It’s one of those stop-yourself-from-screwing-the-Guardian-up-into-a-little-ball-and-throwing-it-out-of-the-train-window days.
First up there is Paul Foot who, for some reason, is given space to promote an SWP-backed meeting:
If all the people who have written to the Guardian in the last six years to protest at the pusillanimous posturing of New Labour turned up tonight at London’s Friends Meeting House they would give the Blair administration the fright it so roundly deserves. British Politics at the Crossroads is the theme. The line-up is impressive.
Top of the bill is George Galloway MP, whose eloquent hostility to the Iraq war is so in tune with mass opinion that he has just been expelled from the Labour party…..
Still you know what to expect when you read a Paul Foot column. He is so estranged from reality that he even thinks we are interested in what him and SWP-Stop The War dictator John Rees bought on a recent shopping trip.
Then Jonathan Freedland makes an attempt to persuade the likes of Foot that their call for an end to occupation is not really such a good idea. Fair enough, such debate needs to be had and Freedland makes some very good points.
It is no position for the anti-war camp. All it would mean is permission for London and Washington to have trashed Iraq – and then leave Iraqis to clear up the mess. No, occupiers have responsibilities: once they take over a country, it is up to them to make sure power and water work, schools and hospitals function. The Americans and Brits cannot just cut and run
It is important that people, like Freedland, try to install some sense in to the anti-war movement but why does he need to repeat Stop the War’s dishonest mantra that: The anti-war camp has been proved right in almost every particular. ?
Of course things are going badly in Iraq. Very badly. The terrorist resistance is proving much more successful than most anticipated. The lack of security is a great concern. The governing council is not being allowed to govern properly. The optimists about the war have been proved to have been over-optimistic no doubt about that.
But send me the video of the carpet-bombing of civilians. Or of the repeat of Stalingrad in Baghdad as US troops were forced to fight house to house. Forward me the address of the new US-friendly dictator that has been imposed on the Iraqis. Let me know when the Iranians, Syrians and Turks invade and when the Kurds go to war with Turkey.
And go and ask the newly free and independent trade unions, political parties, free press and the freed political prisoners if the invaders had “no interest in freedom and democracy” as the anti-war movement constantly told us.
Update: Johann Hari offers another way of dealing with the anti-war movement’s call to ‘end the occupation’ in his article for the Independent entitled: The real threat to Iraqis is coming now from Western defeatists.
And another thing: Paul Foot’s hopes that Guardian letter writers will attend the SWP-backed event with George Galloway ‘topping the bill’ (doesn’t that phrase have it’s origins in circus acts?) may not be as overly optimistic as it first seemed. Check out this quartet from today.