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The fascination with brute power

I did not want to write about this at the time when the article came out, since I thought why should I give any more publicity to the fascist – that is surely an accurate description – Neil Clark than he already got. But having thought things through and seen some commentary, such as by Stephen Pollard, I decided to give my two pence on the matter.

Clark is clearly fascinated by and attracted to, tyrants. He has defend Milosovic, for example, with a gusto that goes beyond whatever reasonable doubts one might have about who were the bad guys in the Balkan conflict. He has now argued that Iraqi interpreters trying to seek asylum should be left to their often violent fates. I wonder how he would have felt about the German interpreters who worked with the Allied armed forces in the latter stages of WW2, for instance? Clark is a truly strange beast. It is hard to think of him as “left-wing”, still less “progressive” in any coherent sense whatever. He is a socialist in his attachment to state central planning and hatred of capitalism, but then that was a trait of the far right (but then again, do the words left and right in this political sense make any sense whatever?). The unifying trait of this character is a love of violent leaders, so long as they are against Britain and the evil US. Paul Johnson, in his book Intellectuals, demonstrates how often men who like to paint themselves as being on the side of the little guy are attracted to violence. I sometimes wonder whether Clark falls into the same trap. If I were a Christian, I’d pray for his soul.

29 comments to The fascination with brute power

  • The Last Toryboy

    Speaking of fascism, I was shocked the other day by a brief sojourn into the MSM – specifically Radio 4. As I get all my news from the internet and have done from years I was blissfully unaware of just how bad the BBC is lately.

    If you swapped ‘Jews’ for ‘Americans’ the baying mob Dimbleby and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown were whipping up wouldn’t have been out of place on the Sportspalast. We sure have a designated Enemy of the People, anyway.

  • Cynic

    I am against the war, but Clark is a nauseating leftist swine. Skimming through the man’s blog, I noticed somebody ask him if his Hungarian wife had ever collaborated with the Soviet puppet regime in the country. He said something about his wife being born after the Soviet invasion, but did not say whether she supported or opposed Soviet domination of that country.

    I do think we need to leave Iraq, but it would be downright dishonorable to leave anybody behind that has served with the troops.

  • Socialism is surely the Tyrant in the form of a political movement. Authoritarian, often totalitarian. The masses subordinate to the one Will. A Monopoly of power. No dissent.

    The difference being that the Tyrant, like the Fascist, tends to actually KNOW when they are doing evil. The Socialist thinks they are doing good. Maybe this is it – maybe the Socialist admires the tyrant for their “personal ability to do so much good”…

  • Nick M

    If you were to remove the hideous racism from the BNP manifesto (“most ethnic minority people would wish to leave the UK of their own accord” is probably the only nearly true statement on their website, it would be much truer if it also said, “and Nick M of Manchester, and his wife and their cat”*). Anyhow. If you take away the racism you are left with an isolationist, uber-statist, socialist agenda which is gob-smacking in scope. There are decent lefties – they hang-out at Harry’s Place and then there are… Well, put it this way, “Hitler or Stalin? You Choose!” One is extreme right and the other extreme left but to me this is meaningless. It’s like being given the choice over which leg I want amputated.

    *And getting Timmy (not our choice of name) into his box is enough of a nightmare just for a trip to see the vet.

  • Roger,

    It’s not so much that, I suspect the reasoning is somewhat simpler.

    To the “socialist”, he thinks his scheme is for the good of all and therefore everyone who thinks differently is simply trying to hinder or restrict the good of all. So they MUST – obviously – be evil. And must be stopped. And because they’re evil, they won’t be amenable to reason. So force/violence must be used to stop them.

    and that right there is the “tyrant” blind-spot. Because the use of force is considered – obviously – legitimate to stop people with whom you disagree, not only can they not see where the defence of the revolution stops and the indiscrimate slaughter starts, they can’t even see that the violence was never legitimate in the first place.

  • Julian Taylor

    TLTB, I listened to that Any Questions too and was equally appalled at the sheer anti-anything and anti-everything that Dimblebore could come up with. The man is so far up his own backside that he must be able to whistle Dixie in reverse.

