Dovish hawks for Kerry

Aaronovitch comes out of the closet in this morning’s Guardian…

I am, as some Guardian readers know, just about the only gay in this village.

I knew “Paddling to Jerusalem” was some sort of homosexual Jew euphemism.

But wait:

When it came time to decide for or against the invasion of Iraq, the huge majority of my colleagues could not support it, and many bitterly opposed it. But I could not oppose the removal of Saddam…


I have had it with the people who try to “understand” those zealots who blow up women trying to register to vote in Afghanistan but are horrified by born-again Christians going to church in Grand Rapids. I have had it with Chiraciennes, Pinterites, Palaeo-conservatives, Zarqawi-symps, isolationists, Srebrenica-avoiders, conspiracy theorists, know-nothings, low-level Jew-dislikers, former Conservative foreign secretaries, the anything-we-do-is-wrong army, the let’s-do-nothing brigade and those who cannot wait for China to compete with the US as an equal superpower.

You and me both, pal. I’ve been waiting for table-thumping support of this war for far too long now. I’ve had a belly-full of the semi-apologetic, I-don’t-ordinarily-do-this-sort-of-thing excuses I hear from so-called supporters, while those who coordinate the anti-war effort plough on full-steam ahead with their support for democracy’s anti-matter.

It’s no surprise, then, that Aaronovitch “gets” those pro-warriors who would, in such a climate, hold their liberal noses and vote Republican for the first time ever. But that’s not to say he would be doing the same were he waking up a US citizen this morning.

…if I were an American I would always vote for the Democrats, for abortion rights, help for the poor, equal treatment for minorities and a new health-care system. But what I care about, more even than these questions, is the fumbling towards a new world order, a new United Nations, a state of things where we are ashamed not to help and not to intervene, and conscious that our negligence will cost us dear in the end, from Palestine to the Congo.

Ignore the conservative noise about Kerry’s flip-flopping for more than couple of seconds, and what you understand is that his reservations about the war have some merit:

Not enough troops, the absence of proper plans, the hubristic assumptions about the postwar period, the vile own-goal of the Abu Ghraib torture revelations…

If the Kerry end-game meant a withdrawal of troops and the abandonment of indigenous Iraqi democrats, then this valid criticism would and should count for nothing in any electoral calculation made by pro-war liberals. But Aaronovitch has faith.

I believe that – because they see the world the way I do – American Democrats will not let down Iraqi democrats. I believe that Kerry is in a better position to seek help and support from the rest of the world. I believe he is a more thoughtful man than Bush, and I believe that that thoughtfulness is what we now need. I hope that by midday tomorrow John Kerry will be the next American president.

Clearly, Aaronovtich believes a more nuanced approached to the war on terror is required. That’s ‘more nuanced’ as in court our allies and address the justified anger of dispossessed peoples not just in the middle east but elsewhere. The danger isn’t that we forget to carry the big stick, but that we simply abandon altogether the ‘talk quietly’ side of this equation.

We shouldn’t be surprised that even metaphorical gays would know their arses from their elbows, but this is reassuring stuff from the columnist of the year, nonetheless.