Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

UK Political weblog

Archive for the tag “US”

Another Mistake in the Making?

Attacking Iraq (twice) was a mistake, attacking Libya was a mistake and gave rise to IS, ISIL, Daesh, whatever you want to call the power hungry, heinous, murdering hordes that are rampaging in the Middle East and giving rise to deluded religious fanatics in Europe and elsewhere.

The US and UK are engaged in air strikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq in the US case and currently only in Iraq by the UK. The UK government is about to consider expanding strikes into Syria also. Another mistake? I think so. Attack by air can never defeat these thugs and more importantly thousands of innocent people will be killed in the process giving rise to even more hatred of the West and so becoming a recruiting sergeant for more terrorists. There is an argument that troops on the ground is the only way to defeat them but as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, you can defeat a nation and impose a new government under the guise of a flawed democracy but you cannot impose peace. Thousands of bombs have been dropped in the last year and yet ISIL is unmoved and the lack of western triumphalist videos and news reports rather make the case for me.

So if air strikes can’t ‘win’ and using western troops on the ground is politically unacceptable to the electorate, as is the case at present, what should the West do? This is always the question asked but never the question “Should we do anything?” We first have to accept the fact that the West is Capitalist and Capitalism cares nothing about the suffering of people and only has an interest in money. Having accepted that point we can move on and see that the death and destruction wreaked upon the Middle East was not to free a people from Saddam Hussein or the Taliban but to ensure reliable cheap oil supplies from Iraq and the hope of building an oil and gas pipeline across Afghanistan. The result as we can see has been utter chaos; we may be getting cheap oil by way of repayment of Iraqi debt (incurred by the war) but the pipeline is still too risky a project and ISIL has been born and is a bigger threat to Capitalist hopes than before.

As I said and history has shown, peace in the region cannot be forced by western arms so just suppose we pulled right out and indeed did nothing. Middle Eastern nations are awash with wealth and stocked to the skies with armaments, supplied by us of course. Leave them all to get on with it and maybe, just maybe, the two wings of Islam might cease their squabbling and co-operate against the common threat of ISIL and with the excuse of Western infidels removed it would focus their minds. We may have to cut down a little on oil imports which is no bad thing but the Arab need and greed for cash would ensure it kept flowing. In addition by removing ourselves as a perceived threat to the region and also to Islam we would vastly lower or remove the risk of terrorist attacks in our own cities. We would of course, be morally bound not to supply arms to any other nation and perhaps there is the rub. Arms sales equals deaths equals Capitalist profits.

Very Strange

A huge row has erupted today over a YouTube video that appears to show four US Marines urinating on the bodies of several dead Afghanis or Taliban. An investigation has been instigated and threats of prosecutions and even imprisonment if this video is genuine and leads to the identification of those involved.

Now, any decent person would find this act utterly appalling and disgusting but that said it is hardly surprising and in some respects understandable. In order to fight effectively soldiers must be trained and encouraged to ‘de-humanise’ their enemy, to think of them as less than animals, so with such a mindset pissing on their dead bodies wouldn’t seem, to the soldiers, as the abhorrent act that it would and does to us.

What is strange though to my mind is, that it is ordered, approved and applauded for the military to riddle the enemy with bullets, to throw grenades at him and blow his body into little pieces or to drop bombs on a village killing or maiming the innocent as well as the enemy and ultimately to drop a nuclear device over a city and kill millions.

Let’s stop the killing first and then there’ll be no bodies to urinate on.

BP Get it in Perspective

Cameron has jumped on the Obama band wagon and critises BP over the oil leak off the US coast. That’s easy to do and yet another Prime Minister sucks up to the US instead of sticking up for Britain.

Let’s put it in some sort of perspective. Yes, it is a monumental environmental disaster, that is undeniable. Did BP want it to happen, of course they didn’t. Did they act promptly with more than one measure to cap off the leak? Certainly, it was amazing how quickly they manufactured the ‘cone’ and now this other device to trap a good part of the oil. At the same time they are drilling two new bores to take away the pressure to enable the fractured pipe to be sealed off and all at several miles below sea level. They are funding and organising a massive installation of booms to prevent as much as possible of the oil from washing ashore and that which gets through is being collected. Given the speed of events and the unique situation they should be applauded.

I’m certainly no supporter of greedy multi nationals but credit must surely be given when it’s due. As long as the world cries out for more oil when supplies are diminishing then oil extraction will become more risky and dangerous. We must reduce our dependency or live with consequences.

Japan! The Evil Lives On

What do you think of about Japan? Amazing electronic gadgets, Toyota cars, Geisha girls, the Bullet Train, incredible gardens? Perhaps if you read history or are old enough to recall WW2 you will shudder at the thought of the immense cruelty of the Imperial Japanese army to those that it captured or conquered.

This cruel mindset, it seems, lives on in it’s criminal justice system. Executions by hanging still take place and it is literally minutes or at best only hours before it is carried out, are the condemned informed. Before this they are kept in a cell little bigger than a toilet for many years where they are forced to sit and not allowed to even exercise in this cell. Two times a week, three in summer, they are taken outside to exercise. Prevented from communicating with other prisoners it is little wonder that many of them become insane before execution. Even those who were insane at the time of the crime are executed.

Japan’s conviction rate exceeds 99% so it is obvious that many innocent people are found guilty and killed by the State. Confessions are known to be extracted from suspects by the police using what could be classed as torture.

Japan may have been defeated in the war but it was rebuilt by the United States, another nation that still in many States kills people to show that killing people is wrong.

