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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dummies and Galloway

How could we have got Saddam out without going to war with him? The following appeared in a letter in yesterday's Independent:-

"In 2000 the Muslim Peace Fellowship suggested a five-point plan involving support for Iraqi civil society, a general Middle Eastern arms embargo, and wider reforms. In the US, Sojourner magazine outlined at least two blueprints for largely nonviolent strategic campaigns. None of these strategies could have guaranteed perfection, but their outcomes could hardly have been worse than the catastrophe which actually transpired."

Er, what civil society? The free press? The opposition political parties? The independent judiciary? The basic precondition for the existence of a civil society was fulfilled when Saddam was overthrown. As in the case of Hitler's Germany.

A general arms embargo against Saddam would have been a fine idea, and perhaps the Muslim Peace Fellowship has some ideas as to how Russia and China could have been persuaded to take part.

And perhaps we could have campaigned for Saddam's secret police to show greater courtesy towards the public.

Sorry, but absolute moral positions such as pacifism can only be held honestly by those prepared to admit that they will stick to them regardless of the consequences. Invading Iraq has had good and bad consequences. Not invading would have had good and bad consequences, chief among the latter being that Saddam would probably have remained in power for the rest of his life, and that if the majority of Iraqis had ever risen up against him the resulting civil war would have made the present situation look like a picnic. If we want to take sides we have to take responsibility for the bad with the good.

PS A good one, too, from Jonathan Steele in yesterday's Guardian. Basically the American troops should pull out of Iraq because they're doing such a terrible job, and the British troops should pull out because they're doing such a good job that they're not needed. "Pulling foreign troops out would almost certainly improve Iraq's security, since much of the violence is directed against the occupation" says Jonathan. So let's not worry too much about the hundreds of Iraqis who have lost their lives in the last few weeks because they supported the wrong party, worshipped at the wrong kind of mosque, attended the wrong person's funeral, or wanted to serve the country's first ever elected government as police officers. Just get those Yanks out, and the insurgents will show us what warm and wonderful human beings they were all along.

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