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Wednesday, 18 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Oct 06, 05:01 PM

ustroops_203.jpgThe future of Iraq – will US policy shift towards asking Syria and Iran to help reduce violence in the country? Plus, the Conservatives’ long-awaited tax proposals…

Comment on Wednesday’s programme here.

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I think we should talk about North Korea.

  • 2.
  • At 08:46 PM on 18 Oct 2006,
  • leeto wrote:

the conflict between these two countries would never get solved, unless one of the two gets to aknowledge its wrongs and stop roping in other nations to intervene in order to take sides.

  • 3.
  • At 09:53 PM on 18 Oct 2006,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Dear Newsnight

Could you ask your next guest from the Government if they will send a battalion of British troops to stop the genocide in Darfur and to also intervene in the Congo, and if they say they wont to explain their reasons.

Alternatively we could tell Sudan that if the killing continues we would wreck their
specially-built Beshair terminal near Port Sudan which is linked to oilfields in southern Sudan by a 1,610 kilometre (1,000 mile) pipeline. Built August 1999. This could be easily done with a few cruise missiles launched from sea. We simply have to do this to save lives or is oil worth more than blood to our Labour government?

If China made an issue of this their vulnerablity is their export industry. The West would benefit anyway if Chinese exports ended.

best wishes
Bob Goodall

  • 4.
  • At 11:08 PM on 18 Oct 2006,
  • Jim wrote:

I am watching this programme now and I am appalled at the "choice" of invited speakers. EVERY SINGLE ONE supports the main thrust of Blair policy on the war. What kind of nonesense is this? What kind of cheap propaganda programme are you running? Poll after poll shows that the majority of people in this country are anti-war. When will Newsnight recognise this fact? Are you a BBC or Murdoch programme????


  • 5.
  • At 11:13 PM on 18 Oct 2006,
  • michael vine wrote:

Is it possible for the current adminstration toput forward a minister or spokesman who doesn't have a Scots accent?

  • 6.
  • At 11:17 PM on 18 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

IRAQ - 101st Airborne

Given beeb spent two months with the 101 thought a bit more footage would be available - though what there was was interesting, though reported with an edge.

Ref 101 tactics - hardly subtle, doing a tough job, its what they get using American lower/working classes.

Hearts & Minds? survival yes.

(love the subtitles to counter the southern drawl - & then later the 'translation' of the reporter - was that really needed?)

Those terrorists in civilians clothes they caught planting IED should count themselves lucky they were being held prisoner - in Iraq who would notice several more deaths.

Those terrorists hiding in Iraqi forces - similarly fortunate.

(the sand foot print on the back about summed it up).

IRAQ - THE FUTURE

North - 1/3 successful - the Iraq Expedition has been successful in north Kurdish end.

Centre - 1/3 not successful.

South - 1/3 semi successful

Many in the country seems bent on killing each other (Muslim on Muslim) rather than direct all efforts at ousting the coalition - which is highly telling in itself.

So do we want to sacrifice any more people & resources to prevent certain Iraqi groups doing what they have being doing for centuries - killing each other & their neighbours.

Pragmatic Proposal- split Iraq up (for consideration):

- Sunni Region
- Shia Region
- Kurds Region

Q. will serious talk about this, knock sense into Iraq's political & religious groups/factions?

The international community can readily hole up with the Kurds, as a base of operations for the rest of the country (if/when required).

Economically speaking access to Kurds 30% - 40% of Iraq's energy reserves for all concerned is better than none [1a] [1b] [1c] [1d]

Perhaps when Iraqis have got sufficient vitriol out of their system, despite the piles of bodies of their own killed by fellow Muslims, reality will kick in & they will be ready to return to civilised society.

Q. after 40+ years of dictatorship, given traumatised & violent society, did anyone really expect that the Iraqi boil could be lanced without pain & mess or civil war was ever going to be avoided? *

* whether the catalysts was via 2003 allied invasion or after a successful assassination attempt against Saddam or his natural death or another war launched by Saddam etc.

vikingar

SOURCES;

[1a] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdistan
[1b] http://www.economist.com/world/africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7971065
[1c] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/1fdf15ea-4f11-11db-b600-0000779e2340.html
[1d] http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/pgulf.html

  • 7.
  • At 11:32 PM on 18 Oct 2006,
  • Jeremy Smith wrote:

It is clear that Adam Ingram lives in a parallel universe in which there is another Iraq where the US and UK are bringing peace, democracy and joy to a universally grateful people...

meanwhile back here on earth do we really have to listen to the self-deluding fantasies (if they are not untruths) of discredited government ministers pretending that the current mayhem in Iraq, caused by the US and UK governments, is only a minor difficulty on the path to success? Please treat us as adults not idiots!

  • 8.
  • At 11:38 PM on 18 Oct 2006,
  • W F PLANT wrote:

Re the Tory tax report,in 46 years of married life,40 working,no change in tax by any government has made any money in my pocket.

  • 9.
  • At 11:38 PM on 18 Oct 2006,
  • martin bayntun wrote:

The Iraq invasion and the allies management of the "peace" has been a total disaster and a tragic fiasco. Why bother having a self serving government minister come on and claim that we are achieving a "measure of success in a difficult situation". We invaded Iraq and have screwed up. Iraq is heading into a worsening civil war and our troops are stuck in the middle of it. There is no possible measure of "success" only a measure of failure.

Here's a bit of scorn-pouring, the type of activity Jerry was encouraging.

