A blog by Patrick Crozier

September 30, 2003

An audit of war
Patrick Crozier

Or, in other words, how are we doing and how are we likely to do in the War on Terrorism?

So far, we, the West, have done pretty well. We won the war in Afghanistan, we deposed the Taliban, scattered al-Qaeda and (probably) killed bin Laden. We've even managed to install a reasonably stable regime there. Pretty good stuff I would say - especially seeing as many (including me) didn't think it could be done.

We also won the war in Iraq, or at least its first phase. What sort of man could not have experienced at least a tinge of delight when that statue came crashing down? Dull of soul, that's for sure. Saddam is gone and it is highly unlikely he's ever going to come back.

The Iraq question is what happens next? And that is all bound up in the question of why we went to war in the first place? Well, why did we invade Iraq? Was it to:

  • topple Saddam
  • destroy Saddam's links with al-Qaeda
  • destroy Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)
  • liberate Iraq
  • democratise Iraq
  • turn it into a politically correct paradise?
I ask because the answer to the question of what we do next is intimately bound up in the answer to the question why we got involved in the first place. It is significant that we were never told the precise reason before we went to war.

If the aim was solely to topple Saddam then it would appear we've done the job. If it was to destroy Saddam's links with al-Qaeda then by getting rid of Saddam we've accomplished that as well no matter what al-Qaeda might feel about the issue.

If it was to destroy WMDs then, well, it looks like Saddam may have done the job for us. But what I do find odd is that there do not seem to be people in American custody or at least in contact with the Americans who have not been able to tell us where and when these acts of destruction took place or, if not, where the weapons or the facilities that created them are now.

If the aim was to liberate/democratise/whateverise Iraq then it strikes me that we are a long way to achieving it. It is easy enough to get rid of a dictator but to put in place structures that might prevent his or another's re-emergence is another matter entirely. Indeed, if this was the aim then one might well wonder if the invasion of Iraq had anything to do with the War on Terrorism at all.

Talking of which, on that, the War on Terrorism (as opposed to terrorists), we do seem to be winning. The number of outrages on American soil since 9/11 is very small. Off the top of my head I can think of only two and they are (in the grand scheme of things) pretty small beer: the Washington sniper and the shooting up of Los Angeles airport. Yes, there has been the Shoe Bomber and the Bali and Morocco bombings but we were expecting a lot worse than this. Terrorism is very definitely in abeyance.

We shouldn't forget that civil liberties have taken a knock in this war. This is not only bad in itself but may well be bad for the prosecution of the war. In a prescient piece written just before 9/11 Brian Micklethwait argued that if there's one thing you need to fight a war it's community spirit and if you want community spirit then you'd better have freedom.

What next? Where do we go from here? Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.

The West/Anglosphere/America has two great strengths: the US military and the experience of 9/11. The US military is amazingly powerful. Should every other country in the world simultaneously declare war on the US they would lose. 9/11 told us several things about our enemy: he would stop at nothing and his aims were unlimited. He wants the world and then some. In doing so he broke the first rule of terrorism: never do something so outrageous that your opponent has to act. That is a rule that the IRA has assiduously kept to over the years and they have had considerable success. This is an enemy for whom compromise and conciliation is an impossibility.

But there are weaknesses. Public opinion is divided - especially over Iraq. A generation of intellectuals and their acolytes have grown up despising freedom in general and America in particular. Unfortunately, those intellectuals dominate education and their acolytes dominate the mass media - especially television. There does not seem to have been much of a backlash. At least not yet.

It is difficult to spot opportunities. Fighting terrorism is a long drawn out and messy affair. But should the West in Iraq be able to establish a regime that was able to preserve peace, freedom and prosperity that would be a hell of an achievement. It would act as a beacon for people in the Middle East and a threat to the 57 varieties of dictatorship that exist there. But I worry. Any successful regime must have freedom as its cornerstone and in a world where we bow to the gods of Democracy and Political Correctness I fear that we have forgotten just how central freedom is to our own way of life.

The threat is obvious: collapse of the will to fight. If you are fighting a big war you need a big majority on your side. It is quite possible that the tide of public opinion will turn against the war, perhaps starting with Britain and Australia. It is all very well people arguing that the losses in Iraq are on nothing like the scale of those in Vietnam but if the perception grows that we are bogged down and that this is a war without end then it will count for nothing.

I do feel (and this is very much a gut thing) that war should be an all or nothing enterprise. Either you put your full effort into the business of winning it or you don't even bother. This feeling has been fuelled by knowledge of the Vietnam war and the experience of the Northern Ireland Troubles. In both cases these wars could have been won but in both cases the good guys (for want of a better term) never really fully committed themselves. As Michael Gerber said: "If you are going to go to war... then win it."

We are a long way from putting our full effort into the war. One of the symbols of this is the way we continue to play lip service to the international game. We are still not prepared to tell the tranzis of the UN, EU etc to fuck off. The US continues to allow the legal grey area of Camp X-Ray rather than just saying: "These are our prisoners, we've going to interrogate them and possibly kill them and we don't care what you think.", moving the camp to the mainland and changing the law to suit.

