Friday, March 30, 2007

Babes in the Wood

If today's news from Iran hadn't already confirmed our nation's second-rate status then Gordon Brown's visit to Afghanistan to inspire the troops, confirms it, with an added touch of hypocrisy.

Iran's territorial waters may soon extend to the Kent coastline and if they did, what would we do about it if a couple of cross-channel ferries were taken into custody for espionage? Absolutely nothing I'm sure.

Meanwhile, Gordon, fresh from the electoral approbation of a group of carefully-chosen ten-year-olds on Channel 5, has blamed pesky foreigners for the increased tax burden imposed on small businesses in the Budget, when speaking to the House of Commons Treasury Committee yesterday.

Brown was asked about the benefits of immigration by the committee, which was meeting to discuss the Budget. Brown quoted Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, who said immigration contributed 0.25 per cent of US economic growth.

Asked why the tax burden for small businesses had increased, Brown claimed that large numbers of immigrants from eastern Europe were being encouraged to register as managed services companies in order to reduce tax. He said people were registering before even arriving in the UK.

"It is a problem we are determined to solve without penalising the company which is investing in the future."

Now if you happen to run a small business, you may not agree and so the only way to avoid an increased tax bill is to either become very large, very fast or learn Russian and buy a premier league football club.


Doctor Doom said...

The problem is, of course, that we ARE a second-rate nation, and the sooner we face facts and stop pretending we still rule the world, the sooner these sort of problems will be avoided.

Semi-serious comments like Iran taking our ferries, whilst amusing, serve only to fuel the current little-Englander island-within-an-island mentality of a lot of your blog commentators.

One must guess we are the laughing stock of the miltary world, not for what has happened but rather for how we have reacted.

If our sailors were indeed in Iraqi waters, as our government assert (after the WMD lies you'll forgive my cynicism), why the hell didn't the Royal Navy, supposedly patrolling these waters under a UN mandate, arrest the Iranians for invading Iraqi territory?

Exactly how far away and how out of communication was the RN mother ship while "brave" Faye and "our boys" were gallantly playing the tough-guy boarding unarmed cargo ships?

Blanket nmedia coverage about a poor mother being forced to write simpering confession letters just plays into the hands of those who see the UK as an easy target.

Do we really send out our troops on to front-line operations so pychologically unprepared and poorly trained that within days they are caving in to what is clearly the most feeble of pressure?

Imagine if the poor girl had been in Guantanamo Bay being subject to the well-documented torture techniques of the US... She would have confessed to being Bin Laden's wife by now, and probably took personal responsibilty for 9/11 and every terrorist act before and since.

What the hell is a supposedly doting mother of a very young child doing prancing around with a deadly weapon in a major conflict zone in the first place?

And what the hell is the media doing splashing her picture and life story across the papers and tv screens claiming outrage, invasion of privacy and the moral high ground?

Why the hell is the MoD releasing this rubish? Are none of the men being held fathers?

The armed forces aren't conscripts any more. They are supposed to be an elite chosen for their aptitude and ability to operate under conditions of war. Man or woman should not be an issue, but a mother to a young child, sent out to the front line?

No doubt she'll be declared a hero when she gets home...

Worth noting that in this same week the media scream about our poor troops being held hostage, the Americans have quietly released a British resident from Guantanamo Bay after being held for five YEARS without charge. Another eight British residents are still being held there...

Nice to know that the Americans can televise their (British) prisoners blind-folded in orange jumpsuits, locked up in open-air cages, and hold them for years on end without charge, and not hear a murmer about human rights and moral outrage from the British government and media.

What's happening in Iran is tragic and, to the extent that the pictures are being broadcast, perhaps morally reprehensible. But most countries, including the US, regularly broadcast legal trials and, as we saw with Guantanamo, political prisoners have no rights.

And who exactly is broadcasting them? An obscure cable tv in Iran (certainly not mainstream Iranian tv - the Persian New Year celebrations are still under way).

The fact is, the blanket tv and newspaper coverage is supplied by the British media.

Oh yes, and the story is just beginning to get noticed by the American media, if only as an amusing end-piece to their news stories.

Second rate nation? Surely third would be more appropriate?

