in it as a danger. I say 'unsuccessfully' because though i support the current aims in Iraq and view them as fundamentally correct, they have been so lost in a determination on the part of some here to undermine the aims ostensibly to undermine Bush, that they have contributed to the failure, in my opinion.
The article argues that
1. "In the absence of a real permanent UN force, the United States is the only permanent Security Council member that has a credible modern army, capable of being dispatched quickly to any part of the world. The problem is that this force no longer really inspires fear"
2. "By launching the invasion and occupation of Iraq on 20 March 2003, the United States unnecessarily abandoned a deterrence posture, despite the fact that it had worked well. Its failure to seek and obtain the UN Security Council's approval further exacerbates the situation"
3. "The US defeat in Iraq has paradoxically made the mullahs' Teheran safe: They have realized that Congress will not allow George W. Bush to attack Iran, under the present circumstances. The US opposition within the Security Council to Iran's nuclear programme no longer carries much weight, because we know that it will not be followed up by any use of military force"
4. "Provoking the tripling of oil prices, the United States has granted [Iranian] President [Mahmud] Ahmadinezhad's regime the financial leeway that it dreamed of in order to pursue militarily its hegemonic regional ambitions..(Hezbollah)"
Interesting points. But i'd argue all the more reason to support and succeed in Iraq, to disband the UN, to disarm Hezbollah.... All the more reason to root out anti americanism, conflating hardened attitudes towards Bush and a dislike for the war producing this childish stream of hatred and spitefulness that manifests with monotonous regularity - it all works against us the whole time. OK you didn't support the war. Get over it.
And here's why (as the Figaro piece concludes)
"Since the 21st century promises to be a century of dangerous religious, ethnic, political and economic rivalries, the world needs a global policeman. Until the United Nations has, as its Charter requires, established a military force of its own, the need for such a policeman will continue to make itself felt. And like it or not, this policeman is a US one"
Forget the UN, France..forget it. Therein lies the French requirement to assume some responsibility in this mess - they, like others, still believe in this corrupt organisations ability to do anything. In recognising that the world does indeed need a Team America, its also time to recognise how inept and corrupt an organisation the UN is and see America for the force for good it still is. A timely introduction to Nick Cohens piece in the Guardian:
How the UN lets genocidal states get away with murder.
"Annan will be gone soon, but unless his successor can tackle the moral corruption of a potentially noble institution, then the UN should be honest with itself and world opinion and take Chemical Ali's words as its motto. 'Who is going to say anything? The international community? Fuck them!'" .
*THAT* is how corrupt and murderous world players view the UN. Powerless. (Talk of impotence!). For any mistakes it makes the US needs to be seen as a strong armed policeman - it will only work if the policeman is seen to act precisely as that deterrant power - and with full western support, it actually needn't be so isolated. The US just needs to be more even handed.
Little Green Rugby Balls might be sticking to its guns over the BBC at the moment but the fact is the message is finally getting through regards bias and its always worth pointing this out .
"The BBC has a problem with impartiality. The row over BBC bias has been rumbling on longer than war in Sudan... no matter how much BBC bosses swear blind there is no problem, the issue refuses to go away. Why? Because for many licence-payers, the BBC's skewed assumptions about what the world is about and how its inhabitants should think is the most annoying thing about it – more annoying than dumbing down, than the universal licence fee, than Jonathan Ross's £18 million pay packet. More annoying even than Natasha Kaplinsky. And particularly infuriating when the BBC denies it outright, as did Michael Grade, the BBC chairman, in an article published a few days before a governors' impartiality summit a month ago.
We all saw Spooks, LGF, its laughable. If anything it does more to damage the BBC. As the author of the Telegraph article demonstrates by citing it as an example.
I wouldn't know where to start in tackling the political correctness of BBC drama, but I think the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves would go to Spooks, BBC1's flagship series about impossibly right-on MI5 agents. The series was originally praised (by the BBC) for its accuracy about the real work of the Security Service. So what did it kick off with on the first episode? A pro-life extremist bomber out to cause mayhem. Come on, you must know about them! No? Well, what about episode two, which tackled the equally pressing issue of racist extremists in league with Right-wing politicians plotting mass murder of immigrants? I lost interest in Spooks, but tuned in again a few weeks ago for the start of the fifth series. It was about homegrown al-Qa'eda terrorists taking over the Saudi embassy and murdering innocent people. Except that they weren't British Muslims at all, but undercover Israeli agents. Once again, the villains are a million miles away from the ones you might expect, and top-heavy with the forces of reaction.
Good stuff. And equally I look forward to reading an honest piece of reporting about the UK in the New York Times one day...or watching a CNN news report that isnt busy patronising us.
I won't hold my breath.
The BBC has corrected a report written in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks which has been cited by conspiracy theorists. It relates to the 'confusion at the time surrounding the names and identities of some of the hijackers.
'This confusion was widely reported and was also acknowledged by the FBI' according to the Beeb. 'The story has been cited ever since by some as evidence that the 9/11 attacks were part of a US government conspiracy'.
In an 'effort' to correct the assumptions made they have amended the copy underneath the photo which alluded to one of the suspected hijackers being alive and well in Morocco. It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. The emphasis around the word 'suspects' and 'alive and well', however, remains incorrect.
Read the comments and weep.
