CiF: No to "Quisling" Refugees

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The Guardian's Comment is Free: the gift that keeps on giving. Whether you are looking for celebrations of communist Hungary, celebrations of Soviet communism in general, or a "tribute" to Saddam Hussein (blogged by Nick here), CiF is always there to lend a helping hand. So it's no surprise that today Mr. Neil Clark, himself a East Bloc booster, admonishes the Gordon Brown government to reject calls to admit Iraqi translators that have worked for the British (and who are routinely targeted for murder by insurgents). Clark advises Downing Street to "keep these quislings out" of Britain:

The interpreters did not work for "us", the British people, but for themselves—they are paid around £16 a day, an excellent wage in Iraq—and for an illegal occupying force. Let's not cast them as heroes. The true heroes in Iraq are those who have resisted the invasion of their country.

If more Iraqis had followed the example of the interpreters and collaborated with British and American forces, it is likely that the cities of Iran and Syria would now be lying in rubble.

Before you rush to condemn Iraqis who feel ill disposed towards the interpreters, ask yourself a simple question: how would you view fellow Britons who worked for the forces of a foreign occupier, if Britain were ever invaded? History tells us that down through history, Quislings have—surprise, surprise—not been well received, and the Iraqi people's animosity towards those who collaborated with US and British forces is only to be expected.

Whole nauseating column here.

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  1. How big is The Guardians circulation in Britain, anyway?

  2. Is the “foreign occupier” trying to install a tyranny or topple one? Details, details…

    (FYI, wikipedia says the Guardian’s circulation is 378,228. That’s subscribers, they generally don’t count the newsstand sales.)

  3. (FYI, wikipedia says the Guardian’s circulation is 378,228.

    How can 378,228 people be so DUMB?

  4. How can 378,228 people be so DUMB?

    Come on Cesar, many magnitudes more voted for Bush or Kerry.

  5. I don’t understand how this is not treason. He is celebrating and encouraging those who are attacking British soldiers. Rooting against your country and siding with the enemy in war is the very definition of treason. To allow this treason shows how weak and pc the west has become. Why has he not been arrested.

  6. Richard,

    If this country is invaded by a foreign army that seeks to topple our government and turn us into a client state, you ask them what their plans for that govenrment are, so you can make up your mind about whether to collaborate with them.

    Just don’t do so in my vicinity, or you’re liable to end up as collateral damage.

  7. x,y,–

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. When the European far lefts'(and the far, nationalist right for that matter) entire analysis of the United States is AMERICANZ R TEH st00piDZ LOlz!!” I can’t help but throw it back in their face.

  8. I don’t understand how this is not treason. He is celebrating and encouraging those who are attacking British soldiers. Rooting against your country and siding with the enemy in war is the very definition of treason. To allow this treason shows how weak and pc the west has become. Why has he not been arrested.

    It’s called free speech. You know, the right to make amazingly stupid comments without being arrested. Not that anyone posting here would ever engage in such things.

  9. BTW, the translators should be let in.

  10. Joe, you’re missing my point.
    “Foreign occupiers” (Nazis) invading France: Bad.

    “Foreign occupiers” (Allies) invading Nazi Germany: good

  11. me
    I don’t understand how this is not treason. He is celebrating and encouraging those who are attacking British soldiers. Rooting against your country and siding with the enemy in war is the very definition of treason. To allow this treason shows how weak and pc the west has become. Why has he not been arrested.

    Maybe I’m falling for the sarcastic troll post but…

    Exhibit A
    Exhibit B

  12. As a person whose translator was murdered while I was in Iraq, I say there is a special place in hell for this guy. The irony of course is that if the UK were invaded by an occupying power, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that this self loathing facist bastard would be the first one to collaborate with the occupiers no matter how evil they were.

  13. I’m confused. If the interpeters were to leave, then they wouldn’t actually be supporting the invasion anymore since they won’t be patrolling with coalition troops.

