Friday, March 14, 2003

Put this in your relativist-pipe and smoke it ... more from Daniel Kruger:

Let there be no talk of ‘imposing’ ‘Western’ values here. As President Bush says, the values of liberty are universal, not Western. They only seem Western because the West has applied them most successfully, and grown rich on the proceeds. Liberty might just as easily have flourished in the Korean peninsula or at the junction of the Tigris and the Euphrates. Then it would be Koreans and Iraqis, to the dismay of limp do-gooders among them, exporting ‘Eastern’ values to us, the benighted nations of the world.
I don't know if I like being called a hedgehog ... an extract from Daniel Kruger's latest article:

Slavery was to the British in the 19th century what terrorism is to the Americans in the 21st: a blight on the earth, fostered by renegades and despots, and an affront to civilisation. Yes, yes, we were complicit in its first stirrings — establishing plantations in Virginia and Jamaica, funding Saddam against Iran — but that simply fired our resolve to stamp it out once we realised our error. The slave trade was outlawed throughout the British dominions in 1834, and it was simultaneously decided that no one else should be allowed to practise it either. For the next 30 years the prime duty of the Royal Navy was to eradicate the slave trade on the high seas.

By and large Britain did this duty alone. Overwhelmingly the most powerful nation on earth, she chafed at the restraints of international co-operation. She did lead a sort of alliance against slavery, with a handful of ships from America and France, but in reality Britain did the work, often ignoring diplomatic sensitivities by attacking slaving stations on sovereign territory, or stopping and searching ships flying neutral colours. The Americans in particular, the hypocrites of their day, were more a hindrance than a help: they bleated about British ‘unilateralism’ and protested about the need for ‘international law’, while all the time her entrepreneurs were running their own slave ships between Africa and the Southern states. One thinks of the French, urging the ‘UN route’ while Total-Fina schemes to win Iraq’s oil contracts.

At a meeting at NSW Parliament House, organised by the Walk Against War Coalition, he [Professor Stuart Rees ] said that although the UN was said to be facing imminent disaster, it could be a godsend for the world. "It's a forum that is not producing a forced consensus," he said. "That's wonderful for democracy and the future of the United Nations."

Democracy? The UN? What planet is Professor Rees on? Is he referring to the countries that comprise the UN (Syria, Iraq, China, etc.)? Is he referring to the absence of democratic processes that would allow individuals to influence UN decisions? Is he referring to the immense power *smirk* the General Assembly wields? Or is he referring to the Security Council – the most fundamentally undemocratic institution in world politics?
Mr Crean said: "The Prime Minister has been locked in, like an Exocet missile, to doing whatever the US asks of him. He's got no way out."

"The only decision that hasn't been made is the one by President Bush," Senator Bartlett said. "I don't think there is a person in the country who believes John Howard won't follow when Bush makes his decision - he's waiting on the call from President Bush."

Senator Brown said: "At any time the American Administration can decide we're going in ... and we'll be locked into that,"

So, it appears that the opposition parties aren't going to argue against the content of the Prime Minister's speech. I doubt even with the combined intellectual 'power' of the Greens, Democrats and ALP that they would be able to argue:

1. Saddam Hussein does not have WMD,

2. That the inspection process is flawed,

3. That there is a historical link between the Iraqi regime and terrorist groups.

So, the opposition parties are left to bleat the tired old line: "Johnnie Howard is Bush's lap dog". Yawn. You know when someone doesn't have an intellectual argument to stand on when they resort to repeating a slogan as fact.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

From Auntie ...

Cracks appear in international coalition - France and Russia now seem certain to vote against or veto the new UN resolution on Iraq.

France and Russia were part of the international coalition? Since when? This article should be read:

France and Russia reaffirm their commitment to impeding the UN's ability to disarm Iraq
Jack Robertson in Web Diary writes:

But I simply have to protest that it's asking a bit much to expect me to cop it sweet when someone like you tries to blame us anti-invasionists for Saddam. All the warhawks are doing it these days, I notice.

Certainly I agree that it is a bit of a stretch to blame antiwar advocates for the human rights violations of Saddam Hussein, however, Mr Robertson is being a tad disingenuous. For the most part, ‘prowar hawks’ aren’t blaming ‘antiwar doves’ for Saddam’s human rights violations. They are just asking why the antiwar crowd is seemingly content to ignore the fact that while war will cause human rights problems in Iraq, so will the absence of war. There is even a strong case to suggest that leaving Saddam in power would cause greater human rights violations in the long run than removing him from power. It is because of the antiwar protesters’ failure to grapple with this issue, combined with their severe ‘don’t mention the war’ attitude to the horrors of the current Iraqi regime, that has led many people to question their sincerity regading Iraqi human rights.

