Sunday, 29 May 2011

Climate Change Reaches Disaster Point

We can't say we haven't been warned. The International Energy Agency has announced that greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to 2C, the lowest level of dangerous climate change, all but out of reach.
In 2010, a record 30.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere, a rise of 1.6Gt on the previous year.
The Copenhagen climate summit set out five possible scenarios for our future climate and was hoping to hold the increase in global temperature to a disasterous, but manageable, 2C.
A 2C increase was the lowest rung on a catastrophic ladder which would see summer heatwaves on a par with the heatwave of 2003 which killed tens of thousands of people across Europe, higher rates of malaria, starvation of half a billion people as more agricultural yields fail and the world's sea level rising by seven metres increasing coastal flooding.
Unbelievably, we are on course to surpass that and have moved into the catastrophic area of a 4C increase where the Arctic permafrost thaws to release the methane and carbon dioxide currently locked in the soils into the atmosphere. At the Arctic itself, the ice cover would disappear permanently, a 13m rise in the sea level, submerging many island nations. Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey become deserts and mid-Europe reaches desert temperatures of almost 50C in summer.
While some world leaders are continuously joining hands to fight terrorism, one wonders why they cannot offer similar efforts to control climate change, a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism according to the UK Government's chief scientific adviser.
The physical effects of climate change has become much more noticeable lately with floods in Australia, Brazil and Indonesia and swathes of tornadoes sweeping across America this year killing over 500 people.
Future generations will look back and wonder why we allowed such a disaster to unfold and the only reason they can possibly reach is the selfish World leaders who condemned billions of humans for short term financial gain. Disgraceful doesn't begin to cover it.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Gil Scott-Heron's Legacy

I didn't know who Gil Scott-Heron was until he died this weekend but i did know of his song 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised' but only because i thought it was a great title. I'm not even sure i had ever heard it and after clicking through a host of links on You Tube it still didn't sound familiar.
His biggest impact on the British psyche was not with 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised' but as the voice of the ad slogan, 'You know when you’ve been Tango-ed'.
In an interview with the Telegraph in 2010 Scott-Heron described his most famous work as 'satire' and felt that people misinterpreted his song as a militant message, 'I just think they made a mistake' he said.
I have always been quite indifferent to hip hop and rap music, it was always far too boastful and violent for my tastes and the artists with all the gold and macho posing just turned it into a genre that never appealed.
That said, there are a few rap songs i like from the early days, before it turned into a musical category that attracted the strutting egotists that seem to pollute it now.
Grandmaster Flash's 'The Message' was probably the best hip hop song i have heard, a warning against drugs and admiring the 'smugglers, scrambles, burglars, gamblers, pickpockets, peddlers and even panhandlers'.
Apart from that song, Fight for your right to party by the Beastie Boys and a couple of Run DMC songs (Walk This Way and It's Tricky) the rest i could, and have, easily ignored.
Not that i don't appreciate the effort that goes into creating that style of music, i just don't much care for the message behind most of the songs or the image of the performers as nor was the man lauded by today's rappers as their inspiration.
“That negativity stuff sells records' he said in 2010 in answer to a question on today's rap music, 'It appeals to the kind of people who are not interested in taking advantage of opportunities – the kind of people who have time to sit around and listen to that shit'.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Have a Nice Day Cheryl

Cheryl Cole's new job as a judge on the new American X-Factor has come to a
screeching halt after a fortnight as she was sacked and replaced by Pussy Cat Doll Nicole Scherzinger because her Geordie accent was so think that the Americans couldn't understand her.
Hmm, now call me a cynic but i smell a big publicity stunt.
Now Cheryl is 'known' in the United States, albeit by virtue of being sacked for having a bad accent so when she releases her songs she won't be a complete unknown, she will be that woman who got sacked on X-Factor.
This, my inner cynic says, was just a way to bring her to the mind of the American record buying public and Nicole Scherzinger was always going to be the 'real' judge.
Now she is making all the right noises about being heartbroken and upset by it all but everyone wins.
American X-Factor gets publicity from it all and so does Cheryl in the country she is desperate to break.
They knew very well what her accent was like before they hired her so the reason that Americans can't understand her is a red herring.
Alternatively, they quickly realised she has little discernible talent outside of wearing skimpy costumes and parachuted in someone else.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Welcome Obama

