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What it means to oppose the overthrow of Ba’athist Socialism in Iraq

It is a strange experience finding myself supporting Tony Blair, the man who presides over my ongoing robbery by the British state, let alone quoting his remarks of yesterday approvingly, but I suppose these are strange times:

There will be no march for the victims of Saddam, no protests about the thousands of children that die needlessly every year under his rule, no righteous anger over the torture chambers which, if he is left in power, will be left in being.

I just wish the people marching yesterday would spare us the nauseating claim to the moral high ground and, if they still oppose the war, just acknowledge that theirs is an emotional rather than a moral argument and that the reality of their position is that if they get their way, Iraqi people will continue to die at the hands of murderous Ba’athist socialism in Iraq whilst they smugly congratulate themselves on their ‘having prevented a war’.

Preventing the overthrow of the people who did…

this…

and…

this…

… to the people of Halabja with a weapon of mass destruction (poison gas) is the reality what those marchers are trying to achieve.

Regardless of how you feel about George W. Bush or Tony Blair or capitalism or Israel or the Palestinians or globalisation or anything else, that does not change the fact that the continuation in power of the murderous Saddam Hussain and his Ba’athist thugs will be the consequence of appeasement. Is that what you want? Is it?

13 comments to What it means to oppose the overthrow of Ba’athist Socialism in Iraq

  • Perhaps they should also read the letter posted in Friday’s Guardian editorial section. Letter from an Iraqi doctor.

  • G. Cooper

    The problem, I suspect, stems from the way statists and socialists think. To even arrive at their starting point they have to swallow so many inherent contradictions that it becomes the very way their thought processes operate.

    I suppose that if you grow used to swallowing implausible and contradictory things, swallowing implausible and contradictory things becomes second nature.

    There *is* no reasoning with them because they do not reason – they feel. In the liberal condition, compassion is reduced to sentimentality and mercy becomes licence.

  • Dave Farrell

    Well done to Perry de Havilland and David Carr for their noble coverage of this latest outbreak of the “dancing mania” of the 21st century.

    I have long since given up trying to reason with people on the left/liberal flank over such matters, since their conviction is religious in nature, i.e., rigid and unyielding to logic.

    Ifeel only sadness when I see so much personal energy put at the service of such a worthless non-aim.

    What a self-serving contrast to the great and truly noble demonstrations — involving personal sacrifice and terrible risk — that put paid to the oppressive regimes of Romania, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and other European socialist dictatorships.

    Surely it should tell the left something when it notes many of these are among European countries that support forcible disarmament and “regime change” in Iraq? They know only too well what it is like to be left to suffer in silence.

    Shame on them all. The terrorists truly are winning.

  • Stu

    Most people who oppose the war with Iraq would have no problem with the citizens of Iraq overthrowing Saddam Hussein. They just don’t think raining bombs on the heads of children at the American taxpayer’s expense is morally acceptable.

  • G. Cooper

    “Most people who oppose the war with Iraq would have no problem with the citizens of Iraq overthrowing Saddam Hussein.”

    Oh, good grief – this one again. And what if the Iraqi people are incapable of overthrowing Saddam and his bunch of psychopaths? Would you deny them assistance? Would you have stood idly by while Hitler gassed the Jews, providing he hadn’t invaded Czechoslovakia?

  • Crosbie Smith

    Okay, after being roundly abused after my last post (not by Perry, I hasten to add), I’m going to completely damn myself in my fellow reader’s eyes.

    I went on the march.

    I’m not a socialist. I’m never been a member of a Union. I do not support nuclear disarmnament. I favour Britain’s Trident nuclear programme. I favour a strong military. Most importantly, I do not claim the moral high ground

    To directly answer Perry’s question, ‘Is that what you want [dying children]? Is it?’, no, of course that isn’t what I want. However, there are many horrors in the world. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just that I don’t care that much. That’s not the position of the moral high ground, but it’s the truth. I believe that charity begins at home and that we should not risk British forces lives to save Iraqi lives. We may just need them and their loyalty to save our own skins some day soon.

