Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Lying liars again

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  • Deborah,

    democracy isn't the only or most effective method of governance in the world

    Crikey, Che! Them's fighting words....

    this dogmatic preoccupation with 'democracy at any cost' is getting ordinary people brutally killed

    ... but this is more defensible.

    Nevertheless, I like the Amartya Sen line on democracy. India hasn't had a famine since independence. It has had real hunger, but not famine, because under a democracy governments are held to account.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    Neil, you say you are prepared to wait and see what evidence is going to be brought forth to justify the claims being made. Normally this would be both prudent and admirable.

    However it seems, at least to me, that in this case it is just foolishness. The announcement of this stuff was delayed twice just so that there would not be a repeat of the Iraq evidential fiasco. This would suggest that what they gave out was the best they have. The next stuff to come out will not be better evidence. It may however be more scary, but based on less facts.

    Even if we accept this lot of evidence, what do we have?

    Some weapons are coming into Iraq from Iran. No surprise there. They don't tell us who is getting these weapons, but it is most likely to be SCIRI and to a lesser extent Sadr.

    The alledgedly highly machined shaped charges that can only be made in Iran have killed a total of 170 US troops. Meanwhile the Sunni militants that _have_ been targetting US troops are getting their weapons from who knows where. Saudi? Syria? Jordan? Who gives a fuck apparently, because the US needs a Sunni block to counter the Iranian influence in Iraq. Influence that amounts to arming the groups that support the parties that make up the majority of the much bally-hoo'd purple finger government.

    The Qods secret agents that they arrested with documentation about whatever were picked up working in the offices of SCIRI, the head honcho of which was recently in the White House being hailed as the last great hope should Maliki not take on Sadr.

    Is Iran messing about in Iraq. Yes.
    Would Iraq be a success if they weren't? No.
    So why are is the Bush admin talking about it in _exactly_ the same way the talked about Saddam's WMD in 02/03?

    I fell for it then and was stupid to do so.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    India hasn't had a famine since independence. It has had real hunger, but not famine, because under a democracy governments are held to account.

    ...and the similarities between post-independence democracy in India and the "democracy" currently on parade in Iraq are?

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Not much at all.

    Democracy is a bottom up affair, not one that can be imposed.

    Imposing a democracy is an incoherent concept.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Neil,
    unless Canberra and Jakarta are the same place, it seems he said it twice.

    Also from the Canberra story:

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied Monday that Iran is supplying weapons to Shiite militias in Iraq or stirring up violence by majority Shiites against minority Sunni Muslims, contending that the U.S. military presence is to blame for the bloodshed.

    "We are asking for peace, we are asking for security," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "We are opposed to any kind of conflict and also the presence of foreign forces in Iraq."

    "The U.S. administration and Bush are used to accusing others. The fact that you are showing us some pieces of papers and you call them documents - they do not solve any problem," said Ahmadinejad. "There should be a court to prove the case and verify the case."

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Imposing a democracy is an incoherent concept.

    indeed. especially when your 'tutors' in democracy are saying, "you're free to make any choice you want! [...that agrees with our janus-faced foreign policy]"

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Deborah wrote:
    Democracy is a bottom up affair, not one that can be imposed.

    Um... I wonder what they'd say about that in Tokyo and Berlin. And with all due respect, I think there are some corners of the world where eyebrows would be htting the stratosphere at such a statement coming from this corner of the world.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    pretty long bow craig.

    wonder what they'd say about that in Tokyo and Berlin.

    you may care to note that hitler was a democratically elected leader, for one.

    you might also care to note that the japanese were nuked into submission. the subsequent occupation was by hostile powers. not by powers purporting to be friendly, but actually locking up and torturing their citizens. let's not forget that turning point in the 'liberation' of iraq.

    note the second turning point, the demolition of falluja while the world watched some delightful sports in greece.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    Che,

    Craig actually has a good point. You seem a little 'down' on the Americans at present. Probably rightfully so, but don't be blinded by the odd huge cock-up and mistakes. I would rather put up with some errors of judgement by the Americans than to have been occuppied by a brutal culture (Japan) in the 1940's or have Nazis in charge of Europe continuing their carnage of ethnic minorites etc.

    No form of government is perfect, but at least democracy allows good checks and balances.

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    craig, with all respect that argument is a red herring. the US didn't fight japan or germany because they wanted to democratise either country.

    it fought them because it had to. iraq presented no credible threat to anyone in 2003.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    The list of States destabilized by America since WW2 is long, bloody and depressing. Last count I heard, (note to self must confirm) was that America has been involved in 287 conflicts involving US military intervention since WW2, that was in 1992, (Letters From America, Alistair Cooke).
    Note, I think conflict has a UN definition.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Simon, I stand corrected over Pace, with Ahmadinejad I've yet to see a direct quote of his denial.

