it’s not hard to find out from the memoirs of the upper-class communist tariq ali, that all pakistani politicians are comically corrupt (because pakistan is yet another global-fascist colony, of course)

Arrest warrant issued for former Pakistani prime minister
Syed Raza Hassan, Reuters, Apr 27 2015

KARACHI – A Pakistani anti-corruption court on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, in a case alleging millions of dollars of graft in a trade development scheme, a security official said. The same day, another senior figure in the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was accused in court of financing terrorism after being arrested the previous day. The PPP accuses its enemies of waging a smear campaign through the courts. Gilani was prime minister in the PPP government from Mar 2008 until his disqualification and ouster by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Apr 2012. He is currently vice chairman of his party. The warrant was issued for Gilani and another senior party leader, Makhdoum Amin Fahim, according to Javed Akbar Riaz, an official with the Anti-Corruption Unit of the Federal Investigation Agency. The pair were ordered to appear before the court on Sep 10. Riaz said the agency had petitioned the court for the prosecution of Gilani and Fahim over their alleged approval and disbursement of hundreds of millions of dollars to fake companies through the government Trade and Development Authority. PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said the charges were politically motivated. He (actually, she – RB) told a news conference:

It seems like a revenge campaign is being carried out against the PPP.

Another prominent PPP figure appeared before an anti-terrorism court in Karachi on Thursday and ordered to be detained for 90 days. Court papers alleged Asim Hussain, a petroleum minister in the previous PPP-led government, had been involved in “terror and violence financing, misappropriation of funds for enhancing support for terrorism and other criminal activities.” The cases are the first of their kind against the PPP in a sweeping crackdown on violence and corruption spearheaded by the military this year. Critics accuse the military, which has a history of launching coups, of seeking to weaken the civilian political system in place since 2008. The military says the crackdown is necessary to break the cycle of corruption and violence in Karachi. It has so far targeted mostly opposition politicians, and not the ruling party of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

afaiac, the UN is a belligerent allied to pindostan and israel, and therefore should fuck off and shut up

Ban sets out framework for Syria poison gas investigation
Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, Aug 27 2015

Success of a new international inquiry aimed at assigning blame for chemical weapons attacks during Syria’s four-year-old civil war will require full cooperation of all warring parties, Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday. The remarks were included in a letter to the UNSC outlining his plans for an investigation into alleged gas attacks, to be conducted by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Ban said in the letter, seen by Reuters:

Success will depend on the full cooperation from all parties, including the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and other parties in Syria. (The aim is) to identify to the greatest extent feasible individuals, entities, groups, or governments who were perpetrators, organizers, sponsors or otherwise involved in the use of chemicals as weapons, including chlorine or any other toxic chemical.

Ban said the inquiry will be chaired by an asst sec-gen and two deputies. Earlier on Thursday he said in a statement:

Continuing reports of the use of chemical weapons, as well as the use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in the Syrian conflict are deeply disturbing.

He did not say who will chair the inquiry. Ban’s letter is in response to the Aug 7 UNSCR calling for an investigation. The UNSC is expected to respond to Ban within five days. The investigation will have a one-year, renewable mandate. Ban was asked to set up the investigation after Pindostan struck a deal with Russia. Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 in a bid to avoid Pindo military strikes threatened over a sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians. The OPCW has since found chlorine has been “systematically and repeatedly” used as a weapon, though it is not mandated to lay blame. A separate UN investigation had previously determined that sarin gas was used repeatedly in Syria to deadly effect, but that inquiry was also barred from assigning blame.

russia under putin is too chickenshit to supply anything to anybody

Report: Russia-Iran disagreement holding up S-300 deal
Ariel Ben Solomon (oh, please – RB), JPost, Aug 27 2015

Negotiations for Russia to supply Iran with the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system hit a snag over Russia’s demand that Iran end its lawsuit for failure to deliver the system under a previous contract. The talks over a new contract are ongoing, but the two countries are still unable to agree on how to proceed regarding Iran’s lawsuit, a source in the Russian military-technical cooperation establishment told the state-run TASS news agency in a report published on Wednesday evening. The source said:

Consultations are in progress. A final agreement has not been reached yet. Iran says it will revoke the lawsuit regarding the previous contract when it gets the first batch of products under the new one, while Russia insists the lawsuit should be revoked before it takes any action under the newly concluded deal. However, Russia is firm in its decision to supply Iran with the air defense system. A compromise could be reached where delivery and cancellation of the lawsuit could occur simultaneously.

