Jon Snow Tariq Aziz 2
Extremism

Jon Snow mourns the death of "nice guy" Tariq Aziz

 

Jon Snow, the aging abbot of Channel 4 News, has tweeted about the death of Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein’s henchman deputy, who has died in prison. Apparently Snow “spent time with Tariq Aziz, interviewed him often“, and this is the basis upon which he is deemed to have been  a “nice guy”. Isn’t it possible to smile and smile and be a villain? “Christian that he was – they didn’t kill him, they just let him rot to death in jail,” you see. The problem wasn’t the man, but the circumstances in which he found himself: “Nice guy in a nasty situation – made no better by Bush/BLair’s Shock and Awe.”

“Nasty situation”? As if genocide, torture, persecution and mass murder were nothing but a slight inconvenience to a few babes in the woods. Yes, Twitter is somewhat limited in its expression, but nasty situations are rough and beastly, not murderous and tyrannical. Tariq Aziz was content to be the public face of Saddam’s machinery of repression which visited war on its neighbours and citizens alike. He was about as nice as Hermann Göring.

Did Jon Snow tweet-mourn the death of Margaret Thatcher? “Nice gal in a nasty situation – made no better by Scargill/Kinnock loony left socialism.” Well, actually, he did have a fetish for The Lady: “..she didn’t give a fig whether you liked her or not. And indeed for that, at least, I sort of did.” But Tariq Aziz? The Ba’athist representative of a murderous regime? Does the fact that he was a Chaldean Catholic among Sunni thugs exonerate the slaughter of Marsh Arabs and the gassing of Kurds in Halabja? What was Aziz doing through all this? Praying: “Father forgive Saddam, he knows not what he does”?

What kind of “nice guy” upholds tyranny and sustains oppression? What kind of “nice guy” smiles at the TV cameras while women and children are being roasted alive by napalm? Tariq Aziz was tried by the Iraqi High Tribunal and found guilty of crimes against humanity. “He was the ‘beard’ on a fascist government. The Ribbentrop of Iraq,” says Times columnist David Aaronovitch. Why does Jon Snow trust they got it right for Saddam but wrong for Aziz?

Perhaps the secret to fathoming Jon Snow’s compassion is to be found in his reference to “Bush/BLair’s Shock and Awe”, which he tweets with evident loathing. Anyone who sets their face against the idiot Bush and the phony Blair must  be a “nice guy”. After all, he only used a medium-sized revolver to execute Saddam’s scapegoats and political irritants. There was evident compassion in that. He shot them at close range, too. No languishing in pools of blood. No agony or suffering. Unless you were Kurdish, of course, and then you were cluster-bombed. Nasty situation, that.

Still, at least Tariq Aziz was better than what followed. But then so was Saddam. While Islamic State and Saudi-Salafists rampage through the desert – raping nine-year-old girls, selling Yazidi women into slavery, wiping out the Christians – they must long for days of genteel Saddam and nice-guy Tariq, who was, no doubt, only following orders.

 

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Another case of Jon Snow backing the wrong horse again. It’s hard to take him seriously anymore.

  • Inspector General

    Now Now Cranmer. Are we not in agreement that for countries cursed with Islamic populations, the only way to keep everything together is to be at the peoples throats if they get out of line.

    You see, he did what he had to do. It wasn’t pleasant, one is sure he would thank you for stating that. But it had to be done. He did his duty, in other words.

  • B flat

    I don’t see the point of this. Are we really in any position to judge Tariq Aziz? What good will our assessment do to us or to him? As to Society in general, we have enough scriptural examples of righteousness and unrighteousness to follow. The world can only be improved by us, if we start by personal repentance (metanoia). I for one, am not keen to throw obloquy on this man. May God grant him peace now, and pardon all his offences.

    • avi barzel

      What are you blathering on about? We’re in no position to even call a monster a monster ? Just navel-gaze and escape into fluff and pietism? Erase any ethical difference between a murderer and his victim? Like, with everyone, or just “important” people like Tariq? Your approach empowers and creates evil and causes, yes causes, death and suffering. May the monster be erased from the Book of Life and may people like you take off their blinders and acquire a spine.

      • B flat

        Avi, your energetic response seems to originate from a worldview very different from the Gospel. I don’t even want to know what you imagine the Book of Life to be, but I see no way that your words as written prevent death or suffering in the world, or that cursing the dead does anything other than empower evil in the one who utters the curse.
        So far, I have managed to remain vertical and walk reasonably tall among my fellow men. Thank you for your anatomical advice, which was both impertinent and unnecessary.

        • avi barzel

          B flat, it doesn’t seem to me your understanding of the Gospels is representative of all or even most of your Christian colleagues and your abstract musings about evil are of no interest to me. You are entitled to bless whoever you want, but I note your blessing of a murderer did not include his victims, dead or living.

