discrimination, Feminism, Islam, Terrorism

‘Women, children and people’

On Sunday’s ‘Scotland after the Bomb’ (BBC1, 10.15pm), Bashir Maan, Scotland’s representative on the Muslim Council of Britain, declared that Islam does not condone the killing of ‘women, children and people’. Maan unintentionally revealed the underlying Islamic tendency to class women as minors alongside children, as opposed to men, who are evidently the only proper ‘people’. As one of the chief representatives of moderate Islam in Britain, Maan exposed the fact that this dangerous prejudice applies not only to extremists, but to moderate Muslims also.

Written by Ms. Kok, an associate of the Yucca

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Bobby Sands, Britain, gordon brown, IRA, John McDonnell, labour leadership, Labour Leadership Contest, Labour Party, Michael Meacher, Politics, pop-leftism, socialism, Terrorism, the left

Who is John McDonnell MP?

John McDonnell is one of two left-wing Labour MPs who have declared their intention to stand against Brown for the Labour Party Leadership. On Monday, it will be announced if it is going to be McDonnell or Michael Meacher to challenge Brown.

I’m no fan of Gordon Brown. Also, I think that a contest, since they are not going to give us a general election – which they should – is better than a coronation. So I’m glad that someone is standing against Brown – even though they haven’t got a chance.

But now I discover that this McDonnell, who used to work with Ken Livingstone, is a shameless fan of the IRA. In 2003, McDonnell said the following while celebrating Bobby Sands:

It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA.

Contacted later by the Sun, McDonnell stood by his words:

The deaths of innocent civilians in IRA attacks is a real tragedy, but it was as a result of British occupation in Ireland,” he told the tabloid. Because of the bravery of the IRA and people like Bobby Sands we now have a peace process.

The usual story with these bloody so-called socialists. One discovers how stupid and rotten they are even before having the chance to look into their social policies. So now, if McDonnell is indeed the left-wing candidate, we’ll have to support Brown. Who would have ever thought!

UPDATE: here‘s the Sun’s piece that I refer to in the post (hat tip: korova)

UPDATE 2: here McDonnell explained his remarks, saying, among other things:

Irish republicans have to face the fact that the use of violence has resulted in unforgivable atrocities. No cause is worth the loss of a child’s life. No amount of political theory will justify what has been perpetrated on the victims of the bombing campaigns.

It appears that McDonnell didn’t mean to justify the armed struggle, but that he only meant to emphasise the supposed positive contribution of the armed struggle towards the improvement of the situation in Northern Ireland. As it happens, the former claim is often hidden behind the latter. That’s because no one thinks (or at least ever says) that killing innocent people is a good thing: the question is rather whether one thinks that the IRA should have done that to achieve its aims. We think not. What does McDonnell think?

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9/11, Britain, China, Cold War, Conservatives, House of Commons, Iran, New Labour, North Korea, nuclear deterrence, Politics, Russia, Scotland, scottish independence, SNP, Terrorism, Trident, WMD

The unspeakable case for nuclear deterrence

The only argument for nuclear deterrence that could be heard today in the Commons, from both New Labour and the Conservatives, was that the world’s future cannot be predicted; and that, in the absence of safe predictions over future threats, we must keep our nuclear weapons, just in case. This is, by the way, an admission that nuclear weapons, today, are not doing any deterrence. And it is, therefore, an admission that, today, nuclear weapons are not deterring North Korea, for example.

Now, not only this is a bad argument; this, actually, is no argument at all. Because it does not point to anything as the justification of nuclear deterrence. To justify nuclear deterrence, as to justify anything, we must point to something: in this case, we must point to, if not actual, at least possible threats. If there are no possible threats to point to, than there is no justification for nuclear deterrence. But possible threats are not even enough: being attacked from outer space is a possible threat, but in the absence of any reasons for thinking that this might actually happen, this possible threat does not constitute a justification for nuclear deterrence (if the government does indeed think that this is a reason to keep Trident, let us hear it).

