29 September 2006
Sadr loses contol of his militia
Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric, may have lost control of about a third of his Mahdi Army militia group, according to the New York Times.
What seems to have happened is that as al-Sadr has fallen for American blandishments and become more integrated into the puppet regime, his followers have started deserting him. As this blog argued almost a year ago, we live in a post-modern world and the older loyalties of family, tribe and religion are making a comeback. The cleric may wish to be a regime player, but if his former soldiers have given up on the idea of Iraq, then fractures like this are inevitable.
Two outcomes are possible:
The first is that the fracturing will continue. The Americans will find it easier to take on these small groups, if they can find them, but they will find it impossible to actually govern that part of the country where the former Sadrists operate. Low-level guerrilla war will continue, and the Americans have the only army that can contain these forces. Thus the Americans will have to stay in place, at least until the decision is made to abandon Iraq.
The second possible outcome is that al-Sadr will realise that the only thing holding his movement together is a loathing for the Americans. As John Robb argues, he could unleash his remaining followers on the American army, in the hope that his former supporters will unite behind that call. What happens after the Americans leave is anyone's guess, and it is unlikely that al-Sadr will give that too much thought. The important thing is unity now.
Either way, it doesn't look good for the Americans.
28 September 2006
Ssh: don't tell the punters back home.
Best not tell the folks back home that they are losing the war.
Cheers: The Void
Iraq supports the guerrillas says poll
60% of all Iraqis are now in favour of guerrilla attacks on the American occupation forces, accorded to a new study that is just out. 80% think that the occupation provokes conflict, rather than helps stabalise the situation.
Not that this matters a damn to the warmongers, but it is amusing, because they used to claim that Iraq supported the "liberation". I suppose now they will claim that as they are building democracy in Iraq, they cannot be distracted by public opinion. . . Or some such load of old wank.
You're well fucked, aren't you, lads?.
27 September 2006
Blair's policy for Iraq: stay and hope for the best
Tony Blair has warned that to leave Iraq now means handing it over to al-Qaida.
Got that, folks? Al-Qaida were not active in the country before the aggression was launched, and the Iraqis are already fighting the organisation, anyway, but if Britain pulls out they will take over.
This is less a political policy and more a frantic plea to stick around and hope that something turns up.
26 September 2006
Cherie Blair: Tony's lightening rod
"How could you, Cherie?" asks Anne Perkins in The Guardian. The Daily Telegraph expects us to believe that Tony Blair was "unaware of his wife's apparent candour," and was embarrassed by it.
OK, if you believe that, then you will believe anything. When la Blair made her comment about Gordon Brown she knew exactly what she was doing and so did her husband: it's called the lightening rod trick and is as old as the hills. Tony Blair is a past master at it, and the wonder is that nobody seems to have sussed him out.
Basically what a politician does is get someone else to say the things that he can't. The speaker gets the flak and the politico walks away all shiny and bright without a mark on him.
As the two authors of a Blair biography called The Survivor show, Blair has been doing this trick for years. Once when he went back to Fettes, his old (bum) boys school, he noticed an ex-prefect that he had disliked years before. Instead of making a disparaging comment himself, he mentioned the old prefect to a friend and then sat back while this man made the remarks. As Prime Minister, he has consistently used creatures like Peter Mandelson, Alistair Campbell and his wife to take the heat in this way.
Other Prime Ministers have done so as well, as anybody who can remember Margaret Thatcher's press spokesman, Bernard Ingham, will recall. So Blair is not doing anything that is either new or sexy.
Which rather begs the question, why do the press fall for the same old wank time after time?
25 September 2006
New media versus old: will the former win out?
Will new technology - principally the blogs - ever take over from the old world of television, radio and newspapers? This is a question that many bloggers ask, usually rhetorically, as part of their attacks on the older media.
The answer, says the Exile, is that blogs and internet TV stations will never replace the BBC and the newspapers. The BBC is trusted by the bulk of the population and there is no political groundswell of opinion that demands its replacement. Furthermore, what demand does exist tends to come from the type of Thatcherites that the rest of us would not touch with the proverbial 10' bargepole.