The items were too long tonight. I was, of course, amused when Stiffie and Martyr, i.e. the girls (how dare you, one of them's just had a baby!), chortled when the chaps on the other side were described as the male side of the table, by Jerry.

But the debate didn't half go inconclusively on and on.

Then our chaps in Iraq. That minister chap is a bit irascible. Wouldn't come from somewhere west of Edinburgh, by any chance? Another inconclusive debate. The Iraqi almost looked as if he didn't belong.

I prefer a Newsnight with three equal items. More than fifteen minutes, and the issue evaporates into vagueness, repetition and point-scoring.

Good programme tonight. The Iraq article was revealing. General Dannatt was of course correct in his initial interview with the Mail. The Iraqi government spokesmen cannot be relied on totally as they are kept afloat, to a large extent, by the American support and are not neutral and unbiased. The Coalition forces are doing at least as much harm as good by being in Iraq.

The whole Iraq invasion was a completely misguided and wrongheaded enterprise and the people responsible should at the very least be sacked, if not shot. But none of them have the guts to take any blame whatsoever for the bloody fiasco.

The conservatives are floating a variety of radical tax-cutting proposals published on the conservative website. It is clearly official conservative strategy to float these ideas and see what journalists/opposition politicians/the public at large/ make of these proposals. Depending on that, they will be adopted in full, or part, or not at all, into an eventual 0fficial Conservative policy document.

  • 12.
  • At 12:04 AM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • George Kendall wrote:

Thank you for the round table discussion tonight. In particular, I was intrigued by Tim Garden's comments about some memoirs which showed how the UK has been frozen out of US strategy in Iraq. Would it be possible for you to put a reference to these memoirs on the website?

  • 13.
  • At 12:05 AM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

What I noticed in the Iraqi film was just how nieve the American soldiers seem and how brain washed they were, especially when one of them seemed utterly and genuinely surprised that someone would favour running water than his so called freedom. Many of Salam Pax´s reports seem to back up the worsening situation in Iraq and the increasing lack of facilities and shops in Baghdad. Is this freedom?

The Americans and this is almost every American I have met believes totally and utterly in their own national convictions and seem blissfully unaware that these good values are under constant manipulation or reevaluation by successive American governments. Bush´s freedom is very different from
Clinton´s idea of freedom which in hindsight seemed to be a lot more objective.

Most American people are genuinely lovely but they are so unaware of the different worlds and perceptions of reality that people live under throughout the world. Their intellectuals constantly kid them about how the world is getting smaller how it is being globalised. Many of them believe that "everyone has a heart", that there is good in everyone but they make the mistake of thinking that because we are all human beings and have the same feelings of fright and flight that we also must share common values. That every human being wants to be free for example, wheras this is not neccessarialy true.

It is to do with how we grow up. If we all grew up in America maybe we would share these values but if woman for example grew up in a country where it was common to get an arranged marriage at 15 and this was seen by all as the honourable thing to do, then you can´t expect this woman to feel any different from the people around her and for her to see American ideals as foreign and out of place. Americans always make this mistake, we are all different and it is up to us whether we are happy or not with our culture. This is an individual choice and should not be imposed on people. Freedom by nature is not imperialistic and you cannot simply impose it. Then there is British freedom, American Freedom and German Freedom and French Freedom and they are all intricately different.

We are not one huge goldfish bowl like the Americans would have us believe, and that is one of the most beautiful things on this earth, far more beautiful than American ideaology per say. Especially when looking at that film and their boot camp style treatment of innocent people. I think I would also have been inclined to throw a grenade into their compound out of the frustration
of being sargent majored every day of my life, these people just aren´t used to it and they don´t deserve it. They are going through a tough time and they need a bit more sympathy on the ground.

Bob Goodall:

How would the west benefit if Chinese exports ended? Our economies, some say, are based on cheap Chinese imports.

The UK-US troops are already vastly overstretched and to think they could take on Sudan (ignoring for the moment the Chinese factor) is, I think, sheer fantasy.

Has America now reached the limits of its power and influence in the world? Looks like it to me.

  • 15.
  • At 12:15 AM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • Alayne Churchill wrote:

Devoted as I am to JP, I think items like tonight's on possible Conservative tax cuts are counterproductive. Surely this type of report has to be prepared if there is to be any informed policy - but aren't we in danger of creating a climate where nothing much can even be suggested by consultants without causing political uproar? Obviously that chap JP doesn't like (Duncan is it?) wasn't going to make any commitments, and equally obviously the other two parties were going to rubbish it and use it to attack the Tories. If there is any merit in any of the report's recommendations they will need to be considered at length and in depth. I firmly believe that we need all political parties to think more deeply and more responsibly about their policies and move away from spin and focus-group politics. It was reminiscent of the item the other night about that academic report on Iraq - again, someone has to be able to consider wider options than current policy, and produce reports for the policy makers' perusal. It would have been far more interesting to hear a wide range of military ideas about Iraq than to have an argument about who wrote the report. A less adversarial interview might have broadened the public debate. It is always good TV to see someone getting the JP treatment, but I fear it will muzzle the very people we should be hearing.

  • 16.
  • At 12:38 AM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

IRAQ - 101st Airborne

Given beeb spent two months with the 101 thought a bit more footage would be available - though what there was was interesting, though reported with an edge.

Ref 101 tactics - hardly subtle, doing a tough job, its what they get using American lower/working classes.

Hearts & Minds? survival yes.

(love the subtitles to counter the southern drawl - & then later the 'translation' of the reporter - was that really needed?)

Those terrorists in civilians clothes they caught planting IED should count themselves lucky they were being held prisoner - in Iraq who would notice several more deaths.

