We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

More like Portsmouth …

Michael Jennings links to this, at William Gibson‘s, which Gibson heard on Sky News:

“Umm Qasr is a town similar to Southampton”, UK Defence Minister Geoff Hoon told the House of Commons yesterday. “He’s either never been to Southampton, or he’s never been to Umm Qasr”, said one British soldier, informed of this while on patrol in Umm Qasr. Another added: “There’s no beer, no prostitutes, and people are shooting at us. It’s more like Portsmouth.”

Jennings also prefers Southampton, for real ale reasons. I wouldn’t know.

I get the feeling the Brits are doing quite well out there. Is this the impression they are making in the USA? Or are our soldiers merely seen as doing menial stuff while the USA guys win the war?

Discourage the BBC with a comment here

In accordance with its already stated policy, Samizdata.net offers the comment section under this item for discouraging messages to our BBC TV reporters serving to attack our freedoms and to encourage tyranny over the people of Iraq and the world. The many TV media personnel who read Samizdata.net regularly are sure to forward this to their colleagues.

[Note: If you are supportive of BBC TV coverage in Iraq or elsewhere, you are welcome to post a comment under a relevant story, but please leave this comment section to those who want to heap discouragement, abuse, hatred and curses upon our BBC media personnel.]

Great moments in capitalism

On March 28, 1797 Nathaniel Briggs patented a rotary clothes washing machine, thereby doing more for female liberation than any bunch of screeching, anti-male, feminist harpies you could name.

Just a song at twilight

You can barely take a casual stroll through cyberspace these days without tripping over some hot-off-the-press manifestation of blistering European anti-Americanism. Such a stark contrast to all the pious one-world anti-xenophobia cant that Brussels has spent that last decade or so assiduously peddling.

Since ‘xenophobia’ is regarded as a crime under the proposed European Criminal Code, it does make me wonder how they’re going to enforce it against the gangs of 35 year-old ‘students’ burning flags and screaming ‘Death to America’ on the streets of Berlin and Paris. I suppose the answer is, they’re not.

Which leaves the Americans to do something about it themselves. That is, if they are so inclined. While B-52s are still swooping over Baghdad, it is unlikely to be a top priority but if, at some point in the future, George Bush et al are minded to huddle in the War Room and cook up some delicious helping of Creme du Revenge, my advice would be, don’t bother:

Europe’s population could fall by up to 40 per cent by the end of the century because of declining birth rates and the tendency for women to have babies later in life, researchers have found.

For the first time in human history, the population has begun to experience what demographers call “negative momentum”, when a shrinking population goes into a spiral of decline. Wolfgang Lutz of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, says that Europe experienced a “flip” from positive to negative momentum in 2000 because fewer babies were being born to younger mothers

→ Continue reading: Just a song at twilight

Iraq’s post-Ba’athist future

Although war still rages, it is already time to start looking to Iraq’s future.

All but the most willfully blind will have seen that no accommodation is either possible nor in fact desirable with Ba’athist Socialism, and that must shape how the allies act not just now but when victory has been won.

Since 1945, we have had the examples of the overthrow of many totalitarian regimes: National Socialism in Germany, Fascism in Italy, Fascist Imperialism in Japan and Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe… each informs us in very different ways.

In Russia, Eastern Europe and the former Yugoslavia, Communist totalitarianism was cast off by internal dissent, made possible by a decaying security apparatus and enervated ruling elite that were the inevitable long term result of Marxist economics.

The good thing about the momentous sloughing off of Communist tyranny across the Slavic world was that it came with a relatively small price in blood even in places like Romania. However therein also lies the cost…

Throughout eastern Europe the success of civil and political society breaking out of the toxic legacy of communism has been very patchy indeed. As the overthrow of communism was political, the inevitable political cost was that accommodations with ‘former’ communists were made… in many cases former communists came to dominate the post-communist nations, effortlessly exchanging command economics for so called ‘crony capitalism’. In nations like Serbia, the thuggish national socialist elite retains control over large sections of society as it always did: with assassinations, fear and brutality.

