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Stop Blair! - the lamest of rebuttals from the WSJE

by Cyrille Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 06:27:27 AM EST

Right, that just about does it. The Wall Street Journal Europe breaks even the lowest standards of journalism in its apology of Blair. Let's go through it, and bring your noseclip.

Tony Blair is being tipped as a candidate for the new post of EU Council President, and suddenly it's 2003 all over again.

Mr. Blair's sin is his alliance with the U.S. in the Iraq war. His detractors want Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and the EU's other national leaders, who choose the Council President, to pass over the most successful politician of his generation

How do they measure that? In terms of number of front pages in the Sun? It seems that the things he had allegedly at heart failed to go forward much (in particular, making the UK more integrated into the EU, or reducing poverty, or solving the problems with the pension system). Pushing David Kelly to suicide and then blaming the BBC (successfully getting their heads too) worked better, though.

and one of the most eloquent advocates of the fight against Islamic terrorism

Uh? I am yet to see any European leader backing Islamic terrorism. In fact, seeing how unanimously it is condemned by the populations, one may wonder whether an eloquent advocate of a fight against it really is needed, unless there could be a risk that the issue could be seen as not the only one to care about, and fail to completely offset trivial things like inequality or a dangerously shaky economy.

However, not all leaders are advocate of calling this fight, and treating it like, a war. In fact, those "eloquente advocates" may not be the most effective -it seems that countries occupying Iraq are far more likely to find terrorism happen to them. I wonder why.

for the leader of tiny Luxembourg

I didn't realise that we were choosing a country. Can you not achieve any sort of status if you come from a small country? Hell, Blair worships the pope yet Vatican is way smaller than Luxembourg isn't it?

It's a curious time to renew the Iraq debate, just as the U.S. surge has put al Qaeda on the defensive and allowed for slow but sure political progress in Baghdad. Events on the ground make the antiwar crowd's narrative of a "disastrous" invasion less plausible almost daily.

REALLY? I keep reading about suicide bombers. How many were there in 2002? Or Iraqi civilian casualties from the war -apparently now topping a million. Or a conspicuous absence of WMD (remember them?). As for the oh so stable politics that such invasions are likely to bring, you do know about the Afghan journalist that is condemned to death for downloading and sharing an article criticising the obligation for women to be veiled?

So it's compensating by repeating its claims of catastrophe until the public believes they're true. Mr. Blair's potential candidacy -- he hasn't yet declared whether he will stand -- provides an excuse to keep trying.

Sure. Blair's potential candidacy must be the reason that the Iraq quagmire is seen increasingly negatively in the US -they are known to be so fixated on all things EU! They can't take their eyes off the Blair potential candidacy for a post that does not yet exist!

Leading the people's revolt against Mr. Blair is the European Tribune. The Web site this week launched a petition in 13 of the EU's 23 official languages, with the aim of collecting one million anti-Blair signatures. (By yesterday afternoon they were rocketing toward 5,000, with much support from "Anonymous.")

Well, it hasn't exactly been online for long has it? And as for the Anonymous thing, how do you spell disingenuous? Oh, that's it, disingenuous. People may choose not to publish their names, but they are checked as seperate individuals all the same.

I can't believe such an article can even be written. What a world.

I do hope they had the simple good manners to provide a link or url? Or is the absence of those things from the diary an indication of a similar absence in the quoted article?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 08:14:50 AM EST
They did not provide a link in the article, which you can find here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120243419699852525.html?mod=opinion_main_europe_asia

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 09:02:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tried to post this comment in their forum but it has not appeared...

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:01 am Post subject: Re: Blocking Blair

Really not surprising reaction coming from the most Bush Iraq-invasion-committed US neo-con dominated medium!

Perhaps, TWSJ should concentrate on what they know best: Wall Street, and leave us in Europe to determine what we should do about ex-10 Downing Street tenant Tony Blair ?

Oh, but thanks for the publicity anyway for http://stopblair.eu/ !

by The3rdColumn on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 09:07:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Too late - didn't see that they wanted full name no initials, etc. from commenters.
by The3rdColumn on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 09:09:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a world.

It's the WSJ's.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 03:28:59 PM EST
I figure we should write some kind of response for their comments section. How about something like this:


A few pointers on netiquette

The internet as a media platform is distinct in several ways from the more traditional print media, to such an extent that stylistic choices that are valid on one platform should not necessarily be carried over to another. Hence, the evolution of a number of rules of thumb regarding online publishing which have been summarised as 'netiquette.' There are, in particular, three aspects of netiquette that seem pertinent to this column:

  1. If you write something about someone - doubly so if said something can be construed as disparaging - it is considered polite to furnish the reader with a link to the subject of your writings, so said reader can judge for himself whether you present the subject's position fairly. The relevant links in this case are http://www.stopblair.eu and http://www.eurotrib.com

  2. If you claim that a paper from the peer-reviewed literature has been refuted, it is considered a strike against your credibility when you fail to furnish the reader with a reference to the paper in question and a reference (preferably a direct link) to a few of the more convincing rebuttals available. Unfortunately, I cannot furnish the reader with such a link myself, as I have yet to see a convincing rebuttal of the [i]Lancet[/i] study.

