Monday, April 30, 2007

The warped mind of Jawad Akbar

Five members of an Islamic terror gang who planned a bombing campaign in Britain have been handed out life sentences at the Old Bailey today. The views of the gang are chilling, and will make disturbing reading for those who still believe hard-line Islamic views can be accommodated in a society which respects equality of the sexes.

Some gang members favoured bombing the Ministry of Sound nightclub in south London. One of the plotters, Jawad Akbar, was heard to reason: "No one can ever turn around and say: 'Oh they were innocent, those slags dancing around. '"

Can't they, Mr Akbar? Perhaps it's the old contrarian in me, but I think I will 'turn around' and say that 'slags dancing around', as you put it, are not deserving of being blown to kingdom come. Anyone who agrees with Mr Akbar on this issue should, I respectfully suggest, take the next flight out of the country.

In praise of 'Bobby'

With the huge amount of dross that passes for entertainment these days, it's a delight to watch a well-made, intelligent new film. 'Bobby', written and directed by Emilio Estevez, tells the story of the last 24 hours in the life of the radical politician Robert F Kennedy, who lost his life to the assassin's bullet at the Ambassador's Hotel, L.A. in June 1968. The film focuses on the lives of assorted characters who were in the Ambassador's Hotel that fateful evening, with numerous clips of Kennedy himself. It's a masterly work, which captures perfectly the enthusiasm engendered by Kennedy's candidature. (Oh for a politician of his calibre in America today!). The film ends with Kennedy's speech on the blight of violence in American society, which he gave on the occasion of the death of Dr Martin Luther King, just a few weeks earlier. It's one of the greatest political speeches of all time and can be read in full here. Kennedy's words are thought-provoking at any time, but are particularly poignant in the light of last week's tragic events in Virginia.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Profits of War

Another day in Iraq, another bloodbath. But hey, don't be despondent. Halliburton has announced increased profits for the first quarter. Who said there was nothing good to come out of the Iraq war?

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Box of Delights

Never visited Brussels? You've got a real treat in store.
Here's my article on the many delights of the Belgian capital from this week's Spectator.

How would you like to celebrate your fortieth birthday?, my wife asked me one morning at breakfast. How about going to our favourite city in Europe, I replied. So we did. We bought two return tickets on Eurostar and went to Brussels.

What is it that makes the Belgian capital so irresistible?

Firstly, the people. Brussels, along with Belgrade and Sofia is in the Premier league of European Friendliness. It’s not just Bron Waugh’s legendary ticket inspectors who seem to have a masters degree from the University of Charm: service everywhere is courteous, strangers are unfailingly helpful, the locals approachable and kind.

Secondly, there’s the highly un-globalised look to most of the main streets and squares. Although Brussels is the base for the EU and NATO, it has somehow avoided the mind-numbing uniformity that locking one’s country into ’Euro-Atlantic structures’ usually entails. It has the lowest per capita number of McDonalds of any Western European capital city; Pizza Express, Pret a Manger, Starbucks and other ubiquitous British high street names are conspicuous by their absence. Arriving in Brussels from clone town UK plc never fails to lift the spirits: one is reminded just how boringly standardised one’s own country has become.

Thirdly, linked to two, there is the wonderful variety of bars and cafes.
Jazz bars, themed bars, Parisian style pavement cafes, smoky neighbourhood dens; bars that simply define bohemian. Among my favourites are L’Archiduc, a fabulous Art Deco establishment close to place St Gery, where live jazz can be heard every Saturday afternoon for free; Le Greenwich, just round the corner in Rue Des Chartreux, where you can watch the regulars play chess and backgammon until the early hours; the sublimely decadent Goupil Le Foul, with its sink-in sofas and dimmed red lights and walls covered with the memorabilia of legendary chansonierres and the simple but enchanting ‘bruin café’ Au Daringman in Rue De Flandre, where the ever-cheerful owner/proprietor Martine serves, five nights a week, from behind the bar.

