"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Monday, March 21, 2005

This is the last Steyn

Dear Madam,

Mark Steyn opens his latest Irish Times piece with his first distortion "Two years ago, the liberation of Iraq began" and then the dream really begins.

Two years ago the US and the UK governments led many in the west to war under the illusion that Saddam Hussain's regime had the ability and the will to wage nucleur attacks against foreign countries, including the capacity to assault Britain within 45 minutes. These and other fabrications were found to be false, the war was declared illegal and over 100,000 Iraqis were subsequently killed.

Where Mr.Steyn pulls his figures out of is unknown, with police estimates for last weekends anti-war protests at 45,000 and organisers estimates at nearly 100,000, his figure of 10,000 is firstly, a long way out and secondly a cheap shot.
While Europe's anti-war brigade "align themselves against the people of the Middle East and on the side of their dictators" Mr. Steyn applauds the restraint of coalition forces in not reducing Baghdad to rubble. While Baghdad may still stand, other "lesser" cities have fallen, Fallujah being the prime example of the power of US explosives.

As the war still rages on and journalists, police and soldiers continue to die at the hands of "friend and foe" Mr. Steyn fails in each of his 10 attempts to "prove" the anti-war lobby wrong. Insurgents are estimated at 200,000 plus, Iraqis voted overwhelmingly for US withdrawl, bombing from both sides continues, "democracy" is not flourishing, WMD have not been found and recent polls show the world is against the war.

As he rightly observes, Lebanon has been a hotbed of protesting in recent weeks, however, while those who consider themselves anti-war have been vocal in their opposition. Those that support continued occupation in Iraq have not and more than likely, will not venture outside in an effort to show their support. This is the most obvious comparison one could make with Lebanon.

The fact that by forcing his fingers into his ears is continuing to cause Mr.Steyn problems in both focus and perception is evident in this latest offering. Which manages to both, say alot and reveal nothing. The fact that the Irish Times prints this rubbish is baffling.


In response to:

10 reasons why the naysayers were wrong about Iraq
Mark Steyn

Opinion: Two years ago, the liberation of Iraq began, and this weekend the "anti-war" movement marked the occasion with some mass demonstrations.

As mass demonstrations go they were a little underpowered: 10,000 showed up in London's Hyde Park, which seems a little thin next to last week's scenes of a million citizens on the streets of Damascus - or close to a third of the entire population of Lebanon.

Heigh-ho. If Europe's "anti-war" movement is determined to align itself against the people of the Middle East and on the side of their dictators, that's up to it. But not everything is a matter of opinion and, two years on, it's worth revisiting some of the assertions made by the usual experts.

Not about the war itself - the idiotic predictions of how Baghdad would be the new Stalingrad: reduced to rubble, with coalition troops fighting in bloody hand-to-hand combat street-to-street for months on end.

But the assertions made after the regime fell, when the experts, without pausing for even a moment of sheepish embarrassment, instead immediately moved on to even more idiotic predictions.

Here are the Top Ten Quagmires of the Week from two years ago. I cheerfully mocked them at the time, but it seems appropriate to revisit them as a glimpse into the mindset of the eternal naysayers:

1 "Iraq's Slide Into Violent Anarchy" (The Guardian, April 11th 2003).
Even at the height of the now flailing insurgency, this was never true. For most of the last 23 months, somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of Iraq has been peaceful and well-governed. In the north, there's been a tourism boom and most hotels are enjoying capacity bookings. The violence around Falluja was never an accurate reflection of the country as a whole - if Kurdistan is Scotland and Basra is Surrey, the Sunni Triangle was the Northern Ireland of Iraq: at the very least, an unreliable measure of the overall temperature.


The Irish Times