What about the whine?
You're in the wrong place. You want talkback radio. down the street, first on the left.
The 'broken windows' thing works for graffiti. At least in toilets.
This is one reason I'm not entirely convinced that 'zero tolerance' and 'broken windows' should be dismissed out of hand. I'm not very familiar with the reasearch, but the conclusion seems to be 'not proven to work in isolation from anything else', rather than 'doesn't work at all'.
At the risk of sounding like a law-and-order politician, it does seem to make sense that an area which doesn't look totally post-apocalyptic would be more likely to attract small businesses, first-time buyers looking for something in their price range, etc. And that these invested residents would be more likely to self-police an area, call the cops, and so on. Which in turn would create a positive feedback loop (more businesses and residents).
I'm more shocked that no editor had the good sense and decency to yank it out.
Russell, I'm a pom whose been living over here for about six years. When I first arrived, I was frequently left slack-jawed with amazement at what subject matter was considered within reasonable boundaries for advertising, media commentary, and so on.
One of the first adverts I saw here showed a 'Hiroshima' bomb dropping and a voice-over saying something like: 'Lost your job? Think it was unfair dismissal? Give us a call!'
Call me old-fashioned, but the instant annihilation of several hundred thousand people does not seem to me to be a legitimate equivalent, and 'bad taste' seems to be understating the case somewhat.
And a couple of weeks ago, TV3 ran a puff-piece about the MTV party plane flying off to Sydney. Their background footage to help illustrate this story included footage of one of the 9/11 planes flying into the tower.
Is it just me, or is this so far beyond the boundaries of anything even approaching acceptable that the line is actually somewhere over the horizon?
The footage was still on their website a week ago, if anyone wants to search for it. At least one formal complaint has been lodged, and I would be delighted if anyone wanted to submit some more.
However, given that TV3 are labouring under the misapprehension that Lars's balder, more smug and self-satisfied older brother and his real girl make a great pair of hosts for their morning programme, I'm not going to hold by breath on anything coming of it.
I'm not saying that the UK is squeaky-clean, but there is certain subject matter that is simply off-limits in the UK industry, full stop end of story. And its generally off-limits for good reasons.
Newman & Baddiel.
First comedians to sell out Wembly:
anyone who watched TV1 in the '90's should know... we had several seasons of the Noel Edmonds show... Mr Blobby, Crinkley Bottom, etc
You poor bastards.
The Noel Edmonds 'Brass Eye' episode that was cut at the last minute by the C4 controllers was hilarious, in a 'what the fu....' kind of way.
But none of you Kiwi's probably have the faintest who cuddly old Noel is.
Russell - the paperwork for whatever has been 'patented' in these pills should be frely available 18 months from the earliest filing date of the application. How what is in the patent relates to the actual street prduct is a different story.
A friend of mine decided to experiment with the spice rack once.
He ground up some coriander and cumin, and mixed them with some almonds he had lying around, to add some flavour.
Once he'd prepared all of this, he filled his pipe and took a couple of puffs with me and a couple of mates watching. His eyes rolled back in his head and he slumped onto the ground.
Of course, we were all quite worried, expecially when we couldn't get him to wake up. So we called an ambulance and got him to the hospital.
The doctor examined him and told us there was nothing he could do - the poor guy was in a Korma.
I'll get me coat.
James - thank you for actually engaging with the issues raised and for providing facts and argument.
Sagenz - ducking and diving and more or less changing the subject (while pulling out the children again), does very little to convince me you are correct.
This is going to be my last post on this particular subject, cos this 'arguing on the internet' thing takes up far too much of my limited free time.
Before I continue, I would like to point out that I'm have not actually made any moral arguments, or 'war is bad, m'kay'-type points. While I do have opinions along those lines, I haven't expressed them here, and don't intend to. Please bear that in mind.
My point is this: the two main govenments involved in this debacle (Britain, US) have shown a lack of planning and preparation that in my opinion amounts to criminal negligence. Because of this lack of planning, lack of foresight, and unwillingness to learn from past mistakes, they have actively damaged their stated cause (reduction of global terrorism), and made the world a far more dangerous place.
