Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Well, well

They really are dancing in the streets of Baghdad.

What a depressing sight that must be for the pro-Saddam crowd, and how cheered Johann Hari, Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen must be.

However the widespread looting will need attention soon - already in Basra distressed Iraqis are haranguing the troops about their lack of activity as criminals steal everything that isn't nailed down.
Whatever happened to 'looters will be shot' ? Instead a Brit officer was explaining on the BBC this morn how it was the inevitable consequence of years of Saddamite repression. He didn't quite add 'just as UK crime is a consequence of social exclusion' but he seemed to have absorbed the liberal worldview on crime pretty well.

Looting has taken place in many societies after the fall of a regime - in the former Soviet Union it was called 'privatisation' and at least didn't involve ruining small private businesses - as there weren't any. If we're not careful the very people who could help rebuild Iraqi society could be ruined and alienated.

Where is Saddam ? Retreating to Tikrit ? Planning some final chemical or biological Gotterdammerung ? I would bet the Syrian border is being carefully watched. If only he'd retired to Saudi four months ago. Sure, the Guardianistas would have moaned about
a murderer escaping justice but think of the saving in life and property. But I guess Saddam would see it as 'death before dishonour' and remember his place in history - though I think a million dead in the first Gulf War (this one is the third, not the second, you western-centred commentators) and Halabja are more likely to be his memorials.

As I write Gordon Brown is droning away about his plans for helping British business. Reminds me of the old New Internationalist cartoon of the plutocrat sitting on the back of the peasant, saying 'I will do everything in my power to help you - except getting off your back'. His last budget was the most expensive suicide note in history and was notable for the way in which (via the tax credit system) it made well over two thirds of the population the beneficiaries of social security.

Lloyd George is currently rotating at 7,500 r.p.m.

Interesting article in yesterdays Indie - Piers Morgan has indeed done an about-turn on the war. I imagine the Indie, unlike the Mirror, hasn't suffered too much for its antiwar stance, as it lost most of its readers some years back when it took the decision to exploit that fertile readership territory to the left of the Guardian. The rump of its readership (both of them) are doubtless fully supportive of the paper's anti-war stance.