Vyacheslav Davidenko, spokesman for Russia’s state-owned arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport, declined to comment. Russia and its state media have made numerous statements regarding the sale or delay of the delivery of the S-300 system over the years. The often contradicting reports appear to be a propaganda operation that changes according to the country’s political interests. Yuri Teper, an ‘expert on Russia’ from ‘Ariel University’ (a right-wing crank from a West Bank settlement – RB), told the JPost on Thursday:

This is a game that two can play. From time to time, the Iranians are the ones who make declarations on the S-300, I guess to pressure the Russians and Pindostan.

Teper said a day earlier:

Russians are known for making a lot of fuss about very little or unfinished deals, as happened with their energy deal with the Chinese. (not like the jews huh – RB).

Iran would sign a contract with Russia this week to buy four S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, the Iranian defense minister said last week. Russian state arms producer Almaz-Antey in June said it would supply Iran with a modernized version of the S-300, among the world’s most capable air defense systems, once a commercial agreement was reached. In 2010, under Western pressure, Russia suspended a 2007 agreement to sell five S-300 batteries to Iran under a contract then reported to be worth some $800m.

one would like to know who the ‘senior diplomat’ responsible for all this is

Iran may have built extension at disputed site: IAEA
Shadia Nasralla, Reuters, Aug 27 2015

Iran appears to have built an extension to part of its Parchin military site since May, the IAEA said in a report on Thursday, as part of its inquiry into possible military dimensions of Tehran’s past nuclear activity. A resolution of the IAEA’s Parchin file, which includes a demand for fresh IAEA access to the site, is a symbolically important issue that could help make or break Tehran’s Jul 14 nuclear deal with six world powers. The confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters, said:

Since previous report, at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment, and probable construction materials. In addition, a small extension to an existing building.

The changes were first observed last month, a senior diplomat familiar with the Iran file said. The IAEA says any activities Iran has undertaken at Parchin since UN inspectors last visited in 2005 could jeopardize its ability to verify Western intelligence suggesting Tehran carried out tests there relevant to nuclear bomb detonations more than a decade ago. Iran has dismissed the intelligence as fabricated. Under a “road map” accord Iran reached with the IAEA parallel to its deal with the P5+1, it is required to give the IAEA enough information about its past nuclear activity to allow it to write a report on the long vexed issue by year’s end. The new IAEA report said:

Full and timely implementation of the relevant parts of the road-map is essential to clarify issues relating to this location at Parchin.

According to data given to the IAEA by some member states (sic – RB), Parchin might have housed hydrodynamic experiments to assess how specific materials react under high pressure, such as in a nuclear blast. The senior diplomat said:

We cannot know or speculate what’s in the building. It’s something we will technically clarify over the course of the year.

The report said the extended building was not the one that some countries suspect has housed the controversial experiments. Reza Najafi, Iran’s envoy to the agency, was quoted by ISNA news agency as saying:

It’s funny that the IAEA claims there has been a small extension to a building. Iran doesn’t need to ask for the IAEA’s permission to do construction work on its sites.

Iran has for years been accused of stonewalling the IAEA inquiry into “possible military dimensions” (PMD) of its nuclear project. But the Islamic Republic delivered on a pledge under the “road map” to turn over more information by Aug 15. The IAEA report said the agency was still reviewing the PMD information Iran had provided. Amano said on Tuesday the information was substantive, but it was too early to say whether any of it was new. The success of the deal between Iran and the powers will hinge on IAEA verification of Iranian compliance. The agency has come under pressure for not publishing its “road map” agreement with Tehran, especially from Pindosi Congress critturs who will hold a critical vote next month on whether to ratify the deal with the P5+1. Amano last week rejected as a misrepresentation suggestions from hawkish critics of the nuclear accord that the IAEA had quietly agreed to allow Iran to inspect sections of Parchin on its behalf.

