Stateside

The Stoppers

Stop the War will be back on the streets of London on Saturday demanding that Iraq be given back to the Ba’ath party or Islamic fundamentalists.

On that theme there were a couple of interesting pieces in the Observer yesterday: Paul Donovan looks at the internal battles within the anti-war movement while in the Irish edition Henry McDonald just takes a pop at them.

Meanwhile in blogland, Norman Geras looks at the argument about whether the Stoppers were/are supporters of Saddam.

When opponents of the war have been faced with the suggestion that they were acting like supporters of Saddam Hussein and his regime, they have responded indignantly. Fair enough. They were mostly not supporters of him or it, and I don’t think it’s accurate to call anyone a supporter of someone or of something who or which they detest. But there’s a different kind of support. There’s the support which a platform provides for the person standing on it, the support which a lifeline represents to a drowning man.

What kind of support would Saddam have preferred in the build-up to the war in Iraq? Thousands of people around the globe thinking ‘I love that guy; he’s got a really good moral instinct and a sure political grasp’ – but not bothering to do anything about the threat facing his regime? Or the support which he actually received from all those thousands who, though doubtless disliking what he stood for, marched and argued and agitated in such a way as to provide a lifeline to his regime? It’s an easy question to answer. But it’s a more difficult one for (most of) the war’s opponents to deal with than the idea that they had some inner sympathy for the Baathist regime.

Indeed there was another option for those who could not bring themselves to support a US/UK led war in Iraq but who haved ‘welcomed’ the fall of Saddam. They could have just shut up.

Stop the War haven’t welcomed the end of Saddam at all and are now agitating for the end of occupation – a move that at this stage is exactly what the Ba’athists want.

As I promised, Harry’s Place will be holding a virtual counter-demonstration here on Saturday. Anyone with any ideas for articles or images on the Iraq theme can send them to us via email.

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