Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Judge Young Tells it Like it Is

Remember the shoebomber, Richard Reid? He avoided a death sentence after an American jury said he should go to prison for life. What was barely reported at the time were the Judge's remarks following the announcement of Reid's sentence. Such eloquence is rarely heard in a courtoom. Good on him.

The life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further. This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Let me explain this to you We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice. You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or if you think you are a soldier. You are not----- you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice. So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've known warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were, and he said: "You're no big deal." You are no big deal. What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today? I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing. And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know. It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges. We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bare any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, ! to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice. See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the Unite d States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always will. Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down.


Jonathan Sheppard said...


The Leadership Blogger said...

Very good, amd in the fine tradition of America as we should know her. I suspect the bare was a type.

The Druid said...

A great echo of JFK's Inaugural Address:
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Says it all that the judges are the only ones capable of such eloquence these days.

FYI Reid is rotting in the Supermax ADX Florence. Its what is known as a "control unit" prison where inmates spend most of their time in solitary confinement in their spartan cells. Many go mad within five years. And in America life means that. Reid has a living death to look forward to.

The Hitch said...

I would love to sit back and watch Blair and Gerry Adams read that together.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear!

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile; Guantanamo, Rendition, Iraq; Our lot slavering for 90 day detention; Wolfgang; ID Cards.....

Perhaps we could entice this judge (pity you didn't name him, Iain) to emigrate to the UK and lead the Tory Party. I bet he'd get us out of Europe as well, and then UKIP would be surplus to requirements.

In the meantime, UKIP's new leader seems as though he's worth a second look.

ian said...

If he's not a soldier in any war, what is The War Against Terror about?

Anonymous said...

Nothing in this world can beat an articulate American. They soar.

I read an account of the trial of (can't remember, but whoever was left) of the fight at the OK Corral. The judge's summing up - 150 years ago, on the far American frontier, was masterly, articulate, fair and paid attention to every tiny bit of evidence and every tiny bit of testimony from people who had witnessed the events of that day.

Maybe there's something about the freedom in the air of the United States that produces such superb writing from judges.

Deep Stoat said...

Yes it was eloquent. And Reid got life.

America is all about freedom, if you have money and you believe in their kind of freedom - the type they are currently doling out in Iraq - where, because of their intervention the current death toll stands at over 46,000. (http://www.iraqbodycount.net/database/)

Richard Reid nearly killed a lot of innocent people and for that he should be punished, but forever? He was a low-life, low-level nobody who wanted to feel important.

If the Druid is correct, Reid stands to be driven insane. Is that the best we can do for him?

It's not so long ago that people with communist sympathies lost their jobs in America. Later we had Vietnam as another dubious example of American Freedom. We have Guantanamo and Abu Graib as two more.

I am no bleeding heart liberal but where do you think Richard Reid came from? How did he find himself among people who have not a thought for the lives of innocent people?

They have no excuse of course, for they are murderers, but hey, they ain't bombed Switzerland yet have they?

However specious the cause, however warped and twisted they are, they do have some kind of mal-formed idea that the USA (and UK) is the enemy and, in the light of recent history,is it surprising?

Anonymous said...

Did he say this before or after that flag was flown over Guantanamo Bay, and the president decided to ignore his own laws rather than send his representatives into court?

No-one has a problem with the ideal of America, just the truth of it.

Scipio said...

Nice words - but it is all crap really. It's crap because we DO do deals with terrorists, and we DO talk to terrorists, and we DO eventually welcome them to our tables, to dine with us and discuss terms of peace. From Yasser Arrafat to Jerry Adams, the journey from terrorist to freedome fighter is only half as long as the journey from freedom fighter to statesman!

So, although the judge might be right in the case of Richard Reid, he is in general terms utterly inacurate!

Anonymous said...