Secondly, the BBC has a plethora of relatively new digital channels which pretty much cover the mainstream spectrum. There will certainly be room on the internet for niche channels - but that is not what is being argued, is it? The notion that these channels will take over from the already crowded mainstream strikes this writer as risible.
As far as the press is concerned, the chances of British blogs taking over are similarly remote. That may not be the case in the USA where newspaper ownership tends to be concentrated, but in the UK it is fair to say that there is a newspaper for almost all shades of political opinion.
Furthermore, what the bloggers don't realise is just how convenient a newspaper is. Unlike a blog that can only be read on a computer, a paper can be folded up, stuck in the back pocket and carried to wherever the reader happens to be going. It may be that when internet browsers and mobile telephones become one and the same thing, then the internet press will come into its own. However, until that day arrives, all talk of the newspapers' replacement is so much pie in the sky.
Two things already exist that have had a profound impact on how the news is diseminated. Neither is as sexy as a blog, but both have a proven track record and bloggers should just go with these flows. The first is e-mail and the second is mobile 'phone texting. The best way for a blogger to get his exclusive out is to encourage readers to sign up for e-mail and telephone-text lists. If the story is hot enough, the punters who get the messages will do the rest.
Take the case of Claire Swire as an example. You may find this oral sex tale a bit hard to swallow, but Claire's e-mail ended up all over the world within 24 hours, thus ensuring that this girl will go down in the history books. In other words, if the tale is yum enough, then a simple e-mail sent to a few people is all it takes. The forward button does the rest.
However, and here is the big caveat, we are still talking about computer terminals and the need to be connected to one. The advantage that 'phone texting has is that everyone carries the wretched things around in their pockets, so communication by them is immediate. In much of the World they are already being used as subversive aids; a situation that has left the British in the curious position of playing catch-up.
Europe started two years ago with the Spanish elections. Demonstrations are banned in the 24 hour period before an election, so organising such events is impossible - at least until 94% of Spaniards started carrying mobile 'phones. On the day before the election, the number of texts sent jumped 20% above the normal figure: on election day itself it rose by 40%. Activists sent out messages calling on people to rally against the government and to vote for the opposition - and it worked!
However, it is in the Third World - or amongst Third Worlders in the West - where texting has proven its worth. Governments have been overthrown, rumours have been spread and demonstrations organised, all through a tiny device that was probably picked up second-hand at a street market.
So what do we have? A very good tool for spreading rumours and creating mayhem, seems to be the answer based on past performances. It is not a means of replacing the existing media, but it does allow us to get our message out quickly. Let everyone make sure that their address books are up to date and get ready to text, seems to be the final conclusion.
23 September 2006
Fresh thoughts on the Iraq War
John Robb has an interesting take on the Iraq War. He argues that the Iraqis will try to pen the Americans into their bases and thus prevent any offensive actions by them. Once that has happened, then it is only a matter of time before Iraqi forces are able to unite sufficient guerrillas in one place to overrun one of those bases.
Would that a base could be taken tomorrow.
22 September 2006
Mexico prepares for December's massacres
Mexico may be limbering up for a time of great wailing and smashing of teeth, at least according to senior police sources that have been speaking to the Exile.
When asked if the state was prepared to deal with any eventuality with mano dura tactics, one cop replied that it would not be mano dura but mano blanca. A great belly laugh followed this remark.
For the benefit of those uninitiated into Mexican ways, the mano dura, or hard hand, refers to what we would call the heavy manners. Basically turning the state's bootboys loose on all and sundry. However, mano blanca (white hand) is a cynical reference to the Tlaltelolco Massacre of 1968. Then troops and police were used to coral the demonstrators - indeed many were killed by them - but then men in civilian garb, each wearing a white glove on one hand to identify themselves, were sent in to carry out the rest of the dirty work.
So, what is likely to happen after Felipe Calderon is sworn in on the 1st December? Probably the riot squad will be used to disperse large groups of demonstrators, then the "outraged citizenry" will pile in to really apply the treatment. If the international press runs photographs of corpses, then the Mexican state has deniability: it's not us, guv, it's the people taking matters into their own hands.
