All entries by this author

Some More

Apr 1st, 2003 12:11 am | By

In ‘The New Yorker’ Seymour Hersh tells of the disagreements between the military and the Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. There is some of this in every war, and a lot of it is just each side protecting itself or as we put it in the vernacular, covering its ass. But it may be worse than usual this time. Or it may not.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of last week was the failure of the Shiite factions in southern Iraq to support the American and British invasion. Various branches of the Al Dawa faction, which operate underground, have been carrying out acts of terrorism against the Iraqi regime since the nineteen-eighties. But Al Dawa has also been hostile to American interests.

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Aggressive Contempt for Popular Opinion *

Mar 31st, 2003 | Filed by

But what makes the journo think he has a right to look at the kitchen when he’s been refused permission? Which is the rude one here?… Read the rest

Some Opinions

Mar 30th, 2003 10:15 pm | By

The war is in its 11th day, and it’s clear that the cheery expectation of a Blitzkrieg was ill-founded. Apparently shock and awe have succeeded only in turning Saddam Hussein from a hated tyrant to an admired resister of the invaders, a result fraught with horrible implications for the future, including the future of Tony Blair. It is a profoundly dispiriting thought that this war could well end up entrenching the ignorant callous provincial talentless Bush more firmly in power than ever while it undoes the vastly more worthwhile Blair. Jonathan Freedland comments here on Blair’s backbreaking efforts with the UN and Bush’s smug indifference to the whole matter. There is something intensely degrading about watching a person of Bush’s … Read the rest

What Does Porn Do?

Mar 30th, 2003 6:24 pm | By

Well, here’s an intriguing little item by way of a break from war news. The abundance and popularity of porn on the Internet, and what that may do to men’s attitudes to women, and how strangely little attention the subject gets.

For a political perspective you would have to search to the very margins of feminist debate. It is as if an entire generation of research into the emotional effects of porn has simply been forgotten, leaving us with porn galore and not the faintest idea what it does.

The most sinister aspect of the whole subject is how inextricably confused lust seems to be with hostility, at least in this kind of pornography. (And is there any other kind?) … Read the rest

Cultural Relativism

Mar 30th, 2003 | By

There are times when, do what we will, we are confronted with goals, values, moral preferences, that are in flat contradiction. We have to choose one and reject the other. Much as we would like to, we can’t blend or compromise or harmonise or take a little from this pot and a dab from that and come up with a nice mix. Doing one thing simply rules out doing the other and that’s all there is to it. Digital not analog, yes or no.

So for instance reasonable and desirable goals of tolerance, understanding, cosmopolitanism, and cultural relativism can clash with equally reasonable and desirable goals of preventing harm to others, criticising unjust laws and customs and traditions, exposing exploitation … Read the rest

Can a Pre-emptive War Be Ethical? *

Mar 30th, 2003 | Filed by

It can, says a BBC panelist familiar to our readers.… Read the rest

Mismatch? Growing? Gulf? *

Mar 30th, 2003 | Filed by

Carol Tavris asks a great many skeptical questions of a new book on the gulf between women and men, and whether the cure might be worse than the disease.… Read the rest

Scientific American on DU *

Mar 28th, 2003 | Filed by

In a careful account, SciAm concludes that DU is somewhat toxic but no more so than other kinds of ammunition.… Read the rest

Depleted Uranium *

Mar 28th, 2003 | Filed by

A January, 2003 report by the World Health Organization on the health effects of DU.… Read the rest

Gulf War Syndrome? *

Mar 28th, 2003 | Filed by

Elaine Showalter on an elusive disease or syndrome that generates a lot of scare headlines and not much evidence.… Read the rest

Pompously Fondling his Crucifix *

Mar 28th, 2003 | Filed by

The Bishop versus the Pythons. The Bish couldn’t be bothered to do his homework, and the Pythons were better-behaved.… Read the rest

Affirmative Action and the War *

Mar 27th, 2003 | Filed by

Yale Political Scientist Jim Sleeper on the complexities and contradictions of identity politics.… Read the rest

Hans Morgenthau on Killing Civilians *

Mar 27th, 2003 | Filed by

An excerpt from a book by the late scholar of international relations, on the history of the status of civilians in war.… Read the rest

Fear and Confusion *

Mar 27th, 2003 | Filed by

It is fear of the Fedayeen Saddam, not nationalism, that is keeping Iraqi civilians on the sidelines, says this reporter.… Read the rest

Eurosneering *

Mar 26th, 2003 | Filed by

Cowboys on one side of the pond, castrated girly pacifists on the other.… Read the rest

Sauce for the Goose? *

Mar 26th, 2003 | Filed by

Correspondents to the Guardian wonder how the US can appeal to the Geneva convention.… Read the rest

Analysis of Impunity Agreements *

Mar 26th, 2003 | Filed by

Why would a country seek blanket immunity from the international criminal court? … Read the rest

The Awkward Squad Asks Sharper Questions *

Mar 26th, 2003 | Filed by

Staging, spin, starstruck questions from US journalists, rationed information. But then Chinese and Arab journalists may have their own blinders.… Read the rest

Blackburn contra Rorty *

Mar 26th, 2003 | Filed by

If Truth and Reason are over, what about the maps and timetables you used to get here to say so?… Read the rest

Sectarian Slaughter in Kashmir *

Mar 25th, 2003 | Filed by

The body-count is 24 in the latest chapter of Hindu-Muslim fight over Kashmir.… Read the rest