In Front of Your Nose

Gary Younge in the Guardian on the declining support for Bush over Iraq:

Those who are casualty-phobic have been troubled by the 1,739 slain soldiers. So far this month, the US has, on average, had almost three soldiers killed and 10 wounded, every day. The 700 Iraqis who have died in the last month do not figure on the sympathy radar. But the chaos of which their deaths are just the most bloody indicator suggests little likelihood of success.

Whether or not Younge is right that those 700 Iraqis aren’t on the ‘sympathy radar’ of the American public (and if they aren’t what does that say about anti-war opinion in the States?), the phrase above is a typical example of the new line being taken by the Stoppers.

The line is – on no account mention who killed the 700 Iraqis. Choose some vague phrase which does not imply any blame for the killers but can shift it on to the US or the UK or the democratically-elected Iraqi politicians. So for Gary Younge it was ‘chaos’ not the Iraqi ‘resistance’ that was behind those deaths.

But wait, Younge does mention the resistance later on in his piece. To condemn the targetting of innocent civilians? To express outrage at the suicide bomb tactics?

….given the ideological incoherence and fractured organisation of the Iraqi insurgency the turning point is likely to be less dramatic and more prolonged. It may even have happened already.

Yep, the only hint of a criticism of the death squads that target workers queing up for jobs is for their ‘ideological incoherence and fractured organisation’.

For the past few months it has been absolutely clear in Iraq that the major obstacle to peace, reconciliation and reconstruction is the ‘insurgency’. The major cause of deaths in Iraq is the ‘insurgency’. It is startlingly obvious – just think what could be underway in Iraq if there was not a terrorist atrocity every other day.

But Younge, like other anti-war opinion-makers, continues to push this fantasy version where the terrorists, to use his word from a previous article, are ‘defending’ Iraqis from the Americans.

Younge ends his piece with a quote from George Orwell. He could hardly have a found a better one to describe the desperate position he now finds himself in:

“We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue,” wrote George Orwell in his essay In Front of Your Nose. “And then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”