There is also the threat of imperialism. I don't hold with this argument that America is already an empire - it isn't - but it could become one if it gets sucked into ever more operations like the ones it has had so far. I hope it doesn't. Empires, with their demands for permanent garrisons are draining affairs. It's all very well if you can bash and bolt but if, for strategic reasons, you have to occupy a territory things can get very expensive. Think Britain, France and the Soviet Union. Rome even. If it has to be done better it be done by private enterprise à la East India Company, at least that way disasters can be contained. But that doesn't seem to be on the agenda right now.

Croziervision put down of the day
Patrick Crozier

From the Spectator:

Once they [Bush and Blair] seemed inseparable, the Lone Ranger and Tonto of international affairs, or perhaps the Don Quixote and Sancho Panza of the War on Terrorism.
September 27, 2003

Japan's economy
Patrick Crozier

The Economist has a long article dealing with Japan's travails. It doesn't make for particularly uplifting reading.

Croziervision (provisional) hero of the day
Patrick Crozier

Step forward Anthony Davies:

An RAF veteran was so fed up with loud music booming from a disco in Kendal Town Hall that he decided to take some direct action.

However, Anthony Davies, 60, ended up before the town’s magistrates, who fined him 50 for causing criminal damage by throwing a tin of spaghetti [Croziervision unusually employed object of the day] at the offenders.

I say provisional because my initial reaction was one of sympathy - I hate loud music. But it occurs to me that there might be other ways of looking at it. Not quite sure what, mind.

Mark Steyn's article...
Patrick Crozier

...for today's Telegraph is here. The Opinion menu is a bit skew whiff today but I found it in the end.

September 26, 2003

Hypocritical, pro-death weenies with froth around their mouths
Patrick Crozier

From Jaco Strauss's Leftie Insult Generator.

September 25, 2003

Patrick Crozier

I have just come across Medworth which is a new(ish) blog which looks pretty good. For example he says things like this:

The only complaint I have is that the program didn’t say much about the morality of capitalism, suggesting simply that it “works in practice”, lifting people out of poverty and giving them access to a wide variety of goods and services. This is true, of course, but unless the underlying moral case for capitalism is made, one will always be vulnerable to those who think of the good in different ways, such as the environmentalists.

Only drawback is that he uses the words "objectivist" and "objectivism" rather a lot? How can a political philosophy claim that it has a monopoly on objectivism for heaven's sake?

Hat tip: Alex Singleton who seems to be back having wasted the last three years of his life.

One thing I don't get about the search for WMD...
Patrick Crozier

...is why they just don't ask all the scientists they have captured. Wouldn't they know what programmes there were and what state they'd reached? Isn't there at least a good chance that they'd be able to tell us where the labs are? OK, so they might be keeping schtum but surely not all of them can be observing purdah.

Sometimes the nasty thought crosses my mind that the whole of Saddam's WMD programme was a hoax cooked up by the scientists to save themselves from the plastic shredder. "And this is a drum of anthrax", says the scientist pointing to the vat of Slime. "And this is an Inter-continental Ballistic Missile", he says pointing to the object knocked up earlier that morning by his 10-year old using some old Rice Krispie packets and a roll of tin foil. How the Hell was Saddam to know?

September 23, 2003

Slliy sicncee has its uess
Patrick Crozier

Acocdrnig to the Tmies.

Frank Bruno is sectioned under Mental Health Act
Patrick Crozier

This is very sad.

September 21, 2003

State Failure #104: State-produced cannabis
Patrick Crozier

Seems that cannabis grown by the Canadian government isn't up to snuff. The terminally-ill recipients are not entirely satisfied:

"It's totally unsuitable for human consumption," said Jim Wakeford, 58, an AIDS patient in Gibsons, British Columbia.

Wakeford and Barrie Dalley, a 52-year-old Toronto man who uses marijuana to combat the nausea associated with AIDS, are returning their 1-ounce (30-gram) bags, and Dalley is demanding his money back -- about C$150 ($110) plus taxes. Wakeford is returning his unpaid bill for two bags with a written complaint.


Hat tip: Commonsense and Wonder.

September 17, 2003

Quit complaining about your job
Patrick Crozier

See here. Hat tip: Libertarian Alliance Forum.

September 16, 2003

State Failure #26: The National Health Service
Patrick Crozier

This really ought to be like shooting fish in a barrel. Anyway, I am going to start keeping a list of NHS disasters. Here we go:

Briton's dash from Spain beat mother's ambulance to hospital 10 miles away

September 14, 2003

More EU claptrap
Patrick Crozier

Do 3 million jobs in the UK depend on the EU? No.

Does the Single Market make it easier to trade with the EU? Again, no.

Christopher Booker has the details.

CrozierVision spelling mistake of the day
Patrick Crozier

From what is actually a rather good article in the Telegraph:

His usual specialist had taken his annual summer holiday, so Banting sort an alternative.