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The War Nerd / April 5, 2011

Strange doings in Ivory Coast. Well, no, actually; what’s going on in Ivory Coast is perfectly standard West African procedure. The strange goings-on are in the way the UN has been handling things and the press has been reporting them.

You don’t develop a lot of respect for the free press if you read what they write on Africa. It’s not that they don’t have a clue. That would be understandable. It’s that they don’t WANT a clue. That’s kinda hard to forgive in a reporter.

A couple of days ago, the press was full of stories about massacres by Muslim/Northern troops in the Catholic city of Duekoue.

Sounded like they were going to do their standard atrocity story, send in that skull-faced Orla Guerin, Goddess of the Panga, to deplore the whole thing. It’s an image you’ll know from memory, even if her name doesn’t ring any bells. Just imagine that Swedish painting of the bloodless skinhead screaming, put a microphone in its hand and add some tropical plants and you’ve got the Orla Guerin logo.

But you never heard a word from Orla about them, and there’s nothing on those massacres today. The UN officially asked Ouattara to investigate the massacres. That’s wonderful: “Manson Asked to Investigate Reports of Hollywood Massacre.” And Charlie has a press conference, “No, man, wasn’t us, musta been aliens, or the Monkees maybe…”

In other words, they don’t want to know. They’ve chose up sides, and they’re with Ouattara. So today it’s all about how the UN “and French forces” are bombing every place in Abidjan, the capital city, where the Southern/Christian leader Laurent Gbagbo might have stashed weapons. French attack helicopters are bravely leveling garages owned by the Gbagbo clan right now. And they’re doing it in support of our friend Alassanne Ouattara, generalissimo of the Northern/Islamic tribes.

Which is a little odd, because those massacres they were screeching about yesterday were done by…yup: the FN, “Forces Nouvelles,” directed by Alassanne Outtara. His men were evidently a little over-excited when they smashed their way into Duekoue, a city right on the big demographic border between Muslim North and Christian South. Duekoue is a Catholic city, and you know how it is when Hizb-ul-Whatever-Deity fight their way into town and find kaffirs worshiping the wrong imaginary friend. They get very upset.

So naturally Ouattara’s men worked off their aggression by killing a few hundred locals with machetes (pangas). I guess there’s something special about killing somebody with a panga, or maybe the Hutu made it the massacre weapon of choice. Can’t figure out why else these heavily armed troops would kill 500-odd people with pangas.

I’m putting the total here at 500 because as usual “estimates vary.” Oattara’s spokesman said his guys killed a mere 168 people, a misdemeanor under West African war law—a good lawyer can generally get you off with a stern UN warning and 50 hours of sanctimonious bullshit on a figure like 168. But then you might not be inclined to trust Ouattara, on the grounds that when you ask a mass killer his totals he generally lowballs the figure on you. No honor among slashers, like they say.

The estimates for the dead are all over the place, starting with that lo-ball 168, then the Catholics’ figure of 330, to the locals’ own figure of 800-1000. To figure out which figure to trust, you have to squint hard at a lot of angles, like the horror that makes civilians overestimate the dead after they’ve seen their first massacre. But most of all, you’ve got to figure out which way the powers that be are leaning…and in this case I’m betting this massacre will turn out more like the 800-1000 dead figure than the loball 168, because it looks like the UN and the French have decided to airbrush the massacres. They’ve come down hard on Ouattara’s side. Especially the French. Damn, I’ve liked the French ever since Yorktown but it’s hard, it’s damn hard, liking them much when you see them getting up to nonstop bloody sleaze in Africa. Not even sensible sleaze, not even smart sleaze. They were behind the Hutu in Rwanda, and they’re just as tight with Ouattara.

It was France that pushed through the first version of a Security Council resolution making the UN officially pro-Ouattara, anti-Gbagbo. The reason was that supposedly Ouattara got more “votes” in the “election.” Sorry, but it’s hard to write those words here without quotes. Even if Ouattara really did outpoll Gbagbo, any French official with even a little clue about Africa has to know that an African election isn’t just Candidate A vs. Candidate B—it’s the ultimate Us vs. Them, our tribe vs. their tribe. It’s more like an ethnic census than how Jefferson imagined an election. So when you push all your attack helicopters and UN alliances behind one candidate in a country tearing itself apart like Ivory Coast is now, you’re giving the green light for massacres like the one that just happened, because you’re telling the locals, “We like your tribe, we don’t like the other tribe, so go get’em.”