          As much as you may imagine that it’s not so, your “are we really in any position to judge Tariq Aziz?” is a position and a judgment. A position that good and evil are unknowable and a judgment against those who condemn…in the secular and the spiritual spheres…evil-doers. My words may not prevent death and suffering; the words of many, who condemn those nitwits…like Jon Snow…who are ready to provide aid and comfort to monsters, are important in discouraging at least some from thinking they can get away with….well, murder. After Osama, Qaddafi, Hussein and soon enough, Assad, few megalomaniacs will have reason to believe that their impunity will keep their and their families and “legacies” safe. That matters in the real world.

          “Navel gazing” is an expression; you don’t have to literally roll-up you shirt and while-away hours glaring at your pupik.
          “The Book of Life” is a Judaic allegory of those on the biblically suggested “list” for resurrection by the Almighty. Some of us don’t go for that spirit stuff and prefer the notion that when you die, you’re as dead as a doornail until the Creator decides otherwise at His pleasure and according to His schedule. Asking God to “inscribe” a friend or a good person in “The Book of Life” is traditional, as is asking for an evil person’s name to be erased. That is not cursing; it’s an acknowledgement that we understand His rules and decrees and that we wish our own judgments to be considered in His deliberations. You don’t have to agree with that, but there it is for your clarification.

  • Jon Snow – the thinking man’s George Galloway?

    I don’t know that much about Tariq Aziz, but I think when it comes to meddling around in some of these Islamic, middle-eastern hellholes the Daily Mash summarises it best: Fingers crossed they aren’t insane. I suspect that Tariq was one of those they describe as “pricks … keeping a lid on a big basket full of f!@*nuts”

  • preacher

    Well I guess that we are not in a position to judge him, after all Saul was a man of similar type before he found salvation. Only God knows the fate of Tariq Aziz & we are told not to judge.
    Hess was another example of a man left to languish in prison until his death & it’s one of the hardest things to control the desire for revenge but the hatred can ruin us & destroy us like a Cancer which just adds to the ruin caused by evil, even after those guilty of it have gone.

  • carl jacobs

    The original.sin of the Second Gulf War was the Bush Doctrine. President Bush didn’t actually change anything. He just stated openly what had previously been left unstated – that the US reserves the right to go to war in its own interests and on its own authority. The “UN as military hegemony” has in the minds if many morphed into the “UN as egalitarian proto-world government”. President Bush openly asserted the primacy of American law over international “law”. American exceptionalism – in fact Great Power exceptionalism – cannot co-exist with this egalitarian vision. If the US can go to war on its own initiative, then so can other powers. How then does the UN (and by extension, international law) restrain the nations? It would mean the UN is nothing more than a tool of major powers. And that result was held to be anathema.

    But the Internationalists (mostly Europeans) had a problem. They recognized the UN wouldn’t always act. The internationalist vision of military force is fundamentally a vision of law enforcement. So what then should be done when the UN refuses to enforce the law? (Cough) Yugoslavia (Cough). The internationalists wanted the ability to act independent of the UN, but only on their terms. In effect they wanted to establish themselves as ultimate arbitrators on the use of military power. President Bush refused to listen to their counsel. He fought a war they refused to countenance.

    Yugoslavia was a child’s game of Musical Chairs compared to Iraq. But Yugoslavia occurred in the (allegedly post war) continent of Europe, and that was intolerable. So some difference had to be found between Iraq and Yugoslavia. If NATO intervention in Yugoslavia was justified by the crimes of the Setbs, then Iraq could be justified by the crimes of Saddam. But that outcome couldn’t be allowed. So the war was recast as “Blood for Oil” and “illegal American aggression.” But that wasn’t the actual issue. The real issue is that the internationalists wanted a war in Yugoslavia. They didn’t want a war in Iraq. And President Bush refused to submit.

    One unfortunate side effect is that Saddam and his regime had to be rehabilitated to some extent. And that is what you see in this story about Aziz. If Saddam and his regime are framed in a bad light, then the war becomes justified on grounds similar to Yugoslavia. But that can’t be. So in retrospect, Saddam couldn’t have been that bad. By definition. It’s about control, you see. It was never about good and evil.

    • CliveM

      Carl

      Sometimes you have to look back and say the reasoning appeared sound, there was nothing fundamentally dishonest or sinful in bringing down Sadam, but perhaps time has shown us it was the wrong thing to do. I think it’s hard to look at Iraq today and conclude it or the world is better off. He doesn’t deserve sympathy, he has done nothing to be awarded admiration, put perhaps he was in retrospect the least worse option.

      That Europe is weak and hypocritical I would agree, but even if was for the wrong reasons they may have been right.

      I don’t condemn Bush, although I do Blair, but we can’t say he was right.

      • carl jacobs

        Clive

        Iraq is not better off. Whether the world is better off is a different question. I don’t think Europe would have ever countenanced action against Iraq. Their solution would have been “Buy oil, sell arms, and let the Americans deal with the hard stuff.” That I think was the difference. The US did not want to deal with a nuclear-armed Saddam. So it mitigated the possibility. Europe wanted no war and was content to set the American Army in Saudi Arabia for freaking ever to avoid it. Europe didn’t care about a nuclear threat to Israel. That was an American problem. Except we didn’t want any part of that.

