Nick…Shut the fuck up!

I feel a rant coming on…

On and off I get to wondering just what it is that pisses me off so much about the self-styled ‘muscular liberals’ of the pro-war left, and today’s one of those days.

What’s prompted this train is thought is having spotted yet another outbreak of obsequious fawning over yet another of Nick Cohen’s tiresome rants in which he postulates – as usual – that he and his ilk are the only truly inheritors of the ideological mantle of the left and everyone who disagrees with them are just bunch of fascist bastards.

Then it finally struck me. Just go for the simplest possible explanation – they’re just a bunch of crashing bores.

Just look at them, Aaronovitch, Cohen, Hitchen – what have they actually got to say for themselves?

Fuck all. Just the same old tired load of bollocks endlessly recycled for the moron classes. Not a debate, just the newspaper equivalent of three ragged-arsed old drunks sitting on a park bench and railing incoherently against the world.

‘You’re all a bunch of fucking fascists, you fucking fuckers!

  • To be fair to them, they’re more interested in being the New Churchillians rather than the Real Left.

  • Helen of romford

    I’ve always been against the war for the simple reason that if they were clear-sighted moralists doing this for the democratic good of the world, they might have demonstrated some prior commitmtents in terms of who they were willing to pal up with.

    It’s easy to disown Mugabe when he doesn’t have any useful resources, less easy with modern-day dissenter-boilers who happen to be sitting on a big pot of oil. Where were we with the genocides in Rwanda, Sudan and the ruinous war in Ethiopia ? Did the CIA really try to kick over the democratically elected Govt of Venezuala ? Heck the idea of democracy in the Middle East generally seems too inconvenient most of the time.

    So, it was pretty obvious to me that truth, justice and the American way were not high on the list of excuses for this colonial invasion and whatever the reasons turned out to be, they were grubby and self-interested.

    Oh, hey they were. I was right – who’d’a thunk it ?

  • So because US and European governments have backed despots in the past, that represents a moral case to distrust their motives, now and forever, and that you can conveniently use to campaign against any action they might take, however genocidal their opponent, and however bad the consequences of inaction.

    Pure cynicism, but by all means pat yourself on the back for making (what you see as) a good call.

  • Unity

    B4L:

    Personally I don’t see the argument in terms of distrusting governments on moral grounds now and forever – I’m too aware of the realpolitik and how foreign policy really operates for that.

    Going forward from Iraq, my arguments are simply that there is still no clear legal basis in international law for military intervention in a sovereign state which does not pose an immediate threat to neighbours – we fudged on Kosovo even though, technically, that was illegal too.

    That says to me that we need a proper international framework for such interventions, one which permits the international community to act to prevent genocide but without creating a situation in which that be used as a cover for illegitimate aggression.

    Geting back to Cohen et al, I think my beef with them is clearly stated – this whole ongoing headbanging session between Cohen,Aaro,Hitchen et al and Galloway is just a tired rerun of old school hard left in-fighting we used see constantly a few years back – its just the same people and the same old rhetoric transposed to a different arena and none of it really advances the debate or contributes to the development of a genuine and well-founded left-wing perspective on international issues.

    All the ex-communists on the pro-war side have done is replace their notion of a ‘worker’s revolution’ with a ‘liberal democratic revolution’ as a means of pushing their old reactionary authoritarian agenda.

  • The international law argument is the weakest of the lot as far as I’m concerned.

    If France and Russia had got the deal they wanted over compensation for their lost loans to Saddam, they would have supported the war. Would that have made it any more moral or justified? No!

  • Helen of romford

    B4L,
    Whilst your loyalty to the Party line might be confused with being admirable, your logic is less clear.

    Saddam was genocidal, and has been since the west supported his rise to power and the world is now a cleaner place without him. Tho’ we do seem to be replacing unco-operative like for complaint like just now, was that intentional or just lucky ?

