Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Few Minor Corrections

Blair has given another landmark speech in the "war" on terror. There's so much in there which is worth fisking, you could be at it for weeks. I'm slightly busy today so here are just a couple of particularly idiotic moments.

Number One - Logic is an ass
Still now, I am amazed at how many people will say, in effect, there is increased terrorism today because we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. They seem to forget entirely that September 11 predated either. The West didn't attack this movement. We were attacked. Until then we had largely ignored it.
I hear any number of seemingly intelligent people making this point and, to be entirely honest, it baffles me every single time. That I'd even have to highlight the absurdity of the argument is itself absurd. There is no logic to the statement. It don't make no sense.

The logic of Blair's claim is that the attacks of September 11th predated our response and that our response cannot therefore have made the situation worse. Have a think about it. He's effectively claiming that because September 11th happened, nothing we now do could possibly cause an increase in terrorism . It's just ludicrous. Every time he says it, the correct response is to point, laugh, and then worry that the leader of our country actually appears to believe his own logic defying nonsense.

Number Two - Two plus two equals frog (on the crisis in Lebanon)
Their [Hezbollah's] terrorism would provoke massive retaliation by Israel. Within days, the world would forget the original provocation and be shocked by the retaliation. They want to trap the moderates between support for America and an Arab street furious at what they see nightly on their television. This is what has happened.
He seems to have got his facts slightly muddled. It seems highly unlikely that Hezbollah expected Israel to react the way they did to their limited assault on a military target. Blair, later in his speech, suggests that the Hezbollah provocation which led to the Israeli response included "fir[ing] rockets indiscriminately at the civilian population in northern Israel". That isn't actually what happened and Blair, I'm sure, must know that it isn't. It was Israel who made the decision to escalate the current conflict, not Hezbollah.

Just to recap, Hezbollah launched a limited attack on a military target. At the same time, they fired a small number of diversionary mortar attacks. They expected to use the soldiers they captured as hostages to negotiate the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel as they had done in the not to distant past. Just to be clear, this wasn't an acceptable way to behave and it's illegal under international law but it was primarily an limited attack on a military target.

Israel then responsed by hitting a wide number of targets inside Lebanon, the Beruit airport for example. In response to these attacks, Hezbollah started firing rockets indescriminately at the civilian population in northern Israel. (In fact, it appears that Hezbollah claim to be attempting to hit military targets but their rockets are inaccurate, and they know it, so they are effectively firing rockets indescriminately, whatever they may claim.)

That Blair feels the need to regurgitate Israeli propaganda he know's not to be true shows just how serious he is about being "even-handed".

But on the wider stragetic point, he's nearly on to something. He seems to understand that extremists often look to provoke "massive retaliation" because that will be useful to their cause. Why then, if he sees that it plays into the hands of extremists, does he effectively support Israel's "massive retaliation" now? You surely don't need to have read Sun Tzu to understand that in war, it's best not to do what the enemy wants you to do.

Oh OK, one more.

Number Three - Killing for the fun of it
The purpose of the terrorism in Iraq is absolutely simple: carnage, causing sectarian hatred, leading to civil war.
Er, no. What he's described there is a tactic, not a purpose. A minor quibble perhaps but the underlying suggestion, that "this terrorism" enjoys killing for the sake of it, is carefully crafted propaganda.

In conclusion then, the man's a logic defying, propaganda spewing menace. The day he resigns will be a good day for the whole world. It can't come soon enough.

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Sunny said...

It's getting boring agreeing with you constantly Garry! Dammit man, why not say something in support of Tony Blair sometimes so I can disagree with you?

Mark said...

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this a few times already, but Tony Blair evidently does not have the good sense to peruse this blog when making up his speeches (if he does them himself, and why not? he's an educated man, unlike a certain world leader who could not reliably be sent to search for lettuce in a salad). Israel's military forces are comprised of conscripts (and a core of professionals who stay on, naturally), both male and female. I'm sure there are exemptions, but by and large, all Israelis must do military service. The population that is neither too young or too old are therefore viable active-service military.

Consequently, Hezbollah do not "deliberately fire their rockets at civilians". There is little deliberation involved - do you imagine they are shooting at the Sea of Galilee? God knows they hit it often enough. You could accurately say they are firing "in the direction of civilians" in the same sense as they are firing in the direction of Brazil. If the rocket went around the world enough times, perhaps they'd hit it.

Contrast this with the carnage caused by weeks of precision bombing by "the most moral army in the world" (actually, it's mostly the air force, but you know what I mean). They can see what they're shooting at, sometimes days before they shoot at it.

Are you listening, Tony? Yo, Blair!!

Davide Simonetti said...

I had a go at fisking the speech. Once I started I wish I hadn't bothered because Blair repeated himself so much it got tedious.

Anyway to summarise:

21 uses of the word “values” (without once explaining them), 10 uses of the word “fight”, 11 uses of the word “battle” and 3 uses of the word “peace”.

I could have saved a lot of time if I had just said that.

Osama Saeed said...

My turn, my turn!

"It is directed at the United States and its allies, of course. But it is also directed at nations who could not conceivably be said to be allies of the West."
What utter BS.

Holly Finch said...

at the risk of being repetitive (please don't fisk me too david!)...hear hear!