Thursday, March 06, 2008

The biggest single issue

I finally got around to reading Michael Gove's Celsius 7/7. I mentioned Gove in a previous post. You would have thought that with a proper book, as opposed to a post on a weblog, annoying little things like errors of punctuation would be eliminated, yet I noticed two on pages 6 and 7 (in 'embassies in east Africa, and...' - the "," is superfluous; 'Amman, the border' where in the context the "," should clearly be a ";").

Gove trots out the line that 'the 9/11 hijackers [..] spent their last nights at strip clubs' (p20), which I think is a myth.

He argues that Hizb ut-Tahrir should be proscribed, as Tony Blair wished in 2005, because the German government has proscribed it (P100-1), that Tariq Ramadan should be banned, because America and France have banned him (all this in the name of the defence of Western freedom).

Gove quotes Dr Ramadan as saying, "Iraq was colonized by the Americans. The resistance against the army is just." , giving as the source 'Inquiry and Analysis' (266), MERIP (p103).

There are further dubious arguments, such as the crucial importance of the nation state, which, thankfully, he does not develop in the manner familiar from British Conservatives - with regard to devolution in the UK and the EU, only attacking, as US neoconservatives do, respect for the UN (pp73-6).

On Iraq, his views will already be known to many. He is surely right, though. Writing in early 2006, he takes up John McCain's call that 'as the Iraqis stand up we shouldn't stand down. We should use their strength to augment our own in engaging with the jihadists.' He warns: 'Should Iraq's infant democracy collapse then it would be the biggest single victory the Islamists have had, or could conceive of, in our lifetime.' (p131, 134)

Gove acknowledges the help of, among others, Oliver Kamm and the self-proclaimed British neoconservative, Douglas Murray.

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