Washington will be kept advised and will not complain - the last thing that the USA wants is chaos on its southern border. If the Americans are happy then the mainstream media and the wankblogs that are currently screaming for action in Darfur will also keep quiet. The corpses will be cleared away and life will go on as normal, is the theory.
If this comes to pass, remember that you read it first at the Exile's blog.
21 September 2006
75% of Iraqi Sunnis now support the resistance
An overwhelming 75% of Iraq's Sunni population now supports the guerrillas in their fight to end the country's ongoing occupation, according to a leaked Pentagon report.
And so it goes on. Back in 2003 only some 14% of the Sunnis supported the guerrilla fight, but three years of occupation have increased to numbers to unstoppable levels.
What will the warmongers say about this? Probably nothing - far better to try and distract attention with fantasies of genocide in Sudan than face up to the reality of a failed aggression that they cheered on.
20 September 2006
Sudan: the wankblogs demand action!
Staying on the theme of Sudan, and following on from the last posting - scroll down, folks, you can do it - Jonathan Steele has an article in The Guardian which takes the wankers for war to task with the argument that:
The so-called janjaweed militias that Khartoum organised and armed did not distinguish between civilians and guerrilla fighters. They burned huts, raped women and put tens of thousands of civilians to flight, forcing them across the border into Chad or into camps inside Darfur. But the rebels also committed atrocities, a fact that was rarely reported since it upset the black-and-white moral image that many editors preferred.OK, so what we have here is a nasty tribal conflict where nobody much cares about the rules of warfare. On the specific charge of genocide, something which the wankblogs are always, well, wanking about, Steele has this to say:
In spite of efforts to describe the killing in Darfur as genocide, neither the UN nor the EU went along with this description. It was not because of moral myopia, but because they understood the difference between a brutal civil war and a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing. Darfur is not Rwanda. Only the US accepted the genocide description, though this seemed a concession to domestic lobbies rather than a matter of conviction. Washington never followed through with the forcible intervention in Darfur that international law requires once a finding of genocide is made.Now, one can accept or reject Steele's argument, but what one cannot do is claim that it is not a coherent case. The same cannot be said of the wankblogs - their arguments are little more than dodgy rhetoric and personal abuse.
The dodgiest case is made by the old Wankmaster-General himself, Norman Geras. He starts off with these words:
It wasn't rape, it was a domestic conflict.Then he proceeds to demolish that argument. The problem is that it wasn't Steele's argument and those are not Steele's words. It is the oldest trick in the book: set up an Aunt Sally and then attack that, rather than what the writer actually wrote.
Following on from that the old Wankmaster quotes from the relevant genocide convention, and challenges Steele to show why this doesn't "now apply in Darfur".
Er, can someone please tell the Wankmaster that you can't prove a negative? Besides, it is not our job to demonstrate that genocide didn't happen: it is the wankers' task to show that it did.
As for the personal abuse, well, who better to turn to than our old friends at the Hand Shandy For War blog? Click over there and have a laugh. Yes, we know, that is all anyone does with this site, but go and have an extra deep belly laugh.
All in all, if this is the best that the wankblogs can do, then they have an uphill task in persuading us that a third war against a Moslem country is necessary.
18 September 2006
More warmongering stupidity
The Exile has had a fun weekend. In fact it would be fair to say that he hasn't enjoyed himself so much since the aftermath of the Brighton Bomb, when all the jokes about Norman Tebbit being a quick reader, because he could go through three stories in as many seconds, were flying around.
The source of his merriment is the Harry's Place site, and its latest campaign which can basically be summed up as "Let's invade Sudan and add another failure to our fast growing list". The Exile's mockery can be found here, but the site is riddled with appeals for someone to do something - something that does not involve them and theirs, obviously.
What is being asked of us here is that we perform an act of forgetfulness. We are to forget the past 25 years and the lack of council houses for us to live in. We are to forget that the only jobs on offer are for a fiver an hour, and we are to forget that if we don't toe the bosses' line our arses are out on the street.
Having forgotten our own interests we then go off like good little stooges and support yet another attempt by the same old gang to enlist us in support of their actions. We remain cheerleaders for a system that has shagged us for over a generation, is shagging us, and will continue to shag us unless stopped, in other words. Sorry boys, but we remember how life used to be when you knew your place, and we quite fancy seeing those days return. You may want to hide the fact that you have done well by arse-licking your gaffers these past 25 years, but we know what you are so don't try to pretend that you share our values and culture because you don't.