‘dubious’ is a rather absurd understatement

A Dubious Deal with the NSA
Yassin Musharbash, Die Zeit, Aug 26 2015

The agents from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, were deeply impressed. They wanted to be able to do that too. On Oct 6 2011, employees of the NSA were in the Bavarian town of Bad Aibling to demonstrate all that the spy software XKeyscore could do. To make the demonstration as vivid as possible, the Pindosis fed data into their program that the BfV had itself collected during a warranted eavesdropping operation. An internal memo shows how enthusiastic the German intelligence agents were: Analyzing data with the help of the software, the memo reads in awkward officialese, resulted in “a high recognition of applications used, Internet applications and protocols.” And in the data, XKeyscore was able to “recognize, for example, Hotmail, Yahoo or Facebook. It was also able to identify user names and passwords.” In other words, it was highly effective. It was far beyond the capabilities of the BfV’s own system. In response, then-BfV President Heinz Fromm made a formal request five months later to his Pindo counterpart, General Keith Alexander, for the software to be made available to the German intelligence agency. It would, he wrote, superbly complement the current capabilities for monitoring and analyzing Internet traffic.

But fully a year and a half would pass before a test version of XKeyscore could begin operating at the BfV facility in the Treptow neighborhood of Berlin. It took that long for the two agencies to negotiate an agreement that regulated the transfer of the software in detail and which defined the rights and obligations of each side. The Apr 2013 document called “Terms of Reference,” which Die Zeit has been able to review, is more than enlightening. It shows for the first time what Germany’s domestic intelligence agency promised their Pindo counterparts in exchange for the use of the coveted software program. The paper reads:

The BfV will: To the maximum extent possible share all data relevant to NSA’s mission.

Such was the arrangement: data in exchange for software. It was a good deal for the BfV. Being given the software was a “proof of trust,” one BfV agent exulted. Another called XKeyscore a “cool system.” Politically and legally, however, the accord is extremely delicate. Nobody outside of the BfV oversees what data is sent to the NSA in accordance with the “Terms of Reference,” a situation that remains unchanged today. Neither Germany’s data protection commissioner nor the Parliamentary Control Panel, which is responsible for oversight of the BfV, has been fully informed about the deal. Green Party parliamentarian Hans-Christian Ströbele, who is a member of the Parliamentary Control Panel, complains:

Once again, I have to learn from the press of a new BfV-NSA contract and of the impermissible transfer of data to the Pindosi secret service.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, for its part, insists that it has adhered strictly to the law. The data in question is regularly part of the approved surveillance measures carried out by the BfV. In contrast, for example, to the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BfV does not use a dragnet to collect huge volumes of data from the Internet. Rather, it is only allowed to monitor individual suspects in Germany, and only after a special parliamentary commission has granted approval. Because such operations necessarily imply the curtailing of rights guaranteed by Article 10 of Germany’s constitution, they are often referred to as G-10 measures.

Targeted surveillance measures are primarily intended to turn up the content of specific conversations, in the form of emails, telephone exchanges or faxes. But along the way, essentially as a side effect, the BfV also collects mass quantities of so-called metadata. Whether the collection of this data is consistent with the restrictions outlined in Germany’s surveillance laws is a question that divides legal experts. Well-respected constitutional lawyers are of the opinion that intelligence agencies are not allowed to analyze metadata as they see fit. The agencies themselves, naturally, have a different view. It is clear, after all, that metadata also enables interesting conclusions to be drawn about the behavior of those under surveillance and their contacts, just as, in the analog world, the sender and recipient written on an envelope can also be revealing, even if the letter inside isn’t read. Those who know such data can identify communication networks and establish movement and behavioral profiles of individuals. Prior to 2013, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency was only able to analyze metadata by hand, and as a result, it was rarely done. But that changed once the agency received XKeyscore. The version of the software obtained by the BfV is unable to collect data on the Internet itself, but it is able to rapidly analyze the huge quantities of metadata that the agency has already automatically collected. That is why XKeyscore is beneficial to the BfV. And, thanks to the deal, that benefit is one that extends to the NSA.

In practice, it assumedly works as follows: When an Islamist (sic – RB) who is under surveillance by the BfV regularly receives calls from Afghanistan, for example, then the telephone number is likely exactly the kind of information that is forwarded on to the NSA. That alone is not necessarily cause for concern; after all, combating terrorism is the goal of intelligence agency cooperation. But nobody outside of the BfV knows whose data, and how much of it, is being shared with the NSA. Nobody can control the practicalities of the data exchange. And it is completely unclear where political responsibility lies. In 2013 alone, the BfV began 58 new G-10 measures and continued 46 others from the previous year. Who was targeted? What information was passed on to the NSA? Was information pertaining to German citizens also shared? When confronted with such questions, the BfV merely responded:

The BfV is unable to publicly comment on the particulars of the cooperation or on the numbers of data collection operations.

