Friday, August 10, 2007

Keep these Quislings out

This piece of mine appears on the Guardian's Comment is Free website.

I love the Yiddish word chutzpah. I first came across it while working at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Budapest in the mid-1990s. My favourite chutzpah joke - and there are some very funny ones - concerns a man who goes to a lawyer and asks for advice.
Man: How much do you charge for legal advice?
Lawyer: A thousand dollars for three questions.
Man: Wow! Isn't that kind of expensive?
Lawyer: Yes, it is. What's your third question?/blockquote>

But, audacious as the lawyer in the joke was, some people are doing all they can to outdo him in the chutzpah stakes. A group of pro-war bloggers is playing a prominent role in a campaign to grant asylum to Iraqis who have been working as translators for the British forces in Iraq. Not all who back the campaign were in favour of the war, but some of its most strident supporters are.
Harry's Place, the favourite watering hole of the pro-war "left", urges its readers to write to their MPs over the issue. "If government policy has not changed by the time parliament returns from the summer recess, we will need to think about a face-to-face lobbying effort," the site warns.
Other pro-war bloggers are backing the campaign, too, including the arch-hawk Stephen Pollard, who once labelled opponents of the Iraq war as "mindless, deluded or malevolent". And yesterday, the Harry's Place contributor Adam Lebor, via an opinion piece in The Times, offered "advice" to Gordon Brown, exhorting him to overrule the bureaucratic "desk murderers" who would deny the Iraqis rights of entry.

It seems the Iraqis in question live in real fear of their lives in their newly "liberated" country. Surely, this can't be right. Weren't we told five years ago by the same pro-war bloggers that the Iraqi people were simply baying for a US/UK invasion, and that the "liberators" would be greeted with bouquets of flowers and cucumber sandwiches? Now the cakewalk brigade is telling us those who collaborate with - oops, sorry, work for - the liberators may not actually be the most popular guys and gals in town.
The whole thing would be comical if it weren't so tragic. But the chutzpah of those now exhorting people to write to their MPs to grant asylum to Iraqis who have been put in danger by the very interventionist policies they still enthusiastically support is truly astounding.
The most nauseating aspect of the campaign is the way we are repeatedly told that the Iraqi interpreters worked for "us".
Who exactly is meant by "us"? In common with millions of other Britons, I did not want the Iraq war, an illegal invasion of a sovereign state engineered and egged on by a tiny minority of fanatical neoconservatives whose first loyalty was not to Britain but to the cause of Pax Americana. NHS doctors and nurses, firemen and the police force work for "us", but in no stretch of the imagination do Iraqi interpreters, who are employed by British forces that have no right or cause to be in Iraq.
Analogies with the 44 Gurkha veterans who fought for Britain in the Falklands war and who are yet to receive citizenship rights are absurd. In that conflict, Britain was responding to an illegal act of aggression by Argentina; those who took part in the war cannot be said to have participated in a criminal enterprise. But in Iraq, it was Britain that was the aggressor, and all those who aided the occupation are
complicit in what the Nuremburg judgment laid down as "the supreme international crime": the launching of an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign state.
The interpreters did not work for "us", the British people, but for themselves - they are paid around £16 a day, an excellent wage in Iraq - and for an illegal occupying force. Let's not cast them as heroes. The true heroes in Iraq are those who have resisted the invasion of their country.
As Seumas Milne wrote in yesterday's Guardian: "More than any other single factor, it has been the war of attrition waged by Iraq's armed resistance that has successfully challenged the world's most powerful army and driven the demand for withdrawal to the top of the political agenda in Washington."
If more Iraqis had followed the example of the interpreters and collaborated with British and American forces, it is likely that the cities of Iran and Syria would now be lying in rubble.
Before you rush to condemn Iraqis who feel ill disposed towards the interpreters, ask yourself a simple question: how would you view fellow Britons who worked for the forces of a foreign occupier, if Britain were ever invaded? History tells us that down through history, Quislings have - surprise, surprise - not been well received, and the Iraqi people's animosity towards those who collaborated with US and British forces is only to be expected.
Those who cheered on a brutal, murderous assault on a third-world country that was always going to result in mass loss of life would now like us to believe they are concerned over the fate of 91 people. But what I suspect worries the pro-war brigade most is not the future of the interpreters but that future military "interventions" may be jeopardised unless Britain promises citizenship rights to locals who collaborate.
"Let's not overlook a practical military issue here: who will ever work for the British army in a war zone if they know that later they will be tossed aside like a spent cartridge?" asks Adam Lebor.
There is a simple answer to that "practical military issue": let's do all we can to keep the British army out of war zones. And in the meantime, let's do all we can to keep self-centred mercenaries who betrayed their fellow countrymen and women for financial gain out of Britain.
If that means some of them may lose their lives, then the responsibility lies with those who planned and supported this wicked, deceitful and catastrophic war, and not those of us who tried all we could to stop it.



