Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Clarkey malarkey

"Clarkey"? Pardon I? Since when has Decent Dave been on nickname terms with Kenneth Clarke? Did it predate or postdate him talking about "money-quotes" or what? (by the way, Cohen-watchers, I have literally nothing to say about NC's Sunday piece other than that as far as I can tell every single important detail of it had already appeared on Harry's Place and that this is really quite poor). Hang on, "Condi" Rice too. Doctor Condoleeza Rice is really quite particular about being called "Doctor Rice" by quite senior staffers and close political associates, so Dave is clearly best mates with the A-list. Perhaps next week we will hear about "Geri" Schroder and "Frouto" Chirac. Or "Three Bellies" Hussein, I don't fucking know.

I think that the first two paragraphs of Aaro's piece can be summed up quite accurately as "have you read the Chatham House report? Well you've read nine thousand and eighty five words more of it than I have then". Of course a single sentence of a fucking report doesn't "stand up to examination" if you decide that every single question you have to ask about the report has to be answered in that single sentence. And other people's views look even sillier if you are allowed to tell them what they "seem to be". In other words, this week's Aaro is real hackwork; presumably the strain of having to write two pieces this week has told on him.

"The vulnerability, the fallibility" moment of the week (there is also "a world in which there is no safety" right at the end, but this is more psychologically complex):

" But perhaps he deals with this by calculating that the cancer is only putative and a way down the road. The heart disease is only possible and is distant. The bony chap with the scythe and dark robes is still a shadow. In the meantime Clarkes have to live, drive cars, eat good food and wear fedoras."

And the Aaronovitches also have to live, drive, eat good food within the confines of their fad diets and shave their goatees. The heart disease is only possible and is distant. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may for tomorrow we napalm Fallujah. Seriously, I have never been a fan of the "how do you sleep at night" school of journalism and Decent Dave is hardly in a position to start casting stones while simultaneously dismissing the consequences of his journalism with " I have a feeling (and I could be wrong) that the report may be a dud".

Oh, I caught one! "Lamontian conservatism means letting people have tyrannies if the tyrants want them to. […] The reckoning is a long way down the road. And then someone flies planes into high buildings". Yep, it's the cornerstone of Decent political analysis, the reversal of the timeline between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. Remember that this piece started with Ken Clarke's comments on Iraq, everybody. The Time Lord argument is so bad and such a regular feature of Aaro/Nicko analysis that I'm going to start collecting examples for an end-of-year special, help gladly appreciated in the comments.

This column is terrible; it doesn't quite plumb Cohen's depths, but it's a shocking piece of hackwork even so. Aaro's theme is emerging, I think; he is going to be the Chicken Little of the new authoritarianism. Aaro is worried that between the arteriosclerosis, the Muslims and the chavs, he's not gonna live to see fifty, and my God are we all going to suffer alongside him. The only cure for the national malaise that is being projected on to us is war, on anything. Oh but on the other hand, don't take it seriously, propaganda is really just a bit of fun and you lot don't realise what a normal bloke Dave really is:

Ken is a good chap, of course, and engagingly free of pol-speak

Oh yes David. Better keep in with good old Ken eh, because you never know. Having thrown away his bruschetta, Decent Dave is hardly likely to piss on his chips.

Currently listening to:

"Comfortably Numb" - Pink Floyd
"Down To My Last Cigarette" - Patsy Cline


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and another Decent Left argument to watch for is the 'Libya got rid of its WMD because of Iraq' line. (Hitchens has tried it, so has Straw and I bet you the Harryettes have too.) Hang on, though: anyone remember Lockerbie? Wasn't there a trial of some sort? DA (and all the rest) want to claim a 'success' with Libya simply because it occurred post-9/11 and the invasion of Iraq when it had nothing to do with either.

(Incidentally, are you taking ante-post bets for DA and NC's post-Iraq referendum columns?)

9/06/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given his move to the Murdoch rag, you should call this blog

"Time's Aaro"

pertinent in terms of the Iraq/911 temporal inversions he makes.

9/06/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Sonic said...

Juan cole in response to the Lybya argument (in a take down of Chrissy Hitchens)

Hitchens next lists as an achievement of the Iraq war the "capitulation" of Moammar Gadhafi's Libya over its weapons of mass destruction programs. But Hitchens offers no proof whatsoever that Libya's overture had anything at all to do with the Iraq war. Rather, it is quite clear that Libya is a case where the European and U.S. economic sanctions placed on the country to punish it for its terrorist activities actually worked as designed. (European sanctions had already been lifted, in return for a change in Libyan behavior, in 1999. U.S. sanctions had not.) Moreover, al-Qaida leader Anas al-Libi had Gadhafi in his sights. Gadhafi, influenced by North African Sufism and millenarianism, is no fundamentalist. He saw an opportunity to end the U.S. sanctions, which were harming Libya's economic development, and to form a common front against radical Islamism. All he had to do was give up his rather insignificant "weapons of mass destruction" programs.

Hitchens does not do us the favor of admitting that the tiny country of Libya, despite its past involvement in serious acts of terrorism, was not exactly a dire menace to Western civilization. Gadhafi no longer needed the chemical weapons he is alleged to have used in the Chad war, since it had wound down. His nuclear ambitions had never advanced from the drawing board. So he made a small concession and received huge rewards. There is no reason at all to believe that without the Iraq war this breakthrough, years in the making, would have been forestalled. This fallacy is known as "post hoc ergo propter hoc," that is, "afterward, therefore because of." Not every event that occurs after another is caused by its predecessor.

Hitchens is correct in asserting that the Libyan breakthrough led to the unmasking of the A.Q. Khan network, which illegally transferred nuclear technological know-how from Pakistan to Iran, North Korea and Libya. But since the breakthrough itself was not a consequence of the Iraq war, the unmasking cannot be credited to the war.

9/07/2005 12:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This from Hitchens care of Harry's Place:

"...George Bush has already paid, as he should, a weighty political price for his literally fatal insouciance. What I cannot understand is why the people of Baghdad and Basra should be punished for a meteorological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. We should get out and leave them to their own devices. We need the stuff at home, goddamn it. This has all the charm and beauty of John Kerry saying that we ought not to be opening firehouses in Baghdad while closing them in the United States. It also has all the easy appeal of a zero-sum, provincial, isolationist mentality.

...A scuttle from Iraq or from Afghanistan (where the Kabul-Kandahar highway also took a lot of time and equipment and manpower to build) would add to the number of stricken and broken cities in the world, and not reduce it. If liberalism and humanitarianism do not mean internationalism, they mean precisely nothing. Shame on those who try to turn the needy and the victims against each other."

9/07/2005 05:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Bush has already paid, as he should, a weighty political price for his literally fatal insouciance

It's a real shame that the website "moveon.org" has been taken because it really does encapsulate a key Decent idea

9/07/2005 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to watch for Time Lord moments, surely DA's claim that the anti-war movement were happy to let the Shia suffer under Saddam qualifies on the grounds that he's suggesting that if only we'd invaded Iraq and overthrown Saddam in 1991 (for which there was no UN mandate at the time), everything would be all right now. I'd be surprised if there's any evidence of proto-Decent Lefties - let alone DA or NC - making that claim at the time. (After all, if Saddam was that bad, Blair had four years at least - and Clinton in the White House - to do something about it.)

9/07/2005 04:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh sure. Hitchens for one argued the US had enticed Saddam into invading Kuwait.

9/07/2005 08:54:00 PM  

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