How important XKeyscore has become for the BfV can also be seen elsewhere. Not long ago, the website published classified budget plans for 2013 which included the information that the BfV intended to create 75 new positions for the “mass data analysis of Internet content.” 75 new positions is a significant amount for any government agency. A new division called 3C was to uncover movement profiles and contact networks and to process raw data collected during G-10 operations. The name XKeyscore does not appear in the documents published by But it is reasonable to suspect that the new division was established to deploy the new surveillance software. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency is itself also aware of just how sensitive its deal with the Pindosis is. Back in Jul 2012, a BfV division warned that even the tests undertaken with XKeyscore could have “far-reaching legal implications.” To determine the extent of the software’s capabilities, the division warned, employees would have to be involved who didn’t have the appropriate security clearance to view the data used in the tests. The BfV has declined to make a statement on how, or whether, the problem was solved. Germany’s data protection commissioner was apparently not informed. Peter Schaar, who was data protection commissioner at the time, says:

I knew nothing about such an exchange deal. I am also hearing for the first time about a test with real data. I first learned that BfV was using XKeyscore after I asked of my own accord, in 2013, in the wake of the revelations from Edward Snowden.

Schaar is of the opinion that the agency was obliged to inform him. Because real data was used during the tests, Schaar says, it constituted data processing. The BfV, by contrast, is of the opinion that the use of XKeyscore has to be controlled solely by the G-10 commission. It is a question that has long been the source of contention. In testimony before the parliamentary investigative committee that is investigating NSA activities in Germany, Schaar has demanded that the G-10 law be more clearly formulated, to remove the ambiguity. The fact that the BfV recognized the problems with its NSA cooperation can be seen elsewhere in the files as well. During the negotiations over the XKeyscore deal, the BfV noted:

Certain NSA requests … cannot be met, insofar as German law prevents it.

But the Pindosis insisted that the software finally be “used productively.” The NSA wants “working results,” the German agents noted. There is, they wrote, apparently “high internal pressure” to receive information from the Germans. Ultimately, the BfV arrived at the conclusion that transferring information obtained with the help of XKeyscore to the NSA was consistent with German law. Insights gathered by way of G-10 operations were already being “regularly” shared with “foreign partner agencies.” That, at least, is what the BfV declared to the German Interior Ministry in Jan 2014. Furthermore, the agency declared, a special legal expert would approve each data transfer. That, it seems, was enough oversight from the perspective of the BfV. The agency apparently only partially informed its parliamentarian overseers about the deal. The Parliamentary Control Panel learned that the BfV had received XKeyscore software and had begun using it. But even this very general briefing was only made after the panel had explicitly asked following the Snowden revelations. Green Party parliamentarian Ströbele says:

The deal between the intelligence agencies is undoubtedly an ‘occurrence of particular import,’ about which, according to German law, the German government must provide sufficient information of its own accord.

He intends to bring the issue before the Parliamentary Control Panel. The NSA investigative committee in German parliament will surely take a closer look as well.

it isn’t necessarily that AI & HRW are selective which countries they cover; it may just be that when they report as here, everyone agrees to completely ignore them, and it doesn’t matter

HRW urges coalition to stop using cluster bombs in Yemen
AFP, Aug 27 2015

DUBAI – HRW on Thursday urged the Saudi-led coalition battling Iran-backed rebels in Yemen to stop using cluster munitions, saying it had uncovered new evidence of their devastating impact. The NY-based watchdog said dozens of civilians were killed or wounded in at least seven such apparent attacks in the north-western province of Hajja between late April and mid-July. HRW researcher Ole Solvang said:

Cluster munitions are adding to the terrible civilian toll in Yemen’s conflict. Coalition forces should immediately stop using these weapons and join the treaty banning them.

HRW said its researchers had visited four of the alleged attack sites and found unexploded submunitions or remnants of cluster munition rockets. It said:

Although the evidence is not definitive, several factors indicate that the Saudi-led coalition carried out the seven attacks.

