May 24, 2004


• Mark Steyn’s latest:

Here's a story no American news organization thought worth covering last week, so you'll just have to take it from me. In the southern Iraqi town of Amara, 20 men from Scotland's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders came under attack from 100 or so of Muqtada al-Sadr's ''insurgents.'' So they fixed bayonets and charged.

It was the first British bayonet charge since the Falklands War 20 years ago. And at the end of it some 35 of the enemy were dead in return for three minor wounds on the Argylls' side.

• Tim Dunlop attends a John Kerry fundraiser in Washington, and discovers widespread ignorance about the war in Iraq: "Not one person knew of Australia's involvement."

• It’s a full-on Michael Moore love fest over at the SMH, The Age, and The Australian. Jim Nolan’s is the lone voice of dissent.

Aieeeee! The Blair Watch Project is out to get me!

• For quality reviews of Bogart classics, look no further.

• What about this month-long break I’m meant to be on? Well, I’ve cut way back on posting, but actual money work left more opportunity for blogging than I anticipated. And, again, much thanks to all who’ve recently donated.

• Jim Treacher seems to have broken Micah Wright’s mind.

• Air America host Randi Rhodes doesn’t know when World War II ended.

• Michael Berg, father of murdered hostage Nick Berg, will speak at a June 5 anti-war rally outside the White House. Berg recently wrote this for The Guardian:

I am sure that the one who wielded the knife felt Nick's breath on his hand and knew that he had a real human being there. I am sure that the others looked into my son's eyes and got at least a glimmer of what the rest of the world sees. And I am sure that these murderers, for just a brief moment, did not like what they were doing.

George Bush never looked into my son's eyes.

He never carved your son’s head off, either.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 24, 2004 05:07 AM

I would have commented on the "Tim Blair Watch" blog, but he didn't quote me on any of the Doonesbury posts I made. As Nick put it, "Everything is self-interest, no?"

No bookmarks for that blog! Heh heh heh!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 24, 2004 at 05:25 AM

God bless the Scottish!

Posted by: Jeremiah at May 24, 2004 at 05:33 AM

Strange how Mark Steyn seems to have ceased writing for the Spectator, has a 'Mark Steyn is Away' notce by his Telegraph column and yet is apparantly not so far away that he can't write for American and Israeli publications. Does anyone know what the f*** is going on there?

Posted by: Ross at May 24, 2004 at 06:23 AM

Go the Scots !!! This coupled with the defiance of the executed Italian confirms what chickenshits we face. Get the numbers and get in their faces.

Posted by: jafa at May 24, 2004 at 06:27 AM

How do YOU know Bush didn't carve his son’s head off? The guy was wearing a mask. DID YOU EVEN THINK TO CHECK BUSH'S ALIBI?

No. That's JOURNALISM today for you.

Posted by: Amos at May 24, 2004 at 06:49 AM

Wouldn't it be a swell postscript to the Nick Berg atrocity if his Dad, intoxicated with media exposure, managed to parlay his celebrity into leadership of the pro-Zarqawi Left?

Posted by: lyle at May 24, 2004 at 06:51 AM

Tim, please do us all a favour, and don't link to "Tim Blair" parodies. I click through, end up losing a brain cell or two (ve shall begin our looks at ze blair vith certain counter cultural amiononic ziphlafees of his zertain vright ving outlook) end up bored, and head to bloglines. If, I become momentarily deranged, I bookmark them (to see with the other guy is saying), boredom and ennui take over.

Tim B. Liar, anyone?

Posted by: gimpy at May 24, 2004 at 07:12 AM

Who needs a stalker blog, Tim? The trolls come right to your doorstep and post inanities. Now that's service!

Posted by: Quentin George at May 24, 2004 at 08:21 AM

Ross — His contracts with his various publications doubtless provide for off-time. No reason all the breaks should overlap.

Either that or

1. He's being ruthlessly censored by the evil mainstream media in retaliation for Abu Ghraib (What? *everything's* because of Abu Ghraib).

2. He got tired of being a minority voice from Planet Real at the Spectator. Heck, even Dalrymple is leaving the country...