Richard Ried was , of course one of the many terrorists associated with Islignton Park Mosque. A few hundred yards away
Supposedly its all ok now but I cam promise you noone is looking . Its a bit ooportunistic I know but as my own Conservative association refused to post this letter( also the local press who usually like my stuff) perhaps I can get away with it here . Some o fht local Politicians you might know others not . Sorry if its boring

In the way that children play with toy soldiers imagining them to
be real, so small politicians like to express opinions on big
issues imagining anyone cares. This harmless but amusing exercise
in vanity has swollen into a high tide recently, with all manner
of petty local officials parading their non existent influence
over the embattled state of Israel .On `Lebanon`, James Kempton ,
Emily Thornberry and Lucy Watts have all pronounced themselves
unequivocally , for good and ,against evil. Better still was the
`Ealing Comedy` of Dorothea Hackman adding the ,`Full weight of
the Holborn and St Pancras Constituency Labour Party`, to calls
for a peaceful solution. I imagine that young Israeli soldiers
dodging Iranian and Syrian high tech anti tank weaponry, will be
giving this awesome prospect considerable thought

There is undoubtedly an element of the pious fraud to all this,
but if there is also an instinctive horror of needless suffering
what I would like to know is this .Why do we hear nothing on the
`clear and immediate danger`, posed by an unknown number of young
Muslims to innocent Britains ? It looks alarmingly as if, when
words might imply actions, not to say some facts ,disagreeable to the delicate Liberal constitution, Kempton, Watts and co simply
draw their `Guardians` sharply to eye level as if a tramp were
shouting obscenities on their bus.

Our airports are in chaos following a near miss with an atrocity
of 9.11 proportions. Ian Blair tell us they are tracking some 70
or 80 similar plots and unlike the Lebanon these are going in in
our neighbour's homes. Muslim MPs Sadiq Khan, Shahid Malik ,
Mohammed Sarwar and others ,sent an inflammatory open letter to
Tony Blair threatening us with more terror unless the British
Government amended its foreign policy to their liking. Tea with
Ken Livingstone and Gerry Adams cannot be long coming

.Ruth Kelly has been challenging Islamic leaders to match her
religious extremism and reports of ` Sharp and challenging,
`exchanges are no doubt designed to look as if the Government has
some concern for its own citizens . Unfortunately the 40 years of
misguided Multiculturalism cannot be undone from on high .It is up
to us at a local level to start `cohering` the community ( not my
word, Ruth Kelly is to blame). The first step will be to admit
face to face that much of what Islam believes is odious and
unacceptable in a Liberal Democracy and much of Liberal Democracy
is unacceptable to Islam.
Locally we do not have the luxury of hiding behind
generalities .Fins bury Park has a Mosque attended but many
Islington and Haringey Muslims .Its frightening history includes
Abu Hamza al-Masri , the Al Qaeda "shoe bomber" Richard Reid ,
Zacarias Moussaoui and the weapons recovered in the 2003, `ricin`raid.

`Mainstream Muslims ` with a new Imam took over three years ago .
Are they more or less mainstream than the Waltham Forest Mosque or
the Queens Road Walthamstow Mosque I wonder ? Both of these are
bewildered that fascist Islamic Terrorists grew in their shadow?
Are they like the mainstream Muslims who deny the existence of the
Terror plot talking in Walthamstow ? Are they mainstream Muslims
demanding the recognition of Sharia law and so on and so on

I have no idea, but the more isolated and inward looking this
community is the more concerned one will legitimately become.
Councillors have been quick to show off their consciences when
violence is far away .I would like to see genuine activity in
averting the possibility of radical Islamic Terrorism on our
doorstep. Providing a forum for disagreement would be a positive

One truth we had better face is this .Somewhere country further
attacks are being planned Are we doing all we can do to ensure it
isn't here ? Or are we wasting time pontificating about a war far
away ?.

Anonymous said...

deep stoat, for such a cute little creature, you certainly do have some outdated ideas.