I used to see these starlings swirling around some trees by the dumpster around sundown and wondered why, so I looked it up. Turns out it’s called “epidectic behavior” and a lot of birds do it. It just means they get together to say, “Look, there’s all this many of us, we’re strong.” That’s the most you can say about an election: there are more of us and we hate you and want to wipe you out. It’s not about a difference between one guy who wants a two percent tax on, I dunno, drinking straws vs. another guy who wants a 3% tax. It never is. It’s always tribal and it’s always war by bet-hedgers.

I don’t think it’s that different with people I know, they just realize they’re not allowed to vote with pangas in America…not yet. Not just yet. But they’re itching to, believe me. They dream about it. If you ask me, the real reason everyone in Fresno voted to reelect Bush in 2004 was that by that time they KNEW he was a total disaster, and they LIKED the idea of rubbing the faces of every cool rich celeb in Malibu with another four years under a guy who was like a liberal’s nightmare of a dumb, mean hick. Suck on that, Susan Sarandon! They aren’t stupid, inland people—they’re just mean, and hate the coastal types more than they care about themselves. They’d call down an airstrike on their own housing tract if they could get a guarantee that a few goddamn liberals would be hit by the shrapnel.

What’s weird is that every word of that sentence I just wrote goes for Ivory Coast too, even though I was thinking of California. And that’s how the pangas come out when the inlanders cross that demographic border and see semi-French fancypants Catholic churches and women walking around with men with their faces naked. And the French, for some weird reason, they never back the Africans who want to be French. They always back the Africans who hate the French and anyone who tries to be like them. So they’re backing Ouattara all the way, helping him cover up the massacres his guys did.

I like the way this one site summed up the do-gooders’ U-turn (maybe they should call those UN-turns): “UN Presses Outtara over Massacres…And Then Backs Him with French Helicopters.

There’s something kind of classic about imagining Laurent Gbagbo, this fat nerd (probably why I sympathize) hunkered down in his bunker in Abidjan while the French and UN attack choppers (the UN is using Ukranian choppers, probably Mi-24), trying to make sense of the last day of his life. The poor trusting bastard. Like I said in an earlier column, he grew up as the Frenchest of the French; his friends called him “Cicero” because he’d waste the whole day reading those Latin classics the French love to teach. He grows up to be a student radical, just like the cool kids in Paris, hits the bigtime as monsieur le president…and now his colonial masters are hammering on his head with air-to-ground weapons.

I don’t even know why. Anybody know? I mean, why back Ouattara over Gbagbo? Don’t tell me, I mean please, just don’t waste my time—don’t tell me it’s because Ouattara got 54% vs. Gbagbo’s 46% in an election that was just a pre-war starling census. That’s such crap, that the French or the UN are doing this for democracy. I don’t know why they are. Maybe Ouattara offered a few francs off on the price of his next coffeee and chocolate shipment to Paris. But you can’t just assume there’s a sane reason. More likely they’re bombing Gbagbo because they can; nobody’s afraid of that fat poindexter Gbagbo or his losing tribe. The power’s shifted north to the Mosques, and power is a beautiful thing, real easy to mistake it for goodness or democracy or whatever crap you think you believe in.


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Add your own

  • 1. techno  |  April 5th, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Sorry, The Cream is Norwegian, not Swedish. HUGE difference, ya know.

  • 2. ElHombreMalo  |  April 5th, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Why not back the ones who want to be french? because those also want to get payed, spend and be treated like the french. Whenever one group gets too uppity and enlightened for their own good, you choose another group to lower everyone’s expectations.

  • 3. Alok  |  April 5th, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Remember this?

    I don’t think the French care how good you’re pronunciation is when you start bombing their soldiers with your tincan airforce.

  • 4. ignorance  |  April 5th, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Gbagbo was supposed to fuck off from the Presidency years ago. Did you even read the Wikipedia before posting this shit? He’s basically been squatting 5 years past his welcome. The election was supposed to be a face-saving measure so he could go out in style instead of as a crazy dictator.

    He’s a classic rebel-turned-corrupts shitface in Africa. Ouattara, on the other hand, has made ever effort to lose him out since the election, using the legitimate means of power that he had access to from an office. This war is caused by Gbagbo and Ouattara just called in the folks from 2002 war to finish the job when it was needed.

