Thursday, March 23, 2006

Remember the Lesson of Troy

Commentary by Martin Kelly
May 21, 2004

The Greeks didn’t win, according to the history written by those who claimed to be descended from the Trojans. The universally bad reviews of Troy have focussed on the liberties that Wolfgang Petersen has taken with the Iliad, but the story does not stop with the fall of Troy into ruins. It’s never stopped.

The conflict had been long and attritional, resulting in huge losses on both sides. Hemmed in on the coast of Turkey, the Trojans felt that, although Paris might have been wrong in wooing Helen away from Menelaus, their honour as Trojans had to be defended when the Greeks, a motley collection of nation states, united in alliance to bring her back. Not all Greeks were in favour of the war – when Agamemnon, brother of Menelaus, called to enlist his support Odysseus feigned madness, trying to plough a field with an ox and an ass. Only when Agamemnon placed his infant son Telemachus in the plough’s path did Odysseus reveal himself to be sane.

The real star of any movie about the Trojan War should, by rights, be Odysseus, the smartest, funniest and most charismatic mortal in mythology. The strategist who dreamt up the Wooden Horse failed, of course, to develop an adequate exit strategy for himself, resulting in a 10-year journey home to Ithaca, a journey of which he was the only survivor.

However, as Troy burned, the Greeks sailed off having crushed their enemies, mission accomplished. No nation building or reconstruction for the Trojans, the outright losers of a war that many on both sides believed to be totally pointless. But as the undisputed Big Dog of Greek politics, Agamemnon felt that his family’s honour had been slighted, a slight that only war could rectify, and the rest of them had better fall in line.

According to legend the Trojan nobleman Aeneas, bearing his father Anchises on his back, fled the burning city with some companions. For 10 years he also sailed the Mediterranean. He encountered Dido, the beautiful Queen of Carthage at its infancy, who loved him so much that, according to Virgil, ‘she fed with the wound with her life blood and was wasted by the fire she kept hidden’. When Aeneas chose his people over her, she swore everlasting enmity between Carthage and his descendants, a legend later used in their own causes by those who claimed to be of his line.

Eventually, Aeneas and his followers settled in a pleasant area of seven hills in central Italy. He passed into myth, until a great city grew up on the spot where he settled. It became known as Rome, and the Romans always invoked their Trojan roots when the occasion arose.

After the great victory of Troy, the Greeks never stopped fighting, either against the Persians, the Macedonians or each other. For them, there was no end to war. Eventually came Alexander the Great, whose dream of Empire from the Danube to the Ganges lasted only a few years after his early death. As time passed, the Romans became stronger, and the descendants of the Trojans returned to Greece as conquerors, where they stayed not for a decade but for centuries.

Beware the fate awaiting those who wage specious wars for family honour.

Fear of Failure is Killing Iraq

Commentary by Martin Kelly
May 13, 2004

Having the holder of a Harvard MBA as President must have been a novelty at first, until one realises how much a qualification like that can be as much of a negative as a positive in a politician. An MBA teaches its holder how to run corporations, whereas governments and wars have entirely different characters.

For a CEO President to surround himself with other CEO’s was, in hindsight, a bad idea – although Cabinet members must always be accomplished in their own fields, having so many people with the same CEO mentality means that there are no alternative perspectives available to provide opinion and counsel. Also, CEO types are always forceful characters, and they need someone to around them ready to raise their voice in favour of alternatives. One couldn’t imagine anyone doing that with either George W. Bush or Donald Rumsfeld, because Colin Powell seems just way too polite.

This is the most leak proof White House in living memory, meaning that there is a disturbing uniformity of thought indicative of uniform ideology. Another symptom is what appears to be the absolute lack of self-doubt that the President and the other neo-conservatives project in public, giving the appearance of strength. This appearance is false. The administration’s recent actions have shown them to be succumbing to the greatest fear of the modern corporate CEO. Fear of failure.

The Bush Administration is comprised of people who have almost never failed. It is impossible not to fail at some point or another in life – by so failing, we become stronger and grow wiser. When such people do fail, they do not know how to react, and the clearest evidence of this has been in evidence since the first publication of the Abu Ghraib photos.

Not enough analysis has been written of the importance of absolutely free market economics to neo-conservatism. It is fair to say that free markets are as important to neo-conservatives as the idea of exporting democracy, as it is their belief that free markets will turn all enslaved peoples into willing consumers of American goods. The resultant peace justifies the loss of American jobs that such free markets bring. However, a critical plank of this free market mania is that nothing should be done in the public sector that can be done in the private, even the conduct of the state’s most sensitive functions, such as the interrogation of its prisoners of war. Unless the contracts of hire of the civilians at Abu Ghraib who are alleged to have orchestrated the abuse have assumed the status of a Constitutional Amendment, they should be fired forthwith. No civilian of any nation has any business conducting such a delicate function of the State.

The mercantile flaws of such a set-up are obvious. Were these guys being paid for the number of confessions they extracted? Or was it just an hours worked only contract, payable without the necessity of showing results? Given what has already happened, it does not stretch credibility to suggest that what happened in that prison could have been the result of a civilian contractor trying to up their earnings, which is why they should all be removed immediately.

George W. Bush’s public expression of support for Donald Rumsfeld owes more to the closeness of the administration’s ranks than to any tangible proof of success in the administration of post-war Iraq. One can be sure that some of the most rabid followers of Moqtada al-Sadr will have availed themselves of the mobile phones and satellite dishes that are apparently the proof that Iraqis are free now. They are really the symbol that Iraq’s internal market has been opened up for the distribution of consumer goods, which are always snapped up in any country whose culture is incapable of producing them itself- therefore, Nick Berg’s murder was captured on VCR and broadcast on the Internet. The Iraqis lived before without easy access to wireless broadband, and there is no reason why US and UK contractors should be at risk to ensure they can have it. Peace first, money later. The Bush Administration seems to be following the opposite policy.

To put it bluntly, Rumsfeld was wrong not to have sanctioned more troops to keep the peace on the ground to begin with. The forces in Iraq are not robots – they should not have to endure having their stays being lengthened unreasonably. What is happening in Iraq is that there seems to be no real recognition that this is a war, and a war needs to be fought, against the savages who murdered Berg and who killed 168 pilgrims at Karbala. This one is being managed, in an atmosphere of rudderless stasis, driven by fear of failure.
Which, is of course, the default position of an MBA and a CEO. Even Donald Rumsfeld’s admission of responsibility did not lead him to resign immediately, so he clearly does not believe what happened at Abu Ghraib to be a matter of personal honour. He does not believe himself to have failed. He, like the rest of them, comes from an atmosphere where having a very public failure on your resume removes any further possibility of advancement. You’ll never be re-hired if you’re perceived to have been unsuccessful, an attitude that now seems to seep through every aspect of the modern culture. However, there is one great big chicken that may soon be coming home to roost. If it is proven that the contractors ordered the MP’s to commit these abuses with the full knowledge of the Pentagon, that becomes a resigning issue not just for Rumsfeld, it becomes one for Bush. All these people were there because Bush wanted it so, and he must bear his share of blame for the consequences, if people he ultimately hired were responsible for tarnishing the good name of America. They will have succeeded in giving the moral high ground to the House of Saud, which is diplomacy in reverse. It’s a mad world we live in.

Recanting Neoconservatism

Commentary by Martin Kelly
May 12, 2004

The intellectual roots of neoconservatism lie in Trotskyism, and there’s nothing a Trotskyite likes more than a good recantation. Once, neo-conservatism seemed like a very bold and brave vision for the world, but not any more. If the Abu Ghraib photos are its legacy, it’s finished.

As Frank Salvato has said, Arab outrage at the photos must be taken with a pinch of salt. One is tiring of the cultural bankruptcy of Arab society, evidenced by a Basra Mullah’s call for female soldiers of the Coalition to be captured for the purposes of concubinage. America will ultimately win this war because of American culture, nothing to do with rigid ideology, the stock in trade of Trotskyism. After the burning of Washington and Pearl Harbor the American spirit picked itself up within hours and got on the move. Its dynamism meant that December 7 1941 or September 11 2001 were not the disasters that the fall of Granada or the retreat from Vienna were for Islamic culture, nursing its grievances for centuries, the human potential of Muslims only released when their skills, abilities and common humanity are unleashed in the Western world. Not for nothing are America’s Muslims the richest in the world per capita.

The older conservative doctrine of containment and deterrence couldn’t work in the face of Saddam Hussein’s defiance. The UN’s inability to act against defiance of its resolutions arose from its Cold War roots, and you can’t have a Cold War with only one superpower.

However, the deed is done. Unless, for some obscure reason, the public is not being told, there have been no WMD discovered. The apparent failure of the Bush White House to devote resources to this quest or at least keep the public informed on why there have been no WMD found is one of the most startling aspects of this whole period in history. There is a callousness about its failure to communicate which is wholly unbecoming of a White House at war.

Those who called for war had mostly never fought in one. This is a point that has been made again and again by those who criticise the think tanks and magazines from which neo-conservatism sprung. It’s a perfectly valid criticism, although in a civilian society the oversight of wars must be left to civilians. But there is just as equally valid criticism to be made of very distinguished conservatives who oppose the war appearing on the same websites as people like Justin Raimondo (‘Go F…. Yourself, Mr. President’) or the extreme left-winger John Pilger, whose beliefs on everything except the war are the antithesis of conservatism. Such people do not good bedfellows make for the likes of Pat Buchanan and Paul Craig Roberts.