        The idea of a democratic Iraq was fantasy, but how could it be avoided? What would have been the reaction if the US had put a general in charge and said “Keep order.”. We had no choice but to try. And it failed. So public will to rebuild Iraq failed. As in “Why the hell are we trying to help these people when all they want to do is kill us?”. The outcome in Iraq must be separated from the strategic purpose that was achieved by the war. They are two different questions.

        • CliveM

          Carl

          I suspect this has been well trod ground on this site, so I don’t intend to go into big detail about it.

          However let me concede two points:

          Europe is next to useless, and

          The war was never about creating a better Iraq.

          The war was always about American concerns over Saddams long term ambitions and capabilities with regards nuclear weapons. It is easy to be wise after the event. But for me it is hard to see the negative of what has happened since, including greater insecurity to the west, was worth the cost. Especially as it seems clear that the threat that Saddam posed was in reality negligible.

          I will agree that there was a risk that the anti sanctions movement may have succeeded and given Saddam a boost, but even then it is hard to see that he would have become a real threat.

          America and the UK got it wrong.

          • carl jacobs

            Especially as it seems clear that the threat that Saddam posed was in reality negligible.

            Iraq under Hussein was a negligible threat to the US military. It was an enormous threat to US interests. The US didn’t go to war in 1991 because it cared more than a rat’s rear about Kuwait. The US went to war because Saddam Hussein was seeking to making himself hegemon over the Middle East oil fields. In analyzing his defeat, Hussein concluded that his only mistake was to invade Kuwait before he became a nuclear power. His analysis was correct.

            A nuclear-armed Iraq would have been invulnerable to regime change. It would have vastly complicated American security guarantees in the Middle East. It would have allowed Saddam to exert political & economic influence far above his weight. And it could very easily have lead to a nuclear exchange with Israel. The West benefits from the Israeli nuclear monopoly in the Middle East. It restrains what Arab states are able to do. A nuclear Iraq would have balanced that equation. And Saddam was just reckless enough to order their use. What cost is worth those circumstances not coming to fruition?

            The European answer was “Those are American problems. We just don’t want a war, and we want to uphold the primacy of the UNSC, and so the Americans will just have to deal with it.” But the US didn’t want to deal with it. It didn’t want a big pile of sh*t dropped on its dinner plate simply to satisfy fussy internationalist Europeans. The US didn’t get it wrong. It dealt with a problem before it became a problem. If we hadn’t dealt with it then, when would we have dealt with it? After it became too late?

          • CliveM

            Carl

            The first Gulf war was right. Saddam would have become a major threat to western interests and in the main the west supported it. Whether what happened to the Marsh Arabs was the US’s finest hour is a moot point and doesn’t distract from the fact it was a success in its aims.

            The second gulf war is a completely different kettle of fish. By this time Saddam posed no realistic threat and it is hard, in retrospect, to see how he ever would. I agree the US believed he was a threat, time has shown it to wrong.

            However getting it wrong wouldn’t have been a big issue if the fallout hadn’t been so disastrous. Not just to the ME, but also to the west. Our current paralysis in the face of ISIS (not just in UK and Europe) is a direct result of this.

        • avi barzel

          “We failed.”

          Liberal democracy for Iraq was a costly pipe dream based on hopes and wishes, but removing a major regional and international threat was a good thing. Wasting soldiers’ lives by turning them into aid workers was a stupid idea, but the US occupation worked and the “Surge” worked and would have been successful in at least establishing a stable regime sensitive to US and Western demands. Our friends here are still going on about Bush, but the man directly resposible for the mess now is Obama and his decision to withdraw at the point when success was likely. The projection that all would have been well if Saddam or Qaddafi had been left to rule is another pipe dream. It ignores the reality of the popular upsurge of militant Islam which would have deposed their regimes eventually.

          • CliveM

            Avi

            Couple of points;

            Whilst generally sympathetic to the point about Obama, however I would argue that Western Democracies being what they are, he, or someone very like him, was an inevitability.

            Even if the surge had been allowed to complete its work and had been successful, it doesn’t seem clear to me that once US forces left (whenever that was) Iraq would have been stable.

            Ok I’ve a third point!

            The question isn’t would Iraq have been better left under Saddam, the question is would it have been as bad?

          • avi barzel

            But the elephant in the room is the illogical projection that Saddam, followed by his offspring and the entire Ba’ath establishment would have purred along relatively nicely until the Sun goes super-nova. From everything we see, such a projection is nothing but wishful thinking; a desperate regime trying to grab the Gulf states oil wells, striving for WMDs (don’t forget they did try the nuclear route and did obtain and use chemicals) and a rising, psychopathic, messianic Islamism. The collision was inevitable and dealing with one problem first made more sense. What is clear is that with US bases in the region and an independent and empowered Kurdish state, ISIS would have stayed at around the size of Hezbollah or Hamas.

