Sunday, May 18, 2008

DD: Shoot the Generals

Fraser Nelson reveals in the News of the World that at a Shadow Cabinet meeting David Davis stunned his colleagues with a suggestion of what to do about Burma...
Invade the country, shoot the generals and feed the people
Tamzin Lightwater would have gone weak at the knees. How tongue in cheek the suggestion was, I will leave you to judge.


Anonymous said...

Haha... I doubt he was joking. I wonder what his (international lawyer) CoS would make of this...

Anonymous said...

His comment was a moral one.

I read this great book on aggression once.

It drew the line between aggression and assertiveness, where assertiveness meant acting within your rights. The book also looked as passive aggression - where the person acted as a victim, guilt trips you or tries to gain some advantage.

I suppose sins of commission and sins of ommission might be another way of looking it. Somewhere in the middle is the moral (or assertive) position. Which is the point David is (implicitly) making.

Because this boils down to types of rights (moral, legal, universal), and the types of people (public, generals and states) you can place an idea within this landscape of positions. Taking the high moral ground is always a good starting point when acting legally assertively.

So I guess David was saying I'm making a moral suggestion and asking people to challenge him by either take a less moral position or deride international law for failing starving individuals.

Ed Keohane said...

People spent years coming up with reasons not to confront the Nazis when they were persecuting German Jews, gay men and other 'undesirables' before the war.

What Burma really needs is a couple of good oil fields. We'd've been fighting for the safety and democratic voting rights of its population for years.

Anonymous said...

Invade the country, shoot the generals and feed the people.
I love it. Please do it now.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should be grateful that DD didn't make it to the top.

@molesworth_1 said...

It's the only sensible policy I've heard on the subject...Shoot the generals & put the monks in charge.

Also thoutht DD was good on Marr, Dawn Primarolo turned the milk on me frosties sour & the Milidroid on Boulton sent mrs molesworth scuttling back to bed clutching her stomach & complaining of feeling unwell!

Anonymous said...

Young Pretender, douesn't Burma already have a 'couple of good oilfields'? Isn't oil one of the things China's interested in there, and otherwise how did 'Burmah Oil' get its name?

Brian said...

young pretender might care to read this invaluable refernce source
and consider why the former Burmah Oil company was so called.
It would be relatively "easy" to identify and paralyse the military C3 structure to isolate the military, but then the country would still need to be governed afterwards. That is the difficult part and would take at least a decade.
Burma is very similar to Iraq in that it is comprised of a majority (the Burmans) and several minorities. At least the majority religion is really a religion of peace.

Anonymous said...

Sod international law (which is the dictators' charter). Either send in the SAS and get them to shoot as many of the generals as they can, or bomb their homes.

Here's a new foreign policy doctrine for you: if you are a dictatorship then you are not safe; we may not invade your country and bog ourselves down, but we may well try to kill you.

That would be far more moral than the current system of letting governments, legitimate or not, do what they please with their people.

Anonymous said...

Good for D/D.and while were at it lets sort out MUGABE as well.

Anonymous said...

So Stuart you're suggesting terrorism are you?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11.51am, I am suggesting that those who govern and exercise unchecked political power and who are not subject to the democratic will of their people - i.e. dictators - should not enjoy protection. I am suggesting that there should be a permanent 'open season' on them.

Those who champion international law have done a very good job of painting themselves as great moral warriors. They are nothing of the sort. International law's single concern is the self-interest of states, whether democratic or not. International law has no morality at all.

That, Mr Anon, is what I am suggesting.

Twig said...

Young Pretender
May 18, 2008 10:14 AM
"What Burma really needs is a couple of good oil fields."

Do you mean in addition to what they already have?

Anonymous said...

I see Stuart, so are you going to be the first member of the international brigade into Burma or when you say SAS you mean someone else's child, rather than yourself. Because personally I wouldn't want to embroil my country in countless wars around the world watching my children die and frittering away the coin of this nation on an unending series of moral crusades.

Anonymous said...

What with?

Our criminally-underfunded and ill-equipped Army is being broken on the fields of Iraq and Afghanistan, our Air Force and Fleet Air Arm are stretched to breaking point flying helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft that are well past their sell-by dates (remember the loss of life from the downing of the Hercules without fire suppressant and the automatically exploding Nimrod [airframe 30+ years old and based on the de Havilland Comet for the Lord's sake]?), and what little is left of the Royal Navy above the waves has been given Rules of Engagement that cause it to be ritually humiliated by the Iranians and impotent to deal with Somali pirates in case we violate their "'uman rights".

Anonymous said...

Alfred of Wessex is right. This government, though it can find £2.7bn to buy a by election, can't find enough to get our brave and outstandingly professional armed forces decent equipment. Not surprising when we have a Prime Minister who hates them so much, but when we can only just hold a few hilltops in Afghanistan and can't hold Basra, invading and occupying a country twice the size of Britain may have to wait.

God I hope Cameron will fix this post-2010 - I'd even forego a tax cut for a year or two if he did.

Simon Harley said...