I quite like having the American President over here, not because i think he is a particular good President or has made the World a better place by his appointment, it's because British politics and politicians are boring and he is a great diversion.
My highlights so far has been his car getting stuck exiting the US Embassy in Dublin and his signing the guest book in Westminster Abbey book and putting the wrong date, writing 24 May 2008. Surely Americans do the date other way around? You sure he is American? Has anybody checked his birth certificate recently?
David Cameron has been fawning over him as expected and Obama does seem to have a genuine liking for our Queen but i wish they wouldn't keep going on about our so-called special relationship.
Britain’s obsession with its trans-Atlantic alliance has always struck me as a bit strange and one sided. America has many special relationships, unfortunately the one with Israel being the closest, and as Obama moves around Europe, undoubtedly he will use the special relationship phrase again and again depending on which country he is in at the time.
It was only a few short years ago that the largest mid-week demonstration that this country has ever seen was because of the arrival of the previous American President, widely despised everywhere outside of the American bible belt.
Our role in the special relationship seems to be as the excited puppy who bounces around Americas heels and is rewarded by a pat on the head, or a Presidential visit, every so often.
There is much to admire regarding America but let's not keep up this pretence that the bond between London and Washington is anymore special than the one between Washington and Beijing, New Delhi or Paris. Our own special relationship should be with the likes of Germany and France, countries that we have many more political and economic ties with and not America who will make every effort to woo emerging markets like China and India as the tectonic plates of international relations shift and we become just another smallish country hoping to get noticed and looking for that comforting pat on the head.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Democracy Conservative Party Style

Augean, a waste management business, wanted to use a landfill site in Harwell, Oxfordshire, to dump 250,000 tonnes of nuclear waste a year.

In a referendum in Harwell, 96% of residents were against this dump and the local council turned down Augean's application.

Augean, who have been fined by the Environment Agency for past breaches of regulations, appealed to the secretary of state, Eric Pickles, who explained that 'the risk of actual harm from the development would be very low and it should therefore be given the go-ahead.'

Augean were quoted as saying they were 'pleased' with the decision as well they might. A report by Edison Investment Research in March 2010 suggested that if Augean was to accept its full quota of radioactive waste, its profit from the site would be in excess of £100 million per year.

Democracy, where money talks louder than people. Don't you just love it.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Giggs Outed At Last

Oh well, that's that bit of fun over now that Ryan Giggs has been named in the House of Commons as the footballer who paid £50,000 for a super injunction against us finding out he was having a six month affair with former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas.
The part that tickled my funny bone was that almost everyone knew about it anyway, it has been all over the internet and even on his Wikipedia page for the past week as well as the newspapers hinting heavily who it was.
I am a big advocate of the adage 'if you don't want people to find out you are a two timing scumbag, don't be a two timing scumbag' and i sincerely hope Giggs gets the kicking that Imogen got after the atrocious decision that she could be named but he couldn't which hung her out to dry.
I also hope she gets a ton of money thrown at her for her story and Giggs comes out of it looking like the callous, arrogant bonehead that he is.
Hopefully, this will put an end to the world of super injunctions where the rich and powerful can hide their indiscretions from the World because this is the age of the internet and nothing will stay secret for long.
Then we can get back to how it should be, the media highlighting the behaviour of anyone on a pedestal who acts in a way that puts them in a bad light.
If Giggs wife has half a brain in her head, she will boot the Manchester United player into touch and take him for half his fortune but as previous footballer wives have shown, they don't tend to half a brain between them.
I reckon the well known British actor with the super injunction may be getting a bit nervous about now.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Newt is Crapo But Olympia's A Corker