  3. When commenting on a multitude of distinct subject who express similar but not identical views, it is commonly considered ethically questionable to fail to distinguish between such subjects. Furthermore, to first paraphrase one identified subject and then move on to disparage the views of some amorphous group of unidentified people who are alleged to hold similar but not quite identical views, raises some concern that the inattentive reader might mistake the latter for the former, thus ascribing to people views that they do not, in fact, favour.

It is not, of course, reasonable to hold up violations of netiquette by established print media as evidence of duplicity or lack of ethics. After all, in the world of print media, hyperlinks and urls are both impractical and distracting, and traditionally print media has concerned itself mostly with public figures from whom clarifications on ambiguities are easily obtained.

However, the online branches of said established print media would, in my considered opinion, be wise to concern themselves with netiquette so that casual readers who know them chiefly or solely for their online work do not mistake the stylistic foibles of print media for duplicity and thus erroneously come to the conclusion that the publishing house in question hews to dubious ethical standards in its craft.

In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that I am associated with both the European Tribune and the StopBlair project, although I have financial involvement in neither.


I tried to strike a tone of 'caustically polite' and I like to think I've succeeded pretty well :-P

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 03:54:46 PM EST
to Number 2 I'd add thatthey seem to have missed the Ministry of defences chief scientific advisors comments

BBC NEWS | Politics | Iraqi deaths survey 'was robust'

The British government was advised against publicly criticising a report estimating that 655,000 Iraqis had died due to the war, the BBC has learnt.

Iraqi Health Ministry figures put the toll at less than 10% of the total in the survey, published in the Lancet.

But the Ministry of Defence's chief scientific adviser said the survey's methods were "close to best practice" and the study design was "robust".

Another expert agreed the method was "tried and tested".

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 08:19:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Close to best practise is also what I gathered from the blogosphere.

But I'm not trying to make the case for the Lancet's report. I'd be trying to make the cranks make a case against it, because, frankly, I see no need to spend time finding thoughtful arguments against an unsupported assertion. If you go down that road, the cranks can engage in a Gish Gallop, making shit up as they go along, and you'll be left trying to refute every little detail - ceding control of the direction of the conversation.

The cranks made a claim about the state and nature of the peer-reviewed literature, and I say that if we engage them over it, we refuse to treat them as mature adults until they have backed it up. They have no claim on our time and effort as long as they're making shit up as they go along.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 9th, 2008 at 02:51:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a historical anecdote about a conversation between Kurchatov (father of Russian atomic program) and Lavrenti Beria (last chief of Stalin's secret police, who was personally responsible for the bomb project). When Beria tried to teach Kurchatov how do deal with some program, he got an answer: "We didn't read each other's scientific papers, but, I am afraid, for different reasons".
by Sargon on Sat Feb 9th, 2008 at 10:15:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
one could question other things leading up to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Given the explosion of 911 truth clearly the "attack" on the world trade center had nothing whatsoever to do with a needed war
  1. To restore the drug output of Afghanistan
  2. To secure business profits.
Any word on depleted uranium and Iraq's cancer rates?

Is England a Muslim country yet?  There was this "debate" over here featured on RedNeck right wing radio about sharia law for English Muslims.

Alternate media here is also touting England as surveillance central, much like here.

One would think Faux News bought the WSJ.

by Lasthorseman on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 08:43:26 PM EST
Oh the Uk is surveilance central, but in its own slapdash, half assed way.  Picture quality is poor in large parts of the network, and not all of the cameras are either being actively monitored or recorded.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 08:58:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How more anonymous can the cowards get than behind an editorial?  Did you see the forum comment from MIT´s John Tirman?


That´s a big bang of reality for them.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Feb 9th, 2008 at 01:40:55 PM EST
Iraq: the Human Cost

This site explores an aspect of the war in Iraq that has been largely ignored - the human cost of the war for Iraqis.

Conventional wisdom in American politics focuses only on American casualties even then, only military losses, and discounts or ignores the scale of suffering of the Iraqi people themselves. We include on this site resources and studies of human insecurity in Iraq.  

John Tirman, Executive Director, MIT Center for International Studies

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Feb 9th, 2008 at 02:15:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I forgot to note that similarly dismissive words were spoken by Dennis McShane, Blair's minister for European Affairs and hatchet man, during the discussion on BBC radio to which i was conveyed and where I barely spoke (because Malcolm Rifkind, the senior tory, unexpected showed up).

The critical articles by Balladur and Giscard about Blair were dismissed by McShane as "a long forgotten prime minister" and "irrelevant" (or something similar) with no real comment on the substance.

Ad hominems.


His detractors want Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and the EU's other national leaders, who choose the Council President, to pass over the most successful politician of his generation, and one of the most eloquent advocates of the fight against Islamic terrorism, for the leader of tiny Luxembourg.

Maybe the EU is not about "the fight about Islamic terorrism"?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Feb 9th, 2008 at 02:20:51 PM EST
And maybe if the president of the United States came out of Rhode Island the same sneering numskulls would find that a proof of the superiority of Murkan democracy?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 9th, 2008 at 03:15:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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