The elections in Iraq

I have this right-wing bloke who, from time to time, emails me crazy stuff about how America is liberating the world in the name of God and so forth. He recently sent me something about the elections in Iraq. Most of the time I just delete his rants, but I used this one as a catalyst to read a bit about the elections and refute his claims. Below is a slightly expanded version of that email. After the effort I put into research I though it was worth preserving here.

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Chinese language survey

A language survey in China under development for six year was recently published. Interesting reading. It found that 53% of the population speaks the official standard Chinese dialect (Mandarin). This may not sound much for an official language, but when you consider the vast population of China and the huge number of dialects spoken, it is quite a lot. One of the findings of the survey was that many Mandarin speakers use it as their main language in public or at work, but stick to their regional dialect with friends and family.

Iraq predictions in retrospect

Here is one of many articles that demonstrates the hypocrisy of apologists for the invasion of Iraq who claim that it was all about how evil Saddam was/is. Seeing as the US and UK supported and enabled his worst crimes and all.

An even more specious argument made by Bush and cronies was the supposed “al-Qa’eda” link to Saddam. Note the retrospective concession that this justification was always a complete fallacy. Of course we also knew this in advance of the attack. By now we even know that they knew there was no link before the attack.

Predictibly, the reaction of the Islamists to the invasion was, and still is, to use it as an effective recruitment tool to their destructive cause. Meanwhile, the solutions to the private terrorism of bin Laden and the like were obvious .

“The anti-war status quo”

That old Trot, Christopher Hitchens switched allegence to the Right at some point in the last few years. He was one of the most prominent of the “left” advocates of the glorious plans of the American ‘neo-conservatives’ who were so highly regarded in the liberal press a year ago. Now they are left looking rather sheepish and silly. Some have kind-of repented of their evil ways. Hitchens, though still goes to the most bizzare lengths to defend Bush and co. An early example is an article in which he appears to be arguing that, because the war criminal Henry Kissenger was against the invasion of Iraq, he was right to be in favour of it. School playground logic or what. All comment on his article aside, I’m not so sure Kissenger was against the invasion per se [free registration required] – perhaps he thought its planning was not up to scratch.

Comic relief and a common sense view point on all this madness came from Python Terry Jones, whose occasional satirical pieces in the Guardian have been great.

Belgium to try Israeli war cimes?

Almost as interesting as the Belgium initiative to introduce laws to prosecute Israeli war cimes is the outraged response that came from the politicians. As I recall, Belgium later dropped, or watered down this decision.

Meanwhile, the nightmare continuted for the Palestinians.