Mixed feelings on the war

Only a fool would believe that the US are going to fight this was for altruistic reasons. The idea that the Americans actually give a damn about the people of Iraq is risible.

I have argued here against the war and I have marched against the war. I do believe it is part power-play, part oil-grab, part-revenge.

I hope that the war will end quickly with the minimum of casualties. I haven’t the slightest doubt that it is going to happen nor the slightest doubt about who is going to win.

But unusually for the pinko, leftie, liberal that I am, I think the Iraqi people will gain from this war.

I met an Iraqi man in London during the last Gulf War. He told me that he was a political activist against the Saddam regime. He told me that some of his comrades had been hung by steel wire from lampposts. He told me in such a deadpan, matter-of-fact, understated way that I believed him. And there are many to corroborate stories like his.

The fact that every government in the west cosied up to the Saddam dictatorship at some point is of little consequence to the Iraqi people. They will welcome his fall from whatever quarter it comes, not least from the US.

I think most anti-war people here have the same mixed feelings. The Americans might not overthrow Saddam for the right reasons but at least he will be gone.

The critical point is how many innocent lives it will cost. The Americans are calculating that the regime will implode quickly.

That might happen.

Alternatively, Saddam might withdraw his forces into the cities and dig in deep. Getting them out might end up in a catastrophic loss of life, both civilian and military.

That might happen, too.

Hitler or Stalin sir?

Many pro-war people cite Hitler as an example of appeasement. But they ignore the example of the USSR.

The Soviet dictatorship collapsed in its own good time as the inefficiencies and corruption of dictatorships always do.

If the Americans had attacked the Russians the numbers dead would have been in the tens of millions.

Which strategy do you prefer?

Think of the Kurds

IRELAND had a bad history, no doubt about it. We have the British to blame.

But there can be few people who suffered so much repression from so many directions as the Kurds.

Kurdistan is spread over the countries of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Azerbaijan, amongst others. Their lot has been constant ethnic despotism for centuries.

The Iraqi Kurds have carved themselves out an autonomous state in the no-fly zone of northern Iraq. In the coming conflict they are either going to get a mauling from Saddam or from Turkey.

The Kurdish lot is like tossing a double-headed coin. Whatever way it falls, the Kurds always lose.

Don’t forget about them.