Saddam Hussein — A Force For Stability In The Middle East
The Guardian went to 48 prominent anti-war and asked how they would deal with Saddam. As Damian Penny said, the answers generally ranged between, “Give the inspectors more time,” “Lift the sanctions”, “Keep the sanctions,” “We have no obligation to say what should be done to Saddam, because that’s up for the Iraqi people to decide” I’d also add to that grouping, “fix the Israel/Palestinian conflict,” and quite a few of them either didn’t answer the question at all or acted as if this were an intervention based almost entirely on human rights (that’s probably because Tony Blair is emphasizing that aspect of it).
I’d encourage you to read these responses, mainly because they’re so mediocre that I think it highlights how completely incapable the left is of dealing realistically with threats.
Here are some snippets from these responses that caught my eye along with my comments afterwards…
Peter Kilfoyle MP: “With weapons inspection there is always the implicit threat of force, I accept that but we should deal with what is. The prime minister’s line is that we now need to use that force but I don’t accept that.”
When he mentions the “threat of force,” he means just that — the “threat” of force. Not actual “force” mind you, just the “threat” of force no matter how empty it may be…
Douglas Hogg, MP:“…Right now, I don’t think we should be threatening war, in fact I don’t believe we should be in this position at all. I do not believe in war and I am not prepared to support this immoral action.
I would only support a war in Iraq if Saddam had attacked one of his neighbours if he involved with terrorist and if he was found to be harbouring a substantial amount of weapons. Really, a war can only be justified if you can invoke the principles of self-defence.”
He does “not believe in war” — except under the circumstances we’re dealing with now — but he doesn’t support this war. This guy made my head hurt…
Andrew Motion: “I think the French/German position on this is quite right and that if we find chemical and nuclear weapons, bone pits and thousands of innocent people locked in jail then maybe we should go in but not until that time.”
Well, they have already found mustard gas tipped artillery shells and since this is Iraq we KNOW there are thousands of innocent people locked in jail. So we’re just a few “bone pits” away from bringing Mr. Motion on board.
Susie Orbach: “If we are talking about preventing human rights abuses, we don’t need an invasion, we need Human Rights Watch teams. They could have judicial authority if necessary, and it probably is more than necessary, to prosecute Saddam in the court of human rights.”
If we’re not willing to use force, how are these human rights teams going to enforce their “judicial authority”, much less “prosecute Saddam in the court of human rights?”
Haifa Zagana: “I don’t believe that the military threat has been a factor in access for the inspectors. But the single most important thing is to lift the sanctions. If we want to empower the people of Iraq, to help them regain their dignity, that is the only answer.
How can you possibly think about overthrowing the regime or implementing democracy when your first thought is how you will feed your children tomorrow?”
Not only is she completely delusional (I don’t believe that the military threat has been a factor in access for the inspectors), but she doesn’t even have the will to continue the sanctions.
Jeremy Hardy: “The threat of force could work if he was a rational person, but he doesn’t seem to have shown much fear of getting killed. If he had been clever and bent over backwards for the inspectors, then he could have got out of this. But he hasn’t.”
Great, so since he isn’t a rational person, we should allow him to continue to build his WMD and cooperate with terrorists. Nothing to worry about there.
Andy Kershaw: “What we need to be asking ourselves is why now? I am amazed that no one, not even one of my fellow journalists, has asked this question. Saddam poses no more threat now than after the Gulf war, no more threat than in 1997 when Blair was elected, no more than in 1998 when the inspectors came out, and no more a threat than when Bush got himself fraudulently elected.
We also need to lift sanctions immediately, and they should have been lifted as soon as we realised what they were doing. I’ve been to Iraq, and what we are doing to these people through sanctions is disgusting. It’s grotesque.”
I can enlighten Andy as to, “why now?” On 9/11, terrorists backed by a rogue state that hated us, flew jets into the WTC and Pentagon and killed a lot of people. After that, we decided that it would be a good idea to get rid of as many terrorists and the rogue states that support them as possible in order to avoid a repeat. I’m afraid calling off the war and lifting the sanctions isn’t going to make any of the people who want to kill us quake in their boots.
Katharine Hamnett “Weapons inspectors should be given the extra time they are asking for. Saddam has already decreed that no more weapons of mass destruction are to be manufactured or imported into Iraq.”
I take it that Katharine is the trusting type since she believes Saddam’s decrees. I wonder if she keeps buying into those Nigerian spam letters?
Hans von Sponeck: “To say I am against war is an understatement. What is required is dialogue and disar mament, with a concurrent lifting of economic sanctions, as well as very strict controls at Iraqi entry points. The best way is to continue with resolution 1441. I totally agree with the French and Russian and German proposal to continue with the disarmament and monitor thoroughly.
Iraq is the most X-rayed country in the world. We need to accept it is a threat to nobody, even if it would be good to have a new government.”
Lift the sanctions because Iraq “is a threat to nobody.” The headache is coming back again.
JG Ballard “I think there are great dangers in going to war now and one has to accept that the world is not a perfect place. It may be that we have to accept that Saddam’s Iraq represents one of the world’s blackspots that we can’t do very much about…
…In a paradoxical way, Saddam may be a force for stability in the Middle East, in the sense that the playground bully – like the drunk on the aeroplane – concentrates the mind of everyone else.”
A “blackspot” that, “we can’t do very much about?” Well obviously we can do something about him, that’s why we’re going to go to war. Furthermore, how much chutzpah does it take to put forward the idea that a sociopathic, aggressive, dictator who cooperates with terrorists and has WMD will be a “force for stability” in the Middle East?