          • CliveM

            Democracies are good at short wars with a clear outcome, however what they are not good at is long term costly commitment which doesn’t have a clear end game. The US gambled on the former, but got the latter.

            As you say elsewhere the US has form on this (as do Europeans!!), so any forays need to consider this up front.

          • avi barzel

            But Clive, modern warfare is typically short; its cost in terms of materiel and manpower is unsustainable in the long term. But agreed on the lack of clarity; when the primary purpose of war…defeating the enemy and preventing his resurgence…is lost, only the imagination can visualize the outcome. The US unnecessarily lengthened the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by tying its own hands with rules which make clear victories impossible and plunged into the morass of “building democracy” with poor raw materials and in other ways tried to solve intractable problems which bedevil the cultures of their enemies.

            In that, the Inspector has a point about the old British doctrine; you burry dead mujaheedin in pigs’ carcasses and march into mosques with muddy boots until the ruddy WOGs start to behave and earn the respect they crave…never before. So, thousands of good men and not a few women in green lost their lives in the unnecessary demonstration that no, we are not at all, all alike; we don’t all want or value the same things even though it may look like it at first glance…and that cell phone and YouTube are just as good at recording and sharing beheadings as kids’ birthday parties or kittens stuffing themselves into vases.

          • CliveM

            The problem with the ‘Inspector doctrine’ as I will henceforth refer to it, is probably impossible in a democracy and in fairness to the US, the option of replacing one hatchet faced dictator with another, just wouldn’t be politically feasible for them.

            Which I suppose is the point I’m trying to make, the west just doesn’t have the will to fight these wars and make the type of commitment required.

            In which case, Iraq was a mistake, albeit one that was probably a noble one.

          • avi barzel

            Well, if that’s your point, it’s unassailable. Does anyone still wonder why democracies are so rare historically and geographically? A great idea when there is a lot of wealth and a critical mass of people who lived through rough times and grew a spine; not so good when the passion of the day is choosing one’s gender from a basket of a about a dozen and the paupers vote themselves a living. O, well, it was nice while it lasted. I can’t complain; great music in the 60s and 70s, I got to own and drive some fun cars and hopefully squirrelled away enough for the kids to have a good start in life.

          • CliveM

            We actually need a decent non nuclear war. One where losing comes with real cost. Democracies need to be reminded of the price you need to pay on a regular basis.

          • avi barzel

            Careful there, that’s when the baddies realize that with all of our wealth and wonder-electronics whose innards a single EM pulse can turn into a lump of cold spaghetti, as warriors we’re a sorry, frightened lot in the aggregate.

          • CliveM

            We would need to be careful with regards the enemy!!

          • avi barzel

            We can start up a kerfaffle with Belgium or Monte Carlo, assuming the Yanks will lend us the transport planes and China sells us the paintball guns. If we survive that, it’s off on Norwegian cruise ships to occupy the Bahamas. You can take the beach side Hilton, if I can have the rum distillery.

          • CliveM

            I was thinking Sweden, but your idea is better.

          • avi barzel

            Darn right, Sweden makes me think of my wife’s Viking-Scots ancestors and I think we’d be better off goofing around elsewhere.

          • carl jacobs

            I was thinking of you yesterday. You see, I discovered the truth behind the 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan. It seems the Israelis did it. It’s true. I read it on the internet. Evidently the Israelis planted a nuclear device deep in the ocean (at just the place where an Earthquake would happen. Oh, you perfidious Jews) and then waited for a minor earthquake at just that spot so they could detonate the device and cause a tidal wave. Plus the Israelis put some micronukes in cameras to blow up the Fukushima reactor. And all without any trace if radioactivity.

            You guys. You need to be watched.

          • avi barzel

            And I bet you thought you’re an original. The cameras thing probably is, but not the earthquake and tsunami. We are, though, slipping in popularity, as on this one, we’re in second place behind the U.S. and its New World Order whose machinations are broadcast through telluric currents from the base of the Washington Monument. I think we slipped to second place when the East Asians in the U.S. bested us in family income and education levels a few years back. Things are not as they used to be.

  • Orwell Ian

    Beware of friendship with your enemy’s enemy, for even in death he might just cause you to drop yourself in it.

    Tariq Aziz was a consummate professional in the dark arts of diplomatic craftiness. Nevertheless it is difficult to believe that Jon Snow was incapable of seeing through the mask and interviewing the character lurking beneath. He often appeared mesmerised by Mr Nice Guy but there is none so blind as those that do not wish to see.

