So let's go and kick Arab ass. And Eye-raqis are Muslims, right? That does it. We're gonna go in there and show them some hardware. Shock and awe? You bet. Bush seems sincerely to see the world as a battleground between Good and Evil, St Michael's angels against the forces of Lucifer. We're gonna smoke out the Amalekites, send a posse after the Midianites, smite them all and let God deal with their souls. Minds doped up on this kind of cod theology have a hard time distinguishing between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Dawkins went on to launch a fierce attack on the American constitution which had facilitated the election of a man like Bush. He concluded his article with these words: 'Saddam Hussein has been a catastrophe for Iraq, but he never posed a threat outside his immediate neighbourhood. George Bush is a catastrophe for the world. And a dream for Bin Laden.
But, writing on the first Saturday of the war, he was undoubtedly right to point out that, however slowly or swiftly the war was concluded, the ultimate outcome would be to strengthen the very kind of Islamic militancy it is supposed to undermine. By now, a week further into the war, the likelihood of such an outcome is even more starkly visible.
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Fergal Keane, writing in the Independent on the second Saturday of the war 29 March , described his week criss-crossing the middle east in an attempt to track the the manner in which the war is being received. In his article ' Does the West understand how this hated war is altering the Arab world? He is not, he writes, expressing his own opinions, but attempting to reflect the responses which he finds:. What I try to do here is look at acts and their consequences.
‘When They See Us’ exposes a legacy of hatred aimed at black men — The Undefeated
So when I say that Arab opinion is enraged by the war, that Arabs regard Mr Blair and Mr Bush as the leaders of an invading and occupying force, it is merely to reflect how things are. If there is a silent Arab majority — or even minority — who believes the war is a good thing, I have yet to find it.
If it exists it is so minuscule as to be politically irrelevant. Robin Cook, writing on 30 March in the Sunday Mirror , calls for British troops to be withdrawn from Iraq immediately. He goes on to suggest that ' There will be a long-term legacy of hatred for the West if the Iraqi people continue to suffer from the effects of the war we started. One of the most striking articles on the current situation to appear in the British press over the weekend was undoubtedly that of Edward Luttwak, an expert in military strategy, writing in the Sunday Telegraph. Luttwak argues that war cannot be tenderised and that attempts to moderate its destructive power in the interests of public relations are doomed to failure.
The authority he invokes is none other than Clausewitz:. Long ago, Karl von Clausewitz, the supreme theoretician of war, explained why every attempt to prettify its essential violence with inconsistent acts of moderation, every refusal to use maximum force when it can be purposeful and no mere rampage, adds to the human costs of war by extending its cruelties and deprivations, and even more by delaying the arrival of the desired peace that is the only possible goal of any rational war.
Luttwak argues that, since every high building in a city is potentially a fortress or gun-turret for the enemy, high buildings must be destroyed by bombs before the army invades. In short, in order for for it to be liberated Baghdad must first be flattened. If this results in innocent civilians dying then so be it; war is not the time to engage in public relations exercises.
In one sense Luttwak, in citing the words of Hitler's mentor, is absolutely right. What he seems not to grasp, however, is that his argument points to the very conclusion for which those who have opposed the war have long argued: the military invasion of a foreign country is not and cannot be a method of liberation. War is not something you wage upon your friends; it is something you wage upon your enemies.
If you go to war upon the country of your would-be friends it is very likely that you will succeed, either sooner or later, in turning them into your enemies. Some hawkish commentators still resist this view. Julie Burchill, writing in the Guardian on the second Saturday of the war, was still looking forward to the scenes of jubilation among Iraqi citizens she believes will eventually greet British and American soldiers:.
Of course, though it seems increasingly improbable, Julie Burchill may be right. Anne Frank Institute of Philadelphia. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions.
Documentary: American Hate
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