UPDATE: It seems those so keen to spread freedom of speech and freedom of expression around the globe are not so keen on it at home.

57 comments:

Tim Footman said...

Looks like the Guardian can't cope with the invective you've provoked. Personally, I find your point of view pretty revolting, Neil, but I can't help finding a certain level of grudging respect for you having the guts to express it. Y'know, Voltaire and all that.

Neil Clark said...

thanks tim.

The hysterical reaction of many of the commenters to the piece and the calls for me to be silenced/taken to court/ hang, drawn and quartered/sent to Hell/ barred from the Guardian shows me that those who pontificate about spreading freedom and democracy really don't want to have a proper free-ranging debate. We style ourselves a democracy in Britain but the parameters of debate are extremely narrow.

pleased to see you're a fan of kind hearts and coronets, best british film of all time!

Jimmy the Dhimmi said...

"Before you rush to condemn Iraqis who feel ill disposed towards the interpreters, ask yourself a simple question: how would you view fellow Britons who worked for the forces of a foreign occupier, if Britain were ever invaded?"

Lets say you were a German in the 1940s and you were invaded and occupied by the yanks. If it were me, boy I would sign up! I would be glad because I hate fascism and prefer self rule, which the Americans provided to the Germans then, and the Iraqis now.

Did it ever occur to you that poor, brown skinned people might actually be smart enough to support the idea of democracy and human rights, and believe that defending their democratically elected parliamentary government from the fascist, terrorist religious right of Islam might be a positive thing for the future of their society?

btw, I agree with Tim. I find your honesty quite refreshing.

Cassilis said...

The entire article Neil is built apon yet another rehash of the arguments over the war and your (perfectly justifiable) opposition to that is blinding you to facts and basic compassion.

Those interpreters were employed by our armed forces - paid, however indirectly, by money from your pocket. It's therefore a FACT to say that they we're employed by 'us' and whatever semantic games we indulge in doesn't change that - they were in our employ, end of story.

Now you might think they shouldn't have been, we shouldn't have been there, they knew the risks - any manner of prefectly reasonable counter arguments that may stand up in the abstract in a newspaper article but have precisely zero relevance to a unique and personal employment choice some Iraqis made over the last few years.

One of the charges often levelled at the right is their fondness for pragmatism and their readiness to bypass compassion for geopolitical reasons. But that's exactly what you're doing here - you're taking a perfectly honourable position (opposition to the war) and sullying it by association with an extreme piece of grandstanding that I personally doubt you even believe.

These are human beings Neil who risked their lives in the service of what they thought was right - even if you believe them to have been monumentally wrong on that call, basic compassion demands we look after them.

Anonymous said...

I read your artical on the CIF and...

Probably the sickest article I've seen in ages and I saw quiet few sick-once posted on the CIF. Your support of the Iraqi "resistance" (read murderers genocidal maniacs/terrorists) is nauseating. The hate of people who helped US and Britain to fight against those genocidal maniacs is mind-blowing.

john said...

Neil, please don't think I am either hysterical or, worse, pro the Iraq war - this would only take away from the severity of my condemnation.

Having read your article on the Comment is Free website I can only conclude that you are nasty, self-important revolting creature - more interested in promoting your own noteriety, and therefore fame, than in producing a coherent and consistent point of view.

This is more reprehinsible when you express such disgusting views. Your behaviour is that of an animal, though as a human you deserve treatment you deny those you write of.

CommanderKeen said...

If I were being charitable I would assume you've been under a lot of stress and had cracked slightly. To be honest CiF should never have published this without criticising it and sending it back to you to reconsider. I think you've been stitched up as nobody in their right mind would have written that piece as it stands.

king david said...

A very courageous piece Neil. Sorry I wasn't around earlier as I would have written in to comment is free in your support.

Anonymous said...

You say - "The hysterical reaction of many of the commenters to the piece and the calls for me to be silenced... shows me that those who pontificate about spreading freedom and democracy really don't want to have a proper free-ranging debate. We style ourselves a democracy in Britain but the parameters of debate are extremely narrow."