It said it had identified the weapons used in the seven attacks, which struck within 19 km of the Saudi-Yemeni border, as Pindostan-made M26 cluster munition rockets. Mohammad al-Marzuqi, a resident from the village of Malus, was quoted as saying:

I saw a bomb exploding in the air and pouring out many smaller bombs. Then an explosion threw me on the floor. I lost consciousness and somebody transferred me to the hospital with burns and wounds on the heels of the feet and fragmentation wounds on the left side of my body.

HRW joined other rights groups urging the UNHRC to form an international commission of inquiry to investigate “alleged serious laws-of-war violations by all parties to the armed conflict in Yemen since Sep 2014,” when Iran-backed rebels (sic – RB) overran the capital, Sana’a. Rights groups have repeatedly criticized alleged violations by the coalition as well as the rebels and pro-government forces during the war that, according to UN figures, has killed nearly 4,500 people since March, many of them civilians (sic – RB).

the absurd thing about this is, he never makes it clear whether he is addressing everyone (which is pointless) or the ruling class alone (which would make some sense)

Simon Jenkins is a former editor of the Times and the London Evening Standard, currently a columnist for the Graun and as here, the Spectator. Clearly a survivor, then – RB

Here we go again: the drumbeat for sending troops back to Iraq has begun
Simon Jenkins, Spectator, Aug 29 2015


Is it going to happen again? Will the next 12 months really see western armies return to Iraq? Last year was meant to signal an end to wars of intervention that dominated the world stage at the turn of the 21st century, attacks by powerful western states mostly against weak Muslim ones. It was assumed that Washington and London would draw a curtain over the most shambolic foreign policy adventures of modern times. The West would stop trying to reconfigure political Islam. Troops would return to base. Obama and Cameron were emphatic: ‘No more boots on foreign soil.’ As Cameron told Parliament last year after being stopped from intervening in Syria, ‘I get it.’ Yet the old tic, the twitch to intervene, has not gone away. Last October, despite his Commons rebuff, Cameron told his party conference that ISIS was ‘a danger to Europe’ which he could not ignore. ‘There is no walk-on-by option,’ he said, though he did then walk on by. Since then he has plundered the lexicon for adjectives to hurl at ISIS: vile, loathsome, evil, inhuman, odious. Like Tony Blair and George Bush, he sees terrorism as an ideology rather than a form of coercion. To him the Tunisian beach murders last June were said oddly to pose ‘an existential threat to Britain.’

Following his spring election victory, Cameron let it be known that he wanted Parliament to reverse its vote on Syria. It was then revealed that British pilots had been secretly involved in bombing Syria all along, in defiance of Parliament. Cameron was unrepentant. Like Blair, he craves covert liaison with Washington in matters of war and peace. Britain’s leaders are at least consistent in their military adventurism. Pindostan is whimsical. It is hard now to recall Bush’s 2000 election rhetoric against what he and his aide Condoleezza Rice dismissed as wimpish ‘humanitarianism’ and ‘nation-building’. Blair was ridiculed for his interventionism. The world was not Pindostan’s business. The Somalia fiasco of 1993 was enough. There would be no more of the ‘101st Airborne leading kids to school.’ 9/11 reversed all that. Bush became a born-again crusader and initiated an era of shock and awe which, by 2014, had engulfed the Muslim world from Pakistan to the Sahara. Governments were undermined or toppled, fuelling a fierce Islamist backlash, leading in turn to a refugee flood on a scale not seen since the 1940s.

By the time Bush left office, the Iraq and Afghanistan expeditions were widely discredited. I have counted some 200 books on them, barely one of which rates them with favour. The end was signalled by Obama’s 2008 election and his popular promise to bring troops home. Even the growth of Sunni militancy under Isis did not see an interventionist revival. Over the course of 2014 polls showed a solid 55% of Pindosis against ‘boots on the ground’. Muslims should look after their own. In the past year that has totally changed. The lame duck Obama has had to send forces to support the helpless armies of Baghdad and Kabul. He wages a token air war against ISIS-held territory that he is in no position to occupy or govern. Trapped by his military-industrial lobbyists into launching drone attacks across the region, he seems oblivious of the aid they offer ISIS recruitment. Iraq has now secured pride of place in the forthcoming Pindosi presidential election. Last year’s polls have gone into reverse, with more than half of recent Pew and Rasmussen surveys now in favour of a ground war against ISIS. The latest CNN poll put Donald Trump well ahead of his rivals, with double the support offered Jeb Bush largely as he is seen as the candidate ‘to best handle ISIS.’