You write: "If the Druid is correct, Reid stands to be driven insane. Is that the best we can do for him?" No. We could chop his head off in a way he is comfortable with. Or his hands. Or put his eyes out. In the islamic way.

But why should "we" do anything for him? He wanted to murder us. Thus we are in his debt? Are you mad? Include me out of this craziness.

People who want to destroy my 2,000 year old civilisation have to not only die, but be shot with a silver bullet by someone wearing a string of garlic around his/her neck and have a stake driven through their heart, but then be chopped up into little pieces and fed to the fishes. Anyone visiting Dhaka fancying a fish curry, beware.

Anonymous said...

Deep Stoat,

You're not a bleeding heart liberal? You fooled the s..t out of me!

Oh, so the Americans have been responsible for the deaths of 46,000 in Iraq, have they? Oh, yes, I suppose they strapped the suicide bomb belts on those poor struggling Islamic terrorists whose only aim is to kill other Muslims so that they knuckle under to their perverted view of Islam.

Get real. Of course Sadaam Hussein was a much better option. Not. I really wish we hadn't gone to war as not to hear mealymouthed liberals like you bleating, not to mention the very people we liberated blowing up our soldiers at roadsides.

Verity,where are you when we need you?!

Anonymous said...

Great stuff. Shame the judges don't say the same sort of things about the terrorism and murderous mayhem regularly authorised by US presidents over the years.

Anonymous said...

A very eloquent speech. As someone else on here has said, no one can criticize their ideals, after all they're not uniquely American ideals and the Yanks inherited them from us anyway!. But today, how they can complacently "talk the talk" and truly portray themselves as a beacon of freedom when they have prisoners in detention at Guantanamo who have been denied the right to a fair trial(a basic human right, whatever your nationality). Just because these people are suspected of being terrorists doesn't mean we in the West and the US in particular should sink to their level. There is much to admire in the principles spoken of so eloquently by this judge, but as a nation they'll only get my undiluted admiration once they start practising what they preach. Here endeth the lesson!

Anonymous said...

What a moving and noble expression of the American Dream! The truth is much different however. It's a near perfect example of the hubris upon which most americans base their lives. As Dostoyevsky rightly said you can judge a civilisation by how it treats those who it considers have disobeyed its laws.

Richard Reid was arguably deranged when he did what he did - which had little hope of success anyway -and if he wasn't then he will be before long. Is it just to send him to prison for ever with no hope of reprieve? Why not have the courage of your convictions and hang him? Those who would inflict such suffering on a fellow human being wouldn't countenance it being inflicted it on a dog.

Guantanamo Bay; two millions of their citizens in prison often for grotesquely long sentences in brutal conditions; considerable unacknowledged poverty amongst large numbers of people who (because of the cruel lie upon which US society is based - that everybody can be rich if only they work hard enough) believe it to be their own fault that they're poor; a world view that simply cannot admit that America can be wrong; an almost pathological inability to recognise (and above all admit to having) a dark side or that they're capable of doing anything other than 'good' for themselves and others - all these and many more reasons why there is nothing more admirable about the US than any other country, and quite a lot worse.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing in this world can beat an articulate American. They soar."

So does (or did) Tony Blair, at least in many people's eyes. But that kind of soaring rhetoric which blinds people to reality is dangerous. When I am dictator of the universe only badly spoken people will be allowed to hold high office, or be second-hand car salesmen or whatever. Facts are what matters, not the kind of Clinton/Kennedy/Blair slippery showmanship.

The Daily Pundit said...

Jonathon Sheppard summed it up perfectly - wow!

Sir-C4' said...

If only life meant life in this country.

Anonymous said...

As a piece of oratory it had some very good moments and some that were so overtly Hollywood, you wonder whether he was already lining up Clooney for the movie. "The very wind carries freedom...from sea to shining sea", "You see that flag, Mr Reid?That's the flag of the United States of America" Puh-lease (as they say in Nebraska...probably). Americans always think they're in a movie, wheras we seem to see ourselves as extras in Eastenders. Perhaps that's our tragedy and perhaps that why they 'soar' Verity, but I'm quite keen on our judges staying grounded.