This alone is, in my opinion, sufficient cause that rather a lot of heads should be rolling. In some cases I would not be unhappy to see heads literally rolling.
Sagenz: you are vilifying Clinton for not intevening in Rwanda. What is your view on the Clinton administration intervention in Somalia?
It seems to me you could quite easily damn Clinton for acting, and just as easily damn him for not acting, cherrypicking your arguments to suit.
Rwanda blew up as a crisis relatively quickly, if memory serves (a couple of months? Am happy to educated otherwise).
Somalia was a more slow-burning crisis. 'The West' had much more time to get organised, to plan how to act, to gather forces, etc, etc. For those who want a decent backgorund to the Somalia crisis without having to wade through too much scholarly detail, I recommend the book 'Black Hawk Down' (avoid the film at all costs). Most of the book deals with the shot-down-helicopters-and-desperate-fight-in-the-city part of the interventions, but it also gives a pretty decent background to the local politics and reasons for the crisis, plus the subsequent repercussions post-fight. It also, not incidentally, gives a pretty decent insight into the mentality of the average US squaddie in these sort of situations - very relevant to the current situation in Iraq.
1) The US mission in Somalia acted outside UN authority.
2) The US strategy was to attempt to take down the top echelon or leadership of what they percieved as the 'bad guys', working on the (utterly naive) assumption that there would be a widespread outbreak of democracy once 'the bad guys' were gone.
3) The US relied almost totally on an 'overwhelming firepower' approach to the problem.
4) The US leaders had little to no idea of the local language, customs or politics. So 'collateral damage' from 3) was inveitable. When it occurred, a lot of locals who were neutral or favourably inclined towards the US forces turned actively hostile.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Fact: Saddam was not a threat at the time of the invasion build-up. He didn't have any WMD's, and everyone knew it (if you believe otherwise, please let me introduce myself: I am the ex-nigerian foreign secretary, and find myself in need of funds to transfer millions from my bank acount. I will give you half of this if you send me a couple of hundred dollars now).
Fact: Saddam was bottled up in Iraq and a plan for dealing with him could be thrashed out more or less at leisure.
Fact: Western forces were at the time heavily engaged (and under-resourced) in Afghanistan, and still are.
Fact: The invasion of Iraq has bled resources from the far more important and at the time far more pressing conflict in Afghanistan. Arguably, it is now impossible for the the Afghanistan mission to succeed.
So Saddam's wish to restart his weapons programmes is neither here nor there. There was no immediate reason or urgency to deal with him. He didn't actually have anything, and he wasn't likely to be able get anything in the immediate future, either. He could have been contained and dealt with at leisure.
The suffering of his people at the time is also neither here nor there. They'd been suffering for 20 years. Another few months or even a year or two would have made a negligable amount of difference to the humanitarian crisis and a HUGE amount of difference to any intervention.
Troops and Equipment could be built up slowly, a decent post-invasion plan could be thrashed out, the possible consequences could be thoroughly thrashed out, Afghanistan could have been stabilised first, a plan to contain Iran could have been put in place, a plan to avoid a humanitarian crisis could have been thought up etc, etc, etc.
None of this is 20/20 hindsight. It was flagged up at the time, and as I have outlined above, a strategy of shoot-first-shoot-lots-kill-the-bad-guys-and-hope-democracy-breaks-out has been shown to be fatally flawed in more places than just Iraq and Somalia.
Your point about the Clinton administration invasion plan is interesting, but I don't think it carries much weight. In 1998, the Clinton administation only had 2 years max left to run. They knew they weren't going to be invading Iraq in that time frame. In the context of the time, I doubt the plan was anything more than half-baked, and was intended as nothing more than the dust-collecting shelf-filler that government departments come up with all the time to cover their own arses in case anything goes wrong.
