[nb: As Christopher Montgomery is away this week paragliding in Tashkent Antiwar.com is replacing him with stuff we found earlier in the week in a wastepaper bin, in a conference room in Londons Canary Wharf. Although the document is incomplete, it is clearly a transcription, and we believe the initials stand for the following people: GHS Dame Georgina Henderson-Smith, late of the FCO; KB Karl Bochebiffer, noted American author; AH Anton Hasselhoff, director of Weekly Review Onlines National Goals programme; DG Dr David Greenacre, previously Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan; &, HH Harry Holmes, who writes The Suns, The Man who knows what Ruperts thinking column]
HH: … and of course I was talking to Paul about Cem
KB: Good man, met with Vernon in 82
HH: but as I was saying, Paul put it perfectly as usual Turkey has a responsibility, more to itself than to anyone else, to make the right choice.
DG: And you know, Im confident that she will. Reading Bernards excellent new book reminded just how much Ataturk took his inspiration from General Washington another military man who knew how to get things done! when he set up the Turkish republic. And it goes without saying that today shes the only democracy in the region
AH: Other than Israel
DG: Oh obviously. But to return to my point, I think its precisely because of the values modern Turkey, and I use the word advisedly, has that shell make the right choice when it comes to Saddam.
HH: At this point, as we start moving into specifics, Id like to encourage Dame Georgina to say a few words Georgie, youve been a bit quiet, what are your thoughts on Deputy Secretary Wolfowitzs mission to Turkey? Do you think Ankara will see sense?
GHS: Im sure it will.
DG: But before we move away from Turkey, we should just remind ourselves about what it is that sets her apart from her neighbours her constitutionalism, her respect for the rule of law, the ability of the armed forces to recognise a threat and do something about it.
AH: Yeah, like the Spanish. I think we all know why those Moroccans wanted Parsley island: if Id been a goat, Id have drowned myself too!
DG: Hah hah. But a good point as well. Its time we started applauding countries like Spain that don’t just role over in the face of Arab atavism but do something about it.
AH: Yeah, I go all round the country speaking to college kids and the level of ignorance is simply amazing. But its the ones who want, despite everything weve seen in the last year, that just make me want to shout at them: where were you went the planes went in?! and where will you be when the marines go in? Far too soft all of them I dont even think we could reintroduce the draft today. Everyone would be too busy crying for Mom to even get past basic training.
KB: I remember mine, some Red optometrist declared me unfit for active service. Spent the rest of Korea at Harvard with Henry, very clever man. Once told me that Metternich had said, and how many letters does the Sublime Porte steam open himself? Precious few. All very true, I think on it often.
DG: But Antons right
AH: And sos my armchair it tells me what to think.
DG: Yes indeed. As Anton said on Crossfire last week
GHS: We dont get that here.
HH: We do its on Sky, youve got to get with it Georgie.
DG: Anyway, as Anton said, the trouble with the kids is that if it was up to them the President would have to ask every Senator one by one, then take a car trip with Teddy Kennedy before we could do something about the clear and present danger that is Saddam.
HH: Totally, a government has to be able to act, the first duty of the state is to protect its citizens.
KB: Lets remind ourselves what it is were dealing with in Saddam a regime where theres no pretence at constitutional form, where numberless detention without trial takes place, and where unprovoked wars of aggression are started against other countries.
GHS: And they give money to other peoples terrorists.
GHS: And then theres all the informers, and the secret policemen, and
HH: Yes, its quite a catalogue. But the question I want to ask, before we go to the specifics is, what are we going to do to help the Americans? Obviously were spending more money (though not enough, and were still pathetically keen on using 2nd rate British stuff when we could be using 1st rate US kit) and were seeing the back of that blinkered idiot Boyce. But are we doing enough? Georgie, youve just escaped from the clutches of civil service pay to the City, what do you think were doing?
GHS: Well, uh, weve started liquidating a lot of those military commitments we so foolishly picked up in the 90s. The boys, as it were, are coming home. Albeit, I suppose they could well be on their way again pretty soon.
