Orwell on Reid

Listening to Harry Reid on Bush’s speech, an Orwell quote comes to mind: “The quickest way to end a war is to lose it.”

But then, Orwell generally had a good eye–sometimes for the personal as well as the public: “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent that the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it” isn’t bad, either.

By the way, does anybody know if Orwell ever said anything about the Geneva Convention or of the use of narrative techniques in reporting?

4 thoughts on “Orwell on Reid”

  1. I laughed out loud when I read this Orwell quote recently:

    Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so’. Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

    ‘While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.’

  2. Clearly Orwell had in mind people like Ramsay Clark.

    Christopher Hitchens in the LA Times writes:

    To be exact, in an interview with the BBC last week and another in the New York Times on Tuesday, Mr. Clark addressed the charge that in 1982, after an apparent attempt on his life in the Iraqi town of Dujail, Hussein had ordered the torture and murder of about 150 men and boys from the area.

    Far from denying that any such horror had occurred — and it is one of the smaller elements in the bill of indictment — Clark asserted that it was justifiable. He has now twice said in public that, given the war with the Shiite republic of Iran, Hussein was entitled to take stern measures. “He had this huge war going on, and you have to act firmly when you have an assassination attempt,” he told the BBC.

    To this he calmly added that he himself had more than once been shoved aside by Secret Service agents eager to defend the president of the United States (and of course one remembers the mass arrests, beatings and executions that followed the assassination attempts on presidents Ford and Reagan). It is as if Hussein had not started, by his illegal, blood-soaked invasion of Iran, the “huge war” that Clark cites as the excuse for Hussein then turning his guns on Iraqis.

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