Monday, 22 August 2011

An anti-interventionist speaks

Back in the days when I gave a toss about football, I used to make a special effort to wear my colours after the team I supported had taken a beating. If they'd lost a cup final, I'd pull that shirt on. I figured it was more important to wear it that day than on the fair-weather occasions.

The thought comes to mind as I begin stating my opposition to my country's military intervention in Libya, at a time when the success of that action is being loudly trumpeted by politicians and the press.

I should first state that I wish the people of Libya peace, and hope that the war will come to an end, and that the people of Libya have a right to liberty and to choose their own government. I certainly will not stand in the way of a popular revolution any more than I've stood in the way of the Nato aggression. My opinion is inconsequential anyway and I know it.

Is it a good thing, if Gaddafi falls? I don't know. I am not Libyan, and I don't know what will replace him. Will the people be more free? Likewise, I don't know. There are reasons for hope and reasons for fear. When all the dust and the debris is cleared away and order returns, will the ordinary Libyan be better off? Only they will be able to answer that.

The usual attack on the non-interventionist is based on a perceived lack of compassion for the suffering of the oppressed, that we would stand idly by as innocent victims are shot down by government thugs. Nothing we can argue back, about the number of deaths caused by the intervention itself seems to remove this taint, especially as we are never told how many deaths Nato causes, neither in Libya, Afghanistan nor Pakistan. There are reports of militants, which as far as I can gather means post-pubescent males. For those who happen to be anywhere in the vicinity, a terse regret may be muttered. But let me answer the charge: Yes indeed. If the government had listened to me, they would have not have bombed Gaddafi's forces on the way to Benghazi. And this sticky blood would be on my hands. But why does none of the blood of the Nato victims attach to the interventionist hawks? Of course, I know that one: because Nato's the good guys, and when they bomb and strafe, it's with love in their hearts. Such casualties are unintentional.

One of the cards we like to play is what is known to our adversaries as 'whatabouterie'. We point to all the other places where our government do nothing in very similar situations, or actually supports the kind of violent repression Gaddafi is accused of. Clearly its not the shooting of protestors per se, which has incurred the wrath of Nato.

But, cry the hawks, we can't do everything, can we? And just because we can't do everything doesn't mean we shouldn't act when we can.

Or else we may point out other agendas, such as kicking the Chinese out of Africa, grabbing the oil and the gold, carving up the reconstruction between friends. We might reflect on the blatant misuse of the UN Resolution, which has been stretched to the point of disintegration to cover what was always the plan: regime change.

However, these are minor matters for the inteventionists, especially on a day like today. They will be feeling good. They will be camping, as ever, on the moral highground. It was they, at least from the comfort of their armchairs, who liberated Libya and made every tyrant quake in their jackboots. They must learn the lesson of Libya, and that lesson is; tyranny's fine, just as long as you do what we tell you, and keep taking the dollar.

So, notwithstanding what the future holds for Libya, we can expect to see more interventions, more Nato playing the policeman of the world, and a continuation of this country's self-righteous belief that; once the good guy, always the good guy. And my view will remain the minority view, heaped anew in fresh ordure. Misunderstood, indeed. Contemptible, perhaps. But stubbornly held.


Anonymous said...

I am an old man. I have been a British patriot all my life, and have believed that all our wars were just and unavoidable.
In the past two years I have realised that our poverty and loss of the best in our national genetic store since 1914 is down to bad political leadership and a national tendency to agression. I do not think we have been directly threatened since Napoleon, and I am quite sure Hitler never wanted war with us and would never have declared war on us. If we had not declared war on Germany we would be standing with a self determining empire and with a united Europe including Russia, at peace. Instead we dragged the whole Anglosphere into a ruinous war.Chamberlain was a fool, not because of Munich, but because he gave tha Poles a guarantee which was useless to them anyway.

Anonymous said...

A small wager with anyone who cares to bet:

- Taxes will rise in Libya
- They will get a national debt from borrowing, they do not have one currently
- The "leader" has already been chosen, TV will ensure he is 'elected'
- Minority reporting will show him to be every bit as corrupt as the previous crew that Tony Blair liked to hug and the Scots do business with

Incidentally, given the Colonel abandoned his WMD program and may now be hanging from a lamp post, do we think this will make the Iranians more or less likely to develop nukes?

Mr A said...

They'll also get a smoking ban. Iraq and Afghanistan may be riddled with IEDs and armed insurgents but International Tobacco Control and the WHO ensured that the the citizens of these countries could be beheaded, blown to bits and stoned to death in a smokefree environment.

You just have to love some people's priorities, don't you?