The next American election is picking up pace and the Republicans may have lost the remarkably haired Donald Trump but in his place has stepped the magnificently named Newt Gingrich.
A quick look at his profile shows the man is an idiot of the highest order but putting that to one side, what a great name.
President Newt sounds like something out of Wind in the Willows and i would love to hear that name being bandied around for a couple of years although his name is probably the best thing about him.
Marrying your geometry teacher and having an affair while you are leader of the Republican investigation into Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinksi doesn't bode well. That and his anti-gay, black and Muslim stance.
Looking through the list of Senators, there are some others who should be made President just because they have a great name, people such as John Boozman, Mike Crapo, Dick Durbin, Olympia Snowe, Bob Corker and Orrin Hatch.
My initial favourite was Sheldon Whitehouse, how could someone with that surname not deserve to be made leader of the country but then I saw him, Saxby Chambliss.
British politicians have names like David or John, as exotic as we get is Eric Pickles so anyone with the name Saxby should receive a standing ovation where-ever he goes because that's just brilliant.
Credit must go to his parents who obviously were not swayed by the restrictions of giving their child a sensible christian name so they called him Saxby.
I didn't even bother looking him up, he deserves the Presidency with Crapo as vice President.
Saxby for President 2012. Failing that, just one that won't morph into an idiot as soon as he gets the keys to the White House would be nice.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Still here

The world has not ended...carry on.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Obama's Speech

It was described as the most important speech Obama has made on the Middle East since becoming President although the overwhelming feeling I had was why was the United States, a non-Middle-Eastern country, yet again setting out a vision for the Middle East? Why is everyone else not setting out our vision for the USA involving an end to this sort of arrogance?
The 'Arab Spring' caught the American administration by surprise and the US is sliding out of view in the region, their influence fading fast as 'friends' are pushed aside and America is desperate to regain some clout.
Obama's star has been waning or some time now and his cause was not helped by his condemnation of brutal regimes during his hour long speech and name checked Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain but passed over Saudi Arabia.
So far so what we expected, but one place that America does have influence and can make a real change is Israel and I was lifted to hear Obama state that 'the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state'.
This will be the headline maker and was what the Middle East has been waiting to hear and will be the one thing that will show them that the old status quo isn't going to be just accepted anymore because Americas blind defense of Israel is the greatest problem for Americas image in the region.
Israel responded as expected, rejecting the plan for borders along the 1967 lines but if Obama is to make any real difference to the Middle East, he will have to see through the Israeli act of playing the victim and force it into negotiations, proper negotiations and not the feet dragging exercise while Israel continues to claim Palestinian land.
Obama needs to link the negotiations to continued Israeli funding, without American money, Israel will be unable to bankroll it's continued occupation and be forced to seek peace with Palestine.
Whether Obama will do that and risk the religious vote in the 2012 elections will be the test but if America wants to improve its image and be seen as an honest broker in the region, it cannot continue to supply Israel with its weapons which in turn are used against Palestinians.
Meanwhile, until Obamas words become actions, the Middle East will view the West, and America in particular, with suspicion and it has every right to because it is our hyprocisy and meddling in their region that has caused the vast majority of its problems.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Crediting John Major

