Via Harry’s Place, LI became aware of the Labourfriendsofiraq site. This seemed like our cup of tea. So we went via link to an article (by Peter Tatchell) criticizing the left for supporting the resistance in Iraq. It was the usual barrage – full of heated accusations, aimed at a foe that is never named. We know we are in for general bombardment when we begin, not with the current occupation of Iraq, but with – we kid you not – clitorectomies:
“Over 100 million young girls in Africa and the Middle East have had their clitorises excised and / or their vaginas sown up. We would not tolerate this patriarchal abuse in Britain. Why should we tolerate it in other countries? Female genital mutilation is a crime against humanity. Don’t we have a duty of international solidarity with the victims?”
Apparently, Tatchell believes that if we hold democratic elections in Iraq, the clitorectomy issue in Africa will be solved… But that is unfair. He sin’t as braindead as his rhetorical ploy. He does have something to say. Two things:
1. That it is alright to criticize jihadist movements;
2. That “…right now, the STWC supports “the resistance” in Iraq by any means necessary…” He is referring to the Stop the War Coalition.
Now, undoubtedly there are those on the left who support jihadist movements. However, their voices only seem to reach those on the right who want to accuse those on the left of supporting jihadist movements. Thus, Christopher Hitchens seems to be an eager reader of every pamphlet that recommends following the path of Zarqawi. The interesting thing about this, of course, is how wonderfully it provides cover for the right, since the legitimacy of the right would be a bit wobbly if we remembered that the jihadist movements were spawned by anti-communism; that the U.S. and its ally, Saudi Arabia, spent perhaps a billion dollars building up the most extreme Moslem movement of the twentieth century throughout the eighties, ardent drummers for the crusade in every backwater of Algeria or Egypt, in spite of being warned as to what was happening; that Osama bin Laden’s model of attacking the “infidel super-power” was surely influenced by memories of Bill Casey, Reagan’s best buddy, going to Pakistan in 1984 and chortlingly suggesting that jihadist groups penetrate the soviet union and commit acts of terror there; that the U.S. continues to be the leading donor to Pakistan, thus, de facto, sheltering probably the most effective radical Moslemist agency in the world, Pakistan’s ISI, as well as blessing the spread of nuclear weaponry around the world (continuing a policy initiated by Reagan, who made strenous efforts to keep Pakistan from being at all injured when, in the early eighties, it became evident that the Pakistanis were developing atomic weaponry). And on and on.
The dirty secret about the ‘war on terrorism’ is not that poverty causes terrorism, or the war between Israel and Palestine causes terrorism – no, we can be much more specific than that. We have the history, if we want to look at it. The terrorist network was set up, physically, financially, intentionally, by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan in the eighties. It was a specific, long range operation, with a specific goal in mind: defeat the atheist infidel. Because, in the U.S., the triumphalist school of Cold War scholarship has prevailed, a very blind eye has been turned to a very dirty history. Thus the curious silence that has surrounded, for instance, the first attempt to blow up the WTC, which had the spiritual seal of approval of a blind Newark mullah who came to the U.S. on a visa signed by a CIA officer after having had his travel bills paid for by the CIA in their jolly attempt to move the wogs against the nasty Russians. Payback for Vietnam was the theme back then, and damn the consequences.
Now, since the same people who gave us the terrorist network and support for Saddam when he was gassing Kurds are assuring us that this time they only want to see democracy flower in Iraq, perhaps your average lefty could be given a little slack in the doubting the good intentions of the giver.
But no – the danger, as Tatchell sees it, is those peaceniks out there supporting the terrible people who want to behead NGO employees and sew up vaginas. Is this what the SWTC is all about? With trepidation, we went to their site. Oddly enough, there are no recommendations to the kids in Stepney to fill their cars with plastique and blow themselves up outside Parliament. In fact, the organization has a bland and ecumenical, not to say shapeless, program of “stopping the war on terrorism.” There was no jubilation over the resistance on the site that we could see.
Tatchell then heats up the bong and goes for another toke:
“Motivated more by hatred of the US and British governments than by love for the Iraqi people, many so-called leftists support a “resistance” that, if victorious, would bring to power Baathists, Islamic fundamentalists and pro-al-Qaeda militants. Is that what the left now stands for? Neo-fascism, so long as it is anti-western?”
Well, cards out on the table: LI does not have love for the Iraqi people. We don’t have love for the Kazakhs either. We don’t love the Jews. We don’t love the Canadians, the Eskimos or the Ainu. In fact, for us, love is pretty much a one to one operation.
However, we do like the Iraqi people. We like them enough that we don’t want to see their cities smashed, their wedding parties bombed, or family members trundled off in the night to be subject to the tiresome whims of post adolescent American torturers.
We like them enough to think that elections, which are now upon us in Iraq, would not be upon us if the original U.S. plan was still in operation – which would have put off elections until 2007, at the earliest. We like them enough to remember how the U.S. changed its policy – which was not due to the pleadings of such as Mr. Tatchell, still foaming from his rescue mission in Africa (all those vaginas to save, personally). No, it was due to the armed resistance and the prospect of it becoming general if the Americans didn’t negotiate with Sistani. That was it – that was the whole and entire reason that the election process came about. It wasn’t that Social Democrats for a more Swedish Iraq had a head to head with Bremer. He confined his head to heads with members of the Heritage Foundation.
So we would respectfully ask (knowing that, for the prowar left, he who asks for bread will be given a little polemical stone) for a little less nonsense from supposed leftist supporters of democracy and trade unions in Iraq. Especially pleasing would be some real calculation of the forces that are in play in Iraq, which don't include the pro-terrorist British or American left, who've had zero influence as far as I can see on any turn of the events there.
This is, undoubtedly, too much to expect from a culture that was raised on charging the straw man. It must be one of those Oxford things, much like the Monty Python episode where the village idiots tear the knickers off the mannikens. Hitch must have been quite good in the old days at that. Perks you up for resolutely charging against, say, George Galloway, and you've done your doubty deed for progressivism. Meanwhile, the only leftist pro-war person who actually tried to ward off the truly reactionary plans of the original occupying junta was Peter Galbraith – not a man much quoted on sites like Harry’s.