The War on Terror Crap-o-Meter

Britain’s deputy PM has called the White House’s performance on the Middle East road map “crap” (as well as Mr Bush a “cowboy with his Stetson on” — sigh). So, taking John Prescott’s lead, it’s time to wheel-out…

…the headlife Crap-o-Meter. Let’s give the War on Terror(TM) the crap test.

The Israel-Palestine Road Map: Blair is right to see the Palestine question as central to securing a lasting peace in the Middle East. So far Bush has been less than enthusiastic about the whole thing in real terms (despite being the first President to call for a two-state solution). The march of democracy in the Middle East brought us Hamas, with whom the White House refuses to deal. The result? Zero progress.

Crap Factor: 9/10

Israel-Lebanon: A year after heralding Lebanon as the bright beacon of hope in the Middle East (despite Hezbollah’s activity in the south), Bush saw fit to encourage Israel to extinguish that same beacon. The result? 1000 dead, Muslim anger, Hezbollah feted as heroes, Israel cowed.

Crap factor 10/10

Iraq: Before the war, Saddam was contained and posed no threat to the West, and Al Qaeda was a dirty word in Iraq (being religious nutjobs, not something the Baath secularists were too fond of). After the war and a botched “reconstruction,” Iraq is in tatters, on the brink of civil war; tens of thousands have died; the world is mightily pissed; Iran is emboldened; Al Qaeda have set-up camp and are having a field day.

Crap factor: 9/10

Iran: We won’t talk to you. Nah-nah-na-nah-nah. Meanwhile, Iran spreads its tenticles in the region and proceeds towards the bomb. Will Bush allow diplomacy to solve this one? Time will tell.

Crap factor: 7/10

Security: No attacks in the US since 9/11 is a triumph of law-enforcement (as Kerry categorised the War on Terror). This is small comfort to London, Bali, and Madrid, however.

Crap factor: 2/10

America’s moral high ground: The Land of the Free suspends habeas corpus at Gitmo, tortures detainees, and illegally spies on it citizens. The march to war in Iraq is seen as American hubris writ large. America has never been more unpopular, more unable to secure the support of other countries.

Crap factor 8/10

Overall crapness? 75%. Just how crap that is, and whether “Two Jags” Prescott was right, I’ll leave up to you.



  1. Well, time to put on the cowboy boots and go to church.

    (Just had to say that for any Europeans reading this whose knowledge of America or things American rests on that level.)

    But as to the point of this post, one doesn’t have to be a socialist to agree that US Middle-East foreign policy is in dismal condition.


  2. Whoops! I forgot Afghanistan.

    Taliban out (sort of) = good.
    Return of Taliban, thinly stretched forces, Bin Laden’s escape = bad.

    Crap factor: 6.5/10


  3. Ronan, spot-on analysis!

    That said, I am glad we don’t have Jimmy Carter running the show; calling the leader of Iran “Imam” and apologizing for possibly offending the Iranians; begging for the release of hostages.


  4. Ronan,

    Granted it is the “crap-o-meter” but even but crap standards this is some of the crappiest quasi-analysis I’ve ever seen you crap. I’ll get back in more detail later but let’s scan quickly:

    Securing Palestine THE central question for a stable future of the Middle East? Nah. How about the destruction of Israel as THE central question. There was an opportunity for a Palestine in 2000. There was a set of obligations laid out in Oslo in 94, none of which were met by the PA. It’s pretty clear that it’s not a secure Palestine that they want, it’s a securely dead and gone Israel.

    Iraq: “before the War Iraq posed no threat to the West”. Depends on what you mean by “threat” and on who you ask. Not according to Russian Intel which (as confirmed by no less an authority that MegaPres Putin himself) twice warned Washington in 2002 and 2003 that Iraq was collaborating in planned attacks on American interests. I could go on….oh, and I will. One of the greatest stupidest fallacies of the whole war critique is to say “ah hah! we didn’t find WMD therefore Mr. Hussein posed no threat you freaking neocon alarmists!!!!” Which is akin to saying “ah hah!!! We didn’t find any weapons in Mr Bundy’s car and he therfore poses no threat to the lovely ladies of Pensacola.” It’s not a question of whether we found rusty drums of Sarin in the desert. It’s a question of (a) his intent, (b) his capability and (c) what past patterns suggested he would do with the combination of his intent and capability. The Duelfer report itself tells us that Iraq was ready and able to restart it’s anthrax program within one week of deciding to do so and could within one year of that time produce enough to wipe out the populations of DC, LA, Chicago and New York with plenty left over.

    Israel/Lebanon: your analysis here reflects about 2% of your rather considerable IQ.


  5. Let me add: the capability that would determine the nature of an Iraqi threat was strengthened by the rampant graft of the Oil for Food scandal (the biggest fraud in history and the most underdiscussed story of the last five years) which had Saddam swimming in cash that he could use as he pleased once sanctions were lifted……

    WHICH, it should be added, is something that many European constituents, notably those ones profiting most notoriously from the OFF scandal and other dealings with Iraq, were working to achieve.

    So the only thing keeping Iraq from being a live threat was the constant vigilance of US and British forces at his borders. Once the sanctions were lifted and the vigilance evaporated, Saddam would have no supervision, loads of cash and ample space to go dig up the nuclear centrifuge he’d had buried in a backyard in Baghdad (and, oh yes, we found that–or had the BBC failed to mention it?).


  6. Um yeah…. except for the fact that he’s all cashed up, knows a few unscrupulous gun dealers, and still has a stash of weapons buried at his uncle’s place in Elko.


  7. The point here being that Mr Bundy had the resources (loads of cash), the capability (existing infrastructure that had, according the Duelfer report, never been dismantled), the intent evident in a desire to bring down the US (voiced at every opportunity), and the pattern of behavior (and let’s be very clear that he is the ONLY dictator in 2003 with that pattern showing a willingness to irrationally USE WMD, not merely possess them).

    So the fact that you don’t find the guns in his car means what exactly? It means exactly nothing about what can do and what he is likely to do once there are no longer Coalition soldiers on his border and a legit inspection regime in place.


  8. stupolitics ((and, oh yes, we found that-or had the BBC failed to mention it?)

    Stu, not for nothing has that crapulent news outlet come to be known as Al Beeb. I score it a 9.5/10 on the crapometer.


  9. Ronan,

    I can’t tell you how cool this post is in writing. Totally cool idea. I’d “up the anty” a little bit, however, and at least give the crap-o-meter a B- (80 – 82.5%). A C (75%) is just too average of a crap-o-meter reading. I mean, it’s the crap-o-meter, and there’s a ton of crap going on out there right now… by my perspective anyway.

    Just my two Lincolns.


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