Anglo-Irish relations have always been a source of bemusement. Both countries can point to atrocities perpetrated on them by the other over the years but finally it seems Ireland and England have settled their differences.
The visit by the Queen to the Republic of Ireland, the first visit by a British monarch for 100 years, will hopefully continue this process and her laying of the wreath to commemorate the Irish who died fighting for their independence from the English shows great humility and recognition of past behaviour.
One forgotten person who should be feeling rather proud of himself today is former British Prime Minister John Major who took the historic step of attempting to normalise relations with the Republic and to reach out to the IRA which led directly to his successors signing the Good Friday Agreement.
Margaret Thatcher balked at the idea of discussions with Sein Fein and the IRA but Major and his Irish counterpart, Albert Reynolds, took a huge political risk that the status quo could not continue and searched for an agreement, a decision that could easily have backfired as the Irish Republican Army were inflicting carnage on England at the time.
Seen largely as a makeweight prime minister between two prime ministerial heavyweights, John Major did very little else that was creditable during his time in Number 10 but he deserves most credit of all for taking that initial gamble of starting the ball rolling with no real support from his own party.
Major, i believe, acted out of a genuine belief in an agreement with a lasting, peaceful political legacy being good for both countries and the relative political calm in Northern Ireland compared to pre-1998 would not have been possible without his contribution.
Hopefully there are people in the many current conflict areas in the World with the vision of John Major and Albert Reynolds who decide that just sitting down and talking through your differences is a preferable method of conflict resolution than bombs and bullets.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Expanding The War

Anybody with even the remnant of a braincell knows that War is bad but human history is littered with one group of people fighting against another group of people. First with stick, then swords, then with guns and now with missiles and bombs.
As the firepower grows greater, so does the death toll but now it isn't two armies facing each other and blasting holes in one another, now the attacks come from a safe distance and although the missiles are called smart, they aren't particular if it's a civilian or an enemy combatant they rip apart when they explode.
Killing people is easy, but killing only a specific individual isn't which is why we hear almost daily stories of civilians being accidentally bombed and killed in Afghanistan or Libya.
A soldier wouldn't walk into a restaurant with an M16 and kill every person inside, men, women, children, waiters, cooks, etc., simply because one of them might be their target but they do drop a bomb on it from a great height which does exactly the same thing.
You can understand why drones and high altitude bombing is now the way to go for attacking nations, public support drains very quickly when it's our boys coming home in body bags.
Always amazes and disappoints me how shockingly non-plussed we are about killing other countries civilians and about war in general and i will never be able to understand people who call for a war.
Now if it was just two armies, standing across a field just blasting the hell out of each other then good for them, let them go over there away from everyone else and do their macho boy thing, we will stay over here and get on with living our lives.
But it isn't like that, instead cities get firebombed, nuked and 500lb bombs are dropped from 30,000 ft and the majority seem okay with that but most disappointingly, our Governments don't see a problem so we get the Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, arguing for NATO to intensify its campaign in Libya and not just go after military targets but move Libyan infrastructure into the gun sights.
Bombing infrastructure targets is not what most people imagined when they first heard the term 'no-fly zone'.
Since the UN signed off the resolution, no fly zone seems to have come to mean all out warfare conducted from the air and now we want to widen the targets to include infrastructure, which just about covers anything and everything.
Very brave of Liam Fox sat a thousand miles way in London to call for a widening of the war, wonder how keen he would be if he and his family was sat in a house by an electrical power station in Tripoli.
Not very i would imagine and would he be willing to sacrifice his wife and daughters for the removal of Gadaffi? If he said yes he is a liar and if he said no, then why is he condemning other families to such a fate?
Not enough what we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have to do it all over again in Libya.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Go Away Seinfeld

I suppose it was only a matter of time after we had sent them Piers Morgan and now Cheryl Cole that America would retaliate and they sent us one of their overrated stars so we now have Jerry Seinfeld landing here. Cheers America, just how annoyed with us are you?
The first time i saw Jerry Seinfeld's sitcom i assumed that the joke was that Jerry was a really bad comedian but it turned out the short stand up routine at the start and end of the show was his actual act. I particularly enjoyed the last part because it meant the 30 minutes of god awful comedy was over.
I just never found his show funny and the BBC quickly found they had brought a pup because they shunted it off to late night BBC 2 pretty darned quickly.
It has been suggested that the humour was just too subtle for us Brits but many other American sitcoms have always gone down well over here. Shows like Cheers, Friends and Frasier were massive hits and American comedians such as Rich Hall are much in demand so i don't know why Seinfeld stunk the place out, we just didn't seem to warm to him. Too smug and too whining and his jokes were just not funny to my British ear.
A Jerry Seinfeld website i found contained the warning on the front page that: 'Reading Seinfeld quotes can seriously affect your sanity, and give you stomach cramps due to non-stop laughter'.
An example of the wit of the man is "I once had a leather jacket that got ruined in the rain. Why does moisture ruin leather? Aren't cows outside a lot of the time? When it's raining, do cows go up to the farmhouse, "Let us in! We're all wearing leather! Open the door! We're going to ruin the whole outfit here!'
Don't call us Jerry, we'll call you and with the ticket prices set at £100 a pop, don't hold your breath.
To misquote Tim Vine, one of Britain's best current comedians, 'Jerry Seinfeld, i have never seen anything so wooden, and I live in the New Forest'.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Not The Marrying Kind