What makes the night life in Brussels such a pleasure is not only the extensive range of beers (over 400), and the sensible smoking policy (smoking is still allowed in pubs and cafes which don't serve food), but that people live in the city centre and as a result you can still, especially in the Ste Catherine district, find bars filled with locals. ‘We live in a village’ our arts teacher friend in Au Daringman told us: the clientele that night included a ten year old boy with his parents, an incredibly sweet pensioner called Carmen who lived just across the road, a teacher of Russian called Veerle and her student friend Ine, a disc jockey- cum-market seller called Philip and a former film producer who used to be on the committee for deciding which Belgium film was nominated for the Best Foreign Film category at the Oscars. Compare that with the usual bunch you meet in your local Yates’ wine lodge.

Fourthly, again linked to point two: there is the incredible selection of specialist, individually owned shops. The cosy network of streets between La Bourse and Le Grand Place are a particular delight: choc-a-bloc with outlets selling second hand records, lace, chocolates, stamps, comic books, costume jewellery, waffles and much more beside.

Fifthly, there are Brussels’ museums. One of my favourite areas of the city is the Parc De Cinquintaire: walk through the gigantic triumphal arch commissioned by King Leopold to mark Belgium’s golden jubilee in 1880- and you will find not just one, but three of Europe’s most fascinating collections- the enormous Musees Royaux d’Art and Histoire (with its superb selection of tapestries) the Musee Royal De L’Armee et d’Histoire militaire (which traces the history of the Belgian Army from its independence in 1839 to the present day) and Autoworld, a collection of over one hundred automobiles housed in one vast aircraft-hangar style building. Don’t miss too the largest collection of musical instruments in the world in La Musee des Instruments de Musique, housed in the stunning Old England building (the view from the top floor is worth the admission fee alone).

The sixth wonder of Brussels is the food. Whether you’re snacking on pommes frites avec mayonnaise bought from a Turkish vendor outside La Bourse or going for the full works in rue Des Bouchers, quality- and good service- is guaranteed. For £10 you can eat as well in Brussels as you can for £100 in London, something which probably explains the hostility of Clement ’I never could see the point of Belgium’ Freud. You can’t go wrong anywhere in Brussels; but three of our favourite eateries are ‘Le Mouton D’Or’ on rue Des Bouchers, Plattesteen, a traditional café/restaurant near La Bourse which offers superb three course lunch-time menus for just 12 Euros; and the incomparable ’Fin De Siecle’ on rue Des Chatrueux (next door to Le Greenwich), with its long wooden tables, blackboard menu, enormous portions (the filets de volaille and lapin a la kriek come highly recommended) and an ironwork spiral staircase which is challenging when sober and potentially lethal after your fifth glass of Leffe Brune.

Last but not least, there is the architecture. The Grand Platz is rightly regarded by as the most beautiful square in Europe, but if its Gothic magnificence is not enough, the city also has a marvellous collection of art nouveau buildings. One of the best is architect Victor Horta’s own house and studio at rue Americaine, now fully open to the public as a museum.

In short, Brussels is a treasure trove, which even after several visits still throws up new delights. Now, thanks to the wonders of modern engineering you can be there in less than two and half hours by train from London for less than the return fare to Manchester. What on earth are you waiting for?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Culture of Violence

What do you get if you allow your television and film screens to be bombared with violence, make it easy for people to obtain guns and run an economic system which encourages competition but not solidarity? The answer is this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Faster, Cheaper, Greener, Sexier... and state-owned

Why are some people still reluctant to concede that publicly-owned railways work better than privately-owned ones? This letter of mine appears in this week's edition of The Spectator.

Dear Sir,

In his eulogy to the wonderful French railway system, Neil Collins "French trains: faster, cheaper, greener, sexier", Spectator 7th April 2007, fails to mention one important difference between French railways and their British counterparts: SNCF is owned by the French government, whereas British train companies are owned by private shareholders. For an awful long time we have been brainwashed by free market fundamentalists into believing that anything owned by the state is always going to be more inefficient than anything privately owned: the continued success of France's railways and the expensive post-privatisation chaos which exists in Britain and which is experenced by millions of commuters on a daily basis, proves that it simply isn't true.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Clark,

Monday, April 16, 2007

So, you want to live in a democracy?

