Monthly Archives: July 2006

Cold Condi can’t cut it

America’s increasingly difficult-to-explain entrainment with Israel’s nasty campaign in South Lebanon is disastrous for the Middle East and for peace everywhere. The attack on Qana this morning further implicates America (and, of course, loyal Britain) in the carnage. Whatever happens now, no matter how hard Condi works to produce a new resolution at the UN, America’s implacable refusal to call for a ceasefire means the World now inevitably connects the USA with the massacre of children and the demolition of Lebanon’s precarious civil society.

The implications for Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine and the whole ‘War on Terror’ are obvious and terrifying. It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that, in Lebanon, the US has turned a crisis into a catastrophe through culpable inaction and indifference to the fate of ordinary Lebanese. If this new war is a test for Condi’s State Department regime, it’s pretty clear she’s failed and failed badly. Her robotic manner, her rigidity in the face of changing circumstances, her obvious inability to identify with suffering people – even to properly voice her sympathy – will permanently damage her prospects for the top job to which we assume she aspires.

Condi is cold, impatient with appeals to her humanity. Contrast clumsy, autistic, warlike Bush/Rice with Clinton/Albright’s engaged, emotional regime – Kosovo being the best example. It took the deaths of 37 children in a concrete tomb in South Lebanon to produce the tiniest change in State Department policy on a ceasefire. What will it take to get the US to call the war off?

What would you do?

Friends of Israel – many of them respectable lefties, long-time peaceniks, reluctant hawks – have been asking, in their newspaper columns and on TV, “what would you do?” And I’ve been asking myself that question and trying to be even-handed and trying to resist knee-jerk anti-Israeli sentiments but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the wrong question. Properly rephrased, it would go like this: “What would you – the regional superpower, granted (by the global superpower) the unchallenged ability to strike any corner of the region with lethal force with an hour’s notice, granted the ability to reduce to rubble whole neighbourhoods from $25M pilotless planes, granted the strategic flexibility to respond in half-a-dozen ways to Hizbollah’s wickedness – what would you do?” Phrased like that, Israel’s choices since the Katyushas began to fall look less sound – morally void, in fact.

(Simon Schama, not a famous tankie, on the BBC’s This Week, for instance).

Right then

Today (approximately) is the first day of the rest of my life. I’m sitting here staring at a metaphorical blank sheet of paper with ‘Snipperoo‘ written at the top. Ivan is sending me inspiring texts (all of which I’ve read before, obviously). Snipperoo was sort of launched in Holland the other day (we chose Holland because they were kicked out of the World Cup one round earlier than England and have thus had a bit more time to get over it) and Russell Davies, another old-timer, has been saying nice things about us on his blog. I know, I’ll phone Ivan.


Ploughing through a load of reading around my new gig today. I’ve joined my old mate Ivan Pope in a new business called Snipperoo. We’re going to revolutionise (obviously) the widget business. Never again will you have to cut-and-paste a line (or a paragraph or a page…) of scary-looking code into your blog’s HTML just to add a simple function like a weather ticker or links to your flickr pics or your diary. From now on you’ll just click the Snipperoo button. I’ll let that sink in. In the meantime, here are some pics of Ivan and Jay Gooby (the technical genius) in Brighton yesterday (plus a couple with new tattoos at Brighton Station). Here’s the Snipperoo blog, to which I will be contributing from now on and here, in the next days and weeks you’ll see the Snipperoo beta. Visit the site now and you can sign up for the beta.