    When was this election? Yeah, months and months ago. Why did it take so long to start fighting? Because Ouattara was trying to resolve this the right way.

    Are “his” troops hacking up civilians? Probably, but this is War in Africa, what the fuck do you expect? That’s why you avoid war, and give major credit to any African leader who actually tries to do so, like Ouattara has been doing for months. But when it’s time to fight, you better fucking win, I’m sure you can agree there.

    If they start hacking up jesus freaks by the thousand in Abidjian (they won’t) then you can fairly jump on this crap, otherwise I think you are missing the real story. As it turns out, Ouattara has tons of support from Frenchies in Marseille (where Africans in France live, not Paris).

    For the Ivory Coast, this is a legitimate leader. Those who support Gbagbo are the ones who live off the fat of his corruption or are scared of him. Note that as soon as it became obvious that Ouattara was going to kick his ass the mass defections began. Gbagbo has no real support.

  • 5. Doug  |  April 5th, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Spot on Gary. Hence the reason democracy is fucked everywhere (just given enough time). It allows losers to become winners just by popping out more kids. It doesn’t encourage nobility, virtue, civilization, science or discipline. Just raw birth rates.

    The winning strategy is simple, pick a subgroup with low IQ and high impulsiveness. Just enough so that they’re too stupid and/or lazy to use birth control. Subsidize just barely enough to keep them in poverty, but make sure they have enough cheap calories to bring babies to term. (Also will make them in their simple primate brains remember to check off your team’s letter in the voting booth).

    Wait a couple of decades, and voila, instant power enforced by the “international community.” Works in any democracy anywhere, just takes enough time. Even in America I think it’s pretty clear what political party seems to be playing this game. Which is why just because of demographics America will become a one-party state.

    Keep in mind though this state of decline cannot be permanent. Even something as mighty as the Western powers can only decay for so long until they fall apart, and are replaced by the stronger, more deserving and more noble. However there’s a lot of ruin in a nation, and it may take a very long time. LA will probably look like Mogadishu before it looks like an actual well-run functional civilization.

  • 6. Parl  |  April 5th, 2011 at 11:50 am

    “They aren’t stupid, inland people—they’re just mean, and hate the coastal types more than they care about themselves. They’d call down an airstrike on their own housing tract if they could get a guarantee that a few goddamn liberals would be hit by the shrapnel.”

    Good! This is why we read the War Nerd for. Give us the dirty on the violent and the hateful. It’s a valuable insight for us in the Balkans seeing that residing in the more civilized portion of the world we don’t really get to experience this sort of primitive meanness. Keep up the good work Americans, like only a pseudo-country named for a greaseball sailorman can! Maybe we’ll send a multinational peacekeeping force to keep you savages apart, slap you around a little bit, etc. Naturally, if you produce enough atrocity porn for us to feed our superiority complex off – it doesn’t even have to be real atrocities, you can make shit up, you’re good at that.

  • 7. Michal  |  April 5th, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Gary I don’t think the UN can harbour imperialistic tendencies, by definition. I won’t say it’s because of the election, since you told me not to, so let’s focus elsewhere.

    Gbabo must’ve done something wrong, if the entire world recognizes Ouattara as the rightful ruler of Ivory Coast. I really don’t think there’s literally a single country that’s part of the UN, which would be siding with him. Which is weird, since usually Russians or Chinese love to (at least diplomatically) help out whoever is fighting the US today, eg. Putin’s bullshit about how war in Libya is a crusade.

  • 8. FatSean  |  April 5th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Without the underclass, who will die in the future resource wars?

  • 9. postman  |  April 5th, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Dear War Nerd,

    The whole point of Media disinformation is not that they do not have a clue what they say, or that they believe in what they say.
    The whole point is, they want US to believe what they say…

  • 10. Michal  |  April 5th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Also Doug (5.), the Huns or Vandals weren’t exactly ennobling themselves by swarming over the Roman border and raping, killing, and crushing everything in their path. On the contrary, people who fell empires won because they were willing to do anything to win. Now this isn’t always the case, but ask the British, they had no qualms about fighting the Zulu empire non-stop, gloves-off. They didn’t care whether it was full moon today, they’d fight anyway. I’m sure the Zulus found their style of fighting very ignoble.

  • 11. John Figler  |  April 5th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Oh my God… you don’t have a clue, do you?, and you are just trying to get along with used jokes about US morons and machetes (do they call it a Panga in Ivory Coast?) assuming everybody around is too sleazy to go get the facts for himself, aren’t you?

