Iraq: Don’t blame Blair. Blame sectarianism.

June 17, 2014

There seems to be a slight undertone of glee in the writings of the rabidly anti-Blair brigade since ISIS began its hideous incursion into Iraq a couple of weeks ago. A sort of “We told you so” smugness to their tone. Owen Jones’s article for The Guardian is horribly self serving. This attitude is then qualified with an incredibly simplistic analysis that seems to draw a direct line from Blair in 2003 (the beginning of all history), to ISIS in 2014. To do this, requires ignoring the Arab Spring, it requires ignoring ISIS’s earlier incarnation in 2000 under a different name whose goal was to overthrow “UnIslamic” regimes in the Middle East before, it requires ignoring a power play between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Syria, it requires ignoring the policies of al-Maliki and a largely Shi’ite heavy-handed military, it requires ignoring the decades long desire for a resurrected Caliphate from militant groups across the World, it requires ignoring the Syrian civil war in its entirety and the tensions between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, it ignores the fact that most ISIS fighters are Syrian, and most of all it requires stopping at 2003, rather than perhaps laying an ounce of the blame at the door of an historically militant Sunni inability to accept that Shi’ite Muslims have a right to life and participation in government. It’s as reasonable an assessment, as blaming Ali and Abu Bakr.

April this year marked the 20th anniversary of the genocide that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon insisted the UN should be ashamed for not preventing. Rwanda was the very epitome of what happens when dogmatic non-intervention is adopted. The World has seemingly learnt nothing in those 20 years, given that the the international community is largely ignoring another genocide on the horizon, in which intolerant Sunni extremists attempt to wipe Shia Muslims from the face of the planet knowing full well that Western powers are chained by their own internal soul searching over the invasion of Iraq, rather than internally soul searching since the sectarian genocide in Rwanda.

This is a problem that has existed for generations, is perpetuated by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, was utilised by Saddam, was not adequately addressed at the constituting of a new Iraq, leads to reprisal attacks, and has now fallen into the hands of ISIS. It did not begin in 2003. In fact, in June 1992, Human Rights Watch noted:

“In Karbala, as in al-Najaf, there were reports that Shi’a clerics found walking on the streets were rounded up and never seen again.”

– A year earlier, and three years before Blair became leader of the Labour Party in the UK, Saddam had been responsible for – with Taha Yassin Ramadan overseeing – the hideous massacre of around 100,000 Shi’ite Muslims in and around Karbala and al-Najaf and had previously restricted pilgrimage in Karbala (a holy Shi’ite city) to Iraqi citizens only. In all, The New York Times reported that Saddam was responsible for around 1,000,000 deaths of his own people; a figure that permits the term ‘genocide’. During the repressions, al-Najaf was hit heavily, including the Shi’ite shrine of tomb of the Imam Ali, which Saddam’s security forces didn’t seem to care too much for. Karbala was opened up in 2004 to Shi’ite pilgrims, with over 1,000,000 Shia from all over the World attending for the first time, but the day was marred by the brutal slaughter of many Shi’ite pilgrims, by car bombs and rocket fire planted by a group led by Sunni anti-Shia Abu Abdallah al Hassan Ben Mahmoud. The slaughter of the Shia is a continuation of supremacist Sunni attitudes. The Shia genocide is not new. It was simply institutionalised and easily hidden under the rule of Saddam.

Ten years earlier, in 1982, Saddam had ordered the rounding up of 393 men, and 394 women, and children, on suspicion of being part of a Shia uprising in Dujail that attempted to assassinate him. Some died in captivity after taking a beating by security forces, others were exiled. Hundreds were routinely tortured, and executed, including ten children between the ages of 11 and 17, who were held in secret, and executed in 1989.

In Balochistan in 2011, 29 Shia Muslims were murdered by Islamist terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, whose main reason for being, is to murder Shia Muslims where ever they find them. Some estimate that around 30,000 Shia have fled Balochistan because they feel threatened, and Pakistan refuses to acknowledge the problem, largely due to their ties with Saudi Arabia. This is reflected in Pakistan’s treatment of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s leader Malik Ishaq, who is routinely arrested and released instantly, despite his clear involvement in the deaths of hundreds.

In 2012, armed Hamas men stormed a gathering of Shi’ite worshipers, brutally assaulted them, and continued the attack even as the victims were on their way to hospital. Incidentally, George Galloway spent Sunday on Radio 4 denouncing Blair for the troubles in Iraq, rather than acknowledging that funding Hamas – as they perpetuate a narrative of violent sectarianism, and anti-Shia hate – to the tune of £25,000 might not have helped matters either.

Today coordinated attacks against Shi’ite communities simply for not being Sunni continues, and not just in Iraq. Shi’ites in Parachinar, Pakistan have been the focus of violent attacks from Sunni extremists for years. In July 2013, extremists deliberately targeted Shi’ite mosques in a town next to the market place, because families were out shopping for Iftar. Instead of a family day out at the market, 56 people were killed, and another 100 injured in coordinated bomb blasts simply for being Shia. In fact, between January 2012, and July 2013, over 635 Shia have been killed in Pakistan, in separate attacks.

It isn’t just the Middle East either. Indeed, it is illegal in Malaysia for Shia to promote their faith. Middle Eastern academic Vali Nasr insists that Shia living in Bahrain are basically living under a system of apartheid (largely ignored by the Western left, who focus the term ‘apartheid’ on Israel only). Similarly, Shia are often accused of crimes they didn’t commit in Saudi Arabia and imprisoned, a country that also bans Shia from leading government positions. Shia in Saudi Arabia also have to live with the fact that school books refer to their interpretation of their faith as a heresy. All over the Middle East, Shia Muslims are disenfranchised, abused, tortured, oppressed, and murdered. It’s been going on for years, and ignored for those same years.

Today, the growth of ISIS – to the point in which they are a threat to the World, not just Iraq – and the mentality and anti-Shia hate – as well as a rabid desire to reconstitute a Caliphate – that drives groups like them did not begin in March 2003. It has a long and deep history, it is rooted in intolerant religious sectarianism autonomous of Western foreign policy, Saddam’s Iraq made it the order of the day, Pakistan turns its head and ignores the problem for global political reasons, Saudi Arabia perpetuates it, a Galloway funded Hamas plays on it, Iraq’s government has left it to fester, scripture is used to justify it, and the complexity of this is slowly leading to a Rwandan-like genocide, as an international left that cared not an ounce when Saddam was doing it, nor takes a moment to consider its poison in Saudi Arabia, haven’t mentioned the attacks in Pakistan, do not know the name of liberal, secular, democrats fighting for a just and peaceful Iraq, but suddenly developed a sense of humanity the moment they recognised the potential to ceaselessly denounce Blair as the principle architect of the problem.

The end of the war in Iraq failed to provide a substantial constitutional framework for the institutional protection and political equality and a fair distribution of power between both Shia and Sunni minorities in different parts of the country and on local levels. The scales tip from one sect, to another, and a balance seems to evade Iraq’s politics. It was a key issue in providing the base for a working democracy, and it was largely mishandled, and a heavy handed Shi’ite military seems now to be viewed with contempt by Sunni minorities feeling alienated. For years Anbar province has complained that Maliki’s government in Baghdad ignored them and that they had been practically left out of the political process. So they rebelled, some joined militant Al Qaeda inspired groups, and Maliki inflamed the sectarianism by referring to all of them as al-Qaeda, rather than refusing to acknowledge his own shortcomings. He ignored the fact that the same Anbar province largely supported the US surge in 2007. Again, this has nothing to do with Blair, and everything to do with religious sectarianism and a failure to address the issue on a political level. It is not the fault of the Iraq war that Iraq now slips back into sectarian violence. It is both global inaction in Syria, and the deficiencies in the democratic settlement that require immediate redress, because Iraq still deserves a safe, democratic institutional framework that caters for all, rather than leaving it to fall into the hands of violent Theocratic thugs. For the West to leave Iraq to burn, is to tacitly agree with ISIS that Iraq cannot handle democracy, human rights and political equality, and can only be controlled by dictatorship.


Bush White House paid for universal health care in Iraq.

October 15, 2013

In 2011, ex-Wisconsin Republican Governor Tommy Thompson announced his intention to run for the vacated Senate Seat for Wisconsin in 2012. During the campaign, Thompson told a Tea Party gathering:

“who better than me, that’s already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs that do away with Medicaid and Medicare?”

– Thompson’s inherent desire to ‘do away with’ essential government-run healthcare services was echoed in his earlier campaign press release in which he reads:

“I intend to continue the fight for a fiscally responsible, market-based approach to reforming our health care system that will improve both access and the quality of care.”

– Thompson is committed to healthcare as a market. To Thompson, the health of individuals is a commodity. The government cannot provide any meaningful provision of health care according to Thompson. So imagine my surprise when it turns out that in 2004, Thompson was the Bush administration’s top health care official as they signed off on a US funded $950mn universal healthcare plan…. for Iraq.

