24 comments on “Oh come on Owen

  1. Oddly Pottery Barn doesn’t have such a policy.

    And the “breakages must be paid for” rule surely dates back to the dawn of retailing ?

  2. He seems to be making the same mistake as many: that Libya was peaceful before the west decided to kick out Gaddafi, which is bollocks. Militias were already fighting and the place sliding into civil war before the west intervened; had they not done so, the place would now resemble Syria where a civil war rages but no one side is strong enough to prevail.

  3. I think governments are always on a hiding to nothing with the lefties. You intervene, you’re a bunch of warmongering capitalists seizing oil. You don’t intervene, you’re inhumane and selfish people turning a blind eye to a humanitarian crisis. You do what was quite sensible in Libya – helping to topple Qadaffi and then getting the hell out and letting the power struggle go on and see where the dust settles, you’re irresponsible.

    I think it’s why Blair just said “fuck it, I’ll do what I like”.

  4. Elsewhere in the piece he writes and the bombing evolved into regime-change despite Russia’s protests.

    I like the notion of Russia being the arbiter of what constitutes acceptable behaviour in the realm of invasions.

  5. “Our media have been all too complicit in allowing them to leave the scene.”

    That’s funny, I seem to remember – AFTER the Iraq invasion – certain people grouping together in something they called the “Stop the War Coalition” and demanding that the U.S. and UK leave Iraq immediately. Owen might remember that better than me!

  6. So what is it Owen ism proposing? What is the future toward which we should be heading? What should we in the West do now?

    Well surprise, surprise, Owen is completely silent here. Becaise of course Owen wishes to be disgusted. Not disgusted with a particualr course of action, just disgusted. He wishes to be disgusted with us, as Bloke in Oxfordshire says, no matter what we do.

    So after:
    “Our media have been all too complicit in allowing them to leave the scene”
    we get:
    “In what has all the hallmarks of mission creep, a small number of US soldiers are being sent to Tripoli to begin training troops”

    The U.S. gets damned no matter what. Twat!

  7. Why did we attack Libya again? It was so the Arab Spring could flower into democracy, right? How’s that coming along?

  8. I think governments are always on a hiding to nothing with the lefties.

    Exactly. At one point US was criticised for completely ignoring Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe; for being friendly with the Saudis and Columbians; for applying economic sanctions against Cuba and Iran; and for invading Iraq – all at the same time!

    One wonders which course of action would be acceptable to Lefties, short of committing suicide.

  9. It’s the “parents of stroppy teenager” syndrome. Everything they do is wrong, even if that thing was what the teenager demanded the week before.

  10. Rob – I hope you’re not suggesting Owen Jones is a stroppy teenager. He’s all grown up now, and has a moped and everything.

  11. I have to admit though, the first time I was flipping channels and inadvertently caught a segment of Owen ranting on Question Time, I thought “Christ, when did Grange Hill become so political?”

  12. The timely question with Owen though is who is his ‘message’ supposed to appeal to? OK, the media bubble. That’s a given. Few of the more poiticised yoof at what are laughingly called universities. But they’re already enamored of the cause. For the proletariat on the estates he’s exactly the sort if little tosspot, giving a thorough hiding to is regarded as a laudable public service. Mugging material maybe, role model not.

  13. We should be involved in exactly none of the shitholes we are involved in and fuck leftists and “humanitarians” alike. The fate of these places is none of our business and we are just making matters worse anyway.

  14. The fate of these places is none of our business and we are just making matters worse anyway.

    The fate of Iraq, or more specifically, the ability of Saddam Hussein to threaten the Kuwaiti and Saudi oilfiields, was everybody’s business. I’d also argue that kicking the shit out of the Taliban post-9/11 was necessary as well. But as for the nation-building…yeah, I’m with you on that one.

  15. @Tim Newman re the oil, I wish we could be more honest about this.

    To all intents and purposes, it’s our oil anyway – without us they would have no idea it was there, apart from the odd pool bubbling up in the Empty Quarter, and no use for it, either.

    We get blamed for wars of conquest that aren’t – you might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

  16. You could argue that kicking taliban’s asrses was a requisite, but Saddam was not. He was nowehere near the threat they made him out to be, dodgy dossiers being beyond parody.

    Net result though was the incapacity to do either jobs properly.

  17. He was nowehere near the threat they made him out to be, dodgy dossiers being beyond parody.

    He wasn’t, but he was very much the threat they didn’t make him out to be. He was genuinely a threat to the Kuwaiti and Saudi oilfields on which they entire world is dependent (particularly the latter), but nobody wanted to say so because it would look like a war for oil. So they came up with some bullshit and everyone assumed it was a war for oil. Even now, most of the world assumed the Americans have helped themselves to Iraq’s oil, even though the only major American oil company there is ExxonMobil who landed a crap deal in partnership with the Chinese after a convoluted bidding round. Some conquest.

