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Time to face down Iran

The seizure of eight British sailors and their small patrol boats by Iranian forces means it is time for the British government to show that unless a swift accommodation is reached, the consequences will be severe for the Iranian state. If the UK forces did indeed stray into Iranian waters, nothing more than a curt apology is due the Iranian state, and only that if they return the British sailors and their equipment without delay. The Iranian state is a vile tyranny and the sooner they are put under real pressure the better.

Of course I would like to see as much instability as possible within Iran regardless of the incident with the sailors. There is no shortage of people in Iran who would love to see the end of theocratic Islamic rule and now would be a good time to start taking advantage of the fact UK and US forces control the Iraqi side of the border. Surely there must be some fairly large stockpiles of weapons from Saddam’s army that have not been blown up and are just sitting around in Iraq…

But if the Iranians want to turn this into a hostage crisis however, the only response should be to use whatever force is required to resolve the situation, not just via anti-regime dissidents but directly by Britain against the Iranian state, and as soon as it is practical. If the theocrats want to engage in brinkmanship, I hope the UK and US will be prepared to not just go to the brink but to step straight over it very forcefully indeed. A nice opening move to the ‘negotiations’ would be to redeploy a division right up to the Iranian border.

Update: Hopefully this will all be over by tomorrow (Thursday). Perhaps the Iranian state decided it was unwise to push things too far. It will be interesting to see if there is any long term fall out from this incident.

112 comments to Time to face down Iran

  • Sadly, I think there’s very little chance of a company or two of Royal Marines being sent in to recover the hostages (and the boats – they’re expensive, y’know) given the current situation in Iraq and the accompanying world opinion.

  • some geezer

    world opinion? what opinion would that be then? if they take our blokes, my opinion is that we show them what a bad idea that is. unlike normal times, we are sitting across a border from them so time to slap some sense into them. i am sure the yanks will do their bit too

  • srs

    Typical response from the media, they claim that the goverments priority is to avoid a diplomatic incident, my thoughts are a diplomatic incident is the least we need.

    We should (US/UK) point a few of those cruise missile things at Tehran and the the heads of goverment and give the theocrats 2 hours max to return men and material

  • “We should (US/UK) point a few of those cruise missile things at Tehran and the the heads of goverment and give the theocrats 2 hours max to return men and material”

    Ok lets do that. Then what happens after 2 hours when the refuse? We bomb a city? Killing who knows how many unarmed citizens and further enraging the Middle East. I agree heavy pressure needs to be put on Iran but needless violent threats create far more problems than they solve.

  • Guy Herbert

    I don’t see why the bellicosity. Anyone would think you were fans of the fascist strong state, or of a UN-like world-governance.

    The world being full of uncertain borders, this sort of thing happens all the time, and there are perfectly standard ways of dealing with it. The legitimacy of the regimes involved oughtn’t an issue, only whether they play fair in the circumstances.

  • Syon Park

    Jesus what a stupid comment – maybe it’s intended to get a response unlike the tedious, non event private rocket posts.

    What do you propose – another war because eight dopey sailors got lost and strayed into Iranian territory?

    What would happen if eight dopey Iranian sailors floated up the Thames? We’d put them in custody.

    Jaw Jaw not War War, is the phrase you need here.

    Another non event.

  • GCooper

    Syon Park writes:

    “…because eight dopey sailors got lost and strayed into Iranian territory?”

    I’m sure we’re all deeply grateful for this insightful analysis from someone who, clearly, was on hand to witness the event.

  • “…maybe it’s intended to get a response unlike the tedious, non event private rocket posts.”

    How rude. How inaccurate. Whatever you feel about this Iranian situation Syon, surely there is a way of expressing it without being so abrasive.

  • John

    So if they weren’t dopey, they were doing something even worse! Can’t blame Iran for defending/policing it’s borders, or is that sort of “right” only reserved for countries which whose regimes you agree?

    No wonder a large proportion of the world sees the US/UK as aggressors. Amazing that after the moral high ground being handed to them on a plate after 9-11, we seem well on the way to losing it…

    Syon, unfortunately Jaw Jaw doesn’t allow the war fetishists around here to play with their shiny toys against folks who are unlikely to be able to hurt them back….at least conventionally. “Kicking Iran’s ass”, like some geezer around here suggests will only lead to more terrorism. Hey, maybe that’s Dubya’s re-election strategy in a nutshell….

    Fortunately, the F.O. is likely to react in a more temperate way than Perry’s post suggests.

  • Those mullahs with the too tightly twisted turbans are looking to put pressure on about the nuclear armaments research inspections any way they can. The “border” they are so vigourously “defending” is so ill-defined and disputed in that area that it’s an easy way to raise a fuss. Don’t be misled; they mean to cause harm by any means at hand.

  • Syon Park

    Rude? Oh sorry, was me having an opinion offensive to you?

    When I really think about it I can’t think of anything more offensive than a bunch of rich westerners wasting £15 million, firing some thrill seeker off for a ride into the stratosphere. NASA fulfilled it’s objectives by perfecting ballistic missile technology under the cover of ‘space exploration’ and for our part we got satellite navigation, television and cell phones – but even the American public have had enough of this waste (yes infinitely more wasteful than the EU).

    So now some chap from Microsoft decides to spend his money this way while there are millions starving in poverty, babies are born with incurable diseases and all of us have a family member or friend who passed away because of cancer.

    There are so many worthy causes that are desperate for funding on this planet – and since I found this (actually depressing it is so selfish) blog I’ve been slaughtered as a ‘statist’ and many other silly names, by people who want tax cuts so (they say) they are free to give more money to good causes.

    Well which good cause would it be? Vaccinations for babies in developing countries? Meds for HIV + patients? Cancer research? Or would you fire the money away by sending some prick ninety miles into the air?

    If there was somewhere to go to we’d have ‘commercial’ space travel already. But there isn’t so we haven’t. That whole episode in the Mojave desert was IMO big boys toys for people stuck in adolescence.

    Sorry I wasn’t actually there when the dopey sailors got lost – according to GCooper unless you’re there you can’t make a comment. Although you’re dopey enough, I doubt very much whether you were there.

    And what do turbans have to do with anything?

  • Julian Morrison

    This is a not uncommon situation, remember a while back with the Chinese and the downed American spy plane? There are established diplomatic ways of handling it. Rushing to threats of violence actually makes your nation look politically weak (not to mention psychotic and trigger-happy).

    On a personal scale this is comparable to your neighbor threatening to keep your dog because it wandered onto his lawn. A sensible person would talk, calm him down, offer a beer, defuse the situation and get the dog back. Only a raving nutter would immediately pull a handgun and start blasting.

  • Perry, if you’re SO EAGER to spill Islamic blood, I’m sure that the 101st Fighting Keyboarders European Expeditionary Force would approve of your being seconded to the Royal Army in Iran. Or are you scurrying to the recruitment office even as I type.

    Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask: Is that You on the cover of Internet Tough Guy magazine?

  • GCooper

    Syon Park writes:

    “…according to GCooper unless you’re there you can’t make a comment.”

    Oh, you can make a comment. You just can’t pass-off your half-baked opinions as facts.

  • Certainly it would not be sensible to start blindly firing cruise missiles at Iranian cities… however it is naive to the point of blindness to think this incident ‘just happened’ given the backdrop of the ongoing diplomatic confrontation with Iran… the Iranian regime is feeling pressure because it is being called on its nuclear policies and it would like to change the terms of engagement and that is why they suddenly do something like this (is anyone seriously going to argue allied light craft have not strayed over the median river line before today in their daily river patrols?). If it wants to play hardball and put the sailors on trial, then the response should not be ‘oh well’, but to remember the Iranian mullah predilection for hostage taking and make demands not requests for their return. And demands need to be backed up by the meaningful threat of force. And as I said, in any case it is in the interests of our forces in Iraq to see the Islamic Republic of Iran implode and arming anti-Islamist elements in Iran at this juncture would not just help that process along, it would make Iranian Shiite mischeif making in Iraq harder by giving them far more serious problems at home to worry about.

  • R C Dean

    Make no mistake, this has everything to do with nuclear arms development, and nothing to do with a vague border.

    I am fascinated by how many commenters are willing to take the assertions of the mullahs that there was a border violation at face value; what with GPS navigation and all, I would think an accidental border crossing would be unlikely.

    Do the diplomatic dance, which of course includes not only jaw-jaw, but also repositioning of forces, perhaps a few pointedly non-accidental cross-border incursions by troops in Iraq engaged in legal hot pursuit, that kind of thing. It would be foolish indeed to either pull the trigger or forswear pulling the trigger. Oh, and redouble demands for nuclear inspections and disarmaments – that is what the mullahs are trying to divert, so give it to ‘em good and hard.

  • Syon Park

    So that just applies to me then?

    I wish I was sitting on the bridge of a huge command centre, with my informed finger on the pulse of world events, like you obviously are (not).

  • Johan, Norway

    Hm, the fantatic statists and Angloshpere-haters are out in force it seems… Tsk, tsk

    Iran is a terrorist state. You don’t negotiate with terrorists post 9/11. End of discussion.

    The solution is simple, and yes, it involves force. I know that makes the statist-EU sissy boys piss their pants in utter fright, but I don’t care.