Following the war, and with redevelopment in mind, the US was instrumental in the framing and passing of the Iraqi Constitution in 2005. The US Institute of Peace reported:

“From the time the Leadership Council [this was a group developed outside of the National Assembly made up of senior Iraqi leaders from all sides in order to fast track negotiations] was formed, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad attended meetings regularly, and U.S. Embassy officials were engaged in less-than-subtle efforts to accelerate a final constitution. Several of the early meetings of the Leadership Council took place at the U.S. Embassy. By August 10, the United States was strongly expressing its views on substantive constitutional issues to reach fast compromises that resembled the terms of the TAL… On August 12, in efforts to accelerate the drafting process, the U.S. Embassy circulated its own draft constitution in English”

– At every stage, the Iraq Constitution was under scrutiny by the US. Nothing was overlooked. And so, along with the funding for a universal health care system, Article 31 of the Iraq Constitution states:

“Every citizen has the right to health care. The State shall maintain public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment by building different types of hospitals and health institutions. “

“Individuals and entities have the right to build hospitals, clinics,or private health care centers under the supervision of the State, and this shall be regulated by law.”

– This article and the establishing of a fundamental right to state-funded healthcare in 2005 to run alongside a well regulated private market, could only have been made possible by the funds allocated by the Bush administration to establish a universal health care system, supported by Republicans in Congress.

One of those Republican Congressman who spoke on the floor of the House in 2004, defending the Bush Administration’s $950mn universal healthcare project in Iraq was ex-Congressman Duncan L.Hunter. Hunter said:

“It is hugely important that we provide this infrastructure, this basic health care need to the Iraqi people”.

– It’s essential to note this, because in 2009, after his tenure in Congress was over, when asked about the Affordable Care Act in the US, the same Duncan Hunter said:

“Well listen, this is an attempt to socialize our country. And it is one that is attempted at what the architects of socialism and Marxism would view as being a “soft exposure” in the American fabric. That is, people are obviously concerned about health care. It is important to them, and they are concerned about having security with respect to health care. The problem is government healthcare doesn’t provide security. And in most of the cases we see around the world, it provides instead a system that is largely dysfunctional and provides inadequate care.”

– By his own standards, Hunter worked to create a ‘socialised’, ‘Marxist’, ‘dysfunctional’, and ‘inadequate’ health care system in another country, paid for by US dollars.

Where was Ted Cruz – the foe of any government interference in health care – you might ask? Well, at that time, Cruz was Solicitor General for the state of Texas, and instead of choosing to fight US funding for universal health care in Iraq, he was busy insisting that the Ten Commandments monument at the Texas State Capitol was in fact Constitutional. So now you know; to stop Ted Cruz threatening the health care of the Nation’s most vulnerable people, and closing down the government… just tell him the Ten Commandments on state buildings are unconstitutional. You’ll never hear from him again.

With Ted Cruz and fellow Republicans either fully supporting universal health care in Iraq paid for by the US taxpayer, or just entirely silent on the issue, Democrats were raising concerns. In fact, one of the few who raised objections to the project was the then Democrat Senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan. On the Senate floor in April 2004, Dorgan suggested the Iraqi government should perhaps securitise future production of Iraqi oil in order to raise funds for reconstruction:

“It is their job, not the job of American taxpayers to have a program for housing, health care, jobs, and highways in Iraq. That ought not be the burden of the American taxpayer.”

Another Democrat to raise his concerns, was Tim Ryan (D-OH). On the House floor in 2005, Ryan said:

“So we are cutting health care, increasing premiums, increasing co-pays, and yet we have created a Welfare system in Iraq.”

– So whilst Democrats were raising concerns about a US tax payer funded universal healthcare system for Iraq…. Republicans were eerily silent whilst they accepted it without question.

We should also not forget that whilst the funds provided free training for doctors and nurses in Iraq (rightly so), it coincided with a $278mn cut to the Health Professionals Training Program in the US, and a $93mn cut to community access programs, that same year.

This was happening whilst the number of US citizens uninsured rose from 38.4 million when Clinton left office, to 46.3 million by the end of Bush’s term. Not one Republican Senator of House Representative threatened government, or default on the nation’s debt over the government funded establishment of universal health care for Iraq.

A Republican White House, with Republican Congressional support oversaw the framing of the Iraq Constitution that included universal health care as a fundamental human right, provided by the state, and initially funded by $950mn of US taxpayer money, and defended by a Tea Party favourite who now wishes to dismantle all state funded health care provisions.


My thoughts on Iraq and the Left

August 5, 2011

The French Revolution was a noble cause. Its goal was freedom from absolute tyranny. The shackles of Monarchy were being swept away for the sake of the enlightenment ideals of political and social rights. The cause itself was right. The methods were sometimes disturbing and wrong. The means cannot be justified regardless of the ends. Yet the ends were a noble ideal, as set out in La Fayette’s declaration of rights (though largely influenced by his friendship with Jefferson). This is how I see the Iraq war. I do not oppose the war in principle. Much of the means have been wrong, and thoroughly unnecessary, but the goal remains the right one. Political and social rights for a long oppressed people.

It seems a little odd to me that a majority of my fellow Left Wingers would oppose the Iraq war whilst the Left Wing inside Iraq has been struggling for years to firstly stop being prosecuted and systematically murdered, and secondly to get heard. There was no left wing march on London to protest the wiping out of 100,000 Kurds, or the killing of 90,000 Shi’ites. Iraq under Saddam was not that different to Kosovo under Milosovich, or Rwanda under the Tutsis. Iraq was a multi ethnic society, in which the minority ethnicity held the power, violently. Genocide is a term that can be applied to Iraq. Where were the anti-war protests, the pro-humanitarian righteous calls for Saddam to be tried for war crimes? It is almost shameful to abandon the cause of the international Left – deciding they are in a different Country, so not important – for the sake of a manic anti-Americanism stance. The cause of the international Left, is the cause of all Left wingers.

Expecting a legitimate and entirely free, well run election, in a country that has no real democratic infrastructure, in its first years, is madness. But it is a small step on the right course. I characterise the 2009 Iraqi election as a symbol more than anything. I say it was a symbol, because for a country whose citizens had been oppressed from a crime family for the past thirty years, to suddenly, at the legislative level, have thousands of women contesting electable seats is a massive achievement in itself. 75% of the parties standing candidates for election, were brand new parties. Also, in 2009, the multinational force in Iraq played no part in the security of the election process, which was presided over for the first time (an achievement, surely?) by the Iraqi security service. In 2005 elections there was no public canvassing for votes. In 2009, there was. Another achievement surely? And another symbol of the way things are, and should be going. The 2009 election, whilst it included violence and corruption unquestionably, it was also an improvement on 2005. 8 candidates were killed in 2009. 200 were killed in 2005. Suddenly displaced people and prisoners were given a vote. It is a big symbol for Iraq, and in fact for that region on the whole, given its centrality. Whilst the election took place under occupation, I cannot see it as anything but a step (albeit a small step) in the right direction. People who had been excluded from the political process for decades, suddenly having a say, is not a bad thing. And if anyone (including those of us on the pro-war side) thought the people of Iraq, after 30 years of Saddam oppression and frankly, a century or more of being played with like pawns, by the West, were suddenly going to march to the polls, in the same spirit as the democratic process in the UK, and expecting no violence or attempts to sieze power during a time when the country is essentially, new, they are delusional. The necessary infrastructure was not destroyed during the invasion itself, it was absolutely dismantled under Saddam. Said Aburish’s book “The politics of revenge” speaks of this.

The problem, as I see it, with early elections in deeply unstable countries like Iraq, is whilst continued US presence is not all that helpful, it seems to be true that if there is no real strong UN/US presence, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that the country will fall into the hands of anti-democratic forces again. Shia and Sunni parliamentary groups are slowly figuring out how to work together, which is far more essential than a strong UN/US presence, to prevent the country sliding into civil war, but it isn’t quite there yet. On this point, I am in two minds. I do think a strong UN/US presence is necessary in the early years, to provide support for a fledgling democracy against the plethora of groups that would like to install a new anti-democratic, anti-western, violent regime, which whether we like it or not, will always result in new tensions and aggression from the West again; but at the same time, we see the result of US presence with the democratic process in Afghanistan, and that leaves a lot to be desired, even though to pull Western support entirely from Afghan, would almost certainly lead to a renewed Taliban insurgency and a take over of government again, which is not helpful at all. So I certainly don’t see this as black and white. I simply think it is far too complex a situation, which many on the anti-war left tend to forget.

To have listened to the advice of the anti-war Left for the past twenty years, we would now have had a Milosovich who succeeded in Bosnia/Serbia. Kosovo would have been ethnically cleansed. Saddam would still be in power. The Taliban would be more powerful than ever. Iraq would have been a repeat of Rwanda – a campaign that never happened, I presume to the delight of the anti-war left. The anti-war left therefore, should horribly ashamed of themselves. I would be ashamed to align myself with such thoughts. It is important to note, their objection was not in the way the war was handled, or in the doubtless in-competencies of the rebuilding effort. Their objection was the principle of going to war against a leader whose country had been described as one big concentration camp. How they justify that objection, from a left wing perspective, is beyond my comprehension i’m afraid. They hold up peace signs, whilst people are raped and tortured to death. They say “War is terrorism” whilst they fellow left wingers are brutally murdered. It is the height of ignorance and betrayal.

They tend to complain that America supports dictators around the World (which America certainly has unjustly done), but then they lose my support when they complain when America takes the opposing view and tries to rid a Nation of a dictator. I absolutely welcome the change of policy from tacit support to regime change of notoriously criminal regimes.

