Yesterday’s bombings

by Chris Bertram on November 21, 2003

Assuming that Al Quaida or one of their sub-franchises were behind the recent bombings in Turkey, I’m amazed at some of the writing on the subject in today’s Guardian: especially the leader and Polly Toynbee.

The leader :

The use of force in Iraq, now enshrined as a governing principle by Mr Bush, invited a highly aggressive response. That response is in progress. The whirlwind is being reaped.

Toynbee :

These bombs made yesterday one of the darkest days of Tony Blair’s prime ministership. As if that horror were not enough, too many other disparate pigeons came fluttering home to roost at once. Whichever way he turned, things looked black. They were no mere accidents, for everything that happened came as a direct result of his own decisions, all of them taken against the better instincts of most of his party.

The “war or terror” may have been prosecuted in a stupid way. The Iraq war—nothing to do with the war on terror—may have stoked up Arab resentment against the West. These are reasonable subjects for serious argument. But these writers help themselves quickly, easily and cheaply to the claim that the bombings are a direct consequence of US and British policy since September 11th. To which there are two obvious ripostes. First (an argument too often deployed for rhetorical effect but, I think, applicable here) the bombers set out to do what they did deliberately and intentionally and were not forced to kill and maim many innocent people by Bush or Blair. Second, Al Quaida’s bombing campaign long pre-dates the current US and British governments—remember those East African embassies—and would plausibly have continued with or without the “war on terror” and the invasion of Iraq.

{ 40 comments }

1

Danny 11.21.03 at 11:45 am

I don’t see what on earth there is to be amazed at. This is the Guardian we are talking about – their philosophy comes down to “When in doubt, Blame America (or Israel)”.

Polly Toynbee is hardly the worst Guardian columnist in this respect – she’s too much of a the apparachnik to be that extreme. Regular Guardian columnists have already encouraged iraqi suicide bombers. What is a sane left-of-center briton supposed to read without having to foam at the mouth every morning?

2

Matthew 11.21.03 at 12:04 pm

I don’t see how your argument really counters what they say, Chris. But I think it comes down to what you think the effect of the Iraq war and other “anti-terrorism” actions is.
I think that Al-Qaeda recruitment (direct and indirect) and the possibility of attacks was increased by the invasion of Iraq. Turkey’s fundamentalist islamic groups are apparently increasing their activities, just after Turkey was nearly used as a stopover base for US+UK troops on the way to Iraq. Probably those groups want to transform this currently secular, OTAN country! They can easily use the anger at the Palestinian situation and the Iraqi disaster as a recruitment drive, even if you think this is distorted and misleading.

If you take this into account maybe the Guardian’s remark will make sense? Branding it an “evil pro-terrorist paper” is playing into the AlQaeda game, as the leader was explaining… :(

3

des 11.21.03 at 12:09 pm

Polly Toynbee is a professional controversialist – Julie Burchill without the wit.

The scramble to make political capital out of the carnage has been horrible on both sides – for me “terrorism” means something close to “considering mass slaughter primarily from a semiotic point of view”, and I think we owe it to ourselves to insist that this does not exhaust the possibilities.

I’m a bit behind, but Libération’‘s verage of the previous attacks in Turkey was notably free of cheap shots at hastily erected Straw Person theories.

4

Matthew 11.21.03 at 1:03 pm

It’s ridiculous to hold Bush or Blair responsible for the bombings. To do so suggests you are literally prepared to blame them for anything.

What is less ridiculous is to say they are responsible for our safety, and it is legitimate to ask whether they have used our limited resources (money, manpower etc) in the best possible way.

It’s a difficult one. If, like the President and PM, you believe the liberation of Iraq is a central plank in the war against terrorism — then to the question is meaningless. The two things (defeatibg Al Qaeda are the same. And maybe to argue for the anti Al Qaeda front to be given priority over removing Saddam would have meant taking a view that western lives are more important than Iraqi ones (e.g. if the $100bn and 200,000 troops were deployed in Afghanistan not Iraq).

Of course Iraq has happened and we can’t go back. We have to look to the future and decide whether the Blair/Bush tactics (focus on Iraq to defeat Al Qaeda) is the best strategy, or whether a more direct approach would yield more benefits.

5

another Matthew 11.21.03 at 1:14 pm

Oh and the Iraq war has very clearly divested intelligence and monetary ressources away from the fight on actual terrorism. When you put this next to the tenuous and rambling justifications that this was related terrorism, then the Guardian leader’s comment will make sense. It is not just political point-scoring.
http://billmon.org/archives/000888.html

6

Eric in TX 11.21.03 at 1:21 pm

If the Bush administration had focused on finishing off Al Qaeda, through social and military programs, rather than justifying an unjust war, would Al Qaeda have had the resources to pull off these attacks?

