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‘Best of the Web’

This article first appeared in the News Letter on Friday November 12…

Screenshot from Burke's Corner

By Geoff McGimpsey

This week came the declaration from George Bush that water-boarding was a good thing. As ever, George put his policy forward in the style of cowboy anti-hero Alan Ladd. So when asked at his book launch if water-boarding was okay, he drawled: “Damn right.”

In George’s world view, the sheriff gets the girl and the bad guys have it coming to ‘em. I think there’s something deeply romantic about that (if you’re prepared to set aside simulated drowning and other advanced torture techniques). But naturally, those soppy romantics at A Tangled Web were coo-ing over George’s gritty honesty.

According to David Vance: “We don’t live in utopia and until we all do then I believe George W is right.” Damn right!

BBC Radio Ulster’s ‘Sunday Sequence’ has invited David on to debate the content of Dubya’s Alan Ladd impression. But ahead of that appearance (on Remembrance Sunday), I would urge David to consider this blogpost from Ultonia:

“This August Belfast saw its last Victory over Japan Day parade by 14 veterans, some who paraded with the help of family members. Allied troops who fought in that Far East campaign were subjected to the waterboarding torture by Japanese soldiers…. Perhaps those who wear a poppy but advocate torture should reflect on that contradiction.”

I’ll wager William Crawley will make precisely this point on Sunday.

But wait… newsflash! More just in from A Tangled Web:

“It’s the political event EVERYONE is talking about.”

Wow. What is it?

“It’s the TUV Annual Conference.”

Ah. Okay.

Also this week, David Cameron was in China to tell the locals how to run their country. The PM’s just bound to be taken seriously, right?

Uber-blog Slugger O’Toole reckoned so. Brian Walker blogged that if Cameron “… isn’t careful he’ll be shaping up as something of a statesman if he carries on like this. Obama, take note.”

Burke’s Corner disagreed. Change will come in China, but not through megaphone diplomacy. He blogged that the PM had “failed to demonstrate… humility and patience”. However, Chekov at Three Thousand Versts felt the balance was just right, saying: “Cameron is able to claim that he upheld and promoted the values of Britain’s government, without proselytising or hectoring.”

So what about the quality of our own democracy?

East Belfast Diary thinks a shared future will only occur when the tectonics of local politics are changed. Jenny Muir said there needs to be “a real choice between parties that base their ideology on territoriality and those that prioritise economic and social issues.”

Hand of History agreed, reflecting that democracy here is designed to recognise “institutional sectarian head counts”. The blogger went on to predict that: “The boogeyman for Unionism this time is a Sinn Fein First Minister, which the DUP will capitalise upon”. Let me guess – only the DUP can stop a republican First Minister? That’s as inevitable as death and taxes, I’d say.

Elsewhere Rodney McCune’s blog has produced the sentence which, for me, should be read by unemployed executives everywhere. Here Rodney shows us how to pitch for work both as a professional and as a political representative: “Political representation, like my work as a barrister, is not just about making an argument, it is about getting results, and getting results often after long hours and through hard work.” Hear, hear!

And finally, Remembrance Sunday is this weekend. It’s a time for a nation to reflect – as one facebook user did this week:

“In memory of my great-grandmother’s brother, Private David Henry Beattie 201844, 1st/4th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. Killed in action 10th April 1917, France and Flanders.”

Indeed. Lest we forget…

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3 Responses

  1. David Vance says:

    And so, the response;

    1. Yes, the Japanese were cruel and vicious and we needed to drop atomic bombs on their cities to end this. Does Amnesty believe that was appropriate?
    2. The Japanese fought in uniform, as an army/navy/airforce. Al Queda are NOT an army but an organised Jihad.
    3. Waterboarding saved life. In the case of KSM, it was the LEAST that should have been done. Remember Daniel Pearl? Does Amnesty?
    4. Consider the mugger scenario. You don’t believe in mugging and would never mug anyone. Then, you meet a mugger, armed with a knife. It doesn’t MATTER what you think, the situation has been reframed by the mugger. Do you give him what you want or do you fight back?
    There is no utopia but AI are undoubtedly morally bankrupt.

  2. Truth Finder says:

    1. You obviously don’t read history as recent research has shown that the Japanese were willing to surrender on the one condition which we gave them after the war. The role of the Emperor to be secure, the dropping of the Atomic bombs was a sign of strength from the USA. They didn’t want the Russians in Japan like they were in Europe.

    2. Al-Qaeda are an army and operate as such the methods used against the IRA here are methods we should be using and expanding, a Jihad is Holy War they organise this not that they are a Jihad that is what they are doing against the “Western” world.

    3. Where is the evidence of this? Its fine to say it but where is the evidence to show that waterboarding actually saves lifes?? We should adhere to our principles otherwise what are we defending. As the MI6 chief recently said, torture does not produce the results.

    4. You give him want he wants, if you challenge him you risk more as you are unarmed. Being mugged for money and challenging this for the risk of your life isn’t worth it. Fight back where it is possible not in every scenario, something which the USA might be worth picking up on.

  3. Roy Reilly-Robertson says:

    What is really concerning here with the notions that David Vance espouses is the entire lack of credibility they have within the Intelligence and service community who deal with suspected terrorists.
    Or as George Bush who have them ‘tourists’.
    Waterboarding has been explicitly singled out by the Int people as being entirely useless as it only gives the answers the questioner is looking for, not the right answers at all.
    What is most concerning is the intelligence that our own Security people were entirely surprised at the Bush claims that waterboarding saved lives in the UK – they could at least have been told about it in advance but really it is just another bizarre claim from a President that history will will judge much more harshly as time allows more and more to be known about his decision making capability.
    David Vance is not a stupid man but he must beware allowing his posturing to take the place of reasoned thought process as that is a stupid mistake for an intelligent man to make.
    Where the truth conflicts with the convenient sound-bite print the sound-bite would seem to be the rule here.
    Pit, when matters of importance get lost as a result.

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