So, as the days of ragged trousered philanthropy are over, all you get from us is a two-fingered gesture of contempt, and a lifting of one leg as a ripe and smelly fart is sent flying in your direction.
It is not just about stuffing your policies, lads: it is mainly about stuffing you.
17 September 2006
Mexico's possible futures
The BBC is reporting that the supporters of defeated presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have met in Mexico City's main square and proclaimed him President-Elect. The plan is to swear him in as "President" on the 20th November, 11 days before Felipe Calderon is officially sworn in as the country's leader. It should be noted that the 20th November is the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution that started in 1910, left over a million dead - ten percent of the then population - and dragged on for almost a decade.
What's going on is a fairly typical third world power grab. Having an election does not make for having a democracy. To have a democratic system a country must first have a sense of commonweal. This is different from nationalism, but is closely related to it. A commonweal means having a common purpose, or sense of identity. The notion that we are all in it together does not exist in the third world, which is probably why the countries that make up that wretched zone are so third rate.
Mexican loyalties are based on the family and region. Elections are a power grab to see which collection of shady dealers can get their paws on the levers of power, thus to enrich themselves, their families and important supporters. Given attitudes like this, anarchy is the usual outcome of an election, not a democratic acceptance by the losers of the victor's right to govern.
In a Hobbesian world it is better to have Hobbes' Leviathan running things. A strong ruler, who has pretty much total power, who can at least bring stability to the chaotic world that the third worlder sees all around him. Spanish even has a nice word to describe these strongmen: they are called caudillos.
Originally a caudillo was the leader of a war band - rather like the war lords that plague parts of Africa today. Eventually it came to mean a strong leader who usually had a military background. Throughout most of her history, Mexico has been governed by caudillos because the alternative when they are not around is chaos rather than democracy. You see the problems that arise when you don't have a commonweal?
Mexico today faces three possible alternatives:
1. Calderon will be sworn in and the protests will fizzle out. This is the least likely option, given Mexican talent for making a bad situation worse.
2. The opposition will be so fierce that Calderon will be forced to call in the army. They will refuse to obey his orders and the country will revert to its default position of a war of all against all.
3. AMLO's supporters will dog Calderon wherever he goes and make his legislative programme impossible to implement in the Congress. The country will shuffle from one crisis to the next, with just enough army and police support to keep the regime alive.
Needless to say, those of us who actually live in this country are rather curious to see what will happen.
16 September 2006
Mexican Independence and other matters
Today is Independence Day in Mexico, except the main celebrations took place last night and it isn't independence day, anyway. Furthermore, the Exile took place in a straight armed, Springtime For Hitler type event a few days ago - and it was at a school to boot!
What is going on? Well, Mexican independence was actually declared by the Congress on the 5th November 1813 - that is if you can dignify a gang of fugitives in this way, but anyway, that's what they did.
What happened on the 16th September 1811 was that a disgruntled priest rang his church bell in the early hours of the morning to start yet another provincial revolt against Mexico City. He was quickly captured and hanged, as were most of the other leaders of other revolts that had joined in the fun. By 1821 what was left of the rebel movement consisted of a few hundred ragged peasants who were keeping out of the way of the Spanish army. Correction, the army that was loyal to Spain, but which was mainly recruited locally. Then you had a coup, and those senior officers became Mexico's leaders overnight.
Come the late Nineteenth Century, and Porfiro Diaz - the country's dictator - decided that what Mexico needed was a bit of national symbolism to unite the feuding regions together. He chose the 16th September because his birthday was on the 15th - so now you know why the cheers go up at 11.00pm on the night of the 15th.
As for the Nazi-style salutes, you get them when the flag is being honoured, or when somebody accepts a government position. Mexico seems to have taken the idea from the European fascists in the 1930s and never, er, dropped the practice.
Standing stiffly to attention, arm straight out, as a group of infant schoolchildren paraded their miniature Mexican flag, the Exile winked at the father next to him and wondered when we were attacking Poland? He was rewarded by a look of blank, stupid bewilderment on his neighbour's blank, stupid face.