    Nearly one million people marched yesterday. Several hundred thousand of these must be the usual crowd of protest-anything complainers, socialists, CND and labour union organisers. Let me tell you, it is most embarrasing to unwittingly drift behind their banners. However, yesterday’s protest was several hundred thousand people larger than any which has gone before. These were not serial complainers. I had never joined a protest march before.

    I, albeit uneasily, oppose this war. Please do not impute other beliefs to me I do not hold because of this.

  • Currently the US and UK governments only allow themselves to have such goodies plus they also take around 40% of national wealth in kleptocratic taxation. When those governments allows the existence of private volunteer military organisations funded privately with money freed up by not being confiscated via forcible taxation, THEN I will stop asking the US and UK governments to drop bombs on people. Until that happens, I am not given any effective alternatives other than demanding the militaries funded with my money (i.e. the US and UK, the places I have been paying taxes) do the nasty jobs that need doing.

    As for possible US or UK casualties… both are volunteer militaries, so no one has to be there.

    The argument against taxation is a moral one (i.e. you should not be forced to pay tax for the military beyond that needed to secure your own safety), however as the US and UK militaries are clearly already well beyond that point already and such armed forces exist now and are ready for use, the argument against war is really not a moral one at all but a utilitarian one.

    Morally I would rather leave people with a vastly larger share of their own money rather than allow confiscatory taxation… I suspect that this vastly richer population would then do things they wanted to do with their money. I would happily contribute 20% of my income to funding things to the detriment of the world’s dictators if only the state would leave my money the fuck alone. As in most things I suspect the private sector would be more than capable of doing anything the state can do, only better (101st Exxon Airmobile Division? That works for me).

    Until such time, however…

  • D Anghelone

    “…private volunteer military organisations funded privately with money freed up by not being confiscated via forcible taxation…”

    Al Qaeda?

  • Michael

    Perry,

    You are correct – the US (and I imagine UK) goverment steals a large amount of wealth from our economies. But it will increase if this war goes forward, in terms of real money (i.e. higher taxes) or real value (inflation due to printing of more money) or both. Current taxation levels do not include war funds.

    How much is an Iraqi life worth? To me personally, about zero. Here’s why:
    - I have no friends in Iraq (and doubt I ever will by the end of this post)
    - No Iraqi signs my paycheck
    - No Iraqi makes anything special that I can’t buy anywhere else (oil?)
    - Iraq is on the other side of the globe

    “But they’re being killed” you say. So are many other people. What about the North Koreans? What about the people who will effectively be killed because they cannot afford medical care due to this war? What about third world countries where parents have more children than they can afford to feed? Please make an objective, logical argument why the life of an Iraqi rates above (not just equal to) these others.

    Am I selfish? Well, yes. Why should I not think of myself and things -I- care about first? Am I supposed to be enslaved to Iraqis? Followed by the North Koreans? Then who? Sorry, but my life (and, by corollary, the money that I earn) belongs to me. I would rather spend it fixing things here in the US (which is really screwed up – just ask the Waco survivor), on charities that I see fit, or on, yes, living my life.

    P.S. I hope you’re in the military, as you seem to be gung-ho about this. Wanting to send someone else off to die for your own personal cause is the worst form of cowardice.

    P.P.S. I was in the military during Gulf War I, and was just as opposed to that war. It’s what caused me to leave after my term was finished. Shall we bring up all the babies killed in Kuwait (refuted) and the Iraq army build-up on the Saudi Arabi border (also refuted)?

  • Michael

    Perry,

    You are correct – the US (and I imagine UK) goverment steals a large amount of wealth from our economies. But it will increase if this war goes forward, in terms of real money (i.e. higher taxes) or real value (inflation due to printing of more money) or both. Current taxation levels do not include war funds.