  • Syon park wrote:When I really think about it I can’t think of anything more offensive than a bunch of rich westerners wasting £15 million, firing some thrill seeker off for a ride into the stratosphere.

    I can. For instance, the state spending over 200 million GBP of public money on confiscating private property from a few thousand members of the public.

    However, this is now way off topic.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Perry –

    Yeah. Like you said.

    Charlie

  • Julian Morrison

    Perry, you say “demands need to be backed up by the meaningful threat of force” – the point is, ALL diplomacy is backed up by that. Or else your diplomats get the polite version of “pull the other one, it has bells on”. It’s impicit, and obvious, so it’s also unstated. My guess is that Iran will grandstand some, hold show trials, and then hand them back “in disgrace”. Britain will “strongly object”. That’s diplomat speak for “that’s as far as you can go, matey”. Not a delightful resolution – but better than being stampeded into a war, unprepared, on their timescale, with nothing to gain.

  • Nancy

    Julian – What if your neighbor is an ill tempered religious fanatic who, for all you know because you weren’t looking, came onto your property, took your dog and now won’t give him bacK, because he has some personal grudge against you? What if he threatens to do the dog harm?

  • Nathan

    “What would happen if eight dopey Iranian sailors floated up the Thames? We’d put them in custody.”

    Cute, except the river they were on was the border, not the heart of the nation. Nice hyperbole, though.

  • Julian Morrison

    Nancy: same procedure applies. You start by talking, because it might work, and because it’s safer and cheaper than fighting. More chance of getting your dog back in one piece.

    Then if you decide you do want rid of your noisome neighbor, you pick your own time and shoot him in his sleep.

  • This whole imbroglio is, of course, due to Britain’s participation in the IAEA condemnation of Iran’s nuclear program. If you don’t believe me, look at all of the previous times coalition vessels have accidentally entered Iran’s waters — and what happened as a result, i.e. nothing. Britain should hold her ground, and I have no doubt she will.

  • Quite so Julian, you ask for them back. And then you ask rather less nicely if they refuse.

    And in any case, I think supporting the anti-Islamists in Iran makes sense regardless of this incident.

  • Elena Porazhova

    When your losing argument, always attack the man. Don’t worry chris Tucker, no one is in any danger of mistaking YOU for a tough guy. Or a smart guy.

  • WHS

    Thankfully, His Worthyness Syon Park is back to provide the moral lead.

    Rich “pricks” should not be flying into space – they should be handing over their money to that bright, shining example of efficiency and clinical excellence, the NHS, in which, (funnily enough), he has a vested interest.

    As for the Royal Marines; its not the fist time they’ve gone astray – they invaded Spain a couple of years ago:(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1827554.stm).
    Don’t get me wrong – I’ve got huge respect and pride for the marines, but it reinforces the old army adage that there is nothing more dangerous than an officer with a map.

    This incident will hopefully prove to be nothing more than mildly embarrassing for HMG. The Iranians will milk it for a s long as possible in an attempt to humiliate the western crusaders – something they are otherwise unable to do. Apart from that they have too much to lose by playing the tough guy.

  • Syon Park

    Johan Norway is due on the cover of Internet Tough Guy. Gosh I bet he’s pounding that key board. Give him a medal.

    All other statements above aside, the FACT is these people were in Iranian territory. UK envoys will have to apologise to get them back.

    Resorting to violence or threats of violence without trying to resolve the situation through dialogue would make us no better than the terrorists we are currently tackling.

    What’s an ‘Islamist’ by the way? A follower of Islam? A crazy terrorist who fights a Jihad?

    We ought to be careful with the language. The UK US coalition aren’t on a ‘crusade’ against Islam as some of the loonies above purport – this is a war on terrorism.

    I propose we call a spade a spade. A terrorist is a terrorist, regardless of their religion.

    Al Queda want a holy war – it appears some idiots above would oblige them.

  • Well, Elena, since Perry is never loathe to do the same to anyone he takes an ideological dislike for, sauce for the goose, old girl.

  • Syon Park

    WHS – no one mentioned the NHS or indeed taxation. I’m delighted for the guy from Microsoft that he’s worked hard and has made a great deal of money. I merely disapprove of the way he has chosen to spend a not insignificant amount of it.

    Last week I was barked at because people such as the greedy fool JohnJO who sees taxation as theft, that denies people the right to give their money away as they see fit. The argument from them was that the system would be much more profitable and efficient if government kept out of it.

    Well what if they did. What would people spend their money on?

    a Re invest in their businesses / stock portfolios
    b Giant sized manned ‘fireworks’ in the desert
    c Give it to charity

    c may get a thought on someone’s death bed (to avoid tax) but it seems a and b would be more popular here.

    So as I said last week – how can that be a more efficinet method of providing services for people who are desperate for it?

  • Nathan

    “Resorting to violence or threats of violence without trying to resolve the situation through dialogue would make us no better than the terrorists we are currently tackling.”

    No, to do that we’d have to order Coalition soldiers to put a MOAB on a truck and have them suicide bomb an Iranian Primary School. Then we’d be morally equivelant. Merely being trigger happy isn’t even close.

    But aside from that, of course an easy way out should be given first; a chance to recant for the Iranians. A rebuffal should be met with a corresponding increase in diplomatic pressure and, if no acceptable peaceful conclusion can be found, violence. Since a hot war here is not in anyone’s best interest at the moment, let us hope Iran comes to the conclusion that this is not the healthiest course of action, however annoyed they may be about recent IAEA reports.

  • Crosbie

    Overt military threats have not been that effective in persuading foreign governments. They didn’t persuade the Taliban to hand over Osama and they didn’t persuade Saddam to open up the country for inspection earlier. Possibly, this is because to give in to outside pressure makes them look weak to the populace. For all we know, Libya may have co-operated due to threats behind the scenes which, if so, were a great deal more effective. Moving a division to the border of Iran makes it look bad if we back down. Therefore, it’s a great way to go if we intend to crush Iran. It’s probably not so effective as a way to get marines home.

  • ernest young

    Syon Park thinks that his ‘good causes’ are automaticlly everyone else’s good causes. That we have the temerity to think otherwise is obviously offensive to him.

    His impression of the world and life in general, is that we are akin to an ant heap, where we are here to work for the ‘common good’, and little else. Does he see the ant heap as a dictatorship, or as a democracy?

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I doubt very much that he contributes very much, if anything at all, by way of charitable giving, good though he is at suggesting that everyone else should finance his dream of Nirvana.

    I find it quite amusing that someone with such juvenile ideas, has such a loud mouth, the tragedy is that he will be able to vote in a few years time. A perfect example of why democracy is such a failure.

  • Syon,

    If JohnJo said that taxation was theft he is mistaken. Strictly speaking it is extortion. However he is quite correct in thinking that keeping the government out of the economy will increase the general wefare. People spending thier own money on the free market, on space trips or whatever, generate real employment opportunities for others creating real wealth. Charity will never address the problem of poverty, only free enterprise can manage that.

  • Intellectual_Sex_Machine

    Cris Tucker lives in a weird world of bizarre politics, delusions that the FBI actually gives a shit about him and really, really ugly ass web design. Perry is not the one being rude to assholes like you, thats my job. In fact I think he is far too polite to guys who mouth off without backing it up with a few firing brain cells.

  • Julian Morrison

    Syon Park : you were barked at because you are persistently and willfully wrong. Taxation is literally theft, charity of the sort you advocate is like giving ibuprofen for a (self inflicted) gunshot wound, and that firework you sneer at will be remembered and praised in history when you and all your works are long forgotten.

  • Jacob

    Perry,
    Your sentiments of outrage and fury are understandable, but before you make any threats of military action you have to check what your military resources and options are. Seems Britain isn’t any longer the all powerful empire, whose military capability was almost unlimited.
    The Iranians are aware not less than you that those 10-12k poorly equipped British troops in Basra are no threat to them. The US has more troops, more equipment, and more fire power, but their force too is spread thin and far too small for engaging Iran, though they could inflict some real damage from the air. So Britain is totally dependent on the US in this, and I don’t think the US is at this moment wiling and militarily prepared to tackle Iran.
    It follows that, like in the case of the plane downed by China, or the North Korea situation – you will have to swallow the humiliation, and resort to diplomacy – i.e. – abjectly beg for the lives of those 8 sailors.

  • Old Jack Tar

    I think Jacob underestimates UK capabilities. Sure, the force across the border cannot ‘invade and conquer’ Iran, but that does not mean it is helpless, nor does it mean the RN cannot act against Iranian military assets along the long coast of the Gulf. There is a great deal Britain can do but abjectly begging is not one of those things, mate. Thinking that is a mistake many have made through history and they are as wrong now as they ever were.

  • punk boy

    I doubt anyone is suggesting we in invade Iran tomorrow afternoon. But this arrest is no accident. America has crossed into Iranian airspace on over a dozen occasions in the past 18 months. our ships have crossed into iranian waters (recognized waters) and our troops have even crossed the border a time or two. No responce except a ‘get them out.’ This act is in direct responce to the UK’s stance on Iranian nuclear build up (perceived or real). It is an act of public humiliation for the UK. Is it humiliating? Not really, not yet. More than likely it will be resolved in short order.