  • dannybhoy

    “What kind of “nice guy” upholds tyranny and sustains oppression? What
    kind of “nice guy” smiles at the TV cameras while women and children are
    being roasted alive by napalm?”
    Presumably the man wanted a position of power in the Iraqi government? To be charitable (which is what we Christians believe in) he may have eventually found himself in too deep with no way to get back.
    Like the IRA, Saddam’s government had a very long arm when it came to dealing with those who displeased him..
    What was that phrase, “When you sup with the devil use a very long spoon..”
    Jon Snow on the other hand always comes across as a kind of mixture of self loathing white middle class male with a strange taste in ties, coupled with the zeal of a secular Bishop standing up for the (carefully selected) underdog, or this week’s trendy oppressed community.
    I find it very difficult to warm to people who seem to hate their advantaged white European upbringing, but wouldn’t dream of giving up the adulation of the Chardonnay Set…

    • CliveM

      Sage words DB. I would only add that Sadam was an obvious nasty case from day one. I’m not going to metaphorically dance on his grave, but neither do I think we should pretend he was a nice guy. If he had been he wouldn’t have survived. Your choices have consequences and he seemed happy to live with his.

      • dannybhoy

        Saddam was an evil ruthless man, but more the rule than the exception.
        All Islamic countries are held together by men willing to use violence to control the people. Whether it an army junta or an absolute monarch, break the rules and retribution will be swift and harsh.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Daniel never sought, or wanted, position and power. His stand for the truth, unequivocal and uncompromising, ended up with him being given those things despite his requests not to be.

  • sarky

    Slow news day???

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,
    The Iraqi war was in a way a precursor to all the Middle East troubles today. Western leaders have so little understanding of the ways and minds of the Arabs. They thought they could make the countries just like the west but they can’t. Turn on them like Moses did to the Egyptians and they turn on you and say “Who made you ruler over us”. Sadam as bad as he was held the country together. Cameron helped rebels take down Arafat, to what outcome? he would have bombed Syria had they not realised Assad was a better option than the IS or even the first rebels.

    More thought needs to be given before interfering in another country’s domestic affairs. The Islamic mind set is incomprehensible to the Christian and the westerner. Attacking IS, although seemingly essential, could lead to a dirty nuke being detonated in the US or in the UK. They have no scruples.

  • David

    Isn’t the BBC so utterly, selflessly unbiased, and a true upholder of the highest public service standards, for serving all the peoples of its nation ? Doesn’t it bring tears to your eyes to think of the huge efforts expended by the corporation, to ensure that its senior people truly reflect the timeless spirit of upholding justice and equity for all ?

  • len

    I think comments like those coming from Jon Snow show a total lack of understanding of exactly what people and situations the West was dealing with when it decided to ‘westernise’ the Middle East.
    I always though the BBC had some sort of hidden agenda but perhaps it is just ignorance?.

  • Inspector General

    Good post Shadrach. Damn Americans are bloody amateurs when it comes to policing the world. They should have boned up on 19th and 20th century British imperialist strategy. It’s all there for them, courtesy British experience. They could even have avoided the same mistakes we made back then. The races of the world are the same now as then.

    Nothing new in this world, what!

  • not a machine

    Your grace hangs some interesting thoughts in contrary to Jon Snow who I think Interviewed Tariq Aziz , which gives much to think about in who ploughs the straightest furrow .
    I think I recall Tariq Aziz at the UN after the invasion of Kuwait , rather triumphantly in the back drop of Iraqs military might , saying Iraq would fight .There is then perhaps the more controversial aspect of the BA passengers who were used as human shields during the Kuwait standoff before gulf war one started , in which Tariq Aziz did nothing and setting the scene for the dirty form of war that commenced . He did perhaps put an educated English voice for a tyrant , but it is hard to reconcile how Bathest he was .
    Your grace may ponder if some his regrets came out of jail , but none the less he was in a position of giving orders and knowing what was going on and we arrive at man who contrived to some very dark acts indeed.
    There are many as Shadrac fire says , who think forays into the middle east are pointless , moves of the sand, although I perhaps think of critical the invasion of Kuwait really was in terms of it we did nothing ,how it could have been a platform for something else . Scuds were launched on Israel even though rather expensive fairly useless bits of kit .
    I think it was a huge mistake not to have finished the regime off in gulf war one , for what followed was little more than a more harsh regime and a considerably drawn out military spend before gulf war two , which perhaps made up quite a few western leaders minds about spilling blood in countries that don’t have much of a foundation towards better government .
    The Iraq invasion was a moment when western governments thought more carefully about what they were doing , and military’s became more questioning of what governments were thinking was possible once the hot lead and shrapnel had ceased .
    The question perhaps haunts conversations , the house of commons was at one its most tense when , the Iraq invasion was discussed . World leaders who want to strut as presidential should be at the point when the body bags return home ,for that is another aspect of what we believed would be hope and light in Iraq .
    As for Iraq leading to the current ISIL situation I perhaps think that is unfair , Iraq for a few years had a future ahead quite different from what it had , the revolution that overthrew the sha of Iran was being expensed in other parts of the middle east , only recently was one of the famous pack of cards in Iraq killed , in a command position in ISIL.
    Jon Snow might want to consider if the middle east can ever dispense with warlord and jihad and run its countries better, but then Tariq Aziz even though Christian always preferred military attire .