The real failing of neo-conservatism is its belief that all societies, if not free, cannot just be made free but made to be free. The historical pointers suggesting its ultimate failure were all there – anyone who cries for Zimbabwe will see that that country’s failure has been the result as much of Mugabe’s Shona tribalism as his Communism. Nearly every failed country in Africa has failed because of tribalism, and few places are more tribal than the Middle East. Loyalty to tribe trumps loyalty to fellow citizens in the form of the state, the first demand of an open society. Democracy has never thrived in tribal societies, and there was no real prospect of it ever taking root either in Iraq or in Afghanistan. It is not the war that will ultimately fail – it is the peace that will fail, and because of the world vision of a few people living cloistered and privileged lives in the smart parts of Washington DC US forces will be in that part of the world for decades to come, not to keep the peace but to enforce the peace.

The final straw has been the last two weeks. Anyone connected to the regime of Saddam Hussein is art and part responsible for his regime’s atrocities. If the Iraqi Army was to be disbanded, its generals should never have been re-hired. When the statues came crashing down in April 2003, the line that was spun was that the Iraqi people would know that the Saddam regime would never be coming back. Now, even if the involvement of Ba’athist officials is limited they can’t be so sure, which negates the whole exercise.

It was over with Abu Ghraib. As a result of the idiotic actions of Lynndie England and her colleagues, and the equally idiotic actions of CBS in broadcasting the photos without thinking that there might be competition between their news value and the national interest of protecting American lives, American soldiers are at further risk of attack. If you don’t think that could happen, remember last summer, when six Brit MP’s were murdered by a mob after holding out in a crappy wee police station in the wholly crappy town of Majar-al-Kabir, a last stand of enormous courage and élan for which not one of them has received a medal. England’s Alamo happened because the Parachute Regiment had quite deliberately broken the terms of an agreement with the town headman to respect cultural differences, by using sniffer dogs.

Such needless loss of American, British and other coalition life was not, never was the point. After a year, there has been no point.

Instead, let’s return to the proven ways. It is wholly conservative to suggest that the best way to keep the peace right now is for the USA and UK to recruit spies. I don’t mean a few, I mean thousands and thousands of spies, to destabilise and subvert every damn dictatorship from China to Cuba to these demented crackpots in otherwise valueless and unimportant, unproductive places like Turkmenistan. Let’s do a Dutch, cut Medicare and build up the forces properly, starting by giving the Japanese the bomb and outsourcing the defence of Korea to them. Let’s start by saying ‘No’ to the Chinese just for once and park every ship we can find on their lawn, just as we did with the Soviets, and really test their enthusiasm for a fight over Taiwan. Two generations did not grow up under the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction to enable international Communism to win because it can make cheap DVD players. We still have enemies, many of them in Iraq. But we have other, more dangerous ones as well.

Pride makes me hate to admit this, but Shane, you were right all along.

Why Growth Will Never Stop

Commentary by Martin Kelly
May 3, 2004

Frosty Wooldridge’s polemics against growth in the Washington Dispatch are always informative, if not downright alarming. However, it’s unfortunate to say that the two principal causes of the unrestricted growth he berates are now so embedded in the structure of government that it will never stop, and they are the direct responsibility of the disengagement of political elites of both parties from the people they are paid to serve. They are the direct result of the social revolution affected by the liberals and the economic revolution affected by pseudo-conservatives and corporatists. The effect of these two revolutions has been to create a synergy of socialism, greed and special interests so enmeshed that it cannot be unwoven without catastrophic consequences for the body politic, and will in all likelihood not simply aid but also assist the continuation of mass immigration for the foreseeable future.

Every country that enacts a Social Security law signs its own death warrant. Not that having Social Security is a bad thing per se- it is simply that its cost places two great burdens on the citizens in whose name it is enacted. Firstly, at all times and under all circumstances it must be paid for. To speak of a ‘fund’ in these circumstances is disingenuous – if it is payable, it, must be paid immediately. It would be bad politics to make a remedy available and then make those entitled to the remedy wait 20 years to build up a relief fund for themselves. Secondly, it must continue to be paid for. It must be administered, so bureaucrats will need to be hired. Bureaucrats, once hired, are extremely difficult to remove, they need to be paid and provided with a solid pension backed up by the taxpayer. Therefore, the costs of government grow.
The outsourcing of government is not an answer. If a private contractor is carrying out a function of government at lowest cost it is still a function of government. What happens in this case is an accounting trick to provide a short-term electoral advantage to the party with the White Rabbit in its hat. The function of government has become its own maintenance, and the Medicare Bill is the classic example of government doing what it wants with other people’s money for no reason other than to curry favour with a preferred demographic.

The prevailing corporate culture of the 1980’s was one of wild, absolutely reckless consumption. This continued even after 9/11, when in order to stimulate the economy, the President told the nation, effectively, to go shopping. He did not say, ‘Invest in the T-bill’ or provide any other solution. It was simply because he couldn’t, for there was nothing else for him to work with.

The bulk of America’s debt is now held overseas, with the Red Chinese near top of the list of creditors. So dependent is the entire western world on what the Chinese produce that it has created a crisis in the world steel market, with the price at its highest level for 30 years. They consume one-third of the world’s steel output. Where Carnegie and Schwab and Morgan led, the Chinese follow.

What does this mean for growth? Commentators speak of illegal immigrants only in terms of how they consume resources in the form of healthcare, education and water. The socialists’ long game on illegals is to get them legal ASAP, so they can become taxpayers in order to fund their Congressional pensions. The corporatists long game is that the sooner they are legal they will become consumers, providing more fuel to the insatiable, rapacious financial engine that sees ‘best value’ as its creed, and whose holy texts are stock reports.

Cui bono from all this? If you’re a 1980’s era investor who made it through 2000 in one piece, you’re doing just fine. If you’re a preferred demographic, you’re doing just fine. If you’re a pensioner aristocrat from the ‘60’s who’s now claiming the fruits of the society you wanted to undermine, you’re doing just fine. If you’re middle class, you’re not. Nobody cares for you or your concerns, only what and how much you consume and if your taxes are in on time. The fuel of the system you inherited is people. Only more and more people can sustain a government with a structure like that of America today. Not the sort of people you want to grow naturally, like children, but fully-gown consumers and taxpayers.

The answer is to downsize government, which can only be done by cutting funding and killing programs, not by accounting tricks. The answer is to take back control of the economy, by perhaps seeking a smaller return on investments that you are sure will lead to a job being created in America, best of all an American manufacturing job. The answer is, once again, the sad return of Ellis Island, which helped ensure that TB was not widely imported.

Does either candidate have the stomach for such a radical program? Thought not.

Productivity Gains While Humanity Loses

Commentary by Martin Kelly
April 30, 2004

How do we measure our fellow man? The outward signs are the least reliable. Too many hypocrites hide their misdeeds behind false and misleading ‘principles’. Except in the most public cases, we don’t have the ability to look into men’s souls, so we must find other criteria by which we can meter him. One of the most common is the corporate criterion of ‘productivity’.

Productivity is an effective tool for measuring economic worth. Obviously the more a man produces, the greater his value. A man with a strong work ethic will produce more than one without, so the harder worker has a higher value and should earn a premium for his labour. He should, shouldn’t he?

Not quite. Every aspect of economic life is now so subject to rules of productivity that it has become not a guide to performance but the overseer of a rapacious, insatiable culture that is nothing to do with capitalism and everything to do with corporatism. Instead of rewarding steelworkers in Indiana who can roll more than every other plant in Gary combined, their productivity means they are now more expensive to reward. They have therefore become ‘uncompetitive’.

It is not extreme to say that, for all of the alleged social advances made in the workplace over the past fifty years, from maternity leave to sick pay, people with jobs are more dis-satisfied than ever. They really shouldn’t be – there is more available for them to consume than at any other time in history. The economic cost of this prosperity has been well recorded, however, the human cost is almost always ignored. It is a healthy thing to work hard, however, when productivity is measured not in days but in seconds, that turns the person being measured into nothing more than a machine, satisfying the classical definition of pornography, that of objectification of the human.

Socialists are big on productivity. Still reeling from the loss of the Cold War, they cling like limpets to the language of their ideas masters. Why else would magazines write stories on how much a stay at home mom would cost to hire? Even housewives, whose vocation is just as strong as that of any doctor or lawyer, must have their productivity measured according to the baldly mercantilist criterion of cost.

When are we going to start monitoring priests and ministers? Will they have to fulfil criteria on how many baptisms they perform (too dependent on third parties) or funerals (that could be dependent on location – you would get false statistics in areas with large retired communities)?

The socialist and allegedly conservative elites couldn’t care less why people are unhappy at work. In every workplace, you will get the loser whose lack of personal responsibility has brought them to the pass that they’re at. You can’t breed common sense – as any professional will attest, having been a lawyer, I have met some lawyers I wouldn’t trust to buy a pint of milk. However, the way in which the economy has been allowed to develop demands increasing homogenisation. We must all perform to the same standard, whether we are capable of it or not. Losing one’s job used to carry a stigma. Not any more. Every aspect of our day is an asset to be used to improve productivity, even to the fourth dimension. All managers speak the same way. They recite jargon like the incantations of some lost pagan priesthood, forgetting that, after a time, the souls of even the most ambitiously careerist longs for nothing more than a day away from the mobile phone and the e-mail.

The behaviour of corporations of the early 21st Century can be honestly interpreted as cultish in their demands on employees’ time, allied to their demands for conformity. It is fundamentally de-humanising, and anything that de-humanises people is unconservative. After all, have you ever met anyone who, on their deathbed, said they’d wished they’d spent more time at the office?

New Caesars, Old Warnings

Commentary by Martin Kelly
April 27, 2004

Pundit fatigue rots the brain. There is so much easily available information, analysis and interpretation of events that it has developed a critical mass, causing those who adhere to particular political opinions to be consolidated in them. Therefore, formerly pro-war conservatives are now reconsidering their positions. This is not backtracking by any manner of means, but a simple re-affirmation of why those people held those opinions in the first place.

It is because, like all sensible humans, they value the status quo. They want things to go back to the way they were before. They want the quiet life.