@Anonymous 1:18 PM. One of the wonderful things about living in a democracy with volunteer armed forces is that if our children decide to join up and put themselves in harm's way, it's their choice to make. "Personally I wouldn't want to embroil my country in countless wars..." At the end of the day it's not your decision and you can't make it for other people either. Fortunately there are plenty of other people who are willing to embroil themselves in good causes.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @1:18, do you have no thoughts of your own? It is the most unthinking and unintelligent reaction to immediately decry the use of military force by crying "are you going?" or "the children, the children". Every death is no doubt a tragedy, but the use of force cannot be disaggregated into the simplistic rubbish that militant pacifists like yourself preach. Some things are worth fighting, and even dying for, and thank God that we have some politicians, and many soldiers, who realise that.

Manfarang said...

jd 2:45PM
South Vietnam for example?

mornan said...

Get real little tiny country 60 mill plays 6 bill. I live in Fortress Euro we can influence you play with your taggers of yester year. Brown condemns Burmese government etc. Myanmar government uses google earth to find out where this country is

Manfarang said...

Fortress Euro has Vimto?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 1.18pm. I have a member of my family who is serving in the armed forces right now. He has just returned from Afghanistan.

Two further members of my immediate family have served in the past, both having actually fought.

I don't need your preachiness, thank you. I know exactly what it's like to fear mention of our soldiers dying in news bulletins.

Between them they have served in many places and have seen firsthand what bullyboy dictators can do to their populations because their regimes have been allowed to go on for too long.

I will thank you however for accepting that your pacifist approach to such things is for us to hide away at the back and hope that if we don't say or do anything then maybe the bad people will go away.

It's a nice touch to mention that military action is costly. Yes, I am sure we are saving money by letting Burmese children die of disease and starvation.

How does it look up there on the moral high-ground, where, weirdly, people like you think you are?

Anonymous said...

Here's a new foreign policy doctrine for you: if you are a dictatorship then you are not safe; we may not invade your country and bog ourselves down, but we may well try to kill you.


Don't let anyone in certain countries not a million miles from the Middle East hear you. They might be coming this way looking for Brown (assuming they know Blair has gone, and that Bush is somewhere else).

Anonymous said...

no-double-standards-here at 8.09pm: neither Britain nor the United States is a dictatorship, whatever the the Independent newspaper says, so my proposed doctrine does not endorse action against us.

I am more than happy to make the argument that democracies are superior to dictatorships. Only an idiot (and most probably Tony Benn) would argue otherwise.

If you are happy to buy peace for us at the price of standing aside whilst dictators torture and murder their own people then I'll leave that to you and your conscience.

Anonymous said...


It matters not whether you, I, or the Independent thinks we are dictatorships, or even whether we are.

What matters is whether there are other people who think we are, (or think we are sufficiently evil in their eyes), so as to justify to themselves coming to kill us.

(Doubtless Mugabe, Burmese Army, etc etc etc find other ways to describe themselves as somthing other than dictators.)

(Not that I disagree with you about democracies versus dictatorship.)

Anonymous said...

@ndsh... thankfully we're stronger than them.

Scipio said...

One for the SAS maybe?

Invading not a good idea! I know people who have fought in Burma previously - not a good place to wage a war, especially the delta!

Quick decapitation might work - but there are a lot of them!

Anonymous said...

China is reacting to its' own recent sorrows in ways that we approve ( ie China now appears to be on-side ).
When that country has time to look around, perhaps it would apply pressure on its' client state ( Burma ) to do the same.

There are appeals in the press to donate funds for Burma; what is the liklihood of such funds or goods being appropriated by the Junta upon arrival ?

As for the Burmese Generals and our own military overstretch. How much do mercenaries cost these days ?

Yak40 said...

What Burma really needs is a couple of good oil fields.

Usual robotic lefty "wit" on display.

DD's comments belong to the "Ann Coulter post-9/11 School" by the sound of it !
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.

Anonymous said...

stuart said...

"International law's single concern is the self-interest of states"

No, international law's single concern is the self-importance and enrichment of lawyers.

The Burma disaster shows again that we should not be part of the so-called 'United Nations'. We should be part of a Democratic Nations group and bomb any crap little regime that is causing trouble.

Manfarang said...

"their are a lot of them"
about 400,000 in the Burmese army.
The SAS cannot disguise themselves as Burmese as the Japanese sometimes did in WW2.
Ask your Burma Star friends about it.

Manfarang said...

"there" oops!

neil craig said...

Running foreign countries is not as easy as saying silly things in the leader columns or shadow cabinet meetings.

Burma is not one nation but a bunch of groups held together by the military. If we take over will we do so on the undying principle that we believe sub nations have a right to secede, even if it involves genocide (a principle we held over Yugoslavia, Darfur & Tibet), in which case we would have to run the place for years. Alternatively will we stand by our equally sincerely held undying prinicple that sub states should be prevented from seceding & state lines sacrosanct, even if it involves us supporting genocide (as we did in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Biafra, Georgia & Zimbabwe).

While it is a problem that those proposing this action have no answer to the question, the real problem is that the question never even gets asked before we keep invading these places & destroying them under the excuse of humanitarianism.