Those terrorists hiding in Iraqi forces - similarly fortunate.

(the sand foot print on the back about summed it up).

IRAQ - THE FUTURE

North - 1/3 successful - the Iraq Expedition has been successful in north Kurdish end.

Centre - 1/3 not successful.

South - 1/3 semi successful

Many in the country seems bent on killing each other (Muslim on Muslim) rather than direct all efforts at ousting the coalition - which is highly telling in itself.

So do we want to sacrifice any more people & resources to prevent certain Iraqi groups doing what they have being doing for centuries - killing each other & their neighbours.

Pragmatic Proposal- split Iraq up (for consideration):

- Sunni Region
- Shia Region
- Kurds Region

Q. will serious talk about this, knock sense into Iraq's political & religious groups/factions?

The international community can readily hole up with the Kurds, as a base of operations for the rest of the country (if/when required).

Economically speaking access to Kurds 30% - 40% of Iraq's energy reserves for all concerned is better than none [1a] [1b] [1c] [1d]

Perhaps when Iraqis have got sufficient vitriol out of their system, despite the piles of bodies of their own killed by fellow Muslims, reality will kick in & they will be ready to return to civilised society.

Q. after 40+ years of dictatorship, given traumatised & violent society, did anyone really expect that the Iraqi boil could be lanced without pain & mess or civil war was ever going to be avoided? *

* whether the catalysts was via 2003 allied invasion or after a successful assassination attempt against Saddam or his natural death or another war launched by Saddam etc.

vikingar

SOURCES;

[1a] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdistan
[1b] http://www.economist.com/world/africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7971065
[1c] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/1fdf15ea-4f11-11db-b600-0000779e2340.html
[1d] http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/pgulf.html

Good programme tonight. The Iraq article was revealing. General Dannatt was of course correct in his initial interview with the Mail. The Iraqi government spokesmen cannot be relied on totally as they are kept afloat, to a large extent, by the American support and are not neutral and unbiased. The Coalition forces are doing at least as much harm as good by being in Iraq.

The whole Iraq invasion was a completely misguided and wrongheaded enterprise and the people responsible should at the very least be sacked, if not shot. But none of them have the guts to take any blame whatsoever for the bloody fiasco.

The conservatives are floating a variety of radical tax-cutting proposals published on the conservative website. It is clearly official conservative strategy to float these ideas and see what journalists/opposition politicians/the public at large/ make of these proposals. Depending on that, they will be adopted in full, or part, or not at all, into an eventual 0fficial Conservative policy document.

  • 18.
  • At 12:50 AM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

Ed Balls is so anxious to attack Tory Tax aspirations that he engages in dialogue before his brain has time to function & then emits the words so fast they sound total jibberish.... so to conclude Ed... it's all Balls! & I do intend the pun!...(this reads like his rhetoric sounds.)

  • 19.
  • At 08:46 AM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • Scott wrote:

What? No story on the environment? Was Peter off today?

Solid programme. Well done.

  • 20.
  • At 09:18 AM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • chris wrote:

3,4&6 - you are promoted to Generals Jim, Bob and Jeremy keep up the good work and you may get to work alongside General Snowman.

"Stiffie and Martyr"

I am highly offened by this disgraceful remark how dare you malign with this labelling you are demoted to Blue Peter with immediate effect or is that a promotion?

7 - Ive heard that in a parallel universe the Carphone Warehouse was hired by the tories to delude millions into beliveing that money grew on trees and would be "planted" in your very own pocket for ever !

11 - un-Edible Balls indeed.

  • 21.
  • At 09:23 AM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • Aled wrote:

dear JP,
Why did you express great surprise when you noted that US soldiers arested Iraq army soldiers. Shouldn't your surprise be expressed @ the fact that the Iraqs were trying to kill US soldiers

Jim (4), the discussion included Lord Garden of the Liberal Democrats whose policy has been to oppose the war. He said he didn't support an immediate withdrawal, but that is not the same as supporting the thrust of Blair's policy.

Peter

  • 23.
  • At 11:07 AM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

To reply to Ruby's comments

In 2005 the UK Trade deficit (goods and services) was £47.6 billion and the UK balance of payments deficit for the same period was £32 billion. In the last budget statement the Chancellor made a virtue out of borrowing money now to be paid off in 50 years time. He said it was a sign of the 'stability' of our economy that he could do this. If you or I asked the same thing from our bank manager we would be shown the door.

I fear that at some point we will be unable to re-pay our debts. Unfortunately a lot of politicians are not prepared to be honest about the difficulties we face. perhaps they fear the problem is too great and the financial disaster will not occur on their watch.

Also unfortunately most people do not want to hear the truth and will reward politicians with their vote who tell them what they want to hear.

So if Chinese exports stopped it would allow our industry to recover. That said I'm not exactly advocating this. I believe free trade based on equality with the terms of trade not rigged against poor nations is beneficial for the world.

However it is both the strength and the weakness of the Chinese. They have committed themselves fully to this. But if they tried to stop us intervening to stop the slaugher in Darfur, in particular if we targetted the oil terminal in Sudan -which with warning would avoid casualities and could be done without risk to our forces, then we could stop their exports. Pre-warning China about this intention would probably stop them taking a stand on Sudan or even might lead to them reining Sudan in.

re sending a battalion to Darfur. Even if we didn't have the forces we should find them. If fellow human beings are being murdered and raped it is our duty to intervene. In this case it would be so easy to stop this so why dont we act? Its a disgrace. My late father like most servicemen in the last war saw the concentrations like Belsen. We have constantly said we would not allow this sort of thing to happen again. I am deeply angry that we have a government that is prepared to look away as this things happen in Darfur and the Congo.

