Sunday, 10 March 2013

Iraq ten years on (sigh)

No, I'm not going to write about WMD, and not even about the red-socked fop "Sir" Christopher Meyer, who has weighed in with Tony-hatred. Anyone who reads me regularly will know that I am a liberal humanitarian interventionist who supported the action in Iraq and voted for it in 2003 and who still thinks it was the right thing to do. I won't rehearse the arguments here, though I will remind that there have been several independent judicial inquiries - some people want to keep having inquiries until they get the result they want - none of which have concluded that anything criminal or in breach of international law took place. There are two main issues I still cannot understand or deal with. The first is the notion of "us" and "them". You still hear it today. "It's not our war" and similar. Well then, who are "we"? White people? Christians, or not-Muslims? Guardian readers? And who are "they"? People with brown skin? Muslims? Arabs? People who do not live in the UK or, perhaps, north America? Apart from anything else, that argument does not reflect the reality and the diversity of "Western" populations. Are we one human race, or are we not? And if we are, then how can we tolerate the mass slaughter of people by their rulers? As is happening in Syria now, and has happened in Burma, and plenty of other places than Iraq. And if we are not, but are to be divided along racial, religious or other lines, please explain to me how that should work, and tell me where it leads. I think there are enough parallels in twentieth-century history, in Germany, Rwanda and Bosnia, to give us some clues.

The second difficulty I have is the belief, or argument, used by those who protested and marched against the war back in 2003. If you don't think your government should send troops into military action because you believe the cause is wrong, fair enough. In this case I would not agree with you, but that argument is at least coherent. But the marchers, or at least those claiming to speak for them, never used that argument. "Not in my name", they shouted. And yet they lived in democracies, where their governments acted precisely thus. In their names. That's how democracy works. If you don't like your government's policies, you can let them know it. And vote for someone else next time. March in Saddam's Iraq and see how far you get. Or in Venezuela today, come to that. I watched one of the marches, in Glasgow as it happens, in February 2003. Around one in five of the marchers, by my estimation, were waving the flag of Saddam's Iraq, and some of them had pictures of him. Why were they doing that? Did anyone reading this march ten years ago? Did you wave an Iraqi flag or a picture of Saddam? If you did, please get in touch, I'd like to know why you did it. I'm definitely missing something here.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

You talk a load f crap, carrot top. I'm so glad you were kicked out of the Labour Party. Good riddance!

Anonymous said...

Most protesters haven't a clue what they are protesting about.
Or as in the 70's, vote for a strike because they were more or less told to.
L9

Jane Griffiths said...

oooh get you, Anon 0933. Just as a matter of factual record, I never was "kicked out of the Labour Party". Just a question - why are you reading this blog? Oh and I think you will find the correct orthography is "load of crap".