More reports justify terrorism
Iraq war 'fuelling UK terrorism'
Iraq 'has been used as an excuse' for terror, says Downing Street.
"Downing Street has distanced itself from leaked papers suggesting Iraq is fuelling terrorism, stressing they were not drawn up by its officials. The papers demand a "significant reduction in the number and intensity of the regional conflicts that fuel terror activity".
The papers then set out a list of perfect scenarios in a series of troublespots - including stability for Iraq and Afghanistan -10 years from now. As well as Israel living in "peaceful coexistence" with its Arab neighbours and Iran devoid of nuclear weapons, they say that there should be "no new failed states, dictatorships or wars" in the Middle East and South Asia.
"If all or most of the above were in place, threats from other sources of Islamic terrorism (eg Indonesia, Philippines, Nigeria) would be manageable or on the way to resolution," they conclude.
What was Saddam if he wasnt a dictator? Who and how will a non nuclear Iran come about? When Israel withdrew from Gaza did Hamas go about creating a peaceful environment or feel emboldened to carry on with terrorism? Who doesnt want a stable Middle East? Which side is unquivocal about a peaceful co existence with Israel? Who else but the West will influence a reduction in failed states, dictatorships and wars? Even Sudan will be seen as malign western interference.
The conclusion drawn comes as no surprise - submit, appease, submit! Lets have our foreign policy dictated by threats please!
"Any remaining deployments of the British armed forces should be seen as contributing to international stability and security." Actions should be designed to reduce terrorism, "especially that in or directed against the UK".
Afghanistan is precisely that scenario. There were no anti war demos when troops were sent there to oust the Taleban - but its become a useful number to add to the list of grievances now. The troops are contributing to stability and security there and were welcomed by the people, just as they were when Saddam was ousted. If the West is not seen as such it is largely down to the media, anti war spin and rubbish that spews forth from the Left and their buddy jihadis who dont really care what is happening anywhere... provided it makes a good slogan.
If anything it is these reports, platformed by the media which contribute to the threat of terrorism - by justifying their actions.
I thought this was an interesting comment piece in last weeks Telegraph:
Bush is wrong: Iraq is not Vietnam
"The Vietnam war was not lost on the battlefield, but in the American media's treatment of news from the front line"
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Give me a break?
"Add to that the rapid change in the composition of our communities; the faces we see in the high street are changing colour; the accents in the shops are more varied. It’s unsettling and there are people, notably the far right, ready to poison the communal well with sly attacks on anyone who can be painted as a “foreigner”. Even the “white” incomers bring their problems; the CRE is already receiving reports of eastern Europeans bringing pre-1960s attitudes from countries pervaded by deep racism, attacking black and Asian people in our streets.
The real problem that Britain faces is not Muslims’ way of life. Nor is it Islamophobia, poverty or foreign policy, although all these things are contributing to the turmoil. The real crisis is our failure to adjust to change in our society and our failure to find a civilised way of talking about our diversity...."
I'm not sure what to really make of Trevor Phillips 'swansong' at the moment. Generally his comments are a breath of fresh air and counter balance the rubbish someone like Livingstone spews so I was expecting a lot. But this article kind of sits on the fence.
Couple of points that stood out.
In one breath he condemns "White" incomers bringing in pre 1960s attitudes towards blacks and asians but then goes on to suggest we dont have a problem with the 'muslim way of life'. If eastern europeans have brought in pre 1960s style racism to Britain then surely muslims have gone one better in resurrecting their positively prehistoric rubbish.
And who is he condemning for failure? Even after 7/7 British attitudes remained calm and measured towards the islamists in their midst as so called British citizens blew up their fellow citizens. Since then we've endured open and direct incitement, threats limiting free speech, proposals for sharia, insistence at wearing full veils and suggestions of giant mosques to reward a community who have done absolutely nothing to merit it. 'We' were not 'socially polarised by race and faith' before islamists went mental and 'we've 'always been 'chilled'. 'We' were world renound for being positively cold at one point. The request for any section of society 'to chill' needs to be clearer. We all know *who* needs to chill ffs or should 'we' spell it out?
Furthermore it is not society that swings open the doors on immigration. Society finds immigration imposed on it and has to deal with the fallout whilst being lectured to by politicians on how bad they are at it and the need 'for talk'.
I appreciate he is offering up a solution to the issues we face and that he proposes a proper debate minus all the PC whining... finally. But knock it off with the accusations of society's failure to adjust.
The primary onus should quite simply be on those coming into the country to embrace the host culture, integrate and put back into society what they take out. It's that simple.
I do partly admire
The self declared ‘
This hilarious picture speaks volumes with respect to Segelene’s position. In an apparently dull live TV debate her own socialist party adversary with whom she is pictured, described her speech as ‘que des conneries’ (a load of shit). To the point in
Both Sarkozy and Royal have been referring to a political (badly needed) ‘rupture’ (break with the past) for
For Royal it literally is about breaking with the tradition of a male dominated political environment. As such she can afford, in appealing to women as she does, to rely on style over substance and talk in vagueries. In
At some point, like Cameron, she will actually have to state her aims. She doesn’t appear to be in a hurry. Sarkozy is the one who sets the pace and takes the flack. His aggressive position with regards to the rioting in the banlieues, where job prospects are such that they’ve nothing better to do than cosy up to the islamists, his open move to court Bush and the anglo saxon economic model hasn’t been all that well received recently (by some) and plays to her advantage. In spite of all that though, promisingly, Sarkozy, my fav, maintains a strong lead in the polls. He’s a darn sight more interesting than the intensely irritating Cameron. In fact even Royal’s lack of substance is more interesting and post worthy than Cameron’s, god help us.