This piece of mine appeared in Saturday's Morning Star.

After an absence of thirty years, America’s finest detective finally returned to British television screens last summer. The decision of the BBC to re-screen several episodes of the classic 1970s whodunit series Ellery Queen, with Jim Hutton as the deceptively absent minded sleuth was a cause for unmitigated celebration.

Ellery Queen was a great programme not just on account of its ingenious plots and fine acting, or for its glorious recreation of late 1940s New York, but for the revolutionary way the audience was kept fully involved in proceedings. Ten minutes from the end of each episode, Hutton would turn to the camera and ask us, the viewers, if we had worked out "whodunnit". More often than not we hadn’t. Ellery Queen mysteries were always hard to solve, even if all the clues had been up there on the screen before our very eyes, but the point was that we were consulted.

Unlike much of television today, Ellery Queen was a programme which didn't treat us like idiots, but as reasoned, intelligent human beings.

How different to our political masters in the so called "democratic world".

Rather than consulting us, the people, and acting in our interests as ought to happen in a democracy, our politicians treat us with contempt and pander only to the interests of global capital. One opinion poll after another shows majority public support for the renationalisation of the railways, yet neither of our two main political parties went into the last election promising any change in the status quo. A clear majority also want to see British troops withdrawn from Iraq, yet again, both of our leading parties continue to support the occupation. The reintroduction of a new top rate of income tax, caps on executive pay and the end to the creeping privatisation of the NHS are other popular policies which Britain's political elite won't even countenance. There are many others.

The type of democracy which the political elite in Britain, the US and Brussels favour is not the dictionary definition of 'rule of the people', but a much more restricted form which can only be described as 'Henry Ford democracy'. The famous American automobile manufacturer said his customers could have any colour car they liked so long as it was black: Henry Ford democrats tell us we can elect any government we like, so long as it's neo-liberal and supports the New World Order.

Woe betide the people if they vote for parties Fordian democrats deem to be "off limits". For having the temerity to elect Hamas, Palestinians were punished with suspension of aid. Fordian democracy was again illustrated in the peevish US and EU reaction to January's elections in Serbia. Despite European and US exhortations, the Serbs voted "the wrong way" by making the anti-Nato, EU-sceptic Radicals the largest party in the new parliament. Straight away, Serbs were told that 'the international community' would not accept a government in which the country's most popular party played a role. Just how democratic is that?

Instead of allowing the disciples of Henry Ford to set the agenda, the left ought to be going on the offensive. Socialists have nothing to fear about the move to a more direct, consultative democracy: it's the sham Fordian democrats who should be worried. The first step in building a genuine democracy, as opposed to the current mutation, is root and branch economic reform, a process which Hugo Chavez is currently undertaking in Venezuela. Whoever holds economic power holds political power, so an extension of public ownership and measures to redistribute wealth are essential prerequisites.

Neo-liberalism is inconsistent with democracy as it leads to political power being transferred from the ballot box to the wallet, which is why Henry Ford democrats insist on countries running "market economies". Only when an unelected chairman of a multinational company has no greater influence in the political process than you or I, can we even begin to label our country "democratic".

Of course, democratising Britain doesn't mean that we, the people, will always get decisions right in the same way that we don't always work out who the murderer is in Ellery Queen. But the main thing is that in a country which calls itself a democracy, it's the majority and not a tiny unrepresentative, warmongering elite who should be making the calls.

Adolf Hitler was against democracy because he thought it would inevitably lead to socialism. He was right. It's time for some Ellery Queen politics.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Race Apart

Just under four hours to go before the greatest sporting event of the year. Here's my piece from The Guardian a couple of years back on what makes The Grand National so special. Come on Longshanks! And Simon! And Point Barrow!- and the other half a dozen horses I've already backed! Good luck with your selections too.
Win, lose or draw, let's hope all the runners and their jockeys get back safely.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Silence of the Hawks

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

The International Red Cross warned this week that the humanitarian crisis in Iraq is getting even worse. At the same, time a major academic study by the Oxford Research Group concludes that the illegal US/UK invasion has "spawned new terror" in the region. In the light of the latest damning evidence of the consequences of the invasion, what has been the reaction of the lap-top bombadiers who five years ago so energetically propagandised for war? I've been trawling the web to find out.