So whoever cares to justify nuclear deterrence, must point to reasons for thinking that those threats might materialize. Unfortunately the government is not in the position to name any possible future threat that we have reason to think might materialize; because that would unsettle its international relations. The government, for example, cannot mention any reasons for thinking that, 50 years down the line, China might turn nasty. So, in short, the government is not in a position to justify nuclear deterrence. Make of it what you like: it might be that the government must have the right, in the interest of its people, not to make necessary claims that would, though, unsettle its relations with the international community. Or it might be that, in the absence of a public justification to Parliament of nuclear deterrence, the government is asking the Commons to vote on an unjustified motion – and that Parliament should never vote for an unjustified motion.

But the Conservatives, which are using the same arguments as the government, are not in that delicate position. The Conservatives can, therefore, name their reasons; they therefore ought to: let us hear them!

UPDATE: MPs voted to renew Trident, 409 to 161, majority 248. According to The Guardian, around 85 Labour MPs voted against the Government.

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7/7, 9/11, BBC, Britain, Ethics, intentions, Iraq, Islam, London, Philosophy, philosophy of action, Philosophy PhD, Political Philosophy, Politics, Radio4, Terrorism, Tony Blair, US Government

Blair, Responsibility, and Terrorism

Just heard PM’s interview on Radio4. An issue came up which already came up yesterday in the Commons; an issue of responsibility. Let us suppose that terrorism (or attacks against westerns, or whatever) has increased since, say, the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Are the US and UK Government responsible for that, given that their invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq was deliberate and intentional? Blair has a good answer to that: look (as he always, annoyingly, starts his answers), we can’t be responsible for the actions of others. And this is true. Responsibility is not causally transitive. So even if it made sense to say that the decision of the UK Government to invade Iraq caused the terrorist’s decision to blow up tube trains in London (and it isn’t at all clear what it means for one’s action to cause another’s action, given that the former, supposedly, was not sufficient to bring about the latter, otherwise the latter would not be an action), that does not mean that the UK Government is responsible for those trains being blown up; it is only who blew them up that is responsible. So that the counterfactual ‘the London trains would have not been blown up if the Government had not invaded Iraq’, even if true, would not bring with it responsibility for the Government. But there are at least to replies to Blair’s answer which, unfortunately, John (who fancies himself a bit too much to be a good interviewer) did not put to the PM: firstly, responsibility comes in if the government could have prevented what happened (but if the counterfactual is true, wouldn’t not invading Iraq have been a way to prevent the attacks? I guess the issue is whether you can do counterfactuals with people’s intentions and actions; and still, even then, it’s not clear that they would carry any responsibility). Secondly, there is an issue of prediction: because it is the Government’s responsibility to try and predict threats, it the Government could have predicted the threat, then, even though it cannot be responsible for someone else’s action, it would still be responsible for not having predicted someone else’s actions, which resulted in the attacks. In this latter case, both who blew up the trains and the Government would be responsible for the people who died on 7/7, because both who blew up the trains and the Government could and should have prevented what happened.

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antisemitism, BBC, Britain, Bush, Israel, Politics, Terrorism

misusing words: ‘terrorist’ and ‘boycott’

The term ‘terrorist’ is abused. There are a lot of ugly monsters – who deserve their intestine microwaved – out there. But, contrary to what President Bush’s speech-writers appear to think, they are not all terrorists. This point, often made by the left, I accept (as I have already discussed here). But now I have noticed that ‘boycott’ is another term often abused and misused (by the left (read: BBC), for example). Someone should tell the BBC News editors that if Israel (and the US) don’t want to negotiate with people whose expressed aim in life is the destruction of Israel, that is not a boycott. Last night, one of those ugly monsters who are not terrorists (believe it or not, Mr. Bush) approached me with a knife. I dared to run away, instead of negotiating over the contents of my wallet. I am waiting for the poor fucker to complain to the BBC over my unfeeling boycott.

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