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Tuesday, 05 December 2006


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But, David, Chamberlain did not then turn to the Chief of the Joint Intelligence Committee and say "Come on, my lad, this is not the reoprt I want, you must rewrite it in the following way....". It's this latter behaviour which proves little Blair a crook.

"whilst I am by nature a 'thumb-in-the-eye-and-knee-in-the-groin' debater, inwardly I am cursed with doubt"

Come on David, that kind of talk hardly befits a putative CoTY, does it?

True, 'Dearieme', but the conduct of both was, perhaps, an example of the wish being father to the thought. In Chamberlain's case he wished very devoutly, and with good reason, to avoid another European war. In Blair's case, I think he *genuinely* believed the WMD were there and in what he saw as the peril of the situation he allowed his Liar-in-Chief, Campbell, to do his worst - than which ... etc, etc! One aspect of the Iraq situation is rarely mentioned and that is what the outcome might have been if Saddam had bluffed us out of military action? The sanctions and the no-fly zones were already under pressure and if we had bowed to UN pressure and simply walked away what would Saddam have been up to by now?

John, I can only say that I am very *doubtful* of winning your prestigious prize!

"I pointed out, politely I thought, that as she had nil knowledge on geo-politics and grand strategy a nil opinion might be more in order"

If somebody wanted to be unkind, they would point out that your knowledge of grand strategy was no more than a keen amateur, seeing as you are just a retired used car salesman who had a stint in the army decades ago.

Alas Deferring to the experts is unhelpful as well. The experts on grand stratgey often disagree with each other more than not, you can find many Professors of International Relations and strategic studies who are fully paid up members of CND just as you can find many of their colleagues who support the proliferation of nuclear weapons, indeed one famous one by the name of Kenneth Waltz thinks Nukes are so brilliant they should be given to everyone.

I have a question following from your assertion that Rachel is "as thick as six short Ghurkhas".

How many short Ghurkas do you think you're as thick as? It must be 6 figures, surely.

Also, please give an example of a subject you're "inwardly cursed with doubt" about, despite 'cos I'm skeptical. And if it is true, why don't you try fewer thumbs-in-the-eye-and-knees-in-the-groin, and maybe we might be able to have a proper discussion about something some day.

PS wrote: "your knowledge of grand strategy was no more than a keen amateur"

Dammit, Sir, I'll have you know that I rose, if not like a rocket then like a damp squib, to the rank of corporal (substantive, mind) - and it only took me 9 years! However, I would remind you that 20th c. history should teach you that you ignore ex-corporals at your peril - so watch it!

Of course, I agree completely that one should not defer to experts particularly if you are a national leader. One need only read any military history book to realise that 'expert' generals rarely agree with each other, so some of them are bound to be wrong. However, there is a difference between total ignorance, as in Rachel's case, in which good sense would tell you to adopt a somewhat humble approach; and *some* knowledge in which an informed debate could take place.

For what it's worth, I intend to post on the subject of Britain's nuclear forces, hopefully tomorrow.

No, no, Larry, Rachel is "thick", as in stupid; but the Ghurkhas are "thick" as in width - Ghurkhas tending to be as wide as they are tall and of the sort of disposition that does not encourage anyone to insult them, least of all me!

I am more or less doubtful about many things because I am painfully aware, looking back, how wrong I've been about all sorts of matters, both public and private. Indeed, it is that very doubt that makes me keen for debate because it is only in the fire of an opposite argument that one's own opinions can be tested. So keep up the good work!

David, please, just for once, answer the question. An anxious world of online diaries, not just Dr Teabag, really wants to know: "please give an example of a subject you're "inwardly cursed with doubt" about".

'Brisso', my dear chap, I am about to provide you with an example in a new post up above. Have patience, man!

I have to disagree with you, David - Rachel is not thick. A "thick" person, to my mind, would not even bother blogging about such issues as our nuclear deterrent. Rachel may well be partially ignorant of all the factors involved (as am I, and as are you too) but she ventures to post her opinions based on her imperfect knowledge, as do we all, and she invites comments thereupon.
Now, I started blogging about a year ago, and I was full of "right-wing" bombast ("I am right; you lot are wrong, raspberry rhubarb to you all") but I've pretty much got that out of my system now, and I have come to realise that all I ever achieved by such a pompous attitude was to make a bit of a dickhead out of myself.
These days, I'm more interested in engaging and debating with "the left", finding out what makes them tick. And I find that Rachel is one of the relative few on the left that I've got time for.
Treat her with respect, and you'll find she reciprocates and is worth debating with.

Tom, your gallantry does you credit but not your judgement. On matters of grand strategy and geo-politics, Rachel hasn't a clue, but her ignorance notwithstanding, she proudly lectures (hectors, even) the world on what should or should not be done with our nuclear forces. Also, she's another one that likes to dish it out but throws a hissy-fit if she gets anything back - as I found out many a time and oft!

Well, yes of course: Rachel, just like any of us, will throw a bit of a strump at times, but it all depends on the way in which one approaches her, rather than on the actual content of the argument. Comment on my blog with words such as "you are an ignorant Tory c**t, and your argument is shit", and I'm just as likely as anyone else to respond with "well, why don't you fuck off elsewhere".
(-Not that I think that you employ such an approach, David; I don't). However, one must, to an extent, "step inside the other's shoes". I have commented several times in the past week or so on a few of Rachel's posts, in broad disagreement with her position. And yet, by foregoing my previous righteous attitude and seeking to engage her in honest debate instead, I find that my comments are deemed acceptable on her blog. To some right-wing bloggers, that could indicate that I'm "going soft" on the left. But I disagree. I will continue to challenge and question Rachel's political views as strongly as ever, but first and foremost, I will do my best to respect her as an individual.
(PS, there's always more going on "behind the scenes" in these debates and alliances than is immediately apparent - I readily admit that one factor which has played a part in my recent "change of attitude" towards "the left" is that I've been thoroughly pissed-off recently by a few "hard-rightists" whose comments on other issues seemed to dispense completely with the human aspect of the debate, simply in order to further their right-wing political stance. I'm having none of that, frankly.

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