Such is life in Mexico. The country celebrates its independence on the wrong date and uses symbolism that the civilised world finds either offensive or risible. The beauty of it all is that nobody realises how ridiculous they appear to the rest of us.
On the other hand, for the Mexicans last night was an excuse to start boozy festival that will leave the males legless and the women shaking their heads for days to come. As with eveything else in the country, it all comes down to getting tanked at the end.
14 September 2006
Anbar province set to fall
This blog reported a week ago that Anbar province had been virtually taken over by the Iraqi guerrillas and the Americans have now pretty much admitted that it has fallen from their control:
Marine Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer spoke in response to a report from a senior Marine intelligence officer, Col. Peter Devlin, that said the political and security situation in Anbar had deteriorated so much that only more aid and another division of troops - about 10,000 to 15,000 - could turn things around. The Washington Post on Monday was the first to report on Devlin's confidential report, which was prepared in August.
Could the Americans be preparing to abandon the whole province to the Iraqi nationalists? If not, where are the extra troops going to come from? Certainly not from the rest of Iraq - as the report makes clear, they are stretched to the limit in the rest of the country as it is.
12 September 2006
How lucky we are: looking back five years
Looking back on the aftermath of the 11th September attacks on the USA, it is hard to realise today just how lucky we are. Things could have turned out so differently. . .
First of all we need to remember just how sympathetic the world was to the Americans' plight. The headline in Le Monde summed up opinion in the capitalist world rather nicely when it said that "We are all Americans". For socialists and anti-globalists, that headline struck at our very vitals.
The fear was that the Americans would create a coalition of western states that would dominate the planet for the rest of our lifetimes. All talk of alternative, collectivist strategies would be doomed to failure, drowned out in a cacophony of a thousand private television and radio stations, all broadcasting the same crap.
Matters were made even worse by the memory of the large coalition that the Americans had created in 1999 to destroy Yugoslavia; doing the same to the wretched inhabitants of Afghanistan seemed a simple task.
It was simple, and that was the start of American capitals' problems. The Taliban fled from Karbul so quickly that the war seemed to be over before it had properly begun. The world seemed to be at America's feet, and they made the mistake that Germany had made in 1941. They started another war before the first one had been completed.
Withdrawing American and British troops from Afghanistan to prepare for the war against Iraq gave the Afghans the space they needed to regroup. Would they have done it anyway? We shall never know for certain, but the answer is probably yes, but it would have taken them a lot longer.
Invading Iraq is what broke America. The country was attacked not because it had dangerous weapons, but because it didn't. Iraq seemed weak and an occupation was "doable" to use a concept of the time. Unfortunately for the USA the Iraqis refused to go quietly and once their rag-tag army had been removed they adopted an aggressive policy of guerrilla war that has kept the American army tied down, unwilling to stay but unable to leave.
The hubris that led American policymakers to attack Iraq also led them to ignore the very countries that the USA had relied on in its previous attacks on Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. France, Germany and Russia refused to support the attack on Iraq, leading senior Americans to dismiss them as cowards and traitors to the cause. Thus western relations began to sour, which was the first bit of good news that the rest of us had seen for many a long year.
In Latin America, the nationalist left began to not only rise, it began to offer economic alternatives to the globalised development model that the Americans could not counter because they simply did not have the resources: Iraq dominated everything.
Turning to the UK, Iraq has pretty much destroyed Tony Blair's leadership. That is not to say that Nu-Labour will end with Blair, but we are far closer to seeing its end than we were in the aftermath of the 11th September. It is at least possible to talk about a Labour strategy that involves traditional Labour policies, today, and that small fact owes everything to America's blind stupidity in the two years after the attacks.
Do we owe everything to George W. Bush? Yes, that is pretty much the answer. Had this chimpanzee not been in the White House, another, more nuanced president would not have wasted the goodwill that Europe had for the USA with an attack on Iraq. Had that happened, the Americans might, just might, have been able to conquer Afghanistan completely and then they could have continued on to Iraq in their own good time - perhaps taking the European powers with them.