Anonymous said...

Not only did he borrow from JFK, but also from Lincoln's Gettysburg address: "The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here."

Deep Stoat said...

Those of you who refuse to engage in dialogue about the causes of extremism are generally the first to die pointlessly and in numbers (see 9/11)

We in the UK have recent history in Northern Ireland. First we marginalised and persececuted a large minority. Then we dis-enfranchised them. Then, when they got pissed off about this and threw stones, we shot them.

Fortunately, the Republican movement in Ireland had a clear basis for negotiation and after a period of radicalisation, caused by us, (the good guys) successive British Governments were able to do a deal.

This is where any analogy breaks down, of course. You cannot do deals with Islamic Fundamentalists.

But what you can do is understand their inherent philosophical stance and their social and cultural mores.

If it helps any of you who want to feel heroic and morally superior, most Islamic terrorists are cowards, as are most people from that culture. They shout a lot, but run away at the first sign of resistance. They are very good at stamping on the bodies of dead people and shouting slogans, but that is about it.

Why they are being radicalised now, in the numbers we are seeing, is because we are doing two conflicting and mutually counter-productive things:

We are pissing them off, but we are not prepared to follow our convictions and either, a. fight a war to end it, or b. withdraw and let them run their own bit of the globe, and send those within our own country who do not like our way of life, somewhere else.

Until we are prepared to discuss these options you are in for a long and bloody conflict that nobody will win.

Anonymous said...

philip walling and all the other whiny, predictable chippie Brits, may I make so bold as to suggest that everyone who thumps in to criticise the way the United States is run, the vast diversity of laws throughout the 50 states, and criticises the moral values of Americans (save Cindy Sheehan; she's OK; she hates George Bush), append how many years they lived in the US. So we know if they qualify.

We'd like to know how you acquired this "knowledge", you see. Personal experience is fair comment. Reading The Guardian and The Independent and watching totally false BBC reports is not.

boristhespider, who has never been to America but knows enough about it from TV to make silly remarks, says in his lumpen, chippy way: "Verity, but I'm quite keen on our judges staying grounded." Given the quality of British justice, I'd prefer to see British judges under-grounded.

boristhespider and others, do you know how ignorant and uninformed you are? Let me illustrate it this way: If you saw Americans writing in to a site similar to this and, when discussing Britain,they always flooded in and wrote things like, "Oh, I say, old chap! Pip pip! The British always ring for the butler when they're flummoxed. Toodle pip!" You'd cringe with embarrassment for them, wouldn't you?

Think about it.

Anonymous said...

philip walling writes: "Richard Reid was arguably deranged when he did what he did."

Oh really? Arguably? You mean when he put a bomb in his shoe and tried to light it with a match in mid-air? That's "arguably" is it. I find "arguably" is used by mentally lazy people who want to appear thoughtful.

Anonymous said...

Great sentiment and agree entirely. The only thing that the terrorists could counter is...What about the access to justice of those held at Guantanamo Bay.

Anonymous said...

Richard Reid was, of course, one of many Terrorists associated with Finsbury Park Mosque ( yards from my house) during the piratical reign of Abu Hamza . I got an insight to his early life talking to a Croydon based friend who used to play Pool with him at his South London haunt the `Governor General` Pub. In those days he was just a common or garden `nutter` but a terrifying one nonetheless I am told . Some may not have followed his subsequent career closely. He was caught trying to blow a plane full of Americans out of the sky by the passengers. The recent anniversary of 9.11 will have reminded us of what has driven US foreign Policy ever since . On that plane, on that day, it drove his would be victims to tie him up with their belts and beat him to a pulp before the authorities could apprehend him. What a terrible shame..
We may find American funnysometimes but on this occasion I do like the style of the judge who finally sent this maniac to his richly deserved incarceration. There is that worrying feeling that it would go rather nicely set to music though.