Thats BS.
Your definition of 'hysteria' appears to be "anyone who strongly disagrees with me."
You have your debate. And the debate is 99% against what you wrote.

Neil Clark said...

thanks king david. it seems others are so courageous they call themselves 'anonymous'!

DLLR said...

"A very courageous piece Neil."

Define courage?

I think those who require who risk their lives to provide translation between peoples in a warzone display courage. Someone who writes disgusting BNP-like rants against asylum seekers on CiF? Not as brave.

George Day said...

I think your piece was disgusting and I'm happy to put my name to such a comment.

George Day.

BoB said...

You gotta watch out for Anonymous Neil: They are legion.

My disgust is difficult to put into words, but I will try. Not in the hope of actually getting you to see reason or realize the horror within yourself, but just to plant a seed that, with time, may lead to some limited enlightment.

To quote a woman wiser than I:
"You grew up in freedom, and you can spit on freedom, because you don't know what it is not to have freedom."
The brave Iraqis that choose to work with the Coalition soldiers in order to better their country and free their people deserve as much praise we we can heap on them. Instead, you laud the murders, the rapists, people who actually kill babies, people who cook children and force their parents to eat them - THESE are your allies! These are your heroes! You spit on those who would defeat such monsters, in favor of the monsters themselves.

You should know there is a difference between not being allowed to say something, and the thing you say having consequence. Also, there is a difference between the gov't telling you what you can and cannot say, and those around you reacting to your twisted views. To me, your words are worse than any racist, worse than any bigot, worse than any other who thrives on hate, and demonstrate the true nature of your character, all the way down to your very core. If I was your employer, I'd certainly fire you - I wouldn't want someone like you breathing my air. God forbid! While whatever disease afflicts your mind and poisons your spirit is probably not contagious, I would consider it a fantastic folly to take that chance. I mention this to explain the irony.

The irony of course is that it is incredibly likely you will suffer no consequence at all, because of the kinds of people you now insult. You see, you live in a free society, and this society was kept free by people willing to work toward freedom no matter the cost. Even if that cost was their lives. You though, you work at a paper that tacitly supports your views, you surround yourself with like minded individuals and it is doubtful anyone around you disagrees with you, even if they tend to avoid your particular brand of honesty. You can express any view you like, with no cost at all. So, it is hard for me to call your article "brave".

Bravery, true bravery, would be you, going to Iraq, and spending quality time with your murderous brethren to discover the true nature of their heroism. That would be quite brave indeed. Many would applaud your effort, and your courage, if not your return.

So good luck with that! Good luck celebrating the murders, the rapists, the butchers, those who hate and want to kill you, those who hate freedom, who deplore democracy, and wish only that them and everyone around them live under a totalitarian regime. It worked for Che Guevara, maybe you can start a fashion trend! "I honor-killed a woman and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" ... I'm sure it'll be all the rage around your office.

Anonymous said...

Hello Neil.

I have to say that I am glad you wrote this piece: we now know what you stand for.

Congratulations on being the second person (after GG) to slip fully into Nick Cohen's caricature of the Left.

Albert said...

Clark you are pathetic, I posted "anonymous" because I do not want to be associated with a deranged hater like you but if you think it is somehow cowardice then have it - Name - Albert, USA, Washington DC.
My post "I read your article on the CIF and...

Probably the sickest article I've seen in ages and I saw quiet few sick-once posted on the CIF. Your support of the Iraqi "resistance" (read murderers genocidal maniacs/terrorists) is nauseating. The hate of people who helped US and Britain to fight against those genocidal maniacs is mind-blowing."

Sar said...

I don't really understand the reaction on CiF. Aren't (or, weren't, at one time) western Europeans all gung-ho about celebrating (in retrospect, anyway) La Resistance, French-occupation style? Is the violation of a nation's sovereignty only truly heinous when it's white-on-white, European-on-European? In other words, is it only peachy creamy to resist occupiers when, etc. etc. Mine mind, it has been boggled. Considerably. Boggled.

Alex Fisher said...

Evil is not a word I use lightly. It is overused and I try very, very hard not to use it whenever I can.

I am going to break a rule here.

The view you express is evil.

Let's be pretty clear. You are implying that the murder of these innocent interpreters would be a good thing, or at least not something to be regretted. They have helped our country's troops but have acted impartially, simply translating as they were requested to.