I have always opposed the war in Iraq and have being part of the anti-war movement. It has always being wrong. Why we are really there I do wonder. But if we withdraw from places like Iraq where we shouldn't be there would be more than enough troops to stop the war in Darfur, Congo and across the globe.

Finally in terms of doing this and feeding the starving of the world and giving them the medical care they need and the clean water, and at home investing far more in the NHS and increasing pensions while not spending £76 billion on a new nuclear deterrent or billions on the war on Iraq I believe this is what the majority of people in this country would want if they were asked, if they were listened to.

So why isnt our democracy working? why do the politicians ignore the wishes of the electorate and further the interests of others, instead.

Its about time for the sake of all of us both here and for all our fellow human beings across the globe that we started to have real functioning democracy in this country.

best wishes
Bob Goodall

  • 24.
  • At 12:10 PM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • Alistair Irvine wrote:

It was good to see Stephanie Flanders back on Newsnight. I'd been wondering where she'd got to.

BIMBO AMONGST THE SHADOWS

George Bush is floundering with his policy in Iraq, even having to publicly fight off the dreaded ghosts of Vietnam as the spectre of partition grows steadily nearer; an outcome that not so long ago would have been described as a disaster. So where are the policy makers who got him into this mess?

Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, so prominent in earlier times, are nowhere to be seen. Even more unpopular than Bush himself, they may be hiding out so they do not add to the President’s woes. But, equally, they may no longer want to associate themselves with the latest ‘triumphs’ of their war.

And then there is Condy Rice herself! What on earth is she doing to justify her role as Secretary of State. Is she in Syria or Iran, paving the way from a new approach? Not her! Even a search, on the White House website, for her achievements discloses only that most of her time is spent on photo opportunities and the occasional warm-up act for the President on foreign trips.

Her predecessor, Colin Powell, may have been sidelined by the Cheney/Rumsfeld axis, but at least he tried to make a difference – and went on the record about the world situation.

Condy, bless her, only looks as if she is waiting in the wings for the swimsuit element of the pageant. How, then, is she going to resolve the Iraq situation; which should be her real job?

CAMERON SERIOUSLY HOISTED BY HIS FIRST PETARD

David Cameron had, until yesterday, avoided the problems posed by having to define his strategy; and, in particular, by the awkward questions arising from controversial decisions. He had, instead, ducked all of these, by postponing them until his various strategy groups reported.

Today the first of these reports, delivered rather earlier than we expected, exploded in his face!

The tax report must have shocked him to the core, for it said everything he had wanted to avoid. It recommended all the traditional Conservative measures that the electorate used to embrace, but now hate, and none that he was promising they really would love.

To put it crudely, and that – assisted by the comments from the other parties – is how the electorate will view it, it gives to the rich and takes from the poor; and not even a mention of his cherished green taxes. No matter what are the professional niceties embraced by his experts, he can no longer pose as Robin Hood but must expect to be seen as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The only answer he can give is that it is a menu from which he can select his policies. This poses two fatal challenges. The first is that there is no election winning policy amongst the proposals, and a number of definite losers; not least what cuts in services – now the big vote loser - will be needed to find the £12 billion that it is proposed be given to the (albeit relatively) rich. So what will he choose? The second, which as yet he cannot answer, is what are his own suggestions. The only one on the table so far, from his Shadow Chancellor, is cutting the tax on share transactions; hardly the policy to highlight his nice-guy welfare-state credentials.

Instead, he faces the near future without any tax policies, but with the Conservative Party having tabled, to the delight of its right-wingers, a return to the old days! Cameron may see Tony Blair as his role model, but the rest of the Conservative Party still long for the return of Margaret Thatcher.

  • 27.
  • At 01:19 PM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Bob Goodall #23

"Its about time for the sake of all of us both here and for all our fellow human beings across the globe that we started to have real functioning democracy in this country"

What's system is 'real' & who determines whether its 'functioning' or not, let alone 'fair'

Like the first past the post system - warts n all - which I think stands the test of time, rather than just focusing on occasional blips.

Do not like republican / federalist model (basic objections, also has as many flaws as current system).

Do not like PR model (given numerous examples around the world as to how this fails the electorate)

Numerous pressure groups (single issues or multi agendas) would like PR though because they have higher chance of galvanising support.

Is that system any fairer in that collective support counted from all quarters is then imposed on all.

Much better & fairer (& practical to the system of government) is local support in local areas determining local representation, which then gets polled together through credible parties to determine government.

vikingar

  • 28.
  • At 01:41 PM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • Em Lin' wrote:

This was a good programme. It successfully portrayed existing complexities both at home and abroad. It is to be hoped that whatever thinking is taking place, that this be, first and foremost, for the collective good and stretches way beyond party-positioning.

  • 29.
  • At 03:23 PM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • David Anderson wrote:

Dear Jeremy,

I am a regular viewer of Newsnight and admire your tenacity in trying to extract information from reluctant politicians. However, I was disappointed with your recent questions relating to taxation.

Politicians of all parties seem desirous of keeping the subject within the confines of ‘more’ or ‘less’ tax – they appear not to want discussion of the immense, increasing and expanding wealth of those connected with business and finance.