    If you want to know why the Froggies don’t want to back the ones yearning to become French you maybe should perhaps try reading a bit about the Sana from Chad (Azevedo is only somewhere, IIRC). The story goes the same for everybody else between the Southern edge of the Sahara to the Great Lakes (the African ones). It’s as simple as who was losing when the French came, the process History has now retaken were it left it in the second half of the XIX.

    Now, I -like another poster in another comment thread has already said- am saying this just because I love you (no, not in that sense). I’m sure you would have come to that by yourself if you had been on a 5.000 word well embroidered piece instead of a daily even larger cheap Bangladesh sewn piece so, PLEASE, get back to the real, well thought stuff.

  • 12. postman  |  April 5th, 2011 at 12:27 pm


    This is EXACTLY the project they are pulling off in my country regarding the Gipsy people (their PC name is Roma, but I never bought into that PC/Multikulti crap).
    The other method is the enforced colored immigration.
    You know, Africa belongs to the Africans, Arabia belongs to the Arabs, Asia belongs to the Asians, Europe belongs to Everybody (well, except the local white man…)
    I just wonder what will happen if white man becomes a minority: will the new majority respect our rights? Will they fuck…
    And all this is happening for a reason…

  • 13. Eddie  |  April 5th, 2011 at 1:28 pm


    Another great danger is when in the interests of greater democracy the voter is given the ultimate power. Namely to vote directly on the issues. Thereby in a way forgoing the politicians entirely.

    It does not take a great genius to understand that such powers demand great responsibility and a nuanced understanding of the issues at hand. It also requires adult thinking and a willingness to forgo short term pleasure for long term prosperity. No large human population would match any of these criteria. They would never even read the minimum required documentation to make the informed choice.

    Instead they would vote for what ‘feels’ right and as much as possible try to maximize their own personal pleasures. They would also find politicians that tell them that by doing this they somehow magically maximize the well being of society as a whole.

    Does this scenario remind you of any place in particular?

  • 14. PT Barnum  |  April 5th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Well, it looks like the PR firms have found The Exiled.

    f you want to know why the Froggies don’t want to back the ones yearning to become French you maybe should perhaps try reading a bit about the Sana from Chad (Azevedo is only somewhere, IIRC). The story goes the same for everybody else between the Southern edge of the Sahara to the Great Lakes (the African ones). It’s as simple as who was losing when the French came, the process History has now retaken were it left it in the second half of the XIX.

    The Libyans who didn’t lose an election and who could trounce the people the French are backing in 10 seconds if the French weren’t interfering aren’t on “the losing side”. I guess you’ll have to use another excuse, made up of course, for that one.

  • 15. Eddie  |  April 5th, 2011 at 1:49 pm


    Let me put this as bluntly as I can. Given any large human population. It is true that.

    #1. The majority will be uninformed and incorrect about any issues that are nontrivial in their complexity.
    #2. This majority(of idiots) will have little or no interest in complex decision making and resort to decision making by the ‘feel good’ rule.
    #3. Politicians would exploit this weakness and focus as much as possible of their time into ‘feeling good’.
    #4. Politicians having abdicated their decision making role, would look to the population at large for the decision making.
    #5. The amount of stupid decisions will accumulate and accelerate in rate.
    #6. Society collapses into a large pile of unmanageable shit.

    Their might be a couple more steps between 5 and 6. I’m pretty sure they are all bad.

  • 16. Cynic  |  April 5th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    The French and the UN are backing Ouattara because as a former IMF banker, he’s an eager collaborator with the whole western corporate system. Once he’s in, he’ll sell the whole damn country to the corporations (mainly French corporations, of course) who will then rent it back to the locals at a hefty markup.

  • 17. Mar C  |  April 5th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Sarkozy just needs more war to boost his popularity, that’s all.

  • 18. Homer Erotic  |  April 5th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Why, you ask? A reason occured to me before you even posed the question to us your loving readers: College-campus radicals such as Gbagbo always have been and always will be pathetic losers. Take it from somebody who was one of them once and has regreted it every fucking day since waking up and smelling the reality-coffee. And major, or even medium-major, world-powers don’t waste their time and resources on clients who are unlikely to be able to “deliver the goods” in the long haul. And I’ll be this Ouattara is the African Muslim equivalent of Blake (Alec Baldwin’s character) from Glengarry Glen Ross.