Has anyone seen the ad for the new Sony Bravia TV? The one filmed in Glasgow where the typically grim looking housing estate literally explodes in a colour paint firework display? I assumed it was mostly all done digitally. Turns out they used 70 ooo litres of paint, 455 mortars and a lot of detonators. Fun. Ive posted 'the making of' below.
The advert if you haven't caught it is here
Certainly cheered up the residents.
My big fat miserable bar mitzvah
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The same Shit in our own Back Yards
So was it the front page of the Independent (aka the Daily Hate for liberals) that irritated me today and set me thinking? The Guardian.. with its clear crummy reporting? The announcement from Security Services about Al Q?
I made the big mistake of clicking on the comments section at Little Green Footballs again. Charles Johnson had stuck some piece up about Britain, Doom, Doom, Doooooomed!!!....and the comments on that post well...let's just say that they make the Guardian, the BBC and the Indy's readers look balanced and gentle in their criticism of the US.
Responses to LGFs post on the Security announcement today included such gems as:
"Britain deserves to be bitten. They've invited the vampires in"
"More and more, the British citizenry are seeing these Islamopukes for what
they are, and their media for what THEY are".
"What do you think that means? Are they finally scared?"
Bloody hell. So whats sets LGF apart from the BBC then? ....if i suggest America deserved 9/11 for supporting Irish terrorism all those years, is that OK? ARE we finally scared, fellow Brits? Do we not recognise media bias, fellow Brits? Poor us. We need the Americans to tell us! LOL ....and deep breath.
I'm not the only one to wonder at the kind of insulist ignorant moron that would post that kind of rubbish ( it went on and on and on...) and then assume some moral superiority over their ignorant BBC oodling cousins. I also wonder what the hell im doing every day rubbishing anti americanism when its pretty clear the same kind of crap spews forth across the Atlantic from the other side towards 'Americas no 1 ally'. This isnt a reaction to whats happening here vis a vis opinions formed about the US via the BBC et al. LGF is a convenient forum to pander to lingering, 'post-colonial' anti English resentment ...and raise the bar. Its a great site for quick news bursts..but if you want views on what affects Britain, any Americans out there... please dont listen to Charles.
This excellent comment following 'anthean' below a few weeks ago was spot on. It applies equally well today to the kind of idiot who would think 'we deserve to be bitten'.
#7 anthean 9/12/2006 05:50PM PDT
"Can someone help me understand why both the British public and the Irish public are such incredible suck ups to the Palestinians ? What is it about suicide bus bombers that Brits find so attractive ? I'm not talking about the British government, but the people. What is wrong with them ? "
With all due respect anthean, but what an incredibly stupid fucking statement. I'd love to know where you found the time to poll every British citizen, from the PM right down to the last shit-shovelling dock worker, for the basis of your outburst.
It's not just you either. I can't count the number of posts I read each and every day prattling on about the lack of moral fortitude or opposition towards any given issue that can be ascribed to the people of Britain, mostly based on what little representation our media affords the majority of our citizens
Need I point out that you would find it grossly offensive if we held to the view that Americans are little more than overweight, beer swilling, gun toting cowboys, sitting in their trailers and watching talk shows, waiting for the weekend when they'll be marrying their cousins?. Never mind that it would be an entirely crass and uneducated view.
So we just love to be bombed do we?. We'd just love to see our children blown to pieces by terrorists would we?. Whose arse did you pull that opinion from eh?.
Also, since when did any single nation have the monopoly on historical infallibility?. Any person who wishes to express that their particular nation has never made a mistake or followed the wrong path before today is full of shit, end of story. No mans nation is unnacountable for its errors in the past, but the past is unchangeable.
It's where we go from today that determines where we'll be tomorrow. As Churchill said: "If we open up a quarrel between the past and the present, we will find that we have lost our future".
Yet there are those who would seek to judge the Britons of today upon the actions or misjudgements of people long dead and buried, people already judged by history. Would it be fair to say that all Americans are racists based on the history of the slave trade?. Of course it wouldn't. So why paint all Britons today with the brush of Anti-Semitism on that same basis of historical prejudices?.
There are many things wrong with our nations. Yet there are becoming too few people these days that seem capable of expressing the simple notion that we all have, to some degree, the same shit in our own back yards. This notion in itself is the seed of debate. I have had many productive discussions with people from many nations with a view to discussing our mutual problems and exploring the ways and means of solving them.
But to hear my nation arbitrarily written off and spoken of as no better than our enemies, I must take issue. As I am sure most good and proud Americans would (and should) do, when their nation comes under attack. I would never attack the American nation in such manner as I have seen my nation attacked in some posts. To do so would be ignorant and ungracious, sneering and self righteous.
The possibility that some smelly little jihadi is looking at his computer screen, laughing and saying to his friend; "Look Ahmed.... They hate eachother as much as they hate us.... this is going to be easy!", is perhaps not as remote a possibility as people may think.
Some people need to get a fucking grip.
where do things stand with Jack Idema, the U.S. Special Forces soldier being held illegally in Afghanistan?