DrMoores said...

I have to agree with much of what Dr Doom says. The last straw will be if one of the Royal Marines "confesses" they have all been Naval ratings so far but I note that none of the Commandos has caved in yet. I'm ashamed for them - those that have already confessed and I'm ashamed for us for letting them be taken so easily, when the Lynx flying close air support, would, I thought, have easily been able to intervene and assist.

Anonymous said...

Dr Doom can you provide a link to the "well-documented torture techniques of the US" you refer to? Also re the "British" prisoner you refer to. He is actually an Iraqi who left Iraq claiming Saddam was persecuting him. Will he now be happy to return to Iraq?

Anonymous said...

Like Dr Doom I have an aversion to seeing women in the services being put in harm's way but this is the age of equality; the Services rely on recruiting women to keep up manning levels.

I suspect there has been a shift in briefing policy to service-men and women caught up in an incident like this. It seems as if the days of number, rank and name only are over. An Iranian interrogator would find enough in the British media and on the internet to apply pressure on a mother who naturally has concern about rejoining her young child. I suspect the advice given by MOD is now to go along with the 'game' played by the Iranians. Quiet diplomacy will see them all released soon.

Doctor Doom said...

Anonymous asks if Dr Doom can post a link to evidence of torure at Guantanamo.

Try these, for starters:

worm said...

I'm quite suspicious about this whole thing actually. The US/uk (small case intentional) anti terror alliegance is chomping at the bit for an excuse to invade Iran......

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links worm but a letter from Moazem Begg is hardly what I consider unbiased evidence. Perhaps you can ask the widow of Daniel Pearl what she thinks of Guantanamo, or the families of those killed on 11/09/01 or are you one of those muppets that think it was a big conspiracy for the US to gain control of the middle east?

Personally I believe all this talk about torture in Gitmo is just that, talk. Though quite frankly if a bunch of head hacking jihadi wanabees were being abused I could care less. One day you liberals will wake up and smell the cous cous and I guarantee you will wish we had been more proactive in stopping this at source.

Doctor Doom said...

Anonymous, 8.40, is a very sick lad, obviously. Of course, if you ignore the links to the admissions by the US government, etc, then very easy to maintain your shabby, racist position. But that's exactly what it is.

References to the victims of terror stoops so low as to be callous.

Terrorist crimes are sick and wrong whosoever does them, but two wrongs do not make a right.

In the UK we have this wonderful concept of innocent until proven guilty. Ask the widow of Daniel Pearl or the families of those killed on 11/09/01 which "Gitmo Bay" hostages have been even charged, let alone convicted, of those crimes...

It was just yesterday, after five years being illegally held hostage that the FIRST AND ONLY conviction arose against a Guantanamo Bay detainee, in a clear case of plea bargaining to get freedom.

As for conspiracy theorists - leave them to it. US control of the Middle East is a military fact that doesn't need woolly conspiracies to explain. Unless you count the infamously not-actually-there WMDs as conspiracy...

Anonymous said...

We may very well have a concept of innocent till proven guilty in the UK but sadly not everyone plays the game. As for racism. Well as far as I am aware Islam is a religion not a race but hey who's quibbling?
Actually I think Mark Steyn's take on it makes the most sense to me.

These days, whenever something goofy turns up on the news, chances are it involves a fellow called Mohammed. A plane flies into the World Trade Centre? Mohammed Atta. A gunman shoots up the El Al counter at Los Angeles airport? Hesham Mohamed Hedayet. A sniper starts killing petrol station customers around Washington, DC? John Allen Muhammed. A guy fatally stabs a Dutch movie director? Mohammed Bouyeri. A terrorist slaughters dozens in Bali? Noordin Mohamed. A gang-rapist in Sydney? Mohammed Skaf.

Maybe all these Mohammeds are victims of Australian white racists and American white racists and Dutch white racists and Balinese white racists and Beslan schoolgirl white racists.

But the eagerness of the Aussie and British and Canadian and European media, week in, week out, to attribute each outbreak of an apparently universal phenomenon to strictly local factors is starting to look pathological. "Violence and racism are bad", but so is self-delusion.