7

anonymous coward 11.21.03 at 1:23 pm

For one, the African embassies were American. Here, British establishments were targeted, so it is fair to point out that these latest attacks were probably a lashing out for being a major ally of the US in the Iraqi war. You can certainly not pretend that there is no link between the two at all….?

As for the likelihood that attacks would have continued regardless of who’s in office–that completely avoids the deeper question of why terrorists are doing what they’re doing and whether or not our actions have any implications on that.

Perhaps on the emotional side, it’s distasteful to see journalists swooping down on this like vultures, but they’re also trying to say simply, “Hey, there are major consequences for the choices we make. Do we trust people who have misled us into war to make those decisions for us?”

Imo, pandagon has a good entry on the bombings.

8

anonymous coward 11.21.03 at 1:33 pm

Here’s a question for those above, how can we “finish off” al Qaeda? The more force we use, the more likely we polarize even normal muslims into being fundamentalist. We can’t simply go around the world and blow people up and expect this problem to go away.

9

Chris Bertram 11.21.03 at 1:37 pm

I’m sorry, but flailing about and saying either that existing policies made the risks worse or changed who became a target to the bombers really is not to contradict anything I wrote in my post. Toynbee asserted that “everything that happened came as a direct result of his own decisions” [note: not _even_ as an _indirect_ result]. That is an absurd assertion that she wasn’t entitled to make, an assertion motivated by her animus against Blair.

10

Matthew 11.21.03 at 1:44 pm

So Chris, if you made the point that: “Tony Blair did in fact not personally order the terrorist attack in Turkey”, then, sure, you’re right.
However I cannot understand how you read the opposite in the Guardian pieces.
No, Tony Blair is not an evil AlQaeda executive but his choice of policies do seem to be, er, counterproductive?

11

Matthew 11.21.03 at 1:47 pm

I agree it is confused and offensive, though I’m not sure about the anomisity — didn’t Toynbee say he led the best government in British history and should go on for another 6 years earlier this year?

12

Barry 11.21.03 at 1:48 pm

Posted by anonymous coward :

“Here’s a question for those above, how can we “finish off” al Qaeda? The more force we use, the more likely we polarize even normal muslims into being fundamentalist. We can’t simply go around the world and blow people up and expect this problem to go away.”

Let’s think about this – how could we strike directly and effectively at Al Qaeda?

1) Keep intelligence sources focused on them, as #1 priority. Don’t concentrate our arabic-speaking assets onto tertiary targets, such as Iraq. Don’t, just as a random example, pull the US special forces group trained for middle eastern ops out of Afghanistan, and put it in Iraq, replacing it with a group trained for Central American ops.

2) Don’t compromise the integrity of intelligence, by forcing the CIA to produce pure BS, and then castigating them for doing so.

3) Don’t hand Al Qaeda beautiful recruiting issues. Such as the situation in Iraq.

4) Don’t disrupt international relations, which are critical to international police and intelligence work.

5) If some superpower happens to have the odd $100 billion US sitting around, to piss away on any odd cause, spend it on things which will reduce sympathies for islamic fundamentalists, and for islamic fundamentalist terrorists.

6) If the superpower mentioned above doesn’t want to spend the odd $100 billion US on such positive actions, then at least refrain from spending it on negative actions. Such as Iraq.

I think that it’s a reasonable list, off of the top of my head.

13

Matthew 11.21.03 at 1:48 pm

Apologies for confusion — the last post was MatthewT (from now on).

14

anonymous coward 11.21.03 at 1:50 pm

True enough, but hello? It’s a newspaper op/ed, the predecessor to trolling. She’s aiming to inflame and get people talking. If she wrote a perfectly balanced and researched article, people would stop reading at paragraph two. I wasn’t thrashing about, I was simply pointing out the bigger picture: that she’s calling into question what the effects of recent actions are, and whether or not we want to see such things continue. That she did it in an inflammatory way is shitty, but hey, read a newspaper lately? That’s how op/ed works.

15

anonymous coward 11.21.03 at 1:55 pm

Barry, agreed. But #3 is what I think Toynbee, even if she sounds like a maniac, is pointing out.