I shall certainly e-mail the Guardian about this in the hope that they will either stop your extremist babblings appearing on their site in the future, or admit that they will accept anything on their site and invite a broad cross-section of opinion on.

Perhaps Osama bin Laden, Nick Griffin and a representative of the Burmese dictatorship could join you? I struggle to think which of you I would brand the most extremist...

It used to be that those on the Left advocated human rights, first and foremost the right to life. That's plainly not the case any more, is it Neil?

Martin said...

Neil,

Good piece.

I agree with it absolutely.

Best,

MK

Anonymous said...

Neil, if i see you walking down the street I am going to smash your teeth in.

Trace this by all means, I have nothing to lose. You on the otherhand have your teeth to lose.
Wanker.

the talking crocodile said...

Neil; a great, great piece. The reaction of the pro-war commenters is undertandable, but those who consider themselves anti-war and are taking part in the interpreters campaign are just useful idiots. Is 'Dan Hardie' for real? He is INCREDIBLY pompous as well as very, very stupid.
best regards.

Neil Clark said...

Alex:
"You are implying that the murder of these innocent interpreters would be a good thing, or at least not something to be regretted."

No, read the piece again. I wrote that the fact that many Iraqis may feel ill-disposed towards those who collaborated with occupying forces is to be expected.

As for the 'extremist' jibe, I think that epithet applies more accurately to your Conservative Party, which supported the illegal, brutal invasion of Iraq and even today does not rule out a pre-emptive military strike on Iran. But of course, arguing that we should use nuclear weapons on Iran is not extremist, is it?
You are a member of an extremist organisation Alex and you are in no position to accuse others of extremism.


sar: "Is the violation of a nation's sovereignty only truly heinous when it's white-on-white, European-on-European?" sadly, it seems that in many commenters eyes, it is.

king d, martin and talking c, thanks for your support.

Anonymous said...

Will you please explain why CiF have shut down comments?????
It says that it shuts down after 3 days, but it hasn't been three days.
Don't like people disagreeing, is it???
I am beginning to wonder if we are living in a National Socialist country, with people like you acting like Goebbels. And to shut down the free ability to comment - well that is a real disgrace.
You should be ashamed of your article, and ashamed you shut down the comment at "comment is free" - oh, sorry - it should be "comment is forbidden because too many people disagree with me".
Which forces me to be anonymous, in case you send the thought police (your best buddies, it seems) around.

Neil Clark said...

anonymous says: Will you please explain why CiF have shut down comments?????

the decision to shut down comments is not made by the the writer of the piece. some very offensive and libellous comments were coming in which were in clear breach of the site's guidelines. you can post your thoughts here to your hearts content, so long as your posts aren't (a) libellous, or (b) gratuitiously abusive).

The Exile said...

Hello Neil,

I see that the webmongs are out in force over at CIF. I am very pleased to see that comments here are not all face saving rants along the lines of "We lost the war, but we have to do something to show how decent we are".

OK, I have tried to summarise your views along with mine. Might it not be an idea to try and get other blogs involved? Who knows? We might find out that we represent the majority of public opinion in the UK.

Wouldn't that be nice?

Dave Hansell said...

Neil you really need to get down to the chemists for a tube of gorm because you are seriously lacking in it.

This has to be the most gormless piece of nonsense I've ever come ac cross.

I don't give a toss if those wassocks over at Harry's place are supporting this or not. The fact is that these people are human beings. Their families are human beings. They were trying to survive in a situation not of their choosing.

I happen to think they made bad choices - but unlike you and certain others I don't believe they deserve to die under torture for those choices. Just as I don't believe the people who have died in Iraq since this illegal piece of hypocritical and evil imperialism of an invasion deserve to die.

I'm reminded of an incident related to me by a very old comrade who used to be on the Executive of the Old CP years ago who was once helping to organise an anti-apathied rally/march.

Everyone was mustered up waiting to set off - all huddled together in their little cliques/gangs - the SWP; the Militant Tendency; the Spartacus League etc. etc. etc. trying to be holier then thou against each other and this well dressed guy turns up and makes two announcements: He wants to join the march because he thinks aparthied is evil but he's a member of the Conservative Party (this was the 1980's).

Mayhem ensues. No fucking way say the puritan simpletons. At which point my old comrade loses his rag with these self-styled guardians of humanitarianism and tells them to start thinking like human beings instead of gang members because instead of welcoming a potential convert they were more interested in showing each other how they were going to be the one's that stood at the front of the barricade against this guy.

