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   Friday, November 29, 2002
The Times reports on just one of the methods Saddam can and will use to conceal his weapons of mass destruction. It's almost inevitable, it seems to me, that the majority of his weapons will be successfully hidden. The UN moves slowly after all, and he's had months to prepare, if not years, for this moment.

I think it equally inevitable that inspectors will unearth some hints as to what he's done, at the very least. Even if not catching him redhanded, something which I actually think a little unlikely. I hope that Bush 'n Blair have thought about what they will do when the inspectors report says that they have hints and suggestions of WMD, but no hard facts, no missile silo, no barrels of neurotoxins, no anthrax farm.

The doves (who I liken to Neville Chamberlain, and probably history will too IMHO) will of course cause a fuss if Bush goes to war on partial, or flimsy, evidence. Lets hope that the doves don't succeed in derailing the effort, I'd rather live in a world minus Saddam, than one with him.

God only knows what will happen about the nuclear North Korea, but thats something for another year.

I find this quite worrying, specifically, this bit.

Handsome and smooth-talking, Abou Jahjah advocates a form of separatist apartheid for Belgium's 400,000 Muslims, demanding segregated schools, an end to "Flemish cultural terrorism" and recognition of Arabic as a fourth official language after Dutch, French and German.

God forbid such a thing ever happen in the UK. Segregated schools? Arabic recognised as an official language next to the Queen's English?

If not wanting that labels me a "Little Englander" than so be it. If immigrants want to come here and have something to contribute, then let them come. But once they come here, they are English. If all they want to do is turn Brixton into a little corner of Bangladesh, then why are they in Brixton at all?

Migrants bring something to a nation, they enrich it. You need look no further than the USA, an extremely vibrant country founded by immigrants, in effect. But the attitude in the US is different then the one here. If you emigrate to the USA you are then an American. Emigrate to England and you have a British passport and can vote, but theres no effort to assimilate, indeed, it's discouraged. Thats what "Multiculturalism" is, it seems.

   Thursday, November 28, 2002
The Telegraph comments on Browns latest budget offering. I think the telling thing is the mention of the Chancellor not announcing any major new tax and spend plans so maybe this years flirtation with watercannoning money at the public sector won't be continued. We can only hope. I find it wryly amusing that the only thing that all that extra spending seemed to do was provoke lots of industrial action.

Wish I was a fireman! :)

At the best, lets hope it doesn't get -quite- as bad as Boris Johnson somewhat jokingly makes out.

   Sunday, November 24, 2002
Having finally looked around and feeling energetic enough to put finger to keyboard, I got a couple of comments to reply to in response to this post.

So from the top, my responses.

Deciding NOT to invade a country is a decision that obviously can be made unilaterally (the USA DECIDES unilaterally that is not invading Canada every single day, for instance). It’s decisions that have an impact on OTHER countries that should not be taken unilaterally but should be justified by some reason and sanctioned by the international community.

Well, there was a little treaty called NATO which Germany was a party to, and that Germany (and just about every other NATO member) promptly backed out of when the chips were down. I'm sure it was a shock for the members of NATO to be expected to bail the -US- out instead of the other way around, but even so. So Germany certainly did act unilaterally when they, in a polite way of course, told the USA to get knotted and in effect tore up the NATO treaty.

Of course this is what allies do when they agree on what needs to be done or to protect each other. But not when one of the allies is doing something the others do not approve, for instance I am sure that if Britain decided to invade Scandinavia the USA would try to convince the ally to desist from such enterprise, and would not rush ahead to bomb Stockholm. This is what friends are for, not just to fight alongside each other but also to lend a word of wisdom where wisdom is needed.

Perhaps a more apt example would be the Falklands. Argentina, while at the time a military junta, was on good terms with the United States due to the anti drugs initiatives of the day. And yes, Reagan did attempt to ward Thatcher off the course of invasion. But Thatcher wasn't having any of it, (and neither was Argentina, it has to be said), and when push came to military shove, Reagan was there, backing the United Kingdom up. While American help was not blatant, as Thatcher wanted to make it clear Britain could take care of its business on its own if need be to revive the sagging national morale of the day, it was most definitely present, for example the Sidewinder missiles used in the conflict which played a large part in the defence of the task force from the Argentinian airforce.
This is how allies should behave, in my view. The other NATO members can most certainly advise (I'm not sure as to the accuracy of this but in the UK press it was made out that Tony Blair in no small part is responsible for why the US went to the UN over Iraq at all) and they certainly have done, but at the end of the day, the chips will be down, and push will come to shove, and thats when you know who your friends are.

I will leave the comment on the “special relationship between Britain and the U.S., and the level of influence that Britain has as a result” for another day, just let me say here that I believe all this “special relationship” story to be a big joke. The US is more than happy to have Britain at its side, like one does with a cuddly poodle, but has never got out of its way when Britain asked for something (like stopping the IRA terrorists to raise funds in the US) in return for this “special relationship”.

While I think the behaviour of certain Americans in this matter reprehensible I blame the UK government almost as much for failing to match Sinn Fein/IRA's very effective American propaganda machine. I believe most Americans supporting the IRA do so out of ignorance, and the US is a democracy, so to a degree they can support whoever they want, right? It's the fault of the UK for not being clear, for messing around with the IRA and not being unequivocal. Blowing up little girls in town centres with nailbombs is no freedom fight, but I'm sure a minority of Americans don't realise whats going on out there. They don't live in Belfast after all. And... Bush did outlaw the IRA in the US and freeze their assets a while back, it was Clinton who was kissing Sinn Fein's murderous behind (along with Blair, but thats for another day).

It seems that the only thing on which P. and I agree is that no country acts on principle but all act mainly for their self-serving interests. OK, at least it’s one point!

Indeed they do. But if you agree to do something, you do it. You do not filibuster and whine and back out. You most certainly do not undermine your allies efforts. See the above re. NATO.

Apparently “right” for P. is what is best for America (a world version of the GM say that “what’s good for GM is good for the America”) based on the President decision and ratified by Congress. If this is the only standard that measures actions then I am not surprised that other countries are not happy at this definition.

America just got attacked. The results of that will be damn bad for the perpetrators and supports of that attack, and damn right too. I don't really think the magnitude of 9/11 really is appreciated anywhere but America. That single attack wiped out a national landmark and killed more people than Northern Ireland's "Troubles" did over 30 years. It wasn't merely a terrorist atrocity like a pipebomb going off in New York or something. It was of a different order of magnitude. Imagine if some terrorists knocked over Big Ben, or the Eiffel Tower. The reason why the IRA didn't kill the Queen is because they knew that that wouldn't help their cause one iota. 9/11 is something of similar magnitude to that. No wonder the Americans are thinking a collective "wtf?" at the antics of their so called allies right now.

And as an aside, the UK doesn't have a conscript army, and in recent history always avoided conscription like the plague. See the various British Expeditionary Forces, the Battle of Mons in 1914, etc. etc.

And a final note, a call to reason if you will. Why is the USA attracting all this flak over their Iraq policy? Compare Bush to Saddam. Bush hasn't used nerve gas on dissidents in the US to my knowledge, he doesn't have the FBI beheading prostitutes on the streets in front of children. Saddam's humanitarian record is, to put it lightly, atrocious. So how come we see more condemnation of Bush than we do of Saddam?