    But should it not be, the threat of force must be on the table. And yes, America will back Britain’s play – no matter what the play. Most of these international incidents are solved without so much as any notice to papers or the public. Because most states care not to embroil themsleves in international incidents that can have wide ranging reprucusions.

    As with the american plane taken by the chinese, this is being done for political reasons. It is either to blackmail the UK, humiliate the UK, establish Iran’s domincance in local affairs or, most likely, to test the resolve of the Coalition! It is a test case to see how far they will go to enforce their will concerning the nuclear issue. Nothing more.

    That is why it is so important. As with the american plane in china and its reference to Taiwan, something is about to be established, one way or another.

    My anger is running high at the moment because, even though, as an American, i feel the sting of insult from the British often, I still consider Britain our big brother and feel a sense of rage that someone has done this to British troops for no good reason.

    In any respect, I think it will be resolve without force of arms but I hope it is resolve by moderates in the Islamic state and face saving is had by all, that blackmail and threats fall off the table ect. Should it not though….

    As for sending aman into space. He use his own money! Did you buy a soda last week? Did you buy a cigarrette, rent amovie, watch a movie, buy a newspaper? None of these were essential to your survival and well being. That money could have been used for cancer research!!! Oh hypocrite.

    I have two family members dying of cancer right now and several who already have and I do not begrudge this man a dime of his money. Nor do I begrudge Bill Gates hoarding of his wealth. It is their money! Not mine! A thinking man might say to himself, these billionaires don’t spend their money on cancer research somaybe I shall make a billion and do so.

    Make a billion and spend it on cancer research! Go ahead. ohhh but that is so much work. I guess it easier to take someone elses money rather than earn your own.

    I will question their business acumen. Can you imagine how much money a cancer anti-viral drug will make? Maybe someone should give Bill Gates the breakdown.

    Punk Boy

  • Syon When I really think about it I can’t think of anything more offensive than a bunch of rich westerners wasting £15 million, firing some thrill seeker off for a ride into the stratosphere.

    Surely its none of your business how these private citizens chose to spend their money. Unlike a goverment they are not spending others money (ie the taxpayers) but their own. They are wasting (in your mind) their own money. Surely you can grasp the difference between the two?

    Back on topic: I am sure the Iranians will back down if enough force is shown on their doorstep. This is just postering by the Iranians and being polite will only encourage such behaviour.

  • David Gillies

    Punk boy: you’re right to say that Bill Gates and Paul Allen are entitled to hoard their wealth, and Syon Paul is a nasty envious, grasping socialist toerag for even suggesting otherwise. But let’s look at the facts. Bill Gates is by far the greatest philanthropist in the history of mankind. Much as I detest his shoddy operating systems, I have to admit that the man has given away billions for projects like AIDS treatment in Africa.

    As for the captured sailors – a military reponse is eminently possible. What would half a dozen Tomahawk SLCMs do to an oil refinery, for example? Or a couple of JDAMs on an oil pipeline terminal? We could shut Iran’s petroleum production down for months with a few airstrikes.

  • Syon

    The best reason to go into space is because some of us don’t want to be stuck on the same planet with the likes of you.

    It looks like the mullahs are going to release the RN guys. Good , because otherwise Perry’s idea would be great and while the US army may be bogged down in Iraq the USAF is rested and ready to rumble (if needed)

  • Jacob

    David, Perry,
    Here is some plausible expalantion on why did the Iranians do it

    Bombing Irans oil terminals would be shooting ourselves in the foot. We need that oil. The Irani action was planned with this knowledge in mind.

    I’m all for pulling those mad mullahs down and liberating Iran. It’s only that I lament that the military resources needed are lacking. What is also lacking is will and determination in the West.

  • Henry Kaye

    How will the EU Foreign Minister handle this Iran crisis?

  • David wrote:

    As for the captured sailors – a military reponse is eminently possible. What would half a dozen Tomahawk SLCMs do to an oil refinery, for example? Or a couple of JDAMs on an oil pipeline terminal? We could shut Iran’s petroleum production down for months with a few airstrikes.

    Doh! As oil hit $80 a barrel and the Western economies went into free fall what would like to do for an encore? Shoot the other foot?

    Never mind that we would have had zero legal or moral justification for such an action.

    Julian has it about right, the Iranians will do a bit of grandstanding, we’ll make stern representations, we will reach the diplomatic equivalent of “OK now lads you’ve had your fun” and we’ll get the boys back. Possibly it might require a bit of border sabre rattling – which will indeed please the members of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders European Expeditionary Force. The Iranians will max out the situation to their advantage since they have been on the receiving end of things over the naughty nukes situation.

    Jacob, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for Britain to

    “abjectly beg”

    for the soldiers lives. Neither Tony Blair or the British public would stomach that approach. He’s not bloody Jimmy Carter.

  • Syon Park

    Christ. How did I find this awful place? Answer: Typed Kilroy Silk secret love child into Google.

    Of course I’m not against people spending THEIR money however they like. Of course it’s up to them. I never suggested otherwise.

    But last time I checked I, like everyone else, was entitled to MY OPINION.

    And IMO £15 million could have been spent a lot better than on a rather expensive firework.

    There was nothing technologically new about that launch (man on the Moon 30 years ago – this guy went 90 miles up..wow) – the defining characteristic was that it was privately funded. OK you lot are so good on business – what return did they get for their £15 million? Apart from saying whoopee we did it?

    And not that anyone here ever answers any of the questions I pose,

    What would you do if the coast guard found 8 Iranian sailors on patrol in US waters off, say Florida?

  • toolkien

    Syon is perfectly able to have an opinion on how others spend their money. I’d prefer to be disinterested as it requires expending less energy over something I have absolutely no control over and am unlikely to change.

    It is his alternative use that needs to be debated. No where in your discussion have you addressed why those whom you would subsidize are in need, what behaviors/beliefs they hold which keep them in need. In economic terms, transferring and subsidizing only fosters more of the same unsound value systems that placed individuals in the situation they are in. You can subsidize whatever you like with your own resources, even if it incubates traits and behaviors I don’t like (i.e. I won’t use the force of the State to stop you). But I reserve the right to have an negative opinion as well if you do. But I will likely be just as disinterested in that case too.

    Without knowing more on the subject of what the fellows who were arrested were doing, I can’t comment on how the situation should be handled.

  • John J. Coupal

    It’s important for folks in the UK to know that the yanks will support whatever decision the UK makes to get its troops and materiel back.

    Over-reaching by the Iranian mullahs has become edidemic. They appear to feel that such over-reaching is consequence-free.

    I have a hunch that they will soon learn that it is anything but consequence-free.

  • Syon said: Last week I was barked at because people such as the greedy fool JohnJO who sees taxation as theft, that denies people the right to give their money away as they see fit.

    You must have me confused with someone else. I never said anything about taxation being theft. Provide any evidence to the contrary, if you can.

    Also, I find it hard to believe that you can conclude that I am a greedy person from anything that I have said. The contrary is true, if anything, and I take offence now.

    Like I said, there is no need to be abrasive and there is even less need to be an out and out liar.

  • Syon Park

    Toolkein you are a rare breed here. A mature and thoughtful poster. Any more like you and we’d be in danger of having a dogma and prejudice free debate.

    I think what you’re hinting at is that subsidising people on welfare merely keeps them in that situation as they become dependent. And I accept that point. Like evry point I’m not sure if it applies in every case.

    (Let me first state my position: I’ve worked hard and done reasonably well (not compared to Bill Gates) and contrary to untruths above I pay my way in both tax contributions and charitable donations)

    Only today I walked past a council block (like housing projects) near me in London. It was a truly awful building, you’d never want to live there if you had a (financial) choice. Well the thing is the UK government have funded the local authority to improve this area, so they have new double glazed windows, new doors, fresh paint, improved street lighting etc. And I thought – are the authorities just encouraging people to stay in such an environment?

    I don’t know the answer. Some people have the means to get out via education and a good job, but not everyone – we can’t all be high flyers in our system. And I don’t think those who can’t should be punished further by living in an awful environment. At least double glazing means the noise pollution from the road doesn’t keep them awake; and improved street lighting means people can go out at night with more confidence. What’s wrong with people living in a safe environment? I suppose with many here that represents waste.

    The other issues are also up for debate, but I am slightly more solid in my belief that the state should help those who definately CAN’T help themselves – the sick, elderly and disable who don’t have the financial means to help themselves.

    In a civilised society these people require compassionate care and as you all know I for one don’t mind paying for it via taxation.

  • There seems to be less disagreement here than might be thought.
    Steps to resolve the situation:
    1) Ask for the troops back within a given amount of time.(has this happened yet?)
    2) Ask for the troops back again after that time has passed, move troops and/or position precision munitions (chance of collateral damage overblown). Set a time limit.
    3) After this time has passed, if the troops are not returned, send the SAS in to get the troops secretly while making the traditional demands on Iran (no nukes, stop supporting terrorism, get your operatives out of Iraq, support free elections, etc.)
    4) Respond to the next situation without #1 and an abbreviated #2 and full force in #3.

    Given the record of the SAS, I’m sure they will succeed if it comes to #3. Given the cowards who run Iran, it won’t get past #2.

    Anything wrong with this plan?
    I suppose one complaint I have about the west is that they often opt for security rather than liberty on the international arena. The war in Iraq is a wonderful exception.
    Even without these events, we should be complaining about the situation in Iran (especially w.r.t. Iraqi insurrections), and supporting the anti-Mullah/pro-democracy movements there with money and resources (weapons?).