    As is often said about both Dimbleby brothers, they are not a shade at all upon the memory of their father.

  • Jim C.

    “All in all it is difficult not to feel that pacifism, as it appears among a section of the intelligentsia, is secretly inspired by an admiration for power and successful cruelty. ”

    Orwell, “Notes On Nationalism”

  • not the Alex above

    i’ve never seen a thread of comments more united in condemnation than below Neil Clark’s piece on Comment is Free.

    Apparently his wife was a member of some sort of communist girl guides, so maybe he does think she should have been shot as a collaborator, but as he’s a Stalinist probably not!

  • Counting Cats

    After reading this I went and listened to the Any Questions in question.

    I was disgusted by the bigoted hatred, and the gross statements of ignorance, exhibited by the left wing panelists.

    I have been gone from the UK for four years now, it was bad enough before, but this was appalling. What has happened in that time?

  • Nick M

    The malice in Clark’s piece is astonishing. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d ended by calling for folk to beat the wounded in Selly Oak hospital.

    Let’s take a rather different view on these interpretors. Your country is a complete mess and the economy shattered by decades of Saddam’s antics and several wars but you are bilingual in Arabic and English and the coalition is offering good money. Hell, you might even be glad to see the back of the Baath party and you may even think the British Army is a better employer (and less likely to hang you upside down over a scorpion pit for a minor infraction) than Saddam. So you take the job. I would in the circumstances, wouldn’t you?

    So, it all goes pear-shaped (and it has, hasn’t it?) but that is hardly your fault. And there is kerfuffle about getting you and your family out! I frankly fail to see the issue here. This is an asylum claim by a relatively small number of people who already speak English, are at extreme risk* and clearly have a marketable job skill (my wife translates and the only reason she chose Russian rather than Arabic was that she really didn’t fancy a year in Yemen – but there’s always demand for Arabic/English). So what’s the problem Mr Clark?

    I was going to dare Mr Clark to start the lynchings himself. Well, why not if that’s how he feels? All he’d need is a lamp post and a bit of rope. I was going to but then I read on his blog the blithe assumption that the Iraq war has cost 1 million lives already just tossed into the mix as though gospel. Mr Clark truly puts the barking into the moonbat. I skimmed through more of his ravings and he’s either taking the piss something chronic (it reads like parody) or a complete nutcase. Jesus Horatio Christ on a tantalum unicycle I didn’t think they made ’em like that anymore. He’s Icke-ishly nucking futz. He’s totally hat-stand and a complete carpet muncher – think Hitler not South Park.

    *Amongst the numerous atrocities committed by Mr Clark’s beloved Iraqi freedom-fighters are killing a kid for selling beer in the street (not against the law, then at least) – his mother had a load of kids and his dad was disabled – so he was the only source of income to the family. Then there is killing barbers for shaving chaps or giving them “Western” haircuts and the offing of a tennis coach and his (male) players for wearing shorts. So are people who worked as interpreters for the British Army at risk? Well what do you think?

  • Nick M: I was going to dare Mr Clark to start the lynchings himself. Well, why not if that’s how he feels? All he’d need is a lamp post and a bit of rope.

    We should let him begin, and once he as the rope tied to the lamp post and the knot formed we can instruct him to slip his own neck into it and give it a trial run.

  • freeman too

    Lefties of a certain calibre get excited by despots as usually those tyrants know exactly how to play the “intellectuals” without the clever ones realising they are being had. So, they tend to support them because you might well be invited over and wined and dined and made to feel, well, important. The despots even pretend to listen to the Lefties as if they have something useful to say.

    I can imagine Galloway coming away from meeting Saddam and thinking that man is so clever because he recognises how wise I am, therefore I must go home and tell everyone that he is truly a great man.

    Quite a few intellectuals have always been so clever, so pre-occupied with their own smartness, that they been easy to dupe. They can even be relied on to come up with good excuses for tyranny on behalf of the the bad guys.

  • Nick M

    Freeman too,
    I think you’ve nailed it.