I am not sure where the anger lies? In the war itself; which to me seems like a military operation to rid the World of one of the last and most vicious dictators of the 20th Century, create a Federalised democratic process to try to address the many cultural differences, which surely cannot be morally unjustified, given that the old ways certainly didn’t work. Or in the way the reconstruction was handled and the failure to plan for the influx of extremists aided by Iran and dedicating their efforts to destroying any form of infrastructure. The former, as i’ve pointed out, was hardly an act of unprovoked aggression when – when you glance back over the past thirty years, you see an Iraq that had been torn apart, its people savaged, tortured, raped and murdered, and endless UN resolutions disobeyed and just plain pissed on, Saddam’s funding of Palestinian suicide bombings against Israel and the awful consequences that the Kurds had to face for wanting independence. The reconstruction, was surely execute poorly and our continued forceful and at times disturbing presence (Abu Ghraib comes to mind) simply acted to provoke sectarian violence, but if we expected a long oppressed people to suddenly become the beacon of freedom, and weak infrastructure not to be the target of those who wish to assert another dictatorship over Iraq; we are hopelessly naive. Though surely we’d agree to the following points:

  • Saddam was evil. On the level of evil as Milosovich and other 20th Century dictators.
  • Iraq is better off without Saddam.
  • Building a new Nation on the grounds of a failed State will take time, but is worth it.
  • Taking a State out of the hands of Islamic extremists is in the interests of all of us.
  • Leaving Saddam in place, would only have required intervention at some point in the future, given that he’d spent ten years disobeying all UN resolutions.

    There are also profound questions we need to ask:

  • Were we right to have left Saddam in power after he left Kuwait?
  • Were we right to put sanctions on the Country which no doubt contributed to the suffering of the people?
  • And if we were right in both of those questions, should we have left him in power in 2003 and just kept up the sanctions?
    If you answer yes to all of those, then I am afraid you and I deeply disagree.

    There is a will among anti-war Left, to make sure nothing of any positivity be mentioned in regard to the Iraq war. If there is a rational argument presented for the Iraq war, it is ignored, because it might contradict a deeply held anti-American, anti-Blair view. If any of us dare to mention that we supported the War, support the democratic aftermath, and think it a war, much like Kosovo, to be proud of, we are vilified, especially if we are on the Left. If we were on the Right, our support for the War could be attributed to a dumb, Fox News Watching populace who cannot help but see America as a great Nation dedicated to the pursuit of freedom. As it happens, I am very critical of American foreign policy. There reluctance to involve themselves in Rwanda disgusts me. Reagan’s support for Right Winged terrorists and manic dictators throughout Latin America, disgusts me. But Afghanistan and Iraq have always been issues of contention for me. I never knew where I stood. Now I do. I absolutely, unequivocally support both wars. As a left winger, I support both wars for humanitarian reasons; because Iraq is far better off without the Saddam regime, and Afghanistan is far better off without the Taliban regime. Stability and security is a matter that has been rife with incompetence from coalition, but it will take time. I am of the belief that a democratic Iraq is achievable, and far more preferable to the population (look at the last election results) than a Sunni or Shia sectarian dictatorship; a dictatorship that was absolutely Fascist in its governing, and no less evil than Milosovich’s Kosovo.

    The anti-war marches always seemed a little ignorant and Nationalist in sentiment, to me. There is a whole host of hypocrisy involved too. One wonders where those Western Muslims who insist on supporting their “brothers” and “sisters” in Iraq against “Western Imperialism” were when Saddam was allowing mass executions, genocide and rape to take place. They seem to have only discovered this sense of brotherhood, after 2003. Shameful.

    The calls for Blair to be sent to the Hague – questions arose in my mind…. why? Why should he be tried? What evidence do you have that the Prime Minister, like Milosovich, wished to wipe out Iraqi civilians, and send thousands of servicemen and women to their deaths? Oil? Really? Couldn’t we have saved the trouble and struck a deal with the Saddam regime, in return for aid or the lifting of sanctions? Because he hasn’t said sorry for dead soldiers? Neither did Churchill…. and I challenge you to tell an Iraqi who was held at a Baathist underground torture prison, as seen here, having his eyes gorged out, that Saddam wasn’t as bad as Hitler. What use is a left wing if it turns its head to social injustice on the basis of an abstraction like Nationality and distance from the injustice? It is as if the protesters were not too bothered by the horrific crimes against humanity administered by the Saddam regime. As if they were not too fussed that before Saddam, Iraq had an economy that surpassed Portugal and Malaysia, and after Saddam, it was one of the poorest nations on Earth. They didn’t seem to care much that in 2002, the UN issued a warning against Saddam, accusing the regime of:

    systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

    … it is as if the international Left would rather have stayed out of the conflict, and the obvious humanitarian crises and years of genocide, for reasons simply to do with Nationality. It wasn’t “our” problem. As if humanity is not one species. It is like saying “The red headed man is punching his red headed wife….. I wont help, because i’m not red headed, so it doesn’t concern me.” The continuation of the Baathist regime cannot be justified by those of us on the Left. It was an abomination. It represented an imperialism imposed by religious extremism, resulting in poverty, oppression, institutionalised rape and genocide. We also cannot ignore the ten years worth of warning the UN had given to Iraq.
    The UN demanded that Iraq put a complete halt on:

    summary and arbitrary executions… the use of rape as a political tool and all enforced and involuntary disappearances

    I cannot bring myself to say that a war that toppled a man who used rape as a political tool, was using widespread and “extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law“, was wrong or illegal.

    Under Saddam thousands of Communist Party members were tortured and killed. Husain al-Radi, the leader of the Communist Party and exceptional painter/poet was tortured and killed after the 1963 Baathist coup.

    Under Saddam, the worst chemical attack in history took place. 1988, against the Kurds, the Halabja massacre, in which 5000 people died, 10000 more injured, and thousands more suffering birth defects every day. I implore you to imagine walking down a street in Halabja that day, and watching as thousands of people going about their every day lives choked to death; children’s skin burning and blistering, screaming in pain, before they dropped dead. One thing is for certain, most of the anti-war Left would be calling for Saddam’s head to be bought to London and stuck on a pole in the Tower of London, had he done the same thing in London. For a powerful Western Nation to sit back, and allow it to happen, is immoral. To support inaction, in my opinion, is a war crime.

    Guy Dinmore of the Financial Times was stationed 14km outside of Halabja, and recalled entering the town after the attack:

    It was life frozen. Life had stopped, like watching a film and suddenly it hangs on one frame. It was a new kind of death to me. You went into a room, a kitchen and you saw the body of a woman holding a knife where she had been cutting a carrot. (…) The aftermath was worse. Victims were still being brought in. Some villagers came to our chopper. They had 15 or 16 beautiful children, begging us to take them to hospital. So all the press sat there and we were each handed a child to carry. As we took off, fluid came out of my little girl’s mouth and she died in my arms.

    – Knowing that the President of a country is capable of such an atrocity, to demand Blair’s head on a plate simply for a “45 minute claim” that may or may not have been exaggerated, seems beyond petty.

    Under Saddam vast environmental damage was caused in Kuwait, when Iraqi forces retreated from their invasion of Kuwait, and set land minds in the oil fields after setting the oil fields on fire. The fires raged for ten months, creating an environmental disaster, deep respiratory problems for Kuwaitis ensued. The land and the wildlife of the surrounding region was destroyed. Where were the protesters in London? I guess they were at petrol stations, wondering why their petrol cost was increasing, on their way to a shopping mall, whilst 6 million barrels of oil a day were burning in Iraq and causing a humanitarian and environmental crises. The international Left should have been acting to oust Saddam then and there.

    Yanar Mohammed, the Iraqi Feminist and head of “Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq” moved back to Iraq after self imposed exile for fear of her life, after the invasion by coalition troops. Her group now fights against sexual slavery and forced prostitution. It provides safe houses for victims of domestic abuse and those threatened with honour killings. She claims to have saved 30 women from honour killings. Under Saddam, those 30 killings would have taken place, and there would be nowhere for victims of domestic abuse or sexual slavery inside Iraq to turn to. At Saddam’s trial, a woman who didn’t wish to be identified testified against the Dictator, stating:

    “I was beaten up and tortured by electrical shocks, I begged them, but they hit with their pistols. They made me put my legs up. There were five or more, and they treated me like a banquet.

    The woman was 16 at the time.
    Yanar Mohammed is pushing for the de-baathistisation of the Country’s attitudes to women. Another step in the right direction, and a signal that Iraq is far better off without Saddam or the Baath Party. The international Left should be recognising people like Yanar Mohammed and helping her cause, rather than focusing on endless criticism of America.

    Azzam Alwash is the director of “Nature Iraq“, the Country’s first and only Environmental organisation. He is working to restore the marshes of Southern Iraq. The beautiful region, full of wildlife and natural wonder, considered by some to be the “cradle of civilisation” and the Garden of Eden, was destroyed by Saddam. The Marsh Arabs had supported a Shiite uprising against Saddam in the early 1990s. The marsh Arabs had lived in floating huts on a plethora of canals that were divided between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Saddam had thousands of the marsh Arabs tortured and killed, and their livestock slaughtered. The huts were burned, and the water was poisoned. As many as 500,000 fled the attack. Land mines were placed in and around the marshes to make sure no one would go back. For centuries the marshes of Southern Iraq were teeming with wildlife and aquatic life. After 1990, it was baron, drained, poisoned, and covered in land mines. The UN in 2001 named it as one of the greatest environmental disasters of all time. Alwash intends to re-flood the marshes and restore the wildlife. This would not have been possible under Saddam. Alwash would most likely have been tortured and killed for even suggesting it. The south was one of the places that the Iraqi people were delighted to welcome coalition troops in 2003.