    On the other hand if they are not allowed to emigrate, they effectively have no choice but to continue assisting the occupation forces.

    Thus, if one is opposed to the occupation, wouldn’t a policy of encouraging emigration of the “quislings” be a good one?

  14. Do understand that newspapers in the UK are not necessarily as bland or politically predictable as some of those you may be used to reading in USA. Guardian readers in particular generally tolerate a much wider range of opinions in their paper than one would expect to see in most other papers, even by UK standards. That does not make the readers dumb. It may mean they are generally better informed about other points of view, whether they agree with them or not.

  15. “A group of pro-war bloggers is playing a prominent role in a campaign to grant asylum to Iraqis who have been working as translators for the British forces in Iraq.”

    Maybe I’m not following…

    Why would war bloggers limit Iraqi asylum seekers to only those who translated for…

    Why would they limit asylum seekers to only those Iraqis who worked for British forces?

    Don’t they have Pottery Barn in Great Britain?

    If Iraq turns into some great ethnic conflagration, and we turn our backs on its refugees, that will make for a great disgrace on both our nations. Yes, the British should do their fair share–and so should we.

    …by the way, some of us mentioned these things at the doorstep of this war, but I guess “I told you so” is supposed to be impolite or something. …but in the future, I don’t want to hear any complaints from this war’s supporters about ethnic diversity, multiculturalism, blah, blah, blah. Really.

  16. John, it happens rarely, but I agree with you.

    I read up a little on Mr Clark, and I am confident that if a foreign army were to invade England, he would gladly assist it… if they had red stars on their caps.

  17. Do understand that newspapers in the UK are not necessarily as bland or politically predictable as some of those you may be used to reading in USA. Guardian readers in particular generally tolerate a much wider range of opinions in their paper than one would expect to see in most other papers, even by UK standards. That does not make the readers dumb. It may mean they are generally better informed about other points of view, whether they agree with them or not.

    I wasn’t seriously calling them dumb. I was parodying their smart-ass headline the day after the 2004 election.

    Unlike many Europeans, I don’t call the majority of another nation “dumb” because they disagree with my politics or have a different economic system.

  18. Sure, Richard. But yet, I can’t exactly hold it against German people for shooting at our tanks and B-17s.

    Oh, and of COURSE the translators should be let in!

    Here, too.

  19. Another group that should be let in are Iraqi Christians. They are a terribly, terribly small and oppressed now and have no future in Iraq.

  20. Before you rush to condemn Iraqis who feel ill disposed towards the interpreters, ask yourself a simple question: how would you view fellow Britons who worked for the forces of a foreign occupier, if Britain were ever invaded?

    Well, if the Germans had ever succeeded in invading Britain in World War II, and had to hire native translators, and then had to withdraw, and if the Brits then went on an orgy of killing collaborators, I’d think the Germans were pretty fucking ungrateful if, given the chance, they refused to offer a refuge to British translators who managed to escape to Germany. (Of course, the Germans *did* show themselves to be pretty fucking ungrateful when the persecuted Jewish veterans who had put their lives on the line for the Fatherland during World War I, but that’s another story.)

  21. I think that we will probably find that the door has been quietly left open for Iraqi Christians and other refugees who would not be safe in the Kurdish areas to be given asylum or some other form of protection in the UK when they ask for it for some time. Being ‘let in’ is not these peoples’ problem – it is getting out and getting on a plane with no papers. They generally have to take desperate illegal overland journeys to claim asylum. Its highly unlikely the interpreters would be sent back if they managed to get to the UK to claim asylum under their own steam. What they seem to be asking for is to be allowed to come legally. This seems quite in character and very reasonable given their task has apparently been to help an occupying power re-establish the rule of law.