The number of those with incomes over £1 million rose eightfold in the 10 years to 2005. In the five years to 2002, the number with more than £5 million in "liquid assets" rose at the rate of 13% a year. Between 2002 and 2004, the number rose by 50%. The number of billionaires in Britain has more than tripled since 1990 while the number worth over £100 million has risen more than fivefold over the same period. The combined wealth of the top 1000 in Britain rose by more than 60% between 2000 and 2005. (Rich Britain)

Yet these people pay less tax proportionately than the poor. The new trend towards cosseting the rich which began in the 1980s puts into reverse the progress towards greater equality which began some 100years previous. It is the story of our time and the results overall are pernicious. It is a subject which should be opened up for discussion. Knowing that you are very widely read may I suggest three books to look at if you have not already done so:

Rich Britain, Stewart Lansley First published in GB 2006 by Politico’s publishing Ltd
Failed States, Noam Chomsky First published in the US in 2006. Published in GB by Hamish
Hamilton
Who runs this place? Anthony Sampson First published in GB in 2004 by John Murray
Publishers

David Anderson

  • 30.
  • At 07:30 PM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • Cloe Fribourg wrote:

Having just watched the programme online..
ConTax: why was there no one from the treasury? Why is it acceptable that the Tories will not make their mind up about virtually any policy area? How do they intend to hold the government to account when they have no plans of their own? It leaves the government to do as they please at a time when an effective opposition is more urgently needed than ever (NHS cuts, faith schools, ID cards, etc).

Iraq: I think "irascible"[#18] is an under statement for Ingram's performance. Aggressive, arrogant, self-deluding are terms more akin. How can the government pretend to any influence if we have 7-8000 troops in Iraq when the US has 130-140000? Just by sheer numbers that is illusionary. The Iraqi representative was very diplomatic. I am not sure that the Defence and Internal Affairs Ministries in Iraq take quite as kindly to their troops being handled this way.

  • 31.
  • At 07:43 PM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • Cloe Fribourg wrote:

RE Bob Goodall #4 and #23

I confess utter amazement at these repetitive and incredibly simplistic statements. How does your recommendation for military intervention in Sudan, Congo and elsewhere in the world lie with your assertion that by dismantling or defence system we could be helping the poor? I am not going to repeat what I wrote on the Africa (Darfur and Congo) issue relative to Tuesday's programme. Just a few additional points in more clarity:

1.) Bombing Sudan's oil-terminal will not stop the killing in Darfur. It will further add fuel to the fire of Islamic extremists and indeed to the Sudanese government.* Given that the entire region is awash with arms this would render any subsequent aid effort, difficult as it is already, virtually impossible.

2.) Military intervention, as so aptly illustrated by France's 'participation' in Côte d'Ivoire and other even less savoury states in Central African Republic, DRC & co., is never a solution in Africa. It merely adds to the perception by Africans in general and their fighters (mercenaries/military) in particular that the use of, in their view ostensibly gratuitous, military violence is permissible.

3.) The situation in Congo is different from that in Sudan. To pretend that nothing has been done is simply not true. Any decision concerning Congo has to take into account the extreme complexity and the historical roots of this conflict. Military intervention will not solve anything, it will simply increase the level of already deep-seated racism that underlies the fighting.

I am all for helping those in need and have worked in this sector for several years now. If you are sincere about wanting to make a difference why don't you try and get some hands-on experience in Africa. There are many different organisations which are continously looking for volunteers.
____________________

* Cynics might add that the oil-price will only increase further if we decide that we are going to bomb strategic oil resources of every country that doesn't do our bidding. A drop in Chinese exports will be one of less worrying effects and not one that we would be much concerned by: we would simply source them from elsewhere in Asia or Eastern Europe.

PS.: Aye for the point made by Vikingar #27

  • 32.
  • At 01:27 AM on 20 Oct 2006,
  • anarchosurfer wrote:

Vikingar, yet again you show your prejudice and ignorance. The Iraqi people have not been killing each other for centuries. Why are you so obsessed with Muslims killing people, are you are racist? many racists also attack Muslims as well as racial groups. Religous hatred is no different to Racial Hatered it has the same consequences. Why do you never mention the evil and crimes commited by non-muslims?

I think that Afghanistan and Iraq have already been lost.

The present problems in Iraq and many other dictorships owe a lot to American foriegn policy and their long term policy of supporting dictatorships over left wing democracies as can be seen with Venezuela at Present.

From a Military point of view only an Idiot would invade Iraq while embroiled in Afghanistan, only an Idiot would invade Afghanistan, especially in the half cocked way that the we did.

My view is that they needed to invade Afghanistan and Iraq in order to invade Iran. They want to invade Iran so that America can retake the Iranian oil for themselves again. Asking Iran for help is a complete humiliation.

The invasion was planned by the Hawks in the 1990's as part of their plan for total world economic and military domination, like the Nazi's they are fantasists and unfortunatly they have been able to get elected. They have grand ideas but do not have the ability to carry out their plans, both because they are so greedy they want to do it on the cheap and make the maximum profit and because their ideas are impossible in reality.

What I cannot understand is why they waged the war the way they did. Their tactics up to now have been attrocious and will go down in History as great military blunders. They are either completely ignorent, and/or possibly arragent to a criminal degree either that or they only want to destabalise the region.

Asking Iran and Syria to help out would be a major defeat for America. They may be able to help calm the situation down, but ulitimatly it's the Iraqi people themselves who will sort out the problem. The longer we remain the more the country will fragment.

It is likely that Iraq would disintigrate, like Yugoslavia it is an atrificial country cobbled together after the First World War, originaly a British mandate it acheived independence in 1932. Don't forget Churchill invented carpet bombing there in the 1920's when he was the governor. He was also the first person to use Chemical weapons on the Kurds. Maybe that were Blunkett gets his law and order ideas of prison dicipline.

