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Iraq Inquiry

11.01.2006

The want an inquiry into Iraq, let me just save them a little bit of effort.


"The high commanders, drawn from the aristocracy could never prepare for modern war. The have always clung to obsolete methods and weapons because they inevitably saw each war as a repetition of the last. Before the Boer war they prepared for the Zulu war, before 1914 for the Boer war and before our present war for 1914. Event at this moment, hundreds of thousands of english men are being trained with a bayonet, a weapon entirely useless except for opening tins"
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn, 1941.

One could fairly suspect little has changed and that the US could be just as bad.

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  1. Anonymous Adam | 6:32 p.m. |  

    Orwell is generally an extremely capable analyst of all things political; I'd hate to think what his prediction for the world would be like if he was writing today.

  2. Blogger Cian | 12:32 a.m. |  

    The above book is a gem, its him at his most enigmatic. Of the left and yet so immensely capable of criticising the left.

    I reckon he, like us, would look on bemused at this mess and wonder what has changed.

  3. Blogger Kevin Breathnach | 7:20 p.m. |  

    Is The Lion and the Unicorn a book in its own right? I've only stumbled upon it while thumbing through his (Complete?) Essays in Hodges Figgis. You seem pretty well read when it comes to Orwell; certainly not the worst writer to be well read in. Shame I probably can't say the same for myself. (Being well read in Orwell, not you being well read in me; I'm not yet that arrogant.)

  4. Blogger Cian | 8:24 p.m. |  

    Ah kevin you are a scream. Im interested in orwell to be sure, he is relevant today as ever for his clear thinking and uncompromising commitment to social liberalism and economic equlity. Its nice to read someone who believes in it and can write it well. Some modern political writing is awful since every college wants it published yesterday. A man like orwell is hard to find.

    His complete essays ive yet to embark on. Though it is there that he makes his best arguments i hear. Currently trying to work through his novels (though admittedly i do tend to flick in and out while reading something else).

    I picked up the lion and unicorn as a penguin with introduction from bernard crick in a book sale for E2. Nice.

  5. Blogger Kevin Breathnach | 11:32 p.m. |  

    That is indeed a bargain, but with Orwell, I can better that: Burmese Days, Trinity Book Sale, 20 cent. If only I had the initiative to make my way through the many, many books I bought that day.

    It really is incredible how relevant Orwell can - and does - remain. I've been trying to get my hands on a copy of Hitchens' Why Orwell Matters for a while now, I fear I will be forced to either order it or settle for a library copy. It is, I think, Orwell's independence of mind and intellectual honesty that has sustained him, and while Hitchens is ambiguous on the latter, on the former he succeeds. In my view, anyway. And so, the book would appear at least partially worthy.

    Started Political Philosophy, by the way. Duties of Perfect Obligation is, I think, exactly what the Disillusioned Lefties have been banging on about for so long. Not to imply, however, that I'm a utilitarian; I feel it will be long, very long, before I decide on that issue. Still, the theoretical political groupings are a lot more attractive than the practical political groupings. To me, in any case.

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