Was once a heavy metal prog rock band but here it’s a lament to military interventions and yet another milestone. All that time since American President Bush launched “Operation Shock and Awe” as a macabre display to be shown as-it-happened to millions-if-not-billions-of-viewers-around-the-world in live-technicolor by in bedded, sorry, embedded reporters telling it exactly as the military told them it was to be told from where the military told them they had to be.
Ten years after millions had marched in cities throughout the planet to say so clearly “No war” and “Not in our name”. Ten years after British Prime Minister Tony Bliar earned his name by fabricating grounds for the conflict and delivering these blatant frauds to the people, the newspapers and, of course, to the British Parliament. Who then were so happy to blindly sanction sending British forces to share in George Bush’s shameful show of Unstoppable Force.
So now, at this distinctive historical distance, all our media and politicians have been full of analysis. “In the light of what happened at the time and since have we in Britain got the gall to say any bit of the sordid, despicable affair was worth the outcomes”. Hundreds of thousands have been killed, it has replaced despotic leader with, er, despotic leader (in training) and left physical and social scars which may well never heal. The town of Fallujah, for example, who’s very name should be carved into Bliar’s soul – how dare he be so callous just for his own, personal, financial gain?
OK, I maybe drift from the text chosen by our purveyors of potted government agenda, aka the public media. Most of them provide a very balanced, this way that way report, where one Brit or American life equates to a thousand Iraqis and physical damage on the ground is just a trivial repair job scenario. “Oh, that’s cool, Haliburton can repair that.” “Yes”, they admit, “it’s gone on longer than we predicted and it’s a lot messier but, hey, it’s Iraq we’re talking about. What would you expect?”
John Lloyd, writing in that formerly radical left wing but always demurely titled “The New Statesman” so leaving the room for right wing resurgence, thinks it was all – at the time and subsequently – worth it. Choosing pieces of the record to suit his thesis he ignores the drastic realpolitic of the time and the manner Hussein and Iraq were used as pawns by the major powers, who smiled sweetly as they propped him up with armaments for oil. Yeah, we showed him how to gas the Kurds and provided him with the tools to do it. Then, after coaxing them into invading Kuwait – a very small but strategic part of the landmass that we kept separate when we drew the boundary lines on the maps after the second world war ended – we used our massive military force to drive them out again. Remember, or look up, “The Road to Bazra”.
For most of the ten years until the Second Gulf War there were heavy, debilitating sanctions on the Iraqi people, as well as the US/UK patrolled “No-Fly Zone”. The sanctions led to terrible death tolls arising from scarcity of essential foods and medicines, and doubtless other such commodities. A figure of over 600000 is generally accepted for child deaths alone during this period.
After his sychophantic denialism – “Bliar didn’t really know there were no WMD, Bliar just thought Saddam Hussain was an horrible person and hey maybe they might have picked the figures that looked best but, look, you’ll see, in two hundred years they’ll look back and agree with me”. – Lloyd ends curiously:
“For the left, the responsibility to protect should be part of a progressive view of global problems. That the principle has become synonymous with a kind of refurbished imperialism is a sign of decadence”.
Now I don’t know about you but there’s no way I can draw any coherent view of his understanding or any useful message from that.
- Protection. Protection? Who ended up protected by this lunacy? Protection is forming a shield, protection could be providing support, protection is giving people a voice and not ignoring them and starving their country, protection is not promoting despotic leadership by supplying them with armaments, protection is not demoralising a whole population with shock, awe, depleted uranium bombing, white phosphorus bombing, ruthless military occupation, protection is not ruining water supply, electricity supply, transport infrastructure and a large part of the built environment.
- So that all this happened is a sign decadence snuck in, eh? If the left hadn’t taken their eyes off the ball, maybe this decadence could have been excluded from the party, is it?
- This “resurgent imperialism” was totally not in the ball park then, when you backed the mission. You still think it was legitimate to devastate essentially just to correct earlier cock-ups? You think this can become a tidy liberal mechanism. Maybe give it a few tweeks? So the Libyan catastrophe well, that was cool, was it? And now?
- And as for Syria – oh yes, you mentioned Syria. “More thought needs to be given to how it might work in Syria”. Nearly two years in and you say that? With the “rebels” recently obtaining their own air force, complete with planes? Bit late for thinking, isn’t it?
I think we have a new journalistic form. You and Mark Lynas, probably others but I do try to avoid this. I’ll call you “The Woolly Right”. Fascistes dulce.