No, Not The Comfy Chair!

March 31, 2007

The Iranian – Brit conflict is getting ugly.

Not content with forcing their Brit hostages to read out grammatically-challenged “confessions”, the Mullahs’ propaganda broadcasts have exposed not just the poor hostages but the entire world to curtains of mass destruction (aesthetes should avert their eyes):

These curtains are a clear violation of the UN Universal Charter (Aesthetic Section), and Iran deserves the same punishment as the Belgium nation and the Tate Modern.

Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right, so there was no excuse for this brutality:

Britain has sent a written response to the Iranian government regarding the 15 detained sailors and marines, the Foreign Office has said.

And this is quite beyond the boundaries of civilized behavior:

Iran’s ambassador to Russia renewed a threat Iranian officials made earlier this week, saying 15 British sailors held by Iran could be tried for violating international law, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported Saturday.

Gholam-Reza Ansari told Russian television Vesti-24 on Friday that Iran had launched a legal investigation of the British sailors. “They will be tried if there is enough evidence of guilt,” Ansari was quoted by IRNA as saying.

When will this nightmare end?


On The Shortage Of Experienced Suicide Bombers

March 31, 2007

Suicide bombing is dying out because it doesn’t work – probably because all humans have a wired-in sense of fairness.

Suicide bombing shouldn’t be confused with fighting to the death. The latter is integral to the Hawk fighting strategy, and is highly successful – if your opponent thinks you’re ready to die fighting, he may decide to concede.

But the suicide bomber doesn’t offer his (or her) opponents the chance of concession, and has no hope of survival. So from an evolutionary standpoint, the tactic is a dead end.

Here’s the record (my ellipsis and subheads):

Tamil Tigers

The Tamil separatists of Sri Lanka (the LTTE) pioneered the modern use of suicide bombers over twenty years ago.

The LTTE is now being defeated, partly by an enraged Sri Lankan population, and partly dissension and demoralization within their own (presumably much reduced) ranks.


Hizbollah was the next to pick up on suicide bombers. While Hizbollah claims to represent the Shia minority in Lebanon, it has brought itself increasing resistance from the majority of Lebanese by acting in support for foreign nations.

Actually, Hizbollah has largely abandoned suicide bombing, apparently noting the downside of the tactic.


Palestinian terrorists adopted the use of suicide bombing against Israel in 2000.

The Israelis eventually developed tactics that defeated this weapon.

The Palestinian attacks destroyed the substantial support within Israel for a Palestinian peace deal, and increased support for stronger measures against Palestinian terrorism.

Al Qaeda Iraq

Al Qaeda also adopted suicide bomber tactics, particularly in Iraq.

This turned out to be a major error. So many Muslims were killed, particularly women and children, that Arab public opinion turned against al Qaeda.

Even Sunni Arabs in Iraq have been fighting al Qaeda, despite the fact that al Qaeda is committing all this mayhem in the name of Sunni Arabs.

Al Qaeda Pakistan

Al Qaeda began using suicide bombers in Pakistan four years ago, and were promptly taken apart by an enraged Pakistani government, with much public support.

Al Qaeda Afghanistan

In the last six months there have been nearly 80 suicide bombing attacks in Afghanistan, over fifty percent more than in the previous six months. This campaign has been even less successful than previous ones…

Meanwhile, most of the victims are Afghan civilians. Naturally, Afghans see these foreigners (Afghans are difficult to recruit as suicide bombers) as murderers who do not have Afghan interests at heart.


Suicide bombing is described as a weapon of the weak. What it cannot be described as is a weapon of the victorious.

The piece omits the London and Madrid bombings, which caused massive damage to the Muslim communities in both nations.

Or 9/11, which rendered Islam toxic in the US, and ensured the Muslim oil weapon will be blunted much sooner than otherwise.

All of which suggests that the evolutionary biologists are right – our brains really are wired with a sense of fairness.

This England

March 31, 2007

The English have changed for the worse in recent years.

In the process of establishing a base in Italy, we’ve encountered scores of young Brits looking to start businesses there. This is bizarre – our Italian friends say Italy is an awful place to start a business and they start theirs in the UK.

Yet the young Brits keep moving out, lock stock and barrel, and many are succeeding. They say they feel alienated from their own country by un-assimilated immigrants, and can’t stand the “political correctness” of Brit officials.

So the UK is losing its bright, energetic, hopeful young people.

Doctor Theodore Dalrymple, the Hogarth of the our age, has a diagnosis:

My wife, who is French, was attracted to the culture of this country because, as late as 1979 or 1980, the people, including administrators in hospitals, were obviously upright, whatever else their failings might have been.

A quarter of a century later, all that has changed; deviousness, ruthlessness, an eye fixed on the main chance, sanctimony in the midst of obvious wrongdoing, toadying and bullying have become the ruling characteristics of the British people, or at least those of them who are in charge of something.

The old virtues – stoicism, honesty, fortitude, irony, good humour and so forth – can still be found, but only in people who are of no importance, at least in the public administration.

If I may put it very strongly, good people are like a defeated class in this country.

Dalrymple is describing the destruction of social capital.

The problem is not insoluble – the Victorians reversed an equally serious decay, producing the upright Brits that created most of the modern world. They did that because crime and corruption had reached levels unacceptable to them.

Let us hope modern Brits make a similar transition.