    America has always influenced Iraqi affairs. They helped empower Saddam. They trained and armed Iraqi soldiers against Iran during the conflict in the 1980s, by making it easier to transport weapons by arbitrarily removing Iraq from the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list. The US miserably abandoned their Kurdish allies in 1975 leading to genocide (the abandonment of the Kurds is the moral indignation that should lead to US Officials – in particular, Kissinger – tried for war crimes, not 2003). There were, as far as I can tell, only one way the Americans could put right their continued involvement in Iraqi affairs; topple the dictator, install a democratic process, leave. And whilst the process was at times incompetent and at other times absolutely abhorrent, the goal is the right one.

    Interestingly, a poll of 2737 Iraqis interviewed by ABC News with the necessary field work conducted Oxford Research International of Oxford, found that 78 percent of Iraqis reject violence against coalition forces, although 17 percent — a sixth of the population — call such attacks “acceptable.” One percent, for comparison, call it acceptable to attack members of the new Iraqi police. This to me suggests that whilst people in Iraq may have tired of coalition forces during the war, they respected the new Iraqi police force and the rule of law set by the new Iraqi State. Also, forty percent of Arabs (who make up 79% of the population) supported the presence of coalition forces in 2005, compared with 82 percent of Kurds. Of the entire population, 48% said the invasion was right, whilst only 39% said it was wrong. And whilst the media and the anti-war Left like to imagine that life is impossible now for Iraqis, the poll found that 70% are happy with their lives now, 71% expect their lives to improve in the coming years, and only 19% say they are worse off after the war than before. Only 15% said that coalition forces should “leave now” (this was 2005). 36%, the majority, said coalition forces should leave once a stable Iraqi government is in place. Now, short of providing their own evidence to the contrary, I would expect the anti-war left to insist that the research is coalition propaganda, at that point, I cease to listen to them.

    To conclude, I tend to question popular sentiment as much as possible. Call it a need to argue. So when my own political allies on the Left come to a conclusion that seems a little drastic (Send Blair to the hague for war crimes, for example), I tend to want to look into the arguments further. On Iraq, I disagree profoundly with the vast majority of the Left. I also think they have betrayed their desire for superior investigative journalism, by attaching their reasoning to the claims of Gilligan, which I shall discuss in more depth tomorrow. The Left should have mobilised against Saddam and called for his overthrow years ago. They should have stood shoulder to shoulder with groups fighting for freedom in Iraq. This, they failed to do. They abandoned the international cause of the Left, for the sake of rabid anti-Americanism and a desire to see Blair in prison. Their objections on the whole, came down to national allegiance. And most will start their argument with “Yeah, I know Saddam was an evil dictator but…“. To me, that is where their argument has fallen. It is a hopelessly flippant statement that deserves absolutely no respect. From the comfort of a Western perspective, in which we can think what we wish without worrying our neighbours may be spying on us, and that we may be tortured or murdered at any second; to say Saddam was evil, is just words. Meaningless words. From a privileged and relatively free Western perspective, where we are not forced to demonstrate our loyalty to our leader on fear of torture, or made to watch and applaud the execution of our family members, we know nothing, we cannot imagine the horror of living day by day under such an oppressive regime, we cannot put ourselves in the shoes of the Kurds, the Shia and the Marsh Arabs. In Iraq, the biggest threat was not American imperialism, it was a regime that was absolutely beyond evil. Evil is a word that cannot be applied easily, but the Saddam regime was evil. To suggest we understand at all, and to still oppose the war, represents a deep betrayal of the principles of social justice on which the left is built. What good is a left that has resigned itself to arbitrary National borders? To speak of “we” as a collective nation, rather than “we” as a movement for social justice, represents an appalling betrayal of our principles. The anti-war Left (many of whom struggle to place Basra on a map) should be ashamed.

    It is true that Iraq now is a hotbed of sectarian violence and terrorism, but it is improving. It cannot be expected to become a peaceful democratic state so quickly, after suffering so many years of oppression. I assert that the war was the right course to take, the rebuilding effort is going to be long and dangerous but it sets the correct course for the future of Iraq, and tomorrow I will expand on this further.


  • The Afghanistan problem and the anti-war Left

    July 30, 2011

    There is an inclination on the Left (especially the Student Left) to be manically, and irrationally anti-war. There is no room for movement. They will call for Blair to be tried for War Crimes (here is a wonderfully simplistic sight, that calls Blair a monster). They will show the bodies of innocent people killed in Iraq or Afghanistan and demand Blair and Bush be hung for crimes against humanity, yet oddly they don’t wish to draw the same conclusion with Churchill, or Roosevelt; allied bombers are responsible for far more civilian deaths during World War II. Therefore, they are absolutely irrational, selective, and living in a dream World. They are patently anti-war. A man could be stabbing you, and they’d insist on “understanding” the differences, culturally, between the two of you, and then working on a diplomatic solution. Their determination to continue irrationally, and hijack the Left Wing, so that it encompasses anti-war into its way of thinking, is a veritable insult to those of us on the Left who are far more practical and logical, taking each conflict that arises as requiring different solutions, and that sometimes, war is the only way.

    If you read Tariq Ali of the Stop The War group, he seems to completely exonerate Pakistan of any wrong doing, and put all blame for any problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan, at the door of America. It thus perpetuates the myth that religious evil persisting on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the support for that evil from the Pakistan ISI is somehow a problem we should “understand” at the very best, and just ignore at the very worst.

    One must wonder if they think the lack of force used against the Interahamwe in Rwanda, was the right course of action, given that it was peaceful yet resulted in a genocide.

    I absolutely support the war in Afghanistan. I think it’s a long term war, against an enemy that is relentless, and happy to use their own bodies to kill anyone who does not follow their religious doctrine. Had I been Prime Minister in 2001 after 9/11, i’d have made the same decision as Blair. Had I been Prime Minister in 2003, when all the intelligence was pointing to Saddam having WMDs, and the fact that he’d been obstructing Weapons inspectors, and had already broken well over 10 UN Resolutions, I’d have gone into Iraq too. People who will use religion as a justification for declaring war (which they did on 9/11/2001) should be hunted down on every corner of the Globe, and eliminated. We should not be taking their cultural ideals into consideration. Believe whatever you wish, but when your belief is enshrined in violence, your belief deserves to be wiped off the face of the planet. Believe in Fascism if you wish, but the moment you try to spread your vile system using violence, then it becomes a problem.

    The attack against the World Trade Centre was not an attack against American aggression. Islamic terrorism had been growing for years. Those who support its doctrines do indeed wish their reading of Islam to become the accepted norm. This is evident with the killing of Ahmed Shah Massoud on September 9th 2001. Massoud was a great man by anyones definition. He fought the Soviets, helping to drive them out of Afghanistan, and then continued to fight the Taliban, and staunchly attacking their interpretation of the Koran. He was assassinated by radical Muslims two days before the 9/11 attacks. They didn’t kill him because he was American; he wasn’t. They killed him because he posed a threat to their perverted and dangerous doctrine.

    After taking control of much of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban installed the most vicious and violent form of Shariah law that any Islamic nation has ever had to endure. For Massoud’s part in trying to destroy the Taliban regime, he was nominated in 2002 for a Nobel Peace Prize, and has a National Day named after him, in his honour. Can you imagine living in a country that was essentially free and modernising rapidly, to a Country that suddenly banned education, sports, and leaving the house without a male chaperon for all women? Can you imagine suddenly become a Country that forced all men to have a fist sized beard on their chin on pain of public torture if disobeyed? Where suddenly you could be put to death for owning a TV or sending a Christmas Card. A Country in which a woman would be publicly executed if she had been seen by a Male doctor, no matter how sick she was? That was not Afghanistan prior to 1996. But it was Afghanistan in 1996-2001? All this whilst they funded and trained extremists carrying out bombing missions against US Embassies.

    According to a UN Report, most civilian deaths in Afghanistan since 2001, have been caused by the Taliban insurgency. They are also focussing their attacks on unarmed Aid workers. 76% of civilian deaths in 2009, according to the UN Report have been caused by the Taliban. They do not care who they kill. They want control of a country, for religious ideological reasons. Here are a group that helped carry out attacks on US embassies, harboured terrorists, helped to fund and plan 9/11, assassinated an opposition leader, refused to allow women the right to leave the house alone, carried out extreme torture and execution on a daily basis, and who would kill you and I, and I don’t think It’d be a leap to say they’d most certainly use chemical or biological weapons against the West or any anti-Islamic fundamentalist group, if they had the capability; all of this and the anti war left do not see it as sufficient to intervene? By that same reasoning, should we have left Milošević alone?

    The problem on the Western Side, was that a lot of Muslims believed that whilst Terrorism was wrong, they felt a sense of “brotherhood” with Muslims in Afghanistan, and therefore felt it was a battle between the West and Islam. Which is a ridiculous argument. The Crusades are long dead. I am an Atheist, not a Christian. I couldn’t care less what religion a man in a desert in Afghanistan chooses to adhere to. The fact that Turkey supplied troops to the war against the Taliban also suggests this wasn’t a war on Islam.