On the face of it, the situation seems to have stabilized:
- Jack continues to broadcast his weekly Wide Awakes Radio show from Pulacharke prison
- Captain Brent Bennett, in spite of being bundled out of Afghanistan against his will by the U.S. State Department two weeks ago, remains free
- Jack now has his friends in the Northern Alliance watching his back again
- Solitary Confinement Cell Number 10 at Tawab Keef prison, reserved by Karzai for Jack, remains empty
Monday, October 16, 2006
I need to get rid of the sinister spectres in the photos below. So how about a history lesson.
On Saturday it was the 940th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. The norman conquest of England. A significant event that altered the course of our history. The last time any foreign power conquerered England in fact. Wikipedia offers quite a decent summary - 'the conquest linked England more closely with Continental Europe, lessened Scandinavian (saxon) influence, created one of the most powerful monarchies in Europe, created the most sophisticated governmental system in Western Europe, changed the English language and culture and set the stage for English-French conflict that would last into the 19th century'. In fact i like the way they phrase this part: 'Anglo Norman and French political relations became very complicated and somewhat hostile after the Norman Conquest'. Not sure why but the manner of King Harold, last anglo saxon King of Englands' death for some reason remains my earliest school (lesson) memory...probably because it was quite gruesome. (He was killed by an arrow in the eye). I can still 'hear' our teacher recounting the story now.
When i was about 14 we went to Normandy to see the Bayeux Tapestry - a 230 foot long elaborately embroidered cloth which depicts the battle. It was arguably commisioned by Mathilde, William The Conqueror's wife. On the way we stopped at a French market town and besides bothering the French waiters, my 'best friend', horrified at seeing crab upon crab cruelly stacked alive onto a market stall, bought one with a view to releasing it back into the sea at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately it stank the school coach out as he slowly capitulated. She was forced to bury it in a sand dune. After giving the crab a good sending off she spotted some French garcons selling rides on dune buggies. With half an hour to spare before we had to return to the coach on our afternoon off, she handed over all her francs, lied about her age and set off. Ten minutes later she flew over a dune and over the handle bars and broke both her arms. The other thing I remember about that trip is that my sister was sporting the uber cool Diana look (wedge).
Anyway. The other battle that has an anniversary this month took place on the 10th in the year 732.
The Battle of Tours also called the Battle of Poitiers - which Steve at Pub Philosopher remembered. Muslim forces had crossed into Spain & 'but for Charles Martel's victory, things could have been very different'. Leader of the Christian army that prevailed at Tours, Charles the Hammer was Belgian. The illegitimate son of the curiously named Pippin the Middle and his concubine 'Alapaida', he emerged as a 'giant figure of the Dark Ages'. So there you go. Interesting point in time for Labour to pick its own battles. Long may those continue.
I went on to read up and remind myself about the Reconquista when Isabella was on the throne, becoming the successful patron of Christopher Columbus and regaining Spain from the Moors. The messy and bloody side of all this was of course the Inquisition where muslims and jews were forced to be either baptized or expelled.
I really like this part though: 'During their reign they (Ferdinand & Isabelle) supported each other effectively in accordance to their joint motto of equality. When you read about Isabella and for that matter Elizabeth I, saviour of England, you wonder - (the vote aside) who needs feminism?
"They amount to the same, Isabella and Ferdinand"
Saturday, October 14, 2006
in March this year by the female dahlek style police
You can read her sisters letter to a CNN reporter she isnt too happy with here.
Recommended. Seems also to be a decent synopsis of womens rights in Iran from pre revolution. Very interesting read....
I have not found anyone who can define "moderate submission." Under the Shah we had personal freedom and not political freedom. Under the Islamic Republic we have lost both. I also don¹t know what Iranian woman told you that she does not mind the hijab. Perhaps you did not ask the question from a broad sample of women in Iran to validate your assumption. My sister burned herself to death in the public square because she did not want to wear the hijab. Her last cries were "death to tyranny, long live freedom, long live Iran."
I can't relate to them in that garb as British citizens. Neither frankly do i want to. I feel nothing but shame. These young girls are growing up in a society where women have equality and rights AND FOUGHT FOR THEM like the women in Iran are trying to do today. This garb denies anyone full access to that world. Just because they have chosen to wear it doesnt make me respect them for their 'choice'. Women choose to support husbands who deceive them, they choose to support husbands who rape and murder and chop people into bits and bury them in their backyard. They choose to write to men on death row. There are stupid cows the world over. Doesnt mean we should endorse it or not at least attempt to show them up for what they are. Jack Straw a man i would normally have little time for better bloody well stand by his comments. The rest of his liberal buddies and their multi culti paradise have a lot to answer for.
>rant mode off
Real Oppression continued ~ Iran Update
Irans female racing champion barred from defending her title:-
It was the first time Seddigh, whose exploits earned her the soubriquet "the little Schumacher", had been excluded from a contest. Senior federation officials said they had been unable to obtain permission for her participation. However, Seddigh believes she was banned to prevent her earning enough points to repeat her championship success, which won her international fame but upset Iran's male-dominated religious ruling establishment.