In a progressive age, to say one values things they way the were before is almost akin admitting belief in leprechauns and phrenology. However, there is nothing wrong in saying things were better before. Obviously, we cannot live our lives in bubbles – would that we could, for obviously we would be immune from the blandishments of Islamofascist savages.

There was a time when elected politicians made it their business to defend the interest of those who elected them. However, leaders are now so dependent on the interests behind them that those interests are the primary focus of leadership. How else can failure to intervene against outsourcing be justified? It’s because you’re backers are interested in lowest cost, not American jobs. Bill Clinton’s open identification with abortionists and the gun-control lobby meant that he would never act against their interests.

Similarly, the Open Borders, Closed Minds brigade who promoted amnesty for illegal aliens were more interested in securing Hispanic votes for George W. Bush in November than in considering the consequences of mass illegal immigration. Seeing people who are prepared to jump the queue receiving an absolution for their actions must be a sore one for every immigrant who ever took their turn in line and jumped through the hoops of fire laid at their feet by the INS. However, if there is a political advantage to be gained from it, new democracy demands that it has to be done. All ends justify all means. That is not democracy. That is Cosa Nostra.

One can tire of this manoeuvring, and with depressing confidence one can say that a Kerry presidency would only continue and consolidate what has rapidly become the new norm.

This is the stage at which democracy is in trouble. Prior to the foundation of the Republic, the greatest society in history was the Roman Empire. The first Romans loved the quiet life. Rome started off as a kingdom. After expelling Tarquin the Proud, it enjoyed 500 years as a stable and productive Republic. However, a power-grab by members of leading families, allied to a culture of imperialism, led to the sidelining of the Senate and the emergence of the Emperors, in whom all effective power rested. Concentration of power in the hands of one individual, or a small group of individuals, was the first step on the end of the road. The middle class disappeared, leaving only the very rich and the very poor. The people thus stagnated, making it one of the duties of the state to provide entertainment and sustenance for them. At the height of its power it had no real organised competitors, but did for itself from within.

One wouldn’t suggest for a moment that cheap gas and cable are the same as bread and circuses- the American people are way too smart for that. However, when groups grab power for themselves to make laws out of nothing, as the courts have done with Roe – v – Wade and Goodridge; when those charged with upholding good governance think nothing of removing an allocation given for one cause to another in direct violation of the constitution, as Bob Woodward alleges in Plan of Attack; when civic leaders treat their business like an entertainment for themselves, to the exclusion of the people; and when the hordes are already massed at the gates of Rome, like Attila – then one can seriously fear for what the new Caesars have done.

Before Julius Caesar launched his power grab, he was part of the first triumvirate along with Pompey and Crassus. Crassus was the one of the wealthiest men in Rome, who had made his name with the severity with which he had put down the rebellion of Spartacus. Under his watch, thousands of the Sparticist criminals were crucified along the Appian Way.

However, Crassus did not consider his achievement complete. Like all Roman leaders, he needed a military victory, which is why he led his legions to complete and utter disaster against the Persians, at Carrhae in modern Iraq.

There’s a lesson in there for some one. It is that the people must cherish their traditions, for they cannot rely on their leaders to do so.

The Star Wars Guide to Conservatism

Commentary by Martin Kelly
April 22, 2004

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a great galactic Republic. All who lived there were free, and all species therefore aspired to live in it, making great efforts to avoid the Star Patrols in order to gain entry. However, due to the machinations of those determined to undermine its traditions of liberty and brotherhood, its soul was being poisoned. This could be seen in the venom of the discourse in the Senate and the plexi-journals. One of its great powers, the Trade Federation, desperate to ensure that all markets were open, was undermining the Republic by sending all production to the isolated outlands beyond the borders, creating a disaffected mass at its heart. It fell to a group of noble souls called the Jedi-Cons to keep the peace and ensure stability.

The Jedi-Cons drew their strength from their belief in an entity called ‘The Force’. ‘The Force’ taught that all intelligent species have the same human rights, that government should be small, taxes low or non-existent, abortion banned, that the death penalty and education policy were the prerogatives of the individual systems of the Republic, that blaster ownership should be legal and that no civil service drone robot has a right to tell you where you can fly your speeder. Jedi-Cons agreed on many or all of these things. However, the Force was out of balance.

The elder, or ‘paleo’, Jedi-Cons believed that it was not their role to intervene in the affairs of entities out with the Republic. They also believed that the Trade Federation should be opposed, for in their learning and the wisdom of their years they saw its policies for the greed they were. The younger, or ‘neo’, Jedi-Cons believed that they had a duty to interfere in the affairs of other systems when they perceived the Republic’s security to be threatened. They were also blinded by the false prosperity brought about by the Trade Federation. However, both could unite when the need arose. When the renegade Darth Osama attacked the Republic, all Jedi-Cons had united to defeat him and his slave army on the wasted, barren planet of Binladestano Four. But after Darth Osama had been crushed, there came reports that the Saddamians were building a Death Star.

This caused a fatal rift in the Jedi-Cons. The paleo-Jedi-Cons refused to support any action against the Saddamians, as no substantive proof had been found of a link between them and Darth Osama. They preferred to deter and contain the Saddamians. The neo-Jedi-Cons, believing the reports, contrived to attack the alleged Death Star-builders by whispering their counsels in the President’s ear. However, after Saddamia was occupied they did not find any evidence of such a weapon. They did find, alas, that the Saddamians offered more resistance to the soldiers of the Republic than the Binladestanis had.

This caused many problems for the President of the Republic. A Jedi-Con with neo leanings, he found himself facing mounting criticism on Coruscant, particularly from the Democratids. The Democratids were the mortal enemies of the Jedi-Cons, and every move they made was calculated to undermine the Force.

As time passed, the situation on Saddamia became severe. After a year, there was still no evidence of a Death Star, and the Democratids and the other forces of the dark side began to refer to the Saddamian war in the same terms as the last, more dreadful war of the Republic, against the Communisticons of the Viet system. The Communisticons now only existed in isolated pockets around the galaxy, winning the Viet battle but losing the war, having been defeated by the paleos’ policies of containment and deterrence.

The Jedi-Cons realised that balance would need to be brought to the Force. This would make the President stronger, giving him a wider basis of opinion from which draw his advisers. It would mean that the President might be forced to stand up to the Trade Federation. It would mean a return to the great days of the President 20 years before, who had united both factions and thus enabled the longest period of growth and prosperity in the Republic’s history. It would mean that the President would be able to face the Democratids in the coming Great Struggle knowing that all Jedi-Cons were behind him.

Could such a uniting of both sides of the Force save the President? Don’t ask me. It’s only a story…

Osama Is Losing

Commentary by Martin Kelly
April 21, 2004

Well, give Beardy credit where credit’s due, he’s remarkably eloquent for a corpse. His taped message of April 15 may mean that history might record that the greatest achievement of Osama bin Laden was issuing a press release by séance.

Although the babblings have been declared to be ‘probably’ his voice, in this context the word ‘probably’ has the same meaning as it would in the phrase, ‘the sky is probably pink’. Or, ‘George W. Bush is probably a conservative’.

No, Osama wafted off into the everafter some time near the end of 2001, underneath 6,000lbs of explosive. His demented heirs and lunatic successors have stretched themselves to the limits of their capabilities, in spite of the barriers to fighting them that we place in our own paths.

This tape shows they are losing. It shows we have them on the hoof. It shows they are nearly spent.

Osama didn’t deal. He was not just an all or nothing guy himself, he inculcated that spirit of all or nothing-ness in his followers. In order to tell other people to hijack planes and kill themselves to achieve your goal, you have to be a pretty ruthless fanatic. Treaties and truces are appurtenances of a culture that, although committed, is not fanatical. It recognises that there are objective limits to its goals, and is prepared to acknowledge these in legal form.

Osama knew no limits to his goals other than total war and total victory. He would have made a good neo-conservative.

Why are they even prepared to acknowledge that their ambitions may have limits? Because we have been so successful at arresting and killing his followers.

Since 9/11, no terrorist attacks in the USA. In Europe, one, Spain. Arrests are being made continuously and the leader of the plot blew himself up rather than be arrested, decapitating the cell. There have been arrests in England, Italy, Belgium and Germany. Although the culture of Muslim nations means that the Al Qa’edists are better able to mount terrorist attacks against foreigners in Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia or Indonesia, they have very little capability to do it either in Europe or the USA. The simplest form of security advice that there seems to be is - don’t work in or travel to Islamic countries. Earn and spend your dollars at home instead, while we still do things like jobs.

In terms of securing ourselves, we might just have won.

Another reason it just doesn’t sound like Osama is that it displays innate ignorance of European culture. For all his faults, Osama had been around the block before he took to the caves, and was a well-educated, able and quite sophisticated man. This doesn’t of course excuse his megalomania and viciousness, but the real Osama would have known better than to refer to that non-existent demographic, the ‘Europeans’. Previously, he had specifically threatened the UK, Italy, Spain and Poland. A thug-gangster-crazy like Osama, as mean as hell and violent with it, wouldn’t ever back down from a threat like that. Whoever wrote and recorded that message didn’t have a clue about the sensibilities of the target audience, particularly after Fabrizio Quattrocchi’s injunction to his killers that he would show them how an Italian dies. Nothing will stiffen the Italian people, not as Europeans but as Italians, than seeing one of their own being butchered by barbarians. Although the far-right is an unwelcome reality in too many European nations, they have never won conclusive power in any European election since 1945. Western Europeans tend to be slightly more patriotic and less nationalistic than many Americans might imagine.

So, the loonies of Al Qa’eda have set new battle lines, kill the Jew and the Yankee, give the ‘European’ an out. For as long as one of them is at large, for as long as their gospel can be preached without fear in the mosques and their materials distributed, they will remain as dangerous individually as they were on September 11th 2001. However, as a group they are weak, and they know it. We should know it too. Down with Osama and all his kind.