    I once had a vicious and prolonged argument over whether or not I was an “intellectual” with a history student at university. He seemed to think that just because I was a student (at one of the UK’s allegedly better universities – it also featured RAB once!) I was an intellectual but just didn’t know it. He was deeply annoyed that I didn’t realize this fact that he started shaking his Byronically curly locks. Goddammit was he a twat. He used to wear a T-shirt depicting a running chicken with the line “Poultry in Motion” – he was an unbelievable wanker.

    No, Chris, you tosser, I was studying physics and that means being intelligent, not intellectual. I have never met anyone who self-describes as “an intellectual” who wasn’t a complete fuck-pot of the highest order. I have absolutely never met a student of math/science/engineering who would exalt themselves so and I had a good mate who was an Eng Lit student (and you know what they tend to be like) and he didn’t think like Chris did.

    Nick just wanted to tread the boards and I saw him in a coupla things and he was a pretty reasonable actor. Last I heard he was bossing about a touring company of actors doing Shakespeare in schools in the West Mids. I bet he’s happy doing that because he always loved working with kids and adored his Shakespeare. That BTW was free enterprise.

    Oughta get in touch with the old bugger. He’s never been quite the same since he stopped to talk to a pal at the Arts Faculty module bun fight and all the cool ones had gone so they both ended up having to do “Icelandic Edda & Saga in Translation”. He summed that up quite neatly – “Some fucker hits some other fucker with an axe and the survivors then go cod-fishing”.

    Although to be honest, I’m not sure he got over having Tom Paulin as his first year tutor. By all accounts Paulin was a cunning stunt of the first water.

  • I have been gone from the UK for four years now, it was bad enough before, but this was appalling. What has happened in that time?

    The whining that began in 1979 has outlasted Maggie.
    It has become so much a fixture that it still goes on, in the attempt to ‘bury her forever’.
    The trash feels so near to actual confidence(in their paranoid, ears-shut against the nasty truth, way) that they think they can come out and play.
    It’s up to us to kick them where it hurts, then totally destroy their miserable celebration by continuing the Freedom Revolution.

  • Counting Cats

    Look, the left, the “progressives”, have always loved tyrants and mass murderers. Look at Shaw and the Webbs, still sucking up to Stalin after anyone who could read knew how foul he was. Ten years ago I referred to “that scum, Mugabe” shocking a lefty friend of mine who really and truly didn’t understand why I could object to the bloke. When even the communist Vietnamese government couldn’t stomach Pol Pot any longer, and invaded Cambodia to get rid of him, the Melbourne University student radio station, which could be picked up all over the metropolitan area, went apeshit at the thought of their hero being ousted. Hah, given that the Vietnamese were also their heroes it caused the poor babes, and their fellow travelers in the MSM, severe cognitive dissonance.

    Hell, progressive opinion in London held that Napoleon was to be admired back when he was inventing secret police and stamping his jackboots over everything.

    Lets be clear, one of the defining characteristics of progressive thought is that there is never a tyrant so foul, that you won’t find lefties who admire him.

  • RAB

    I am almost at a loss for words on this one.
    Almost, but not quite. Heh Heh Heh!
    Clarks article is just vile stupidity. It lacks all the humanism that he would supposedly extend to other groups that he “approves” of.
    What is his take on the call by Brown for the return from Guantanimo Bay of five non British citizens who for some unacountable reason, have residency status here? Cheering all the way no doubt!
    Intellectuals are what the French and German elites think they are.
    Me? Well I’m intellegent, well read and informed. Logical and reasonably level headed. But an intellectual??!!
    That is for self regarding Tossers!
    Yes I agree Nick. Freeman too nailed it.
    Er Tom Paulin !!! That strangely voiced Irishman who turns up on Newsnight Review???
    The poor bugger!! If he’d been my tutor he’d have been missing a few teeth around the end of the first term!! But then I did Law. Definately not an “Intellectual” subject, certainly given the calibre of my fellow students !!
    The picture of Galloway, cuban stogie in mouth, reading the Communist Manifesto in the Big brother house, will live with me for a long time.
    With my voice over comment.
    Still looking for the cutting edge of Politics then George???

  • Nick M

    The same leprechaun and Frosted Lucky Charms addict who considers Hizbollah to be “freedom fighters”. Yup, him?

    A class-A wanker.