  • 19. yossarian  |  April 5th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    “Without the underclass, who will die in the future resource wars?”

    Uh, about 75% of us… Duuh

  • 20. Brick  |  April 5th, 2011 at 4:51 pm
    “…a dozen corpses lined up on a roadside by a petrol station, bullet wounds to their heads…suggested an execution. A soldier in the forces of Alassane Ouattara, now in control of the area, said they were shot by troops loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, as they rushed to meet advancing Ouattara soldiers.”

    Likely story!

  • 21. hamvaut  |  April 5th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Just a brilliant post, Mr Brecher. All praise.

  • 22. joe  |  April 5th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    You are full of shit. What you are describing is Switzerland. Which is one of the most civilized societies on the planet. So regardless of how much of a ‘genius’ someone needs to be to understand the nuances of different systems, I sit back and look at actually existing societies. You know, ones that actually exist in the real world.

    A representative democracy has the same problems as a direct democracy. Instead of immature populace deciding issues you have an immature populace deciding on several immature politicians to vote on issues. The difference is the politicians are just as dumb as the populous, except they can also be bribed.

    The solution is to have a direct democracy that has a high level of education. It is a lot easier to pull a fast one on a small number of corrupt politicians than it is to do the same on a huge mass of people. A representative democracy also allows dirty tricks like political footballs and gerrymandering.

  • 23. joe  |  April 5th, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    @ 16. Cynic

    That’s why I read the comments. Your one paragraph has explained more to me than all of Brecher’s articles on ivory coast combined.

  • 24. Soj  |  April 5th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Oh man.. last night I was listening to a radio talk show (in French) talking about this.. I think you would’ve liked it, Gary.

    BTW is America the only place that calls it “Ivory Coast” rather than Cote d’Ivoire?

  • 25. Random Guy  |  April 5th, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Propaganda. You’re writing propaganda without intending to. Why? Because every last English language journalist writes laughable lies about CIV.

    Good guys vs bad guys—that’s the main problem with most stories. But if CIV has a bad guy it’s the French. And if Gbagbo isn’t a good guy, he’s the closest thing in West Africa.

    One massacre? Ha, more like #185, only it’s hard for even the AFP propajournalists to ignore hundreds dead. The rebels have a non-stop history of rape, torture, and execution, month by month. Google for it in French, because you won’t find one word in the English-speaking world about it. Yeah right, the noble FN slip up by committing their first ever completely out of character machete massacre—and go for a 1000+ high score. The rebels are carrying AKs, RPGs, and machetes because…uh machetes are a backup tool for clearing unarmed weeds?

    Are the French waging online propaganda war? There are pictures and videos of the real war, almost all in French. Weirdly these images seem to keep going down, 404s, redirects, whole websites vanished.

    One video can refute a lot of bullshit. The “rapid rebel advance” is lead by UN APCs.

    Quick responses to the media bullshit you’ve read:
    1. The vote. The vote was comically rigged. The UN’s “official results” came from Ouattara’s hotel. Hunting challenge for you: find the actual detailed election numbers.
    2. Gbagbo called for a recount. UN disallows. wonder why? The media lies by omission: no mention of a recount or fraud.
    3. Remember this news? “United Nations accused Belarus of defying an arms embargo against Ivory Coast by delivering three attack helicopters” Interesting psywar BS. Because it was actually the UN importing Hinds: “Ukraine has sent to Ivory Coast Mi-24 helicopters.”

    O: Employed by the IMF to implement austerity, privatized government assets for sale to French corporations.

    G: Nationalized healthcare, education, French banks, and part of the cocoa industry. Ended all IMF programs and refused to pay the foreign debt.

  • 26. Eddie  |  April 5th, 2011 at 10:10 pm


    No matter how high a lever of education you have you will have to analyze not only what you choose but what you choose away. And take each decision in a natural progression towards a set goals defined earlier. Again, this level of complexity is simply to large for the general population to understand and make judgments about. Not every issue can be condensed into a nice soundbite and many of them require sacrifice from a large part of the population. Especially now when we face massive global problems such as climate change, resource depletion and so on.

    What we need is an expert political class that is working for the long term interests of the population having the interests of the population as their number one priority.

    Of course what I am describing here is simple naive dream. Perhaps one day, but definitely not soon.

    Forget about what we need and focus on what we will get. Namely conflicts, wars and genocide.