Dozens of women arrested in Iran Protest:-
Hundreds of Iranian women gathered outside the offices of the judiciary in Tehran on Tuesday in protest to the impending execution of a female prisoner, dissidents have told Iran Focus. Dozens of protesting women were arrested outside the judiciary as they clashed with armed agents of Iran’s State Security Forces (SSF) and its undercover units. Agents of the SSF sealed off the area, and motorbike patrols roamed the vicinity breaking up crowds of women. The women were protesting the death sentence of Kobra Rahmanpour.
Male Teachers barred from teaching in girls schools:-
Iran’s Ministry of Education has issued a decree banning all male teachers from teaching in all-girls schools, a top ministry official announced earlier this week. The new regulations will take effect from the beginning of the new academic year, Iran’s deputy Education Minister said. The latest move is part of a wider plan to enforce gender segregation laws in public arenas inlcuding seperate teaching buldings for women altogther.
"It feels," says Mohsenian, "as if we're all incapable of behaving like normal people and need to be regulated at all times."
The new hypermorality isn't exactly a return to the days of the Ayatullah Khomeini. Today the tactics are subtler than in the past, when morality police were dispatched onto the streets of Tehran to harass youth. Instead, regular Iranians are being cowed into the role of enforcer. A month ago, I met a few girlfriends for coffee at a popular café. One of my friends lit a cigarette and was informed by the embarrassed owner that smoking is now illegal for women in cafés. Such small but significant restrictions are a discouragement. Half the women I know don't go out for coffee anymore. So without a single police raid, the authorities have stifled Tehran's bustling café scene. The restrictions are multiplying daily, with dress codes imposed on women's-clothing retailers and limits on women performing music in public. Last week trucks laden with satellite dishes rolled through my Tehran neighborhood; police have been confiscating the illegal devices all around town.
Friday, October 13, 2006
The Figures you Dont See
In view of what the armys top dog has been saying and the way Bad News Iraq has taken on renewed momentum with the Lancet report I thought the following interesting. Originally posted at Harrys Place earlier in September it is the same survey from which we see a lot of stats to support the anti war agenda in the media. It does seem to be a fair review and poll - conducted in September for the WorldPublicOpinion.org by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland.
The "bad news" for the 'Imperialists' is that 71% of Iraqis want US-led forces to withdraw within a year. 61% approve of resistance attacks against US forces.
To support the anti war agenda this is the info that gets published and makes the headlines. The following echoes remarks made today by Sir Richard.
If US-led forces were to withdraw within the next 6 months, 58% of Iraqis believe this would lead to a fall in inter-ethnic violence, and 61% believe there would be an improvement in improve day-to-day security.
"An overwhelming majority believes that the US military presence in Iraq is provoking more violence than it is preventing".
Ok - Na'sogood - cue those headlines.
Interestingly though the report suggests that this hostility to US troops is related to the belief, held by 77% of Iraqis, that the US is planning permanent military bases.
So, say the Allied forces make a clear agenda on withdrawal in some support of Mr Army here and the propaganda is dispelled about an 'Occupation' then the approval ratings for hostility might diminish?
This is significantly supported by the following that Harrys Place extracted from the same survey:
61% who support attacks on US-forces, more than half say that their support would diminish if the US announced a commitment to withdraw its forces.
As we have started to see recently...as tribes group to oust Al Qaeda.
• Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden are rejected by overwhelming majorities of Shias and Kurds and large majorities of Sunnis: 94% expressed an "unfavourable" view of Al Qaeda, with 82% expressing a "very unfavourable" view.
The "unfavourable" figure included 77% of Sunnis. 93% expressed an unfavourable view of Osama bin Laden, with 77% very unfavourable. The unfavourable figure included 71% of Sunnis.
• Support REMAINS for a US presence in a non-military capacity, with 63% approving of the US continuing to train Iraqi security forces, and 68% supporting the US in "helping Iraqis organize their communities to address local needs such as building schools and health clinics".
Again, as HP notes, this is linked to the withdrawal of US forces. Of those expressing disapproval of a non-military US role, more than half said they'd be more likely to support such a role if a timetable for withdrawal was agreed.
• Confidence in the Iraqi security forces is rising: 70% expressed confidence in the police, 64% in the army and 62% the Interior Ministry. 56% said they believed that in 6 months Iraqi security forces would be strong enough to cope with security challenges on their own, up from 39% in January. 63% believe the government is doing a very or somewhat good job.
Isnt that good news? How comes these figures aren’t banded about as they should be?
• Militias are seen as the problem rather than the solution: 77% support "a strong government that would get rid of militias", while only 21% preferred to continue to have militias. Support for militias was highest among Shias, but even then only 33% preferred militias to a strong central government. 68% of Iraqis said that they'd be able to rely on the government to ensure security if the militias were to disband.
Isnt that good news???
• The report states that "majorities of all groups do not favour a movement towards a looser confederation and believe that five years from now Iraq will still be a ****single state****" (72%). Only 37% believe that the central government has too much power, and 65% see it as "the legitimate representative of the Iraqi people".
Isnt that good news?
• 61% continue to believe that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth the hardships entailed.
This includes 75% of Shias and 81% of Kurds. The 61% figure is down from 77% in January 2006, but is consistent with previous polls from 2004.
The report suggests that the high January figure "may have been influenced by optimism over the election in December 2005".
