Friday, March 30, 2007


In today's Independent Robert Fisk quotes Shakespeare, alluding to the present state of war by digging up relevant observations from the past. Fisk chooses a scene in which a soldier has committed a crime, for which Henry IV deems he must pay with his life. A friend tries to intervene with the line: " Let gallows gape for a dog, let man go free/And let not hemp his wind-pipe suffocate."

Last year a certain Mr. Hussein's wind-pipe was indeed suffocated by hemp, when he was taken out to ride the 'hemp-horse'. But his death did not bring the peace we need. Blood was spilled, as indeed he spilled it when he was Saddam I, but it was only a trickle added to the rivers of it that now run in Iraq.

And now there may be red tides in Iran, with Russian intelligence stating that George III, or as the French might pronounce it, George 'the turd', has planned to invade Iran on 6 April. An impossible move, and anyone discussing this with me in the last 5 years has pointed out that it cannot happen, it would be too stupid. Oh, but thou knowest not the depth of stupidity of George the turd. Then again, no one thought Adolf I would invade Poland, get Hungary, break China and swallow Turkey. He had a large appetite, and it wasn't hemp seeds he was eating; nor is George.

Fisk looks into more of Bill Shakespeare's works and finds a common thread, that of the common man left dead on the battlefield whilst rulers dress in silk. Can we but not learn from history?

As a high school student, I remember praying for the 144 hostages in the US, captured by Iranian rebels, who were later freed by diplomacy. That was a national obsession, and lots of yellow ribbons were left hagning on old oak trees. Now, 15 British sailors have captured the attention of the US and the UK by being captured by and, if we believe Iran, in Iran.

But where they were exactly is trifling. We hope they are set free soon, and then we need to turn our attention to firing the employees who have set us on the dangerous, yet profitable (for themselves) course of war in the Middle East. Even for the 144 hostages of the '70s no one was about to go to war, but then George III was a mere lad, evading duty on the air force base, or bravely defending the skies of Texas, whichever version you want to believe. Now he is in the cockpit and the plane looks like it is heading into WWIII. The world may burn, and there is nowhere to jump if it does.

He, and his lap dog Tony, are our servants; we need to fire them, and sooner rather than later. Then we can get our 15 sailors back, sort out the mess that Bush made of Iraq, and turn our attention to pressing matters, like using biofuels and stopping pesticide use. We can grow hemp for both of these purposes, and the little bit left over might well make for a tie around the necks of certain dangerous criminals.

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