The defining feature of the wars of intervention was media-induced mission creep. Each tended to start with sanctions and bombing, ‘intervention lite.’ These were the fool’s gold of intervention. Subsequent Pentagon assessments of bombing campaigns were highly critical of their contribution to any strategic goal. Bombs tend to entrench a regime and draw people behind it. They are highly destructive, making it hard to restore administration afterwards. The past year’s bombing of ISIS has reinforced its claim as champion of Islam’s defiance of the West, clouding its role in the Sunni war against the Shi’a. The longer ISIS holds power across Sunni Iraq and Syria, the more its neighbours will move towards accommodation. The question now is: how long can London and Washington tolerate weekly ISIS atrocity videos? The western media lacks any self-restraint in publicising them, such that ISIS is said to regard them as a far more potent way of drawing attention to itself than the occasional act of terrorism. The clear objective is to goad the West into sending armies back to the desert and renewed entrapment. Nothing has changed since Gladstone was browbeaten into sending Gordon to disaster in Khartoum.

Pindosi election candidates are responding as if on cue. Every one wants to take on ISIS. Jeb Bush, hounded by Trump, declared last week that ‘the world is slipping out of control.’ Only he could safely restore it. Hillary Clinton has attacked Obama’s plea that ‘We don’t do stupid’ as ‘not an organising principle.’ She demands that he ‘fill the vacuum,’ whatever that means. ISIS cannot pose any serious threat to any western state, yet the media is happy to accept politicians who pretend it does. Eisenhower’s ‘military–industrial complex’ should today be renamed the military–industrial-media one. For all the condemnation of Blair over Iraq, it should be remembered that every daily paper (except the Mirror) supported his call for force, including initially the Guardian. In Pindostan, Fox News is hugely influential in setting the foreign policy agenda. It reincarnates Randolph Hearst’s belief that wars were good for circulation, retorting to a journalist who doubted there would be war over Cuba, ‘You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war,’ which he did. From another round of atrocities, it is a short step to transport jets roaring over Lakenheath air base and new carpets in Baghdad’s Camp Liberty.

There is little appetite in Britain for a return to Iraq. In the Commons last month, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon asserted, ‘Britain will not send ground forces into Iraq or Syria, because it will be used by ISIS as anti-western propaganda.’ He failed to explain why this did not apply to British pilots. But every British deployment in the wars of intervention began with similar denials of mission creep. Cameron has been making it very hard for Britain not to join a Pindosi reoccupation force. In none of the wars of intervention was there any plausible casus belli, beyond the presence on television of ‘bad guys’. Kosovo was said to be humanitarian, but was effectively a war of partition. Afghanistan was punitive, but mutated into ‘rebuilding’ a nation. Britain’s Clare Short was even flown out to eradicate the opium crop. Iraq was claimed as a matter of ‘Britain’s national security,’ but in reality was a simple decapitation of a dictator. Libya was ‘to avert a Srebrenica in Benghazi,’ but soon changed into taking one side in a civil war, probably the wrong one. I can find no truth to the left-wing claim that the wars were about securing oil. Even the most evil oil regime has to sell oil, and we have to buy it. Nor were the victim states significant harbours of terrorism. Most countries are that in some shape or form.

In Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq it was only boots on the ground that altered the outcome, for good or ill. But the longer the boots stayed, the more likely was defeat, either in battle or in failing to resolve the anarchy that followed victory. ‘Wars among the peoples’ are rarely won by outsiders. The conservative Pindosi Cato institute ran a regular analysis of the wars and their outcomes. It reached a clear conclusion. They were all wars of choice. The selected enemies ‘posed no existential threat to any western state.’ Attempts to rebuild them proved ‘extremely costly, most of them fail and most erode Pindosi power.’ The war in Iraq alone was estimated to have cost three trillion dollars. Yet war still has the best tunes. Until the end Suez was popular in Britain, Vietnam in Pindostan. Foreign adventures have long appealed to insecure leaders. Callaghan said privately he was mortified that ‘I never had a Falklands.’ During Libya, Cameron yearned for a chance to play Henry V, with the help of his interventionist foreign policy aide, Ed Llewellyn. He still dives for his COBRA bunker at the slightest whiff of cordite and emerges speaking cod Churchill. Those who have no experience of war seem to crave it. But Iraq, again? It is hardly to be believed. Must we join Kipling and watch as ‘the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire’?