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Monday 20 January 2003

Anti War Sentiment; am I the only one? [brit]

So, anti-war is bad eh?

Not wanting to 'thumbs up' the inevitable reality of unleashing the world's most powerful war machine is bad?

Frankly I'm astounded; but I shouldn't be - it is a sad yet common state of affairs that rather than question the motives of a nation hellbent on remaining the planet's only superpower, the majority of the populous resign themselves to the position of Armchair General, awarding themselves a silent pat on the back each time Kate Adie reports on another crushing defeat of the Chaps Out East.

Fresh from another Daily Mirror briefing, they expound their theories on socio-geo-political decline in the Middle East, happy in the knowledge that armed with the latest BBC News bulletin, they can make a sound judgement on what could well be the precursor to an exchange only dreamt of by those who plan for nuclear holocaust.

Yet they 'thumbs down' the anti-war 'brigade'.

Having read through various online postings, it's quite clear that the Barnes Wallis crowd are desperate to see the Bush & Blair dream fulfilled; to splice that Axis of Evil at it's core, and let the infusion of coalition-led democracy rid Iraq of Saddam's cancerous tyranny.

And they do so with open arms; justifying their singular desire with flashbacks to September 11th 2001 and the popular reportage of constantly uncovered terrorist cells.

Yet laughably, they base their diatribes on a mass media so caught up in it's own desire to lead the charge into Bagdhad that they are actually helping to censor themselves; to shield their minds from anything approaching a balance of evidence, and in so doing ensuring that this cyclical state of affairs will continue long past the fall of Hussein and his regime.

Let me give you an example:

The UN weapons inspectors found 11 empty shell casings in a bunker south of Bagdhad. These shell casings were designed to fit inside a 110mm artillery piece and send chemical or biological agents into enemy lines. The 12,000 page document delivered to the UN by Iraq failed to declare them.

Anyone arguing that the presence of such items is a sufficient reason to green light General Franks & Co. is a fool; the Americans maintain such weapons themselves, having singularly failed to comply with the Chemical Weapons Treaties on the grounds of 'National Defence'.

If having these weapons is a reason to invade, then America should be added to the Axis Of Evil register.

Anyone arguing that the fact they weren't declared is a sufficient reason to green light General Franks & Co. is a fool; after all, two factors abound here: firstly, the Americans removed 4,000 pages from the Iraqi declaration before letting anyone else near it (fact) and secondly - 11 empty shell casings undeclared in a country the size of Iraq? How many times have you forgotten where you left your TV remote control? Chances are, they weren't inventoried, so forgotten, so not declared.

Anyone arguing that Saddam Hussein wants to use these 11 shell casings to bring terror and death to The West is a fool; and dangerously delusional. These are battlefield assets; completely unsuitable for anything else, and unless it's possible to smuggle a 110mm self propelled artillery piece past customs, unlikely in the extreme.

And finally, I'll draw your attention to the effect this discovery had on BBC News 24.

When this story first broke, the report was quite clear. 11 empty *shell* casings. Within 10 minutes, BBC 1 was running it's news with 'UN Weapons inspectors discover rockets capable of delivering WMD agents'. Within a further 10 minutes, a BBC News 24 reporter glibly described them as *missiles*.

This is, quite simply, unqualified bullshit - churned out by a media who have ditched any vestige of journalistic integrity as the smell of blood to be had (and the awards-friendly opportunities it will bring) rises in their collective nostrils.

I have no doubt that Bush will sign his Executive Order, and I have no doubt that before then ink is dry the first tanks will roll heroically across the vast dunescapes; respective commanders itching to pummel the Hussein machine with as many SABOT rounds as is possible to deliver before breakfast.

Yet it will do no good. The instant Bush picks up his pen, his Joint Chiefs hovering over various secure communication lines, he will have further added another entry in the Journal of Hate currently being kept by an increasingly vocal and daring Arab world.