    Also, I somewhat agree with Kristof (of the NY Times) who says that we should support these movements without increasing Iranian nationalistic pride in their government. That would probably slow down reform by giving the Mullahs an excuse to do their evil.

  • Nathan

    “But last time I checked I, like everyone else, was entitled to MY OPINION.”

    Yes! And so are we! And it doesn’t have to toe your party line. My, what a beautiful world.

    “And not that anyone here ever answers any of the questions I pose,”

    On the rare occasion something sensible is heard, a response is given.

    “What would you do if the coast guard found 8 Iranian sailors on patrol in US waters off, say Florida?”

    Well, obviously I’d wonder how one of their rickety boats survived the passage from Iran thousands of miles to Florida. It’s still a bogus analogy. That river is the border, so they had no right to snatch them off the river. As of yet, we’ve never heard any reports of US or UK forces returning the gesture, now have we?

    So how about we move on from this stange idea that Iran was simply exercising territorial sovereignity here. It’s a cold-blooded attempt at picking up a bargaining chip.

    “OK you lot are so good on business – what return did they get for their £15 million? ”

    They got to space on less than the pricetag of a jumbo jet for one. That counts for a lot; they didn’t just achieve space travel, they did so very cheaply.

    Their returns won’t come immediately (sorry, no instant gratification, is that why you’re having such trouble getting your head around it?) but things such as space tourism just got that much closer. And frankly, the idea of being able to spend a vacation in orbit is a really appealing one to me. Talk about getting away from it all.

  • Louise Rutherford

    well JohnJo, like the russian sounding woman said earlier, when they don’t have an coherent argument, they just go ad hominim. It means you won, so don’t burst a blood vessel. I am glad the owners of this blog do not axe the statist or tinfoil-hat-faction libertarians too often as they do a better job of making themselves look like fools than we ever could.

  • punk boy

    without hijacking this thread i would suggest giong to various tech head websites and read what they have to say but off the bat….

    cheaper production of lift-off technology for satellite placement.

    cheaper alternative to space shuttle -bring one man up one down to space station

    cheaper movement of material to space for research

    tourism :) I know itsod but there are enough millionaires in the US willing to pay the 100,000 per trip to quickly pay for itself. then more!!!

    the more will not be waste.

    when the first cro-magnun man looke at ‘Uhg’ and laughed at his log raft wondering why that idiot wanted to float ten feet out into the ocean.

    as for Iran/britain. like i said i think it will be solved without a diplomatic row. but the way it is solved is important. revolution is brewing all over the middle east. the way the west acts will affect that revolution.

    punk boy

  • Truthteller

    Speaking as a critical rational individualist, I should like to say that all this huffing and puffing about “Britains” and “Iranians” is sooo uncool. Good grief, you’re blustering away like a bunch of retired colonels in the golf club. We’re all just individuals, don’t you know? Why get het up about superficial differences?

    A true libertarian does not owe any allegiance to artificial devices of coercion such as nation states. He is a citizen of the universe. And the last thing he wants is for these organised systems of brigandage to steal his money and spend it on killing other people, yet this appears to be the one use for taxation that gets you folks all excited.

  • Syon Park wrote:

    In a civilised society these people require compassionate care and as you all know I for one don’t mind paying for it via taxation.

    I agree with all of that. I also don’t mind that you don’t mind paying for it via taxation. I do rather mind that you also don’t mind other people being forced to do so as well even if they do mind. I am a minarchist rather than anarchist, so I do realise that some taxtion of some sort is needed to fund the things only the state can do (which is, debatable, defense) and which the market cannot (debatably) do.

    I am all in favour of both charity and free enterprise because I think that those are the way to provide for the people who do indeed need compassionate care and also provide the affluance, technology and economic adaptability that means fewer people will need compassionate care. The evidence to support my theory that only markets can do that is both overwhelming and easy to find. That some cannot see that is unfortunate but all forming a critical preference for such a view these days really requires is a non-dogmatic understanding of the nature of reality, a good internet connection and search engine.

  • Gorky

    There’s an article on the National Review site pointing out that there will be no military action against Iran because Britain has an awful lot of lucrative contracts with Tehran. The journo claims that this is also why the Brits go easy on Iran during any negotiations over the nuclear arsenal.

    The American Right are a soppy bunch of idealists sometimes aren’t they?

    More interestingly it shows how quickly Britain can be discarded by the American Right when there is a conflict of national interests.

    “The UK..hell… they’re just part of the decadent old Europe International system…making deal with Islamofascists..just like France…they can go hang.”

  • Syon Park said:

    Christ. How did I find this awful place?

    You can always unfind it.

    What would you do if the coast guard found 8 Iranian sailors on patrol in US waters off, say Florida?

    I don’t know about Florida but if it was Britain they would probably be offered Housing Benefit, free NHS treatment and Legal Aid.

  • Skip Stein

    Well, from the USA, I support any action that the UK takes to free the sailors from Iran. All those islamic fanatics should be dealt with as they deal; an eye for an eye as they say. You can’t negotiate with fanatics, bullets do wonders. If the civilized world doesn’t deal with these terrorists and terrorist states soon, the world will be a worse mess. If Iran continues to product nucluear material, don’t you know that the world will be facing nuclear terror very soon. We have to act to save civilization from islamist terrorists or any others; decisivelsy and finally.

  • Julian Morrison

    Syon Park: OK you lot are so good on business – what return did they get for their £15 million? Apart from saying whoopee we did it?

    They just changed the status of a whole industry – private manned space flight – from a joke into an investment opportunity.

    Their tech is new – specifically what’s new, is reusability and cheapness, and the design approach of “baby steps”. Government space never learned how, they just went with “brute force, ignorance, and a bottomless money pit”.

  • Syon Park

    Only if they were genuine asylum seekers, fleeing from an oppressive state and could prove they were in danger there.

    Well come on you lot – is Iran an oppressive state?

    Then you’d have to offer them asylum, which may include welfare.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    Unfind it I will, making this blog interesting by playing devil’s advocate is more than you people deserve.

    I’ll leave you to agree with your deluded selves and plan your journey’s into outer space.

    Should any of you need help raising money for your trip – just ask – I’m a real philanthropist (on condition it’s a one way ticket).

  • Pete (Detroit)

    Not to add fuel to the OT fires but I just feel compelled to fisk this p.o.s. posting

    When I really think about it I can’t think of anything more offensive than a bunch of rich westerners wasting £15 million, firing some thrill seeker off for a ride into the stratosphere.

    Then I expect you’ld be REALLY upset about private rental of cubic on the ISS for producing ultra-pure and stable crystals for better computers, or safer virus research, leading to new cures?
    Frankly, I can think of NO better use of $20m than launching the next age of man. Make NO mistake, this is the Wright Flyer of the day, and we will ALL remember this date.

    but even the American public have had enough of this waste (yes infinitely more wasteful than the EU).

    Well, if they had access to infinite funds, they might be infinately more wasteful…

    So now some chap from Microsoft decides to spend his money this way while there are millions starving in poverty, babies are born with incurable diseases and all of us have a family member or friend who passed away because of cancer.

    And that’s the part that REALLY offends you, isn’t it? That he actually has the temetry to spend his own money any way he wants. Never mind that by not giving $20 to a million people, he has created an industry that will give JOBS to a million people in 20 years…
    Babies that are born with incurable diseases? we can cure them? erru?
    Both that and AIDS issues would benifit from being a tad more careful in choosing your F-Buddys, no?

    There are so many worthy causes that are desperate for funding on this planet –

    And the beautiful thing is, you are free to devote as much time and effort to them as you wish. You may even choose to be a fundraiser for them.

    and since I found this (actually depressing it is so selfish) blog

    You say that like it’s a bad thing? I admit I’m selfish. *I* want to be able to keep MY money and do waht *I* want with it. I don’t want MY success punished, I dont’ want to reward YOUR failure.
    Yep – selfish and proud.

    I’ve been slaughtered as a ‘statist’ and many other silly names, by people who want tax cuts so (they say) they are free to give more money to good causes.

    Well, anyone who tries to steal my hard earned funds for the sole purpose of propping up a bloated bureauocracy of morally bancrupt programs of fraud and waste *is* a “Statist” ayup. If the shoe fits…
    (and yeah, there’s lotsa ‘em on THIS side of the pond, too)
    And no, not so much that I want tax cuts so that I can “give my money to good causes” I want tax cuts so that I can do what ever the hell I want to with it. Donate it, party it, buy wine, women and song, put it in my pipe and smoke it, What Ever I Want.
    Got it?

    Well which good cause would it be? Vaccinations for babies in developing countries?
    > actually, that *is* a cause I believe in – if you can get the parents to bring the kids in.

    Meds for HIV + patients?
    > as a private charity perhaps even I could be persuaded. As a sop of public funds? Surely dialisys
    machines would have a better ROI?

    Or would you fire the money away by sending some prick ninety miles into the air?

    If I had enough, I’d buy a seat myself.

    If there was somewhere to go to we’d have ‘commercial’ space travel already. But there isn’t so we haven’t.