Nothing wrong with optimism unless youre a Bush hating westerner and want to flog the chaos theory. Im not surprised the army is fed up when the media brow beats them via their prescence there the while time, how demoralisizing. It doesnt surprise me he has spoken out but i do think it is wrong to do so publicly on this issue, certainly wrong of him in his position as it gives succour to the terrorists and suggests we want to give in. Surely it is in our troops interests to publicize the rest of these figures which present a more encouraging picture and echo what the Iraqi government finally came out and said today.
So in summary yes have a clear agenda for withdrawal leaving behind support as they require. Frankly id like our troops home asap (though they are more likely to be moved to Afghanistan). But get out of Iraq and leave them to it? Er nope. Suggest young men died for nothing? Er nope. Condemn Iraq as a total failure? Well, consider the immediate lack of planning after the ousting a partial failure yes.
But consider the prospects for (an imperfect) democracy emerging supported by the people a good result ~ even more so as North Korea plays its part in the Axis of Evil, an Axis minus one more nutter.
Have a look for yourself at the complete report
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Yasmin Alibhai Brown c/o Butterflies again. The link is to the article as it appears at the MPAC forum and as Butterflies point out its not pleasant reading the comments.
Ive put up a post about Straws comments at ATW here and previously mentioned YAB on the veil here. A chance encounter with a woman in need of her help seemed to lead her to favour a ban ( advocated as a 'feminist'). But as she points out in the first paragraph many 'feminists' have not only sidestepped the potential for debate but have totally denounced Straw.
Thats why i dont ever want to be labelled a feminist. Eugh! They sold out ages ago Im afraid.
I now find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with Straw's every word. Feminists have denounced Straw's approach as unacceptably proscriptive, and reactionary Muslims say it is Islamaphobic.
But it is time to speak out against this objectionable garment and face down the obscurantists who endlessly bait and intimidate the state by making demands that violate its fundamental principles. That they have brainwashed young women, born free, to seek self-subjugation breaks my heart.
Britain has been both more relaxed about cultural differences and over-anxious about challenging unacceptable practices. Few Britons have realized that the hijab — now more widespread than ever — is, for Islamicist puritans, the first step on a path leading to the burqa, where even the eyes are gauzed over...I refuse to submit to the hijab or to an opaque, black shroud. On Sept. 10, 2001, I wrote a column in the Independent newspaper condemning the Taliban for using violence to force Afghan women into the burqa. It is happening again. In Iran, educated women who fail some sort of veil test are being imprisoned by their oppressors. Saudi women under their body sheets long to show themselves and share the world equally with men. Exiles who fled such practices to seek refuge in Europe now find the evil is following them...Millions of progressive Muslims want to halt this Islamicist project to take us back to the Dark Ages. Straw is right to start a debate about what we wear.
Where have all the girls gone
Do Not Contact the Parents
...a statistical analysis done several years ago by Bradford city council. It tracked 1,000 boys and 1,000 girls with Muslim names as they moved through school; at primary, for 1,000 boys on roll, there were 989 girls; by secondary, the 1,000 boys were still around, but the number of girls had dwindled to 860. Across the report the analyst had written: "Where have all the girls gone?" Balmforth, who gives talks to teachers and social workers, says the answer is that the girls have been taken to Bangladesh or Pakistan. In such cases, by the time teachers notice girls have disappeared, it is frequently too late to do anything. The pattern that leads to forced marriage tends to run as follows: emotional blackmail, threats, beatings, imprisonment and kidnap.
hat tip Butterfliesandwheels
I forgot to say well done to Sarkozy for his comments last month on Hiztbollah. "In describing Lebanon's Shi'ite movement as "terrorist" the French minister of the interior is not really following the European line"...and for improving his english "Throughout the summer, [Interior Minister and Chairman of Union for a Popular Movement (UMP)] Nicolas Sarkozy worked on his English. An hour a day, with a teacher. The effort paid off: He was able to converse on Tuesday [September 12th] with George Bush "almost" without the use of an interpreter".
A France Update: Their Advantage
European Islam: Democracy and the 11 September earthquake
September 11 2001 turned Europe's relations with its Muslim populations upside down. Though many officials are reluctant to admit it, fear of a "clash of civilizations" between the West and Islam has been permanently in the back of people's minds ever since.
And yet it is four decades since Islam "came to the West" and immigrant Muslim populations set down roots throughout Europe. But until 11 September 2001 nobody was interested in their degree of integration. Apart from the far right, which was already capitalizing on this theme, the Europe that had lapsed into "neglect of God," to quote Benedict XVI, naively thought that the West's consumerist and libertarian model would prevail over religious and cultural tensions.
In France, as in Britain or the Netherlands, the Jewish and secular left is shifting to the right, where it is forming alliances with Christian parties
In this connection France seems to enjoy a small advantage, on account of its secular and republican model, which gives citizenship priority over ethnic or religious origins. From the Dutch or British vantage point, it is even regarded with envy. A recent survey published by the Pew Institute also lends support to France's position: whereas 88 per cent of Britain's Muslims feel more Muslim than British, the figure is 48 per cent in France.
