Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Happy Clappy

I'm going to be very, very rude here and reproduce something Mark said in the comments section of this post without asking his permission.

First, yesterday was a triumph, and the Iraqi people especially and the
Administration as well, ought to be justly proud. When you hear the pre-election
stories of Iraqi families strategizing the best way to survive the voting
process (for instance: husband and wife go alternatively so if one dies, at
least somebody will be there for the children or both go together to minimize
exposure), it is truly amazing. That is courage. Think about what it takes to
keep Americans away from the polls, say, for instance, like bad chicken salad at
lunch or a new Friends episode.

Secondly, "J's" point about the nature of the threat of the new regime
in 5 years seems reasonable, but it's a matter of degrees. Even if the new
regime is more threatening, it doesn't mean this was not a worthy endeavor.
Consider we could have better domestic security if we just clamped down on
personal freedoms and extrapolate that to claim that we could have better
international security if we just clamped down on the small nations where we
could. Better the despot we know than the elected leader we don't? No. I think
that's a risk worth taking, in most cases. Sure, I'm not a big believer the
Democratic Peace theory and it's possible the new Iraq will be more of a threat
than the old Iraq (read: a threat in fact). But we can work to prevent that from
this starting point, which seems infinitely better than the

This is not to say that this war is about security alone. I've long
maintained that when measured in units of security gained per unit of effort
expended, the balance is not even close to favorable unless the scope is such a
long long run as to be almost immeasureable. That is a large failing of the
Administration - and it's quite possible we'll "win" this war but come out the
weaker for it.

But that does not mean good is not served here, and we ought to
recognize its potential.

I do so because I know (and respect, and largely agree with when it comes to the matter of policy execution) Mark's views on this issue and I can honestly say that I have never seen him so impassioned in such a positive manner. On a rather simple level it's just a pleasure to see but more importantly, if Mark's blood pressure is not at Threat Advisory Level: Elevated over this, then I think that signifies quite strongly that while it's perhaps too early to claim with absolute certainty that some things went pretty solidly right on Sunday, that's the way to bet.

P.S. Newsnight dedicated an entire show to the elections yesterday and without wanting to drift into party politics, one of the most interesting things I noted was the extent to which the Liberal Democrats have been put on the back foot over these elections. They've been pretty much guarenteed an easy ride for over a year now and for the first time I felt that they were not on good ground. Sir Menzies Campbell was on debating the issue with Bill Kristol, Sir Jeremy Greenstock and the Iraqi Ambassador to the UK and by the end of it he looked pretty punch drunk. On top of the elections, all three of the other panellists criticised his calls for an arbitrary, publicised date for the departure of coalition troops and even Jeremy Paxman started to sink his teeth into his ankles with "But you surely have to recognise, don't you, that if you position had been followed Saddam Hussein would still be in power and these elections wouldn't be happening in the first place?". George Galloway was on too, looking ugly and angry. He was predictably unpleasant and sick (and tried to set himself up as the real voice of support for British troops). Labour MP George Foulkes gave him a good battering and pretty much laughed in his face.

P.P.S. See also Harry's Place, where they've got David Aaronovitch lurking in the comments boxes (!)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

putting to waste some good money that could have been used in other areas of development for the business involved.

12:46 AM  

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