  22. As an open borders kind of guy, I say let all the Iraqis who want to come here in.

  23. I’m surprised to see the Guardian standing up for such pernicious nationalism.

    I’m as anti-war as can be, but before you can characterize Iraqi translators as “traitors” you have to answer the question “traitors to what?” Traitors to the Hussein regime? Good. Traitors to the Shia mullahs? Good. Traitors to the Sunni tribal leaders? Good.

    There is no “nation” that deserves loyalty purely because of its nationhood. Governments deserve loyalty – or not – based on their ideology and form. If a Communist regime or a Christian Identity regime came to power in the US and some foreign power invaded us to topple it, you’re damn right I’d side with that foreign power. And if some death squad full of Joes came after me as a result I’d gladly shoot them down, if I could, and if I wasn’t too chicken when it came right down to it.

  24. Timothy,its a lovely instinct, but do you really want to be giving asylum to former Ba’ath party torturers?

  25. Cesar,

    Unlike many Europeans…

    As a large swath of the American population is more than willing to practice knee-jerk anti-Europeanism … well, you get my point.

    Another group that should be let in are Iraqi Christians.

    The vast majority as I recall have already left. They are a significant percentage of the refugees who have fled Iraq.

    __________________________________

    Anyway, I suspect that Iraqis may find more places of refuge in Europe than in the U.S.

  26. Neil clark from e-harmony.com is an east bloc booster???? I knew they were homophobes but i never suspected this.

  27. I caught a piece on this on NPR the other day. Apparently, the slowdown is because both British and American governments are instituting some pretty restrictive security measures before letting them in. And, as was pointed out on the radio, if we trusted them to work alongside us in a war zone where bullets are flying and the ease of selling out our soldiers would be pretty easy, why are we supposed to be worried about them coming over here?

  28. I think it’s OK to allow collaborators in (I’m for open immigration for everybody), but it’s also OK for Iraqis to kill them on sight.

  29. Neil Clark sounds like a grade A nutjob, but like many nutjobs, he occasionally sounds lucid, even with a Godwin infraction.

    Here’s his other stuff.

  30. Sure, Richard. But yet, I can’t exactly hold it against German people for shooting at our tanks and B-17s.

    Agreed, but can you hold it against the SS for executing POWs? The distinction being made was between an “evil” power (one that uses slaughter and torture to maintain a state of fear) and a “not evil” one (one that might do dumb and even somewhat immoral shit that gets lots of people hurt or killed). Clark is celebrating the resistance universally without distinction between those that trigger IEDs on Humvees and those that blow up mosques and markets.

    By the way, what do you think about Clark’s other work lamenting the fall of the Warsaw Pact governments?

  31. humblescholar:
    “Timothy,its a lovely instinct, but do you really want to be giving asylum to former Ba’ath party torturers?”

    Wouldn’t that make it easier to organize a trial and see if indeed the “former Ba’ath party torturer” was a torturer, and is not a victim of disinformation ?

    Syloson of Samos:
    “Anyway, I suspect that Iraqis may find more places of refuge in Europe than in the U.S.”

    probably the French might be inclined to build a banlieu for them, and an electrified fence around it …

    Why not recruit Iraqis in the army and grant them citizenship when their tour of duty in Iraq is over? The Romans used this very effectively 🙂

  32. Slightly off topic: Whoever came up with the title “Comment Is Free” clearly has the intelligence of a mediocre scribe or, hell, Neil Clark.

  33. emilper:

    Having a completely open border is what reduces the chances of finding out if someone is a torturer or not. Making people identify themselves before they are allowed to stay, making them justify why they should be allowed to stay and back their claims with evidence, (and subjecting their statements to scrutiny) increases rather than diminishes the chances of there being a process (which could ultimately include the trial you are interested in conducting) to identify the undesirables. If people can just walk into a country without any real questions being asked before they and disappear, then it will be more a matter of chance for their past crimes to be uncovered.

  34. “Open borders” doesn’t mean letting anybody across the border that wants to come. It’s about non-citizenship not being an overriding factor.