    There is another attack, that seems to have no actual end, or point to it. “Yeah, but America funded the Taliban in the 80s against the Soviets!”.
    Absolutely. It was the wrong thing to do. The US created a Monster. I absolutely do not support the Reagan administration in pretty much anything it did. It funded Right winged terrorists throughout Latin America in an attempt to spread American Capitalism. But that was the Reagan Administration. The Foreign landscape was entirely different, and just because they created the monster for short sighted reasons, doesn’t mean that they should wash their hands of that monster 20 years later.

    Afghanistan needs to be a fully functioning State. That is absolutely impossible with a Taliban presence. A Taliban presence means terrorism, which means mass instability across the region, and presents a worry for Pakistan with it’s Nuclear capability. A functioning State of Afghanistan, progression both economically and politically can only take shape without the Taliban.

    The issue Afghanistan clearly has now, is Karzai isn’t exactly Mr Clean himself. In 2009, of the 66 polling sites in Kandahar, 100% of the vote came out in favour of Karzai. In the Zherai Awal Camp, 2,100 people are eligible to cast a vote for the Afghan President. Of those 2100………… 2300 apparently voted according to the polling report, and everyone of them voted for Karzai. Karzai’s opponent, Abdullah Abdullah refused to carry on the election, citing his lack of faith in the Government’s ability to allow a fair and free election. He has since started the Campaign for Change and Hope in Afghanistan, as a new Party for Democratic reform. The fact that that Campaign from Abdullah Abdullah is allowed to exist, a party for Democratic reform, shows that Afghanistan has come far, and is much better off, and certainly now on a decent path, which it would not have been on had the Taliban still been in control. In early 2001, Abdullah Abdullah travelled to Europe to ask for financial aid, to help Afghanistani people affected by the cruelty of the Taliban regime, he said without the aid of Pakistan and Bin Laden’s group, the Taliban would be history.

    Karzai is currently offering to negotiate peace with the Taliban. The problem with that is, the Taliban do not want stability, or a functioning democratic state. They are not fighting to keep America out. That is simply a clever propaganda tactic. They are fighting to control Afghanistan and force a harsh environment where Shariah is the law of the land, and terrorism can be supported.

    I think the objective is pretty clear. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are absolutely linked. The link extends to the stability of Afghanistan. The link extends to Pakistan and its Nuclear program. To build a free and democratic Afghanistan that isn’t ruled by oppressive gangsters supporting terrorism, and to ensure that particular group do not develop Nuclear capability, we must stay the course in Afghanistan and ensure its State becomes strong and capable of self defence. To allow the Taliban the opportunity to retake Afghanistan, would only lead to another 9/11 and another failed State that requires further intervention. Do it now, or try to do it again and again and again every few years.

    We also have to win the propaganda war. There are doubtless section of Western Muslim community who actually believe that the Taliban are the defenders of Islam and the heroes fighting Western imperialism. Do they oppose Abdullah Abdullah? Do they oppose democratic change? Does the anti-war Left believe the only legitimate option for Afghanistan was an oppressive Taliban regime who would gladly light the fuse that blew up the West? To let that kind of Fascism persist, in my opinion, is a great evil. To turn a blind eye to it, as we did with Rwanda, is a great evil. It must be confronted.

    It does not help the US’s case, that individual soldiers seem to believe they are above the law, and somehow manage to get acquitted for awful crimes. In my eyes the war is justified, but it has to be fought on the standards of the outcome it wishes to achieve; the rule of law, and stability. To forgo the judicial process for individual US soldiers who have committed crimes in Afghanistan, only adds fuel to the fire of mistrust and the entire anti-war left start to suspect the entire war effort as having sinister undertones. It doesn’t take long on the Stop The War Coalition website to come across an article mentioning oil; another argument I always find horrifically simplistic.

    The biggest disadvantage the Taliban have, is the collective memory of a rather annoyed population who remember the dark days of 1996-2001. Rory Stewart, an expert on Afghanistan, write:

    The Hazara, Tajik and Uzbek populations are wealthier, more established and more powerful than they were in 1996 and would strongly resist any attempt by the Taliban to occupy their areas. The Afghan national army is reasonably effective. Pakistan is not in a position to support the Taliban as it did before. It would require far fewer international troops and planes than we have today to make it very difficult for the Taliban to gather a conventional army as they did in 1996 and drive tanks and artillery up the main road to Kabul.

    – With this in mind, there are now projects in Afghanistan that are community led rather than foreign aid led, to build a stable Country. But whilst these are small steps in the right direction, the shady Karzai regime has taken two steps back. The reason the Executive branch of the new Afghanistan Government has powers beyond that of the US President or the UK Prime Minister, is because strong leadership is needed in the first years following its foundation. In an era where the Taliban are winning the propaganda war, a weak executive and a strong Parliament could be potentially disastrous. Karzai needed to act decisively, and honestly. The quite obvious election corruption by the Karzai regime was one massive reason the executive branch of this new State could be endangered, but beyond that, he is calling for Taliban fighters to stop the violence and back to new government. For me, this simply tells the Taliban that they can’t be defeated, that the Karzai government and their allies in the UK and US are too tired to fight any longer and are willing to accept compromise. Progress in human rights, and the rebuilding of the State is under threat, with the apparent desire to appease the Taliban. As Karzai attempted to negotiate with the Taliban, they killed his brother, and other top ranking officials. The US is not helping matters, as Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary said the US would engage in political talks with the Taliban by the end of the year. Shortly after Karzai revealed that the US and Afghanistan was in “PEACE” talks with the Taliban, announcing to the press that the talks were “going well”, four suicide bombers attacked a police station next to the Afghan Finance Ministry. The Taliban admitted they carried out the attacks. I must concur with Col Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, when he said:

    “The only possibility that (peace) could happen is if they as a movement are defeated and there’s no prospect of that happening in the near future.”

    These are not people to be appeased, they do not want to be part of a democratic process. They don’t want to give people a choice on whether they’re wanted in power or not, they want absolute power, and rule by fear, torture and murder. They are a threat to their own people, and they are a threat to the World. And until we discover the true nature of the Pakistani ISI and their links to the Taliban, we may be a long way from defeating them, though it’s a necessity. On the subject of Pakistan, they must be treated with suspicion and watched carefully. According to a report by Matt Waldman of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard University;

    Directly or indirectly the ISI appears to exert significant influence on the strategic decisionmaking and field operations of the Taliban; and has even greater sway over Haqqani
    insurgents. According to both Taliban and Haqqani commanders, it controls the most violent
    insurgent units, some of which appear to be based in Pakistan

    – With this sort of accusation, it is less surprising that Osama Bin Laden was found next to a military compound in Pakistan. I would feel almost certain in saying he was being protected by the ISI, and more than that; I’d say that Mullah Omar, the Taliban Leader, is also hiding in Pakistan under the protection of the ISI. Mullah Omar is a man who has said he will hunt and kill Americans like dogs. In fact, captured Taliban insurgent Muhammad Hanif made that exact confession. Hanif admitted that Mullah Omar is in the Pakistani city of Quetta. Obviously Pakistan have denied this, yet the US (who insist their relationship with Pakistan is strong and based on mutual trust) seem to think there might be some truth in it, given that the Wikileak earlier this year showed that the US diplomatic community believe the ISI to be a terrorist organisation.

    There is no choice for the West. We either stay the course, regardless of how long it takes, and ensure this vile Fascist form of Islam is not allowed to take control of Afghanistan or any other Country, or we allow them to keep stabbing us, and just hope that one day they will suddenly understand that we have our differences, and they retract the knife despite having caused irreparable damage. I am not entirely sure what the anti-war Left propose we should do with the problem of Afghanistan.

    That is why I fully support the war, and a continued campaign in Afghanistan.


    Blinded by Patriotism

    February 27, 2011

    In 2003 the Americans tried to convince the World that Al Jazeera had been infiltrated by spies, in an effort to produce propaganda for the war in Iraq. It is an interesting and mightily hypocritical claim by the U.S who have a media largely in bed with the American Government, and largely responsible for the biggest manipulation in war time history. Propaganda is an absolute specialty of the United States of America.

    Ex CBS reporter Dan Rather stated recently, on the subject of his unquestioning adherence to absolutely everything the Bush Administration was insisting, that:

    “Had journalists questioned the deceptions…the invasion would not have happened.”

    The truth is, Al Jazeera is the only news network in the World who were investigating the horrors of the U.S invasion of Iraq. Where were the U.S press, the freest press in the World, when the population of Fallujah were being massacred? Phrases like “terrorist” and “insurgent” were being used everywhere, to describe anyone in Iraq who wanted to fight back against the U.S invasion.

    Fox went along to an anti-war rally in 2004, and suggested several times, that the protesters were “unpatriotic“. Fox went along to the Tea Party rallies in 2009 and 2010 and referred to them as “true patriots“. Fox was the most watched news broadcaster for news on the war. Throughout coverage of the war in Iraq, Fox displayed a little waiving American flag in the corner of the screen.

    Similarly, MSNBC played a segment every week, called “America’s bravest”, which showed photos of American soldiers deployed in Iraq.

    Peter Arnett, a reporter with NBC was fired for questioning the legitimacy of the war. He had interviewed Iraqi officials and said the American “first war plan had failed”.