And that's what you need to do. Think like a human being. Because what you've done with this piece, either by accident or design, represents an argument against everything the left stands for.

If this was a Black ops. it has been a spectacular success because what you've written is more than an an embarrassment. What you have written drives a dagger at the heart of what real people of the left represent.

If you truly think you are of the left rather then a mouthpiece of black propaganda which seriously damages those like me who YOU have the temerity to claim to speak for then YOU, Neil owe people like me and many others on the left a public apology for this piece of crass, inhumane, drivel.

Yours fraternally

Dave Hansell
30 Ralph Ellis Drive
Stocksbridge
Sheffield
S36 1EW

Tel: 0114 288 4987
email: chash@btinternet.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Neil,

The Guardian closed comments off from your piece after three hours! I am sure it would have got the most comments ever. All the typical Little Green Fascist pro-war hate sites were linking to it.

Anyway - for the record - I agree with what you're saying.

British and US forces in Iraq are morally equivalent to Nazis and Iraqis who collaborate with them should not expect to be dealt with kindly by the Iraqi resistance when they overthrow the puppet Iraqi government, burn the green zone and hang Maliki and his crew from lampposts (happy day!)

However, I disagree with your conclusion. Of all the countries that can be moralistic about the Iraqi quislings, Britain and American are not included. We do have a moral obligation to protect those Iraqis who collaborated with us from harm. Of course we also had a moral obligation not to start aggressive wars and kill a million people, so it's unlikely we'll help these people anyway.

In fact, I'd draw the opposite conclusion to you: everyone in the US and UK who supported the war should be supporting the millions of Iraq refugees their crime has created. Perhaps they could pay a special tax, or have their houses given to an Iraqi refugee family. In fact, we could settle millions of Iraqi refugees in upmarket Labour strongholds and the Republican States. That should show the warmongers how much Iraqis love democracy and how they'll become Americans if only they're given the chance...

-frizzled

Cassilis said...

I just want to thank Dave Hansell for his comments - I'm not sure if Neil will publish this because he's already failed to publish a previous comment from me a few hours ago, presumably because I asked him some direct & simple questions.

It's clear from this thread and the reaction over at CiF that Neil has simply got this wrong.

blowback said...

Any of you who think that we should take in these "quislings" because they fear for their lives, then surely you should also accept that we should take in all the refugees who have fled Iraq already in fear of their lives and the internally displaced who continue to live in fear for their lives as well until they can return to their country. Having not worked for the British occoupation forces they are surely more innocent than the "quislings".

Personally,even though I have always been opposed to this war, I think we have a duty, along with the USA, to take in all the refugees and internally displaced people from Iraq- we broke it, so we fix it.

BTW, there is a house in Connaught Square which should be expropriated to provide accomodation for Iraqi refugees.

cutting the crap said...

"It's clear from this thread and the reaction over at CiF that Neil has simply got this wrong."

Is it? So you think that about 200 people who are glued to their computers constitute public opinion. Go down your local pub and ask people there if they think that the interpreters should be allowed in Britain. I think you'd be surprised at the reaction.

Molotov said...

Neil: I am very shocked by the venomous response your piece has drawn from many people.
the essence of your piece was:
1. the Iraq war was illegal and a crime (I think most people except the most deranged neo-cons accept that now).
2. Iraqis have a right, like the inhabitants of any invaded country, to resist the invader.
3. We shouldn't be too surprised that those who collaborate with the invaders are not looked on too kindly by their fellow countrymen and women.
4. (and this is a point I think most people missed)
pro-war interventionists are worried that not giving collaborators citizen rights might jeopardised future 'interventions' in the future.

For that reason alone we should oppose the entry of Iraqis who collaborated into Britain.

Have you thought of getting a letter writing campaign to MPs going?

Arabella said...

Who were most of those posters on your CiF article? I go on there pretty regularly and didn't recognise many of those names today. New people signed up as one or more username just to feign rage?

Whatever the case, there was a distinct flood of crocodile tears being shed over there - or the phrase I like to use: "mock shock".

The vile Harry's Place have no right to ever open their fat ugly mouths ever again after all the mass murder they have supported. And I'm wondering how 'anti-war' Pickled Politics et al really are? Do the people behind these blogs come on the marches or speak at meetings? I certainly don't recognise any of their names.

Arabella said...

Good post Anon/frizzled - I agree 100%

MES said...