Britain Invaded Iraq again in 1941 to protect their oil intrests, sound familiar? The British stayed their until 1959.

When it was part of the Ottoman Empire it was three seperate territories although it was governed from Baghdad the territories were semi-autonomous so that outcome is still posible.

If the Kurds get their own homeland it couls be a focus for unrest in Iraq and Turkey, it could also lead to a massive influx of Kurds from those countries instead/aswell.

Once we leave the Iraqi people can sort out their own problems. This is the cradle of civilisation after all. The last time the region was destroyed as badly was by the Mongols who destroyed irrigation systems that were thousandes of years old. Some argue that Iraq has still not recovered from that. Who knows how long it will take Iraq to recover from this invasion.

Reconstruction is another issue, it appears to be a cash cow for American Corporations such as the reviled Haliburton. Many of the contracts were signed before it was even officially decided to go to war. The contracts should go to Iraqi companies otherwise the money spent on reconstruction will end up going outside Iraq. The US should also have to repay the millions od dollars of Iraqi money that just dissapeared and America and their allies should have to pay for the reconstruction. It was our invasion that has destroyed the infrastructure.

I don't remember any real pressure on Saddam to reform his government and democratise Iraq, maybe that approach could have avoided a war and helped the Iraqi people.

Many apologists for the invasion point out how evil Saddam Hussain was. They conveniently forget that many of his worst excesses came while an ally of America. At the same time Saddam was Invading Iran and murdering Kurds with Chemical weapons Donald Rumsfeld was selling him weapons.

Taxation:

I remember Thatcher, they consigned millions to years of Unemployment and hopelessness. They said they had to to keep intrest rates low, that turned out to be a lie. But they where still willing to consign millions to poverty and misery just to keep intrest rates low, yet intrests rates still went up to double figures and led to even more unemployment and repossesions. They only care about proffits so happily ran the country imto the ground while selling it off by the pound.

I remember when they reduced the tax rate. They reduced taxes for the rich by 20% giving people who already had more than enough money hundreds and even thousands of pounds a week. They lowered taxes for the rest of us by 2%, i was a whole pound a week better off. This was followed by the wholesale plunder of the Nationalised Industry as well as squandering the profits from north sea oil.

I will now digress. The Daily Mail had a headline that the middle class were paying more in tax. I have yet to see a paper mention that the poorest people are the ones in real financial difficulties due to the doubling in fuel prices. The poorest people are finding it increasingly difficult to pay bills that can be for hundreds of pounds. Pensioners, Disabled, Low payed and Unemployed people are hit particularely hard, due to low levels of Income. The doubling of fuel bills takes a very large percentage of their income, this is not the same for those on middle incomes, who even with supposedly rising taxes are not hit anywhere near as hard. Tax cuts allways benefit the rich more than the poor, who ironically need the extra money most.

It is the war in Iraq that is responsible for rising fuel prices (Iraq again maybe I'm not digressing that much after all). Getting rid of VAT on household fuel would be a start to help the worst off. They could recoup this by taxing aviation fuel. If those on middle Incomes think they are paying too much tax, they can allways get rid of their cars and try to be as environmentally friendly as possible, that saves a lot of money. Try not flying for your next holiday. Unfortunatly the poorest people cannot save anything as they live as cheaply as possible already.

Peace, Love and Equality

  • 33.
  • At 02:40 PM on 20 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref anarchosurfer #32

"Vikingar, yet again you show your prejudice and ignorance. The Iraqi people have not been killing each other for centuries"

CAVEAT - presume you’re a liberal left / left believer not an Islamic radical playing games - I presume the former, so hence lang used below.

hhhmmmm …..

As a self declared atheist & anarchist you may not like or have regard for structure, institution & some resemblance of order & method.

Therefore, suggest you should do some real research & extend your limited myopic 'pick & mix' approach to history, beyond that of the 20th Century & simiply beyond Iraq, we are talking about Muslism worldwide.

Sunni v Shia … the basics [1]

The history of violence & war (Iraq) [2]

The history extended [3a-3f]

The Shia Revival - transcript & link to interesting PBS video programme with Prof Vali Nasr [4a]

The Shia Revival - Prof Vali Nasr - bio [4b]

The Shia Revival - according to The Guardian/Observer [4c]

However, the Sunni v Shia has historical & modern impact in Pakistan [5a] [5b]

As to the rest of your Radical Rant … 'right on' comrade … more agendas than you can shake a stick at.

No wonder society, electorate, main parties, org/agencies & media in The United Kingdom look outside of the liberal left / left cabals for modern practical answers for today's real world problems.

p.s. you read like your still reliving the highs of the Miners Strike & Poll Tax riots - stuck in a time warp?

vikingar

SOURCES:

[1] http://www.religionfacts.com/islam/comparison_charts/islamic_sects.htm
[2] http://www.drabruzzi.com/history_of_shia_muslims___why_th.htm
[3a] http://historymedren.about.com/library/text/bltxtiraq5.htm
[3b] http://www.islamfortoday.com/shia.htm
[3c] http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/islam/blfaq_islam_twelver.htm
[3d] http://www.country-studies.com/iraq/the-sunni-shia-controversy.html
[3e] http://www.photius.com/countries/iraq/society/iraq_society_sunni_shia_relations%7E198.html
[3f] http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+iq0015%29
[4a] http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week1005/cover.html
[4b] http://www.cceia.org/calendar/data/6012.html
[4c] http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1826930,00.html
[5a] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3724082.stm
[5b] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3045122.stm

  • 34.
  • At 10:47 PM on 21 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref anarchosurfer #32

"Vikingar, yet again you show your prejudice and ignorance. The Iraqi people have not been killing each other for centuries"

Actually, here's a more timely & concise BBC effort to counter your denial about the history of conflict within Islam & Iraq in particular.