    A Maryland University study into the media affects on public perception of Iraq, found that 57% of mainstream media viewers believed Iraq was involved in 9/11. 69% believe that Saddam was directly involved in 9/11. 22% believed WMDs had been found in Iraq. 80% of Fox News viewers had one or more of the above misconceptions.

    Media watchdog group “FAIR” found that 79% of all 319 news stories on Iraq in 2003, were sourced from Government officials or Military officials.

    The media became the mouthpiece for a barrage of lies and propaganda. This is evident even today. When Wikileaks leaked the war files, the news outlets, from Fox in the US to the BBC in the UK focused almost entirely on Wikileaks itself. American Republicans are referring to Assange as a traitor for exposing their criminal activity. The UK media was focusing on Assange personally. No one focused on what the war logs were saying.

    Dr Chris Busby, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster, along with a team of researchers, surveyed 4,800 people in Fallujah and concluded that dramatic increases in cancer rates and infant mortality since the relative genocide by American troops, is “worse than Hiroshima”. After Fallujah, US Marines admitted, after first strongly denying, that they had used white phosphorus. The report is open for any to read, called “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009“. It shows a 38 fold increase in leukaemia (compared to a 17 fold increase, after Hiroshima), a ten fold increase in breast cancer, and an increase in brain tumours. This sharp rise if health defects, was not helped by the fact that the city continued to be blocked off to essential supplies, by the US, long after 2004.

    Whilst the U.S networks were struggling to understand a map of the Middle East:

    And using handy little catchphrases that seemed to give credit to the horrors:

    Al Jazeera was getting right into the heart of the situation, and showing images, like the one below, which is beyond awful. (I have spent the past few minutes looking at this photo, and it is something I cannot comprehend without being overcome with quite profound sadness):

    It is then, no wonder that the one media outlet that was actually bothering to do some investigative journalism, rather than imbedded journalism (in which the Western Military dictates what a Journalist is allowed to see and where he can go), showing pictures and videos of innocent people’s lives ruined, in the same way that Fox and CNN were after 9/11 were bombed. The Al Jazeera Kabul and Baghdad offices were bombed by the Americans, who also drew up plans to bomb the Al Jazeera office in Doha – Qatar!. Why? They weren’t harbouring terrorists. They were just a threat to US mass propaganda. We were not supposed to see the destruction and terrorism left by the Americans. We were supposed to see a happy population, joyfully welcoming the Americans as great liberators fighting for freedom. If people fought back, we were supposed to believe they were “insurgents” who “hated our freedoms”, rather than the fathers of dead children or orphaned children.

    The “reality” of war, is not a natural reality, it is a construct. When thousands are killed in American and British aggression it is called the “reality of war“, simply because a Western Government has used the word “war” to describe it. But when a far smaller number are killed by extremists, it is called “terrorism” and it is “evil”. It is the creation of a narrative that seeks to propel Western aggression as necessary, to defeat evil. Whether that evil be Communists, Muslims, Vietcong, or Arabs. That is the public narrative. The truth is that if your dictator opens up his markets to American Capitalist ventures, he will be propped up for years to come. The moment he closes those markets, we will take them by force.

    How blurred the lines of “reality of war” really are, and absolutely always in favour of the Western World. Vietnam, the propping up of Latin American and Middle Eastern Dictators, the dropping of the Atomic Bomb, the invasion of Iraq. None of it is labelled “terrorism”, and yet what else is it other than the spreading of terror and death across Nations that aren’t ours.

    It isn’t new. The British Empire did it in Australia. Terrorised the Country but apparently it was for their own good. What if Aboriginal Australians had invaded England? Rome labelled anyone who disagreed with its policies as “Barbarians”. The concealing of crimes behind romaticised ideals is not new. Especially with America. America celebrates Columbus Day. A day when Europe began the mass genocide project across that continent.
    The great American author Kurt Vonnegut sums this up in his book “Breakfast of Champions“:

    rout and Hoover were citizens of the United States of America, a country which was called America for short. This was their national anthem, which was pure balderdash, like so much they were expected to take seriously:

    O, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight
    O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
    O, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

    There were one quadrillion nations in the Universe, but the nation Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout belonged to was the only one with a national anthem which was gibberish sprinkled with question marks.

    The motto of Dwayne Hoover’s and Kilgore Trout’s nation was this, which meant in a language nobody spoke anymore, Out of Many, One: “E pluribus unum.” The undippable flag was a beauty, and the anthem and the vacant motto might not have mattered much, if it weren’t for this: a lot of citizens were so ignored and cheated and insulted that they thought they might be in the wrong country, or even on the wrong planet, that some terrible mistake had been made.

    It might have comforted them some if their anthem and their motto had mentioned fairness or brotherhood or hope or happiness, had somehow welcomed them to the society and its real estate. If they studied their paper money for clues as to what their country was all about, they found, among a lot of other baroque trash, a picture of a truncated pyramid with a radiant eye on top of it. Not even the President of the United States knew what that was all about.

    It was as though the country were saying to its citizens, “In nonsense is strength.” A lot of the nonsense was the innocent result of playfulness on the part of the founding fathers of the nation of Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout.

    The founders were aristocrats, and they wished to show off their useless education, which consisted of the study of hocus-pocus from ancient times. They were bum poets as well. But some of the nonsense was evil, since it concealed great crimes. For example, teachers of children in the United States of America wrote this date on blackboards again and again, and asked the children to memorize it with pride and joy: 1492. The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them.

    Here was another piece of evil nonsense which children were taught: that the sea pirates eventually created a government which became a beacon of freedom to human beings everywhere else. There were pictures and statues of this supposed imaginary beacon for children to see. It was sort of an ice-cream cone on fire. Like this [the Liberty torch].

    Actually, the sea pirates who had the most to do with the creation of the new government owned human slaves. They used human beings for machinery, and, even after slavery was eliminated, because it was so embarrassing, they and their descendants continued to think of ordinary human beings as machines

    Vonnegut is ingeniously pointing out the illogical mental illness of Patriotism and its refusal to accept the horrors that came before it, and are committed in the name of it. It is a delusional, non-existent entity that exists to hinder human progression rather than help that seed to grow. A heartfelt anthem and a flag are just ways to mask injustice. It is a clever social construction, to make you think what you are doing is for the greater good and that the greatest good is the Nation State, when in fact the truth is, it is all for the sake of profit.

    The dominant superpower will always place itself as the moral standard, and we buy into the bullshit, because it takes too much effort to stop playing on Fifa, and actually read.
    Instead of seeing a little girl marched out of her home, crying and scared and made to kneel down on the floor with her hands in the air, by our troops, isn’t presented in the media. Instead, the media will have experts in to talk about how awesome our aircraft is, or how the Democrats are trying to block Defence funding. As if any of that bullshit matters.

    We don’t see a bunch of vicious soldiers shooting random people or committing mass murder in Fallujah. Instead, we see a Saddam statue being brought down and how wonderful and free Iraq now is. We don’t see the pictures of a family digging their dead child out of the rubble, instead we only hear words like “insurgents” and “terrorists”. If my child had just been killed by American forces, for no reason, I’d fucking do all I could to kill the bastards too.

    We are all desensitised to war, by this obsession with an us VS them mentality. Consumerism is a useful tool against the questioning of the immoral actions of big business and government. It is a simple narrative to understand, we don’t have to read too much into it, we’re busy working our arses off for shit we don’t need, so we consume easily accessible news, without questioning its motives or its intentions. We are apparently the good guys, and they are apparently the enemies, that is how it is presented. A healthy dose of National Pride, by making pictures of American soldiers draping their flag over the head of the statue in Baghdad, ensures that we are kept docile and unquestioning. We don’t want to seem unpatriotic.

    Whereas, the reality is that the good guys are the idiots who are compelled to fight to perpetuate the economic war system, on both sides, rather than joining hands and fighting the very people who profit from war and make it a rational product of Capitalism. Do we really believe that the American private defence contractors and oil companies would love to see a peaceful World? They exist, to profit from war. Therefore, the financial sector profits from war. It is gross manipulation. These are the real bastards, not a few farmers in Afghanistan.

    David Cameron went to Kuwait and told them that 20 years ago a brutal and violent dictator invaded their home land, and they had a right to defend themselves. How offensive; we sold those arms to that brutal dictator, before we designated him a brutal dictator, because he was nice to our businessmen. I keep seeing arguments defending Cameron’s arms sales across the Arab World as “good for jobs in England”. Economic matters are being placed above human rights. It is believed that British arms were used in the massacre of protesters in Libya this week.

    Blair’s government lifted sanctions on the sale of weapons to Libya in 2004. Since then British companies have sold £500,000,000 worth of arms to Libya n 2009 alone. This includes Sniper rifles, tear gas, and crowd control ammunition. Are we seriously suggesting that selling tear gas and crowd control ammunition to a dictatorship, is going to be used to protect itself from an evil outside force? They are always going to be used against protesters, to keep the dictatorship in power. For that, I don’t care how many jobs it creates in the UK, we should be ashamed.

    And so whilst the Libyan government uses our weapons, like Saddam did before him, on its own people, the rest of the World will sit back and have lots of UN meetings and keeping saying “please stop“.

    Sometimes, death is good for the economy, and so we are all expendable.
    Was is an essential ingredient of Capitalism.