( And I still can`t set up an account despite the wise words of Verity)


( Does nobody think woman in Burka saying `Does my bomb look big in this is funny )

Anonymous said...

Verity, I've been to the US on three occasions. I love the place (and people) and am returning next year for my honeymoon. I was simply observing that our friend with the gavel did go a little 'Hollywood' with his closing address. As Mr Newman says, it could be set to music. Nothing wrong with a little stardust in the courtroom, but you can't help feeling he had one eye on posterity. Since he was espousing freedoms, I am thankful for the freedom to (fondly) take the mick. Such sensitivity, Verity. Are you a Yank?

Anonymous said...

Methinks the Judge may have won a few public speaking prizes in the past...it is a shame that his comments were not more widely reported at the time.

Anonymous said...

deep stoat says: "Why they are being radicalised now, in the numbers we are seeing, is because we are doing two conflicting and mutually counter-productive things:"

No. You are ignoring history. The current round of jihad garbage kicked off in 1979 with the seizing of American property (their embassy) and citizens (many of them children. Oh those big brave soldiers for allah!)in Teheran. Jimmy Carter showed all the outrage, resolve and bravery of a drooling moron.

Four hundred and forty-four days later, the minute Ronald Reagan was sworn into office, the hostages were released. That takes us up to 1980.

In 1983, 241 American servicemen were murdered as they slept when the islamics bombed the U S Marine barracks in Beirut.

1985, 50 Palestinian terrorists boarded the cruise ship Achille Lauro demanding something or other. They always have "demands".

1992 29 killed and over 250 injured in the car bomb attack on the Israel embassy in Buenos Aires.

1993 the first attempt on the WTC when a truck bomb was driven into the basement parking lot. Six people did not go home that night or ever again.

Then the second attempt on the icon of freedom and capitalism, the WTC, and Bali, Madrid, London, Motoon rage ...

And the Olympic massacre in Munich was in 1972. And the Entebbe hostage crisis was 1976.

Terrorism has been onoing for 35 years, so let us not quiver with shock and imagine it is something new. The defeat of the advanced, civilised West is the aim.

This has damn' all to do with Palestine and everything to do with hegemony over the world and the creation, in their dreams, of Dar Es-Salaam.

Yak40 said...

Deep Stoat
Terrorism did NOT start in Iraq, or on 9/11. Islamic terrorism of recent times effectively started when Jimmy Carter facilitated establishment of the Khomeini regime in Iran altho' dear Nobel winner the blood-soaked Arafat had already murdered a few by then, but they were only Israelis so no one cared much it seemed.

Regarding Guantanamo, you may not know the Red Cross has a permanent office there, also the recent EU condemnation was issued by those who had declined to visit (i.e. don't confuse me with the facts) what a Belgian MP recently said was a prison superior to anything in Belgium.

Anonymous said...

Deep Stoat said:
I am no bleeding heart liberal but where do you think Richard Reid came from?

I remember watching the telly and seeing interviews with his parents. I thought that he came from a white trash mother and a black father who thought that his responsibilities had ended at conception. I may, however, have misunderstood the situation.

Deep Stoat also said:
We in the UK have recent history in Northern Ireland. First we marginalised and persececuted a large minority. Then we dis-enfranchised them.

We did nothing of the sort. Their fellow Irishmen did it, and that to protect themselves.

The Bonobo said...

"See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America."

Imagine if a British judge had made a similar reference to the Union Jack. His face would be all over the Guardian/BBC the following day with the headline "Racist Judiciary?"

Stoatboy said: "First we marginalised and persececuted a large minority. Then we dis-enfranchised them."

Nope. I think they - Muslims - do a pretty good job of that all by themselves. What's with the 'we'?

Anonymous said...