16

reuben 11.21.03 at 2:05 pm

When I read your post, Chris, I thought I was going to have the chance to get really angry at the Guardian – something I very much enjoy. I’ve just put down the paper, and still haven’t had my recommended daily allowance of umbrage. Oh well, I’m sure I can find a blog to take care of that.

I thought Polly’s article was overwrought and tenuously constructed, but, well, she’s not that good a thinker or writer anyway. Just compare Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed to the lifeless book of the same theme that Toynbee published around the same time.

I don’t understand the criticism of the leader though. The Guardian’s tendency to pile on has angered me in the past, but this leader seemed well-reasoned and sensibly stated. What’s more, it does not imply that terrorism is inevitably “our” fault – which is the impression I got from your post, Chris. Of course, it does imply that the Iraq war encourages terrorist responses. Is this really such a shocking notion? It’s not exactly radical to observe that the war on Iraq is both a perfect recruitment tool for Islamist fundamentalists and an ill-conceived divergence of anti-terrorism resources. A great many thoughtful people have made these points before.

The only thing I would change would be to edit the whirlwind sentence so that it reads less like a statement of fact and more like one of informed opinion – ie, “The whirlwind, it appears, is being reaped.”

By the way, have there been any analyses yet of whether or not terrorism has increased since April 2003? Obviously there are a lot of factors at play and we’re only talking about seven months since the start of the war, but presumably someone’s keeping track.

17

raj 11.21.03 at 4:39 pm

“Second, Al Quaida’s bombing campaign long pre-dates the current US and British governments — remember those East African embassies — and would plausibly have continued with or without the “war on terror” and the invasion of Iraq.”

Al Qaida’s bombing campaign against US interests–the East African embassies and the USS Cole–predated the current US government. But it is not clear that those bombings were in regards policies that were limited to that government.

As far as I know, there was no al Qaida bombing campaign against British interests prior to Britain’s Iraq adventure. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

18

John Kozak 11.21.03 at 4:45 pm

Chris, I find your creepily disingenuous attempts to tut-tut away any criticisms of TWAT a lot more objectionable that “honest” war-blogging…

19

nelson ascher 11.21.03 at 5:05 pm

Are you so naive as to believe that, if you Brits and the whole of Europe behaves well, Muslim Fundamentalism will go away? Do you actually think they need any kind of excuse, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, the French prohibition of the veil in schools or the Britisih prohibition of honour killing, to blow anyone up? Do you consider that limiting artificially your time frame to the last couple of months or years gives you an adequate correlation of causes and effects? If you want to look for root causes, that’s fine, but why do those roots have to be so conveniently shallow, why do you stop digging half a milimeter bellow the earth, if that much? Bin Laden himself says he is at war with “Jews and Crusaders” who want, according to him, to destroy Islam. Why don’t you take him at his word? Who authorized you to translated Jews as Sharon and Crusaders as Bush/Blair? Did he? Are you so arrogant that you think that an Arab can’t state clearly what his goals are and, thus, you’ve got to translate them for him in terms of Zionism, Imperialism, Capitalism etc.? The Egyptian Brotherhood has been saying since the 20s that Kemal and Kemalism were among their worst enemies (they even thought the whole movement, Kemalism, was created by the crypto-Jewish Turkish sect, the Dömnehs.) Well, that was somewhat before Blair, Bush or even Israel were born. But they were but irrational Muslims and we have to help them formulate their ideas according to a rational European jargon, right? The fundamentalists know only subjectively what they’re doing, but it is our Western task to explain to the world the real, objective, revolutionary, antiglobalist, anti-Zionist, anti-hegemonic etc., essence of their actions, because, poor things that they are, they’re unable to do this by themselves. In general, your lack of empathy with what the fundamentalists think, your need to show they are actually the objective though unwilling or unconscious tools of your own goals through some kind of Lévi-Straussian “pensée sauvage” is truly amazing.

20

Andrew Boucher 11.21.03 at 5:19 pm

“The whirlwind is being reaped.” It’s more like the world is becoming more polarized. I have a hard time believing that most Brits will reach the same conclusion as the Guardian; more likely, they will rally to support their government. So what we will see, I think, is a further deepening in the gap between the “left”, for lack of a better term, and the rest of the nation. This in turn will make the “left” (still lacking a better term….) even more rabid in its criticisms, further alienating the center, and the process will repeat. This, I’m afraid, is what the U.S. is witnessing already, and will, against all logic and common sense, perhaps see Bush through to re-election (or, as at least one wag has said, election, since he wasn’t really elected the first time), in spite of a rather incompetent job.

