No, not a new buddy-cop movie starring Jim Belushi and Chevy Chase. Instead it’s two blog memes. Well, not quite. Well, kind of. They both arrive from Justin over at Chicken Yoghurt who — despite his protestations — appears to enjoy blog memes as much as any 14-year-old Livejournalist. The fact that I’m running with these memes does not, of course, make any similar comment about me.
First up, nice chap that he is, Justin has bestowed a ‘thogger‘ upon me. This means — apparently — that I write a “thought-provoking” blog. Which is about as much as any blogger can ask for. I don’t make any such claims about myself (at least not in public), but Justin’s is a consistently excellent political blog that has certainly got me thinking on plenty of occasions. So, given the source, I shall gracefully accept the award. Apparently it now falls upon me to pass on the award, and nominate five blogs that I consider thought-provoking in some way. Chicken Yoghurt’s already got one, so I’ll omit him from my official list.
If you can’t find something to provoke thought via each of those links, then I humbly suggest that you may well be incapable of it in the first place. Perhaps you’d be better off watching TV.
It was four years ago today…
Justin follows up that list with another (originally kicked off over at Bloggerheads). It is — almost unbelievably — the fourth anniversary of the US/UK invasion of Iraq. Actually it’s the fourth anniversary of the eve of war (Jeff Wayne, where are you now?) and Justin was wondering: “what did you post on 20 March, 2003? (Or on as near to the day as possible)… Doesn’t have to be a blog entry; it could easily be in usenet or in a forum.”
Using the Way Back Machine, I discovered that the first entry on my old blog wasn’t until early May 2003, and I can’t seem to get the site to drag up the blog from norlonto.net, where I posted prior to that. But I did discover — on the U-Know! web forum — a post discussing the run up to the Iraq war and why I felt that the Peace Movement in the west was wrong-headed in its approach, though right in its aims.
And I still feel the same. My essential point was that rather than expending time and energy protesting against the war, it would be far more effective to focus that same effort on eliminating the demand for those resources over which wars are fought. I know there are many who believe that the Iraq war was about WMD or humanitarian intervention to bring about regime-change. I believe it was about oil. And it seems clear to me that reducing our demand for oil would consequently reduce the likelihood of us invading oil-rich nations. This would have a greater practical effect than demanding our politicians stop supplying us with the oil we also demand.
I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s a vivid image and worth repeating… I recall attending the big anti-war demonstration in London during the run up to the invasion. From hundreds of coaches at Hyde Park, I saw many thousands of protesters disembark carrying “No Blood For Oil” banners. As the samba band struggled to be heard over the idling of so many diesel engines I realised that there was a very serious disconnect at work. People clearly believed — as did I — that the war was about oil. Yet they didn’t seem to grasp the fact that Tony Blair and Dubya Bush weren’t going to personally burn all that oil themselves… that our representatives were responding very directly to the demands of their oil-consuming constituents.