Archive for June 5th, 2006

The Helping Hand of History

This guy (subs needed) goes in to bat for the occupation forces after the news about what happened in Haditha. Nothing particularly interesting, but one should always be suspicious about arguments that make advance withdrawals from the wisdom of History:

Like Abu Ghraib, Haditha is a war crime that should be swiftly punished. But it should not be used by opportunistic elements to tarnish all those serving in Iraq. History will be their judge, and something tells me it will treat them kindly.

‘History’ is no judge of anything. This is submitting to a higher power -in this case History- to come to your aid. Other such powers include Fate, Destiny, Nature.

Bloody Useful Bloody Sunday

I saw this yesterday in the Times: US looks at Britain’s Bloody Sunday to learn lessons of army disorder. How interesting.

In fact, the report says that it’s the Bloody Sunday film by Paul Greengrass -director of Flight 93-which is popular among certain top-ranking army officials.

The report also says:

Petraeus has been telling his men not to “cordon and search” houses in trouble spots but to “cordon and knock”, ie, ask permission to enter. It is advice that could have prevented the horror at Haditha.

(Emphasis mine)

Well, I suppose it could have, but so could lots of other things.

What way do these stories work? Does the journalist get a call from some guy in the military who says “you may be interested to know that we’ve been watching Bloody Sunday, from the same guy who brought us Flight 93. I can get you an interview with one of our top officials if you like….”

Strung Along

So what’s a chemical vest then? Why not a chemical waistcoat, or -even better- a chemical hoodie?


Enjoy what’s left of the bank holiday weekend, says the Irish DJ. I would enjoy it a lot more if he’d kept his beak shut.

Still There

I read this post thinking Margaret Thatcher was actually dead and no-one ever told me. She isn’t. But she is a gay icon, apparently.

Listening Post

Today, a Bank Holiday, I’ve been listening to Grandaddy’s Just Like The Fambly Cat, Phoenix’s It’s Never Been Like That, Morrissey’s Ringleader of The Tormentors, The Raconteurs’ Broken Boy Soldiers, Side 3 & Starting Over by The Raspberries. I think I like the Phoenix record best. For your information.

Tory Story

This is the British Labour Party’s last term in office for a while. 10-point leads can be lost, but so sick are the British public with Tony Blair’s government that David Cameron would have to do something utterly outrageous in the eyes of the general public -like convert to Islam- to lose the next election.

I have a feeling that it wouldn’t really matter what he said, or what the Labour government does in the meantime- the public wants a change more than anything else. Cameron could play croquet every Tuesday and Thursday and no-one would care, because that is the sort of thing Old Etonians are supposed to get up to. He could punt down the Thames on his way to work every morning in a candy-striped blazer with a flower in the lapel, and people would say, fine- if that’s the sort of thing he goes in for, let him get on with it.

After the 1998 elections in which Labour came to power, I was rather shocked to find that quite a few of the people I hung around with -mostly working class and lower middle class English people- were not Labour supporters as I had imagined, but were actually Tories who had persisted in voting Tory at that election, even though Major’s government had been an inexorably moribund laughing stock. In outlook, they weren’t all that different from those people of my acquaintance who had voted Labour. There are vast swathes of England where support for Labour is neither unconditional nor assured. All Cameron has to do is make the right noises about ethical work, green policies, happiness and stuff -even if it’s fortified guff of the highest order, which I happen to think it is- and he’ll sweep to power.

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June 2006