Under such a scenario Latin America would not have dared to try and break free from Washington's orbit, and Tony Blair today would still command respect instead of derision in Great Britain.
It could all have been so different, and we are very lucky indeed that things turned out the way they have. Good luck and blind chance are all we have to thank for the disarray that we see in the formerly united ranks of the capitalist enemy today.
11 September 2006
Thoughts on the 11th September
Today is the fifth anniversary of the 11th September 2001 attacks on the USA, and the first of the wankblogs has started shedding its tears. Time for a dose of reality. . .
Four years ago the Exile was chatting to an American about the upcoming first anniversary and this fellow wondered how Mexico would commemorate the event. The Exile replied that it wouldn't; that the USA is a foreign country and that Mexico was not involved in either the event or its aftermath.
Mexican television had run wall to wall coverage of the attacks as they happened, but within a week the country's TV services had gone back to their daily diet of soap operas and the like. Thus the Exile was quite correct when he said that Mexico would treat the anniversary as just another day.
Clearly the date is important to Americans and their Quislings in Britain. However for the rest of us the 11th September is just another date in the calender.
10 September 2006
More British soldiers will go to Afghanistan
Britain has agreed to send more troops to die in Afghanistan if the other NATO countries refuse to beef up their numbers in the country. How's that for a great negotiating position: you should send more men, but if you don't, then we will carry the burden.
Not that the Exile blames the likes of Germany and Spain for their refusal to have anything to do with this lunacy. The fault lies with a craven Parliament that allows the government to act as America's poodle.
While all this is going on, a former aid to the British commander in Southern Afghanistan, Captain Leo Docherty, has resigned his commission in protest at the war. "All those people whose homes have been destroyed and sons killed are going to turn against the British,” he said. “It’s a pretty clear equation — if people are losing homes and poppy fields, they will go and fight. I certainly would."
It is against this background that the new army chief, General Sir Richard Dannett, has admitted that the British army can only just cope with the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq.
So, more British soldiers are off to become bullet stoppers just to prove that Britain is America's loyal ally in a war that nobody else wants anything to do with, and which the British army seems to be turning against. Is that about how things stand?
09 September 2006
John McDonnell campaigns for Labour's leadership
John McDonnell MP has launched his campaign for the Labour leadership with the following six policies:
To be honest, he has two chances of getting elected: a dog's chance and no fucking chance, but that is not the point. The point is that these are damned good Labour policies that have not even been discussed for over a decade. Just to get them under debate would be a triumph in itself; and if John does well, then a marker has been set down for the future: we want our party back!
Should that happen then we can expect to see Labour Party membership start to climb and the members start to take control of the conference and demand that policies such as this be adopted.
Remember: to vote for John McDonnell you must have been a member for six months at the time of the election. So join the party now.
Cheers: Neil Clarke.
08 September 2006
Blairism's final stand
As it becomes obvious even to the hardline Blairites that the great leader will soon be no more, a cynical socialist can start to hear the arseholes clench over in the wankblogworld. At Harry's Place, they are bleating that "the over-riding issue. . . is the global struggle against violent Islamism. . ."
The issue, dear reader, is as it always have been. Stripped of all the fancy rhetoric - which most Labour voters were never interested in, anyway, what the Labour Party stands for are jobs, control over those jobs via the unions and redistributive taxation.
The party went off the rails in the 1980s with issues that were only of concern to middle class types - the isms and ologies that the polyocracy find so appealing, but which leave the rest of us cold.
Yet in spite of those issues that so turned off the ordinary voter, there was enough decent Labour policy to ensure that come election time, the tribe rallied to the flag. Divisions within the Labour Movement kept us out of office, but that still did not stop Labour from turning large parts of the country into one-party fiefdoms where the Tories feared to tread.
Blairism led to a disengagement from politics on the part of the working class. As a result turnout at elections is now down to below 60% - and this in a country that regularly saw over 70% of the electorate vote in the 1980s.
So, stuff these wankers who want to keep hold of our party whilst they continue to conjure up enemies for our sons to fight: the real issues are jobs, strong unions to keep the bosses in their place and high taxes on the middle class to pay for it all.