    The way of the Huckabee

    December 1, 2010

    Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee has called for whomever leaked the cables to Wikileaks, to be executed. Interesting. When Islamic extremists issue fatwas against people like Salmond Rushdie, our politicians rush to condemn them. They are barbaric. They are left overs from the Middle Ages. But apparently, American Republicans can issue death threats against whomever they so wish; especially if it intrudes on their apparent inherent right to be the bringers of war and destruction across the World.

    Huckabee said:

    ‘Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty’

    A little extreme perhaps. But then i’ve always said, those who worship their abstract, fantasy World of the concept of “Nation” are just as moronic as those who worship their fantasy World of “Religion“. Huckabee wants to put someone to death for the sake of his abstract concept.

    Huckabee, ironically, is part of a political party that sent thousands of troops to their deaths in a war that won support on the basis of a lie. In 2003 a letter was conveniently found in Saddam Hussein’s house, from one of the 9/11 bombers, Mohammad Atta, and the head of Saddam’s Iraqi Intelligence, General Tahir Jalil Habbush. The letter read:

    “To the President of the Ba’ath Revolution Party and President of the Republic, may God protect you.”
    reads:
    “Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian national, came with Abu Ammer [the real name behind this Arabic alias remains a mystery] and we hosted him in Abu Nidal’s house at al-Dora under our direct supervision.
    We arranged a work program for him for three days with a team dedicated to working with him…He displayed extraordinary effort and showed a firm commitment to lead the team which will be responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy.”

    It was convenient, because it was simply false. The man named Nidal was an enemy of Hussein. I wrote about this in a previous blog in greater detail than I will go into here. Needless to say, the document is not authentic. This comes years after Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist and Author Ron Suskind, suggested that the Bush White House along with the CIA had forged the document to suggest a pre-war link between Iraq and Al Qaeda to back up their authority for war. Given that, according to Wikileak documents leaked a few months back, this little lie, along with the tidal wave of lies the Republicans threw at the World in order to gain support for their illegal war, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, shouldn’t Huckabee be getting his priorities straight, and quit worrying about how many rich Americans in expensive suits these leaks embarrass, and worry about his weak interpretation of the word “treason”?

    Every President for the past, at least, 100 years should be tried for treason. Reagan funded and armed right winged terrorists in Nicaragua, and so was indirectly responsible for thousands of innocent lives lost.
    General Suharto of Indonesia is estimated to have killed around 1,000,000 people in 1965, after the US gave lists of known Communist sympathisers, making it easier to round them up and execute them. Arms deals then propped up the Suharto dictatorship through the reign of President Ford right up to President Clinton.
    $112,000,000 worth of arms were passed to Suharto’s regime, from the Carter administration.
    During the invasion of East Timor, but the Suharto regime in Indonesia, supported by the Americans; the UN had a vote calling for Indonesia to stop its invasion immediately. The vote was blocked by the US who also blocked a vote to impose economic sanctions on the Country.
    Ford’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told Suharto, on his absolutely abhorrent invasion of East Timor:

    “It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly; the use of US-made arms could create problems.”

    Kissinger knew that what he was supporting and helping, was nothing short of genocide. Strangely, Huckabee hasn’t called for Kissinger to be executed.

    The problem isn’t that the leaker, or Wikileaks puts anyone in danger. They don’t. What they do, is embarrass World Governments. Especially America. It is long overdue quite frankly. Politicians like Huckabee would quite like to be able to get away with murder, without being hindered by those pesky journalists.

    They set a precedent; they show that technology has reached a point where it is possible for those working within the system to say “Hang on, this is wrong, this needs to stop” and leak the relevant information and misdeeds to the press, without meeting in a car park and handing over brown envelopes. Politicians like Clinton, and Obama, and Huckabee, and Bush are not concerned with National Security, they are concerned that their quite obvious misdeeds and crimes are being made public. It is the equivalent of a murderer complaining that the press made his name public, and that it might make his neighbours dislike him now. Boo fucking hoo.

    Wikileaks is doing what journalism should have been doing for years. This is the job of journalism.
    It seems to have become the job of the press, to add fuel to the cancer of Nationalism/Patriotism. To mask all shocking details of what our Country undertakes in our name, behind a wall. On one side of the wall, the press place us…. portrayed as the great victims of the evil Arab and Socialist World. On the other side of the wall, they place everyone else. The problem is, the wall doesn’t exist. It is an illusion. To keep us supporting this shit, they wave an English or American flag every so often, and play our National Anthem. Suddenly, we don’t need to question what sort of crimes our Governments are committing, because they must be doing the right thing; they’re English after all!

    The Press tend to toe the Government line, certainly on foreign policy issues. Even the BBC, that beacon of independent broadcasting, in 2004 referred to Blair as the “great liberator”, and not in an ironic sense.
    We seem happy to read versions of stories sourced by government officials and business leaders (as if their word is truth), influenced by the needs and desires of advertisers, and playing to the political and business sympathies of editors; who all create a sort of fantasy World, but the moment any potentially embarrassing story is leaked, we bang on about National Security. As if it’s the fault of those who leaked the fact that our governments are shit and our ridiculously clouded National Pride is a little bit misplaced.

    It isn’t irresponsible. We’re fucking irresponsible for constantly electing corrupt lying money hungry bastards. Governments are irresponsible for playing such a dangerous game with diplomacy, and invoking a sense of the abstract concept of National Pride whenever we’re heading toward a conflict, whether we’re morally right or not.
    We’ve known for years anyway, that governments and big business are absolute bastards, it’s nice to have it confirmed.

    Yet some people seem to have said….. “Oh my god, the UK has been supporting torture, and bad mouthing other Nations. They also are responsible for millions of civilian deaths in the Arab World……….including children!!!……………….. who fucking leaked this, the bastards!!
    Get your priorities straight.

    There needs to be a place where the misdeeds of government and business can be aired without being twisted by vested interests in the press. There is no Andy Coulson or Alastair Campbell to spin the truth.

    Also, there exists quite a contradiction within Capitalist countries, especially from the Right, who want wikileaks closed down. The hollow cries of “keep government out of the market” are suddenly ignored, whenever they demand it. It’s almost laughable how hypocritical the bastards actually are. Jefferson said that a free press was essential to democracy. Well, this is what a free press does. Accept it.

    One of the leaks shows that whilst the US and UK have been telling us that no official log of civilian deaths in Iraq exists at all, it actually does exist. It shows that the US had continually ignored hundreds of cases of rape, child abuse, torture, beatings, and murder by the Iraqi police. It shows also that the US and UK know that at least 109,000 innocent Iraqis have died as a result of the Iraq war. A war that was sanctioned on the basis of a complete lie. The Republicans, of whom Huckabee is one, are responsible for the deaths of at least 109,000 innocent people. Huckabee should be tried for war crimes, and treason given how many Americans lost their lives as a result of it.

    Wikileaks also released a video not long ago showing soldiers in an Apache helicopter gun sight, using the helicopter like an XBox war game. They take out a small village, and then can be heard saying “Ha, ha, I hit ‘em.” Another says “Look at those dead bastards“. Who are the real fucking criminals in this?

    Another log shows that a British rifleman shot dead an young Iraqi girl who was innocently playing in the street. Our journalists would have never uncovered this. Her death, the anguish of her family would have remained a secret. The rifleman would be, and probably still is, hailed a hero. And so the game of the glory of the West no matter what, continues, unhindered; whilst the bodies of children lie shot and bloodied in the streets of Iraq. But Huckabee doesn’t have a problem with this. He has a problem with anyone who actually dares to make it public.

    For a Nation that prides itself on its democratic system, I would have thought we’d all be supporting something that absolutely helps democracy flourish. You cannot have democracy, without all the relevant information on how your representatives and government are acting, in your name. Genuinely justifiable secrets, like troop positions in Afghanistan are one thing; but leaking the amount of awful deaths and torturing your Country has been involved in, or leaking the fact that your Country is trying to spy on UN officials, is not a genuinely justifiable secret (unless you’re President Nixon).

    Without these sorts of leaks, the status quo remains, and the status quo is massively unbalanced, and quite honestly wrong. The status quo exists to keep the consumer-lead middle classes happy, half truthful news, quickly devised, by journalists who do not investigate as they should, next to stories about who Paris Hilton fucked at the weekend. A World that and is basically saying “ignore what’s happening over there…. ignore the blood……….. oooo look, a shiny thing! You want to buy the shiny thing! Go on, buy the shiny thing”. But then when someone shouts, loudly, “No, fuck the shiny thing, let’s focus on the blood, let’s focus on what’s happening over there….” politicians call out “NATIONAL SECURITY!” It has nothing to do with National Security and everything to do with National embarrassment.
    What Huckabee is generally saying is “We have worked hard to create the myth that was care about the World. That we aren’t just attempting to create an economic empire built on docile, easily manipulated and exploited peoples. Our people ACTUALLY believe this bullshit we propagate too. Please don’t ruin it. If you do ruin it, we’ll put you to death“.
    Wikileaks, and online citizen journalism, is where journalism is heading. A proper radical kind of press, that does not filter out damaging reports, is what people like Northcliff set out to do decades ago.