Posted by: Richard McEnroe at May 24, 2004 at 09:07 AM

Blair watch project is not the first blog of its kind. There was tim b.liar, which lasted 3 months at the most and hasnt updated since 9/03. Instapundit-watch hasnt updated since 11/02 (first posted 6/02) There is warblogger watch, sullywatch, LGF watch, Horowitz watch.....These wankers obviously have nothing original to say, or they would have some real content to their blogs.

Posted by: debbie at May 24, 2004 at 09:23 AM

If the Scotts wore kilts, and assuming they were "trrue" Scots, then even greater fear would have been instilled into the insurgents with some deft maneuvers of the Sid James movie 'Up the Kyber".

Posted by: Louis at May 24, 2004 at 09:37 AM

That Blair Watch thing seems fairly tame, as these things go. Not like he's calling you a pedo or anything...

Posted by: Jim Treacher at May 24, 2004 at 11:43 AM

Re Berg's dad. I think he's earned the right to an opinion. Crass comment, Tim.

Is there a difference between 'trolling' and taking Tim Dunlop's entry and whacking your spin on it? Methinks not.

Posted by: swade at May 24, 2004 at 12:30 PM

Please point out where Tim said Mr. Berg had no right to his own opinion, swade. Oh you can't, can you -- because Tim never said that. As for his comment being crass -- that's typical of people like you. Oh, don't mention the awful way Nick Berg died, because it's crass and rude and one simply doesn't say such things in public. But it's quite okay for a man to make a total disgrace of himself in public and for people to use this unfortunate man's addled state to further their own agenda. Michael Berg looked into the abyss that swallowed up his son and instead of accepting what he saw there he immediately went into a state of denial. It couldn't possibly be the fault of faraway killers that his son was dead; nothing unexpected or horrid was supposed to ever happen in his happy Baby Boomer life (I assume Michael Berg is about the right age to belong to this group). Like all the other Leftover Boomers he instead blamed his parents -- in this case, the surrogate parent, George W. Bush (who, ironically enough, is also a Baby Boomer), for all the Bad Things that have befallen the world.

People like Michael Berg are in the state they are in because they were never administered the wake-up slap they so desperately needed. And people like you, swade, enable their neuroses, to further your own twisted agendas.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 24, 2004 at 12:53 PM

You fool swade. Better off enraging the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders than Andrea.

Posted by: Greg at May 24, 2004 at 01:10 PM

When Michael Berg ends his grieving he is going to be very, very embarrassed.

Posted by: slatts at May 24, 2004 at 01:31 PM

Andrea is correct.

Michael Berg was/is a member of A.N.S.W.E.R., a communist-front group (see David Corn in The Nation) before the war and a signer of multiple anti-war petitions, available on line.

His son Nick took to heart the "good lessons" that the Left claims to impart but realized that good things like freedom, human rights, and tolerance don't occur just because someone puts bumper stickers on their car. (Do Islamofascists read bumber stickers? Does it shift their stone cold hearts?)

Michael Berg is in profound denial. His son was a good man whose only crime was being an American Jew.

President Bush is doing what he can to protect all the Nicks while being sniped at by the likes of Michaels.

Posted by: JDB at May 24, 2004 at 01:32 PM

I wonder what reviews Samudra and his lawyer have given to Celcius 488 and a bit.

Air America host Randi Rhodes doesn’t know when World War II ended.

Sure, major combat operations were over in 1945, but when will the occupation end?

Posted by: Andjam at May 24, 2004 at 02:35 PM

Nice to hear your gentle voice again Andrea. First up - what's my twisted agenda? I'm sorry Andrea, but I don't have one. It's just that I don't agree with the crap that's spouted here sometimes and so in the interests of debate, I voice my opinion.

Second. You're correct. Tim never said Berg couldn't have an opinion. I should have referred to fact that if I were writing something to someone (and Tim's comment seemed to be addressed to Michael Berg) then I'd write it like I'd say it to them if they were there in front of me. If that's how Tim, or you, would address Michael Berg regarding the death of his son or his thoughts on it during his own grief, then that's crass.

Release the hounds.

Posted by: swade at May 24, 2004 at 03:05 PM

Michael Berg is in profound denial

perhaps there's a bit of redirected guilt there too.

Posted by: davo at May 24, 2004 at 04:34 PM

By the way, it were the Poms that bombed Dresden, not the Yanks. Too bad they didn't do it after the war, though, since it was in the Russian zone.