If seeking to avoid a war based on one man's determination to avenge 'Dad', or seeking to avoid a war based on the wanton corporate gluttony of a nation beset by domestic problems so huge as to defy belief, means I'm somehow less of a man, then fine.

I'd rather be less of a man than an ignorant Armchair General incapable of thinking, let alone standing, on his own two feet in a world where independent thought, accountability, and integrity is being steadfastly destroyed by a Western 'democracy' doing it's best to hide it's own internal demons behind the facade of a war nobody can afford to take part in.

Both anti-war and pro-war have one thing in common; despite their ability to polarise a debate beyond use within 15 seconds - they both agree that war is inevitable.

A more sorry state of affairs I cannot think of.


  1. I think you've missed the plot here in a number of alarming different ways. Firstly, the shells with an ability to take chemical weaponry seems to only be newsworthy to the media. The inspectors have played it down, and the governments involved have played it down. It's not a big deal, it's just the press have jumped on it as 'omg he has got chemical nastyness!!!'.

    The issue that seems to be steering us to war, and the issue thats led to this situation for the last ten years is free access for the UN inspectors. Getting them back in after they were booted as spies and now getting the proper cooperation of the Iraquis is the trouble here, not what they have or haven't found up to now.

    I don't understand your attitude towards a single superpower either. History suggests to me that superpowers bring world piece, not war. The British Empire brought an end to centuries of war, the usa's rise to superpower at the end of the second world war brought in the longest stretch of world peace ever. Whats the problem?

  2. Er, hang on a second there Slim. Certainly, there were no world wars during the periods you describe, as such - but I think you'll find that it all depends where you're standing. An Irishman would have a bit of trouble swallowing the assertion that the British Empire brought peace with it; so would a great many African people, south east Asians, Indians - hell, even Americans! And I'm fairly sure that the people of Chile, Panama, Vietnam, plenty of African states and lots of Arab states in the near east might have a bone to pick over the statement that the American 'empire' has brought peace to the world.

    Peace between huge civilised nations, maybe. Peace in Europe (kind of), maybe. Peace to the world? Bollocks. Superpowers only bring an illusion of peace to the nations that are lucky enough to be seen by them as 'markets' rather than as 'resources'.

  3. Well, I really doubt I'm going to get any agreement about the benefits of the British Empire from an Irishman...

    But I stand by what I said. Sure, it wasn't perfect and I doubt many of the occupied countries would agree with me, but history shows the Empire succeeded in ways that Britain can be proud off. The Empire was particulary successful in bringing an end to slavery in many parts of the world, espeically in Africa, in fact it's only when the British were kicked out in places like North America that the human rights standards vs the natives of the colonials starts to get a bit iffy. The British Empire kept the world at peace from 1805 to the early 1900's, and you could say the Americans have done the same for the last sixty years too.

  4. The Americans 'keep the peace' by threatening to bomb the crap out of anyone who fails to deliver whatever it is the Americans want.

    This is quite clear. Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, Guatemala.. the list goes on. Each and every one the recipient of a direct military intervention by America.

    And they ONLY do it when it suits them; when it becomes clear that by doing so, they get another resource to exploit.

  5. I agree that the americans keep the peace with the threat of war, of course they do. I disagree with the examples as the be all and end all though. Those cases are unfortunate, but hardly the complete list of where the threat of americas military power has prevented war. Take the cold war for example, wasn't that a shitload better than America and the USSR bombing the shit out of each other? And look at the situation in North Korea today, who's to say what would have happened had the North taken the south back then as it intended?

  6. Slim, while I agree that the British Empire had some lasting legacies that endure even today (the primacy of the English language, the spread of caucasians to three new continents), saying that one large superpower in an era keeps the world at peace is ludicrous.

    Your example of the British Empire: 1805 to the early 1900's? Contrary to the impressions of the masses, the Napoleonic wars didn't finish with Trafalgar. It wasn't until 1815 and Napoleon's (second) enforced exile that the Napoleonic Wars ended. Meanwhile, the British Empire was busy fighting its former colony in the War of 1812. Granted, that time the Yanks started it, but regardless, the British Empire was not 'keeping the world at peace'. (Although we did march on Washington and set fire to the White House - which is the reason it's white. Hehe.)