    Up until yestereday, it was too expensive. ONLY Gov’ts were doign it. NOW we have the option for private investors and corperations to get involved – lookout Snoopy! We’ll be on the moon (pernament) by the end of the decade, and Mars 10 years after that. No Where to GO indeed! Dude, we need like hell to figure out somewhere ELSE *to* go, to get these fragile eggs called Humanity into more than just one basket.

    That whole episode in the Mojave desert was IMO big boys toys for people stuck in adolescence.

    Well, that’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to it. However, one BIG diff b/n MY opinoins and yours – I typically don’t expect the gov’t to pick your pocket to pay for MY pet projects / causes.

  • Cydonia

    “The Iranian state is a vile tyranny and the sooner they are put under real pressure the better.”

    Well I seem to recall that one man tried very hard to defeat the Iranian State militarily and look at the thanks he got from the West …..

  • Yosemite Sam

    “Well I seem to recall that one man tried very hard to defeat the Iranian State militarily and look at the thanks he got from the West ”

    Actually, he did get support from the West as the Leftists never tire of reminding us. It was felt that Iran was a bigger threat than Bathist Iraq.

  • David Gillies

    I wasn’t saying shutting down oil production would be a good idea. I was just taking issue with the people who said that there was no military response that the UK could make.

  • Well come on you lot – is Iran an oppressive state? Then you’d have to offer them asylum, which may include welfare.
    You can’t have it both ways.

    Of course you can. I do not think the British state should offer Iranians asylum… why? Because I think there should be open borders and any Iranians (or anyone else) who want to come here and find work should be allowed to do exactly that.

    As for giving them welfare, I don’t think BRITISH people should be given welfare by the state, so obviously I do not think Iranians should either. The USA was not populated by people from Europe attracted by welfare payments, and I see no reason why Britain should be any different to that.

  • corrie

    >Of course I’m not against people spending THEIR money however they like. Of course it’s up to them. I never suggested otherwise….and IMO £15 million could have been spent a lot better than on a rather expensive firework.

    Never suggested otherwise? So “could have been spent better” is what – a recommendation?

    >There was nothing technologically new about that launch

    Wrongo, buckwheat. The engine is completely new. Burns laughing gas and tire rubber.

    >(man on the Moon 30 years ago – this guy went 90 miles up..wow)

    Ok, let’s see YOU jump 62 miles straight up.

    >- the defining characteristic was that it was privately funded. OK you lot are so good on business – what return did they get for their £15 million? Apart from saying whoopee we did it?

    I’m guessing that Rutan’s company will net a few more multimillion-dollar R&D contracts. Several tens of thousands will go see Allen’s museums. Then there are the t-shirt sales.

    >What would you do if the coast guard found 8 Iranian sailors on patrol in US waters off, say Florida?

    Non-sequitur, QED. To the original topic (which may be OBE, as it now looks as if the sailors will be released with an apology). The mullahs suddenly realized that Jimmy Carter was no longer in office.

  • toolkien

    I don’t know the answer. Some people have the means to get out via education and a good job, but not everyone – we can’t all be high flyers in our system. And I don’t think those who can’t should be punished further by living in an awful environment. At least double glazing means the noise pollution from the road doesn’t keep them awake; and improved street lighting means people can go out at night with more confidence. What’s wrong with people living in a safe environment? I suppose with many here that represents waste.

    The other issues are also up for debate, but I am slightly more solid in my belief that the state should help those who definately CAN’T help themselves – the sick, elderly and disable who don’t have the financial means to help themselves.

    In a civilised society these people require compassionate care and as you all know I for one don’t mind paying for it via taxation.

    I too think that people should help other people, but do not care for State Force to be used. There are two simple reasons for this, both involving ‘value judgements’ of individuals.

    1) Taking a persons property by Force strips them of their essential being; the product of their system of value judgement which collects in their material possessions/earnings, is destroyed. If I labor, I acquire goods and cash (a placeholder for future goods) and when they are taken away, my value system goes with them. In other words, the ability to roll up value judgements (the essence of who I am) into property is useless unless my system of value judgement controls its reconversion into/by future transactions. Stealing or extorting my property also steals part of who I am.

    2) Broadcast ‘Caring’ is too oblique and is quite literally nonsensical. You suppose that people who live in dire straits do not ‘deserve’ to be there when they very well could deserve to. Without knowing a great deal about an individual it is impossible to know what has caused their condition or if you or I should feel justified/bound in assisting them. In other words it takes a fimiliarity that crude instruments of Statism cannot even hope to come close to. If a person feels bound to help other people it should be done through private means so that bonds can be formed which will make the sacrifice efficacious in that the giver will make some (reasonable) demands on the receiver’s behavior and the receiver will feel some desire to change their behavior based on a personal buy-in into the association created by the unilateral transfer. Also in this way, the giver is assured to get whatever non-material/emotional gain they want from the unilateral transfer of their material property as the receiver’s behavior changes (presumably for the better) and allows the giver to end or suspend transfer, if they so choose, if behaviors don’t change. State transfer does not take any of this into account.

    Unless behavior is addressed, and changes are made, transfer (typically of the Forcible kind) will make for a resentful mass put upon by taxation and a dissolute mass who feel a strange sense of entitlement for merely existing and little or no worth for themselves or the resources that are transferred to them, all culminating in a crucible making more of the same. Non value judged-forced transfers have not cured poverty and has likely only increased it.

    This shall be my last addition to this thread. As a guest I try not to make more than three, and, regardless, is way off topic.

  • Johnathan

    On topic, I hope the Foreign Office makes it damn clear that harsh measures will be forthcoming unless the soldiers are handed back. We cannot let this stand. Hopefully the Iranians will see sense.

    Syon Park – if you find Dale Amon’s posts from Mojave about the space flight a bore, tough. Go and read something else and try to observe some basic standards of civility. Dale and other contributors to this blog are interested in the whole issue of spacefaring the potential of harnessing free enterprise to that end. Explorers and innovators of all types are always being accused of hogging resources that should be used for the “poor” etc. It is the usual zerop-fallacy, and anyway, if Paul Allen wants to use his millions to build a rocket, good luck to him!

  • Rebecca

    I also think it’s time to face down Iran, because if they get away with this, they’ll do something worse the next time and the next time and the next. In fact, if the West were more sure of itself (and not infested by self-hating second-guessers), this would be considered a “come-and-get-me-coppers” mistake by the Mad Mullahs. As it is, we will talk and talk and talk for months, while those poor guys sit and endure that famed Iranian hospitality.

  • Jacob

    David:
    “I was just taking issue with the people who said that there was no military response that the UK could make.”

    That is the sad truth. The UK has some very limited options of naval or aerial bombardment, but Iran holds most of the military cards, and it’s ability to retaliate must be considered. The have scuds, probably chemical weapons, and they sit on the critical straits of Hormuz and the resupply route to the Persian gulf and Iraq. Oil supply disruption is also a danger. So the military options and their consequences must be very carefully weighed, they aren’t too bright. And in any case you’ll have to do a lot of build-up and lenghty preparations, and convince the US to come along in an election year.
    I doubt there is any viable military option.

    About the “abject begging” – sorry if this expression ofends people. Of course, the “begging” isn’t done openly and explicitly, it’s done “diplomatically” i.e. in secret, through third parties and intermediaries. But this is what the diplomatic approach amounts to, have no delusions about it.

  • The Belmon Club has an excellent post(Link) on the topic.

    They should be made to remember this day so that if their miserable theocracy lasts another ten years they can never bring themselves to look at a calendar opened to the month of June without trembling. The British Tories are subject to periodic and nagging bouts of patriotism, a feeling the Democrats have conditioned Teheran to believe is extinct in the Western political opposition and whose consequences may now surprise them. The Mullahs have rolled the dice and the only answer should be to insert them, one by one, between their bearded lips.

  • Julian Taylor

    “Well I seem to recall that one man tried very hard to defeat the Iranian State militarily and look at the thanks he got from the West ….. ”

    Cydonia, I do hope you are not seriously suggesting some apology for Saddam Hussein, due to his actions against Iran? Or do you actually approve of the use of mustard gas against 12 year old boy soldiers, or cyanide against Kurdish villagers?

    Unlike many people who post on here I was living in Iran during the revolution. As much as I don’t particularly hold many pleasant memories of being forcibly evacuated by Conoco through Bandar Al-Abbas (it was about a month and a half before I was reunited with my parents afterwards – which is not so nice when you are 8), I do hold fond memories of the people there, and how so many of them deeply opposed Khomeini and the growing influence of the mullahs. Thus when we hear of British troops being held there I can only hope that this isn’t going to degenerate into a mullah-orientated public diatribe against the “little Satan” and will be treated by Iran for exactly what it is – a rather silly navigation error by the Royal Navy …

  • Actually the best response (on the space issue) is what one member of the audience at the Aldridge commission hearings said.

    “If this commission were operating in Lincoln’s time it might have been called “The Commission on Iowa , Colorado and Beyond and people might point out that we have’nt solved the problems of the east coast, that it’s dangerous out there and who cares if there is life in California!”

  • GCooper

    Julian Taylor writes:

    “…a rather silly navigation error by the Royal Navy …”

    My, but I’m getting tired of this myth.