Melanie Phillips, the "moralist" who condemns teenage youths for smashing up bus shelters but not coalition forces for smashing up Iraq, makes no mention of either report on her website this week.

Ditto William Shawcross and Nick Cohen, self-appointed scourge of the anti-war left.

David Aaronovitch has kept his silence too (perhaps he's in training for another London marathon), as has Andrew Roberts, the "talented historian" who argued that we could equate sanctions-devastated Iraq (including its non-existent air force and its Dad's Army) with Nazi Germany at its peak.

Harry's Place, favourite watering hole of "pro-liberation left" prefers to discuss road rage, school history syllabuses and union-made hoodies.

Daniel Finkelstein of The Times has discovered an interest in mediums.

Stephen Pollard informs us that he's been reading Norman Lebrecht's Maestros and Madness: The Secret Life and Shameful Death of the Classical Record Industry. The Daily Telegraph's 'Neo' Con Coughlin, who regaled us with tales of Saddam's deadly armoury, has turned his attention to Russian bear-baiting.

Across the pond, Andrew Sullivan opines about shopping bags, while David 'Axis of Evil' Frum tells us about his grandfather.

Mark Steyn, who once accused anti-war demonstrators of having blood on their hands, focuses on the trial of his old mentor, Conrad Black.

Down Under, Tim Blair, who in 2004 ridiculed claims that the future in Iraq was "frightening", shares his thoughts on Alaskan sea otters.

From all these people, not a single word about either the International Red Cross or the Oxford Research Group reports. How very different it was four years ago! On the day that Saddam's statue toppled in Baghdad, the neo-cons couldn't wait to brag about the "success" of the war they had so enthusiastically supported. This was William Shawcross, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

"April 9 - Liberation Day! What a wonderful, magnificent, emotional occasion - one that will live in legend like the fall of the Bastille, V-E Day or the fall of the Berlin Wall. Watching the tearing down of Saddam Hussein's towering statue in Baghdad was a true Ozymandias moment. All those smart Europeans who ridiculed George Bush and denigrated his idea that there was actually a better future for the Iraqi people - they will now have to think again."

Really, William? Since the illegal invasion, an estimated 600,000 people have lost their lives in Iraq. Twice as many people have died in Iraq in the last four years as were killed in the previous 23 years under Saddam. The only people who need to "think again" are not those "smart Europeans" who opposed the war, but those far from "smart" people who faithfully parroted - for whatever reasons - the official US/UK propaganda.

Forget mediums, shopping bags and union-made hoodies: it's apologies that we really want.

It's time to deport Berezovsky

Any other asylum seeker who plots for the violent overthrow of his country's democratically elected government- and brags about it to a national newspaper- could reasonably expect to be deported. But not it seems if you're a billionaire business partner of George Bush's brother.,,2056321,00.html

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A great American socialist

Sad news. Kurt Vonnegut, socialist, smoker and wonderful novelist has died at the age of 84.

As way of a tribute to the great man, I've posted below an extract from his 2004 essay Cold Turkey (the whole piece can be found here on the Common Dreams website. And, at the time of his passing, let's not forget some other memorable Vonnegut words of wisdom: "When you're dead, you're dead. Make love when you can. It's good for you."

Doesn’t anything socialistic make you want to throw up? Like great public schools or health insurance for all?
How about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes?
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. …
And so on.
Not exactly planks in a Republican platform. Not exactly Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney stuff.
For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

'Liberation Day'- Four Years On

It's four years since the toppling of Saddam's statue in Baghdad brought whoops of delight from the little band of neo-conservative warmongers whose machinations had done so much to bring the Iraq war about. William Shawcross, writing in the Wall Street Journal ,was ecstatic.

April 9th--Liberation Day! What a wonderful, magnificent, emotional occasion--one that will live in legend like the fall of the Bastille, V-E Day or the fall of the Berlin Wall. Watching the tearing down of Saddam Hussein's towering statue in Baghdad was a true Ozymandias moment.