DG: And last you chaps are beginning to get to grips with the sort of command and control systems any serious politico-military player needs
GHS: well, Im not exactly sure thats such a good thing. It seems like an awful lot of money to spend on unreliable computer equipment, which even if it worked would just mean that wed end up with Campbell and Blair sitting in the cabinet room at number ten, staring at a big TV screen, and saying, no, shoot him, him on the left.
KB: I think theres something in what Dame Henderson-Smith says, theres no point in having capable armed forces if theyre being second guessed in the field by know-nothings in DC and SW1.
HH: Okay, lets move on: hows it going to start, and what are we going to do once weve won?
DG: Lets get one thing straight, its already started. It started the moment Preppy failed to finish it off last time, and weve been paying for it ever since. And lets get another thing equally straight Downing is the biggest Putz to wear a uniform since
AH: Colin Powell started wearing silk panties under his
DG: since Colin Powell started sucking up to those girly-boys at State. The idea that this will take even a fraction of the troops: unbelievable. Youd think they didnt want to fight.
AH: Yeah, but lets not downplay the risks. I was coming back from work last night when I saw it an office for Saudi Airlines. Think about, 18 out of 19, and every day they have planes, in our airspace, flying over New York and Washington, every day. Think about it.
KB: What, clearly, all of this tells us is that we need to drag back the defense budget from the level Clinton had allowed it to fall to. That way we can start thinking about being into a position to deal with the serried tasks America faces.
HH: And will, Im sure, under this president, face up to.
KB: Hmmn, we shall see. No one should underestimate the challenge facing us in reordering the failed, artificial states
DG a legacy, Im afraid, of British imperialism
KB: hmmn, in the region. Strictly between us, I have made the case to POTUS that what we really need as a regional counter-weight to the post-Iraq moment is a United Kingdom of Jordan and Iraq. With Abdullah as King, the political capital in Amman, and a rebuilt Baghdad as a sort of Arab New York.
AH: Theres a lot of common sense in that as ever! but we Republicans, the people who think seriously about these things, have a duty to start preparing the American people that its time to sign on for a new fifty year tour of duty, for thats what its going to take.
DG: And theyll like it, theyll like it. What sort of Democrat is going to stand up against a president who has Saddam, or whats left of him, put on trial before an international tribunal for crimes against humanity? Its preposterous to think that anyone could even dare oppose the extension of such essentially American values (no offense Georgina!)
HH: What use do we think well be able to make of our friends we met in Kensington Town Hall at the weekend?
GHS: Not that much, but I wonder if we might mention as a factor our various, and varied, relationships with Israel
DG: I wondered when we would get round to that old obsession
GHS: I havent actually said anything yet David
DG: Nonetheless, theres no issue here, theres nothing to talk about. Anyone whos had the wit to read Efraim Karshs What Occupation? in Commentary
KB: No, you mean his article last summer, exploding the myth that there ever were any Palestinians, The Palestinians and the Right of Return
AH: No, no, you mean his article the summer before asking, quite reasonably, Were the Palestinians expelled? Thats easily the best summary of why Israel has always existed, even when it didnt exist, and why theres never been a Palestinian state.
GHS: Anyway, what I was going to say was
DG: and lets not forget the tide of anti-Semitism engulfing England, weve all seen the ads, youve all seen the report, in the London Express . . .
GHS: Yes, thats all fine and dandy, but what I was going to ask was, since the President couldnt state-build further east, is there not a case for doing some in the Levant as well?
HH: No ones saying hes perfect, we don’t have to follow slavishly every word he says …
Read more by Christopher Montgomery
- Blair’s Political Suicide – August 29th, 2003
- The Empire Stops Striking – July 17th, 2003
- The Ambassador from Alabama – June 11th, 2003
- Who\’s Scared of Euroland? – May 28th, 2003
- On the Nature of Meaning (and Union Jack Tee-Shirts) – May 22nd, 2003