Posted by: Tommy Shanks at May 24, 2004 at 06:38 PM

By any standard, no matter how slack, Michael Berg's comments are creepy.

He feels empathy with his son's killers and relishes imaginary close-ups of the gruesome act. The breath on the hand, the look in the eyes. He seems to have willed himself into that moment - as one of the butchers. He identifies so completely that he can read their minds. His comments read less like shock and more like perversion and mental illness.

Certainly he's entitled to parade his pathology. It tells us more about him, and the demons that drove his son into the embrace of killers, than Michael Berg ever intended.

Posted by: lyle at May 24, 2004 at 06:43 PM

Gotta love a good old-fashioned bayonet charge: in, out, in, out, on guard!

Anybody see the Brit gangster flick "Love, Honour and Obey"? Best scene: gunfight between Norf London and Souf London gangs starts with pistols, then backup for the Norf London gang arrives with pump-action shotguns and AK-47s, shooting shit out of everything without actually hitting anyone. Things go quiet, when Ray, the Norf London leader, yells "Fiiiiiiix, bayonets!". You want to see the Souf London crew shit themselves.

Posted by: steve at May 24, 2004 at 06:51 PM

Michael Berg is America's Brian Deegan: pushing his pre-existing political agenda over his son's corpse, whilst excusing those who killed the boy.

Posted by: steve at May 24, 2004 at 06:53 PM

Two Corrections:

Tim, have a look over at The Command Post for some others journos who aren't joining in the Mass Fruit Salading of Michael Moore.

Tommy Shanks: Actually, it was both of them. IIRC 2 Brit raids and 1 US one. *SIGH* I'd better look it up... yes, from a site on Bomber Command :

RAF Bomber Command despatched 796 Lancaster bombers and 9 Mosquitoes from the UK. These attacked Dresden in two waves three hours apart, dropping 1,478 tons of high explosive bombs and 1,182 tons of incendiaries which started a firestorm. Such was the weakness of the air defences that only six Lancasters were shot down, although a further three crashed on friendly territory on the way home. The following day, 311 US B17 bombers also struck the city
Not usually mentioned is that the reason the place was packed with refugees was that it was the only functioning rail link to/from the Eastern Front. Oh yes, also it was the Army HQ for the forces fighting the Russians. The destruction of Dresden cut the supply lines, and the collapse was hastened.
Was it worth it? IMHO, with the benefit of hindsight, no. The war was shortened by a few weeks at most, and probably more civilians died in the raid than would have been killed over that period.
With the information that Bomber Command had at the time though, I don't see they had any choice. It certainly saved thousands, possibly tens of thousands of Russian military casualties. It was also mass murder of helpless civilians.
Just not as clear-cut and simple as the standard histories amke out.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at May 24, 2004 at 07:01 PM

1) Sorry, Real_Jeffs. Didn't see the comments you made. Will read them today.
(2) Gimpy: It's not a Tim Blair parody. It's just a humble blog that will post when I disagree with Tim. I don't hate Tim Blair and I don't want to destroy him (lucky me!). I appreciate very much what Tim has done for Australian blogging. I'm also pretty sure I don't have a German-influenced 'counter-cultural' take on Tim.
(3) Quentin George: it's not really a stalker blog, is it? It's more of a blog that, er, links and disagrees...
(4) Debbie: no this certainly isn't the first blog of its kind. Never said it was. (Never even pretended the title was original). I would also hope that the blog has 'real content' as well but you never know, I could put fake content up there and who could tell the difference? But I'm sure that you're right that I'm a wanker...
(5) Jim: yes, crustaceans is tame. Polite disagreement is our thing.

When crustaceans attack!
Home to the (Tim) Blair Watch Project.

Posted by: Nick at May 24, 2004 at 08:19 PM

That blairwatch project is not very impressive so far. Perhaps David Marr could contribute?

Another poster commented about the obvious similarity between Michael Berg and Brian Deegan. This occurred to me as well. Freud called it "identification with the aggressor," a common psychological defense mechanism.

Jean-Luc Bidet

Posted by: jean-luc bidet at May 24, 2004 at 08:30 PM

Swade: nice double standard there. Do you really write everything as if the person you are writing to was in front of you? Is that how you would talk to Tim, or me, if either one of us was in front of you?