    That’s right bitches. It’s going to get really warm out there in certain places and the heat will spread.

  • 27. spence  |  April 6th, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Democracy is the solution to infantalised moron populations. Put them on the learning curve and sometime down the line you will have a politically literate population.

    Sure not before a lot of people get pangad to bits but painless solutions to the problem of moronification are not to be had.

  • 28. Michal  |  April 6th, 2011 at 2:24 am

    @ RandomGuy

    Yes, the insidious UN-French conspiracy to keep websites down…damn them all to hell! Damned illuminati!

    Would you be so kind as to provide us with a video which proves without doubt that the rebel advance is spearheaded by UN forces? Is there a video of UN APC firing at Gbabo troops or something? I really don’t think such a video can exist by definition, how do you tell all these militias apart from each other, especially when they’ll be most likely dots on horizon as the APC fires away?

  • 29. pierre  |  April 6th, 2011 at 2:49 am

    There’s one thing about being french – The same people are unhappy whatever you do.
    CIV is a classic african catch-22, the french woulda got bashed all the same whether they kicked Gbgabo’s ass, or Ouattara’s ass, or supported either, or just stayed home.
    I’d like that you pack your bag, fly to CIV and ask all those 2.000 non-french expats who are sheltering in the french base in Port-Bouet whether they think it’s a good idea that there are some legionnaires between their lily-white butts and the machetes.
    While you’re there you can also ask them why they didn’t call the local 911 instead.

    Bloody sleaze ? Gimme a break dude, this is Africa, not Liechtenstein.

  • 30. Homer Erotic  |  April 6th, 2011 at 4:15 am

    @Eddie: Hammer, nail, head. It will be a fucking miracle if the coming Big Crunch doesn’t result in a full-on nuclear-war holocaust.

  • 31. derpotism  |  April 6th, 2011 at 6:54 am

    maybe they’re doing it for resources? Maybe white guilt? Show the muslims in south france how sorry they are for algeria and the scarf banning thing? Meh, dunno. them’s weird fuckers.

  • 32. John Hughes  |  April 6th, 2011 at 7:26 am

    “You don’t develop a lot of respect for the free press if you read what they write on Africa. It’s not that they don’t have a clue. That would be understandable. It’s that they don’t WANT a clue. That’s kinda hard to forgive in a reporter.”

    If the boot fits.

    You don’t have a clue either, do you?

    “Alassanne Ouattara, generalissimo of the Northern/Islamic tribes.”

    The guy is an ex deputy MD of the FMI for fucks sake. He’s about as much a “generalissimo of the northern tribes” as you are. His wife is blond. She’s Jewish. Doesn’t wear a headscarf, never mind a burka.

  • 33. Jack Boot  |  April 6th, 2011 at 7:29 am

    As Lenin said: “Quantity has a quality all its own.”

    Islam continues its inexorable advance: Ladies of the South, ’tis high time to go shopping for 2-man tents.
    Hey, cheer up! There’s nothing more comfy than a burqa in tropical heat & humidity – and you’ll never need to shave your legs again…

  • 34. Marko  |  April 6th, 2011 at 7:30 am


    You’re Canadian, you have no right to speak for the Balkans.

  • 35. Julia  |  April 6th, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I dunno, I don’t like the idea that Gbagbo is somehow a sympathetic character when, like some of the other commenters said, he postponed elections for five years and the JP carried out extrajudicial killings for several months after the elections. It’s true that it’s stupid to treat this like a story of good guy vs bad guy, but it’s also a pointless exercise to compare attrocities to see which side’s xenophobia is worse. Gbagbo siphoned money from the cocoa industry for years to his inner circle while neglecting the north and spouting Christian supremacist bullshit. His time was gonna come sooner or later. And so will Ouattara’s when the French tire of him, too.

  • 36. Bob  |  April 6th, 2011 at 10:38 am

    #4. Politicians having abdicated their decision making role, would look to the population at large for the decision making.

    Funniest thing I`ve read in a while.

  • 37. joe  |  April 6th, 2011 at 11:41 am

    This is what I hate about conservatives. I made a perfectly reasonable argument about Switzerland. In your reply you simply restated your original point while completely ignoring my point. Do you have a reply to my point or are you simply going to put your fingers in your hears and stubbornly yell LALALALALA.

    How do you choose who becomes a member of this “expert political class” and how do you make sure they have “the long term interest of the population as there number one priority.”

