Wednesday, August 14, 2002

The new edition of The New Republic is on line, and contains the usual stiletto analysis. Especially worth reading is this skewering by Peter Beinart of the tendency to pretend that calling for further debate is the same as having a position on something.

There's nothing wrong with all these calls for dialogue. But it's hard to have a useful discussion when only one side knows what it thinks. And right now only one side does. Bush and most Republicans are arguing that the United States should go to war against Iraq; most Democrats are arguing that we should argue about it.

Right now we are facing important decisions about national security and foreign policy. Instead of alternative policy, we get dross. Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition seems content to squeal “Rambo rhetoric” every time, and I mean every time, the Government opens its mouth. The Labor Party is so terrified of losing more support to their loopy Left wing that they will play this game all the way to the wire, and then support the war.

Today we get the spectre of a former Prime Minister, and well-known Mugabe supporter, telling us that we can’t go in unless everybody agrees it’s a good idea.

During the Gulf War there was a coalition of 34 nations. The operation was sanctioned by the UN Security Council. Any future involvement must also have Security Council support. The US should not go to war without a broad coalition.

Malcolm doesn’t tell us how many of the 34 the US needs to have behind them. And given that Saudi Arabia and Germany have both put their thumbs down, a full crew is unlikely.

There is some light of reality:

There is no doubt that the government of Iraq has done the most terrible things. It waged a long war against Iran; it invaded Kuwait; it has turned its brutality against its own people, both the Kurds and the Shiites; it has been producing, and has shown a willingness to use, weapons of mass destruction.

But this is not enough to justify going it alone:

But before war is contemplated, final efforts must be made to reinstate United Nations arms inspectors with appropriate access across Iraq

Note the careful absence of a recommendation for action if and when diplomacy fails, or even some clue as to what would constitute diplomatic failure.

As for Australia’s role in this, the bar gets even higher:

If we end up being involved, we should seek to establish arrangements as an appropriate partner in conflict. That would involve knowing America's mind in relation to every aspect of the war. Ideally it would involve having somebody of ministerial rank participating in the war councils in Washington. Then we would truly know the considerations of the Bush Administration.

Fraser doesn’t confide if this would be a deal breaker, or just a convenient get-out-of-responsibility-free card.

Beinart puts it smoothly:

Making international opposition the primary rationale for opposing war with Iraq is essentially a way for Democrats to outsource the moral and strategic thinking they need to do themselves.

There will come a time, and soon, that everyone will have to choose up sides. I suggest to those who reflexively oppose any war the US involves itself in, that they consider the consequences of being seen to stand shoulder to shoulder with one of the vilest regimes on the planet. You looked pretty bloody stupid after Afghanistan: do you want to repeat the effort?

For further beatings, try this:
What is it about loser ex-PMs that makes them incapable of keeping their mouths shut, and instead bless us with their condescending wisdoms? Didn't you dicks do enough damage fucking up foreign policy and wrecking our economy when you were in office? Don't you get it? We voted you out so your ideas wouldn't be put into practice.

from Tex at Whacking Day.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?