I didn’t support the Iraqi war, but on the other hand it doesn’t strike me as the worst war ever fought either. It did get rid of Saddam Hussein. You can say it was fought for all the wrong reasons, but it did get rid of Saddam Hussein. You can say that the U.S. now has its hands on Mideast oil, but it did get rid of Saddam Hussein. As with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages. I happen to think the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, but that shouldn’t make us lose sight that there are advantages.

Bush gave a speech recently. I don’t for a minute believe that he believes what he said, but on the other hand I think the speech contains a very interesting idea, and one worth pursuing. Many people, mostly on the “left” (for lack of a better term), remarked that to get rid of terrorism, you had to cut it off at its source. This speech said that bringing democracy to the Middle East, would cut off the source of terrorism.

Now when the “left” (for lack of a better term) talked about cutting off the source of terrorism, it tended to mean that the goal should be the elimination of poverty. It would probably be reasonably suspicious of the claim that democracy in and of itself would reduce terrorism at its source. You can’t just wish democracy on a people! (On the other hand, you can’t just wish prosperity either…)

I don’t want to get into this debate, which reeks of the old discussion that freedom from hunger and such is more important than political freedoms. Let me just say that I think Bush’s speech (again, I wouldn’t say Bush, because I don’t think he believes it) is on to something. Putting democracy into Iraq would indeed do something to cut off terrorism at its source. Here looks like a really big advantage of the Iraq War.

Unfortunately, instead of being forward-looking, the “left” (for lack of a better term) is remarkably backward-looking. The Iraq invasion is over and done with. The war may not be over, but the invasion is; it’s done and it’s no longer a live question. Protesting against it, is pointless. What needs to be done now, is try to draw as much advantage out of the present situation as possible. And, if it were possible to get a democracy going in Iraq, then that indeed would be a great thing. Call me an optimist, but I do think the neocons were right about one thing: *if* Iraq was able to get a viable democracy, then other Middle East countries would fall like dominoes. I’m only skeptical about the premise. But the situation is here, there’s no turning back, so we might as well try. And yes, if this actually turns out well, then yes the invasion of Iraq has done something against Al Qaeda, even if there were no links between Al Qaeda and Iraq. Because it will help to cut terrorism off at its source.

21

Chris Bertram 11.21.03 at 5:28 pm

John Kozak:

bq. Chris, I find your creepily disingenuous attempts to tut-tut away any criticisms of TWAT a lot more objectionable that “honest” war-blogging…

Assuming that TWAT stands for “The War Against Terror”, I have many criticisms of it myself, and have posted before on many related subjects such as Guantanamo. Nothing in my post was meant to give a pass to Bush or Blair.

I’m sorry that you think it disingenuous to insist that critics ought to stick to the issue at hand: i.e. the specific claims made in the Guardian. But if that is disingenuous, I plead guilty.

There are many important and substantial criticisms to be made of Bush and Blair on “TWAT”, Iraq, and on the Middle East more generally. But saying stupid and false things, calling people names etc, detracts from what ought to be said.

22

Patrick Nielsen Hayden 11.21.03 at 5:43 pm

Nelson Ascher asks: “Are you so naive as to believe that, if you Brits and the whole of Europe behaves well, Muslim Fundamentalism will go away?”

A good question. I would also ask whether certain people really believe that if war critics and left-leaning polemicists behave themselves perfectly, the Bush administration and its coalition of corporate power and nascent brownshirtism will “go away.”

After all, we have so many encouraging historical examples of quiet, well-spoken rhetoric triumphing over violent tyranny to inspire us.

23

peter 11.21.03 at 6:18 pm

At one level, these primitive soft-target bombings are a reaction to the war on terror. Their capabilities are reduced, backs are against the wall, and they need to appear active.

However, if there was not no effort to confront them, they’d be trying for spectacularly destructive attacks and building their capabilities in WMD. Europe tollerated or even coddled (Arafat) terror for decades. Did it go away? No, it has mushroomed.

It is spectacularly naive to believe that if you just made nice that they’d go away. Of course it matters not to the Guardianistas that 9/11 was planned well before Bush’s presidency, as were the attacks on the embassies in Africa, USS Cole, etc… Then the rationale was what what? US troops in Saudi Arabia? Now its the “war on terrorism.” Next year, it’ll be something else.

Has she even paid any attention to their rhetoric. They want to establish Islamic law the world over, but beginning in Islamic countries, and kill or convert non-Muslims. How is sticking your head in the sand going to prevent this?

