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The last straw

From a Harry’s Place reader:

In repsonse to your entry on changes of heart I guess I should hold my hand up. Yesterday [Thursday] was the last straw. The past few years I’ve gone from being an apolitical middle class kid to an avid reader of Marx and Marxism, with attendant anti-Americanism, disgust at capitalist excess and anti-war stance, to where I am today.

Up until I started reading Harry’s Place and other blogs a few months ago I was probably anti-pro-war. The only intelligent and sensitve pro-war debate I have encountered – on-line – has changed my mind. I look at the British Left and wonder how I ate up what it told me, however sceptical I may have been. Articles that record with Talmudic accuracy the injustices going on in Baghdad today. No mention of why no-one knows what happened to the disappeared pre-invasion. Yesterday made me realise once and for all that the war on terror is in all likelihood not a fantasy of the military-industrial and that it’s not Bush and Blair’s spurious war of imperialism. Reading the reaction of Respect and the SWP that placed responsibility for the bombs, detonated by human beings with full agency, at the feet of Tony Blair disgusted me. Realising that terrorism should be understood but always resisted and never condoned.

During the summer the war raged I was in Paris and bought the European edition of the Guardian religiously, indulging in the adolescent fantasy that if America got its ass kicked then that would be a postive thing for the world. Yesterday I found myself replaying George Bush’s reaction to 9-11 in my head (probably deleting the Wild West shit) and feeling that what I had thought was simply jingoistic bullshit was in fact honest disgust and anger at a real attack. Rethinking that what Tony Blair speaks might not just be pious cant but actual determination to improve the world. Now I’m not so idealistic as to think that all that is the whole truth but I definitely think its more true than I gave it credit for previously.

I guess now I realise that to be anti-war (not just Iraq, Afghanistan too) is to tolerate crimes against humanity. I don’t want to be a part of that. Today wasn’t so much a change of heart as a watershed. Last week I went out for dinner with people from work and had a discussion with a co-worker about the war. She was really shocked that I was pro-war, given my ‘left credentials’. And secretly I felt a bit ashamed of myself too. No more. No more equivalence of Saddam and Bush, no more ‘but what about…’ I wanted to write because not only is the blog a pleasure to read, its provided me with stuff I didn’t get from the mainstream. Thanks to all of your co-contributors for being honest about a fucked up situation without easy answers.

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