Posts Tagged Saddam Hussein



One might have thought that the West might have learned its lesson by now, but no. Even after the disastrous attempt to saddle a couple of cows in Iraq and Afghanistan – for that, read “install a democratic government in a country that neither desires no cares for such a system unless it happens to benefit a gangster political elite” – they are still at it. Read the rest of this entry »

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When a molehill is turned into a mountain…

When a molehill is turned into a mountain...

Well, it appears that there is no let-up in the press assault against Bernie Ecclestone following his interviewer where perhaps foolishly failed to condemn the likes of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein in a manner acceptable to certain parties.

It’s all rather ridiculous really – rather than read the comments for what they are, the career moaners are finding various ways of keeping this one running – even though the fuel ran out of the tank long ago. In an article in today’s Times, Libby Purves writes:

“Cue general outrage at this blithe explanation of Hitler’s role in the Holocaust, accompanied by lesser outrage at the idea of Saddam as a strong, wise ruler rather than a murderous, hostage-taking, neighbour-invading chemical-weapon freak. Whatever you think of our Iraq war — I was against it – the idea of Saddam as a model leader is as breathtaking as casting Hitler as a patsy, too easily led…”

(Libby Purves, “Preening populism has put us off democracy”, The Times, 6 July 2009)

First, I don’t think Ecclestone’s comments were in any way “blithe”. If anything, they were well-considered. Further, at no point did Ecclestone suggest that Saddam was a “wise ruler”; he simply stated the clear-as-day fact that his leadership was best for that country. Just a bit of a difference there. One can argue that the point doesn’t really need to be made, for any moron can see that Iraq circa 1990 was a far better place than the shambles it is today. But oh, no – you surely cannot say that… For you would be defending a dictator.

The truth is the truth is the truth. Everything else is political bluster and propaganda – including terms like “murderous, hostage-taking, neighbour-invading chemical-weapon freak”. You have to wonder where these journalists get their lines from. And no, I am not talking about the lines these meedja types can be seen shoving up their snouts.

As for Hitler being a “patsy”, Ecclestone didn’t say that either. He merely suggested that he – for one reason or another – fell away from the path of responsible leadership. Now this may come as something of a revelation for some, but as I said on Saturday Adolf Hitler was far from being a “hands-on” leader. He was remote, aloof, and up to his neck in his own obsessions, which ranged from dog-walking and architecture through the evening viewings of King Kong and paint-drying monologues. The mundane act of government bored him rigid, and while he pored over scale models of Berlin the real work was being undertaken by the likes of Goebbels, Bormann and Himmler. You just need to read Hitler’s own Table Talk or, better still, the excellent book by Frederic Spotts, Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics.

It’s a shame that Libby Purves has to make it a point show that she is singing from the same hymnsheet as the haters, for the rest of her article is pretty much on the mark – particularly when she lambasts the mainstream political elite for arguing which of their two parties are the most gay-friendly (as if anybody really cares) or Gordon Brown’s rather painful statement concerning the recently-departed Michael Jackson.

Of course, the mere mention of Hitler in any sense other than the comedic or pejorative brings vast numbers of people out in a rash, such as the Board of German Jews, who have called for a boycott of Formula 1. It’s all rather silly.

Talking of things silly, there is nothing sillier than than the current obsession we have with “Health and Safety” – for that, read treating the public like children or imbeciles. Or both. In an excellent article appropriately titled “Health and safety fears are making Britain a safe place for extremely stupid people”, London Mayor Boris Johnson rips into these nanny-state nincompoops with his usual rapier-like thrusts of wit.

Elf and Sayftee. Silly.

One bit in particular made me laugh:

“It was some years ago that my daughter and I first became aware of their achievements. We were exploring the magical cliff-top castle of Tintagel and we came across a sign on the edge of the cliff. It was expensively hand‑painted and about 1ft high. It said: “Edge of cliff”. As a statement of the plonkingly obvious, it could have been bettered only if there had been another sign with a vertical arrow saying “Sky”. We laughed so much we almost fell off.”

Funny in itself, but more so given the fact that when Caroline and I were in France recently – walking around the fortress town of Montreuil-sur-Mer – we noted the wonderfully unfenced cliff edge. Families with well-behaved children were happily walking around the area, and one could see no real reason for spoiling the view.

Maybe we should remove all of the silly signs from cliff faces and dangerous places; the results would no doubt aid what could be happily described as natural selection. And rather than wasting time and energy protecting stupid people, we should be encouraging them to do what they do best.

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Daily Mail Nazi Story of the Week… Or hack-job of the Week…

Daily Mail Nazi Story of the Week... Or hack-job of the Week...