Shawcross couldn't resist a barb at those beastly anti-war spoilsports who had opposed the illegal invasion: "All those smart Europeans who ridiculed George Bush and denigrated his idea that there was actually a better future for the Iraqi people--they will now have to think again."

Really, William? Since the day that Saddam's statue was toppled, an estimated 600,000 people have lost their lives in Iraq. The only people who need to "think again" are not those "smart Europeans" who opposed the war, but those far from "smart" people who faithfully parroted- for whatever reasons- the official US/UK propaganda.

Bully for You

Thought the only victims of bullying at school were children? Think again.
Here's my piece on the culture of bullying which exists in Britain, from the Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Day in Iraq

While Oliver Kamm was penning his diatribe against bloggers, let's not forget what was happening in the bloody conflict he and his fellow neo-cons couldn't wait to start four years ago.

Oliver Kamm carries on digging

Watching someone carry on digging when they are already in a deep hole is usually an unpleasant experience. But when the person in question is as odious- and malevolent- an individual as Oliver Kamm, it's an altogether different story. Regular readers will need no reminding of how Kamm set out- with extraordinary vindictiveness- to smear me after my critical review of his book on neo-conservatism was published in the Daily Telegraph in December 2005. (A resume of this very tawdry affair can be found here). Throughout our dispute, which resulted in my having to take legal action for the first time in my life, Kamm attempted to portray himself as the heroic defender of free speech, defending the rights of bloggers against a litigious journalist. Kamm's position was in fact a charade: as I revealed in February, the man who wrote:
“I consider it wrong in principle and self-defeating for a writer to threaten legal action against a blogger, and cannot imagine realistic circumstances in which I would do so”, had already made a legal threat of his own against a blogger, and made further threats of legal action to a website called Israpundit earlier this year.
Today in The Guardian, the blogger whose belief in free speech is so absolute that he does not allow comments on his own blog, and whose speciality has been engaging in abusive and poisonous vendettas with people who have the temerity to disagree with him, savages fellow bloggers for.. wait for it...... indulging in abuse and poisoning the political debate!!

It's good to see that Kamm's elitist, anti-democratic and breathtakingly hypocritical diatribe has been met with the contempt it deserves. Here's a great riposte by Tim Worstall, the comments in the Guardian after Kamm's post are excellent too).

I used to think the way to counter Kamm was to respond vigorously to his attacks. Now I know the best approach is to sit back and enjoy watching a despised and discredited man dig himself into an even deeper hole.

Monday, April 02, 2007

When British military action was legal and just

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands. Here's my piece from today's The Australian on why the British action to liberate the islands was, unlike subsequent military interventions, both legal and just.

Back then, British military action was legal and just.
Twenty-five years after the Falklands War, it's important to remember why Margaret Thatcher's government was right to stand up to Argentinian aggression

April 02, 2007
"We were defending ... principles of fundamental importance to the whole world: above all, that aggressors should never succeed and that international law should prevail over the use of force."
- British prime minister Margaret Thatcher

IT'S not often you'll find an unreconstructed leftie such as me quoting with approval the words of Margaret Thatcher, but as we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War, there is a very good reason for doing so.
The Iron Lady may have been wrong about many things, but she was right to stand up to the aggression of Argentina's fascist dictator Leopoldo Galtieri and send a taskforce to regain the Falkland Islands in 1982.

Let's remind ourselves of the facts. The conflict was triggered by the occupation of the small British dependency of South Georgia, about 1400 km south of the Falklands, on March 19, 1982, by a 50-strong group of Argentinian scrap metal merchants, who proceeded to raise their country's flag. This deliberately provocative and illegal act was the prelude to a full-scale Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands on April 2.
The 78 Royal Marines already based on the islands put up a valiant defence, but the islands' governor, Rex Hunt, had little option but to surrender to an overwhelmingly superior force.