France is often cited as Europes muslim scare story because of its large immigrant arab population. Even though the article goes on to make a nod to the riots, i still think there is a valid point in this piece regards the advantage they have. Part of me reckons the riots themselves were more synonymous with unemployment and disaffection in les banlieues and generally in France than with Islam alone. Though i know its been hijacked and used as an excuse for some gross crimes, a criminal element nicely aligning itself with jihadis.... Thing is, France has a chance in the future with someone like Sarkozy, again ahead in the polls, to approach integration differently to the UK model or even the US model. Particularly with stronger youth employment in the future - assuming Sarkozy manages to reform it as planned. Pre 9/11 when i did that research project into Islam in France I never ever felt that the young French arabs were THAT into Islam. For a start noone called them French muslims - largely due to secularism - a reluctance for the state to support religion in any way let alone endorse the now defunct notion of multi culturalism as we have here. Thats has also made it easier to intrdouce the headcsarf ban in state schools ensuring kids grow up with a sense of equality. And then there was always that sense of French pride. That has certainly declined with Chirac and the French hate it. Whereas here we revel in it! A combo of this decline in national pride, youth unemployment, uneasiness at integration and 9/11...when France starts a new chapter with Sarkozy or even Royal they stand a very good chance of turning this around & all this is fixable.
The piece concludes:
"The urban riots showed that you are by no means immune, even if you have had no attacks," according to Sadiq Khan, a British deputy or Pakistani origin. "You are indeed in the Middle Ages compared to us, in terms of Muslims' representation. Where are your Muslim deputies, senators, business chiefs and intellectuals?"
Far from denying this, France acknowledges that there are "things to be taken" from its neighbours, in connection with positive discrimination, for instance. One sign of the times is the fact that the debate on "the need to Europeanize Islam" is emerging in France, as it is elsewhere.
Things - not the lot. For a start i would be inclined to laugh at Sadiqs comments. Fat lot of good muslim representation does you. Ironic he mentions Middle Ages since that is precisely what the cited organisations are tryng to do both here and even in the US with CAIR. But then France can see that hence the "". So yes...extract some things like bits of 'positive discrimination' but in very small doses. Start with ushering in Sarkozy and reforming employment laws.
The Big Smoke
Ive had a week or so’s break - to show my parents and sister and her (very charming) American boyfriend, a good time in Londinium. My sister and the American live in LA and my parents also now live ‘abroad’… so it was proper get together. They had a BLAST!
It was great fun. We did a couple of exhausting walking tours ~ recommended if you are ever in London. With a very knowledgeable guide to walk you around the quirky and more incongruous corners of London as well as the major historical locations such as Westminster Abbey (you have to start here! it is fundamental to the history of England after all...and the rest... It was in Westminster Abbey that under Henry III, the notion of parliamentary government began, dont forget).
Some of us rocked up to an old haunt in south London more latterly in the news for its association with an American and bunch of Brit terrorists trying to blow it up. (Sigh). Thinking it and we would be slightly past it now, the night turned out as we’d hoped – safely and as of old with a hilarious and very unreligious crowd who were around about the same age as us still. Staggering in at around 7am we spent the rest of the day sipping cold Leffe. We also managed a curry at some point during the stay and on a (much) rainier day a city lunch in a very ancient and cool sandwich and wine bar in Fleet Street. We did also manage to fit in a visit to the ancient Temples and churches just behind said bar (whose names are derived from the Knights Templars..) and purchase a pair of (bright red) socks from a gentlemans shop that dates from 1755…before yet more beer ..This time in a Dickensianesque pub called the Cittie of Yorke.
We dozed in the very beautiful St James Park (pics for your viewing pleasure below)– it looked stunning in the autumn sunshine, almost tropical.
Since most of the time I spend in London is usually fighting my way around Kens transport system to work it made a very pleasant change to take in London properly.
Anyhoo they’ve all gone back to dry out and I miss them all already…
I completely agree with this proposal though. Whilst the streets around the City and St Pauls and the Sloanier areas glimmer most of the time, there are some parts of Londons ‘trottoirs’ ( I love that word) that leave a lot to be desired. They get to be so covered with the stuff that it looks like they have a disease. Id sooner see that stuff banned than ban people smoking on the streets quite honestly. (Idiotic bastards).
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
The architect conceived the above tower, for London Bridge, as a huge spire reminiscent of the London captured by Canaletto.
The tapering spire helps reduce the profile making it smaller on the skyline whilst the large bottom of the tower gives the surrounding London streets a real landmark of size. The nickname, "the sharf of glass", was originally coined by English Heritage who tried to use it as an insult. Ironically it has stuck and is now used by the developer in marketing.
It will be 305 metres tall and completed in 2010, replete with open public viewing gallery, the tallest in Europe at 243.8 metres up the tower, it is expected to receive 2 million visitors a year...I love it!
My father was born in West Ham. He was here in London recently to catch up with family over from the US. I loved hearing all the stories he had to tell about this area. My Polish grandmother coming to London making a home, lost looking Polish airmen here for their part in the Battle of Britain..my dad the only kid in school to be wearing what must have been an American baseball kit/outfit which our family in the US sent over....along with 10 other kits... to cheer up and try to provide for a small set of East End kids in the local school football team. The odd shiny sports gear was the talk of West Ham. OK , all very sentimental stories admittedly in this context... but i just cant imagine the effect this will have on a mixed area well known for welcoming all peoples. It will become nothing less than a vast self contained Islamic community, a state within a state.
How does this fit in with Reid's speech where he made it clear there would be no 'muslim only' areas in Britain?? It doesnt. The proposal is ludicrous... but then again so is our mayor.
