Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Well, reflections on Iraq and justifications. First thought on the Iraqis who are pleased with (some of) the results of the war as revealed in the special opinion polls yesterday on the BBC. Reminded of the grassroots feelings of people trapped in the USSR - of how Zeks on the way to the Gulag shouted with joy when the Korean war broke out, screaming at the train guards 'Truman is coming to get you!'. And how the few western visitors allowed to the Baltics in the fifties through to the early seventies were sometimes startled to hear whispered questions from some locals 'when does the war start'... longing for a conflict just so the tyranny would end. Well the removal of the USSR was a good aim and a fact now delightedly to be celebrated, but the call for nuclear war to bring this about was wrong.

There was and is a profound wrongness about the Iraq war even though there are results and possibilities of great benefits in Iraq. A very thoughtful analysis in Juan Cole's commentary on the uproar after the Spanish Elections , including this quote:

"There is not and cannot be such a thing as a "war on terror." Terror is a tactic. There can be a global counter-insurgency struggle against al-Qaeda and kindred organizations. But a large part of such a struggle must be to deny al-Qaeda recruitment tools and propaganda victories. The way the Bush administration pursued the war against Iraq, as a superpower-led act of Nietzschean will to power, simply made it look in the Middle East as though al-Qaeda had been right. Biin Laden's message was that Middle Easterners are being colonized and occupied by the United States. "

We must make it not so.

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