    This isn’t dangerous. It isn’t going to cause another World War. It is massively needed. Because the way things work at the moment, is very one sided, and is run like an American Empire. They are the new Rome and they want it all their way, without question, placing themselves above the law. The President and the Secretary of State are on damage control mode. They are part of the established order, that wishes to conduct their business, however dodgy it is, however illegal it may be, in absolute secrecy. That is the order that exists. If you don’t particularly like this fairy land of an order, then you will support Wikileaks, like I support Wikileaks.

    The only question you should ask yourself is; Should America be allowed to get away with anything it pleases?


    Privatise profit, socialise risk

    November 29, 2010

    I am not an economist.
    Never studied economics.
    The graphs, the analyses, the spreadsheets, the intricate data fine tooth-combing is not something I do on a regular basis. Even if I had studied economics, I might have a better understanding of the language we use to describe capital flow and its merits and contradictions; but I can’t honestly say i’d understand economics as a science, any better. When the Queen asked top economists at the London School of Economics, why they didn’t see the credit crunch coming, they couldn’t answer. They knew nothing. All those years at a top economist school taught them nothing when it came down to it. So therefore, I, like everyone else, can only comment on the relationship between society and economics as I see it, from my perspective.

    This is how I interpret the financial crash.

    The first thing to note, is that this isn’t Capitalism. This is a system of perpetual yet flimsy consumerism. It is not a free market system. It is a Financial Sector system.
    The obvious link between this crises, and society as a whole is also the catalyst for the problems. The subprime mortgage market began plunging around 2005. It was largely ignored because those who were losing their homes and livelihoods in cities like Detroit in the US, were predominantly Hispanic or African American. The media did not question it. The economists did not question it. The Bush administration did not question it. But it was a small basement fire that before long would engulf the World.

    When white middle class towns and cities around California for example started to experience a wave of foreclosures, and people started owing more than their properties were actually worth, the World took note. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae all but died. Lehmann was allowed to collapse. AIG, who snook onto the gravy train, expecting the housing market to be on an upward turn forever and ever, were bailed out and then faced a liquidity crises. It’s a funny thing, because this started to happen in 2007. Two years after the poorer black communities felt the pinch hard. Suddenly millions were losing their homes in the US. This didn’t appear to upset those who actually caused the mess in the first place.

    Wall Street gave out bonuses of well over $30bn in 2007, despite crushing the entire system. Often you will hear Right Wingers defend these obscene bonuses with “you have to pay the best to get the best”. These people aren’t the best. If Wayne Rooney single handedly drives Manchester United down into the First Division, from the Premiership and then the Championship, he isn’t likely to get a massive bonus at the end of it.

    The point of neoliberalism today, as it was in the 1980s, is to protect financial institutions at all costs. An it has worked. It concentrates wealth within the Nations with big powerful financial institutions. A report by the World Institute for Development Economics Research at United Nations University found that 1% owned 40% of global assets in the year 2000, and that the richest 10% of adults own 85% overall. In the US, it was found that 38% of the Nation’s wealth is owned by 1% of the population.

    A similar study from the Federal Reserve shows that between 1989 and 2004:

    “there are indications that wealth became more concentrated”

    and

    “from 1992 to 2004 the wealth share of the least wealthy half of the population fell significantly to 2.5 percent of total wealth”

    During the 1980s, real wage growth stagnated both here in the UK and in the US. Money did not trickle down. This great neoliberal Thatcherite/Reaganomic experiment actually did nothing but make the wealthy, very very wealthy. The poverty rate under Thatcher was higher than it has been since. The wages and assets of the guys at the top increased massively at the same time as the average workers’ wage stagnated. You see for example, the fact that you have to earn far over the National average to be able to afford a home now. We cannot afford homes, and we are working in the UK the longest hours in Europe. We have nothing to show for it, except stagnating wages, and massively inflated wages for the guys at the very top. But, the propaganda of Neoliberalism, tells us that they deserve their wealth, and we deserve nothing. So we get nothing. This creates a problem, because the workers are in the majority and they are where the demand comes from for the economy to flourish. How do you fill the gap between keeping the wealthy very wealthy, and making sure the masses can afford to consume? Well, if you’re a financial institution you employ an idiot to come up with the idea of easy credit. Give everyone a credit card. Give everyone store cards. Give everyone subprime mortgages. You are essentially giving people money that doesn’t yet exist, in the optimistic view that everything will be okay, and the money will exist sometime in the future. I was offered a Student Credit Card with £1500 on it. I’m 24, but presumably my bank had also offered this non-existent money to 18 year olds. They are only just allowed to legally buy alcohol, and banks are already luring them into this hellhole of consumer capitalism.

    David Cameron, when accused of socially cleansing London of poorer people, with his plans to cut housing benefit, said:

    “The point everyone in this House has got to consider: are we happy to go on paying housing benefit of £30,000, £40,000, £50,000?

    “Our constituents working hard to give benefits so people can live in homes they couldn’t even dream of? I don’t think that’s fair.”

    This is interesting for a few of reasons. Firstly, housing benefit has only gone up recently, because many people have been kicked out of their jobs as a result of the failings of the Neoliberal system David Cameron holds so dear. The benefit is a safety net for those who were unfortunate enough to lose their jobs. It is fine, if you managed to escape the chop, and can still afford your house. But no one knows what the future brings. What if double dip recession hits as a result of these cuts the Coalition are introducing? A lot more people will lose their jobs, and wont be able to find one for quite some time, when 10 or 12 people are chasing the same job. So, do they get kicked out of London too? They aren’t scrounging. They are victims of a crises of Neoliberalism.

    Secondly, the comment suggests that David Cameron sees no inherent problem with the way the housing market actually works. He hasn’t said he’ll make it easier for people to be able to actually afford a house. He simply offers ways to prop up a grossly overvalued housing market. The reason that “constituents working hard” can’t afford home they “even dream of” is because the Tories of the 1980s sold all social housing, and the Financial Institutions have been ripping people off ever since. Apparently, Cameron has no issue with this.

    And thirdly, kicking the poor out of London isn’t going to free up housing for Cameron’s “hard working constituents“. These hard working people wont suddenly flock to the City of London for homes that are now magically cheaper; purely because these hard working people are having to deal with stagnated wages, inflated prices, and a mass of debt encouraged by the Tories, Labour and the Banks for thirty years. The homes will be bought up by property developers, and people who want nice little London bachelor pads, becoming a city of croissant-at-Canary-Wharf-eating businessmen.

    British households, on average, tripled their debt over the past thirty years, mostly housing market debt. They had to, in order to keep up. Now, what happens what you can no longer pay that debt back? The subprime crash happens. And then suddenly banks stop lending, because they have no money themselves. They gave out this fake money, that not only didn’t exist before, but doesn’t exist when they suddenly need it. So now business can’t borrow. So unemployment shoots up. But then demand across the marketplace falls, because people have less and less disposable income. So businesses go bust. Good times!

    Millions became unemployed, millions lost their homes, the suicide rate shot up, the homeless rate was at a forty year high, and yet bonuses on Wall Street in 2008 were close to $32bn. Quite a nice rewarded for ruining lives.

    Consumerism obviously can only exist and perpetuate if there is some sort of emotional attachment to it. The need to “fit in”. I HAD to have Nike trainers at school because kids have their own social heirarchy going on, and we all have to try to fit in with it. We are what we own, that is how consumerism, supported by governments and the media have presented life. Volvo embodied this idea beautifully, with the slogan “Life is better lived together”. We need to buy an XBox 360 because all our friends play online together, we don’t want to be left out. How can we afford it? Ah yes, student credit card. Or, buy on finance, on which you pay about one and a half times as much as you would have done if you’d have brought it from a shop. Easy credit rears its ugly head once more, to ease our need to “fit in”.

    The Financial institutions keep getting fatter that way. Wealth becomes very concentrated. Capital becomes just as powerful and destructive, as the Unions were in the 1970s. This isn’t helped by the fact that businesses everywhere, and in fact, our consumer haven itself, relies on the Financial sector. The sector truly is too big to fail. They weren’t lying. Which means those working within the Financial sector are very very powerful people. And so people start to pump money into the Financial sector.

    A few economists have pointed out, that although capital accumulation appears limitless, when you start to make a lot of money, you start to look for other avenues to invest in, in order to get one over on your competition. You need to expand. But there are limits to expansion (scarcity of labour supply, consumption, production etc). But those limits are barriers that need to be broken, according to Capitalist thought. Marx stated that “Every limit appears, as a barrier to be overcome” as being a massively destructive force at the heart of the Capitalist ideal. The consequence of being unable to use this mass amount of surplus profit in expansion, was that more money was pumped into speculating on the stock market, in unproductive ventures with absolutely no social good. When the stock market tanked, the money tanked with it.

    When an entire financial system is built essentially on fake money, it is no wonder it didn’t last. For Nobel prize winning economists and top level financial experts at the Bank of England or the Federal Reserve, not to notice this, is a massive failure and quite frankly, disastrously unnerving. This isn’t Capitalism. It is a financial sector consumer economy. And out of nowhere, its failings are socialised. Suddenly we blame the public sector. Suddenly government spending on help for single mums has to be cut. Why? What have they done? They didn’t gamble away the Nation’s money on dodgy packages and risky easy credit. In fact, they took on the easy credit, because without it, they can’t afford to eat, what with wages stagnating across the board, and unemployment at a decade long high. Irresponsibility in the Financial sector has been ignored, and blamed entirely on the public sector.

    That is how I viewed the crises.