    The open borders people I’ve read still want people to have to show some reasonably reliable form of identification; they want them to be able to show that they aren’t a risk to public health, that they aren’t convicted felons, etc.

    There may be some radicals out there who think otherwise, but I’ve never come across that bogyman myself. It’s a common misconception–like people who mistake all libertarians for anarchists.

    I dunno, maybe Timothy will correct me, but I don’t think he’s talking about bringing insurgents or torturers here to the homeland. …actually I’m sure of it.

  35. I would prefer Timothy to correct himself. I can only assume we are all grown-ups who say what we mean and mean what we say. What Timothy propounded was that ‘all the Iraqis who want to’ can come. I think that pretty foolhardy. Lets keep out the insugents and ex-Ba’athists if we can.

    Conversely, I think that the people who all this fuss was about – interpreters working with UK forces in Iraq, have a pretty good prima facie case for protection in future. I am nevertheless concerned that there could be reasonable questions to ask even about these people. Such as: how they got to learn such good English when they grew up under a Ba’athist system which apparently denied opportunities to those who disagreed with it? In other words, were they security vetted properly when hired? We know many undesirables were able to enlist in the Iraqi security services in the chaotic months after the initial war. Have they engaged in any criminal or disloyal activities while performing their duties?

  36. Rimfax,

    I agree, this Clark character sounds like a twaddlnock.

    Hey, they means I’m the Third Way on this!

    A pox on both their houses! A pox of BOTH their houses!

    That’s kinda fun.

  37. A pox on both their houses! A pox of BOTH their houses!

    That’s kinda fun.

    *Hissing-black-mask sounds*

    Embrace the Dark Side, joe. You can feel it is true.

  38. “If this country is invaded by a foreign army that seeks to topple our government and turn us into a client state, you ask them what their plans for that govenrment are, so you can make up your mind about whether to collaborate with them.”

    The moral equivalence in this statement is nauseating and it paints you as, frankly, a moral retard.

  39. Take it back to October ’01, buddy.

    You people have made too many streets run with blood to just assume your way to the moral high ground anymore.

  40. “That’s subscribers, they generally don’t count the newsstand sales.”

    Very slight correction. The UK doesn’t have a subscription system equivalent to the one in the US. Rather than being run by the paper (as US ones are) home deliveries etc are run by the independent shops which sell newspapers.
    Thus the numbers for circulation do indeed include newstand sales: because that’s what all sales are.
    Trivial I know but then one of the G’s columnists did call me a pendant.

  41. Uh, I don’t really care whether the interpreters are allowed in or not, but Clark has a point. Any reasonable person could view these guys’ acts as being traitorous; and if they could do such a thing to their own nation, how much more easily could they do it to Britain?

    Someone remarked that the interpreters may have been working against the Ba’ath regime in place four (wow, four) years ago; but maybe not – did they keep on doing their jobs after it was clear there were no WMD’s, that the whole thing was botched, and there was plenty of innocent blood in the streets?

    Also: Don’t assume that just because a paper prints a certain column or columnist that it represents that paper’s ‘point of view.’ The Guardian likes to stir up the pot and see what floats to the top – i.e., get a rise out of people, positive or negative.

  42. “Any reasonable person could view these guys’ acts as being traitorous; and if they could do such a thing to their own nation, how much more easily could they do it to Britain?”

    Who are they committing treason against? The freely elected government of Iraq is aligned with the US. The soldiers of the Iraqi Army are aligned with US goals and fight alongside US soldiers.

    The only “reasonable person” who views the interpretors as traitor must also view the insurgents and Al Qaida as the legitimate government or Iraq.

  43. “If this country is invaded by a foreign army that seeks to topple our government and turn us into a client state, you ask them what their plans for that govenrment are, so you can make up your mind about whether to collaborate with them.”