The Downwardly Mobile Conservative

Commentary by Martin Kelly
April 14, 2004

Who pays the president? The taxpayer, of course. The President of the United States is handsomely rewarded to protect the taxpayers’ interests, and right now, he’s failing. As well as failing to fulfil his primary obligation of securing the borders against illegal immigration, he is failing to ensure that the American taxpayer has the secure environment necessary in order for them to continue to pay tax, fostering instead an atmosphere that cherishes profit before opportunity, as opposed to the conservative ideal of viewing them as equals. In so doing, he is creating a demographic that has the capacity to turn round and bite him on the backside come November.

Yuppies? Forget them, their Thatcher’s Children. Dinkies (Double Income, No Kids)? Self-obsessed liberals. Nimbies (Not in my back Yard)? Yuppies who stayed rich long enough to buy a big house. Welcome to the era of the DMC – the Downwardly Mobile Conservative.

The free marketeers had a few sweaty weeks recently, after the publication of the February job creation figures. They have been crowing in self-validation after March, thinking they’ve scored a home run against the forces of reaction and protectionism. They would be mightily wrong.

On Sunday April 4, Roger Bootle, Economics Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph gazed at the guts of American employment statistics, and didn’t like what he saw. Bootle went back more than a few months, charting the levels of job creation in every recovery since 1945. The average level of new job creation in every recovery between 1945 and 1982 was 6.3%. The average level in 1991 was 2%. However, the level of new job creation since the 2001 recovery has been minus 0.2%. As Bootle puts it, over the course this has not been a jobless recovery. It has been a job loss recovery.

The principal explanation that Bootle provides for this situation is that the productivity of the American workforce has increased massively over the same period, he says because of the investment made in IT in the 1990’s. Outsourcing plays a part –also, interest rates will probably need to rise. However, the one thing that he does not factor into his view on productivity is that people are now working harder, for longer, for lower real rates of pay than at any time in history. You can invest as much in IT as you like. However, software doesn’t vote.

The nuclear option of all discourse on conservative economics is, ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’. Neither, on the other hand, is there free taxes. These must be earned in the form of wages and then levied at rates deemed necessary by the peoples’ representatives. But, just as the liberals view ‘The State’ as being the perfect expression of civil authority, so too do the free-marketeers view ‘the market’ as being the sole determinant of all that is best for government. They are as rigidly ideological as Stalinists. As Pat Buchanan said recently in an article called Suicide by Free Trade, the market is their god, and he’s right.

But the people caught in the middle of this cosmic struggle are the DMC’s. Conservatism is the property of all, not the simple possession of whoever sits in the Oval Office. Such is the detachment of the free market establishment from the working man and woman, and so ideological are they, that they forget that the working class are some of the most socially conservative people you will find. If you want an advocate for the wearing of school uniform and corporal punishment, you’ll find them working on a production line. Ditto for immigration control, restriction of abortion rights, support for the death penalty, whatever. Archie Bunker and his English father Alf Garnett were crude liberal caricatures of the backbone of productive society. However, the free marketeers do not see these people as fellow citizens whose contribution to economic activity is as vital as their own. Instead, they are viewed merely as ‘labour costs’, untermensch almost, to be expunged from the balance sheet in favour of the option that brings the highest return at the earliest opportunity.

While the going was good in the ‘80’s many in the middle classes would not have worried so much about the loss of manufacturing jobs overseas. These would have been unpleasant things that happened to other people somewhere. However, the advent of outsourcing now means that everyone is subject to the same lack of security. Lack of security means that people can’t plan conservatively – the disparity between prices and wages is so high in the UK that the only way in which people are entitled to enjoy the fruit of their labour is through consumer credit. It’s easy for free market economics professors to proclaim the virtue of delayed gratification, however the people they’re proclaiming to delayed their gratification while they were at college, they delayed while they were establishing families and careers and in their 30’s if they find that they’re working 80 hours a week, 40 of which are for The Man, nobody should be criticised for putting a plasma TV on their MasterCard. In an economy that needs consumption for its very survival, conservatives shouldn’t grudge other conservatives some of the limited independence that consumer credit can bring.

Social mobility is the key to a healthy economy, as it’s the proof of a balance between businesses operating at a healthy level of profit and the existence of opportunity for new business and job creation, with all the positive benefits they bring. As people move up, others take their place, continuing the cycle. But if housing is so expensive that people who work hard through their own efforts can’t get on the ladder, or you study for years and find that your expectations are crushed at the end of it, that balance is lost, and the people who would otherwise be able to make or take opportunity get frozen out. Static wages, rising prices and loss of security – these are the classic signposts on the road of Downward Mobility. Been to college? Go to hell. The DMC’s are a large and growing group for whom there is now less opportunity than at any time in American history, if Roger Bootle is correct. In November, unless some steps are taken very soon to address their concerns, they may just decide not to support their natural base, the Republicans. On April 2, Bruce Bartlett commented on Townhall that, according to a firm called Global Insight the economy has lost ‘only 104,000 jobs’ due to IT outsourcing last year. As a committed free-marketeer Mr. Bartlett might find that, come November, the figure might just be ‘only’ 104,000 and one.

I’ve never been to New York City, but I can quote Emma Lazarus. Somehow, I don’t think outsourcing was what she had in mind.

Cause for Cautious Optimism in the War on Terror

Commentary by Martin Kelly
April 6, 2004

In an endeavour like the one in which our countries are now engaged, the greatest enemies can sometimes be introspection and self-criticism. As we suffer hideous losses like those poor Yankee souls in Fallujah, burned in their car and then despoiled, we can forget just how much our efforts are hurting our enemy. We forget that democracy is just as much a habit as a heritage for us, and that the rights that we enjoy, the right to question and dissent, sometimes cloud our view of how we are really performing. Because our men and women under arms, from all countries that have bothered to engage themselves in this struggle, are performing.

We can be so wrapped up in 24-hour news analysis by cod historians and New York Times columnists that we lose perspective. Sometimes, a real historian needs to step into the breach, to provide the proper perspective on events that shows that this battle is maybe, just maybe, being won by the forces of light, truth, peace and brotherhood, regardless of how jaded the motives of the politicians who sent them, the venal nature of the corporate interests behind them or the insanity of their opponents.

Such an historian is Victor Davis Hanson of National Review Online. On March 26, his usual Friday column was entitled ‘We Are Finishing the War’, and postulated the position that the losses we are suffering at the moment are analogous to the most bitter fighting of post D-Day Europe, effectively the Bastogne of the War on Terrorists. His view is that Al Qa’eda and its fellow travellers the Al Qa’edists have been so scattered by coalition efforts against them that their capability to mount big scores against the infidel has been radically compromised. An accomplished classicist, he likens Osama’s Old Peculiars to the Hydra or the Gorgon – ‘What we have been seeing lately is (Al Qa’eda’s) tentacles flapping about in search of prey, after the head has been smashed - still for a time lethal, but without lasting strength’.

One could easily dismiss this as neo-con drivel, but for the arrests that took place in London on March 30. If anything, these arrests dramatically underscore Hanson’s point, as well as giving us pause for the long-term future.

That morning, eight British Muslims of Pakistani extraction were arrested at addresses in London, Berkshire, Bedfordshire and Sussex. Later on in the day, half a ton of ammonium nitrate, the DIY Semtex, was recovered at a lock-up garage in west London, near Heathrow.

The men are aged between 17 and 32. If he is aged 17 in 2004, he must have been at most 15 on September 11, 2001. Accordingly, it would have been extremely unlikely that this particular Holy Warrior would ever have attended a camp in Afghanistan. Any training he had had would have been at best second hand. Also, none of the arrested men were of Osama’s preferred officer corps, Arabs or North Africans. These guys may not be top-grade jihad material.

This might be reading too much into the event, but one would have thought that if a psycho headbanger like a jihadist was wanting to mount a spectacular in London of all places, you would want some of your best guys on the job. Guys who get caught with half a ton of explosive fertiliser aren’t your best guys.

Indeed, we forget that, in its own way, Madrid was a disaster for the jihadists. Their cells are being rounded up continuously, and any effective Moroccan terror network in Spain must, by now, have been utterly smashed. When documents like the Zarqawi letter appear in such a firmly positioned site as NRO, one’s natural inclination is to be suspicious. However, assuming for a moment that it is genuine, it must be desperate to feel that you cannot operate properly even in a country so disorganised as Iraq, so effective has the coalition been at stamping out your efforts.

However, the real battle will not start until the campaign in the field is over. Just as Nazism did not die in the field, but lives on, revived after a couple of generations by the racist far-right, who casually raise their arms in the ‘Sieg Heil!’ without the slightest conception of what the gesture really means, then so too will Islamism revive after a generation. The electoral success of both the left and the far right in the recent French municipal election shows that for some cultures, extremism is never far away. It is a cancer that has never been fully removed from this continent, maybe providing an object lesson in how to reform the Islamic world. It is a strange quirk of culture that the most avid consumers of the products of Western culture are those whose culture is completely incapable of producing these things themselves – thus, the Middle East, where the grand total of 500 books a year are translated into Arabic, is awash with cell-phones, satellite dishes and Internet cafes. Maybe it’s time to start blocking the signal of Al-Jazeera Television, with its unceasing diet of Islamism and anti-Westernism. Maybe it’s time to start teaching civics properly, so that the European Muslim learns that his primary obligation as a citizen is to the state that permits him freedom of religion, as opposed to the religious precedence of the umma. For as much as Professor Hanson can draw parallels between the events of 1944 and 1945 with the events of 2003 and 2004, he could forget that that Second World War, whose cause was European extremism, is still not over to this day, in some form or another. Woe betide the Middle East if Islamist extremism, once defeated in the field, ever returns unless, like the Hydra, all its heads are severed and burned.