07 September 2006
Another day, another dead squaddie
As yet more British soldiers are killed fighting Blair's war in Afghanistan, Simon Jenkins in The Guardian proposes what will probably turn out to be the exit strategy:
Karzai, besieged in Kabul, knows one thing. He must do a deal with the Taliban as he has with the northern and western warlords. His spring appointment of gangsters and drug-runners as police chiefs and commanders may have appalled his foreign paymasters. But Karzai has only one way to survive outside his capital: buying support from those who can repay with security. In the south that is commanders in league with the Taliban, even if it means Mullah Omar returning to Kandahar. The British could then argue that they have roughly honoured the pledge to achieve security. Either way there is no alternative to negotiation.
This is not a war that can be won on the battlefield. A prolonged campaign of attrition, as proposed by Des Browne, Reid's successor, would demand a terrible cost in lives and money. The Taliban can fight for ever. It is no good politicians in London shouting: "We cannot afford to fail in Afghanistan." Such chest-beating at the expense of other people's lives should be actionable. Blair and his colleagues have willed on the army a war they knew it cannot win. The least they owe it is an exit strategy.
What Jenkins fails to mention is that before any such policy can be put into effect, Tony Blair has to be removed from office. That is on the cards, but not quickly enough to save the lives of many more soldiers in the doomed conflict that is the Fourth Afghan war.
06 September 2006
Americans lose control of al-Anbar province in Iraq
It is emerging that the American's have pretty much lost control of al- Anbar province in Iraq. So bad has the situation become that the Americans are reported to be pleading with the nationalist guerrillas to cease their attacks. The promise is that if the guerrillas call it a day, then the Americans will withdraw to their bases and leave the province's cities alone. So far the guerrillas have refused to take the bait and Americans continue to die in this province.
Of all the provinces in Iraq, al-Anbar is the most heroic. The locals guerrillas have so far managed to cull almost 1,000 Americans, a total that amounts to over a third of the 2,657 occupiers who have so far received a one-way ticket home in a body bag.
al-Anbar is home to the cities of Fallujah, Ramadi and Habaniyah: names that will be remembered as the places where the new colonialism was stopped in its tracks.
04 September 2006
Hand shandyism scores another own goal
|Hand shandyism has returned to the events in Darfur, a region of Sudan that is having a spot of local difficulties, probably as a way of distracting attention from the ongoing disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan. The idea seems to be that if we get involved in another war people will forget the two that Blairism is already close to losing. Or something like that: you can never tell with hand shandyism.|
Anyway, the more of this stupidity that sees the light of day, the closer we are to seeing the end of Blair and the Blairites. So keep it up, lads, because another kind of disaster, the electoral kind, is on the horizon.
Blairites sell off armoured vehicles, leaving troops with crappy Land Rovers in Iraq
The Mamba armoured vehicle is the vehicle of choice for the Blackwater company, purveyers of mercenaries to Iraq. As you can see from the photo they are rather proud of these monsters, and as this article shows, they use them to ferry their goons between Baghdad's airport and the Blackwater base without any problems.
So why did the Blairites sell Blackwater these 14 vehicles, thus leaving the British army to trot around in unarmoured Land Rovers? To add insult to injury, they were sold off for less than a 100th of their original £4.5 million purchase price.
The excuse that they are too heavy and cost too much to maintain sounds a bit lame - Blackwater have no trouble looking after the vehicles.
02 September 2006
State of the Union address aborted
Yesterday was supposed to be the day when President Vicente Fox delivered his last State of the Union address to the Mexican Congress: except it didn't happen. What happened was that over a 100 Deputies from the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) stormed the podium and Fox retreated to los Pinos, the presidential mansion, and delivered his speech from there to the TV cameras.
Now that the electoral court has declared that Felipe Calderon the victor in July's presidential election, the constitutional methods of preventing his swearing-in have been pretty much exhausted - hence yesterday's events in the Congress.
What happens next really depends on the PRD, and its defeated presidential candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The chances of him accepting the results are slim, but the word on the street is that his support is starting to decline. Mexico has a long history of political violence and instability: few Mexicans want to see their cities turned into battlefields, runs the argument, and will accept Calderon as president.
Whether this turns out to be the case or not remains to be seen.