So sagenz, what you're saying is this: in the set of circumstances I have outlined, plus your addition, I should do the following:
Immediately run out of my house, even though I have neither equipment or a plan and I'm not actally trained in either police enforcement or search and rescue, and run into the woods like a headless chicken hoping that it all turns out all right?
Would that be an accurate assesment?
Please don't try the 'won't-somebody-think-of-the-children' response. It doesn't. Fucking.Wash.
Re: gangs in the military - Michael Herr's 'Dispatches' (Vietnam era) has a passage that describes how a group of Detroit Black Panthers (arguably not a gang per se) were smuggling home an 81mm mortar piece by piece, so that they could 'take out a police station'.
If anyone has slightly more than a passing interest in gangs in the military, I recommend the George Gittoes documentary 'Rampage'. Not the best film ever, but worth a look. He follows a Miami boy from a bad neighbourhood (real bad....) who signs up and goes to Iraq. The film gives a snapshot of what happens to him and his family and friends back at home both while he is over there and when he returns.
James - you need to get it into your head that the reason people are really, really, REALLY pissed off has NOTHING AT ALL to do with Saddam.
Let me run a hypothetical scenario past you (bear with me for a couple of minutes). I am at home, minding my business. You call around and insist we go out for a walk in the local woods, leaving immediately. Now, these woods aren't some overgrown local park. They are dense, trackless wilderness that is full of hidden dangers - ravines, fast-flowing rivers, thick bush etc etc. They need to be approached with caution. People can get lost and die in there if they aren't careful. Everyone locally knows this.
You are dressed in jeans, T-shirt and sandals. I ask you where your walking shoes are. I ask you where your map and compass are. I ask you where your foul-weather gear is. I ask you where your radio is. I ask you if you have any survival rations. I ask you why we have to leave right this minute. I ask you why we are going for a walk in the first place.
You dismiss my questions with a laugh. I persist. You continue to dismiss my questions out of hand. I persist. You get a bit angry, continue to dismiss my answers, and imply I'm crazy. I persist. You become very angry, and tell me that if I am not with you, I am against you, and that I should trust you - you know what you're doing.
For some reason (maybe I have some sort of weird brainfart), I eventually go along with you.
Five hours later we are in the middle of the woods. It is raining, the temperature is dropping, and night is falling.
It is at precisely this moment that you turn to me with a big ol' shit-eating grin on your dial, and say: 'well, looks like we're lost. But don't worry - it doesn't matter how we came to be in this situation. The important thing now is that we get out alive, right?'
Personally, I would have the greatest difficulty not becoming murderously enraged at that point.
Now, getting to the point: around 2001/2002/2003, when all of this military build-up was occurring, you may recall that large numbers of people were asking certain questions. For starters: Where is the equipment for the troops? What happens once Saddam is gone? Who is going to be in charge of Iraq? How is Iraq going to be governed? How are we going to rebuild the infrastructure? How are we going to deal with the tribal divisions? How long are we going to be there? Saddam has been bottled up for 10 years - why the hurry? Why now? And so on. And on. And on.
Most of these questions were dismissed out of hand, and the people that asked them were marginalised. If they persisted, the implication was put about that they were not a team player. Possibly (whisper it) a bit inclined towards treason and treachery.
And now here we are, five years later. And at precisely this moment, you are turning to me with a big ol' shit-eating grin on your dial, and saying 'hey, it doesn't matter how we got here. The important thing is that we all muck in together to clean up this mess, right?'
Now, do you see that there is a small chance that I just might possibly be the teensy, tiniest, weeny bit grumpy? Possibly not all that inclined to get with the programme? That I might be reaching for a dictionary and looking up words like 'responsibility', 'negligence' and 'impeachment'?
If we're talking about overthrowing a brutal dictator, then smashing the countries infrastructure without actually having a rebuilding plan in place, leaving millions of people to suffer in misery for years and years and years to 'give them some time' to become a 'decent nation', as you put it, is not exactly my idea of how it should be done.
A bit like rescuing someone who is being brutally assaulted, by driving off their attacker, but then leaving them at the side of the road to crawl a couple of miles to the hospital by themselves, don't you think?