America's Northern Ireland Revisited

Commentary by Martin Kelly
April 12, 2004

In 1969, the British army rolled into Belfast to a warm greeting from Ulster’s Catholics. They were initially viewed as protectors, but within the year, due to a series of policy errors, Catholic nationalists driven by the hidden agenda of the Communists were joining the Provisional IRA in their droves.

There have been signs of rumblings in the neo-con camp recently – Jed Babbin criticising the Coalition and William F. Buckley, Jr. calling for more leadership from the President. If these rumblings continue, the President will have to face the fact that his actions may have caused a Northern Ireland to come about.

In November last year, I wrote an article for The Washington Dispatch called ‘America’s Northern Ireland’, likening Iraq to the UK’s 30-year deployment in its most troubled province. The recent Shi’a uprising is further proof that Iraq is not a Vietnam, but another bloody struggle like the one we brought upon ourselves in that beautiful wee corner of Ireland.

Was military intervention in Northern Ireland necessary in 1969? Yes. The Catholic people were suffering institutional harassment. The greatest British politician since the Second World War, John Hume, a real man of peace, was trying to lead a civil rights movement to ensure that Catholics did not have to suffer that discrimination. The reaction of the Unionist majority was typically aggressive, becoming more so, and the British army had to be sent there to protect Brits from other Brits.

Was military intervention necessary in Iraq in 2003? Of course, that depends on your perspective. America’s interest in that region is based firstly on the issue of the supply of oil and thereafter on containing the terrorism that oil sales help fund. The issue of terrorism, specifically terrorism driven by the adoption of Islam as a political philosophy bent on nothing less than world domination, was a live issue both then and now. However, this is where the spin breaks down.

It is incredibly hard for a government to fight an ideology. During WWII, it was much easier to fight the Germans and the Japanese than abstracts like ‘Nazism’ or ‘the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere’. The conduct of foreign and security affairs was still predicated in 2003 by the presumption that all enemies have the characters of states. When you’re in the business of ending terrorism, states have competitive advantages over non-state ideologies – they have ambassadors, economies, a desire to remain in power and so on. However, the real enemy in 2003 was, and remains, a non-state ideology. Fixating upon the appurtenances of a state, such as WMD, gives you a political focus for your goal that your real enemy might not be able to achieve.

The whole business has shown how incredibly difficult it is to build a weapon of mass destruction. In the 1940’s, the Manhattan Project required the full backing of the Federal Government in time of war in order to build an atomic bomb. So closely guarded were its secrets that it took the Russians espionage and another six years to build theirs, the Chinese another sixteen years after that. It took until the 1990’s for India and Pakistan to develop theirs properly. In 2003, Libya was still not that far down the road.

However, the neo-conservatives won the day over Iraq, and the country was invaded. A year ago, the Iraqis cheered as the statues of Saddam were torn down. The war was won, and the battle to win the peace begun. Now, forces have been under attack all over Iraq.

This has happened because the Bush White House lost its nerve. When you undertake a responsibility as awesome as attacking a country, you must have a proper plan to see it through before you begin.

These are some questions the White House must answer. Were they aware of the apparent political importance of Ayatollah al-Sistani before they started the war? One would think not. For many people who seem to inform White House policy, such as the American Enterprise Institute, the word ‘Ayatollah’ is just a wee bit too Iranian for comfort. For them, there are no good Ayatollahs, forgetting that like ‘priest’ or ‘sheikh’ the word implies nothing more than a particular level of religious learning and expertise. He does not seem to have been canvassed as an ally before the commencement of the invasion.

Did they factor in that the war would attract the Islamist terrorist element, so that two battles could be fought at once? One would think yes. If one of the secondary motives of the campaign was to draw in anyone spoiling for a fight with the Great Satan, then it would seem to have succeeded. One can never be sure of documents like the Zarqawi letter are genuine. However, if it is, then that part of the policy has worked. However, it has not been followed through to ensure that there are enough personnel in Iraq firstly to provide proper force protection and secondly to carry out the necessary process of counter-insurgency.

Why was there such a hideous and universal failure of intelligence? The USA spends more than many other nations combined on intelligence gathering. My telephone calls in Scotland can be monitored from Maryland. What happened here? One does not expect any clear, fruitful answers in the immediate future, and the open enemies of America, including China, will only be emboldened by this fiasco.

After their initial warm welcome from old ladies handing them cups of tea, the British Army in Northern Ireland very quickly became perceived as ‘occupiers’. Not fellow Brits, fellow Catholics, or in many cases cousins and friends but ‘occupiers’. The Communist hierarchy at the top of the IRA, as pernicious as the top of the Islamist /Ba’athist axis, actively encouraged this view, which persists in many cases to this day. In order to quell the violence against Americans, the President must be more positive not just about why the Coalition is there but what they are doing for its future. It is a good and wholesome thing that electricity supply is now at a higher level than in Saddam’s time. Let’s hear them say it, not just to the West but also to the Iraqis. We should have Scott McClellan and the other White House spokespeople being more strident about whatever successes are being achieved. I, personally, do not believe that all the works of George W. Bush are automatically wrong because he is George W. Bush. I don’t accept diatribes like those of the historian Sir Max Hastings in the Daily Mail of April 7 called ‘Why I Hate George Bush’, 1200 words of venom paid at the rate of £1 per word. It is perfectly legitimate for the administration to proclaim its successes; we just never hear them do so.

The final lesson to be drawn from Northern Ireland is the starkest of all - avoid a Bloody Sunday. This is something that the controversialist John Derbyshire touched upon in a nasty wee article called The Londonderry Gambit for NRO about a year ago, but he does have something of a point. Nothing alienates people who consider themselves under occupation more than a massacre. The real alienation of the Catholic community came of Northern Ireland came after the events of Sunday, January 30th 1972. That day, a civil rights march in Derry was fired on by the Parachute Regiment, for whatever reason, resulting in 13 Catholic/Nationalist fatalities. Ivan Cooper, the pro-civil rights Social Democratic and Labour Party MP for Derry, described it almost immediately as ‘our Amritsar, our Sharpeville’. Mr. Cooper retired from active politics very soon afterwards, but his words were as true now as they were 32 years ago. Nothing drove the disaffected young men of Derry into the arms of the IRA faster than the sight of their friends lying dead in the street. Even in such heated times as these, and as difficult as it must be after the Fallujah atrocity, the Coalition must avoid a situation where they give the Islamists a cause for the disaffected to run to. If that happens, then they really will have a Vietnam on their hands.

At times, one wonders if the Coalition wishes this endeavour to succeed, so determined are they not to praise it. The White House seems to be opposed to any attempt to promote its own works. They started it - do they have the guts to finish it? If you want to see what happens when a government doesn’t have the guts to deal with its enemies, look to Northern Ireland. The hateful monsters Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness will one day return to the government that their bad faith helped dissolve. Is that the fate that the Bush White House wants for Iraq?

The Economy is DOA

Commentary by Martin Kelly
April 5, 2004

At the moment, the economies of the UK and USA are both running on empty, spending far more than they earn. They need massive annual infusions of capital to ensure they are able to meet all their spending commitments, which in the USA means anything from the West Virginia roads budget to a replica rainforest in Iowa. This annual infusion attracts interest, which can only be serviced through issuing bonds, on which Uncle Sam must pay interest, or else through taxation.

The book 'Reagan, in his own hand', should be read by every conservative, if only for Dutch’s simple injunction on the raising and spending of tax – it’s people who pay taxes. A corporation tax is paid by the consumers in the form of higher prices. All taxation is paid on this basis, meaning that in order for taxpayers to be able to pay taxes they must have incomes.

At the same time as this ballooning public expenditure, corporations, which are motivated not by national economic interest but by the pursuit of lowest cost and highest profit are shipping high value, transferable jobs overseas. This enables the corporation to lower its short-term costs to the maximum degree. However, outsourcing will bankrupt more corporations than it will ever save.

Outsourcing has the effect of removing high tax jobs from the economy at a time when high tax rates will shortly be needed to prevent the Federal government going bust. It nearly happened a month after Dutch took office in 1981, and it will happen again. As these high tax jobs are gone from the economy, the level of secondary tax, like corporation tax, will need to rise, causing price hikes which will drive consumers away from outsourced goods and services. A classic false economy.

Some commentators, like Larry Kudlow, have remarked on how the recent spurt of economic growth did not produce the usual period of inflation that accompanies such a recovery. It seems miraculous, until you read the Economics Editor of the Daily Telegraph, George Trefgarne. Trefgarne reported that inflation was happening in a part of the American economy – it just wasn’t happening in America, but in the coastal zone of China, the Red Dragon’s industrial hub. So high a proportion of the goods and services being consumed in the US are manufactured there that it can now almost be seen as a US economic zone, upon which the US is far too dependent for production of its goods, given that country’s sinister history and even more sinister ambitions. Its partnership with the EU in the Galileo space program, using frequencies very close to those of NIA spy satellites, is one to watch for the future.

However, in the UK we’re not immune to the same phenomenon. Trefgarne’s answer to the question ‘What is the safest investment vehicle to ride out these times?’ was a perfect one for the target market of his newspaper – buy your own ship.

However, much as the inflation has been exported, the same is true for all aspects of the recovery. There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth that the internal job creation figures are so poor. One can only suggest that the people who are concerned should take a look at Shanghai. So dependent are we all on the use of cheap Asian labour to give us socks at fifty cents a pair that one could bet the farm that right now, the post-recession employment market in Shanghai is booming.