The news of the islands' capture caused shock waves in London. In a heated emergency debate in the House of Commons, the government was blamed, quite rightly, for not taking the threats of invasion seriously enough, and for its pre-invasion appeasement of Argentina.
Back in 1980, foreign office minister Nicholas Ridley, doing his best Neville Chamberlain impression, had tried unsuccessfully to get parliament to agree to lease the islands to Argentina. The announcement in 1981 that the ice patrol ship Endurance was to be removed from the South Atlantic on grounds of economy also appeared to demonstrate the government's lack of interest in the islands' future.
But although the Thatcher government must take the blame for the humiliating loss of the Falklands, its response to Argentina's invasion was commendably decisive. By April 5, a formidable taskforce had been assembled, which entered Falklands waters 17 days later.

All the time negotiations for a peaceful settlement continued, but Argentina's rejection of UN resolution 502, which stipulated that the occupiers withdraw all their forces before negotiations could begin, meant that military conflict was inevitable.

In truth, withdrawal was never an option for Galtieri, for whom seizure of the "Malvinas" was a desperate attempt to divert domestic attention from a deepening economic crisis, with inflation in Argentina running at 130 per cent per annum. In two months of fierce fighting, 907 people (including 255 British servicemen and women) lost their lives. But to great rejoicing, on June 14 the Union Jack was once again flying over Port Stanley.

Although it enjoyed overwhelming public support in Britain, Thatcher's campaign to reclaim the Falklands did have its critics. The islands rightfully belonged to Argentina, they argued (the line taken by Jeane Kirkpatrick, the US ambassador to the UN, who attended a reception at the Argentinian embassy a few hours after the invasion) and the British action was imperialistic.
They were wrong on both counts. The first British landing on the islands took place in 1690 and British settlers have occupied the Falklands continuously since 1833. At no point has Buenos Aires held legal title to the islands.
As for the "imperialistic" jibe, it was Argentina that, by illegally invading the islands, was acting as the imperial power, as Peter Shore, the Labour Opposition's foreign affairs spokesman, forcefully argued in 1982.

There was also the issue of self-determination: the vast majority of the Falkland Islands' 1800 inhabitants wanted to remain British and had no desire to live under an Argentinian military dictatorship whose opponents routinely "disappeared".

I supported the war to liberate the Falklands and continue to defend it for the same reasons that I opposed the wars against Yugoslavia in 1999 and Iraq in 2003. As Thatcher said, aggressors should never succeed and international law should always prevail. In 1982, Argentina was the aggressor. In 1999 and in 2003, it was Britain (and its allies). No one can support the Falklands War on the grounds of upholding international law and respecting national sovereignty, yet at the same time support the illegal attacks on Yugoslavia and Iraq. And, conversely, no one who opposed the wars against Yugoslavia and Iraq on the grounds of upholding international law and respecting sovereignty can logically oppose the campaign to regain the Falklands.

The Falklands War was not only legal and just, it also had positive consequences for the people of Argentina. The defeat of the invaders hastened the fall of Galtieri and his brutal military junta and paved the way for the return of democracy and the rule of law. And there's one more important point worth considering. Because Argentina had been the aggressor and Britain was acting in self-defence, the British public was overwhelmingly supportive of the military action.
Contrast this with the war against Iraq. Tony Blair never had the same level of public backing as Thatcher, because in 2003 it was the coalition who fired the first shots, not the Iraqis.

Britain occupied not just the legal but the moral high ground in 1982. Sadly, the same thing can not be said of its later military campaigns.

Neil Clark teaches International Relations at Oxford Tutorial College in England.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

An April Fool

And the winner of this year's April Fool competition is....... Niall Ferguson.
In today's Sunday Telegraph, history's answer to Steve McClaren, argues that Britain's foreign policy is... wait for it... too nice!!!
According to Fergie, it's Britain's niceness that's to blame for this week's Iranian hostage stand-off. It's a 'niceness' that Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis of course know all about. If only Britain's foreign policy was nastier, bemoans Ferguson, then tin-pot countries like Iran wouldn't dare to take our soldiers captive. I wonder how that nastiness could be achieved? Instead of illegal invasions of sovereign states every three or four years, how about doing it once a year? Instead of raining down depleted uranium on civilian populations, how about using mustard gas instead? Instead of making threats to Iran on an almost daily basis, how about nuking Tehran, each and every Friday?
Would that be nasty enough for Mr Ferguson?