    • Shadrach Fire

      as Shadrac fire says , who think forays into the middle east are pointless

      Not pointless but ill considered.

      • not a machine

        I think we should have a further conversation in decades time on that .

  • IanCad

    “—the slaughter of Marsh Arabs–“
    Don’t hear much about them any more. Let’s face it, our betrayal of them is something we want to forget.
    George Bush(I) promised support to those watery folk were the brutal Baghdad regime of a mind to annihilate them. Of course Saddam did. We didn’t.
    There was a delightful sliminess written on the face of Aziz. It was there for all to see and hear. Wretched Man! Not at all like us who can disguise our similar failings behind a hedge of power, sophistication and might.

    • ZX10

      our betrayal? sorry you mean their betrayal ? I and millions others had nothing to do with that horror !

      • IanCad

        Inspector got there first!

    • Inspector General

      Ian, there is a good Wiki article about the business. There happened a rebellion against Saddam after the first Gulf war. They took advantage of the resulting instability of the regime and seemingly expected US help on doing so.
      That what followed was a massacre was entirely in keeping with the suppression of all rebellions in all countries in any time. Including our own suppression of the Jacobites.
      These things happen on an earth inhabited by ruthless men.

      • IanCad

        Hold On! Hold On!
        GHW Bush assured the Marsh Arabs and other groups opposed to Saddam during the First Gulf War that he (US Gov,) would not allow the defeated regime to attack minorities who had backed his overthrow.
        The Ba’athists were primarily Sunni Muslims. During the Iran/Iraq War the Shia minority had – where they could – helped the Iranians. They then were in favor of the ousting of Saddam after the Kuwait invasion.
        We should never have got into this hornet’s nest in the first place.

        • Inspector General

          My dear fellow. It was at that time ‘mission creep’ came to the fore in diplomatic language. Bush may have promised the marsh Arabs support, but unless the promissory note was written on congressional paper, it was valueless.

          More fool the Arabs concerned for proceeding, but then, that is exactly what you would expect to happen given the Arabic nature.

          • IanCad

            If a statement or a promise made by the President and Commander-In-Chief cannot be relied on then our claim to moral superiority is but dust.

          • Inspector General

            It’s all done subtly, you see. The President can declare war, but if congress don’t vote him the resources to prosecute it, men, weapons, hard cash, it’s just so much hot air and wishful thinking.

          • carl jacobs

            The Congress has the power to declare war. The President has the power of command. The former is a formal power. The later is a tangible power. In practice the President can commit the nation to war by giving a command. He doesn’t need the declaration to issue a lawful order. And there is no Congress in the world that would cut off funds to an Army fighting in the field. The only real check on the President’s tangible power to make war is impeachment – which Congress just doesn’t have the stones to invoke.

            Of course, the President (and especially his party) may fear the public reaction to his decision. But that is different from a constitutional check on the President’s power.

          • Inspector General

            Good grief! Such ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ show that it’s never been needed to be put to the test, despite the threatened cut off of funds when fighting the Vietnam war.

            The US has been fortunate not to have a war mongering tyrant (Tony Blair, are your ears burning?) for a president, and one puts his faith in Congress to deal with it should it ever come to fruition…

          • carl jacobs

            What “ifs” and “buts?” Nothing I said was qualified. And you simply don’t understand American politics if you think Congress would ever defund a fielded fighting Army.

            despite the threatened cut off of funds when fighting the Vietnam war.

            Congress defunded the South Vietnamese Army in 1975 in order to make sure the war would be lost and the whole American effort in Vietnam retro-actively discredited. That was one of the most despicable acts ever perpetrated by the US gov’t. The road to Saigon was paved by American betrayal.

            one puts his faith in Congress

            Congress would have to find its testicles first.

          • Inspector General

            Didn’t say there was an obvious path Carl, but one of subtleness. Financially abandoning the South Vietnamese army was an example of that. Anyway, the point is, don’t take the POTUS word on anything unless he has the support of Congress and the military, as the marsh Arabs who survived will no doubt nod to.

          • avi barzel

            Along with abandoning the SVA, add the hare-brained bombing of bicycle trails from somewhere up in the stratosphere, reluctance to damage the NVA’s sanctuary resorts in Cambodia and refusal to level Hanoi’s infrastructure. The Yanks tend to leave half-finished jobs; Joe got Eastern Europe, North Korea is still a headache which might prove to be a lethal one now that it got nukes with Clinton’s permission, Vietnam was abandoned just when things looked good, the pussy-footing in Iraq and Afghanistan and with this dangerous idiot in the White House, the wholesale surrender of the entire planet to the Russians, Chinese, Muzzies and anyone who wants to step up to the plate…while uncounted millions of Mexican and other Latin illegals are settling the South-West with state and federal welfare services and local church “sanctuaries” giving a helping hand. Oh, and did you hear about how the Obamamessiah wantsto “revive” Detroit’s population and economy with about 50,000 poorly documented Syrian refugees?

