“Of course we would love to see Saddam’s regime overthrown but it should be the Iraqi people who free themselves not the US military machine”. How many times have you heard that from anti-war people?

How many times have you, if you are part of the pro-liberation left, replied that “Yes, in an ideal world it would be better if the Iraqis could free themselves from tyranny but unfortunately they are not in a position to do so, given the enormous measures of repression taken by Saddam’s regime. Removing Saddam by external force is the only way the job can be done”.

I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer to that very basic point. Peter Tatchell’s call to arm the Iraqi opposition was at least an attempt, but in reality it was an unworkable and potentially disastrous alternative.

The line of the Socialist Workers Party and their Stop the War Coalition consistently remained (whenever they briefly bothered to address the suffering of the Iraqi people under Saddam) that it is up to the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam.

But today Paul Foot, in his latest attempt at a critique of what he calls the ‘LLW – the League of Leftist Warmongers’ (that’s that famed Trot humour again) inadvertently lets the cat out of the bag.

“There was not even a semblance of a democratic force in Iraq that could make a revolution against Saddam or form the nucleus of a new democratic order there”, he writes.

So why have he and his party and his movement spent the last six months dishonestly trying to convince us that there was a real chance of a revolution against Saddam when they knew there wasn’t?

Well, lets face it, “There is no chance of a revolution against Saddam but I’m damned if we are going to back the American military doing the job, so sod the Iraqis” was not really going to help rally people to the anti-war cause was it?

The question for those who have followed Foot and his movement in the past few months must be – Ever had the feeling you’ve been cheated?