I hate the idea that the panoromic view of the east end of London in 2012 will be dominated by a single religious symbol and some sprawling odd looking misplaced design at that... a symbol that wreaks of attempts to divide a community.
Busy at the moment but to follow up on the story below, The Times are now covering the developments:
"INTELLECTUALS are rallying around a philosophy teacher forced into hiding after he wrote an article describing the Prophet Muhammad as a ruthless warlord and mass murderer"
"The teacher and his supporters have been angered by the qualified backing from Gilles de Robien, the Education Minister. M de Robien voiced solidarity with the teacher but added that he should have been “careful, moderate and sensible in all circumstances”. Similarly Dominique de Villepin, the Prime Minister, said: “Everyone has the right to express his views freely, while respecting others, of course.....
On Europe 1 radio yesterday, M Lévy denounced the Education Minister for failing to support his teacher. “It is unacceptable. This must be condemned without reservations . . . When a man is on the ground, you don’t give him lessons. You help him to get up again,” he said
More than 20 stars of the French intellectual world appealed yesterday to the Government to do more to help. They included the philosophers Bernard-Henri Lévy, Alain Finkielkraut and André Glucksmann. M Redeker, who is on the editorial board of Les Temps Modernes, a review founded by Jean-Paul Sartre"
I hope this story remains a press focus.
Monday, October 02, 2006
In case you missed the good news...
Over at L'Ombre de l'Olivier I read that 'Sunni Iraqi chiefs have agreed to join forces to fight al-Qaeda'. I think I must have missed this good news whilst the world was focused on that report!
The Reuters (Yahoo) article by Mussab Al-Khairalla and Peter Graff isnt exactly falling over itself to celebrate this.
"Sattar al-Buzayi, a Sunni sheikh from Anbar province who has emerged in recent weeks as a leader of a tribal alliance against Osama Bin Ladens followers, said he and about 15 other sheikhs had offered their cooperation to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki."We agreed to cooperate," Buzayi told Reuters. "We haven't agreed to anything specific, but we agreed to cooperate."
"The United States says its 30,000 troops in Anbar -- by far the deadliest province for U.S. forces in Iraq -- cannot defeat the insurgency on their own. ....Senior commanders say they have been delighted by recent developments in Ramadi"
The information used is pretty selective.
In the BBC version
"15 of the 18 tribes in Ramadi "have sworn to fight those who are killing Sunnis and Shiites", and had put together "20,000 young men". Another sheikh at the meeting, Sattar al-Buzayi, told Reuters that the tribal leaders had decided to take the fight to the Islamist militants who control parts of Ramadi and Anbar province.
"We have now entered a real battle. It's either us or them," he said.
'Proud to kill'
"We just want to live like everyone else. We're sick of all this bloodshed," said one Ramadi resident, voicing anger at al-Qaeda.
All great news but I only really found the BBC report after googling 'Sattar al-Buzayi'. In the Struggle for Iraq section of the BBCs website today its main focus is still the Bush report plus as much negativity as possible features prominently in the discussion and news pieces. I cant find this glimmer of hope anywhere in there ....
This story was at least picked up by Brownie at Harrys Place a week or so ago who notes the importance and comments:
From the FT and c/o Man in Shed
"A French philosophy teacher has gone into hiding under police protection after receiving death threats for an article he wrote attacking Islam and the Prophet Mohammed...
Mr Redeker’s article, entitled “Faced with Islamic intimidation, what should the free world do?” was published in Le Figaro on September 19. In it, he attacked the Prophet Mohammed, saying: “Pitiless war leader, pillager, butcher of Jews and polygamous, this is how Mohammed is revealed by the Koran.”
"Tunisia and Egypt banned the issue containing the article"
Interesting choice of words in the article by the FT which went on to potray the writer somewhat negatively. Whether he attacked Mohammed or not, or is an 'outspoken' critic, or if 'he has a reputation' is all irrelevant. It is a point of view, open to debate, to which he is entitled and which the Figaro are entitled to publish. The article ran in the paper around the time of Popegate and is therefore very topical.
The resulting threats elicited a firm response from the paper who in a front page editorial stated:
“We condemn as resolutely as possible the serious attack on the freedom of thought and the freedom of speech that this affair has provoked.”
Press freedom has always been taken very seriously in France. Newspapers were run clandestinely by members of the Resistance during World War 2 to spread news about the Allies and counter Nazi propaganda. It was (and still is) a very dangerous task fighting fascists and a few French resistance editors found this out. Earlier this year, France and other key papers in Europe were much more determined to make a good point about freedom of speech during the cartoon debacle, than most other major papers in both the UK and US.
Le Figaro has even underlined the importance of free expression as a tool for tolerance, stressing its importance in learning to appreciate a different perspective.
Lost on some.
When will western leaders start driving this point home by offering unconditional security and support for the press, the arts (as in Germany) and writers who choose not to bow to Islams intolerance of criticism?
If youve been following the situation regards Americans Jack Idema and Brent Bennett illegally held in Afghanistan, there have been some very serious developments. The bottom line is they went missing. Jack seems to be semi-safe for now, but Brent Bennett presumed snatched and held in the al-Q section of the prison in which they were held, has now been taken out of Afghanistan. While it's been established (and is good news) that he's 'safe', noone has any idea where he is or even whether he's still in custody. Im really behind on this story, so the best update at this point can be found at Rottweiler Puppy.......