War etc

Risk and Reward

Gerard Baker in the Times agrees with George Galloway, Ken Livingston and others that the British engagement in Iraq has caused an increase in potential risk to London commuters.

That’s as far as he is prepared to go along that route though. Instead of making a leap from that position to a Troops Out Now argument he comes to a different conclusion:

It is true in an obvious sense that Iraq has increased our vulnerability; al-Qaeda and its allies play the game of international politics quite well. Their aim is to divide countries between and within themselves, to prise the timorous away from the struggle. Of course that makes London a target; they know full well that many in Britain’s elites are only too willing — wittingly or otherwise — to respond positively to their demands But Iraq has, I concede, made us more vulnerable in another sense. Invading Iraq has undoubtedly created in the minds of many millions of Muslims the idea that their people, their faith is under attack

The right way to tackle that view is not to indulge it, sympathise with it or nurse it, but to correct it. The right way to deal with anti-American and anti-British sentiment in the Muslim world is not to pull out our troops from Iraq and beg forgiveness, but to continue to fight there on behalf of the majority of good Muslims for the kind of country they need and deserve.

And we must continue to explain what we are doing — to take on directly the outrageous falsehood that this is a fight between Islam and its enemy, and to point out to Muslims in London, Leeds, Karachi and Kandahar just how false this is.

It would help, for instance, to point out that in 1991 we liberated Kuwait, a Muslim country, from Saddam Hussein and that, in the process, saved the holiest sites in Islam — in Saudi Arabia — from falling under his heel too. That in Bosnia we intervened (belatedly) to save Muslims from being massacred by Christians; that we did the same again in Kosovo a few years later. And also that we are striving to create a state for Palestinians.

Above all we should point out that what we are fighting in Iraq is not some brave, popular “insurgency” struggling to free the Arab people from Western and Zionist oppression, but a coalition of some of the most vile individuals who have ever crawled the earth and who happily slaughter Muslim, Christian and Jew alike for their own ends.

That is what we are fighting against in Iraq. If doing that has really increased our vulnerability to attack, it should make us even more determined to prevail.

It’s difficult to know what to add to that.