Politics & Policy

You Heard It Here First

I told you so.

It  is a melancholy satisfaction to be proved right on matters where I would rather be proved wrong, but I did tell you so.

Derb, “Unpleasant Truths” (8/2/02): Their morale destroyed by “brutality” and “profiling” hysteria, police forces will sink into corruption and paper pushing. Ambitious public prosecutors will concentrate on framing up law-abiding citizens with “hate crime,” “corporate corruption,” “dangerous product” (guns, fast food) or “child abuse” charges. Actual crime — murder, rape, robbery, burglary and assault — will skyrocket, but it will be illegal to talk about it.

At least 15 detectives were involved in the raid on Pete Townshend’s London house. Townshend, who created the rock group The Who, is accused of having subscribed to kiddie-porn websites. When a reporter asked why a raid against an unresisting suspect who is not known to have harmed anyone’s property or person needed 15 detectives, the police replied: “It’s a very big house.” Here is a picture of Pete Townshend’s “very big house.”

Other members of the British constabulary are busying themselves with rounding up people who say rude things about groups they don’t like, or even people who merely draw attention to the favors lavished on “protected” groups, without expressing an opinion about whether they like them or not. A correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph (and refuge from the set of Lord of the Rings, to judge from his photograph) was arrested and jailed last November for suggesting, at a public rally in support of fox hunting, that hunters should be accorded the same rights as blacks, Muslims, and homosexuals. In that same month, the Crown Prosecution Service, which sets guidelines for the British police, announced that prosecution of “homophobic and transphobic” crimes is to be a priority. (“Transphobic”? Don’t ask.) Scores of police fanned out in a sweep of “haters” — people who have publicly expressed such opinions as that Muslim Britons are not very patriotic, that Britain is letting in too many immigrants, or that homosexuality is unhealthy. Numerous arrests were made.

Meanwhile, in the same country where all this is happening, crime is rising at nine percent a year, relatives tell me that if you report a stolen car to the police (and supposing you are lucky enough to actually get a call through to the station house in between all those citizens calling in “hate crimes”) they shrug and tell you to deal with it through your insurance company, a friend admiring my wife’s jewelry sighs that there is no use having jewelry in London as it will only get stolen by burglars, and an absolute, total, no-exceptions-whatsoever ban on ownership of handguns has had the perfectly predictable result that every self-respecting criminal now owns a handgun, and deaths from handgun violence are going through the roof.

In a different country, Gerald Amirault is in his 17th year of imprisonment on bogus “child abuse” charges trumped up by an ambitious DA with the assistance of anti-family cranks, moronic jurors, and chicken-livered politicians. In this same country, a man who hacked his wife and her friend to death but was found innocent on grounds of skin color, prepares himself for another day on the golf course. And in this same country, the governor of an important state has granted clemency to 150 murderers, declaring that the justice system is broken. No poop, Sherlock — hey, let’s break it some more!

Derb, “The U.S. Will Not Go To War Against Iraq” (5/20/02): …if our leaders believe that “the desire to avoid further slaughter” trumps the desire to take down our enemy; if they believe that Crown Prince Abdullah or Hosni Mubarak will lift one jeweled pinkie to assist our war aims; if they believe that we need the permission of crooks and despots before we act in our own interests; if they believe that Europe is militarily significant; if they believe that the U.N. Security Council is worth anything more than a thimbleful of rat’s piss; if they believe that our fighting men and women cannot carry out their duties without a year and a half of preparation; if they believe all these things, then it would be best if we did not start a war at all. They do: We won’t.

The U.S. will not go to war against Iraq. All those dramatic troop movements you read about are just part of the administration’s bold new policy of “speak at the top of your voice, carry a really big stick, but on no account use it without the countersigned approval of Syria, Burkina Faso, Gerhard ‘there will be no intervention or participation by Germany in any way against Iraq’ Schröder, the Chinese Communist Party, and the British Foreign Secretary [an ex-Marxist himself, by the way].” The U.N. “weapons inspectors” want another year to complete their tasks of whitewashing Saddam Hussein and padding their expense accounts. Do you think the Security Council will give it to them? The suspense is killing me.

Derb, “The Anglosphere Goes To War” (10/8/01): A lot of these people [i.e. Tony Blair’s Labour party] were choking on their tea and crumpets listening to Blair’s speeches in support of the war. Those not actually pacifist are generally anti-military and anti-American. … Things are not quite as bad as in the Vietnam War, when Prime Minister Harold Wilson made all the right noises on behalf of Lyndon Johnson but dared not commit any troops for fear of an uprising by his Labour Party rank and file. Still, Blair can only take his party so far on this one, and we do not yet know how far that will be.

The Daily Telegraph recently surveyed 74 constituency Labour party chairmen. [Note: For electoral purposes, the U.K. is divided into 659 districts, called “constituencies.” Each district returns a member to the House of Commons. Of these 659 members, 410 currently belong to Blair’s Labour party.] Of these constituency party bosses:

· 69 percent said that war with Iraq would cause resignations among their party members.

· 5 percent said they would resign themselves if there was a war.

· 89 percent opposed any war not authorized by an explicit U.N. resolution.

Three members of Blair’s own cabinet have publicly warned him that his war policy is in deep trouble. A TV poll turned up 80 percent of the British public opposed to war without a U.N. resolution. Blair’s foreign secretary last week said he thought the chances of a war were “60-40 against.” Another cabinet minister declared on Sunday that it was Britain’s “duty” to act as a restraining influence on Washington. The chairman of Blair’s party has said that a way must be found between the two “extremes” of rushing into war and refusing to accept that military action might be necessary. Even Blair’s chiefs of staff are unenthusiastic about a war. The Telegraph reports one saying that: “The country doesn’t have the stomach for a war in Iraq at the moment and frankly neither do many senior officers.” You get the picture. And this is our most-willing ally!


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