    Anyway, my mate just wanted to do Shakespeare and stuff and a bit of acting. But no! he was at one point assigned by Prof Shepard who was somewhat of the homosexual persuasion to write an essay on “Eroticism in Spencer’s Faerie Queen”. So he toiled away for a few days on his 80 col, 4 line WP, bummed some smokes off me, and got a low Desmond for his exertions. Shepard, author of a biography of Joe Orton called “Because we’re Queers”, had deemed there was nothing erotic in Nick’s work because he’d tackled the topic from a heterosexual viewpoint which was de facto not erotic according to Shepard. We were but callow youths then but perhaps Nick should’ve noted that Prof Shepard had given pride of place in his office to a Maplethorpe print of a black man with a bull-whip inserted in his gary.

    Nick also ended up doing feminist criticism which sounded like maoist self-criticism. He was the only heterosexual male on the course and I think he had to stand-up and describe himself as a “potential rapist” at some point. It was over ten years ago so I might be exaggerating (and Nick was a great story-teller) but I am not making this bit up… Oh, no. Apparently there are masculine and feminine modes of writing. A computer is feminine because you “nurture” the document in Word or whatever (in a womb-like manner) whereas a pen or pencil is clearly phallic. My mate had to write that down because they would be asking questions later. JHC, he just wanted to study the English literary canon and try out as a Shakespearean…

    And get pissed and grope some tits but I figure that’s pretty much universal.

    I was so fucking glad I did physics. We just did equations and RAB (I’m not making this up) “Josiah Willard Gibb’s Grand Canonical Ensemble”*. The “Disturbing Function” had to wait for post-grad work.

    I was taught electromag by a bearded, balding bloke called Dr Maxwell – I kiddeth yea not. It was uncanny.

    *The partition function, Zeta, which would blow your fine legal mind, involved the largest finite number I’ve ever seen- it was Avagadros Number as an exponent of the base of the natural logarithms, e. And that was for guesstimating the number of accessible states for a cup of warm tea – yup, Algore you need a physics degree to really understand the thermo-D of a cup of tea (is that an unconvenient truth?). I have dealt with some big numbers (including the transfinites – the Mahlo Cardinals, the Compact Cardinals and even the Ineffable Cardinals** but nowt prepared me for the shock/horror that the partition function that a cup of tea presented. And it’s a bar steward even if you don’t add milk***. If you don’t add milk you can probably get away with the micro-ensemble and the Omega partition function but it’s grand canonical ensemble and the Zeta partition the minute you splash in the white stuff.

    ** I am not making that up.

    *** OK, the micro-canonical ensemble is a piece of piss to the likes of me but I suspect it would scare the pants off people who are not au fait with (amongst other things) second-order partial differential equations.

  • Sunfish

    He summed that up quite neatly – “Some fucker hits some other fucker with an axe and the survivors then go cod-fishing”.

    Isn’t that pretty much the history of Iceland?

  • Nick M

    Well, yes, but from your POV as a dibble it would be hard to affect an arrest without getting sea-sick. Having said that, by some quirk of genetics, Icelandic women are gorgeous while the men are trolls. Mind, it’s 7 quid a pint (beer was re-legalized about 10-15 years ago after it was discovered that folk were buying alcohol-free lager and topping up with a double vodka.

    The Gitmo five, eh RAB. Yeah, I’m real looking forward to them turning up on these shores again. While I can sort-of understand why we never deported the buggers back to the sands of their fathers. Quote, allegedly D Rumsfeld – If you want someone interrogated – send them to Jordan, If you want them tortured send them to Syria, if you never want to see them again send them to Egypt. And uif you want the buggers to be under a permanent control order at enormous expense to the poor bloody tax-payer send’em to the UK. The Chinese and Russians and French bitch about this sort of stuff at the UN but I have little doubt they would’ve solved the problem in the field with a pistol round to the head.