          • Inspector General

            Good Lord!

          • avi barzel

            I know, if he carries on like this, the place will soon start to feel like…Birmingham!

          • Inspector General

            That would be bad…

          • Phil R

            If he manages to turn Detriot into Birmingham he will have gone really well.

            I spent a week in Birmingham a year ago in the centre. I expected the worst but it was really nice, the hotel was excellent and a short walk to the canals and restaurants.

          • avi barzel

            I shouldn’t really trash cities, although I was thinking demographics rather than infrastructure. The Detroit business district is quite snazzy, especially the downtown skyline at night and the city is full of incredible (but crumbling) historical architecture with some of the most amazing neo-Gothic, neo-Classical, neo-Romanesque and skyscraper buildings built by the Northern robber barons of the Gilded Age.

          • Hi avi

            Interestingly , the University of Birmingham is one of the 8 “Jewniversities” (:

          • Pubcrawler

            You obviously didn’t venture far in the direction of Sparkbrook, Aston, Handsworth…

          • Hi pub

            Edgbaston, Sutton coldfield and little Aston are posh though…

          • Hi,

            Never thought I’d up vote a comment of yours Phil!

          • Phil R

            Hi Hannah

            It seems we have so much more than we think in common after all.

            One item out of 3000 is a start at least.

          • avi barzel

            “Latter,” not “later,” Carl. I know you Yanks like to get creative with spelling, but there are limits. And while we’re at it; programme not program, theatre not theater, tyre not tire, favourite not favorite and arse not ass.

          • carl jacobs

            Surely you have heard of the English Language Dominion Act of 1947 which was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. It asserts sovereignty over the English language in perpetuity. Said act provides the necessary authority to properly establish the correct rules of spelling in the English language.

            Now it’s true that act recognizes certain variations of Standard English – Australian English, British English, and the more parochial English English – but they remain deviations from the established norm.

            Interestingly enough, Canadian English is not mentioned as a variant. Perhaps because of excessive French influence, it has been driven too far outside the allowable envelope.

          • avi barzel

            Heavens, you’ve gone French on us! An Academie Americaine? Legislating language, fixing and fossilizing it. British English is unique among major languages in resisting such authoritarianism, having recognized for centuries that it’s a living tongue, blending the speech of all classes, retaining quaint archaism and accepting newcomers. A true people’s language!

            And no, Canadian English uses almost no French Canadian imports. Whatever French there is, is common to other English variations or is of older, Norman, rootstock. As to why you guys don’t recognize our variant, it ‘s simple jealousy; it’s all about the sizes of our countries….our’s is bigger!!!

          • carl jacobs

            you’ve gone French on us

            C’mon now, Avi. You know better than that. I’m an American. We are the anti-French.

            Canadian English uses almost no French Canadian imports.

            But that really makes no difference. Canadian English is the intrinsic product of a culture that is half-French. And as we all know “There is no such thing as half-French.” Which means that Canadian English is really a variant of French.

            Parley vu Fran-swah?

          • avi barzel

            Ha! And who was your greatest supporter in rebelling against King and Commonwealth? France. who cheered on the fratricidal terrors and outrages against the Loyalists? France. Who gave you that tacky pseudo-Greco-Roman goddess, the Statue of Liberty? France. Who were you natural allies in the conflicts? The French of Quebec. The blight of Republicanism…with its superficially Anglicised ideals of liberté, égalité, fraternité, my dear rebel fellow, was a French revolutionary invention and your country is structurally an English-speaking France!

            But all is not lost; you guys have had your teenager tantrum, your little rebellion, and there still time to rejoin the Commonwealth, to join with your natural allies in Canada, Australia and NZ and India and build the greatest empire the world has yet to see!


            Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
            More dreadful, from each foreign stroke;

            As the loud blast that tears the skies,
            Serves but to root thy native oak.

            “Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
            “Britons never will be slaves.”… </i

          • CliveM

            Sniff, what a beautiful thought. Where’s my Pith Helmet, Red Uniform and stiff upper lip?

          • avi barzel

            The Big Bully south of our border needs a reminder now and again. Even Canadians here. Every Canada day I fly the Red Ensign and to the confused I have to patiently explain that the silly maple leaf logo that’s supposed to have made the French happy (maple leaf for the maple syrup industry of Quebec) not withstanding, both the Red Ensign and the Union flag remain as our official flags!

          • CliveM

            Never knew that. Always thought the new flag looked like a bad 1970’s marketing logo! .

          • avi barzel

            Yeah, the bloody thing looks dated amd should be left to decorate backpacks, polar bear stuffies at airport souvenir shops and the Canada Goose outerwear logo. Still, could have been worse ; proposed designs included a chimera vegetable, a mutant between the maple leaf and a fleur-de-lis!

