Monday, January 05, 2009

Criminal aspect

In comments on his blog today, Oliver Kamm expresses his agreement with a Times leader on Gaza. Did Kamm actually write the leader in question? I don't suppose we'll ever know, but it does have a certain Kammite ring about it. Here's how it begins:

Conor Cruise O'Brien, the Irish statesman and historian, once wrote: “The best way for a democracy to deal with what is called political violence is to set aside its supposedly political character and concentrate on its criminal aspect as an armed conspiracy.” O'Brien, who died this month, had particular sympathies with the security dilemmas faced by Israel. And in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza this week, Israeli politicians are plainly adopting a similar diagnosis to his.

Now forgive me for my naivety, but if what we're talking about is law enforcement aimed at a violent criminal conspiracy, the Israelis seem to be going about it in a odd way. Even when dealing with armed gangs, the police don't usually drop high explosives in densely populated urban areas, with predictable consequences for passers-by. If Sir Ian Blair had contemplated such tactics, he might have been out of a job even faster than he was.


Blogger Alex said...

I'm sure Martin Kettle would have understood how much pressure the cops were under, and warned us of the danger that our criticism might spoil their resolve to use a tactical nuclear weapon next time.

1/05/2009 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Kamm actually write the leader in question?

Kamm has frequently cited O'Brien in the past, and almost always introduces him with a very similar formula, eg "the Irish historian and diplomat Conor Cruise O'Brien"; "the Irish polymath and statesman Conor Cruise O'Brien"; "the Irish historian Conor Cruise O'Brien"; "The Irish historian, statesman and polymath Conor Cruise O'Brien"; or if you prefer it the other way round, "the Irish statesman, historian and polymath Conor Cruise O'Brien".

So the leader's opening "Conor Cruise O'Brien, the Irish statesman and historian" is just a massive giveaway, isn't it?

Also echt-Kamm is the over-insistent use of words like "demonstrable" and "plainly"; and of course the otiose opinion.

So we can be fairly confident Kamm wrote the Times leader to which he approvingly links on his own blog at the Times without admitting that he wrote it himself. Given this, and his own recent behaviour in trying to start a witch-hunt against the New Statesman's literary editor, shall we start a public campaign to have him sacked?

1/05/2009 06:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Presumably this is to distinguish him from all the other Conor Cruise O'Briens there are in public life. If only Oliver read this blog more often, he'd know that all he had to do would be to refer to that guy as "Conor Cruise O'Brien" and his namesakes as "Conor 'Not The Irish Historian, Diplomat, Polymath and Statesman' Cruise O'Brien". Or possibly "Conor Cruise 'Not the Irish Historian, Diplomat, Polymath Statesman' O'Brien".

Even worse, now I can't stop humming:

"It's true that he's a groovy cat
He's a polymath historian and dip-lomat
He's Conor Cruise O'Brien
Cruise O'Brien
And it's as plain as your nose
That he's the one and only Irish historian
Conor Cruise from head to toes"

1/05/2009 07:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One wonders what the Times and all the other media might say if the situation had been reversed. What if Arabs has surrounded Israel, blockaded and starved it for two years, and then killed hundreds of civialiansr.

One wonders whether bombing a police graduation ceremony, attended by parents and children, would have been branded terrorism.

There is a chance that the editorial might have been a bit more critical than this.

1/05/2009 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

His appearance on Galloway's show on Talk Sport to "discuss" the situation was amusing (there's a copy on youtube). Judging by Kamm's two (!) posts on the topic, Galloway's refusal to take him seriously really riled him.

1/05/2009 11:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain in the meantime why Times leader writer Oliver Kamm is still pursuing his nasty little feud with Neil Clark through the medium of Wikipedia?

1/06/2009 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

same reason a dog licks its bollocks probably. I'd certainly rather have Oliver spending his limited time budget for Wikipedia editing on the entry for "Neil Clark" (on the subject of which his views are broadly consensual) than "The Strategic Bombing Survey", "The Treaty of Versailles" or "Hiroshima".

1/06/2009 12:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Clark is a tit, but Kamm's determination to spend his valuable time trying to stamp out what little career Clark might have is in danger of justifying an opinion of Kamm as a spiteful little bully (as well as the pompous buffoon we know and love).

1/06/2009 01:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's one of the best pieces of radio I have ever heard. The bit where George tells him:

'Don't flatter yourself. There's nobody in this radio station whose ever heard of you. You're a complete nobody. A banker. A real banker.'

You've got to give it to George. He may be a bully. He may look like Arthur Daly with his fondness for camel hair coats and large cigars. He may even spend more time than is strictly necessary greasing up to sundry Middle East tyrants. But he can be bloody entertaining.