  18. Iraq in 1990 had invaded Kuwait and had very little between there and the Saudi oilfields to stop them. Desert Shield was widely seen as vital, and then Desert Storm and Desert Saber went in with local support and UN approval to get the Iraqis out of Kuwait – oh, and break lots of Saddam’s toys in the process, a welcome byproduct.

    Iraq in 2002-3 was no longer a serious threat, and it’s still not clear exactly what the drive to depose Hussein was actually motivated by…

  19. Iraq in 2002-3 was no longer a serious threat, and it’s still not clear exactly what the drive to depose Hussein was actually motivated by…

    Two things suggest you are wrong:

    1) The reluctance of the Kuwaitis to upgrade any of their oilfield infrastructure whilst Saddam Hussein was still in power. They had the most to lose, and when he was deposed they finally felt safe enough to spend billions on the belated upgrade works (which I took part in).

    2) The US army remained in Saudi Arabia despite being very unpopular (bin Laden stated it was his biggest gripe against the US) and causing considerable problems for the Saudi Royal family. When a Saddam Hussein was deposed, the US army relocated to Qatar.

  20. “He was nowehere near the threat they made him out to be, dodgy dossiers being beyond parody.”

    It’s a bit more complicated than that.

    Saddam’s plan was to maintain an ability to rebuild his capability while waiting out the sanctions, and in the meantime to give the impression of being a credible threat to keep his population cowed and the neighbours nervous. The game is to gain influence in the middle east and a degree of security by presenting a front of being a dangerous nutter, so that you can swagger around bullying smaller countries, do whatever you want, and nobody dares to do anything to stop you. The ideal for this purpose is to be a nuclear power. Chemical weapons are the poor man’s alternative. Saddam had been assured by his French, Russian, and Chinese backers that the US and UK would not be permitted to intervene militarily, and the sanctions would eventually become unsustainable and collapse on their own. This would also open the door for deals with a lot of other autocratic nations, as UN sanctions became discredited and perceived as ineffective.

    Saddam was no threat to the West at the time and a lesser threat to his neighbours, but within 5 years of the sanctions ending he would be.

    The purpose of the intervention was to maintain the credibility of UN sanctions and peacekeeping, to prevent Saddam building a nuclear capability that would render him untouchable after sanctions ended, and to prevent an arms race in the middle east with Saudi and Iran in particular going nuclear to reassert a balance of power. With things being so unstable there, even if the present government of some country having nuclear weapons was tolerable, you never know who might get into power next.

    Furthermore, it was actually legally required. The UN charter says that the UN has a responsibility to identify threats to international peace and security, to apply sanctions to resolve them if that is expected to prove effective, or to intervene militarily if sanctions are either expected or have proved to be ineffective. While you can argue about whether the UN should have done so, it did indeed so identify Saddam, and it set out conditions he had to meet to get taken off that list. Which of course Saddam didn’t bother to do, since he’d been promised the threats were empty by the French.

    The UK and US didn’t have the political capital to push it to a resolution, and the French, Germans, Russians and Chinese couldn’t overcome the US/UK veto to get the sanctions dropped. The situation was stalemated, while the Iraqi people suffered under economic sanctions everyone knew were cruel and ineffective.

    Then 9-11 happened. And suddenly a brief political window opened up during which the US in particular could do something. Of course, the friends of dictators did everything they could to stop it, and then to make things as uncomfortable as possible for the coalition, but by then it was too late. Saddam was gone, along with the Paris Club’s multi-billion dollar investment, the UN sanctions were, if not exactly rehabilitated at least not degraded to an open joke, dictators and nutballs were once again looking over their shoulders nervously, the other middle eastern countries continued to play America’s game, and the Iraqi people had a *chance* to start to build for themselves a free society of the sort we in the West take for granted, which as a libertarian I would regard as the best bit of the whole affair.

    What does not grow, dies – as they say about empires. The same goes for liberty. If liberty does not spread, it will shrink. If we will not fight for the liberty of other people, why should anyone fight for, or even care about, ours? Your neighbour lives in chains, but you’ll stand by and watch them dragged away so long as your own liberty is safe? But it isn’t. Because when they drag *you* away, everybody *else* will just watch.

    The enemies of freedom know this, which is why they will proceed an inch at a time. Saddam was no threat to us when we took him down. But why do you think it would be better to wait until he *was*?

    The world will be a cleaner place without them.

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