Supporting Mr. Berg's statement -- which you seem to be doing by criticising Tim's quite mild (not crass) rejoinder, and letting Berg stew in his own psychological damage because you are too nice-minded to call him on his foolishness, is pretty twisted if you ask me.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 24, 2004 at 08:34 PM

Oh, my, Nick is providing feedback. No, wait, it's not feedback, it's a, a, a, a debate.

No, I am wrong again, Nick is throwing one liners at us, a response to our posts, in the hopes that he'll get more hits and more posts on his blog.

I could go over there and post. But [yawn] I need to take a nap.....

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 25, 2004 at 01:11 AM

You are all far more understanding of Mr. Berg than I am. I also have a son, and if I had seen a video of someone cutting his head off, the last thing on earth I would be capable of is understanding that murderer's mindset. Yes, Michael Berg is entitled to a political opinion, and it apparently trumps whatever love, loyalty, and grief he owes to his son.

By the way, the Scots don't surprise me at all. Go, cousins, you make me proud.

Posted by: Rebecca at May 25, 2004 at 02:44 AM

Alan E. Brain - Thanks for the correction. Next time I'll spend 5 seconds googling it.

Anyway, one of the the easiest things in the world to do is second guess military decisions long after the fact, and from your own context. Collectively the Allied command won the war and that's good enough for me. No doubt they made a few bad calls on the way.

Posted by: Tommy Shanks at May 25, 2004 at 04:00 AM

Also, regarding Dresden, the fact that Kurt Vonnegut was there as a POW and wrote about it in "Slaughterhouse Five" has skewed the debate.

Posted by: Tommy Shanks at May 25, 2004 at 04:05 AM

Like Nick says on Crustaceans, he's doing it in the hope that Tim Blair will through some linkage his way every now and then. You know, less popular blog riding on the back of a more popular blog, and all that.
So let's be generous, people! Help out a poor fellow blogger!

Posted by: TimT at May 25, 2004 at 12:17 PM

I believe there is more to the Nick Berg affair than is being revealed. His father commented: "They didn't know they were killing their friend." A strange relationship to Islamist terrorism for a Jewish kid, wouldn't you say? There are a few other odd things:

Nick Berg, who had no job to go to in Iraq and no protection from any source, was boldly confident no harm would befall him.
He was arrested by Iraqi police and interrogated by the FBI during his ill-fated stay. He had two books in his possession: the Q'ran and an anti-Jewish tract.

There must be at least a possibility that Berg intentionally hooked up with "the resistance", only to fall victim to the necessities of the moment as a handy fall guy. The beard all the way round his face without a moustache was a curious choice, given it is the fundamental Islamist's favoured style.

I do not think he believed he was to be killed at the time the video was made. He may well have believed he was taking part in a charade. The execution part of the video appears to have been filmed later, perhaps long after he was dead, since there was no blood in the stuff I saw.

Posted by: Dave F at May 25, 2004 at 09:01 PM

Dave F, before you start with the tinfoil beanie stuff, you may want to provide some links to reputable sources for this sort of, er, "speculation." (By the way, websites like, and don't count.) If you keep posting it unattributed, we'll just consider you to be parrotting conspiracy theories spouted by others elsewhere, and some of us may get the urge to jump on you with both feet. Wearing hobnailed boots.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 26, 2004 at 01:36 PM

I'm bemused. This stuff has appeared in ordinary news media. I do not read Counterpunch and its ilk, I am a supporter of Israel and the Iraq war and am not of the tinfoil hat brigade. I believe Tim could put you right about your assumption that I am a loony lefty. I am no such thing, and your kneejerk assumption is as laughable as it is inexplicable. So go ahead and ban me. That will be a first. Being angry isn't an excuse for this kind of stupid abuse. Screw you/..

Posted by: Dave F at May 26, 2004 at 08:56 PM

I think the Jihadis just took an embarassingly long time to kill the victim.

Posted by: Andjam at May 27, 2004 at 12:16 AM

Gosh Dave. A bit fragile and sensitive, are we? You better grow a thick skin if you want to play.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 27, 2004 at 01:47 PM