'Long path to Iraq's sectarian split' [1]

LESSON - do your research :)

vikingar

SOURCES:

[1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4750320.stm

  • 35.
  • At 01:41 PM on 22 Oct 2006,
  • anarchosurfer wrote:

Reply to Vikingar.

You seem to make out that my opinions are not valid as you say I live in the past and I'm some kind of liberal or lefty, as though caring about others is some kind of crime. I take it that you use the word liberal as an insult.

You are far from right, I'd rather read New Scientist than the Socialist Worker, rather go Mountain Biking than go to a political meeting. I do get involved in campaigns that I feel strongly about and am a member of the Cycling Touring Club and Greenpeace and local anti racist/ anti fascist groups. I help out with Stop the War stuff when asked. You may have seeen me recently in Manchester dressed as Death in a Tony Blair mask.

I was very involved with the Anti Poll Tax movement so you are right there, I fought against the Poll Tax as I felt it was unjust. The poorest had to pay more so the rich could pay less.

The proof for me that I was doing the right thing was when a pensioner approached us saying she agreed with us but was still going to pay out of fear. She then told me her husbanmd and two sisters had died in the prevous 12 months. She then pulled out a small tin of Tomatoes she had stolen from M&S as she had no money. Before I could say or do anything she scurried off. She was going without food to pay her poll tax.

I now work as a benefits/pensions specialist amongst other things for Age Concern.

As to the posts about the Sunni/Shi'a split, it's common knowledge. That was why I mentioned Turkey divided Iraq into three different territories. Shi'a and Sunni Muslims do actually live in peace, although there are tensions and like Christian Europe they have their history of purges and conflict.

Your links help to illustrate some of my points, maybe you should do some research yourself. You have put up links and said I am wrong yet have made no arguments nor have you said why I am wrong.

I am aware of the present conflict in Iraq and understand that the country could fragment on religious and racial lines. I also mentioned that previously the three territories, while seperated had been administered from Baghdad, pecisely due to some of the reasons given in your links.

Opinion is not fact.

Sunni and Shiite pilgrims do the Hajj together.

The History of Sunni/Shi'a relations is very similar to the schisms within Christianity. Like the history of Christianity there has been intolerance and persecution. Like Christianity there has also been tolerance.

The history of the Shi'a/Sunni split while interesting is not proof that my assertions are wrong, rather it confirms my point that Iraq could divide into three. We all know about Sunni's and Shi'a from the news anyway.

You have not actually commented on my posts. You have made assumptions and posted links to the History of the Shi'a and Sunni split yet made no actual points yourself.

You seem obsessed with hateing Muslims and from your posts it appears you think that no other religion or culture has ever done anything wrong. You need to widen your terms of refference and compare and contrast. Don't just put up links to other peoples ideas and words, use your own.

Peace, Love amd Equality.

  • 36.
  • At 08:19 PM on 22 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref anarchosurfer #35

CAVEAT - presume you’re a liberal left / left believer or as self painted in #35 not an Islamic radical playing games - I presume the first two, so hence lang used below.

"I take it that you use the word liberal as an insult"

Nope, I'm a liberal conservative :)

"You seem obsessed with hateing Muslims and from your posts it appears you think that no other religion or culture has ever done anything wrong"

Nope, just that main other religions esp Christianity (72%+ in the UK*) has learned major lessons from its mistakes, just look at Europe & the UK as opposed to 500 years ago (let alone 50 years ago)

* in context - 390,000+ class themselves as Jedi in the UK [1]

Our nation, society, laws, institutions, cultural norms & practices, liberties & sense of right & wrong are deeply routed in this Christian heritage.

(yet again, some additional research on your part ref Henry VIII & Elizabeth I should provide some comparable contrasts to our current impasse).

Islam has not gone through the same overhaul & journey. Is it now going through metamorphism of a painful rebirth with better to come or is it much more of the same (violence revisted we suspect).

Given complete lack of leadership & consistent visibility coupled with vocal opposition from 'moderate' Muslims about where their faith is going, we non Muslims can rightly take note of the Islamic Terrorist actions & mantra & the threat it has become to ALL (including Mulsims).

GLOBAL ISLAM

If Muslims worldwide want to continue to drag their communities into the depths within their indigenous homelands - they will - the history of Middle East, Africa, Asia …. Iraq is unfortunate testament to that ... 1,400 years of Islamic Fracticide #33 #34

But where non indigenous Muslim communities have been offered a secure home, liberty & freedoms, esp in progressive democratic societies over the last 30-40 years, the UK is not obliged as a host nation, to allow our society & communities to be similarly radicalised/terrorised - without consequence & response.

British Muslims make up 2% of the UK population, the violent minority within it (& those who support them) & far too many who have actively pursued a detached cultural enclave since arrival in 1960s/70s, are obliged to play by the rules of the house & accept the shared norms & common values practiced by the vast majority of the 98% non Muslim British citizens (with some accommodation of the part of the majorities) for the cutural good of us ALL.