This will all come to a bitter end. A very close friend of mine who works in a call centre is petrified of the arrival of what he calls ‘The Doomsday Adviser’. The Doomsday Adviser is a piece of voice recognition software that can be programmed in any language, that can perform any sales or customer service function, that can run 24 hours a day, doesn’t need to rest, eat, sleep or see a shop steward and will make every call centre worker in the world redundant. It will be bye, bye New Delhi and the combos and outsourcers will have achieved the Thatcher/Bush ideal of having corporations with only shareholders and customers but no staff. One has to wonder…

Add to this mix the need for the marketplace to renew itself with new skills. For 31 years in the US and 37 in the UK, abortion has been legal. A very sad little statistic reported in the Telegraph of March 31 is that apparently one in five of all UK pregnancies end in abortion. According to the report by Sarah Womack, this is a total of 600 a day, to be set against the total of 300 adoptions that take place every year because of the insane regime of political correctness that applies if a couple wish to adopt a child. The eternal ‘spokesman’ for the FPA (Family Planning Association) produced the quote that says it all – ‘Abortion is an essential part of fertility control’.

Fertility? Control? Right now, both our countries could do with some wildly abundant fertility. Bring forth the fertility! As our judges and liberals have sowed, so do we all reap. 600 a day. Herod would have been proud of us.

It would, however, be an interesting actuarial study to assess if each of these infants had been permitted to come to life, just how much of a contribution they would have made. Some would have suffered the inevitable vicissitude of infant mortality – some would have been killed in accidents – most would have gone on to become working members of society. If the actual dollars and cents costs of raising these kids were weighed against the amount spent on welfare and support for immigrants able to arrive and work immediately, what would the answer be? I would be prepared to bet that these two sums would not be so far apart that the continuation of the practice of abortion could be justified.

What a pair of economies. Our leaders bloat them without thought of how they are to be paid for. Our corporations remove the only method of paying for them, tax-paying jobs, in actions that show naked greed and a hopeless lack of foresight. And all the while the taxpayers of the future are flushed down the stainless steel bowl. With economics like these, we can safely say that deficits, outsourcing and abortion will have one effect – our economies will become DOA.
Nice knowing you.

Why the Left Hates Condi Rice

Commentary by Martin Kelly
April 2, 2004

If Condi Rice were a Democrat, she’d be running for President. Because she’s part of a Republican administration, all of the professional and personal accomplishments of her life count for nothing in the desire of the left to destroy her. They do not hate her because she is black. They hate her because she denies her victimhood.
It has been one of the Bush White House’s most critical, stupid mistakes of PR in a Presidency littered with them to let Ms. Rice testify before the 9/11 Commission. What does she have to say to this body? Her tenure had lasted only eight months before that day. She could hardly have been expected to be able to correct the mistakes of the previous eight years simply by waving a magic wand, to absolve Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger and the Big Squash himself of all their liability. Surely she is entitled to the same loyalty from her civil servants as that which Richard Clarke gave to Bill Clinton. She is an adviser. Unless my dictionary has been mysteriously altered in the night, then that means she ‘advises’. Although she may be consulted on policy, her function is most certainly not to make policy.
Instead, Ms. Rice will possibly be thrown to the wolves because of the allegations of the classic disgruntled former employee. Richard Clarke’s brazen mea culpa before the Commission does not do anything to solve the problem of how this happened. In the UK, we call guys like the Commissioners, ‘The Great and the Good’. Invariably, they are retired politicians or former political associates of office-holders. Such is the politicisation of the whole security process that the Democrats on the commission will use it as an opportunity to attack Bush. He is so scared of daring to refuse, to stand up for his own guys, that Rice will appear, possibly in violation of the US Constitution, a document which, last time I looked, he had sworn an oath to uphold.
Now that Clarke’s self-justification is complete, the till-bells will be chiming, because that is Clarke’s sole interest. The information society now means that history is made on the hoof, with videotapes now having the same status as the Dead Sea Scrolls. 24-hour news media means that there is a cottage industry of journalists or others with exceptionally good media contacts willing to offer analysis and opinion of the sketchiest information. Everyone’s a military historian. Everyone’s an expert on the Middle East. Everyone knows that somebody, somewhere, dropped the ball on 9/11.
The Alpha and Omega on the story of 9/11 is that the blame lies squarely at the door of William Jefferson Clinton. The most widely publicised work of historical scholarship in the few years prior to Clinton’s election was Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History. Fukuyama was wrong, a very hard thing for any academic to admit, but 9/11 proves it. Clinton came to office with the End of History mindset. A frivolous man, he surrounded himself with some deeply frivolous people for whom the security of the borders was not the most important function of their office, but one of a series of ‘issues’, like pre-school class sizes or the economy, stupid. As a result, his failure to take decisive action against Osama bin Laden when the Sudanese offered him to the US on a plate in 1996 is one of the most egregious examples of executive negligence in the history of the United States. His failure to go on the publicity offensive, to put pressure on Arab states to be more co-operative in fighting Islamist ideology, in ensuring that money and men were not making their way to Afghanistan, is a catalogue of almost deliberate omission, for which one day the sober historians of the future will thrash him. If we get through all this in one piece.
Into this mess, to clear it up, steps a black woman, the epitome of victimhood who would dare any around her to label her a victim. Champion ice-skater, classical pianist, linguist, historian, Bush I White House aide and Provost of Stanford, she is everything that the left believes she should not be, and as a result they will try to destroy her. George W. Bush’s lack of care for one of his most senior aides goes beyond negligence. His actions are almost unconstitutional. If Rice is subjected to barracking by this Commission, whose proceedings are becoming increasingly partisan, then I hope that George W. Bush will be able to sleep at night, because Dick Clarke’s publishers certainly will.

England's Immigration Fraud

Commentary by Martin Kelly
April 1, 2004

For the past three weeks, the Brit papers have been filled with the doings of one Beverley Hughes. Ms. Hughes, our Minister for Immigration, has been at the eye of a storm concerning her ‘light touch’ regulation of the visa laws. Her touch was so light, our borders might as well be protected with swan feathers.
Immigration is as much a hot political issue in the UK as abortion in the States. The reason for this is what could only be described as an explosion in the number of asylum seekers in the UK since New Labour came to power in 1997. Such is the unwieldiness of the bureaucracy that governs who comes to our shores that nobody has the slightest idea how many people come here every year, in pursuit of freedom, opportunity or a fortnightly cheque from the Department of Social Security.
Asylum-seeking should have quite a clear meaning. If you’re a doctor in Somalia who has fulfilled his medical oath by treating the son of a warlord, if a rival warlord threatens to kill you and all your family, you’re an asylum seeker. However, as in one notorious case, if you’re a Taliban who claims his life is in danger from the Northern Alliance, you’re not an asylum seeker – you’re an enemy of the state. Such a clear distinction between who can be admitted and who should be is now completely missing from our policy.
Three weeks ago Steve Moxon, a low-grade bureaucrat from Yorkshire, blew the whistle to the Sunday Times that certain applications were being fast-tracked without proper scrutiny. He turned up for work the following day, surrounded by a posse of cameras, to find that his swipe card had been cancelled. The case was thereafter taken up by David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary. Beverley Hughes tried to throw the blame around, by insisting it was the responsibility of civil servants on slightly higher pay grades than Moxon acting on their own authority.
However, on March 29th, it all went to pieces. James Cameron, a diplomat in Bucharest, revealed that he was under orders to process applications from Romanians who might not be able to prove that they satisfied the criteria for admission, in an e-mail to Davis. He was suspended immediately.
It is a matter of great regret that, should The Washington Dispatch ever hold an editorial meeting, I won’t be able to attend (assuming, of course, that I’d be invited). I dearly hope to visit the USA again, but, at this point in time, I don’t feel inclined to pay $100 for a visa application that enables someone to try to profile me as a terrorist. The President and the Congress must make such laws to protect the security of the American people as they see fit. However, my own government does not seem to have the slightest interest in protecting me from the blandishments of those outside the borders who want inside in order to do me harm.
For weeks and weeks, Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has been saying that an attack will happen in the UK. The deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph Sarah Sands described Stevens last week as a ‘Cassandra’, forgetting that Cassandra’s warnings were the ones that should have been taken seriously. Such is the stupidity of the professional politician’s mindset that they cannot, in fact wilfully will not, look at the issues of terrorism and immigration holistically. Their commitments are not to ‘security’ but to ‘safety’. They cut military spending while insisting on the proper maintenance of playground equipment. They forget that not being born a British citizen is not a form of ‘social exclusion’ to be eliminated with access and grants. If Beverley Hughes was aware of the system that operated in Romania, she should resign. If she permitted such a system to come into being through failing to ensure proper oversight of civil servants, she should resign. If the department she headed was structurally incapable of providing such oversight, she should resign. If she has deliberately politicised access to the UK to fulfil the false promises of political correctness and multiculturalism, she should resign forthwith.
However, Ms. Hughes is riding out the storm. We are the only country in the EU that has not imposed some form of immigration control on the citizens of the new member states that join on May 1st. We will shortly face another tidal wave of people, whose entry has been spun as ‘bringing vital skills’. The fact that the Labour government has continued the policy of widening access to college, causing drops in graduate employment and earnings, means one can only wonder what vital skills the newcomers will have that cannot be found working in a bookstore somewhere. However, we forget that our government is now carried on mostly not in London, but in Brussels. As a net financial contributor to the EU, we occasionally need to be reminded of our obligations. Someday, they will make us all good Europeans. But not yet.