    As for me, I am sticking with Saddam…

    Warm Regards,
    Joe

  44. Why do you have to be such a dick, wayne? I was just about to agree with you about this:

    Who are they committing treason against? The freely elected government of Iraq is aligned with the US. The soldiers of the Iraqi Army are aligned with US goals and fight alongside US soldiers.

    The only “reasonable person” who views the interpretors as traitor must also view the insurgents and Al Qaida as the legitimate government or Iraq.,/i>

    Fuck Saddam, fuck al Qaeda, and fuck you. I didn’t sign on to any of the bloodletting – while you’ve signed onto al Qaeda’s. But your intentions were good! You didn’t MEAN that to happen.

  45. If he has a point, it’s about the security problems war bloggers, to whatever extent they’re responsible for bringing on the war, seem to have brought on all of us.

    Britain already has plenty of experience with terrorism and a large Muslim immigrant community with integration issues, and I can see why people there might be hesitant to embrace Iraqi refugees. …but to me, it isn’t just about the worthiness of the refugees, be they interpreters or whatever, it’s also about taking responsibility for what you do.

    Making everyone that helped you sorry they did, yeah, that seems like a strategic blunder, but there’s a moral side to all of this too. If people put themselves in harm’s way to help us, we’re obligated to help them if we can. …I’m actually glad to see war bloggers accept that responsibility.

    It may be tasteless, but I can understand why someone who opposed the war might bristle at bringing Iraqis to Britain, especially if he argued against the war on the basis that the obligations incurred for invading were greater than the likelihood of success. …but find me a war blogger who doesn’t think we have any obligations to the people we bombed, invaded and occupied, and then I’ll really get upset.

  46. Joe,

    Your statement, whether intentional, implied the moral acceptability of murdering the interpreters. That puts you squarely in the camp of AQ and the insurgents. I suspect that you don’t want to be lumped in there, however much you disagree with the war.

    However, I apologize for my remark, it was too accusatory. I think these threads have become too venomous and unforgiving. People say things they would not ordinarily say in a polite discussion. This is how wars start. I will try to contain my own venom, although it it difficult as I am sure you know.

  47. wayne,

    No, my statement did not. If you keep reading self-serving nonsense I never wrote into my statements like that, you’re going to grow hair on the palms of your hands.

    You see this shit in your opponents’ arguments not because it’s there, but because you want it to be there.

  48. Joe’s 3:24PM comment

    Richard,

    If this country is invaded by a foreign army that seeks to topple our government and turn us into a client state, you ask them what their plans for that govenrment are, so you can make up your mind about whether to collaborate with them.

    Just don’t do so in my vicinity, or you’re liable to end up as collateral damage.

  49. Yup. Collateral damage. Are you now pretending that’s the equivalent of murder? Because those of you who support this war have an awful lot collateral damage to answer for.

    You so desperately wanted to see someone justifying the murder of interpretters than you just elided over that distinction, didn’t you, wayne?

    You people really need to stop that. You’ve been imagining these moral monstrosities into war opponents’ arguments for years now, and all it’s done is allow you to justify ignoring what they’ve had to say.

  50. joe, I’ve never supported this crazy war, but your statement certainly seems to be saying that collaboration with an invading foreign army and its government (even if your government is a totalitarian nightmare) is seriously immoral. And it also seems to be saying that such collaboration would anger you so much that you might be driven to seriously injure the collaborators.

    I honestly don’t know how else to interpret your statement. It seems to be just like someone saying “Don’t burn a flag in my vicinity or you might end up in a hospital”.

  51. “Yup. Collateral damage. Are you now pretending that’s the equivalent of murder?”

    Yeah, when it is planned “collateral” damage, such as what you are threatening.

  52. Joe,

    The best path here is just to admit that you spoke in haste and said you something you did not mean. There is no great shame in that, we have all done it.

  53. and to think, the Bourne Ultimatum painted the Guardian reporter; do they have a security correspondent as a victim.

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