The answers pretty simple: The UK - love it or leave it

From heronin, if communities/individuals remain but do not adapt & assimilate/integrate there exists the very real potential for regrettable cultural conflict (at many levels in many forms) a risk acknowledged by Trevor Philips ex CRE chief [2]. British society is justified in heading such conflict off with a variety of measures.

Or are you seriously suggesting a continuation of the discredited 'multicultural' model in this case where 98% of people are shoe horned into accepting the sub cultural practices of the 2% (many of which break UK, EU & International laws & conventions).

The liberal left / left have a lot to answer for ref the roots & causes for our 'clash of cultues'.

SUMMARY:

For you anarchosurfer - as an atheist & anarchist - its only too easy to label anyone who disagrees with you as a 'hating racist'.

That's why your dated mantra (dressed up & represented in any convenient garb) is wholly rejected by mainstream society, government, politics, agencies & media.

You may wax lyrical as to your behaviours, background, experiences & beliefs - but nothing excuses your clear hatred of British history, heritage, institutions, society, customs & values.

btw - cycling, the environment & concern of pensioners - are not the preserve of radicals.

Most definitely, you promote & follow other agendas *

* this impasse is nothing more than mischievous opportunity for certain types.

vikingar

SOURCES:

[1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2757067.stm
[2] The Sunday Times 22nd October 2006.

  • 37.
  • At 12:21 PM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • Flyingbolt wrote:

Ref: Vikingar

As a recent visitor to these kinds of forum, I've been struck by your ubiquity. Are you a person? Or are you perhaps an Artificial Intelligence programme? You certainly write like one (though to quite a sophisticated standard, I must admit).

One thing I've noticed, though, is that there are several areas that remain unvisited by the relentless fact-dispensing machine that clanks its way through most of your contributions.

For instance, one would never guess from your arguments that the rise of jihadism across the world was in any way connected to other histories, in particular those relating to the Cold War or America's hegemonic ambitions since World War Two.

And on the domestic front, why do you never mention the range of factors that might influence or constrain minorities as they seek to establish themselves in a new country?

Do you really think terrorists are only motivated by how they read the Quran? Do you really think that British Muslims possess powers of agency denied to the rest of us? That they can simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps, without reference to the socio-economic contexts of their lives, and by the power of positive thinking become whatever it is you believe they should become in order to qualify for your approval?

I notice you like to sneer at anarchosurfer for being, among other things, naive and outmoded. But when you accuse him of hating British history without even a nod to the truth that every nation's history contains elements that are, at the very least, to be deprecated, those adjectives more properly apply to you.

Do you think the Britain you profess to value sprang fully-formed into being a thousand years ago? If we inhabit a country to be proud of (as, with caveats, I believe we do) it's the result of much effort over many error-and-crime-strewn centuries. Immigrants have made an honourable contribution to the struggle for improvements, and will continue to do so if they're given the chance. If you had a less static view of society, you might be able to see that newcomers often have as much to offer as they receive. Or do you believe that Britain no longer has anything to learn from other peoples? That we've become, with hardly anyone but you noticing, a Shangri-la of liberal democratic perfection? Dream on, baby.

  • 38.
  • At 01:51 PM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Flyingbolt #37

Reads familar

Surely not another incarnation, same person different handle ... again :)

(presumably feeling lonely on the Conspiracy Theory thread ?)

vikingar

  • 39.
  • At 04:08 PM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • Flyingbolt wrote:

Vikingar (post 38):

Sorry to disappoint you, but I've never even visited 'the Conspiracy Theory thread', let alone posted on it.

For you, on the other hand, it's clearly a home from home.

(Why no mention of my multiplicity of agendas? Perhaps the anti-paranoia tablets are beginning to kick in.)

  • 40.
  • At 04:38 PM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Flyingbolt #39

" Sorry to disappoint you, but I've never even visited 'the Conspiracy Theory thread', let alone posted on it...... For you, on the other hand, it's clearly a home from home"

More than happy counter the corrosive Post 911-CT :)

vikingar

  • 41.
  • At 09:59 AM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • Flyingbolt wrote:

Vikingar #40

I apologise: the paranoid are sometimes right to feel persecuted.

I've just visited the CT thread for the first time (you're not very popular there, by the way) and lo and behold someone called Jayhawk (#243) has beaten me to the AI revelation.

Still, that only makes two of us who've spotted the stylistic and semantic giveaways (not to mention the indefatigability that would put a Duracel bunny to shame) so perhaps they're not that obvious. Which should at least please your creator.

  • 42.
  • At 11:05 AM on 25 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Flyingbolt #40

"I've just visited the CT thread for the first time (you're not very popular there, by the way)"

I hope not … that was the whole point [1]

Esp given what the nature of the site & the majority (not all) of loonies / radicals who inhabit the Conspiracy Theory thread.

Ref AI .. reality check, wishful thinking v limit of science [2a] [2b]

vikingar

SOURCES:

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/2006/08/on_internet_conspiracy_theories.html
[2a] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence
[2b] http://news.zdnet.co.uk/internet/webservices/0,39020378,2083916,00.htm

  • 43.
  • At 06:19 PM on 25 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Flyingbolt #40

"I've just visited the CT thread for the first time (you're not very popular there, by the way)"

I hope not … that was the whole point [1]

Esp given what the nature of the site & the majority (not all) of loonies / radicals who inhabit the Conspiracy Theory thread.

Ref AI .. reality check, wishful thinking v limit of science [2a] [2b]

vikingar

SOURCES:

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/2006/08/on_internet_conspiracy_theories.html
[2a] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence
[2b] http://news.zdnet.co.uk/internet/webservices/0,39020378,2083916,00.htm

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