    Beyond that, the number of conflicts that took place in the 19th century where the British were participants is quite ridiculous. The First and Second Opium Wars. The First and Second Afghan Wars. The Crimean War. Not to mention the Indian Mutinies.

    Fast forward to the 20th century, and your example of post-war America. Let's see: the Korean War. The first example of the US attempting to 'contain' communism. They interfered in a civil war, causing the partition of a nation and creating the 'world's biggest minefield'. Even today, there are skirmishes up and down the Korean Demilitarised Zone. (Just an aside to your last comment Slim: how much of what is going on today is sabre-rattling caused by lingering North Korean resentment over US intervention in their country?) Twenty years later, they tried to do the same thing in Vietnam, but the Vietnamese communists were a lot more resilient than their Korean counterparts had been, and all America succeeded in doing was delaying the eventual communist takeover, at the cost of countless lives, American and Vietnamese.

    The Cuban Missile Crisis. America responded to the Soviets moving nuclear missiles onto Cuba with the threat of all-out nuclear war. The placed an oil embargo on Cuba that is still in force today, despite it's being completely unneccessary now. And people tend to ignore the fact that Krushchev placed nuclear weapons on Cuba in response to US nuclear weapons in Israel. And I won't even start to catalogue the ways in which the US (and Britain, initially) have helped perpetuate the state of Israel, a state which has been the cause of the majority of conflict in the Middle East; a state which by all logic should not exist today.

    In summary, having one state that is politically dominant in the world guarantees peace only in countries that are subservient to that country. And I for one and not willing to start saluting the stars and stripes. If we go to war with Iraq in order to get rid of the current regime, then I say we go for it. (It should have been done ten years ago; evidence of ethnic cleansing against the Kurdish population of Iraq was around at the time. Instead, the west stopped once the threat to their precious oil supply was removed). If on the other hand, we're going to war because the Americans want us to help legitimise and support a flagrant attempt to further their own interests, I say bollocks to them.

  7. What a huge response that boils down to agreeing with me in the end. The only reason we're in a position to invade Iraq is because of the UN alliance and Americas power.

    We don't have to be subservient to a superpower either. Did the Brits have to bow to the stars and stripes after WW2?

  8. You chaps seem to have taken off on a bit of a tangent here. What wasoriginally Brit's general liberal anti-war blog now seems to be thejustification of America as a super power. There is absolutely nodoubt that the USA has a habit of intervening militarily when it'sinterests are threatened. That said, they and many other countries,have also gotten involved in disputes on a purely humanitarian leveltoo.

    I'd be interested to know what Brit thinks about the war onAfghanistan and the deposition of the Taliban? Of course the USAintervened because they suddenly woke up to the terrorist threat andAfghanistan was a happy little terrorist haven. Yet for all that, theTaliban was deposed which was a massive humans right victory.

    Now in the case of Iraq; I, like many others, have grave reservationsabout the motivation of the United States. I do think it quite likelythat Saddam is hiding his WMDs and of course he is in breach ofcountless UN resolutions (something Brit doesn't mention), thequestion remains is he enough of a threat to warrant invasion?

    Well I put it to you, why not use the United States like it uses othercountries? Their motivations may not be pure but they're placing atour feet the only mechanism to get rid of Saddam Hussain and thereforedepose a horrible dictatorship that needs to be deposed, just like theTaliban needed to be deposed. This is something that the anti-warbrigade desperately appear to be missing. The International humanrights agencies are *for* war because of what is going on inside Iraqat present.

    With life after Saddam, the fact we can sleep a little safer at nightthat an insane dictator like him isn't cooking up WMDs is just theicing on the cake.

    Let the yanks have their oil and their 'victory' of the hour. Themiddle east will be a better and safer place without Saddam and allthe people of Iraq will thank us for it in the long run. A great manyof them will thank us right away.