The Daily Mail are at it again. Take a story, take some quotes, twist them all out of context and throw out a particularly lurid and attention-grabbing headline. They are simply beyond despicable. I am this time talking about their own curious take on the story concerning the interview of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone.

To really illustrate how disingenuous the hacks at the Daily Mail are, one should read their take on this story alongside the original interview, conducted with style and good grace by Alice Thompson and Rachel Sylvester of The Times.

Bernie Ecclestone. A Nazi? Don’t make me laugh.

As far as I am concerned, the comments offered by Ecclestone – covering a myriad of different topics – are something of a breath of fresh air. It is about time somebody pointed out that democracy is not all that it is cracked up to be, particularly with regard to countries where the concept is completely alien. Of course, the Mail distorts these comments in order to project Ecclestone as a dyed-in-the-wool enemy of democracy, when all he does is expose the most obvious failures. What sane person could not agree with the following, for example?

“Politicians are too worried about elections. We did a terrible thing when we supported the idea of getting rid of Saddam Hussein, he was the only one who could control that country. It was the same [with the Taleban]. We move into countries and we have no idea of the culture. The Americans probably thought Bosnia was a town in Miami. There are people starving in Africa and we sit back and do nothing, but we get involved in things we should leave alone.”

There is nothing objectionable here – unless you are one of those deluded politicians who happens to believe otherwise. In the six or so years since the invasion of Iraq, that country has been driven back into the stone age.

Iraq may have what is being touted as a democracy, but the reality of the situation is that the majority of the population are short of food and water, and Islamic fundamentalism – something that was firmly kept in check by Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship – is rife. Under Saddam children could go to school without tjeir bus being bombed, women didn’t have to wear restrictive clothing and could go to university and beyond, and the country was far more stable than the majority of its neighbours. Oh, and it kept the current bad boy Iran in check as well.

Now look at the place – crawling with fundamentalists, a bunch of crooks as leaders, and a population whose basic standard of living has plummeted. Oh, but they have a democracy, so all is good. Hip-hip hooray.

The fact is that democracy is not the fit-all, suit-all idea that many here in the West believe; while it is for the most part fine for us – well, for the most part – it is completely inappropriate in countries where the basic concepts of civic society required to maintain a democracy are nonexistent. That old adage involving saddles and cows comes to mind.

Countries are like human beings in macrocosm. They need to learn, to grow. They need to develop a sense of civic responsibility that will allow for the organic development of democracy. Countries are like children, and as much as you wouldn’t allow a young child too much freedom at too young an age, the same should apply to countries. Foisting a so-called democracy on Iraq is akin to giving a ten year old licence to do whatever he or she wants; the result – chaos. The same could be said of much of sub-Saharan Africa where colonial regimes were ushered out, leaving what could have been something good in the hands of leaders that were for the most part politically immature.

Bernie Ecclestone is perfectly fair in his criticism of the British political establishment, the benefit culture, the NHS and the Labour Party; he is also perfectly honest in his appraisal of Adolf Hitler, the one name that always seems to get the folks at Daily Mail towers all agitated. It is just unbelievable that you cannot mention Hitler’s name in any context without some politically correct or scandal-mongering clown getting into a massive flap over it. Ecclestone says:

“In the end he [Hitler] got lost so he wasn’t a very good dictator. Either he knew what was going on and insisted, or he just went along with it – either way he wasn’t a dictator.”

Far from being a silly statement, the above appears to suggest that Ecclestone actually knows his history and that, unlike the hacks at the Mail, he has actually read about the subject. It has been a debate among historians for decades over whether Hitler was the strong man of popular legend or a weak dictator whose whose success lay in having the right group of minions to do the job for him: I have for a long time believed that after Hitler rose to power he left things in the hands of the like likes of Bormann and Himmler. Hitler cared little for the everyday job of politics, preferring instead to get up late, tuck into some Sachertorte and take his dog for long afternoon walks in the mountains. Before regaling tired audiences with tedious after-dinner monologues.

In their bizarre and to be frank scurrilous attempt to take the “Hitler was good” angle and morph Bernie Ecclestone into some sort of racist crank, the Mail completely ignores the reference he makes to the Spanish F1 supporters who mocked Lewis Hamilton, or the fact that he took it upon himself to take the lead in condemning these imbeciles.

Bernie Ecclestone should sue the Mail for taking his comments out of context and give any money to charity. Meanwhile, those who have been quick to condemn should hang their heads in shame. This country is fast losing its grip on common sense, and needs more people like Ecclestone – and less bullshit from rags like the Daily Mail.

And talking about bullshit – the Springboks today were bloody awful. No further comments required.

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