Monday, September 02, 2002
Beware False Friends.

There are many reasons for opposing British participation in an American attack on Iraq, but there is only one good one: that it is not in our interests. Although we may for the time being have to join forces with people we normally disagree with, we should not forget that their reasons are different from ours, their motives the kinds of motives that more often than not will lead the adoption of policies inimical to the national interest. Left-wing M.P.s oppose action against Iraq on the grounds that Iraqi civilians may be hurt; generals oppose it because it may be difficult; pacifists oppose it because it will be violent; bien-pensants oppose it because it will be carried out by the West; Arabs oppose it because Iraq is part of the "Muslim world": but we oppose it because it would be an unnecessary waste of resources that would at best be expensive & at worst provoke the very kind of attack it is calculated to prevent. We do not care more for Iraqi civilians than we do for our own people; we do not flinch from difficulty when it stands in the way of what has to be done; we will use violence as a last resort; we are proud to be part of the West; & we are indifferent to Islam & the shifting solidarities of its adherents: but we refuse to put our blood & treasure at risk for the sake of eliminating a non-existent threat. American hawks need to remind themselves of the way they responded the last time they were faced with a real threat, the Soviet Union, armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction: how many of them then were agitating for an invasion of Moscow to secure a "regime change"? Mercifully few, I suspect. If the Iraqi threat were real, the best way to neutralise it would be the current policy of containment & deterrence; if that policy is abandoned, then evidently the threat is chimerical, & we may justly demand why it has been found necessary to invent it.


Post a Comment

Blog Archive