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The UK and Other Fantasies — Why Now?
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The UK and Other Fantasies

Avedon Carol of Sideshow highlights an excerpt from the novel Thud by Terry Pratchett. Like a lot of Pratchett’s novels about the fantasy Discworld, it might seem to ring true of problems that exist in this world.

It is fantasy, so you have to remember that Small Gods is not about religious fundamentalism and Jingo isn’t about neocon nutcases. They are humorous fantasy novels not satiric social commentary.

As long as we are taking about fantasy in the UK you might want read the interview with General the Lord Guthrie, who was Chief of the Defence Staff [US = Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] five years ago, that is in the Guardian: Afghanistan war is ‘cuckoo’, says Blair’s favourite general

The decision by Guthrie, an experienced Whitehall insider and Blair confidant, to go public is likely to alarm Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence more than the recent public criticism by the current army chief Sir Richard Dannatt. ‘Anyone who thought this was going to be a picnic in Afghanistan – anyone who had read any history, anyone who knew the Afghans, or had seen the terrain, anyone who had thought about the Taliban resurgence, anyone who understood what was going on across the border in Baluchistan and Waziristan [should have known] – to launch the British army in with the numbers there are, while we’re still going on in Iraq is cuckoo,’ Guthrie said.

In a unprecedented show of scepticism towards Blair, he said the Prime Minister’s promise to give the army ‘anything it wants’ was unrealistic. ‘I’m sure he meant what he said. He is not dishonest. But there is no way you can magic up trained Royal Air Force crews, or trained soldiers, quickly. You can’t magic up helicopters, because there aren’t any helicopters,’ said Guthrie, promoted from chief of army staff to become overall head of the military for Blair’s first term of office.

Guthrie said Britain was ‘reaping the whirlwind’ for assuming too great a ‘peace dividend’ after the Cold War and risks being ill-equipped for a whole new set of dangers.

I wonder if John McCain has read this?


1 Steve Bates { 10.31.06 at 2:08 pm }

Thanks for the link to Avedon’s post. The notion conveyed in that passage in Thud occurs in other novels involving Commander Vimes: that if you’d do a bad thing (or neglect to do a good thing) for a good reason, sooner or later you’d do the same for a bad reason. If I’m not mistaken, a similar notion is expressed in different words in the only book Dubya ever claims to read, but I suppose he missed that part.

McCain reportedly can and does read, but apparently he has given over anything he has learned by reading, in favor of the essence-of-sewer that comes out of the administration’s slime machine. There are none so blind as those who… who want too much to be president.

2 Bryan { 10.31.06 at 2:40 pm }

Like a lot of people, the Shrubbery would seem to have read the first 5 chapters and them skipped to the end to see what happened.

The Republican “base” that is so important in primary elections, corrupts the selection process and keeps a lot of reasonable people out of office.