          • CliveM

            Bet it was decided by committee.

          • avi barzel

            And with contributions from any Canadian with access to paper and marking implements. By His Grace’s leave, a link to some brave submissions for your amusement:

            http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com//news/canada/the-flags-we-could-have-had-a-look-at-the-forgotten-runners-up-to-canadas-beloved-maple-leaf

          • CliveM

            Some interesting option there Avi, I particularly liked the “rat like” beaver!

            You do seem to have come up with the least interesting option……………

          • avi barzel

            If you only knew how I agonized over my choices! The Beatles’ heads with the St George’s cross would have been a bold, modern and yet tradition-minded direction…but the insipid and insiduous Yellow Submarine tune kept buzzing through every time I looked at it….

          • carl jacobs

            What specifically would you have wanted the US to do?

          • IanCad

            Finish the job Carl.
            To leave the Republican Guard as a still viable unit and to allow the old regime to take out on the native Shia what it failed to do in Iran was terribly shortsighted.

          • carl jacobs

            The US deliberately left the Republican Guard intact because it didn’t want to collapse the Iraqi Gov’t. There was no mandate for, nor desire for, nor agreement on regime change. The US did not want to occupy Iraq in 1991. The US never had any intention of occupying Iraq in 1991.

            So I am asking you what “Finish the job” specifically means. Because the job wouldn’t have even begun with the destruction of the Republican Guard. What specifically should the US have done?

          • IanCad

            Carl.
            This goes back to the hostage situation. It put us in a terrible quandary. As far as I can tell – and perhaps you allude to – is the West’s horror of the dreadful Ayatollah Khomeni’s Iran taking over Iraq, even though he died before the Kuwait invasion.
            Sure, the RG was but one facet of the regime that should have been eliminated. The Iraqi Air force had been destroyed. The regular army was but a shell.
            What should have been done? Easy to say in hindsight, but we would have been wise to stay away in the first place.
            Now that we’re in a horrible pickle it may be the time to reflect upon our own fortitude and use of power.
            Quite frankly, I believe our national interest is at stake. We developed the oil industry. Financed it, engineered it and now any interruption in the supply or continued development of the industry is, IMHO a strike at our countries.
            No longer should we tolerate the weak declaring that they are strong. The Middle East has no industry, few institutions, uses our weapons, and causes trouble way beyond its paygrade.
            Nothing wrong with a bit of colonialism. It worked in the past. Maybe we should try it again.
            Silly me! That’s so last century.

          • carl jacobs

            You confuse me, Ian. You say we should have stayed away but that our national interests were at stake. I don’t think I understand what you are saying.

          • IanCad

            As I said Carl, I believe we would have been wiser to stay away in the first place, but, having decided otherwise we should have seen the thing through.
            Our national interests are affected now. Even though the US has made great strides in oil self-sufficiency the rest of the West has not. The stability of the world is under threat from the rising Caliphate and the likelihood of our oil lifelines being put at risk.

          • dannybhoy

            The point is that you can’t invade another country – especially a Muslim country – without a very clear idea of what you want to achieve and what you’re going to do when things go wrong.
            And things willl go wrong.
            Iraq really showed the limitations of military power. That there is only one way to keep the lid on a Muslim nation and that is strong and if need be, ruthless government.
            By trying to set up democracy in a nation that doesn’t do democracy you/we were asking for trouble.
            And Boy! have we got it.

        • dannybhoy

          Absolutely Ian.
          If we are going to subscribe to the HR legislation + Equality + Diversity + Inclusion, (although I as a Christian don’t), then let’s at least be consistent and respect other religious cultures’ right to sovereignty and self rule.
          Even if we don’t like it.
          It’s not our business, because (officially) we believe that all cultures are of equal value.
          It is Western arrogance to assume that the rest of the world wants our mishmash of cultural values, and that somehow we have the right to go in and interfere.
          Leave well alone, and allow people to make their own decisions and to live with the consequences thereof.

          • IanCad

            I do agree Danny that we should keep out where we can unless our national interests are involved. I believe that at the moment they are in jeopardy.

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed

  • Ivan M

    Tariq Aziz, one of the mugs on the pack of cards that the American jokers thought up in a brilliant move to de – Ba’ath – ify Iraq. At least he was right that there wouldn’t be any Iraqis with bouquets and flowers to greet the liberators. Which is more than can be said about Moron Bush and Iman Blair.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Blair, phoney? Not sure. Probably sincere, which makes it even worse!
    Bush, idiot? No. Just openly Christian, which lines him up to be denigrated by our delightful liberal elite media.
    Tariq Aziz, Christian? No. ‘By their fruits you shall know them…’ (unless he was convicted by the Spirit whilst in jail.

  • Hi

    Well there’s plenty of deaths to weep over in Iraq, but this guy isn’t one of them…