    Trying to work out what has gone on is actually a bit confusing. Apparently on Sunday three US military folk in Bagdad claimed evidence of high level Iranian govt involvement. From Simon's articles it seems Pace reviewed what they were going to say but it did not include the "high level" bit. Bush is saying that they have no evidence of high level Iranian involvement rather that it’s the Quds Force and they suspect some government involvement at some level.

    So it’s the military briefing in Bagdad that's at odds with both Pace and the Bush admin. I'd like to see what that briefing actually said.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Che:

    Oh come on. I thought it was a pretty uncontentious statement of fact that Germany and Japan most certainly had democracy 'imposed' on them during the lengthy Allied occupations and they're no less functional democracies in 2007 for it. And what exactly did the folks calling for economic sanctions, sporting/cultural boycotts and divestment from apartheid-era South Africa - or post-coup Fiji for that matter - want to achieve, if it wasn't to 'impose' democracy by other means?

    Now you can argue that none of the above was a very good idea, or the execution for the former wasn't an unconditional success - and people certainly have. I just thought Deborah made a rather dodgy over-generalisation.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sonic,

    "I would rather put up with some errors of judgement by the Americans than to have been occuppied by a brutal culture (Japan) in the 1940's or have Nazis in charge of Europe continuing their carnage of ethnic minorites etc."

    America, not quite as bad as imperial Japan or Nazi Germany.

    Don't set the bar too high there Andrew!

    Syphilis, not as bad as lung cancer!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    craig, still think you're on a long bow. germany had a decade of fascism imposed on it, and then returned to it's former democratic state. germany was highly liberal before fascism, but history overtook it in the form of the depression.

    deborah's point holds. the grounds for democracy were there before the occupation. why do you think that the east germans have embraced democracy? after all, they were not democratised during 50 years of soviet domination.

    further, democracy already existed in SAf. the sanctions were there to encourage the whites to extend franchise to others.

    the only place your point holds is japan. but the japanese were very seriously defeated, and accepted the political systems of the conquers.

    are you suggesting that the US should more vigorously impose their systems in iraq?

    furthermore, how does your assertion relate to democratisation of dictatorships like chile?

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    germany was highly liberal before fascism but history overtook it in the form of the depression.

    That's just bollocks, I'm afraid. The Weimar state was pretty evenly divided between parties of the left and right. The depression lent traction to the communists as much as it did extremists on the right.

    During its relatively brief life the Weimar republic did little to inspire confidence in democracy (it was consititionally unstable) and I think Craig is pretty reasonable to talk about democracy being imposed by the Allies. The same goes for Italy too...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    What about when America deposes democracy? See link above.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    can't agree with you stephen. although i should have said "by contemporary standards germany was highly liberal".

    afaik no country in the world was what we currently consider a functional democracy in the 1930s.

    you might want to read george mosse, confronting the nation: jewish and western Nationalism, 1993. he describes the flowering of liberal thought, the precursor to current liberal democracy. jewish thinkers were pivotal.

    man.. i wish i could drink coffee... but, you simply cannot compare the colossal events pre and post ww2 with the lame efforts to "democratise" the middle east from inside a humvee. it's a stupid pipe dream inspired by bible-thumping lunatics.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    ps. craig. i know you're ardently catholic.

    but i don't understand you to be either an evangelist or a crusader....

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Finding out details about what actually got said at the Bagdad briefing turns out to be not so easy.

    Much as I loath the extreme right wing site antiwar.com, it's the only place where there is any indication of a first-hand account and their claim is that the briefing specifically denied that there was concrete evidence of high level involvement:

    US Briefing on Iran Discredits the Official Line

    This is back-up by the briefing's power point presentation as posted at TPMMuckraker - evidence of Quds Force invlovement but not of high level Iranian govt. It appears so far that in fact no one claimed evidence of high level Iranian invlovement.

    So finding out if there really is a difference between the views of Bush, Pace and the Bagdad briefers is surprisingly difficult.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Yup, they gonna democratize teh oil.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It appears so far that in fact no one claimed evidence of high level Iranian invlovement.

    Or only did so verbally. Like I said, deniability.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Possibly, but the antiwar guy reports that no such claim was made - I presume that includes verbally. But then he doen't say if he attended the briefing. So again a bit frustrating.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    ... but this is more defensible.

    Nevertheless, I like the Amartya Sen line on democracy. India hasn't had a famine since independence. It has had real hunger, but not famine, because under a democracy governments are held to account.

    Also, y'know Dwarf Wheat, which led to the doubling of wheat yields in the region.

    And India suffered famine in the mid-1960s while it was battling away with Pakistan, which delayed the widespread introduction of the wheat. Democracy's useful, but it doesn't directly make food.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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