Clive James used to talk about how the academics of his time supported the Soviet Union in spite of its brutality and suppression of liberal values. I never believed it could be so, until I read your terrible piece.

inayat said...

Neil, I posted this on Cif but they have shut down the comments section presumably because of all the abuse that was being posted.

Anyway, I agreed with some of the points you were making about the warmongers, but disagreed with your conclusion about the translators.

I think we owe a great debt to all the Iraqis now for the devastation that has occurred to their country following our unlawful invasion.

All Iraqis, not just the translators, should be given the right to come and live in the US or UK or Australia or any other country that participated in the invasion.

That might give the warmongers (inc Harry's Place) something to think about when they try and sell us another illegal war.

If I were an Iraqi and saw the anarchy around me and the murderous behaviour of the US army and the sectarianism threatening the lives of my family members and kids then I really think I would want to try and get out of there.

Anonymous said...

Well done for speaking out, Neil: A million dead, and these people have the cheek to call *you* sick.

John Hockey said...

Hi Neil,

Reading the amazing vitriol on CiF I conclude the reason your article proked such bile is that it revealed the illogic of many on the "soft-left".

Yes, they say, the war was wrong, illegal and immoral. We hate the war already!!! We hate the war!!!

And yet...and yet....on another level they buy the neo-con line that "we" are now the good guys striving to fix the mess and also accept on some level that those resisting occupation in Iraq are nilhistically bad.

We, the west, are the occupiers. Most Iraqis don't want us there and despise those who collaborate with the western powers. And yes, if we were invaded by foreign powers I'm sure collaborators would be viewed with the same oppobrium as collaborators in Iraq.

Dr. Ferris said...

You haven't said anything that George Galloway hasn't gone on about for years.

I'd never dream of wanting to silence you. In fact, I've put your article up on my Totalitarian Favorites list, and have sent it to friends. Although it was frightfully easy to find Leftists championing Iraq's Ba'athist regime in 1991 (when they invaded Kuwait) and 1997 (when the Left's attempts to get the UN sanctions on Iraq lifted went into overdrive), It's been virtually impossible to find Leftists who will even admit to being associated with the Iraqi "resistance", especially after some particularly nasty random massacre of Iraqi civilians by them, and despite these terrorist factions being replete with Russian- and Chinese-made weapons. The last time I heard the sort of talk here in the US that so many people are finding so offensive in your essay, it was coming from Michael Moore (when he was describing people who bomb mosques and open-air markets, decapitate aid workers, and snipe at funerals as "Minutemen").

I cannot say as I agree with your views, of course. But I do find quite refreshing your inclination to be honest about the Left's true sentiments on the matter. Please, by all means carry on.

Alex Fisher said...

I have read your piece again and as I can see it:

- you appreciate that some Iraqis will not react well to the interpreters returning home
- you oppose moves to grant them asylum in Britain.

As it follows, then....
- you intend for them to return to their homes in Iraq
- you understand that they are in danger
- you believe we have no responsibility towards them and should leave them to that danger.

Can I ask you a straight question? Would you rather that the interpreters came to Britain and stayed safe or returned home and were killed? It's your answer to that which will say a lot about you...

Gordon Bennett said...

Starting your article with jokes about highly paid Jewish lawyers, and stating your credentials as having worked for a Jewish organisation to preclude any accusation of antisemitism was a nice touch. But it wasn't enough to prevent me seeing you as a nasty piece of fascist rubbish dressed as a leftie - there's a lot of them about these days.

Anonymous said...

Loved the article Neil. It's a shame that I couldn't get on CIF before they closed it down as you'd definitely get my support. It might have been worthwhile mentioning why is that the biggest Iraqi cheerleaders for the war: Alawi, Chalabi and al-Roubie et al. never bothered to return their families to Iraq instead kept them in their opulent residences in Surrey. If anything, it is these Iraqi's that should be booted out of Britain and forced to return to the 'new' Iraq that their lies helped create. Keep up the good work.....

From
Ahmed

Neil Clark said...

thanks john, inayat and ahmed and all others who have posted since I've last replied
gordon: who said anything about the lawyer in the joke being Jewish?
if you're looking for the fascist left, you're in the wrong place: try here:
http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/
You'll find it's a real nest-bed. Thye're terribly fond of illegally invading sovereign states like old Adolf was, and they're terribly tolerant of people who hold different opinions.

Lopakhin said...

' cutting the crap said...

"It's clear from this thread and the reaction over at CiF that Neil has simply got this wrong."