    It was never obvious to me, even way back when, that the west had a case for invasion that was any better than for 50 or 60 other equally deserving regimes we happily supported, and still support, around the world. So what was special about Iraq ? That was always a sticking point.

    The humanitarian motive for this adventure was ripest male cattle by-product. The case above points that out.

    Equally the hyping of the threats Saddam posed to the rest of the world seemed unlikely as it was known that the Bush administration were impeding the weapons inspectors more than Saddam was, as since confirmed by Hans Blix and Scott Ritter on several occasions.

    This, running alongside the fact, known even then, that Bush had always wanted to attack Iraq from his earliest days in office, made it seem that this was a confected set of reasons and excuses to do what he wanted anyway.

    But the over-riding problem I had with attacking Iraq was that it was obviously a distraction to the campaign against Al-Qaeda. Which seemed to me, then and now, as being the number one and urgently justified priority. The tie-ins between Saddam and Al-Qaeda were laughable.

    So, no I didn’t support the war as the reasons were obviously bogus. What weren’t they telling us ? Even now, we can’t get a truthful answer, although we know so many more true things about the motives. None of which are good and many of which leave bigger questions about the supposed “virtue” of the war.

    Contrary to your silly accusation I get no pleasure from saying “I told you so”. I am angry that we were lied to, outraged that people have profited from this misery, sick that the Treasury has been depleted of moneys that the NHS, education and social services amongst others desperately need to do things that matter to the majority of people in this country.

    And for what ?? Don’t worry about your delusions on my satisfactions, what pleasures do YOU get when you look at the result of this mess ? What on earth do you see that tells you this mess could possibly have been justifed ?

    Oh, and B4L is a group effort. I’m an individual, identify yourself.

    Helen

  • Couple of points: B4L is not, currently, a group blog. It may become so, but until then it mostly speaks with my voice (my name is Andrew), even though it hosts 116 or so more interesting voices. Party loyalty is one thing, but reciting the “party line” is very boring, and I wouldn’t waste my time doing it (nor have I). Commenters often use claims of slavish loyalty to try to close down discussion.

    I’m not proud to say that I was anti-invasion until very recently, having been one of those who considered that Blair’s zeal for bringing liberal, democratic principles to “tricky” parts of the world was dangerous and destabilising; that the Iraqis generally suffered come what may, had no experience of democracy, and therefore what hope could there be?; that the carving-up of Iraq’s assets was really the driving force; that America was too big for its boots and that the term ‘progressive’ was defined entirely in opposition to them; that the legal case was more important than the principles behind international law; and that the shenanigans with dossiers and 45-minute claims implied that the entire enterprise was corrupt.

    I never took that position as far as saying that the money would be better spent at home. Enough hundreds of billions are spent on public services in the UK for the people here not to suffer much if a few billions were transferred to a campaign that could save huge numbers of people abroad. Besides, there’s no guarantee that money would ever have been spent at all here, so I consider the argument selfish and dishonest.

    Oliver Kamm mentions Blair’s outlining of a liberal interventionist policy for Britain in 1999, before the appearance of Bush here, even if Bush had ulterior motives (surely nothing at all to do with Saddam’s record of genocide). I guess there are three possible ways ahead: (a) we obsess about the lead-up to Iraq and the evils of Bush, ignoring the practical benefits: nascent democracy, the possibility – at last – of the elimination of state-sponsored killing and torture, and the campaign (militarily and intellectually) against foreign militants; (b) we muddle onwards, backing some despots and condemning others, trying to manipulate the media and public opinion to persuade it to accept potentially unpleasant actions; or (c) we commit to a set of principles that allow us to identify and systematically target nasty regimes with all the tools at our disposal, transparently, and unashamedly. I don’t hold with the view that people who prefer (c) are neo-cons (that term of abuse), imperialists, racists, fantasists, acolytes of more powerful bloggers, or that they must necessarily be wet behind the ears and ignorant of history.