Wednesday, April 02, 2003

I can't express adequate disgust at the desecration of the British war cemetary at Etaples. It's just one of these moments where words don't do the job.

I can't help imagining the reaction of a British war veteran when he sees what these depraved morons have done. I think of the look that might pass over his face when he watches. The memories of the blood, the sacrifice, the friends cut down before their time, all just to get the job done and go home. Then to have to see this. Ugh.

But there's no point using this incident as an excuse to indulge in a spot of French-bashing - the vast majority of ordinary French people, whatever their political opinions, must abhor this act. The pissant little bastards that did this could be neo-Nazis or Muslims attempting to put police off the scent with their inverted swastika. Or it could just be some of the garden-variety yobs common to every western country, the type that smash and spoil things simply because they can.

Jacques Chirac would be well advised to devote every resource to finding those responsible. Make a public example of them, and that will be worth far more than any diplomatic expression of regret.

Saving Private Lynch

Private Jessica Lynch, captured by Iraqi troops on March 23, has been rescued:

Tipped off by the CIA, Navy Seals and Army Rangers rescued Private Jessica Lynch, a supply clerk who had missing since her maintenance convoy was ambushed on March 23.

US marines staged a decoy attack on Iraqi targets in Nasiriyah, enabling the special forces to move in under the cover of darkness.

While the marines created havoc with tanks, armoured personnel carriers and support from Harrier jets, Private Lynch was rescued from a hospital.


Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Gallows Pole

There's something about Glasgow Kelvin MP George Galloway that gets my goat. Normally I can stand politicians talking rubbish but there's something about his hoary unreconstructed Stalinism that makes my left eye begin to twitch whenever I hear it.

Well, he's nothing if not consistent. He's away again.

This time George's constituents may not find him quite so gorgeous seeing as some of their relatives are risking their lives in Iraq while he spouts internationalist platitudes.

I'll say this for Saddam Hussein. When your armies are disintegrating and your state apparatus is ruined you certainly find out who your friends are. As for George, I'd love to see the whip withdrawn - then brought back out again to inflict some pain, but I think a more elegant fate would be to give him all the rope he needs to hang himself. Give him all the airtime he wants on BBC Radio. Get him onto the hand-picked panel of idiots on Question Time. Reserve the five minute agitprop slot after the Channel 4 News for him.

Let him speak because every time he opens his mouth and activates his auto-cliché generator his hectoring will expose him as the disgrace he is.

Monday, March 31, 2003

Even the fleas have fleas

Just twelve days in and apparently it's a quagmire. Quicksand. Whatever. I don't really have anything constructive to add that hasn't been covered better elsewhere and what I know about modern warfare could be scribbled on a couple of sheets of A4. But some media outlets need to get a grip and reign in their hyperactive tendency to recycle spin and reach for outlandish perspectives once sensible ones are spent.

I swear - just after the tragic helicopter crash that killed eight Royal Marines one BBC interviewer posed the question: "Does this mean helicopters will still be part of the strategy?" I actually yelled at the radio: No, they're going to put them back and use fucking rowing boats instead. Honestly. I think Natalie Solent's correspondent nails it:

When you're told to talk about the war for hours every day and only a finite amount happens in a day, you tend to exhaust rational remarks and reasonable questions and, after doing all you can with repetition of the obvious, must ask unreasonable questions and explore less likely contingencies. In this mental state, prejudices are apt to come more to the surface as the commentator's mind searches for something else to say.

This article from BBspot cheered me up a bit:

Microsoft, Military Announce Operation Red, White and Blue Screen of Death

Qatar - A Microsoft spokesman announced today at Central Command in the desert of Qatar, that Microsoft recently helped the allied war effort by donating 100,000 fully licensed copies of Windows 95 to the current Iraqi regime.

Unbeknownst to the Iraqis, this "gift" from Microsoft is part of the psychological warfare and infrastructure destruction campaign of the allied forces, called Operation Red, White and Blue Screen of Death.

The copies of Windows 95 were standard copies of the software with only one devious change.

Microsoft's VP of Marketing Marie Bixby explained, "All the instability, and bugs that came with the original version are still there, but as part of the psychological operations of the war, we modified the infamous Blue Screen of Death to the more patriotic red, white and blue. General Protection Fault will be marching all over the Iraqi regime, and he'll be waving Old Glory."

So did this from Steven Chapman:

War in Afghanistan was supposed to yield "1,000 bin Ladens." Now Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak claims the war in Iraq will yield "100 bin Ladens." That's a total of 1,100 bin Ladens - but the fact that Iraq will yield one-tenth the number of bin Ladens that Afghanistan yielded must be a crushing blow to the self-esteem of Ba'athists everywhere. Following the logic of this equation we can conclude that an attack on a further two Middle Eastern countries would yield eleven new bin Ladens, bringing the total to 1,111. It's possible that an attack on a third Middle East country could yield one-tenth of a bin Laden - but I think, all things being equal, that's unlikely.

A couple of new words have entered into the temporary vocabulary: Michael Moore's "Fictition" and an amalgam of "frivolity" and "privilege": "Frivilege", created by a BBC correspondent but spotted by Lileks.

On the subject of the Minnesotan, he's become so well known that he's even had a nasty blogrash. Mean little tosser. But it looks like he was bogged down after a week of minor skirmishes and had to beat a hasty retreat after failing to engage any substantive arguments.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Erstwhile cabinet minister and horny wee devil Robin Cook popped his head out this morning to say:

"I have already had my fill of this bloody and unnecessary war. I want our troops home and I want them home before more of them are killed."

Later this morning, he dived back down into his bunker:

"Now that the war has started it's vital that it ends in victory. There could be no worse outcome than one that lets Saddam Hussein survive."

Try squaring that circle.

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