There is a wicked phrase to cut down any unmarried person who is getting a bit uppity. It is one of those rare remarks that is so devastatingly cutting that i almost wish a single person would start up just so I could dash them with it, although i know i actually never would.
The phrase is: 'Still single? Even Hitler was married you know' a devastating verbal kick to the solar plexus stating that even the most reviled and hated person in the history of the World had someone love them, and you don't. Ouchies.
Even worse is that it is true, the man who killed millions died with a ring on his wedding finger and another human being promising to love and cherish him for as long as they both shall live which turned out to be a couple of hours admittedly.
One part of the Bin Laden shooting that struck me was the fact that his wife, one of 5 he had in his life, was prepared to charge at a gun toting US soldier in some sort of attempt to protect her husband and received a bullet in the leg for her troubles.
The newspapers report that this particular wife was 28 year old Amal al-Sadah, his youngest wife and she had lived with Bin Laden for 5 years in their compound in Abbottabad, never leaving the room.
Given that Bin Laden had been killing and maiming for well over 2 decades, she knew when she married him what he was so you do wonder what possessed her to marry the man because it wasn't the sort of wedded bliss that women dream of. No romantic walks on the beach or sitting on a hillside watching the sun come up or even a night out at the cinema, just a single room with no telephone or internet connection with the most wanted man on the planet watching his best video performances promising destruction of the west.
Josef Stalin found 2 women who loved him as did Pol Pot and even Saddam Hussein with his penchant for throwing people into a giant mangler.
Did the women in their lives just ignore the monstrous acts their husbands were performing? The first wives may have the excuse that their beloved wasn't an evil tyrant when they first met them but all these tyrants found someone to love them a second time for all their faults when they were at their murderous height.
Did they meet up with friends and say 'Yes, he has killed 10 million people but he does wash up and take out the rubbish without me nagging him'.
Possibly you don't turn down Hitler or Pol Pot if he decides that you are to be his next wife or maybe it is one of those deals where you think it keeps yourself and your family safe from the madman but they must lay there at night, listening to him in his slumber and think that if they just slipped a pillow over his face or poison in his coffee, millions of lives could be saved and nobody would ever know. The third possibility is that they are persuaded to overlook the killing for all the riches and power their position brings although in Mrs Bin Ladens case, this couldn't be the attraction.
So if you are single, don't be upset that even the psychotic nutter Vlad the Impaler has 2 wives, just avoid the person who looks as though his last few seconds on this earth will be spent in a dingy room of a compound wearing just his underpants with a dozen high velocity rifles pointing at the place where the left side of his head used to be.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

A Fair System?

