A reply to Ian McEwan
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Feb 19 08:04:52 MST 2003
Dear Ian McEwan,
Although I am pleased that your heart is with the peace movement, I
can't understand why your brain would be with the warmongerers. The
arguments that you find seductive on behalf of war in
http://www.nyobserver.com/pages/frontpage5.asp are preposterous at best.
You state, "...I can’t say I’ve been much impressed by the arguments of
the anti-war movement in Great Britain. Peace movements are of their
nature incapable of choosing lesser evils, and it is at least
conceivable that invading Iraq now will save more suffering and more
lives than doing nothing. That possibility needs to be faced and
reasoned through. The movement’s failure to take an interest in, or
engage with, Iraqi exiles, or the Iraqi National Congress meeting in
London recently, was a moral evasion. All the more shameful when a large
part of the I.N.C. embraces the liberal or libertarian and secular
values that much of the anti-war movement professes."
I am not sure who you are referring to in the INC with respect to
liberal values, but the leader is one Ahmed Chalabi, who was a member of
an extremely wealthy Shi'ite banking family. He was part of Iraq's
ruling elite that was forced to flee when the king was killed in a
leftist coup in 1958. I think that to a large extent Iraq's problems can
be traced to the impudence of that revolution, which resulted in a
nationalist and secular regime that diverted oil wealth to the poor and
lifted the yoke of the patriarchy from women. In order to blunt the edge
of that movement, the USA backed the most rightwing elements of the
Ba'athist revolt. That's how we ended up with Saddam Hussein, who was
our guy from the beginning. His main problem, it seems, is that he
thought that his patrons in the USA had given him the green light to
invade Kuwait, when in retrospect we now know that Washington's favorite
type of state in the Mideast is a feudal monarchy that it helped to
restore in Kuwait or pre-1958 Iraq.
You continue, "To the waverer, some of the reasoning from the doves
seems to emerge from a warm fug of illogic. That the U.S. has been
friendly to dictators before, that it cynically supported Saddam in his
war against Iran, that there are vast oil reserves in the region—none of
this helps us decide what specifically we are to do about Saddam now.
The peace movement needs to come up with concrete proposals for
containing him if he is not to be forcefully disarmed. He has
obsessively produced chemical and biological weapons on an industrial
scale, and has a history of bloody territorial ambition. What to do?"
Ian, the peace movement cannot be in the business of formulating
blueprints for Iraqi society. That is up to the Iraqi people. No matter
the benign rhetoric that accompanies imperialist interventions, the end
result is a form of neocolonialism. You must be aware that the chemical
and biological weapons that you allude to above were all supplied by
imperialism. So why would you expect the same bestial warmongerers to
create a more peaceful Middle East, especially when the USA turns a
blind eye to Israeli invasions, torture, theft of resources and an
ambitious nuclear weapons program.
You then state, "No one seriously disagrees about his record of
genocide—perhaps a quarter of a million Kurds slaughtered, thousands of
their villages destroyed, the ruthless persecution of the Shiites in the
south, the cruel suppression of dissent, the widespread use of torture
and summary imprisonment and execution, with the ubiquitous security
services penetrating every level of Iraqi society. It is an insult to
those who have suffered to suggest, as some do, that the U.S.
administration is the greater evil."
The only problem with this is that we are bribing-recruiting a
praetorian guard in adjoining Turkey, which also has the blood of the
Kurds on its hands.
Frankly, I am disappointed that you have decided to launch a new career
as a political commentator. You are much better at outright fiction than
you are at this kind of inadvertent falsification.
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