Verity, I could provide a long long list of American atrocities. I won't bother. I can only dream about what the judge will say at Blair's, Bush's and Olmert's (too late for Sharon)trial. It won't happen. Only the little people pay.

Anonymous said...

boristhespider - No. From your simplistic British view of America, you thought the judge was going Hollywood. Americans aren't as overwhelmed by Hollywood as many wannabee Brits are. This judge was speaking, and speaking very well, from the heart - reiterating the strength of the American Constitution. Your unworldly and sadly uninformed British mind went to Hollywood, but the judge was harking far, far back, to the roots of America and the Founding Fathers. You didn't understand the references and the context, I am afraid.

Deep Stoat said...

Sometimes I think I live in a parallel universe, but even in that universe, in any universe you care to name, there is a person called "verity" and they are mad as a box of frogs.

Prodicus said...

See, that judge's mistake was to have had an education, so that he understands, remembers and appreciates his country's history and its underlying values. Unforgivable, really. Never mind.. People like him will be [ /shot ]fired when the revolution comes.

Anonymous said...

Verity, do you think Richard Reid's acts were those of a sane man - trying to set alight to a 'bomb' in mid air with a match?

When I used the word 'arguably' I meant to give you the opportunity to argue whether or not you thought he could have been sane at the time, objectively speaking. Clearly by your hysterical and ad hominem reply, you don't believe in differences of opinion or discussion - you appear to think you're right and that's it.

Doesn't your personal abuse and dogmatism tend to prove my charge that americans are unable to conceive of there being any other point of view worth anything.

Anonymous said...

prodicus - Quite. Articulate and steeped in his country's history. (Which he actually knows, and whose major players he can quote.)

Deep Stoat says: "Sometimes I think I live in a parallel universe,". You do, dear. You do.

Anonymous said...

And Verity, what on earth difference can it make to the validity of an argument whether or not you've lived in America or if you've been there, how long you stayed there? By that rationale the opinions of a person who's lived there all his life are worth more and therefore are truer than those of a person who's only lived there for ten years and his arguments are unassailable in comparison with those of a person who's only been there five minutes. And presumably if I went on holiday there for a month I would, with my superior insight, be able to silence a man who'd only stayed a week? I've seldom heard such a specious argument from someone whom I take to be an adult.

Anonymous said...

It worries me that some of the American contributors here clearly belong to the NRA, stockpile enormous quantities of food in bunkers and keep marriage in the family (at least until they reach age 18).

They also visit those kind of websites about Jewish world conspiracies and Bilderbergers who decide the price of Levi's and Luckies and generally ruin your day.

As for the home-grown loonies, I suggest they attend history lessons at an acredited academic insitution instead of reading a "dead good book that reveals the real truth about..." You know, the truth that they don't want you to know - all the people who think "The Da Vinci Code" is a historical treatise.

Folks. The only thing "They" don't want you to know is how precarioius their own arguments are, and how much they rely upon ignorance, spin and little lies.

In this context, peep over your own little fortress and see what's going down for yourselves. America is currently engaged in Imperialism. The US seems incapable of doubt about its role in the world. Cultures are colliding; Western values and Islam cannot live side by side, but the answer is not subjugation and denial of the other's right to peacefully exist.

Anonymous said...

philip walling - the length of time - even a three-week vacation in Florida - makes no difference. It's the smell of freedom.

You simply don't understand that America is not Britain writ large. It is a different country and a different world.

I, for example, would not comment on Chinese politicians, Chinese governance, lifestyles, family living circumstanceds or business because I've never been there.

You, however, are so presumptuous as to assume that you understand the governance and lifestyles of 300m people whose home you have never seen, because you speak English and have seen movies and tv programmes. You're very chippy, as are many Brits when pretending to discuss the United States, a country they've never experienced.

(BTW, even changing planes in an American airport, on the way to somewhere else, is enlightening to some Brits.)

Abe - Being dead has not served you well, man.