24

John S 11.21.03 at 6:53 pm

Andrew Boucher, nice one! Hear, hear!

Patrick, fairish point, if you accept that the US is turning into a fascist state!!! Tell you what, if next year’s elections are canceled I’ll accept you’re right. Your big problem is that you’ve decided to fight him on an issue where he looks more radical, revolutionary and idealistic than you and other anti-war left opponents. As Andrew says, yes he’s awful but he did get rid of Saddam Hussein.

25

peter 11.21.03 at 7:01 pm

I am endlessely bemused by all the rhetoric about the fascist US police state.

Though few in Europe have probably taken the trouble to read it, the Partriot Act gives authorities the ability to use monitoring tactics that have long been used against drug dealers and detention authority that is common practice in the war-time US and even in peace in many European and Asian democracies.

Oh, and somebody please tell me how the war for oil has translated into a US oil grab. Is there some secret market parallel to OPEC? Or, have companies just been given big contracts to rebuild the decaying infrastructure. In that event, I’d say its up the US taxpayers who are paying the bill to determine what’s proper. Its not your money, Europe.

26

nelson ascher 11.21.03 at 7:03 pm

Patrick talks about the “Bush administration and its coalition of corporate power and nascent brownshirtism”. (Strange, were I to believe in Chomsky, brownshirtism is not nascent, but has actually dominated America for the last thousand years or so.) Maybe he could tell me what’s the exact colour of Osama’s, Arafat’s, Saddam’s, Mahattir’s, Ghaddaffi’s shirts? They cannot but be left-of-the-center post Aufklärung multiculti freedom fighters with a deep attachment to human rights, environmentalism (hey, green is their colour too), caring, diverse communities, tolerance and so on, can they? Osama, the Baath Party and the Taleban are obviously to the left of the Bush-Blair corporate brownshirts and, thus, they’re our natural allies, aren’t they? Let’s say they are Muslim Socialists (“socialist” used, in this case, as in the expression National Socialist). My question is pretty simple: are the Muslim fundamentalists, for instance, the Salafists in Algeria, the lesser evil? Reaching that other world that, according to the altermondialistes, is possible will be helped by them? Will you allow them, for the sake of diversity, to be judged in special shariah courts in Britain whenever they commit honour killings? Why not?

27

nelson ascher 11.21.03 at 7:09 pm

Just sent this to Melanie Phillips blog, but might be pertinent here too:
“During WW2, many Jews in Europe thought that if they did nothing, didn’t react to nazi “provocations” and obeyed their orders, they’d survive. The nazis were clever. They never told the Jews they would be all exterminated (“well, folks, what about a bath now?). They used the “salami tactics”, telling the Jews that if only they’d deliver, for instance, the leftist militants among them, or the elderly, or the unemployed, or, in France, Holland and elsewhere, the foreign or non-local Jews, then everything would be fine: the rest of them would be spared. Seems this is working again, this time with the Europeans in general. Give them Israel, and France will be safe, give them America and the UK will be OK, give them Cashemere and Germany will be fine, give’em back Afghanistan or Iraq and there will be no more troubles in the streets of Istanbul. Simple, isn’t it? Thus, go ahead, make THEIR day.”

28

Jack 11.21.03 at 7:31 pm

In theory and in relation to many blog posts I see the point of the argument but as applied to these articles it seems misplaced.

Only a very facetious reading of either of these articles would make the criticism address the main thrust of these articles.

In particular I can’t see that either author claims “that the bombings are a direct consequence of US and British policy since September 11th”.

Toynbee is talking about Blair’s mid term blues while the leader quite carefully does not make the consequence direct. It merely claims that you might expect this sort of behaviour as a result of going to war with Iraq and that the policy doesn’t appear very effective.

Debatable but not outrageous by any means. In any case we would give short shrift to a parent who threw their child into a pool of crocodiles and then blamed the crocodiles for eating it. Of course the crocodiles shouldn’t have killed the child but what should the parent have done?

In any case why should critics of the government have to pass tests that the government won’t. Surely we deserve better than “What is responsible for that terrorist attack is terrorism”, the oficial explanation.

29

nick 11.21.03 at 7:46 pm

their philosophy comes down to “When in doubt, Blame America (or Israel)

Spoken like a representative for ‘HonestReporting’.com

30

David W. 11.21.03 at 9:30 pm

What puzzles me is how upset some get over the ‘s’ in Bush being a swastika while not getting at all upset about the fact that the U.S. started a war in Iraq for fictitious reasons.

