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

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Total Surrender

Melanie Phillips, of Daily Mail and Question Time fame, writes:

"The bottom line is that this jihad against the west started long before even the first Iraq war. And any defence against it mounted by the free world is used to boost recruitment to the jihad. There is only one sure way for the west to prevent such recruitment: total surrender. That is the inexorable logic of all who inhabit the fantasy world of Planet Chomsky."


And here's a completely pointless/ridiculous exchange with her:

Dear Melanie,

I have only just read your latest blog entries, and I was surprised to read this:

"But the fact remains that had Saddam remained in power, we would now be having to deal with Saddam-sponsored terrorism, possibly armed with WMD.

The justification for toppling Saddam remains as valid as it ever was: that he was an unconscionable danger to the world because of the axis between his sponsorship of terror, his ambition to lead the Arab world and his intention to develop weapons of mass destruction."


Does this mean you have finally given up your belief that "[a]bsence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence"?


Yours sincerely,


No. There is no contradiction. I have also said this on several previous


Hi Melanie,

Well to the 'lay man' it does appear that in the first post you describe Saddam's intentions to pursue WMDs and that left in power he may well possess them by now.

In the second you suggest that prior to being ousted he had WMDs.

It would seem, by your logic, that if Saddam had been left in power he would have sought to increase his stock piles and further his WMD program?



Thanks for the further explanation of what you think is inconsistent. I'm afraid, though, that I just can't see that it is. I think you have also misunderstood what I wrote.

We went to war not because of the supposed stockpiles -- which at the time everyone thought Saddam had -- but because we thought he was actively pursuing a WMD programme and trying to construct WMD, in breach of the ceasefire conditions at the end of the first Gulf War , as I said in the earlier of my two posts.

What I wrote in my recent post was: 'But the fact remains that had Saddam remained in power, we would now be having to deal with Saddam-sponsored terrorism, possibly armed with WMD.' I did not write, as you claimed, 'that left in power he may well possess them by now'. I thought he was actively pursuing them, and may well have had some of them, at the time. Either way, in my view if he had remained in power we would now be having to confront a WMD-armed Saddam.

I also believe that the assertion that it has now been shown that he never had any stockpiles is absurd, because he was known to have had them and never showed that he had destroyed them -- and could well have hidden them in Syria, as has been repeatedly suggested, or destroyed them when the Americans arrived, when he razed the sites where they thought the stuff was. Hence my remark about absence of evidence and so forth.

I hope this now explains the matter.

Best wishes



Thanks Melanie,

I'm nearly there. So if Saddam had as you say the weapons Bush says he didn't have and the CIA said went out of date in '91 and if he was in cahoots with the terrorists Bush says he wasn't in cahoots with and if we'd left him in power, which we couldn't because of the imminent threat he posed to the West because of his possession of, I'll quote, 'the most lethal weapons ever devised' which he had failed to account the destruction of, then he would now be arming the terrorists he wasn't arming before, even though he had weapons to arm them, though George Tenet testified he was only likely to use them in self defense, although now they say he didn't, but you say they're in Syria presumably along with the uranium he was not attempting to acquire, so maybe the Syrians were behind the whole thing, but they're working for the US now, unless they cynically orchestrated the attack on the embassy, but then again if he had the weapons that he hid and if he posed the threat he did...

Sounds a bit convoluted. Have you been reading John Grisham?



Sorry, I'm afraid I don't think you understand what I have written. I'm afraid I'll have to leave it there, since I've run out of time on this one. Thanks for your thoughts anyway.

Best wishes