The Decent Right

There are certain Americans who amaze me by continuing to maintain that they’re right-wing or conservative, despite believing in most or all of the decent and good things that the modern day US conservative movement vehemently opposes. Examples include John Cole, Andrew Sullivan and especially Dan Drezner.

I was reminded of this odd group by a recent Dan Drezner post on suicide bombers. It’s interesting in itself – he links to a study pointing out that suicide bombing has little correlation with fundamentalist Islam, and a strong correlation with foreign occupation. Sure’ it’s obvious (suicide bombing is the ultimate example of an asymmetric warfare tactic, and the only militarily rational response to occupation by a far stronger power is to use the best asymmetric warfare tactics you can find), but it’s good to see specific evidence.

Almost more interesting is that a majority of the proper right-wingers who infest Mr Drezner’s comments (presumably because he adds a little vestigal decency to their cause by choosing to associate with them) immediately assume the study is lying, and that its author (and Mr Drezner) must Hate ‘Merka And The Joos.

Come, decent right-wingers! Abandon your fanatical coloured-person-hating, queer-bashing, death-loving cohorts, and join the Liberal Side! You have nothing to lose but your Cheney-ites!

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That Newsweek thing

1) It’s almost certainly true that US troops desecrated Korans at Guantanamo.

2) Newsweek’s story was taken from a government source, as it claimed. The fact that the government source retracted after publication is Neither Here Nor There.

3) The riots are a complete red herring: if 12 maniacs are willing to kill themselves for something so monumentally trivial, I’m glad the stupid fuckers are dead and so should you be.

4) The increasing pressure placed on media organisations by governments and screeching right-wing fanatics is a Very Very Bad Thing. The Hutton enquiry shouldn’t have happened; Easton Jordan shouldn’t have been fired; Newsweek shouldn’t have been obliged to retract this story.

Journalism is a vital tool carried out by sensible people with generally honest motives; religious fanaticism and politics are not; and anyone who supports the latter over the former is, erm, questionable in my book.

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George, again

I don’t like George Galloway, for a wide range of reasons. However, if he continues skewering gung-ho right-wing idiots in this vein, I may have to re-evaluate. Best Speech Ever…

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Lancet proven right; detractors proven spazzers

The UN has published a report that appears to confirm the Lancet’s figure of ~98,000 excess deaths caused by the Iraq war, based on a much larger sample size.

However, because people are statistical fuckwits who believe what they want to believe and lie to suit their own interests, this isn’t how the survey’s results have universally been reported. Many people have used the study’s figure of ~24,000 ‘war-related deaths’ to suggest the Lancet study is out by a factor of four.

This is bollocks. The question asked in the UN survey was "Has any person(s) who was a regular household member died or gone missing during the past 24 months?". The options were "Disease / Traffic Accident / War related death / Pregnancy or childbirth / Other". The ~24,000 figure is based exclusively on "war related death" responses.

The Lancet study, meanwhile, showed a comparable figure of ~33,000 for war-related violence. The ~98,000 figure *also* includes the increase in deaths from disease, RTAs and childbirth that followed the war. The UN study implicity confirms this, by indicating a substantial rise in infant and maternal mortality.

The indefatigable Tim Lambert has more.

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Hemlock smoothie

"If I were to make a drink with hemlock in it and advertise that it "contains natural plant extracts", people would rush out and drink it like there was no tomorrow. Which, of course, there would be." – Squander Two sticks it to the ‘natural = good’ brigade

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