    Now I homeymooned on Key West and my mother paid for it (mainly – I chipped in a few bones) but the Tipton Taliban (remember them) get caught larging it in the ‘stan with AK-47s and the RAF ends up flying the buggers back in a C-17 at the cost of 30 grand. So where was my 30 grand for a trip to Carribean? And why did I have to fly US Air? What the devil was the RAF up to? Bearing in mind that (a) I had got married to a woman I have been scrupulously loyal to (so where’s my 20 notes a week Dave?) (b) had never declared jihad on the West (c) pay my taxes so the council can dig up the road for months on end and make my life a living hell and (d) would after 18 hours aboard a USAF C-17 (not RAF this time) have come up with a better excuse than I was only in Afghanistan with an assault rifle* to attend a “computer course”. 18 hours and that was the best they could come up with? There was probably a plethora of computer courses in Tipton, let alone neighbouring Birmingham which is only the second most populous city on this Britannic Isle. Oy Vey Gewalt! Fucking morons should’ve been dumped mid Atlantic – sharks gotta eat…

    I don’t think they even have the ‘tricity in the ‘stan…

    *Not that I’m slagging anyone’s gun rights. Personally, you’d only get me in (or preferably 30,000ft over) the ‘stan in an exceedingly heavily armed strike fighter. F-16C Block 52 as basic.

  • Johnathan,

    You make some pretty serious charges against me here, so I hope you’ll allow me the chance to respond to them.

    “Clark is clearly fascinated by and attracted to, tyrants”
    Er, no, Clark isn’t. Can you name me one tyrant I have expressed support for? I defend Milosevic because he was not a tyrant, not because he was. Even Adam Lebor, Milosevic’s far from friendly biographer, conceds that Milosevic was no dictator. And if you think that he was guilty of war crimes then obviously you didn’t follow his trial at The Hague very closely. Don’t you think that if we guilty some evidence would have come to light after four years of trial? I thought Samizdata held the liberal belief that a man is innocent until proven guilty? Evidently not. I strongly recommend you to read John Laughland’s excellent book ‘Travesty’ published by Pluto, on the trial of Milosevic.
    I am often labelled a ‘Stalinist’, yet I have never expressed any support in all my writings for Stalin and his policies. The same applies to Mao. So please let me know what tyrants I am supposed to be attracted to.
    I’m really curious.

    2. “I wonder how he (Clark) would have felt about the German interpreters who worked with the Allied armed forces in the latter stages of WW2, for instance?”
    It’s a false analogy: in WW2 Germany were the aggressors- Britain was not waging an illegal, aggressive war. The German interpreters you speak of were on the side of legality; the Iraqi interpreters were siding with an illegal invading power.
    I have never called for them to be killed, or that it would be right for them to be killed (contrary to what some have claimed), only that it was understandable that many Iraqis might not feel too well disposed towards them. Just ask yourself Johnathan how you might feel towards fellow Brits who signed up to work for an illegal occupier if Britain was ever invaded.

    3″He is a socialist in his attachment to state central planning and hatred of capitalism”
    It’s true that I’m a socialist, but my “hatred” is not for capitalism in general, but for the current form of socially destructive turbo-capitalism which operates in Britain today. I want to see a genuine mixed economy in Britain, of the sort which used to operate here prior to 1979, with the utilities, public transport and the “commanding heights” in public ownership. I want to see a strong locally/family owned private business sector- of the sort which still in mainland Europe. But on looking at your website from time to time, it seems to me that your sympathies are not with small, locally owned business but with multinationals. Please correct me if that impression is wrong.

    4. “The unifying trait of this character is a love of violent leaders, so long as they are against Britain and the evil US”. That’s silly Johnathan. Name me a violent leader I’ve praised? My opposition to Bush and Blair is
    not motivated by the fact that they’re American and British but that they are warmongers. I don’t think the US is evil, I like the country and it’s people. I just think it’s present foreign policy orientation is wrong and immoral. It’s those who back Buwsh and Blair who can be said to “love violent leaders”.

    5. “If I were a Christian, I’d pray for his soul.”
    Well, Johnathan, unlike you, I am a Christian and I think I ought to be praying for your soul, if you supported illegal murderous wars like Iraq.

    If you want to criticise me and my writings on Samizdata posts, then it’s of course up to you, but please don’t portray me as something which I am not.

    Neil Clark

  • Neil Clark: I want to see a genuine mixed economy in Britain, of the sort which used to operate here prior to 1979, with the utilities, public transport and the “commanding heights” in public ownership.