1/06/2009 02:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK is claiming on his blog that Galloway stitched him up by abuse of the fade control; is this true? I wouldn't regard it as out of character for Galloway, but on the other hand my sympathy is limited by the fact that OK is doing the blogular equivalent by trying to smear Michael Lerner as a 9/11 truther (also, if Oliver continues to use that cat leotard picture of Galloway on his blog, he can hardly be surprised at being called a wanker in return).

1/06/2009 07:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope someone is going to do a post on Aaro's piece in the Times today. On at least two occasions he nails the kind of simplistic manichean thinking so beloved of his fellow Decents.

1/06/2009 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

You know Neil Clark's been nominated for the Weblog Awards, alongside their usual parade of the insanitary?

1/06/2009 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's Oliver who nominateds him every year as a practical joke.

1/06/2009 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Talking of cats, which Watchee do commentors think is most likely to have a cat? My nap would be Marko with the Professor the next best*.

[* yes, you shouldn't have nap and next best in the same race, I know]

1/06/2009 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Re GG being 'bloody entertaining'. I forget who said 'politics is showbusiness for ugly people' but Gorgeous George meets all criteria.

Re OK and Wikipedia: because Neil Clark won't play Oliver's Amazon reviews of Noam Chomsky game. Duh.

Re cats. Norman Geras did have a cat which died of old age. I think they have a replacement. Aaro seems a bit like a cat person. George Bush had a cat.

1/06/2009 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

He's right about the first, not sure about the second (if it happened, it didn't happen where he suggested). But he was silenced before he'd actually said anything and Galloway switches to a personal attack (a pretty funny one), having presumably lost interest in the question he asked originally. Galloway's a street fighter, Kamm is a very prissy Marquis of Queensbury type. The results are unsurprising.

The first half of the interview is pretty fair (very fair by Today standard), and Kamm was given plenty of time to pontificate.

1/06/2009 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Kamm is a very prissy Marquis of Queensbury type

My understanding of the Marquis' rules is that they preclude attacks on opponents already dead.

I'm not surprised about the Professor. Dunno about Aaro though, surely he's not humble enough to have a cat?

1/06/2009 06:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best way for a democracy to deal with what is called political violence is to set aside its supposedly political character and concentrate on its criminal aspect as an armed conspiracy

Which begs the question, if this is the case, why were Hamas allowed to stand in elections in the first place?

But it also begs the question, if the 'armed conspiracy' bit is the important part, then why were 44 Hamas MPs abducted and imprisoned without trial following their election?

and it alsobegs the question, why was the police graduation ceremony bombed? etc etc. it's just bollocks really.

In any case, the leader in question which Kamm obviously wrote is pretty much all waffle - platitudes about a diplomatic solution being preferable, vague statements about a 'territorial solution', with no indication of what that might mean, and all the blame on Hamas, as usual. A commenter on the times blog linked to nails the problem with most of the HP and Decent output on the issue - there is far too much witchhunting of people who are even-handed or critical of IDF policy and very little from Decents about what might work as a solution. Saying Israel has a right to defend itself is one thing - sitting around repeating it over and over again as hundreds of people are killed because of who employs them looks pretty bad really.

Just as a note, if Israel has the right to defend itself then I'm assuming that any Israeli soldiers killed in the Gaza offensive are acceptable deaths to Decents? Surely Gaza has the right to defend itself too... The new UN resolution, which the US and depressing it looks like the UK as well are holding out for, is essentially an encirclement of Gaza on all sides by Israel in order to 'stop illegally-smuggled weapons'. Doesn't this equate to a denial of the right to defend itself for Gaza?

1/07/2009 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Yes, it's odd how often you don't hear "Palestine has a right to defend itself".

1/07/2009 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the standard wingnut line on that is, 'because it's not a proper state yet'. This is a bit like another wingnut claim, that the settlements aren't technically illegal (although they pretty much are) and thus are immune from criticism. I.E. dodgy semantics at best and something far worse in all probability...

I don't really think that rockets fired randomly at towns in Israel are a legitimate method of self-defence; but then again neither do i think that what Israel is doing at the moment is really an action of self-defence either.

1/07/2009 10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the standard wingnut line on that is, 'because it's not a proper state yet'.

Shades of Bosnia. Has Marko said anything about Gaza yet?

1/07/2009 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

My solution to the suicide bombings and rocket attacks is to give the Palestinians F-15s and the coordinates of Israeli leaders. Nukes might be more effective, but its a harder sell.

1/07/2009 05:09:00 PM  

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