One Less Terrorist

Commentary by Martin Kelly
March 25, 2004

As John Donne said, each man’s death diminishes me. In the case of Ahmed Yassin, we can safely make an exception.
Israel’s assassination of the Hamas leader is an example of how this war on terrorists should be fought. As Hamas is prepared to give no quarter to the Jew in its lust to drive him from the Holy Land, so too is Israel prepared to take the fight to terrorists, regardless of how tightly they wrap themselves in the folds of the Koran. Ahmed Yassin was a committed international criminal, in Conan Doyle’s words a Napoleon of crime, who, after years of sending wee boys and lassies to blow themselves up in the pursuit of his bigoted jihad, has received his just desserts, on the receiving end of a missile.
The majority of Hamas’s assaults on the Israeli body politic have taken place on the public transport network, specifically targeted at commuters. Less than two weeks after Spanish commuters were massacred by Islamist terrorists, so deep is some Europeans’ hatred of Israel that they cannot rouse themselves to consider whether or not this attack was morally justified, reverting to their lockstep condemnation of Israel, Sharon, Likud and all their works. Javier Solano, the EU’s foreign policy chief, has condemned it outright, and has been echoed like a parakeet by Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary, who’s described it as unlawful. I’m quite sure Ahmed Yassin huddled over his well-thumbed copies of Justinian, Grotius, the Declaration of Independence and the UN Charter in order to seek legal justification for sending 18 year olds to commit suicide attacks.
Spiritual atrophy causing moral gangrene, the twin diseases of European social democracy, are clearly visible here. They offer nothing but harsh words of condemnation when Hamas kills working mothers, but have no clue, indeed no desire, to confront the problem in their own midst. They ignore the views of their own people, causing the people to turn against them into the waiting tentacles of the racist far right, who offer the easy bromides of telling people what they want to hear, and all the while the incidence of anti-Semitic attacks in Paris and Berlin keep going up and up.
No such torpor from Ari Sharon. The least one can say about him and the Likud Party is that they have disinfected themselves from any trace of political correctness. One can safely say that no alleged fundraiser for Islamic Jihad would gain tenure at an Israeli university, like Sami al-Arian did in Florida. Sharon possesses none of the ambivalence that enabled Mullah Omar to go free on the first night of Enduring Freedom. According to an article called ‘A King’s Ransom’ in the November 2001 New Yorker, that night a Predator spyplane picked up a convoy which intelligence had reasonable cause to believe included the Taliban leader’s vehicle. Seymour Hersh reported that Tommy Franks declined to fire on the basis of legal advice from his JAG, resulting in Donald Rumsfeld kicking a glass door in frustration. However, the policy of contradictions that has infested Bush White House policy towards Israel has been brought out of the cupboard again.
On the first night of the Iraqi War, the US launched a targeted strike against Saddam. At that stage, no Iraqi had fired a shot in anger against US forces. The launching of that missile was a deliberate attempt to kill Saddam, to cut off the snake’s head. The US has repeatedly condemned Israel for using the same tactic against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Although Scott McClellan has not specifically condemned the attack, one would have thought that a wartime President would be publicly supportive of an embattled leader fighting the same war on a different front. Israel is both the Leningrad and Stalingrad of the war on terrorists, a maelstrom where battle and war can strike at any moment. The President must, of course, pay due heed to the concerns of America’s other allies. With gas at $33 a barrel, it seems even neo-conservatism has its limits.
There will be no reprisals, in the sense of direct attacks to revenge Yassin, although they will say they are. Hamas are not people who deal in the lex talionis, only striking when they have been struck. This is one blow in a war that will not be over until the other hate-masters of Hamas, like its sinister public voice Abdel Azizal-Rantissi, a paediatrician who called on Iraqi civilians to prepare suicide belts in order to kill Americans in the run up to Iraqi Freedom, are crushed. Hamas would have been prepared for an eventuality like this long ago. Ahmed Yassin, quadriplegic or not, was the leader of a sectarian terrorist mob willing to subvert the young to continue a war he took up the moment he joined the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood produced Sayyid Qutb, the ideologue of all radical Islam, hanged in 1966 for plotting against Nasser. Its other radical son is Ayman al-Zawahiri, the son and grandson of professors at Cairo’s al-Azhar University, apparently the greatest seat of learning in Islam. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, banned by Assad the Elder, spawned Omar Bakri Mohammed, the fat Islamist twister who receives $500 a week in benefits from the British state while preaching jihad and calling 9/11 ‘a towering day in history’. If the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t banned wherever it’s found, it should be.
Now that the deed is done, the Israelis will no doubt continue to look over their shoulder as anxiously as ever. But when they get on the bus, looking for the telltale signs of wires sticking out from under clothing, they at least know that their government is determined to fight their enemies. Likud aren’t interested in plea-bargains and subjecting the people responsible for suicide bombings to the benefit of the legal process – they want Hamas to suffer the same terror that they inflict on the innocent. The Israelis will hunt them down, dead or alive. George W. Bush proclaimed that intention after 9/11. The Marshal needs to keep the posse in the saddle, ‘coz the desperadoes are still out on the range.

Negative Reactions to Spanish Democracy

Commentary by Martin Kelly
March 19, 2004

Since Jose Maria Aznar lost the Spanish general election for the Popular Party by opening his mouth too soon, some conservatives have taken to labelling the Spanish people cowards and appeasers. Any conservative who does this has automatically forfeited the right to complain of unfair criticism of the American electoral process from Europe, as it displays something approaching contempt for the free expression of the free will of a free people.
The tipping point against Aznar was apparently his immediate rush to blame ETA. It would have suited Aznar’s political purposes for ETA to be responsible – they were the home-grown enemy; and culpability on their part would automatically have deflected wrong-headed criticism that Islamists attack Western societies because of the war in Iraq. They don’t, they attack them because they’re Western. The majority of the conservatives who accuse the Spaniards of cowardice and appeasement haven’t seemed to grasp either of these points themselves.
To deal with each of these accusations in turn,
Cowardice
“After terrorists slaughtered 200 people in Madrid, presumably in retaliation for Spain’s courageous stance against them, her feckless voters chose to reward the terrorists instead” - David Limbaugh, ‘Senator Kerry, Champion of the Appeasers’, Townhall.com, March 16.
At the end of the piece, Mr. Limbaugh described the actions of the Spanish electorate as ‘cowardly’.
“The Spanish on Sunday said they wanted more terrorism. They voted to reward it.”
“The Spanish electorate’s – why not say it? - cowardice and self-degradation multiply the terrorist dangers facing the world”. - Bill Murchison, ‘A Victory for Terror’, Townhall.com, dated March 16.
Appeasement
“Perhaps Sunday’s election, which removed the leadership that took Spain into the war against Islamist terrorism, means that after the home-grown terrors of the 20th Century, Spain, like much of the rest of Europe, wants peace at any price’. - A subtle example of the Chamberlain insult from George Will, ‘Political Dynamite’, Townhall.com, March 16.
“The reign in Spain died mainly on the train”.
“The Spanish electorate decided to defeat the government for seeming to bring Islamist terrorist slaughter to Spain. It is true that a large majority of Spaniards never supported their government’s decision to send troops to Iraq. Nonetheless, the day before the terrorist attack, every Spanish poll and political expert predicted a solid win for Aznar’s party.But after the attack, about three million Spanish voters changed their impending electoral decision. Thus, their vote was not out of anger at Aznar’s policy, but out of fear of the terrorists’ wrath.” - Tony Blankley, ‘The Spanish Disease’. Townhall.com, March 17
"Many Spaniards apparently switched their votes from the Popular Party, which garnered 38 per cent of the vote, to give the terrorists what they wanted”. - Debra Saunders, ‘Spanish voters say: Viva violence’, Townhall.com, dated March 16. Later in the piece, Ms. Saunders does make reference to the fact that ETA might have been a credible suspect for the bombings. However, she concludes her article thus:
“Basque separatists now must be looking at how al Qa’eda achieved victory through violence and must be wondering if they should be more ruthless too”.
After that outburst, Chuck Colson was really quite anaemic – “There is a white flag blowing in the breeze over the beautiful city of Madrid”, - ‘An Ill Wind from Spain’, Townhall.com, dated March 16.
All of the above writers have taken the view that a free people enjoying a free franchise have engaged in a mass hysteria of cowardice and appeasement. Such people would be likely to be the first to complain that the Europeans’ perceptions of Americans are filtered through the too narrow prisms of New York and Los Angeles. However, the reverse process is also true – some Americans’ perceptions of Europeans are filtered through the very narrow views of London, Paris and Berlin. London is no more representative of English life than Plymouth or Barnsley.
However, there is a dangerous intolerance at work here. If Messrs Limbaugh and Murchison wish a campaign on which to crusade, they might have campaigned against the adoption of Islamic law as a source for the new constitution of Iraq. That action means that Iraq will fail again, through no other reason than real moral cowardice on the part of the Coalition Provisional Authority, just as Afghanistan will fail again because of the adoption of the Sharia in that country’s new constitution. Neo-conservatism is surely about the propagation of liberal democratic values. If you go to the time and trouble of invading a country to allegedly disarm it and then to spread those values, it is a legal nonsense to say that its law will be derived from undemocratic and illiberal sources. As a result, it’s unlikely that Iraqis will be voting much after the first elections. Calling free voters ‘cowardly’ because of how they elect to use their vote is hardly democratic.
Similarly, if Messrs. Will, Blankley and Colson and Ms. Saunders wish to describe people as appeasers, they might consider this. For years, my country was subjected to a campaign of terrorism by Communists dressed as Irish nationalists, who abetted the deaths of over 3,000 people over 30 years. They operated death squads. They were appeased by the same man you all laud as a great hero, Tony Blair, whose government can no longer guarantee the safety of the people of Belfast. Much of the money they collected in order to promote their work came from the United States. What role did Americans play in supporting terror in my country? Campaign against them, if you will, but not against informed and mature voters.
For the Spanish peoples’ decision was informed. Aznar, on the verge of a historic third term for the Popular Party, tried to guarantee victory by immediately spinning the attack against ETA. This was spin, pure and simple. It was not a failure of intelligence, such as that which afflicted the CIA and MI6 prior to the Iraqi War. By claiming it was ETA, Aznar either lied or sought to maximise the political advantage for his party. What he did was the mirror-image of a Democrat or leftist using 9/11 for their advantage. If we believe in democracy at all, then we have to criticise Aznar. If the Iraqi coalition falls apart because of this election, blame Aznar. Ultimately, the cowards and appeasers of the Spanish electorate decide they didn’t like being treated as if they were dumb, and voted accordingly.
But what would I know? I’m just a European.