    Until the personnel directly involved have confirmed that it genuinely was a navigational error, I can see absolutely no reason to doubt and discredit the professional abilities of our armed forces by assuming a bunch of Moslem theocrats has suddenly changed the habits of a lifetime and begun to tell the truth.

    Do at least try to give the poor sods concerned the benefit of the doubt. They deserve that, at least.

    All the evidence suggests that this was a carefully stage-managed attempt to boost local testosterone levels, because the West finally had the audacity to start worrying about Mohammed’s Very Own Iranian Nuke.

    Sooner or later, we are going to have to deal with these maniacs. The choice will be before or after they are in a position to deploy nuclear weapons.

    Answers as to which is the more sensible choice on the back of a LibDem electoral leaflet…

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Why is that I keep seeing the ‘Ad Hominem Tu Quoque‘ fallacy cropping up whenever somebody advocates a military solution? The fact that Perry did not bodily throw himself into the military does not invalidate the truth of his statements.

    TWG

  • Lynne

    My ancestors came to the U.S. looking for free land to homestead. If that isn’t a government giveaway, I don’t know what is.

  • Chris Josephson

    Skip Stein:

    “Well, from the USA, I support any action that the UK takes..”

    Rebecca:

    “.. it’s time to face down Iran, because if they get away with this, they’ll do something worse the next time and the next time and the next.”

    Agree with both posters.

    This shouldn’t be treated as some incident that’s best left to the diplomats or (God forbid) the UN to blather about for years. The terrorists are watching to see what the response is.
    The US will support whatever action the UK takes, I’m very sure. Hopefully, the UK will let Iran know that any negotiations will only last for so long, a few days perhaps. Iran has to hand the ship and sailors back or else face the consequences. Consequences being some show of force.

    Synon Park:

    “What would you do if the coast guard found 8 Iranian sailors on patrol in US waters off, say Florida?”

    Good question. Assuming they haven’t done anything, we’d have no choice but to release them. Of course, we’d have the ‘usual suspects’ denouncing the US for even stopping the boat.

  • If those brittish sailors were in Australian waters claiming refugee status, they would be locked up for at least the next two years while their cases were checked. And as far as jumping to the aid of these brittish sailors when contracters are being beheaded left right and center.

    Somthing has to be done. But different groups are mixing their messages left right and center. The Islamic world, while only one quater of it, is pulling the west towards a world war, and we are falling for it.

    America has undone in Cuba what has taken the UN the better part of the last century, Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions.

    Both of these losses are victories for Islamic Fundamentalism.

    America is almost at the point of using the nuke to, again, demostrate that they have it and arn’t afraid to use it. Unlike Russia, Islam falls well short of being a product of the enlightenment or Rational, there is a lot of pain and a better place beyond.

    They have the bomb.

    Do we really want to see them use it?

    If the enlightenment and postmodernity have shown us one thing, it is that there is one Earth, we can’t survive at the moment without it.

    Who has the right to risk it?

    Under a totalitarian regeme, Samizdata, ment somthing, you have a freedom born of co-operation and negatiation, Bush, Blair and Howard are destroying years of work for what?

    Your small militarist egos?

    Western Greatness?

    In the face of third world poverty, you are throwing away everything ‘great’ about the west.

    You are an interesting bunch of pseudo-anarchists, you sound more like the voices if the freemarket totalitarian Regeme of the New World Order, with none if the Diplomacy that has created the wealth you splurge.

    Just my opinion.

  • Fairly incoherent stuff… and I never claimed to be an anarchist

  • M. Simon

    No one has a right to risk the Earth.

    I’m for learning all about sharia. How about you mate?

  • M. Simon

    Synon Park:
    “What would you do if the coast guard found 8 Iranian sailors on patrol in US waters off, say Florida?”

    This is more like finding 8 Canadians on the St. Laurence River.

    Shared border and all that.

  • snide

    You are an interesting bunch of pseudo-anarchists, you sound more like the voices if the freemarket totalitarian Regeme of the New World Order, with none if the Diplomacy that has created the wealth you splurge.

    hehehehe. “freemarket totalitarian Regeme of the New World Order”… so, how exactly can you have a free market under a totalitarian system? Does the totalitarian state order people to make spontaneous market decisions at gunpoint? Are people sent to gulags for not freely trading with each other? Oh, and I have yet to see a diplomat ever create wealth! Ensure the brain is in gear before plugging in the keyboard.

  • Cydonia

    Julian Taylor:

    “Cydonia, I do hope you are not seriously suggesting some apology for Saddam Hussein, due to his actions against Iran? Or do you actually approve of the use of mustard gas against 12 year old boy soldiers, or cyanide against Kurdish villagers?”

    Of course not. Few, if any, wars are justified and the Iran/Iraq war was no different. But theocracy in Iran will expire of natural causes, just as Sadam’s regime would have done had it been left alone. My comment was intended to do no more than point out the rather obvious ironies involved in Perry calling for military operations againsts the Iranian regime.

  • Jacob

    Cydonia,
    “But theocracy in Iran will expire of natural causes, just as Sadam’s regime would have done had it been left alone. ”

    That’s fantastically optimistic, or pacifism writ large.
    Sit back, relax and do nothing, evil will in due course expire and disappear.

    The danger is you will expire of unnatural causes before they do.

  • I must say, the troll-tossing on this site is just phenomenal. Our own trolls are much more seasonal and rather weak; taking them on is more like shooting squirrels with RPGs. Which, you might argue, works pretty well but cuts the chase a bit short.

    Only here will you see the likes of Eledolie or zephyrXX wiggle, sometimes for days, at the end of an overstretched, rusty, bloody thread of stale socialist mental floss.

    I’m jealous.

    OK, maybe not.

  • Szegedhead

    Few, if any, wars are justified and the Iran/Iraq war was no different. But theocracy in Iran will expire of natural causes, just as Sadam’s regime would have done had it been left alone.

    Speaking as someone who grewed up behind Iron Curtain, well, thanks for writting off a generation or two. Communism “expired of natural causes” after first killing both my grandparents, imprisoning my mother for most my childhood and ruining lives of millions. I was only child then but if a liberation war from west had started out in 1956, we would have welcomed it even if our town was flattened and half of us were killed by NATO bombs. In the Prague spring was hope and we hoped things would spread and Communism would “expire of natural causes” but it was our brothers and sisters across the border who ended up expiring under Russian tanks. It may be more convenient to let ignorant foreigner like us in far off places from you live under tyranny but please don’t think you are doing anyone favours by respecting right of evil governments to murder and oppress with sovereign immunity. Sure, you don’t owe the rest of the world anything by right but I would hope some might actually want to help end tyranny everywhere, be it Communist, Socialist, Fascist or Islamist.

  • Jacob

    The sailor’s crisis seemed to have been resolved now, by “diplomacy”.

    But Teheran’s mullahs have send a clear message: “don’t mess with us”. They are now satisfied their message has been received. Mission accomplished.

    What will the US and UK do about Irans A bomb? I’m afraid they will take Cydonia’s way: wait for it to expire of natural causes.

  • The sensible way is to just start arming Iranian enemies of the Islamist regime and destabilising them the way they try to destabilise their enemies, rather than just wait for the heat death of the universe to make all problems eventually go away.

  • Cydonia

    Jacob

    “Cydonia,
    “But theocracy in Iran will expire of natural causes, just as Sadam’s regime would have done had it been left alone. ”

    That’s fantastically optimistic, or pacifism writ large.
    Sit back, relax and do nothing, evil will in due course expire and disappear.”

    There’s nothing fantastically optimistic about this. Theocracy in Iran is dying and Sadam was an old man. Most of the world’s totalitarian regimes have ended without a war. War didn’t finish off Communism. Why are Baathism or Islamic theocracy any different?

  • Cydonia

    Szegedhead:

    “It may be more convenient to let ignorant foreigner like us in far off places from you live under tyranny but please don’t think you are doing anyone favours by respecting right of evil governments to murder and oppress with sovereign immunity.”

    No goverment has any right to murder, oppress (or do most of the things that governments do). But it is another thing altogether to say that the best way to increase freedom is to wage war. I don’t deny that there might be highly exceptional cases in which that could be true. But the adverse consequences of war in terms of human and property damage and the general increase in State power that comes with it, are such that libertarians ought to be extremely careful before hitching their wagon to support for military adventures.

    Would you really have welcomed an all-out war between the West and the Soviets in 1956 with the hundreds of millions of dead that would have entailed?

  • Panda

    I hear you Szegedhead. Cydonia, looking east across a divided Europe under Communism it would be hard to see how a war could have increased the already total power of the state. It is rather like asking someone starpped to a chair in a torture chamber if they are afraid of falling asleep because they might have bad dreams. People who understand this, I mean REALLY understand this, not just read about it, are people who realise how irrelevent to the real world this kind of “libertarian” remark is. like they say here, state is not your friend, for sure, but not all states are the same. Most people in the west just have no idea.

  • A_t

    Szegedhead, I understand what you’re saying, but realistically that course of action could have led to the whole of Europe being a near-uninhabitable radioactive wasteland. The poeple of Europe would be ‘free’ for sure, but living in fallout shelters for much of their lives, which is pretty paltry freedom even if you couuld say whatever you liked in your shelter.

    It’s similar to the Chinese situation today; sure they’re an evil, oppressive government, but what can we do? (well, we should at least be placing some human rights conditions on trade, as far as i’m concerned, but hey) The military option’s definitely not a wise one.