A friend of our family was a builder. He lost everything in the 90's recession, his business, his home and at one point, almost his sanity as his debts spiralled.
Unbowed, and with some long hours and lots of hard work, he built everything up again close to the standard he was at previously and was paying off what he owed to the bank and taxman and then 18 months ago it all went again and he relived the same story and he lost everything all over again except the van he lived in for 3 months.
What happened to him wasn't his fault, the building market is always one of the first to be hit when a recession comes to town as it does with alarming frequency. An academic recently stated that in the last 100 years, the UK has either been coming out of or going into a recession every decade.
Now what sort of system is it that once every 10 years, many people lose everything and if you come out the other side with your home, car, family, sanity and job intact, you are thought of as one of the lucky ones?
There are some defenders of Capitalism but they won't be the ones living in their vans with their mind slowly slipping away, they will be the narrow band of guys and girls who do well whether the country is doing well or heading towards the rocks. Ask someone who has just received their 50th rejection letter from an employer and someone sitting in a boardroom and you will get very different answers but because the people running the system are those sat in boardrooms, the status quo continues and once every ten years, you fear the call to the office and the grim faced boss explaining why he has to let you go.
So the headline to greet us today was that Britain's super-rich have bucked the economic downturn and increased their collective wealth by 18% in the past year and the 1,000 best-off people in the country are now worth £395.8bn, according to the 2011 Sunday Times Rich List.
The British Government Cabinet has 29 members, 23 of them are millionaires. Think they will be looking to change things, to make things more equal and to help out those poor souls struggling at the bottom?
Nope, me neither so we carry on praying that we can get through the recession with most of what we went into it with knowing that if we do, there will be another one coming along soon to catch us out.
Is that fair?

Friday, 6 May 2011

They Come From A Land Down Under

What with all the Royal weddings, Presidential birth certificates and dead terrorists being flung into the sea lately, a story has slipped beneath the radar that really deserved a quieter news week to do it justice.
Now we know Australians like a drink and often they get drunk and make drongo's of themselves but an Aussie submariner has once again revived that well-worn British past-time of mocking our Aussie cousins.
The Australian Government, as part of a campaign to stamp out alcohol abuse in the Australian Defence Force, released a video of a half naked Aussie seaman, paralytic drunk on a US naval base being restrained by US guards after he began scuffling with police, ambulance and even fire officers called to help him while attempting to put him on a stretcher.
After he was packed off to hospital, an ambulance driver sighed 'It isn't even midday and he was the second Australian to be taken to hospital for intoxication today.'
The incident reportedly led to strict new drinking rules and a spokeswoman for the Defence Ministry stating 'The Government has made it clear that the highest standards are expected from ADF personnel, whether they are serving at home or overseas.'
So far no surprise, a drunken Australian, what's so unusual about that?
Here's the kicker.
When he got back down under, the Australian Defence Ministry decided not to charge him with disciplinary action and promoted him instead! High standards indeed. Classic but it doesn't top the story of the Australian a while back who was stopped by the police and found to have the cars safety belt wrapped around his crates of beer while his young child sat wobbling and untethered on top.
We salute you Australia, or we will once you have sobered up.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Celebrating Americans

It seems very strange to be the one attempting to defend the American military's actions in Pakistan, over the past 10 years i can't think of a single time when i have agreed with either of the American administrators actions in the Middle East.
As the facts of Bin Laden's final moments dribble out, i am very uneasy with watching scenes of celebrating Americans shouting USA, USA and hearing them call it justice for what he perpetrated in 2001.
Al Queada also killed 250 in Bombay, 200 in Nairobi, 202 in Bali, 57 in Istanbul, 116 in the Philippines, 191 in Madrid, 56 in London, 88 in Sharm el-Sheikh, 209 in Mumbai and tens of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While all these nations suffered from Al Queada's terrorism, the United States is the only place where it sparked raucous jubilation.
It could be put down to 10 years of abject failures in the War on Terror where Americans have had very little to cheer about.
The frustration of the last decade which eroded Americas standing in the World, showed up the limits of the World's premier military power, prompted an erosion of U.S. civil liberties and saw the shameful use of torture and detention as well as the waste of a trillion dollars on fruitless wars with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents.
The resentment of all this came out in the death of the man blamed for everything although the realisation must come soon that what they have removed is only the far removed from operations figurehead, the ideology and people willing to strap explosives to themselves will continue unabated.
Americans have the right to grieve and remember those who died on 9/11, as do the British, Indians, Iraqi's, Afghans and everyone else who were targeted by Al Queada.
Elsewhere, Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans have been murdered directly by America in its response to 9/11, massively increasing the pool Al Queada recruits from, so it isn't hard to see why not everybody appreciated the wild cheering at the baseball game and the chants of 'USA, USA' and 'We're number one'.
The American military has done many things in that region and killing Bin Laden is just one highlight among an ocean of horrors.
While Americans celebrate the death of Bin Laden, the truth is more nations around the world will celebrate if it was George W Bush or Tony Blair that was assassinated and dumped in the sea and that should be a sobering thought.