Ref:   Amnesty International BBC

Water-boarding & More-

Former US Vice-President Dick Cheney has urged the CIA to release memos which, he says, show harsh interrogation techniques such as water-boarding work.

If these memos do indeed show that ‘harsh techniques’ which anyone else would call torture, work then it must surely follow in Dick Cheney’s mind that the US should go further. How about pulling out finger nails with pliers or maybe the rack would be a good idea?

It just goes to show how low the Bush administration had sunk, an administration that the UK government supported through thick and thin. President Obama is like a breath of fresh air so let’s hope that he has the strength never to be sucked in by those in America who still believe that ‘might is right’ and that human rights and decency are only for them.

Can’t They See?

Gordon Brown, trotting along behind the latest US President, will today make yet another warning to Iran about it’s nuclear programme and threatening even more sanctions if it goes ahead with suspected nuclear weapon manufacture.

Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty which means that it agrees not to produce weapons and is subject to inspection and ALSO that the nuclear powers promise not to use nuclear weapons against them AND to progressively reduce their weapon stocks eventually to zero.

Pakistan and India, South Africa too probably, defy this arrangement with no comment from the West. Israel however, never signed the agreement and is reckoned to hold between 75 Р200 nuclear warheads and is therefore exempt from inspection. No sanctions on Israel with any suggestion in the UN being  blocked by the US.

Can’t the West see just how unfair and unjust they are being and make appropriate changes to their policies?

What Does It All Mean?

Any comments welcomed. The only answer that springs to my mind is ‘disaster’ but I can’t get my head around why.

Opportunity to be Lost?

The Government is doing all that it can to re-finance the banks in order to get them lending more and to help this along the Bank of England is steadily lowering interest rates which are heading towards zero. Other governments around the world are taking similar actions and Obama expected to announce a massive cash injection into the US economy.

In order for the banks to lend, someone must borrow which is pretty self evident. People and business borrow in order buy something, again pretty self evident. The more people buy and the more that they borrow in order to buy more then the faster industry works and the economy, national and global, expands . Again, it is self evident that this cannot go on indefinitely. Economic growth must hit the buffers sometime. OK I know this is Marxist theory but it is also commonsense. The global economy has hit the buffers and the political engineers are now doing all that they can to move the buffers further down the track, build up a credit based head of steam once more in order to hurtle down the same track heading for the same result at an indeterminate date in the future.

The housing market is used by many as a yardstick for the health of the economy but it’s the same story here. House prices cannot increase above inflation ad infinitum but while they do rise to dizzying heights their buyers are saddling themselves with huge debt, meaning that they have to work longer and harder and often put off having children just so they can pay the mortgage. Is this the life that we want for ourselves and for our children, if we manage to have some? Some mortgages are already crossing over to the next generation.

We have an opportunity with the current crisis to pause and take stock of what is best for our health, mental, physical and spiritual. Houses are losing their value and easing to a more sane level but have a way to go yet. Good! If government could but grasp the nettle and decree a return to mortgages being granted on the basis of 2.5 times the annual earnings of the highest earner in a partnership, life would be far more pleasant for those making the purchase. State investment in social housing would keep the building industry active and aid recovery too.

The fat cats would squeal in anguish of course but I don’t think I would lose any sleep.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Barack Obama has been inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America, quite an historical moment for a mixed race politician to be elected by the people to this high office. Immense coverage by the media was given all over the world and rightly so as the US has huge military and economic influence and power that has some effect on all of us. The hand over of power from Bush to Obama was dignified and yet somewhat low key and as such was an example of democracy at it’s best.

Obama’s speech was, as could be expected, moving in parts and looked back to America’s past struggles on the road to democracy and equality as well as looking forward to dealing with the massive problems besetting the US and the International Community. (if indeed there is such a thing)

Wouldn’t it be nice though if ‘God’ could have been kept out of? References to a supernatural power guiding and supporting any nation or President makes me squirm.

Wouldn’t it be nice also, if we in the UK had the democratic ability to elect a Head of State of our choosing? Not for us (yet) true freedom and democracy but a head of state appointed from one family purely on the basis of birth.

Palestinian Crisis 2008 into 2009

The attack by Israel on Gaza escalates with more air attacks and now the beginnings of a ground invasion of troops. There are now approaching 400 deaths of people in Gaza including many women & children in response to four Israelis regrettably killed. If 400 Israelis had been killed there would be massive outrage and action taken by World Governments, are the lives of Palestinians worth so much less? I try to repress the notion that this death and destruction may be a part of an election campaign to be held in Israel in six weeks time.

Demonstrations all over the Globe are making no difference and there are the inevitable calls for a UN Security Council Resolution calling for Israeli restraint. Even if a resolution was passed without the US veto, what difference would this make.

Israel, ….has been the subject of 138 resolutions. Not surprisingly, most of those resolutions call upon Israel to comply with basic principles of international law embodied by the UN Charter. Many of them condemn actions taken by Israel and call upon Israel on more than one occasion to comply with previous resolutions that Israel ignored and continues to ignore to this day.” (From Media Monitors)

In addition Israel has illegal nuclear weopons in defiance of International Law.

This country, Israel, considers itself above the Law and believes, I suspect, that the Holocaust sixty years ago absolves it from any condemnation of any action it may take. Well not any more, that was all several generations ago and Israel will be judged on its deeds. The US should find some courage, resist the Jewish vote and threaten to cease or reduce its financial support unless Israel returns to the original UN recognised borders and co-operates with it’s neighbours, including Palestine.



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