In Germany, Italy and Japan however, the overthrow came not from political processes but at the point of a foreign bayonet. In East Germany unfortunately the bayonets were those of the equally monstrous Soviets but elsewhere it was the Western Allies who crushed the Nazi and Fascist regimes… and brought in their wake a process called ‘De-Nazification’.

In occupied post war Germany member of the Nazi Party were simply forbidden from participating in politics and excluded from any ‘sensitive’ jobs. Leading members of the German National Socialist German Workers Party were put on trial and many were hanged. The British even had what can only be described as military ‘hit squads’ ranging across Occupied Germany in 1945 summarily executing upper and middle rank German officers responsible for atrocities against British personnel during the war.

A ‘De-Ba’athification’ process is what must follow the destruction of Saddam Hussain’s state. Mere membership of the Ba’athist Party must be taken as prima facie evidence that the person is unfit for any political role whatsoever and membership in the Fedayeen Saddam must carry with it a presumption of guilt for crimes. When an anti-Ba’athist Iraqi regime is in place, they must not only not be restrained from conducting their own systematic purging of Iraqi society, but must be required to do so.

Similarly the allies must not get squeamish and should make no apologies for the use of violence to expunge Ba’athist toxins from the Iraqi state and society… Something that many libertarians fail to understand is that when normal civil society has collapsed, normal rules of civil interaction and legal niceties are not just impossible, they are madness. When the guns are out, it is the logic of the lifeboat which applies, not the logic of the lawsuit.

Ba’athist Socialism is institutionalised civil violence and unlike communism, it could have lasted indefinitely as it fed like a vampire on the rich blood of Iraq’s oil wealth. It is not enough to destroy Saddam Hussain’s armies, Ba’athist Socialism too will have to be killed just as National Socialism was, quite literally.

In a similar vein, hopefully the Fedayeen responsible for executing British prisoners and massacring fleeing Iraqi civilians will be summarily shot by British soldiers if they are captured when Basra is finally taken (that may of course happen regardless of any ‘policy decisions’ in London). The most effective way to do this and the best way for Iraqi society in the long run, is simply not to take any Fedayeen prisoners, except a few perhaps for intelligence gathering purposes. Rough justice is the only justice there is at such times.

When Scrappleface gets serious

Concerning a recent posting from humorous internet content provider Scrappleface, inviting Scrappleface readers to comment in support of US service persons involved in the current war, a Samizdata.net spokesman had this to say:

Scrappleface has established itself over the last few months as a fearless provider of jokes and piss-taking. By its unflinching refusal to take the serious issues of the day seriously, it has built itself a growing reputation for triviality. It is thus especially disturbing to see this hitherto wholly frivolous media organisation rise to such heights of normality and decency. Let’s face it, blog-readers, one solemn and serious Scrappleface posting is one solemn and serious Scrappleface posting too many.

He added:

I suppose when Scrappleface does lapse into profundity like this, it’s up to the rest of us to pitch in and take up the slack and fill the hole in the dyke with it. We in Britain have a special role to play here. What we lack in numbers we can make up in irony. We must step up to the plate and break it into fearless bits with the straight bat of British satire. We must adapt their piety and earnestness in order to make other worthwhile points, thus pricking the worldwide balloon of pomposity with the fearless banner of sit-down comedy.

Samizdata technical problems

As you may have noticed, Samizdata has been having technical problems for the last two days.

We are looking for new hosting arrangements but we have just put a short term ‘fix’ in place which should get us up and running for now, so do not fear, we are not about to go belly-up!

Hopefully normal output will resume shortly!

Samizdata slogan of the day

Getting shot at was not that bad, just the getting shot part sucked.
– Sgt. Villafane, via The Command Post

Not all quiet on domestic front

While we are furiously warblogging over at The Command Post, the statists at home have not been resting either. Two articles in the Telegraph, drawned by the Iraq war noises, report most worrying news. First about bailiffs allowed to break into homes.