    Surely that should read: I want to see a genuine horlicks of an economy in Britain, of the sort which used to twitch, dribble and foam here prior to 1979, with the utilities, public transport and the “commanding heights” as legally enforced monopolies run for the benefit of the Unions and their moonbat political agendae.

    The most “socially destructive” parts of today’s “turbo-capitalism” are, in fact, consequences of the State’s desire to do and control way too much.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Neil, since you clearly do not allow critical comments of you to appear on your own blog, reflect on the courtesy we are showing by allowing you to make your remarks.

    As for the line that you do not support tyrants, I am intrigued as to your hostility to the Allied overthrow of Saddam, a brutal tyrant. You argument, if I can dignify it with such a word, that Iraqi translators deserve their violent fate, expressed in your disgusting Guardian column, suggests to me that you regard the recently deposed Baath regime as a cause for regret, ergo, you supported it or at least regard it in a benign way. If you are glad to see the back of tyrannical regimes such as Saddam’s, then say so. (And the old line that Slobbo was a democratic leader won’t get you off the hook if you persist in defending that man from the crimes of the Serbian government he led. After all, Hitler came to power via PR).

    Roger Thornhill admirably sums up my own views of your penchant for wholesale nationalisation of large chunks of the UK economy.

  • freeman too

    I remember full well the type of economy we had in the UK prior to 1979. That would be the time when even a socialist government had no control over the trade union movement (who, it should be said, had absolutely no control over their members). For a time it was the nearest we got to anarchy.

    If Mr Clark, who I know not, believes those times were good then one of us is suffering false memory syndrome. And I think it isn’t me.

  • Nick M

    A genuine mixed economy? If I were an older man with a dicky prostate you would have just made me wet myself. 47% of the UK GDP goes to the government. How much more mixed do you want?

    “turbo capitalism” – I should fucking coco, me and George Jetson. So, you’re OK with the idea of free enterprise taking it “real slow” then? What do you connect to the net on, a bloody difference engine?

    understandable that many Iraqis might not feel too well disposed towards them – so whaddya suggesting? That you’d sell them the rope? Because I get the distinct impression that when Iraqis aren’t “well disposed” to somebody that doesn’t just mean a dramatic fall-off in dinner party invites. Brass tacks Neil – are you condoning Iraqi militia groups stringing folk up?

    Your final remark espousing your Christianity is nauseating beyond belief. You’ve slagged a contributor to this fine website, spouted a load of neo-Stalinist shite (and yup, mate I’ve seen your site so it ain’t a first offence is it?) and then bigged-up a bloke responsible for the the only actual genocide on my fucking continent since 1945.

    I am not a Christian but I have read the Bible and I somehow missed Christ’s sermon on “mixed economy” or his casting the “turbo-capitalists out of the temple” or indeed St John the Devine’s insight into Slobodan The Great righteously ordering rape and slaughter in Kosovo. Well, maybe he didn’t but if he missed that he was at least somewhat remiss. Dollars to donuts I’ll bet you’ve given GWB a slagging over Abu Ghraib. Well, the atrocities of Kosovo did not involve “simulated sex-acts”.

  • Paul Marks

    As someone who did not support going into Iraq in 2003 (and who still thinks it was a bad idea), people like Mr Clark are the reason I feel more comfortable with people who supported the war.

    The Iraq war of 2003 was in no way “illegal” as it was approved not just by the Prime Minister (under Royal powers) but the whole Cabinet, and (unlike previous wars) voted for by Parliament.

    In the United States there was no “declaration of war” (a point Ron Paul is fond of making) but both the Senate and the House of Representatives voted for the war – the fact they did not use the exact words “declaration of war” is not relevant.

    “But I mean under international law”.

    If “international law” means anything it means such things as the “laws of war”. Under these if a government breaks a ceasefire agreement one can resume hostilities.

    Saddam broke the cease fire agreement of 1991 many times.

    Therefore, whilst the war may have been unwise, it was certainly not “illegal” even under “international law” – as the great writers on the law of nations would have pointed out.