A Failed State Called Scotland

Commentary by Martin Kelly
March 18, 2004

Sunday March 14th can be recorded as the day on which the country of Scotland became a failed state. We are not subject, yet, to the Somali experience of 12 year old boys with RPG’s roaming the countryside in jeeps, however our failure, though more subtle and far less violent, is no less abject than that of any other hole on the map.
March 14th was the day on which it became public knowledge that Latin and Greek will no longer be taught in public school.
The study of the classics is essential to an understanding of the roots of Western culture and civilisation. Although the advantages of knowing your datives from your ablatives are not immediately apparent when you’re studying them, the fact that you are studying them exposes you to the influence of those responsible for producing many of the ideas that still shape our society. However, my alma mater the University of Strathclyde has decided to stop offering courses in teacher training for the classics when Scotland’s only teacher of teachers in the classics, Tony Williams, retires in the summer.
A society that does not enable its youth to know the truth of where they came from is one in deep trouble. It has lost touch with its true culture, to be replaced by an ersatz, manufactured culture that invariably plays to the worst aspects of the national character. This is particularly true in Scotland.
The same edition of the London Sunday Times that reported that monumentally significant snippet also reported on the outcry surrounding the publication of the most recent edition of the Lonely Planet travel guide. The author is reported to paint Scotland is less than glowing terms. He sticks the boot into our sectarianism, our drinking culture, our tendency to moan and our unfailing ability to inflict violence on others without provocation. It’s hard to see where the chap’s written a word of a lie.
Nearly every night, a drunk walking down our street singing a sectarian song breaks the still of our apartment, in a once-genteel neighbourhood. When Glasgow’s answer to the Montagues and the Capulets, Celtic and Rangers, play each other, it is safest to stay off the streets, and for me not to reveal my ethnicity in the presence of Rangers supporters. Like Mercutio, I say to them, ‘A Plague! A Plague on both your houses!’ The streets of Glasgow are filthy, covered in dog excrement and littered with the detritus of fast food. On Friday and Saturday nights, the city centre is infested by a species of urban poor for whom compassion is necessary, so unable are they to improve their lot for themselves by having been socialised. A kind word to a stranger is viewed as an insult, or worse, the worst offence you can commit against a Glaswegian – being ‘patronising’.
We were way on our way to failing before Virgil got chucked out of high school. We are a country that has been comprehensively failed by its political class, and this systematic failure is now being played out to its natural conclusion at the Fraser Enquiry.
This enquiry, being held by former Conservative Lord Advocate (Scottish Attorney-General) Lord Fraser, is into how the cost of the new Parliament building in Edinburgh has risen from £50 million to £430 million and counting. In the 1970’s when devolution was last a hot issue, a fully functioning parliament as built in the old Edinburgh Royal High School. However, for the Labour Party under Donald Dewar, the first First Minister, that building was synonymous with the 1970’s popularity of the Scottish National Party. Dewar’s solution to this was radical and innovative – build another Parliament.
He established an international competition so that Scotland would get the new Parliament it deserved. We sure did. We got Enric Miralles, who, it has been revealed at the enquiry, didn’t have current indemnity insurance when he took the job on.
There was also a wee problem- according to the evidence of civil servant Barbara Doig, Miralles’ design wasn’t the cheapest option – in fact, at costing it was the most expensive. However, this is where failed statism creeps in. It was the design that Dewar wanted.
Power, particularly power achieved after years of seeking for it, does strange things to men. It certainly affected Dewar, who committed the Scottish people to a building project in which the risk was entirely one-sided, which required constant design changes, the cost of which necessitated a committee of MSP’s being misled and a cover-up by the BBC! This is failed statism at its very worst. Ally to this madness that the stars of the first parliament were the abortionist David Steel and the Trotskyist Tommy Sheridan and the whole thing is a laughing stock.
Such is the quality of our leaders. In the sixty-six months it has been sitting, the Scottish Parliament is famous for two things – the building, and a policy of providing free personal care for the elderly, which is now reckoned to be too expensive to implement. In that time, there have been two changes of administration, occasioned by Dewar’s death and the resignation in disgrace of Henry McLeish. And all the while the people lose hope.
One would not expect politicians of vision from such a place. They deserve as many meaty vocatives as they get. However, when a nation is so down, so down that they stop teaching Latin, the language of culture, one need only echo the mournful words of Cicero, bitching out his teenagers:
O Tempora! O Mores!

Madrid and the Domestic Violence Analogy

Commentary by Martin Kelly
March 17, 2004

On March 12th, crowds of Spaniards gathered outside the headquarters of Jose Maria Aznar’s party to demonstrate their belief that Spain had brought the bombing atrocity on itself by supporting America in Iraq.
This is a belief that is directly analogous to a victim of spousal abuse saying to herself ‘I deserved it’. It is unhealthy and wrong in a battered woman, and unhealthy in a nation.
The Spanish Anti-War Left have shown the same soullessness as their comrades in the movement all across the world, and have been very quick to apportion blame to Aznar for his deployment of Spanish troops to the Middle East. However, that deployment is not the root cause of this bombing. For perhaps too long now, we have tended to fuse the war on Islamism into the war on weapons proliferation. These are different wars. The war on weapons proliferation is a proactive one, initiated by the Bush White House as a continuation of Clinton White House foreign policy. The war on Islamism, however, is a reactive one, begun three years after it should have, only after the New York and Washington atrocities. The war on weapons proliferation is a fight that nations can elect to stay out of, but the war on Islamism is everyone’s fight. The failure of the Anti-War Left to recognise this distinction is the root cause of their confusion.
This is a matter in which the mind of the conservative must be clear. The terror displayed in Madrid was identical to the violence exhibited on 9/11, long before the Iraqi war. The violence of the Islamists is not concerned with the doings of nations. They recognise no nation other than the Muslim ‘Umma’ so the fact that US service personnel would be entering Iraq to free Muslims from the oppression of a Muslim is for them an act of aggression against all Muslims, although the Ashura bombings in Karbala and Baghdad prove once again, if proof were necessary, that their love of the Umma is selective, sectarian and vicious. Saddam’s proliferation was rooted in his Ba’athism, a form of the pan-Arabist nationalism of Gamel Abdel Nasser, with a heavy dose of Stalinism thrown in. When he did invoke Islam, it was in the same context that Stalin invoked ‘Russian-ness’ after Hitler’s invasion of 1941, an expression of patriotism Uncle Joe had spent twenty years trying to wipe out. The fact that Saddam built the Mother Of All Battles Mosque and had the Koran written in his blood still did not prevent him from persecuting the Shi’a with almost Torquemaden zeal.
However, the Battered Spouse psychology on display from the Spanish Anti-War Left is truly disturbing. A battered woman can stay with her husband for many reasons- she might be petrified of having to become financially independent, she might still consider her husband a good father to her children or else, strangely, she might still love him, even although he was completely unworthy of it. But all of the battered women I ever advised all said that for as long as they were willing to put up with it, they considered the abuse they received to be their fault.
This nonsense is now on display in the aftermath of Madrid. It is not Spain’s fault that Islamist terrorists intent on destroying it decided to plant bombs on trains. It was the fault of the backwardness, ignorance and hatefulness of those responsible for doing it. The manoeuvring of the Anti-War Left to so quickly apportion blame onto the victims of terror means either they aspire to victimhood or else they have more sinister motives – the surrender and defeat of the West. Although they are products of Western values, many hate the West as only those indulged by it can. Accordingly, it’s no surprise that in parts of Europe, the Anti-War Left share platforms with Islamists. George Galloway MP has addressed the same public meetings as Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Hassan Al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Con Coughlin of the Sunday Telegraph captured this Battered Spouse psychosis perfectly, when he wrote on March 14th that
‘If the attacks turn out to be the work of Al Qa’eda, then Aznar’s government will be accused of provoking the Islamic fanatics by siding with the US and Britain in last year’s war in Iraq’.
On the same day, Galloway, writing in the Scottish Mail on Sunday, said “The Spanish state fully participated in the slaughter of Muslims in the wars since 9/11 and could hardly have complained if those motivated by those events had struck at the military or other assets of the ‘Spanish crusaders’”.
That’s as clear a statement of Battered Spouse Syndrome as I can recall reading.Fear of provoking an abusive partner is a terror that faces battered wives every second of their lives – the TV’s too loud: Why isn’t dinner ready? Did you buy beer?
Change the question, as Galloway does, to – Why did you Spaniards support America? Didn’t you know the Islamic fanatics would strike at your military or other assets? and you see the madness at work.
The great buzz phrase of feminism is ‘empowerment’. Empowerment is supposed to enable bruised women with shattered lives to overcome all their problems as if they can be waved away with a magic wand. Most divorcing women are only really interested in whether they’re going to lose their home, or whether the monster who’s made their life hell for years is ever going to find them and cause them or their kids harm. In the same way, Spain doesn’t need to be dragged down by a national out break of Battered Spouse Syndrome. Given the Islamist desire to reconquer Andalusia, it would have been inevitable that they would have at least tried to bloody the face of the infidels who humiliated them at Granada, over 500 years before. As abusers are backward looking and perversely sentimental, full of love when it suits them, so are Osama, his successors and his cohorts, who have nothing fresh and new to offer but instead can only trope grievances from half a millennium ago. Until the abusive partner that’s Islamism is defeated everywhere, be it on the field of battle or in the hearts and minds of Muslims, like battered wives we will forever be fearful of the next attack. Abusive partners are emotional terrorists. That much they share with the genuine article.