Is it? So you think that about 200 people who are glued to their computers constitute public opinion. Go down your local pub and ask people there if they think that the interpreters should be allowed in Britain. I think you'd be surprised at the reaction.'


Indeed so, C.T.C. In fact, I just went to my local pub, and asked them whether we should be letting any asylum seekers in at all, and lots of them said 'no mate, this country's full', so I guess that's proof positive that your position must be right, and that the BNP's immigration policy is also correct.

JohnB said...

If Harry's Place think the article was one of the worst ever then it's safe to say that you are doing something right - they are a barmy bunch of blood-stained imperialism-cheering freaks with some of the most twisted 'logic' I've ever come across. As for being on the left - as if!

Wear their disapproval like the badge of honour that it is Neil!

Rachel said...

'And I'm wondering how 'anti-war' Pickled Politics et al really are? Do the people behind these blogs come on the marches or speak at meetings? I certainly don't recognise any of their names.'


As was said on CiF, 3 out of 30 of the blogs supported the war. I am one of the bloggers supporting the 'we can't turn them away' dan . If we have to wheel out our antiwar creds, I went on 6 marches and spoke at 1 meeting. I've got photos somewhere to prove it.

Neil, I feel sick reading your article. And it's a bit much to say 'those who pontificate about spreading freedom and democracy really don't want to have a proper free-ranging debate' when your piece had to be closed after 3 hours because of the appalled reaction of readers.

Most of whom identified themselves as left, and against the war. Most of whom made elequent and sensible arguments to explain why they were so angry.

Neil Clark said...

well said John Ba
Rachel: I've had a look at your blog 'rachel from north london' and find it interesting to see that among your list of 'ace blogs' you have the arch neo-con writer Daniel Finkelstein, who has written

"There is a much stronger case for military strikes against nuclear installations. Naturally, the Iranians would be enraged and there would be massive international condemnation."
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/daniel_finkelstein/article1415186.ece

You've got others up there too, who I would hardly describe as anti-war. Can you explain why an anti-war writer, as you claim to be, links to pro-war blogs and describes them as 'ace'?

The Exile said...

Hello, Neal, I see that the webmongs are up early over in England. Well you seem to be enjoying yourself, mate, but I wouldn't have the patience.

"Ace blogs" Jesus fucking Christ on a set of rusty nails - do people really write twee shit like that? How about "fab" and "baz"?

The webcounter at my place is bouncing like a whore's mattress. Over at CiF a bloke named Daniel Davies seems to have been put up to answer your piece - but he is not having it all his own way. Maybe the right spastics are all here providing you with free entertainment?

Listen, I'm off to my pit, so I'll leave you to laugh alone.

Peter said...

What I find repellant about your article is not just the cruel and inhuman attitude - but the complete lack of any nuance or appreciation that people may have many motives in deciding to work with the British.

Breaking down the language barriers is one of the most important ways to resolve conflict. And that is a huge part of the job of these interpreters.
If they had had family members tortured or killed under the Baath regime, and hoped for the best following the invasion, that would be another motive.

I don't think you are in prison for refusing to pay your taxes Neil, so you are as much of a collaborator as any Iraqi employee. What moral highground do you have to denounce them as collaborators and say they deserve what they get?

Neil Clark said...

Thanks for writing in Peter.
You make a very good point about taxes, and that's why I think the next step should be to work towards hypothecated taxes. Let those who want illegal wars pay for them themselves. If that happened, wars would end tomorrow. Campaigning for a 'war tax' to be levied on those who supported the Iraq war is the most progressive thing we can do. If you read my latest post you will see that I think there is a better solution to the Iraqi refugee problem, than the one I put forward on Friday. Yes, let's let those whose lives are in danger in, but let's make sure those responsible for the Iraq war pay the price. So far those who brought this terrible war on have been able to escape all its consequences. Until the cost of the war is brought home to them, nothing will change.

Neil Clark said...

I see looking at your blog Peter, you have links to some pretty notorious pro-war sites like Harry's Place and Oliver Kamm.
Did you support the Iraq war and do you support military action against Iran? And if so, don't you think illegally attacking sovereign state is 'cruel and inhuman'. Almost 1m people have lsot their lives in Iraq Peter.

nlvyyp said...

I see looking at your blog Peter, you have links to some pretty notorious pro-war sites like Harry's Place and Oliver Kamm.