"The US seems incapable of doubt about its role in the world." That's because it is the most powerful country. Powerful countries tend to act like powerful countries. Cry me a river.

"Cultures are colliding; Western values and Islam cannot live side by side, but the answer is not subjugation and denial of the other's right to peacefully exist."

You are blethering, but I am not going to pursue this, because we are here at the courtesy of our host.

There are other blogs where issues are discussed more forcefully, but Iain's is not one of them and you should refrain from trying to be too combative here. As do the rest of us who also hold strong opinions but respect our host.

Anonymous said...

Abraham Lincoln said
Cultures are colliding; Western values and Islam cannot live side by side,

I think that you are right

but the answer is not subjugation and denial of the other's right to peacefully exist.

Here you are wrong. The Islamists do not peacefully coexist. One answer is to destroy them utterly and distribute the oil fairly. I'll have my share as diesel, EP90 and 15/40w, please.

ps I quite like Verity.

Anonymous said...

Verity, without wishing to crow, I'd say game, set and match to me because your argument makes no rational sense and you walked off the court.

And talk about prejudice: 'the smell of freedom', what's that supposed to mean? More like the smell of irrationality. And how can being 'chippy' invalidate my argument? Accusing me of being it however, certainly doesn't advance yours, it just proves you are being what you accuse me of -'combative', which I'm definitely not. Argumentative, yes, but you can't deal with that and descend almost immediately to vulgar abuse, rather than being humble enough to listen properly to what someone else has to say.

And I thought Iain wanted his blog to be entertaining and lively. I'm sure he'd let us know if he thought lively, enlightening argument was no longer wanted.

Anonymous said...

philip wailing - Awarding yourself game, set and match is the act of a small boy. Were you banging a toy drum when you made the "announcement"?

The irrefutable fact is, you are writing from not only deep ignorance, but ignorance overlaid by Hollywood fantasies. Your ravenous jealousy of America comes through in every sentence. You hate them because they're bigger, richer, more confident, more secure, have many states in which householders routinely keep a gun at home in the absolute knowledge that if they shoot an intruder, they will not be charged, have several states that are so rich they don't even have income tax and are the indisputably the greatest power the world has ever known.

Your posts reek of bitterness and faux superiority.

Live with it.

Aslo, as a kindness, I would advise you to drop the word "arguably" from your vocabulary.

Anonymous said...

Verity, back to vulgar abuse again, I see, alternating with crowing about God's own country.

If your attitude is typically American, no wonder you seem to generate such hatred from foreigners. Nothing seems to dent your faith in your country right or wrong. Moral questions don't enter into it; if America does it it must be right, that's the acid test, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

And Verity, I've no intention of dropping the word 'arguably' from my vocabulary - not just because it seems to annoy you, but because unlike you, I do think things are susceptible to argument and there is an objectively right answer which can sometimes be found if the people discussing the matter are humble enough to accept when a good point has been made against them, and vice versa.

Humility and rational argument don't seem to be part of your makeup - tell me, is that typical of everybody who lives in 'The Land of the Free the Home of the Brave'?

Anonymous said...

Much as I like you Verity I can't be agreeing with this ...

and are the indisputably the greatest power the world has ever known.

Not so. Great Britain was the greatest power the world has ever known excepting perhaps the Romans Empire.
We lost our status in 1945 when you held us to our debts while you freely rebuilt Germany and Japan. Where has the US ever been that it has left a bettter place? Korea, Vietnam, sundry South American states? Iraq, Afghanistan? We like the Romans created an Empire and served it well. The US is purely a military power and serves only itself.

Team Tyrie said...

Verity - I know for a fact that Philip Walling is not in the remotest bit jealous of you, or any other American (I've known him for 30 years). He despises your smugness - collective and individual - and your belief that being "bigger, richer, more confident [and] more secure" makes you better or more morally justified than anyone else.