Monday, 2 May 2011

America Got It Right With Bin Laden

Since the September 2001, there has been much to criticise America for in its reaction to the Twin Towers attack.
The War on Terror, Guantanamo Bay, the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, super-rendition, torture, the use of drones and the million plus dead civilians have all correctly been used to condemn George W Bush, Barack Obama and American foreign policy in general.
America has done much wrong in the past 10 years but with its actions this weekend regarding Bin Laden, it got it 100% right.
It used the intelligence available to make sure they only took out the bad guys, they killed Bin Laden rather than take him alive and they buried him at sea before informing the World of it's actions so his funeral never became a potential trouble spot and his grave never became a shrine.
The details are still sketchy, apparently he was killed in a firefight and the body was offered to Saudi Arabia and Yemen who both refused to accept it, but the main details are there is one murderous bastard in the world and that has to be a good thing.
I have read a few conspiracy theories on the internet, mostly concerning America lying about the killing and questioning where is the video and photographic evidence. This particular smoking gun will be quickly doused when the video of Bin Laden's body and sea burial are released within days as the White House have stated.
Rare praise to the American leadership but the fear is Al Queada will continue and the Bin Laden flavour of terrorism will carry on bringing havoc and mayhem to us all under another leader.
One hope is the Arab revolutions that are sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa where the citizens are fighting for freedom and will turn their backs on the Al Queada style of change. They wouldn't fight so hard to remove one tyrannical regime to slip under the heel of another.
The other hope is that those acting under the misguided loyalty to Bin Laden will now realise that while they were risking their lives, their leader was living in a million pound mansion far away from where the bombs and missiles were dropping and get it through their heads that they are little more than cannon fodder and to reject the Al Queada doctrine.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Libya Mission Creep

NATO and David Cameron face some tricky questions about the legality of its air strike on a Gaddafi family compound this weekend, which the Libyan government said had killed the leader's 29-year old son and three grandchildren, all aged under 12.
David Cameron spat out the same tired old line about the UN resolutions permitted attacks against the regime's command and control sites to prevent a loss of civilian life.
Rather than push Cameron on the contradiction of killing these children in his defence of protecting civilians, the interviewer was ushered swiftly onto a list of Gaddafi misdemeanors and the attack was forgotten.
Only it wasn't because Russia, already complaining that NATO was acting outside of the UN Resolution, called the attack a 'disproportionate use of force leading to detrimental consequences and the death of innocent civilians.'
I also thought that the military action was supposed to be a humanitarian mission, a no-fly zone purely to stop Gaddafi from using his air-power on civilians. Seems that now we are fighting alongside the rebels against the Libyan regime, even attempting to overthrow Gaddafi.
It does not matter what the building was, there was no justification to bomb anything in Tripoli. If the rules have changed and we are now taking on the Libyan Government, NATO should go back to the UN table and get either an amendment to Resolution 1973 or a whole new resolution altogether.
Seems we have crept into a war while nobody was looking and as usual, NATO just didn't care who was in the building they set their sights on. They bombed it in their desperation to assassinate Gaddafi because after 6 weeks of bombing, they have got nowhere.
NATO and Cameron should be asked if the victims of their bombs don't matter and because the kids happen to be in Gaddafi's family, don't they deserve to be protected?
Regardless of if their death comes from a pro-Gaddafi tank or a NATO jet, they are still dead and just like in Iraq and Afghanistan, nobody is there to protect the innocent civilians from our bombs.