  • Jacob

    “The military option’s definitely not a wise one.”

    Tell this to the mullahs, tell it to Saddam, tell it to the communists, tell it to the Islamonuts. They are the aggresors, starting wars evrywhere.

    It is the decisive and aggresive response of the US and the West, that halted the spread of communist cancer, and eventually brought it down, and will do the same to the Islamic nuts. Appeasment only encourages the aggresors and mad tyrants and makes a bigger war more likely. Some things are worth fighting for and defending.

    Pacifism is not part of libertarianism. Refraining from aggresion is. Don’t mix them up.

    Go preach pacifism to the other side, in this case the mullahs in Iran. Good luck.

  • A_t

    Woah there Jacob… did i say “I am a pacifist. Let us never attack anyone ever again”?

    All I was saying is that in some cases, eg. Soviet Union in the past, or China now, choosing the military option would be pretty dumb. Do you fancy a nuclear confrontation with China then?

    As for our decisive and aggressive” response to the USSR, it was hardly “bomb the hell out of them”, was it? Could have been a lot more aggressive if we’d put our minds to it; remind me again exactly how many bombs we dropped on Moscow.

    Sure, without holding our big sticks, we’d have been fucked, but the correct & wise course was just to wield the sticks, show that we had them, & wait for the whole corrupt enterprise to collapse. It’s not nice to see people suffer under oppressive regimes, but that doesn’t always mean that going in there & trying to overthrow/destroy that regime is the best option for all concerned (note: I’m not saying this is never a good option though).

    ANd this bullshit conflation of all your demons into one; argh! communists, islamists! “starting wars everywhere”… really? Wow… I must’ve not noticed all the secret wars. I thought there was a bit of terrorist trouble here & there, some religious nutters whose influence will probably wane if we stand fast & covertly undermine them; not engaging in too much open confrontation, as that will make them look more important than they really are & garner them support from any muslim who’s resentful towards/jealous of the West.

    Shows how ignorant I am eh? What do I know of the global communo-islamist conspiracy to take over the world? Coming soon to a village near you… your very own Islamic war! Fight now kids, or loose your treasured freedom. Pass the foil; my hat’s clearly leaking.

  • A_t

    & I may not be able to tell that to the mullahs, but they’ll find out in the fullness of time. Plus, last I saw, they (at least in Iran) weren’t attacking anyone except the people of their country; it’s pretty clear to everyone concerned that any openly aggressive move on their part would probably result in their removal.

  • Jacob

    “Pass the foil; my hat’s clearly leaking.”

    You indeed need a good supply of foil.

    The communists were very active – supporting, planning, training, financicng – communist insurgencies and putches all over the world. Not only did they install, by brute force, oppresive, communist governments in all of eastern europe, they were very active everywhere around the globe.
    So you are unaware of communist aggresion ?

    “”starting wars everywhere”… really? Wow… I must’ve not noticed all the secret wars. ”
    Seems there are many things you are unaware of.

    The same about terrorism.
    “I thought there was a bit of terrorist trouble here & there, some religious nutters whose influence will probably wane if …”
    Just some stray misguided youths….

    What about Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lybia (in the past, possibly even now), Iraq (in the past), Afghanistan (in the past) ? These are all subsidiaries fully owned by terrorism, and dedicated to the destruction of the “big Satan” and the corrupt and infidel West. (Their words, don’t discount them).

    My “pacifist” charge was mainly aimed at Cydonia, but you amply earned it too with your last post, where you try to gloss over some very serious threats from the past and present.

    “… did i say “I am a pacifist. Let us never attack anyone ever again”?”
    Yes, you just said it. Read your post above. If the Islamist threat is nothing to worry about, just like the communist threat before – then you are saying – practically – let’s never use force (except, maybe, in case of another Pearl Harbour, but with WMDs arround, waiting to be hit is not wise).

    “they (at least in Iran) weren’t attacking anyone except the people of their country; ”
    Dead wrong.
    Who is fomenting, financing, organizing and supporting all the resistance in Iraq, which is doing it’s best to prevent any chance of a decent, nonbeligerent regime there ? Who invented, finances and commands Hizbollah ? Who builds A bombs ? Do they need the A bombs to suppress only their own people ? Who declares they are going to wipe Israel off the face of earth ?
    Seems, as I said, there are a lot of things you gloss over.

  • A_t

    Jacob… you’ve misunderstood my central point, which pertained to the comment thread, in particular the idea that open war should have been declared in Europe, unlike your “argh! we’re under attack from all round” rants.

    All I was saying was that in some cases, being openly aggressive in an obvious bomb-dropping way isn’t smart. Even the ‘idiot’ islamists know this, which is why all the regimes you mention above use proxy fools who are willing to blow themselves up, rather than declaring war.

    “These are all subsidiaries fully owned by terrorism”
    Dude.. ‘terrorism’ doesn’t own shit. Terrorism is a technique; a method used for ideological/strategic purposes. If anything’s controlling the government, it’s the ideology, not the technique. Please try not to get too mixed up here.

    And where did I gloss over threats from the past? Did I deny anywhere that the USSR was a serious threat? That we were right to be sufficiently armed to ensure they wouldn’t try anything major? That we were correct to use counterinsurgency methods against their various covert attempts to expand their sphere of influence?

    As for the Islamist thing… I know your views on the matter, and although I agree there are many who would like to see our (the West, that is) downfall/submission, I can’t see it happening. The idea that anyone could impose Sharia law upon us any time soon is laughable. It’s one thing killing a few people; quite easy as a matter of fact, which is why they do it, the cowardly bastards. It’s quite another making a nation of people submit to your will. Check out what’s going on in Iraq, & the US has a fair amount of support there; a lot more than any Sharia advocates would have in say, the UK. There is no *way* in hell they stand any realistic chance of achieving their laughable, stupid goals.

    The main task therefore is not to get all het up about how they’re going to take over our countries, make our women wear veils & so on, no matter how much they talk about it, but to try & minimise the damage they can do to us.

    How we do that is open to debate, & again, I realise your position is that invading Iraq was helpful in that respect. I’m less convinced, but that’s ok… I just wish you’d calm down a little. They’re not going to break down your door & force you to grow a beard any time soon. And the “direct use of force is not always the wise option” dictum stands.

  • A_t

    Also, Jacob… I’m curious. Do you feel that, for instance, the US should not have waited for Pearl Harbour, but struck out preemptively against the Japanese as soon as a conflict of interests was obvious, or Japanese rhetoric became hostile? Or was it OK to wait because they didn’t have nukes?

    It’s all very well saying “we must not wait until we are attacked”, but then if we don’t, what criteria do ‘good guys’ use to determine when we start a war? Do you think history would be so kind to the Allies if the US had launched an ‘unprovoked’ preemptive attack on Japan?

    Again, I’m not opposing covert action however violent, but starting open war is something that has grave consequences, both directly upon those involved, and upon of the moral legitimacy of the a nation which started it.

    And before you get on your high horse about how Saddam broke various resolutions etc., the recent invasion of Iraq is not what I’m tilting at here; it’s the broader principle of whether it’s wise to go to war when faced with a threatening force. You appear to be arguing that it always/usually is. I think that’s simplistic & dangerous.

  • Cydonia

    Jacob:

    You are confusing pacifism with non-interventionism. Pacifism has little to do with classical liberalism whereas non-interventionism used to be a central principle of it (and fortunately amongst some libertarians, still is).

  • Jacob

    Cydonia,
    “You are confusing pacifism with non-interventionism. ”

    Sorry, it’s you who is confusing.
    Nobody intervened in Afghanistan or Iraq before 9/11.
    To oppose that intervention after 9/11 surely is pacifism.
    In retrospect we may say that there were very good grounds to intervene before 9/11 and prevent this disaster.
    However – after 9/11, opposing these interventions may be plausible (I don’t think so) on the ground of: too costly in lives and gold. Opposing them on general “intervention is wrong” grounds – makes no sense.
    In other words: saying the intervention (in Iraq) is too costly, may take too much time, and has slim chance of success – these are arguable points.
    Saying it is immoral because intervention in general in immoral is totally, categorically wrong.

    By the way – did you oppose the “humanitarian” intervention in Kosovo too ?

  • Jacob

    A_t,
    “I just wish you’d calm down a little. They’re not going to break down your door & force you to grow a beard any time soon. ”

    Well, I hope not, thanks to the brave American and English soldiers. And that’s a hope, not a certainty.
    No thanks to the EU – French-German-Russians.

    The point is that the Islamist threat would not have, in due course, expired on it’s own. Or, if it would have expired after xxx years – it would have caused immense damage in the meanwhile. So active action was (and is) needed.

    “And the “direct use of force is not always the wise option” dictum stands.”
    Surely. When you lack sufficient means. When your’e weak.
    Or when you discount (gloss over) the seriousness of the threat. Isn’t that what happened previous to Pearl Harbour ?

    “Do you feel that, for instance, the US should not have waited for Pearl Harbour, but struck out preemptively against the Japanese as soon as a conflict of interests was obvious, or Japanese rhetoric became hostile? Or was it OK to wait because they didn’t have nukes? ”

    The US should have struck the moment they thought there was a big chance of beeing hit by the Japanese. Mobilization for war, not the attack itself, used to be considered a casus belli before 1914.