Actually, it is funny that many people who have been criticising John Howard and George Bush over their alleged inability to appreciate the complexities of the Iraqi situation are unable themselves to deal with the complexities of the human rights situation. It seems certainty is not just a prowar problem …
So what are the options left for the U.S. and its allies regarding Iraq? The dominant approach supported by the commentariat is for the U.S. to compromise and allow the weapons inspectors more than 45 days to test Iraq’s compliance against several disarmament tests. The main problem with this proposal is that no-one – in particular the French or the Russians – are willing to accept any kind of automaticity, that is, allowing any triggers that would allow the coalition of the willing to automatically declare war without going back to the Security Council. So there is no real guarantee that after 45 days and numerous Iraqi violations we won’t end up where we are now – with more French squabbling and delays. I have come more and more to agree with Charles Krauthammer - the allies should just force a vote. If the UN supports us, good, if they don’t, so what - just walk away, leave the UN squirming in its own irrelevance, and disarm Iraq anyway. Do it now while the advantage is on our side. More negotiations aren’t going to change France’s or Russia’s position – they are just giving Saddam more time to prepare and more opportunities to weasel out of his responsibilities.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Yesterday, the Eminem ‘Macho Man’ was all-conquering (see below), defining masculinity and pushing the world to war.

Today, the ‘Macho Man’ is dead. All hail the 'Metrosexual'!!
Ms Kingston appears to have a problem with the Prime Minister's certainty:

The clock is ticking, it's the final countdown to war - whatever cliche you use, we're all scared. Very scared. Don't you wish you were John Howard? He's never had doubts that he was doing the right thing. Me, I've always feared people without self-doubt.

For those wishing to read a useful counterpoint to Ms Kingston's ideological criticism (How dare you be certain! Don't you know everything is relative!), try David Brooks writing in The Times / Weekly Standard. An excerpt:

In certain circles, it is not only important what opinion you hold, but how you hold it. It is important to be seen dancing with complexity, sliding among shades of gray. Any poor rube can come to a simple conclusion--that President Saddam Hussein is a menace who must be disarmed--but the refined ratiocinators want to be seen luxuriating amid the difficulties, donning the jewels of nuance, even to the point of self-paralysis. And they want to see their leaders paying homage to this style. Accordingly, many Bush critics seem less disturbed by his position than by his inability to adhere to the rules of genteel intellectual manners. They want him to show a little anguish. They want baggy eyes, evidence of sleepless nights, a few photo-ops, Kennedy-style, of the president staring gloomily through the Oval Office windows into the distance.
So, France has declared that it will veto any new UN resolution on Iraq, "whatever the circumstances". Even the presence of a 'smoking gun' - such as the recent discovery of an undeclared Iraqi drone capable of delivering chemical and biological weapons (which the 'impartial' *cough* UN conveniently forgot to tell everybody about) will not be enough to persuade the French about the seriousness of the situation. Does anybody need anymore evidence about the absolute recklessness and complete insincerity of the French position?

Monday, March 10, 2003

What's all this then ....

The British and US ambassadors plan to demand that Hans Blix reveals more details of a huge undeclared Iraqi unmanned aircraft, the discovery of which he failed to mention in his oral report to Security Council foreign ministers on Friday. Its existence was only disclosed in a declassified 173-page document circulated by the inspectors at the end of the meeting - an apparent attempt by Dr Blix to hide the revelation to avoid triggering a war.

In honour of the French, I am going to refuse to believe that Hans Blix and the rest of the UN have been actively undermining America's position on Iraq, even in the face of overwhelming evidence ....

Hints by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that some American military units should leave South Korea are provoking a sudden new appreciation of the United States military presence here.

Within hours of Mr. Rumsfeld's musings that American soldiers should be shifted out of North Korean artillery range, South Korea's new prime minister, Goh Kun, hurried to a meeting with the American ambassador here and said, "The role of the U.S. troops as a tripwire must be maintained."

I always love it when those who partake in anti-Americanism are suddenly confronted with the consequences of their actions.
It's not just about oil - it's also about Eminem! Why does this essay read like a media/cultural studies student trying to justify their degree?
Quote for the day:

"... people who could not face the truth about human nature were for the U.N.; people who fairly squished with the juice of human kindness but who had a pretty soggy brain were also for the U.N.; people who preferred to preserve their illusions intact favored the U.N." - David S. McLellan
"The US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said on Thursday that the US was studying ways of either withdrawing its 37,000 troops in South Korea, or shifting them further away from the Demilitarised Zone, the North-South truce line."

Hopefully comments like this will force the South Korean government away from it self-imposed strategic slumber and convince many of Washington's critics that the United States is not an imperial power .. then again, rationality has never been the anti-American left's strong point.