Wednesday, February 21, 2007

FFS, Words Fail Me

Via Norman Geras, another review of Nick. Professor Geras quotes this passage with approval.

Why revisit the debate over Afghanistan? Simply because in the muddle that is now Iraq it's easy to forget how much of the liberal left also opposed this earlier campaign against an enemy so starkly the antithesis of everything they stand for. ... And so, this opposition illustrates how counterintuitive leftist politics has become.

Did much of the liberal left also oppose this earlier campaign against an enemy so starkly the antithesis of everything they stand for? Some of us did:

In October 2001, when the bombing campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda was at its height, aid agencies gave an apparently irrefutable reason for stopping the war. Unless there was a pause in the bombing, said Oxfam, Christian Aid and others, millions would starve.
Their predictions were horrific. The Taliban ran a state which guaranteed starvation as well as religious tyranny. A sizable minority of the population was dependent on United Nations handouts.

You'll note the author here is not defending the Taliban, yet he was writing in the Observer, a left-liberal paper in the Old Country.

The case for campaigning to prevent catastrophe appeared irrefutable, and I joined others in warning that unless the bombing was stopped millions would die.

Hold on, our Observer columnist wrote against the bombing? By the time this piece came out on March 23, 2003, he had changed his mind.

My predictions were nonsense. The brave al-Qaeda fighters ran away. The Taliban collapsed. The winter of 2001 was mild and the snows were late.

Actually, the Taliban war machine was always a guerilla army: it would never have stood up to an organised large scale force - so, like the Russians before Napoleon, or George Washington against the English, they fled and waited. And now they have moved back.
And this is what this liberal-lefty with his head on backwards wrote in October 2001:

The overthrow of the Taliban and capture of bin Laden will be worthless victories if America inspires a new generation of fanatics by allowing itself to be portrayed as complicit in atrocity. Tony Blair and Clare Short recognised the danger and argued fiercely that the choice between bombing and famine was false. I've no doubt they were sincere and am sure they don't want mass starvation. But when Short said 'we are trucking in huge amounts of food' and gracelessly accused relief workers of being 'emotional' she was being idiotic.

Clearly, it's a new irregular verb: I was wrong; you were a useful idiot; he apologised for fascism.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

IIRC the Guardianista soft left generally supported Afghanistan - Toynbee, Hutton, the Liberal Democrats, even Ken Livingstone.

2/21/2007 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

I like the way that the Decents are so keen to talk about the debate over Afghanistan, even as we are sternly enjoined by the same Decents that "picking through the rubble of the arguments over intervention" in Iraq is "self-indulgent".

2/21/2007 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Martin Wisse said...

I wonder who that auhtor was...

It is ironic that the only reason the decents can hold up Afghanistan as a succes is because Iraq is such a failure.

2/22/2007 08:46:00 AM  

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