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How much opportunism is OK?
2 hours ago
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The September 2004 draft of Fry’s plan for the switch from Iraq to Afghanistan featured a graph showing British troop numbers in Basra smoothly falling away as numbers in Helmand gradually rose. There was a cross on the chart where the two lines met. This would have been fine if Basra had stayed quiet, but as the time approached when the first troops were due to land in Helmand, it became more and more evident that the British had failed to bring anything resembling order and justice to southern Iraq. Even before the Helmand operation started, it was obvious Britain needed more troops in both theatres. But it didn’t have enough even for one.
By 2005 British forces were well on the way to ceding Basra and the surrounding area to armed Shia groups; they would end up hunkered down and isolated behind the ramparts of their main base at the city’s airport. ‘To rectify the situation in Basra, the British would have to send more troops,’ Fairweather writes. ‘And yet their pivot to Afghanistan required them to do the exact opposite and withdraw. Rather than confront this gaping hole in their strategy, the British opted to carry on regardless.’
The beginning of Britain’s deployment in Helmand coincided with the belated realisation by British high command that their American patrons considered them to have been beaten in Iraq. Their much vaunted light-touch counter-insurgency skills had failed and the US was going to have to bail them out.Since then the armed forces have undergone further cuts, so pretending that we are a significant independent player in Middle East doesn't seem like a good way to use scarce resources, especially if the status that goes with it tempts our illustrious and wise leaders into further missions in the region that are testing our capacity. Either fund the military well or cut back what it is expected to do.
“It won’t be me,” I hear you say. And, of course, I accept you are not a criminal, after all. The worst you do online is post stupid comments when you are drunk and masturbate to porn when you think no one is watching.
The ‘no platform’ policy of various student unions is forever being expanded to keep off campus pretty much anyone whose views don’t chime perfectly with the prevailing groupthink. Where once it was only far-right rabble-rousers who were no-platformed, now everyone from Zionists to feminists who hold the wrong opinions on transgender issues to ‘rape deniers’ (anyone who questions the idea that modern Britain is in the grip of a ‘rape culture’) has found themselves shunned from the uni-sphere. My Oxford experience suggests pro-life societies could be next. In September the students’ union at Dundee banned the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children from the freshers’ fair on the basis that its campaign material is ‘highly offensive’.I realise the student activists are not typical students but an unrepresentative fringe of obsessives but why do the officials allow them to intimidate opponents? Perhaps they agree with them or maybe they are acting out of self interest- feeding the crocodile with a sacrificial victim in order to give themselves a quieter life.
There's actually quite a long list of supposed examples of pre-Columbian contact between the Old and New World, the Vikings are the only ones who've been confirmed but the Welsh, Irish, Basques, Romans, English, Egyptians, Africans, Chinese, Polynesians and Japanese have all had claims. Some of them are vaguely plausible- though probably still wrong- but most are not.Muslims discovered the Americas more than three centuries before Christopher Columbus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.He made the claim during a conference of Latin American Muslim leaders in Istanbul, pointing to a diary entry in which Columbus mentioned a mosque on a hill in Cuba.
Mr Erdogan also said "Muslim sailors arrived in America in 1178".
He said he was willing to build a mosque at the site Columbus identified.
The Turkish president - whose AK Party is rooted in political Islam - gave no further evidence to back up his theory, instead stating: "Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th Century."
You have to wonder – what’s with these women and their seemingly all-consuming need to distance themselves from feminism? An unworthy thought crawls through my brain: is this a man-pleasing exercise – are they afraid that men might find even the slightest whiff of feminism a turn-off, so they bang on about “equality” to keep everything safely gender-neutral and “sexy”?I'm going to go out on a limb and have a guess as to what the actual reason for not associating with the word "feminism". The people who most prominently embrace the term are unfortunately often like Barbara Ellen whose views are rather anti male- see this piece in which she fulminates against men using equality legislation to challenge cases of sexual discrimination.
Or does it go yet deeper, darker, than that, into the realms of female self-hatred? Where the cause of womankind in itself is just not good enough, interesting enough and so men must be prominently included, feted and appeased, even at a female-celebrating event? While I’m all for inclusivity, something has to explain why some women seem to feel that good instincts to support other females have to be disguised and reframed for public consumption.
Moreover, geographical proximity has always given Europe its special character, if doing no more than offering a nearby bolthole or new ideas that could simply cross a frontier. Without Protestant Holland, William Tyndale would have had no home to print the Bible in English; the Industrial Revolution was fuelled by exiled scientists and entrepreneurs from all over Europe. The Ukip/Tory story that Britain’s greatness was built on independence from Europe is a fairytale. We are as much part of our continent’s history and evolution, and share its values, as any other European country. Arguably, we are the quintessential Europeans.What he says about the influence of Europe on Britain's development is true but rather undercuts his argument.
Growing up in an Asian Muslim household, ever since I can remember to be like a white girl, a “gori” was a very bad thing indeed. At primary school age, we were taught how “goras” were dirty. They didn’t wash when they went to the toilet. I was told not to eat with goras, because they ate pig – only dirty people could eat such a filthy animal.As a teenager, I discovered there was nothing worse than acting like a gori. I was a rebellious youth, pushing all the boundaries. I didn’t want to wear a hijab and traditional Asian dress. I wanted to be in jeans. I wanted to wear my hair out. I wanted to go out and see my friends. I wanted to meet and talk about boys. I learned that these were “white things”: what white girls did, and so strictly forbidden to me by my parents. Why? Because they were seen to be against Islam and therefore shameful. There was no honour or value in girls who dressed or acted like that. Girls like that, it was made very clear to me, didn't deserve any respect. They were the lowest of the low.
.....On the last point about how Western culture is "pornified" and girls wearing inappropriate clothes, that might be the justification used but I doubt it is how the victims were targeted.
That is why I find it so infuriating in light of Rotherham that some Asian men (and women!) are still looking to blame Western culture – "the goras' culture" – and denying the part their own plays in the abuse. Gora culture, like the white girls who were targeted, is deemed to be shameless and without honour. I’ve read articles describing western culture as “pornified”, like they describe those girls as “whores” to then conclude that the abusers were somehow led astray or not fully responsible.
I'm not sure why so many ridiculous notions about Jack the Ripper are given serious consideration, when the 'suspects' bear absolutely no relation to the sort of people who we know do commit serial killings.
the shawl had been taken by a police officer for his wife, but she never wore it, and it was passed down through generations until it went up for sale.So back in the late 19th century there was a bobby whose first reaction upon finding a brutally murdered young woman was to steal the clothes that he thought his wife might like! Dodgy police officers aren't a new phenomenon, they were just less likely to get caught in the past.
10. I had an argument with one of the seven dwarfs. He wasn’t happy. – Rebecca Humphries
69. Why don't Africans go on cruises? That's exactly how they got us the last time.- Athena Kugblenu
77. Whats the difference between inlaws and outlaws... Outlaws are wanted.- Joe Bains
All of which I heard years ago, so either professional comedians are stealing jokes from other, better comics or they're recycling material from years ago. In this case I'm pretty sure they're just passing off other people's materials as their own.
92. I believe in gay marriage so that gay people can be as miserable as straight people. – Tom Allen