    The big powers had some treaties in place – saying: if you build more than x battleships – it’s war. By analogy the US should say to all hostile countries: no nukes, no WMD or it’s war.
    It would be nice if the UN could do that, but they are too busy denouncing imperialism and supporting terrorist regimes.

    “If anything’s controlling the government, it’s the ideology, not the technique. Please try not to get too mixed up here.”
    Oh, nice to see that you agree that terrorism isn’t a technique, but an ideology, an all encompassing ideology, that includes the purpose (domination), the moral justification (Islam) and the means (murder, terrorising, sabotage and economic warfare).

  • A_t

    Jacob, you persist in twisting my words round to suit your purposes. I distinctly said that terrorism is a TECHNIQUE.. there you go, it’s in caps, maybe you’ll understand this time.

    But if terrorism is an ideology which includes Islam, rather than the tactic I believe it is, does that mean the IRA were muslims? Who would have guessed!

    Do you really believe that if we weren’t fighting in Iraq now, some nasty Muslim men might come and try to make you grow a beard? Aww… It’s ok, I don’t think the muslim bogeman’s coming to your house soon. But if you fancy entertaining me, you could briefly explain how you think they’d overcome resistance in order to do it… I have to say, I can’t even imagine.

    As for “The US should have struck the moment they thought there was a big chance of beeing hit by the Japanese.”

    hmm… so if i’m walking down the street & see someone who *might* mug me, can I shoot him in pre-emptive self defense? That sound ok to you? What if I know he has a gun in his pocket? If not, please explain the difference, or at what stage I can shoot the man.

    Parts of your world view make so little sense when subjected to the briefest scrutiny, I’m not even sure why I’m bothering to refute your points. However, if you wish to continue this discussion, please address the three questions above. Thanks.

  • Jacob

    “I distinctly said that terrorism is a TECHNIQUE.. ”

    You said it, but you should know better. This isn’t a war against a technique (some technique – mass murder).
    This is a war against a people (the Arabs), an ideology – Islam (a very central strain of it), a nation (many nations – a league of nations) with territory, resources, vast population, armaments. They are waging it by tactics that suit them (terror). We should not fall into the trap of playing to their strength and try to chase each murderer separately, granting their murderous tyrants immunity. We must use our strengths, and deny them sanctuaries, by regime change if needed, hoping for some ideology change later.

    If you think that the terrorists are some lonely, nutty group, like the Bader-Meinhoff gang – you are dead wrong. Even those nuts had some or much support from a state (Soviet Union), but had no popular base in Germany. And they did considerable harm before they “expired of natural causes”.
    The Arab Islamic (and unislamic) terrorism is a mass movement, supported by whole populations, and by several states. Seems you vastly misunderstand the Arabs. Go read what they preach in their mosques (all of them), go read what they write in their newspapers, all of them. Go read, not what some desert mullah preaches, but what most Arab professors, who live and work 20 or 30 years in western universities say. You will hardly find one to condemn terrorism, they all worship it and see it as extreme heroism. Go read what they teach their children, in official text books. Seems you are unaware of all this, you think they are just fine people like you and me, except for a few nuts.
    It’s much more like a mass insanity that took hold of Germany under Hitler, not so long ago.

    Some even said the Soviet communists were some benign land reformers, who wanted to help the poor. Many still beleive it today, some 100 million murders later.

    As for preemptive strikes:
    “so if i’m walking down the street & see someone who *might* mug me, can I shoot him in pre-emptive self defense?”
    So, if your’e walking down the street and someone pulls a gun and murders a by-passer, and then points the gun at you and says you’re next, you don’t wait until he pulls the trigger, to be sure of his intentions. You don’t wait for the threat to expire of natural causes. What’s so hard to understand about it ?

  • A_t

    Thanks for revealing your true colours. I don’t buy that this is a war against the Arabs or Islam. I think your unquestioning support for Israel has blinded you to this fact. I also think that treating it as a war against Arabs or Islam will exacerbate the problem enormously & could prove to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I’m not saying that anti-Americanism/anti-Westernism isn’t common in the Arab world, just that most folk aren’t wanting to kill us… I’d like to keep it that way.

    I notice you didn’t address two of my questions:
    a) if Terrorism is an arab/muslim ideology, were the IRA muslims?
    and
    b) how exactly do you think Islamists will force the West to submit to Sharia? How will they (relatively poor, militarily weak, not very strong in number, weilding an ideology that holds no appeal to the vast majority of people in my country & those near it) force me to submit?

    I have a strong suspicion you don’t have good answers to either.

  • Jacob

    “I don’t buy that this is a war against the Arabs or Islam”
    That’s your privilege.
    I think your’re probably not well informed on the subject. All I can do is tell you: read about it, if you feel like it.

    “that most folk aren’t wanting to kill us… ”
    Well, you didn’t see how they danced in the streets, actually and figuratively, on 9/11 and on every other mass murder incident, the more dead, the greater their joy, and it was not just the rabble – it was a widespread popular phenomenom.

    “if Terrorism is an arab/muslim ideology, were the IRA muslims?”
    We’re not disscussing IRA terrorism, we’re discussing the fanatical Islamist terrorism of 9/11, Bali, Madrid etc. So terrorism, in the context of our discussion, is shorthand for “Islamist extremism”.

    By the way – IRA terrorism too, didn’t just “expire of natural causes”. Britain fought back. But I don’t want to start a debate on this.

    “how exactly do you think Islamists will force the West to submit to Sharia? ”
    How did the Roman Empire succumb to the barbarians ? Not in one day. It took several centuries. Maybe the danger of you living under sharia in your life time isn’t big. But if you sit back and preach (mild)pacifism and inactivity, and that all acts of defence are unnecessary, because Islamism will expire on it’s own in due course – then: either Islamism disappears, or the west (the western culture) disappears and is again overrun by barbarians.

    This Islamist culture of murder and death and subjugation and irrationality is deeply reactionary and depraved, in every sense. I think that to fight this is a moral duty. There might be arguments about the tactics but not on the core issue.

  • A_t

    “Well, you didn’t see how they danced in the streets, actually and figuratively, on 9/11″

    christ… ONE incident, of dubious provenance at that, & in your mind all the Arabs dance in the streets & spit on your image… There were enough people in the Arab/Muslim world who were taken aback & shocked by the events, but that doesn’t make for good footage, does it? In exactly the same way as happy people not being tortured by Saddam don’t make for such good footage as car bombs & dead americans. Think before trusting your mind to the press.

    “…you sit back and preach (mild)pacifism and inactivity, and that all acts of defence are unnecessary”

    Where did I say “all acts of defence are unnecessary”… did I say this? I don’t think so. I said that many overt acts of ‘defence’ consisting of conventional warfare, particularly where you’re attacking a party which has not directly attacked you, are probably unnecessary & potentially counterproductive. I have absolutely no objection to covert assassination of key figures, disruption of the movement from within, assisting opponents of regimes we wish to see deposed etc. etc.

    I thought your comment earlier, suggesting that weakness was the only reason not to use force was very telling. There are many good reasons not to use force initially, even when presented with violence, & many of the strongest individuals I’ve know have been well aware of this. Sure, it’s good to be able to kick someone’s ass if all else fails, & very useful if they’re aware of this, but thinking that violence is the best initial reaction in every case is macho rubbish. I suspect you’d be a liability in a pub.

    How far does this “it’s the muslims/Arabs” go too? Do you think *every* muslim & every Arab is currently our enemy? The majority of them? If so, would it seem logical to you to advocate just nuking most of the middle-east? If not, why not?

    As for the Roman empire/barbarians analogy, it’s so full of holes, I don’t even know where to start. Suffice to say, where’s the empire? I see a set of independent nations fuelled by an ideology (or perhaps a lack thereof) and united by a belief in a core set of principles. Rather harder to bring down. Name for me the set of universal principles that defined Rome, if you will.

  • A_t

    I should add further, there are some circumstances under which the use of direct force is completely justified; the invasion of Afganistan springs to mind. So much for my pacifism.

  • Jacob

    “I have absolutely no objection to covert assassination of key figures, disruption of the movement from within, assisting opponents of regimes we wish to see deposed etc. etc. ”
    Good.
    “I should add further, there are some circumstances under which the use of direct force is completely justified; the invasion of Afganistan springs to mind. So much for my pacifism.”
    Good.
    ” but thinking that violence is the best initial reaction in every case ”
    I didn’t say that (emphasis added).

    Seems we are far less in disagreement than it looked earlier. You fight back when you have to. You do what is most efficient to acheive your ends. You don’t wait for the menace to expire of natural causes.
    What exact means you employ in some particular circumstances is a debate about tactics.

    I think you underrate the menace of extremist Islam, but this dispute will not be resoved by arguing, but by gathering more info on the subject.

  • Jacob

    “There were enough people in the Arab/Muslim world who were taken aback & shocked by the events, but that doesn’t make for good footage, does it? ”

    Wrong here.

    The media bias, driven by multiculti political correctness vastly underreports the fervent extremism, racism and fanaticism of all Arab imams and all Arab media outlets.
    Go read some MEMRI, they just translate articles from the Arab media.

  • A_t

    … & MEMRI don’t have their own particular agenda at all, nono.