Sunday, May 16, 2004


I mentioned on 11th. the relevance of the famous Zimbardo experiment to an understanding of the Iraqi prisoner mistreatment affair. There is a more extensive account of the lessons to be learned from it here

Instant solutions in Iraq unrealistic "There were many Americans who earnestly believed after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that World War II was practically over. Now that the massive economic power of the United States was being directed against the Axis, the war could be won in just a few months. The rest was, in Churchill's later words, "merely the proper application of overwhelming force."

Iraq's new ruler? "As Mr. Saleh took command on April 30, the stocky general with a Saddam-style mustache wore his Saddam-era uniform, complete with maroon beret. In a scene broadcast across Iraq, he shook hands with Marine commanders and had the old Iraqi flag raised, to the cheers of onlookers. He set the tone immediately by declaring an intent to impose security and stability in Fallujah "without the need for the American army, which the people of Fallujah reject."

Victory is seldom pretty: "Watching the amazing ugliness and incoherence of the Iraqi battlefront of the war on terror, it is easy to understand Otto Von Bismark's comment that a special providence watches out for drunks, fools and the United States of America. Why? Because America is winning the war on terror. How? By slowly but surely making the Middle East safe for democracy. Indeed, it is even possible to argue that the American stumbling in Iraq is providing a cover under which reform can be presented as an alternative, even a rebuke, to American military power. In other words, the U.S. is winning the way it has often won, ugly."

"The Oil for Food scandal is already undermining the U.N.'s ability to contribute usefully to the reconstruction of a liberated Iraq. Thanks to the scandal, Iraqi citizens are reported to be very skeptical of the U.N. -- and rightfully so, as it is now clear that Oil for Food money which was supposed to be feeding them was instead employed for bribes and pay-offs with billions going to Saddam, himself, and other enemies of peace, possibly even including Al Qaeda."

The British role: "The view of this newspaper is that Britain's place is in the wider community of free, English-speaking peoples - the "Anglosphere".... The case for the Atlantic alliance is simple. More often than not, our interests and the Americans' coincide. Like them, we have an interest in stability and free trade among nations. This makes us especially hostile to local bullies and ready, if necessary, to deploy proportionate force against them. The Americans have invaded Iraq twice on these grounds; we have intervened no fewer than seven times."

The BBC: "Over the past few days, the BBC’s virulent bias over Iraq, America and Israel has gone into an utterly astounding overdrive. The scandal over the ill-treatment of Iraqi prisoners has clearly destroyed the last vestiges of any attempt at fairness as hysteria has descended on our public disservice broadcaster."

Toby Harnden talks to an anti-war journalist who wants to see more Iraqis die - so that Bush will be thrown out in November.

V.D. Hanson: "The 20th century should have taught the citizens of liberal democracies the catastrophic consequences of placating tyrants... What eventually contained Stalinism was the Truman Doctrine, NATO and nuclear deterrence--not the United Nations-- and what destroyed its legacy was Ronald Reagan's assertiveness, not Jimmy Carter's accommodation or Richard Nixon's detente."

Dick McDonald has some good posts on Iraq up at the moment.


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