    As for “murderious” – the vast majority of murders in Iraq are committed by the head hackers and suicide bombers who Mr Clark supports.

    Only today there were more attacks by “the resistance” on civilians (NOT on Western military people) and only a few days ago hundreds of civilans in a village were murdered by “resistance” suicide bombers.

    By the way how is it “Christian” to support those groups (on the extreme edge of both the Sunni and the Shia) who hold that all non Muslims and moderate Muslims (both Sunni and Shia) should either be exterminated or enslaved? Especially as these groups do not just hold this about Iraq – they hold this opinion concerning the whole Earth.

    One of the first signs that the Iraq operation was not going well was when (back in 2003) one of the most senior moderate Shia clerics was hacked to death – by extreme Shia. The man who ordered this murder was not punished, and went on to build up the worst Shia militia group (responsible for the murder of Shia, Sunni and Westerners) – periodic efforts to get this man’s suppporters into the government alliance are one of the more depressing elements of the whole enterprise.

    Most of the victims of the “resitance” (both Sunni and Shia) are civilains – and this is not accident it is deliberate (murder). Next come Iraq army and police deaths (Mr Clark seems unware that there is a democratically elected government in Iraq who could ask Western forces to leave at any time – and this government was elected under a Constitution drawn up by Iraqis and approved by popular vote), and only then come the Western casualties.

    On the economy:

    To call a country where more than 40% of the economy is taken up by government spending, and where the rest of the economy is controlled by a vast web of government regulations “super charged capitalism” is utterly absurd.

  • Counting Cats


    Damn you, you presented every argument I was planning on putting, and you did it with far more eloquence and detail than I had considered.

    Although, one point – how you transform Commanding Heights into irrelevant mole hills? Easy, nationalise them and wait a generation. Once commercial decisions start being made for political reasons that is the end of that industry.

  • Counting Cats


    1, I thought Samizdata held the liberal belief that a man is innocent until proven guilty?

    The issue of innocent until proved guilty is to do with the structure of the judicial system under English law, and the protection of rights of the accused. It has nothing to do with objective truth or personal opinion. The courts work on the basis that it is up to the prosecution to establish guilt, not that the accused must establish innocence. However, if I know that some bugger is guilty I am under no obligation, legal or moral, to assume innocence in my private opinions just because he hasn’t been tried yet.

    2, the Iraqi interpreters were siding with an illegal invading power.

    No they were not. This continual claim that the Iraqi invasion was illegal is an example of Goebbels “big lie”. There was nothing illegal about the decision to invade. Saddam continually and blatantly broke the terms of the Gulf War cease fire; the resumption of conflict was his choice, and his decision.

    The repetition of the false assertion that the invasion was illegal does not make it so.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so Counting Cats.

    It is often forgotten that the decline of such industries as railways, steel, coal and cars in Britain started long before Mrs Thatcher became Primes Minister in 1979.

    Almost from the day they were nationalised these industries were in decline – not just as percentage of the economy, even in absolute terms.

    As for putting people on trial:

    The failure to put “Al” Sadr on trial for his crimes (starting with ordering the murder of the senior moderate Shia cleric in 2003) showed that something was seriously wrong with the “new Iraq”. Indeed this man (who has ordered the murder of large numbers of both Shia and Sunni – as well as few Westerners) has had his group invited into the Iraqi government several times

    The difference between me and Mr Clark, is that I take no pleasure in all this.

  • RAB

    Just had an exceedingly damp weekend in Wales, and out of communication from everywhere except by pony express sheep and cleft stick-
    But when I get back I find that the subject of our deliberations has deigned to give us a call!

    So my question to you Mr Clark is the one I posited earlier.
    Are you more welcoming to this leaky Isle,( awash with immigrants, deserving and undeserving, but usually uncounted, that we already happily accomodate) those five non Brit Nationals who have been lingering in Guantanamo for a while now, Having been picked up in various parts of the world that can not be described as Britain. Er more like Iraq, Afganistan and Pakistan. Yet they claim our shield of Law??
    Than those brave interpreters who helped us out but you would like to abandon to their fate , with some kind of fatuous reference to WW2. and collaboration???
    Please. I’d like to know….