(And no, that Weekly Standard report on the leaked intel memo on supposed Iraqi-Al Qaeda connections from Douglas Feith simply does not cut it as proof Iraq was a threat to us. Nor does the report from David Kay about those alledged WMDs.)

31

Alexander 11.21.03 at 10:46 pm

I agree with Barry’s ideas above. There are certainly much better ways of winning “TWAT” than what we’re doing now. Also, finding Osama bin Laden would be nice.

32

nelson ascher 11.21.03 at 11:09 pm

And, Patrick, concerning your question: “I would also ask whether certain people really believe that if war critics and left-leaning polemicists behave themselves perfectly, the Bush administration and its coalition of corporate power and nascent brownshirtism will “go away.”” the answer’s quite simple. Maybe if they explain to the US voters their points, instead of commemorating every dead American, dancing around American corpses, sending money to the sadaamites, calling all or most Americans fat idiots who had it coming, painting swastikas on the American and Israeli banners (but not on any other save, sometimes, the Union Jack) before burning them, keeping silent when synagogues are burnt down or blown up or saying “no anti-Semitism” here, welcoming Mugabe, Baby Doc Assad, Putin and others, complaining endlessly about some hundreds of prisoners in a corner of Cuba but not about those thousands in the rest of the island (some of them recently executed, by the way), well, maybe if, instead of all this, “war critics and left-leaning polemicists ” concentrate on getting their message through in a less bombastic way to the US voters, then they’ll achieve the unimaginable and wil make “the Bush administration and its coalition of corporate power and nascent brownshirtism” “go away” through the ballot box. Did you ever give this idea a thought?

33

radish 11.22.03 at 1:29 am

Tell you what, if next year’s elections are canceled I’ll accept you’re right.

you’re very demanding John. I suspect that the real fascists among us are not quite so naive, and would cheerfully settle for another divisive and strongly contested election, with sufficient errors and uncertainties to invoke either judicial or legislative intervention…

34

Dick Fitzgerald 11.22.03 at 1:50 am

You fail to mention that Al Quaeda was a creation of the CIA: Casey’s war in the 1980s against the USSR in Adghanistan.So the Guardian is right that chickens have come home to roost.

35

Dick Fitzgerald 11.22.03 at 1:50 am

You fail to mention that Al Quaeda was a creation of the CIA: Casey’s war in the 1980s against the USSR in Adghanistan.So the Guardian is right that chickens have come home to roost.

36

Dick Fitzgerald 11.22.03 at 1:50 am

You fail to mention that Al Quaeda was a creation of the CIA: Casey’s war in the 1980s against the USSR in Adghanistan.So the Guardian is right that chickens have come home to roost.

37

Dick Fitzgerald 11.22.03 at 1:50 am

You fail to mention that Al Quaeda was a creation of the CIA: Casey’s war in the 1980s against the USSR in Adghanistan.So the Guardian is right that chickens have come home to roost.

38

nelson ascher 11.22.03 at 4:44 am

Dick, you say that
“You fail to mention that Al Quaeda was a creation of the CIA: Casey’s war in the 1980s against the USSR in Adghanistan.So the Guardian is right that chickens have come home to roost.”

Know something? I happen to agree with you. If the US army hadn’t beaten the Krauts out of France and then helped both France and Germany to recover, they wouldn’t be able now to oppose American policy. If the US hadn’t protected both countries plus the UK during the Cold War, Bush wouldn’t have to put up nowadays with Londoners, Parisians and Berliners (that’s doughnuts in German) protesting. Seems the US has, everywhere in the world, a lot of chickens that are coming home to roost.
It must also have been because they’ve been supplying Israel with choppers and planes since Roman times that the Mossad destroyed the Twin Towers, right?

39

John S 11.22.03 at 9:51 am

Radish: is that a joke? US fascists are so vicious and evil they await the results of elections and then, if they’re close enough, resort to the law? Evil! Mind you, funny definition of fascist. On that basis, there isn’t anyone in politics who isn’t fascist.

40

John Kozak 11.22.03 at 1:01 pm

I was a bit aggressive there; thanks for the temperate response. My point about disingenuousness is this: a number of your posts take the form “War in Iraq is really bad, but X” where X is something like a student calling Bush a Nazi, or a Guardian columnist perhaps slightly overstating a causal connection. Collectively, these read to me like a rhetorical device intending to show that actually the war in Iraq is almost completely unimportant, as it’s deemed less worthy of note than the witterings of Polly Toynbee or some random 19-year old.

I’m sure this wasn’t your intent, but that’s why I got narked.

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