    We have a system similar to what you are describing. Have you ever talked with members of the commissar class? There just as dumb as everybody else. They just went to college where they learned a specialist vocabulary that confuses everybody else.

  • 38. Adam  |  April 6th, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Sarkozy is unpopular, and there’s re-election votes to be had if he can look like a champion of democracy.

  • 39. joe  |  April 6th, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Wait let me guess. Eddie gets to be in the expert political class. Your argument isn’t something new. Its the same argument made by Madison in the federalist papers and the same argument made by Lennon with his concept of the vanguard party.

  • 40. Epsilon  |  April 6th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    The problem with Gbagbo isn’t just that he’s a wimp, is that you can’t count on a wimp to have the iron fist neccesary to keep his country submitted so they can sell resources on the cheap in peace.

    Which is why the US of A has a LOOONG history of supporting “friendly” (aka sell cheap) dictators, no matter how much shit they speak about the US.

    Turns out that people don’t like that. Funny, right?

  • 41. debaser  |  April 6th, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Good article GB, delivered with all the savage wit i have come to love/hate. You should really get a better replacement writer for when you need to go get your kidneys or whatever replaced- someone with a bit less of a civil war fetish maybe?
    Tally Ho

  • 42. frank black  |  April 6th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    What sorta natural resources like oil and gas does Ivory Coast have?
    Because I bet you as soon as Ouattara gets into power, the western world will find a reason to invade (previous “massacres”).

  • 43. Eddie  |  April 6th, 2011 at 3:33 pm


    People are dumb, I’m the first to admit it. In fact that is what my whole argument is.

    I concede the point on Switzerland where as of now direct democracy is working well. The cantons are small and the power of the people is pretty much limited to their own area. All great things that I am in favor of. On top of this you have an educated population that in large part knows where it’s interests lie and are actively working to protect it. No fractions hold long standing grudges against other fractions and a general spirit of cooperation rules. All great achievement that they can be rightfully proud of.

    The folly here lies in assuming that if something works great in Switzerland it is universally applicable to any human population. Try it in Liberia and you will find that it’s also hugely efficient in the area of population reduction. Namely an impressive 49% reduction in no time at all.

    I see you assume that I am somehow conservative in my thinking. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a leftist by day and Nihilist by night.

    My point was simply that democracy in it’s purest form is an extremely coercive substance that if not controlled will lead to the self inflicted suicide of any population dumb enough to follow it.

  • 44. Eddie  |  April 6th, 2011 at 3:51 pm


    If your power as a politician is limited to doing what your campaign contributors and your most vocal constituents want then you really have no power at all. You are just following the political winds focusing your time on raising money and pleasing whatever group can get you the most votes. To me this is an abdication of power.

  • 45. tabgilbert  |  April 7th, 2011 at 11:47 am

    A site which might be of interest. /via Metafilter.

    Conflict History: a Timeline of War and Conflict Across the Globe You can browse the timeline to find information about wars from a long time ago up to the present. A map shows the conflicts spread across the globe. You can search for specific wars: we got your War of Jenkins’ Ear and your Battle of Gqokli Hill.

  • 46. Aaron B.  |  April 8th, 2011 at 7:51 am

    The reporting on the massacre seems simple enough to me: when a story is Muslims versus Christians, we (the West) take the Muslims’ side. That’s not an “Obama is a Muslim” slap either; we’ve been doing it for a while.

    A friend of mine is studying to be a teacher, and in her “Multiculturalism in Child Care” class (yes, a real credit class), they were asked what they would do to make a new 2-year-old Indian day-care baby feel welcome. My friend pointed out what a ridiculous question this was, but the correct answer of course was to have Indian Food days and the like. So a whole room full of kids have to eat something weird to prove how culturally sensitive the people in charge are.

    Our media and politicians always take the Muslim side for the same reason: to show how multi-culti sensitive they are. Even in Iraq, sure we’re killing Muslims, but only to help other Muslims, and the Christians who live in Iraq (if any haven’t fled or been killed yet) can pound sand as far as we’re concerned. If we fight on the side of people who don’t look, talk, or pray like us, we must be doing it for holy reasons.

  • 47. Magpie  |  April 10th, 2011 at 2:24 am


    Indian food is weird to your kids?


  • 48. Carpenter  |  May 13th, 2011 at 4:48 am

    The people who win in a democracy are the people who don’t believe in it.

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