    There is every indication that when this is over, America will againturn it's attention inward and fade from their interventionalistapproach to International affairs. The bottom line is that Saddamneeds to be removed and the yanks are offering to pay for it. Letthem!

  9. Well put, that's kind of what I was trying to say in that the British Empire had very different intentions when it was running around the world bonking weaker countries, but the net results; years of peace, medicine, improved governments, education, abolishment of slavery, etc etc benifitted the world as a whole. What lurks suggesting seems to me to be quite a similar thing.

  10. And another thing. Muz says;

    If we go to war with Iraq in order to get rid of the current regime,then I say we go for it. (It should have been done ten years ago...)If on the other hand, we're going to war because the Americans want usto help legitimise and support a flagrant attempt to further their owninterests, I say bollocks to them.

    Yes that's right Muz, let's make a decision on whether to go to warbased completely on WHY the Americans are going to war. How utterlyridiculous! As you've pointed out, it should have been done ten yearsago - but screw all the people being tortured and murdered, we're notgoing to help because Saddam is going to be deposed for the wrongreason?

    That's taking student idealism so far that you're prepared to letother people get tortured and killed for it!

  11. Fair point Lurks. Perhaps I should have said 'if we're only going to war'. In this case though, yes, we clearly need to get rid of the guy. It's unfortunate though that it took a muppet in the White House being bankrolled by big oil companies to get the western world off it's collective arse.

  12. You lot have way too much time on your hands! Why are you fretting about something like this when there are more important things to be thinking about? (oh and by the way, Slim, you spell peace like that not like piece)

  13. Exactly, Minty! The rest of you need to get your priorities straight. Worry about normal things like what you're gonna wear to the next party not about problems which America have, i mean seriously, it's not like it gonna affect you!!!

  14. Vreeee! Vreeee! Fuckwit alert! Fuckwit alert!

  15. Class. Someone who's posted twice as different nicks agreeing with himself saying we've got too much time!

  16. The reality is that you cannot suddenly turn the world into some kind of peace loving hippy kingdom just because you feel strongly about opposing war. Wars have went on and will continue to go on and there is no such thing as an acceptable war, all wars suck but you have to engage in conflict sometimes because if you wait more people will die for no reason. Last I checked the world is full of violence not just the Bush administration. You need a big reality check. The world is not that simple as you make it out to be and when all you can do is see negative about the Iraq conflict than you are not being rational.

  17. Oh do get a grip. The ENTIRE iraqi conflict was an absolute farce, degenerating daily into another Vietnam. President Bush is a class A cunt, an intellectually stunted moron of the Christian fundamentalist persuasion who lied, bought and cheated his way into office. American Democracy? ROFL

  18. We're all - well ok all the clan members I can talk about ex the ones who get sectioned under the Mental Health Act - relatively intelligent people and so will take a pinch of salt judging Brit's 20 Jan 2003 original blog with perfect hindsight but of course it's noticeable how right he was. Even more pertinently I think are the contemporary blogs of people broadly supporting the invasion which you can *see* are predicated on the WMD basis for invasion.

    So now we look at the inauguration of Bush for the second time and he mentions peace 27 times. To bring peace to the whole world. So how are you going to do that and where? Well everyone knows the how - twatting the fuck out of people militarily (hey! let's *impose* peace!) UNLESS of course they are your allies or too scary.

    Saudi Arabia




    North Korea

    Former USSR states

    You gonna impose peace on those brutal regimes which are oppressing - yes actually and seriously - *billions* of people between them and murdering millions of them over their history with the utter deploration of the United Nations? Like fuck you are because they are your buddies or a bit too tough to mess with. So peace everywhere unless they're in your bullies' group or a little too scary.

    The hypocrisy and bullshit takes my breath away. It's even more extreme because the above is not dependent on some sophisticated argument - it's just evident total complete fucking bullshit. If the US is such a great nation why can't you call bullshit on this? Why?