Saturday, December 23, 2006

Are We Just Making More of a Mess?

I have shamelessly lifted this article by Deborah Orr in its entirety. Published in Marie Claire, I decided I would find it hard to put it better myself, & I love Deborah partly because she is married to Will Self actually. She'd probably hate me for that, but just imagine their conversations over the dinner table, I do also like her bolshiness. I am not quite sure why Marie Claire publishes so much of the content online, they need the advertising revenue, & I won't be paying that ridiculous nearly £4 an issue now I know. I don't really know why I buy these magazines at all actually, they are rather like eating too much chocolate & feeling a bit sick afterwards, not that they have any effect on my body image! You might though want to read about India Knight's probably sensible route to weight loss which isn't on the website.
Iraq: Are We Just Making More of a Mess?

Laudable as the idea of unseating dictator Saddam Hussein might have seemed to many people, the fact is that his secular and brutal regime suppressed not just individuals but also warring factions. With Saddam gone, the various groups – most significantly Shia and Sunni Muslims – seized the opportunity to wage warfare among themselves. Bush and Blair made the naive assumption that the Iraqi people would be united in their gratitude that they had been liberated from Saddam, and would be happy to co-operate in establishing a West-loving liberal democracy. But instead, more than three years after the start of the war on 19 March 2003, the post-invasion chaos has allowed factional fighting to flourish.

It has also provided the opportunity to blame the violence on the ongoing presence of the Anglo-American coalition rather than the failure of the West to establish a solid leadership alternative to Saddam. This left the coalition with two terrible problems. First was the violence and instability, which the two occupying armies have had little or no success in controlling. Second, more subtly, was the ability to suggest, through propaganda, that this violence was directed against the West rather than being the result of a civil war. For political Islam worldwide, this has been a gift. It feeds into the idea that the West is the enemy of Islam when the truth is that Saddam was the least Islamic of the leaders in the Middle East.

Are the coalition forces making things worse by staying now? Not really. Things are going to get worse whether we stay or not. On the one hand, it is an awful thing to precipitate a civil war, then get out and leave it to descend into wholesale massacre – which it will. On the other, the coalition's continued presence will simply reinforce the idea that the terrible violence is caused by the occupation – a claim that becomes more tentative by the day. It has been apparent for some time that the coalition cannot win. That remains true whether American and British armed forces stay or go. There is no clean exit from this protracted imbroglio any more than there was a clean entry.

Yasmin Alibhai-brown also writes about the veil & made me think again, as she usually does.

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3 Comments:

Blogger madmary said...

Helen, I notice a link to my pathetic excuse for a blog here, and I'm really flattered. I mention this only to point you in the direction of Riverbend's blog, if you haven't visited it before it has a lot of resonance with this entry. It makes me feel very humble living as I do in comparative luxury and security.

Mary

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Charles Hatton said...

Thanks for putting Deborah Orr's article here. As you might imagine, I'm not prone to buying Marie Claire!

I can only agree with her conclusions. One of the sticks that I've heard many government ministers use when objections to the invasion are raised is "... are you saying that you want Sadam back"? (full of accusatory tone). This is, of course, nonsense and only used to bring the discussion to a swift close. The reality is that it wasn't an either/or, there were lots of options available. It's just sad that the United Nations was so weak.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Helen Sparkles said...

How right you are Charles that it wasn't a binary position, something which doesn't vouch for our leaders having much intelligence & which just proves yet again that politicians disregard even the most recent history. I think it was Einstein who said that Insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. George Bush has said Iraq will be an apostrophe in the scheme of history, perhaps the one in crisis’s to come would suit him.

6:33 PM  

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