Neil, that was a tired argument on Friday and it's a dead one now. People from right across the spectrum of views on the war have regarded your article and the attitudes behind it with unconditional loathing, so pretending that it's all part of some vast neo-con conspiracy to discredit you is just childish.

But that's always been your modus operandi, hasn't it Neil? Smear the messenger and ignore the message, regardless of the weight of evidence behind it.

Neil Clark said...

nlvyyp: not at all, if you look at my latest post, you will see that acknowledge that not all the people who disagreed with the peice can be accurately labelled pro-war fascist.
I do however think it's perfectly relevant to point out that a commenter who accuses me of being 'cruel and inhuman' has links on his blog to such pro-war sites as Harry's Place and Oliver Kamm.

nlvyyp said...

I do however think it's perfectly relevant to point out that a commenter who accuses me of being 'cruel and inhuman' has links on his blog to such pro-war sites as Harry's Place and Oliver Kamm.

Two obvious points, but probably worth making:

1. Linking to sites does not imply agreement with their content. If this was the case, then you are clearly Stephen Pollard's biggest fan.

2. In the past 48 hours, a great many people have accused you of far worse things than has Peter, and you certainly can't tar them all with the same guilt-by-association brush. In fact, I find it hard to recall a CiF thread that came so close to unanimity across the board.

Neil Clark said...

Peter's site has harry's place and oliver kamm in its links section. You are confusing this with bloggers linking to articles by other writers. If Stephen Pollard ever puts me up on his blog roll I think it would certainly tarnish his pro-war, neo-con credentials, don't you?

nlvyyp said...

This does not in any way counter my first point. Linking to a blog, even in a blogroll, does not equate to approval.

In any case, Neil, haven't you learned by now that you'll get taken far more seriously if you tackle the actual arguments instead of trying to smear people who disagree with you as "neocons" (a term that you seem to apply to such a wide range of people that it's pretty meaningless to begin with)? What the events of the past 48 hours have established beyond any possible doubt is that a very significant number of people who passionately disagree with you are actually coming from your own neck of the political woods.

So why not actually look at what they're saying and tackle their arguments on their own merits, if they have any? Why did you totally ignore the first two-thirds of Peter's post, which was making a very relevant and valid point, in favour of a cheap, tired jibe about his (alleged) political views? Are you really that shallow and simplistic?

Neil Clark said...

nlv:
I have already acknowledged that not all who disagree with my post are pro-war neo-cons. I have also read every single email that's been sent to me, and I think I have addressed the concerns many people had with the article, with the post I made yesterday. In that post, I put forward what I think is a better solution to the problem of Iraqi asylum seekers/refugees than the one I put forward on Friday.

John said...

Neil, I'm glad you've pulled Rachel up on that - I see she hasn't yet answered how she considers an extremist pro-war journalist to be author of an 'ace blog'. She in fact has a lot of blog friends who hold some very questionable, borderline racist attitudes.

Rachel - you claim that you have spoken at 1 anti-war meeting, which one would that be? I know you've spoken at the launch of Taking Liberties but have you actually participated in any anti-war activity other than going on a few marches? You must surely know that your voice would carry a lot of weight in light of what happened to you. Do you know that the number of Iraqis killed has now passed the 1 million mark?

In fact I have often wondered why Rachel and other victims of 7/7 have not taken a more active role in the anti-war movement considering what happened to them was a direct result of this country's warmongering. (apologies if I am wrong about this but I have been to many anti-war meetings and don't ever recall a 7/7 victim on any panel ever).

I feel that Tony Blair was let off the hook completely in the aftermath of 7/7 - the one and only act of defiance I remember was from an 11 year old boy who refused to attend the memorial service because Tony Blair would be there, and he directly blamed him for his father's death.

Apart from that I've heard little criticism of this country's immoral murderous wars from those affected by 7/7, although some have instead gone along with the ludicrous 'Islam is the problem' attitude.

Peter said...

Neil - I don't understand why my views on the war should be relevant. I opposed the invasion. Just because I link to pro-war sites, doesn't mean that I am pro-war. I link to a variety of blogs from across the political spectrum because I like the idea of dialogue, of getting ideas from a variety of sources.

Regardless of the merits of hypothecated taxation, you have paid your taxes (I assume) for the past four years. You paid the wages of Iraqi employees and British soldiers when you could have been in prison, costing the Treasury tens of thousands a year to counter-balance these costs.

So to accuse Iraqis of collaboration with the British and saying they deserve what they get, when you are an honest tax-paying British subject, is more than a little self-indulgent.