Leftist Warmongers League
- News for Anarchists & Activists:
With friends like these ...
by Paul Foot
Wednesday February 5, 2003
The Guardian [UK]
Every day the yawning gaps in the arguments for war in Iraq
grow wider still and wider. Into the intellectual breach
rushes a new organisation, the LWL, the Leftist Warmongers
League. The principles of the LWL are quite simple.
The regime of Saddam Hussein is a monstrous tyranny, and
should be toppled. The only way to topple it is by armed
invasion by the US, Britain and anyone else who will join
in. Anyone who opposes such an invasion is a friend of
Saddam Hussein and an enemy of the Iraqi people.
No one in the anti-war movement opposes the first
proposition. Indeed, many of us who were active in the 1980s
were constantly shouting and demonstrating against the
Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, and denouncing the
governments, chiefly in the US and Britain, who were
propping him up and arming him.
But what of proposition two? What about the cost and the
unspeakable loss of life and limb in Iraq that will result
from even the shortest war? Intelligence agencies in Britain
and America estimate a minimum of 100,000 Iraqi deaths, and
a minimum cost to Britain alone of £3.5bn. This shocking
price appears to be acceptable to the LWL.
But what will the Iraqi people get for it? What evidence is
there anywhere in the world that a regime imposed by the
armed forces of the US will be democratic or even
progressive? In 1953, for instance, in Iran, in the same
region, the US engineered a coup that dispensed with the
elected prime minister and eventually imposed a monarchical
dictatorship every bit as monstrous and cruel as that of
Saddam Hussein. In every corner of the globe, US coups,
assassinations or invasions or a combination of these have
led to, or succoured, dictators - Duvalier, Trujillo,
Pinochet, Suharto, Mobutu. All these and many others have
unleashed the most frightful oppression especially on the
workers and the poor.
What flight of the most grotesque fantasy can dream up the
notion that a government led by the fanatical religious
right in the US - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz -
is eager to establish a democratic government in Iraq, or
anywhere else for that matter? Have they shown the slightest
interest in imposing democracy in Burma, for example, or any
of the feudal tyrannies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman,
Bahrain or Kuwait, or any of the so-called "republics" in
Africa or central Asia? Have they even mentioned the recent
abrupt ending of democracy in Pakistan, and its replacement
by a dictator there who has at his disposal weapons of mass
destruction? Is he regarded in the White House as a dictator
or as an ally in the war against terrorism? And what of
successive governments of Israel, which have been in breach
of even more UN resolutions than Saddam Hussein has been,
and have constantly invaded, threatened, and pulverised
other people's territory, homes and livelihoods?
Is not the truth that these US warmongers, most of them oil
millionaires, are hell-bent on extending their capitalist
empire - and their control of oil supplies -everywhere on
earth, and that the invasion of Iraq is a further step down
that road? And is not the British prime minister now
fanatically committed to the same process? When the SNP MP
Alex Salmond shouted at him last week "when do we stop?"
Blair rounded on him, eyes gleaming like those of Arturo Ui
in Brecht's play: "We stop when the threat to our security
is properly and fully dealt with." In other words, we go on
like Ui, until we conquer the world.
So, as for proposition three, we reply to the LWL that it is
risking unimaginable horrors, death and destruction for an
idea that, deep down, they know to be a fantasy. The
toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime and its replacement by a
democracy can only be achieved by the people who suffer from
the tyranny and will benefit from the democracy. There isn't
the slightest sign that anyone in Iraq is clamouring for
liberation by armies from America or from Britain, Iraq's
former colonial conqueror.
This is the socialist approach to these matters, and the
appeals of the LWL to the left have no credibility
whatsoever. Indeed, their slender ranks are no more than a
fifth column for the deeply reactionary Republican
administration in Washington.
Brecht's play was called The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.
The war on Iraq is resistible too. If all the people shocked
and disgusted by the American preparations for war and the
abject compliance of Blair, Straw and Hoon turn up for the
demonstration on Saturday week, then February 15 2003 could
turn out to be not only an historic day but a victorious
Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
All my fiction through 2001 and more. Intro by S.T. Joshi.
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News for Anarchists & Activists:
Said Smygo, the iconoclast of Zothique: "Bear a hammer with
thee always, and break down any terminus on which is
written: 'So far shalt thou pass, but no further go.'"
--Clark Ashton Smith