I have been living in the States for nearly a year and a half (is that sufficient time for you to take notice of this comment?) and although I am extremely fond of several people here and am taking sufficient advantage of the various freedoms offered to me here, I am constantly surprised by the arrogance of your everyday American. From your-man-on-the-street giving confident directions to somewhere he doesn't know, to our local hotdog joint announcing their hotdogs are the 'tastiest in the world'. For the average American the rest of the world is a complete mystery. I've heard middle class Americans say the following: "So you speak Portuguese in Brazil? Is Brazil near Portugal?" and "What language do you speak in England?".

I just think it's a bit off that a country of which the majority of the citizens are completely ignorant of the rest of the world, is trying to tell the rest of the world what their beliefs should be.

BTW - I note you use the word 'indisputably' - I now see why you don't like the word 'arguably'...

Anonymous said...

What's happened Verity? Gone silent? Have you taken your bat and balls home because your prejudices haven't been pandered to? Any chance that you might now understand why people are so hostile to Americans in the rest of the world?

Anonymous said...

Awwwwww .... Philip Walling and all the other self-righteous harking back to THE EMPIRE, which doesn't exist any more ... How angry you all are, 200 years later! This is pathetic! Britain has no power any more! But at least we are in the Anglosphere and are still important thereby.

That's life.

Yes, in the US, it is very irritating to be asked "what language y'all speak over there in England?" It doesn't happen often, but yes, it is infuriating. Of course, they don't have the benefit, as we do, of watching television and movies from the most powerful nation in the world. Movies and British TV shows are 24 a day in the US, as American ones are in Britain.

The ones who have heard of Tony Blair think he is wonderful, which is another pause for reality.

Anonymous said...

This is the last post (so to speak) in this exchange, from me.

Until the recent correspondence I thought Verity had something to say and was worth listening to. Exposing her shrill and vapid jingoism has taught me something about American attitudes which I hadn't realised before (thank you for allowing the space to do it Iain). And it is that their sense of superiority over the rest of the benighted world rests not on morally defensible principles, but rather on a collective desire to have it their own way, right or wrong. If you're part of the American Dream, you're bound to defend it, it seems, and become, as it were, blinded into believing that it's the only way.

I wonder if many Americans aren't secretly afraid that their 'civilisation' is built on such shaky foundations that they just daren't risk exposing them by admitting truth or knowledge of other places outside the US. A bit like the Eastern Bloc closed its borders by force - the US population has wilfully closed its borders through arrogance, propaganda and the sheer size of the continent. (Something like that anyway).

How long can such an empire endure in its collective wilful blindness?

Anonymous said...

There's no collective wilful blindness in the US, Philip Walling. That is a mental condition you would like to exist, so you can feel superior, but doesn't. That is Britain - still posturing as though it has an empire; still posturing as one of the most law-abiding countries in the world; still posturing as a bastion of personal liberties; still posturing as a country with an enviable education system.

All of that is gone, gone, gone. You allowed your right to bear arms to be surgically moved by a hissy little Hitler by the name of Blair. Without much of a fight. You have absolutely no right to defend yourselves. Your liberties that your ancestors defended and died for no longer exist, because you handed them over.

In many states in the US, I can legally own a gun; legally shoot someone who steps over my threshhold uninvited; legally carry a gun in my purse or briefcase.

Does this encourage the level of violence and lawlessness I find so alarming in Britain? No, not when you make the assumption that everyone else is also carrying a gun. An armed society is a polite society.

Some states in the US are so rich, they don't need to charge income tax. Sound good? They don't have the yowling, ravenous greed of the British communists.

BTW, if you think you are going to charmingly tell the Americans a few home truths about themselves, let me assure you the purity of your intentions will not be appreciated.

Finally, Philip Walling, as presumptive as ever, writes, regarding me: "Exposing her shrill and vapid jingoism has taught me something about American attitudes ."

Oh, really? I admire America and defend it, but I'm not American.

This is my final response to any of Philip Walling's posts. The presumptuous and anger at being opposed are just too tiresome.