Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Ghost of Aaro Past

Aaro on Iraq once more, on the general subject of how the dog ate his homework and how when he said "I, and everyone else, will never believe them again", he was being ironic or something.

Pretty dreadful stuff - quite where he gets his "reasonable" estimate of 100,000 deaths from I am not sure, since the Iraq Body Count figure is 89-98,000 at present. Facts never really were Aaro's strong point - I am guessing that he picked on a number some time in 2005 and hasn't updated it. Frankly I regard this as a culpable mistake, though. Whether he's intentionally misleading his readers or just not bothering to do the research, he is misleading his readers and the Times ought to print a correction. I bet they won't. Aaro's col also appears to have gone to press before the news came out that the shoe-throwing journalist was actually badly beaten. (I'd also note that having thousands of people marching on the street saying that they hate you is also a sign of dishonour in Arab cultures; Aaro is also misleading his readers when he claims it was only Sadrists who were marching in support of Zaidi).

But the general atmosphere is the old "spread the blame" tactic. Why don't we have an inquiry into whether Yasmin Alibhai Brown had a consistent view on WMDs over the last five years, eh? That's the really interesting historical question, isn't it? Aaro appears to be going march-blind, doesn't he - he seems to think that everyone basically thought that invading Iraq was going to turn out all right, rather ignoring the fact that several million of us actually went on a march to say that we didn't. And blah blah what about the consequences of non-intervention, eh, eh? Imagine what those jihadis might have done if they'd "the message of the international community's inability and unwillingness to act"? Perhaps they'd have carried out suicide bombings in London, mightn't they? Or those "failed states"? One thing you have to say about interventionism is that it's certainly stabilised things in Somalia and Pakistan. It really says something when the Decent Left don't even come out of their own counterfactuals looking well.

A Merry Christmas to all Aaro Watch readers (or a similar greeting based on whatever holidays our readers celebrate), and God bless us all.

Update: Dear Santa, what I would like this Christmas is Michael White's retirement, love Bruschettaboy.


Blogger Malky Muscular said...

I would've thought your ears might be burning after this one, BB - Northern Ireland 1972 and the battle of Basra?

Otherwise, yet more blah about Alternative Iraq, a tactic I've noted elsewhere. The roll-call of evil re: Iraq - Nick Clegg, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, "foremost journalist-critic" - i.e., everyone except the people who ordered the invasion itself. Weak.

I quite like Aaro on occasion, i.e. when he's not waffling about what bastards people like me are, but when he launches these sub-Harry's Place Wot-Me-Apologise?-I-Never-Done-Nothing-Guvnor screeds he comes across like a slightly brighter Brett Lock with nicer prose.

Happy holidays to the lot of you, by the way.

12/23/2008 09:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty poor quality stuff really. I like this bit though:

Shall we try to imagine this other world, the world where we didn't oust the Taleban

Does someone want to tell him what's going on in Afghanistan at the moment?

opponents of the invasion have had also to insist upon the inevitability of partition, of civil war, of the rise of a pro-Iranian theocracy, of the collapse of democracy - none of which has happened.

um - the govt is pretty pro-Iranian... civil war did actually happen. etc etc.

I hope that the shoe-thrower emerges after his trial on New Year's Eve, whole, defiant, and thus a metaphor for the Iraq that I - perhaps so stupidly - hoped for.

This is a pretty mixed metaphor isn't it? So Aaro wanted Iraqis to be vehemently opposed to American influence in their country - going as far as to attempt to injure the US president - and equally opposed to the American occupation? That's what Aaro hoped for?

pretty funny stuff from nick cohen in the standard today too - 'we' here refers to 'journalists':

we barely know the names of David Cameron's functionaries at Conservative HQ, and would pay no heed to them if we did

I wonder if Nick's carelessly forgotten how much faith he's put in Policy Exchange in recent years... The idea that the right-wing media are never fed stories by Tory HQ is also quite frankly bollocks.

12/23/2008 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Simon Jenkins became Sir Simon when he was 60, so Aaro has another 5 years before his is overdue and so I think he needs to calm down a bit.

On the other hand I think this piece and Michael White's should be indulged. If they have managed to convince themselves that everything is A-ok and the British and US armies can leave with 'job done' then I suggest we don't interfere.

12/23/2008 03:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that in the medium and long term, we'd do better with a Saigon '75 moment (an Aden '67 one would do) rather than one that lets Aaro and co retrospectively claim that it all turned out OK in the end. Otherwise the buggers are liable to do it again.

Chris Williams

12/23/2008 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Well the buggers who did it were the same countires who were at Aden in '67 or Saigon in '75, so I'm not sure it stops them. Perhpas it makes them wait a generation.

12/23/2008 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger StuartA said...

She writes that “the UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Scott Ritter both told us there were no WMDs”, adding that the Tories never believed that “Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that were a threat to anybody”, but “still backed Blair because Conservatives love wars”. These contentions, so boldly stated, are demonstrably and easily proved false.

I notice he doesn't trouble himself to do so with Scott Ritter's contention. I suppose in the scrapyard-centrifuge-part-in-someone's-garden Christopher Hitchens sense of WMD her contention was false because Ritter didn't rule out useless WMD components. But it does seem that whenever people launch these pseudo-apologias suggesting commentators were universally mistaken on this subject they always neglect Ritter's clear message before the war.

12/24/2008 12:46:00 AM  

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