Licensed enforcement agents will be authorised to break into people’s homes and seize property from debtors under new Government plans announced yesterday. They will also be given powers of arrest.

The article quotes a rather disturbing statement by Baroness Scotland, a minister at the Lord Chancellor’s Department:

Society wants those who owe money judgments to pay their dues but also wants to protect the vulnerable. So the system we propose will utilise the full weight of the law on those who won’t pay while at the same time safeguarding vulnerable individuals who simply can’t pay.

The second article reports on extension of police powers to keep DNA files:

Police powers to retain DNA samples and fingerprints taken from innocent people are to be extended, the Home Office announced yesterday. For the first time, they will be able to test people they arrest but do not charge and keep the DNA and the prints indefinitely.

It’s true what they say – the devil government never sleeps…

Costly strategy

John Keegan asks whether trying to avoid civilian casualties may cause more deaths:

How much more difficult are the allies making this war for themselves by their determination to spare the Iraqi civilian population as much suffering as is humanly possible? That is certainly a condition of the strategy being pursued.

…is the effort to minimise civilian mortality counter-productive? Do slow and careful operational procedures actually increase the number of civilian deaths and the amount of suffering, when a less precautionary and more peremptory approach might achieve the same, or even a better effect, by hastening the end?

A good analysis of the classic military dilemma. Also, an important reminder that it is Saddam’s ba’athists who are using civilians as a proxy:

Saddam and his apparatchiks have absolutely no compunction about employing violence to keep themselves in power. They will shoot anyone who looks like changing sides or trying to escape from the regime’s control. They benefit from the indisputably powerful effect of displaying force. They equally benefit from the reluctance of the allies to display any more force than they believe to be necessary.

Mugabe says “I am still a Hitler”

Della writes in with something that proves Saddam Hussain and Ba’athist Socialism are not the only ghastly regime around

Robert Mugabe, refereshed from his meeting with M. Chirac in February annouced March 21st that “I am still a Hitler“. He clarified this by saying “let me be Hitler ten-fold and that’s what we stand for.”

In unrelated news the leader of the Zanu-PF party said late November 2002 “We would be better off with only six million people”.

The current population of Zimbabwe is 12 million.

Nice Mr. Chirac’s favourite African mass murderer

Editors note: When the British forces are finished in Iraq, perhaps they need to return home via Harare…

Why it is right to fight Saddam

Dissident Frogman magnificently fisks outpourings of several ‘human shields’ about their belated emotional blossoming…

A longish posting but well worth the read, it reminds me of why I support the US and the UK in taking on Saddam and makes the suffering and deaths of American and British soldiers more meaningful, if not less painful.

And what really upsets me is that, consequently and as always, it’s the silent, the weak, the downtrodden, those who stand next to the common graves, waiting for the bullet, those who die slowly, feet first in plastic shredders, screaming in inconceivable pain, those who are forced to watch their wives raped or their children tortured, or those who are “just” condemned to a life in misery and deprivation of their most basic rights who are sacrificed while the anti-war movement is dancing to Samba music in the streets, enjoying a grand day out with elaborated costumes and signs in the comfort of a democratic state that guarantees their right to criticize it without reserve.

Unfortunately, I also have to agree with Dissident Frogman in his last bitter paragprah as there is indeed an unlimited supply of simpletons for many more rounds in Iraq and elsewhere:

The freedom of the Iraqis is closing now, despite the “anti-war” efforts, and Daniel’s emotional blossoming won’t change a thing.

I’m way more concerned with the fact that when this is over and when the coalition of the willing starts to deal with other declared threats, using force or not, I’m pretty sure there will be an Iranian student or a North Korean citizen with nothing but grass to feed on, that will end up hearing “Bush bad, war bad” with an expression of incredulity, just before the “I’m not with the CIA – I just can’t help you” tagline comes out.

And that really upsets me.