    How much is an Iraqi life worth? To me personally, about zero. Here’s why:
    - I have no friends in Iraq (and doubt I ever will by the end of this post)
    - No Iraqi signs my paycheck
    - No Iraqi makes anything special that I can’t buy anywhere else (oil?)
    - Iraq is on the other side of the globe

    “But they’re being killed” you say. So are many other people. What about the North Koreans? What about the people who will effectively be killed because they cannot afford medical care due to this war? What about third world countries where parents have more children than they can afford to feed? Please make an objective, logical argument why the life of an Iraqi rates above (not just equal to) these others.

    Am I selfish? Well, yes. Why should I not think of myself and things -I- care about first? Am I supposed to be enslaved to Iraqis? Followed by the North Koreans? Then who? Sorry, but my life (and, by corollary, the money that I earn) belongs to me. I would rather spend it fixing things here in the US (which is really screwed up – just ask the Waco survivor), on charities that I see fit, or on, yes, living my life.

    P.S. I hope you’re in the military, as you seem to be gung-ho about this. Wanting to send someone else off to die for your own personal cause is the worst form of cowardice.

    P.P.S. I was in the military during Gulf War I, and was just as opposed to that war. It’s what caused me to leave after my term was finished. Shall we bring up all the babies killed in Kuwait (refuted) and the Iraq army build-up on the Saudi Arabi border (also refuted)?

  • Dave Farrell

    Thanks, Stu, for providing such an immediate and convincing illustration of my argument.

  • Michael: P.S. I hope you’re in the military, as you seem to be gung-ho about this. Wanting to send someone else off to die for your own personal cause is the worst form of cowardice.

    This is the fallacy called the ‘chicken-hawk’ argument… the fact is, does this mean a woman or old person or cripple or former soldier cannot have a ‘pro-war’ position because they cannot now fight themselves? Does it mean the people forced to pay for the military have no say in how it is used? This is actually a very fascist view and seems to indicate that civilians should not be allowed to have any degree of political control over the military. It sounds to me like some people have been reading too much ‘Starship Troopers’.

    I am not in the military now, but so what? I am forced to pay for it and I spent several years in the middle of someone else’s war (Croatia-Bosnia 1992-1995) so it is not like I do not know what wars are like in reality… and frankly I probably have a better idea what it is like for the civilians in a war than more US or British soldiers who were in the Gulf War for whom it was, to be frank, a fairly bloodless low risk experience in which 99% of all the fire most saw was outgoing rather than incoming (I mean no disrespect by that remark, I am just pointing out an obvious fact).

    The US and UK militaries are volunteer forces… unlike taxpayers, who are NOT volunteers, soldiers, sailors and airmen are not forced to join and put their lives at risk, they freely consent to it. I do not want to see allied casualties but by the same merit, if military people are not willing to put their lives on the line then they would not have joined up. The ‘chicken-hawk’ argument is actually one of the weakest and most poorly thought through anti-war positions to take as it makes no sense on any level when there is no conscription involved.

    …and btw, I regard conscription as nothing less that kidnapping followed by indentured slavery.

  • Michael

    Perry,

    That comment stems back from my time back in Gulf War I, when I was in the National Guard, yet to be called up to Iraq – state (i.e. local, not national) defeneses being sent off to act as mercenaries in an undeclared foreign war (and hence against the US Constitution). That was not why I signed up.

    I see this war as more of the same – people whipped into a frenzy, demanding representatives and senators violate their oaths of office and send armed forces off to conquer Iraq. Mob rule, by people who have nothing to lose in this undeclared war. Heck, they may save a few cents next time they fuel up (I’m not saying this is why Bush is doing this – just an observation from the last war).

    If there was a declared war, I would concede it as constitutional, and would not bring up this type of argument. After all, at that point, it would be proper use of the military.

    I don’t know the laws in the UK and how they apply to the military, so maybe this sort of argument does not fly well there…

    P.S. I have a feeling that if the free market were running everything in an anarcho-capitalist sort of way, you and I would be seeing much closer to eye-to-eye :). Goverments (to me, anyway) are like a plague on mankind, and oppressive ones should be the first to go.