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Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Imperialism is Dead! Long Live Imperialism!

Gird your loins and stiffen your thews, comrades, for we are taking an excursion deep into the Valley of the Barking Moonbat, and we may not all come out with our coiffures intact.

Wanker regular George Monbiot tells us how the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (no snickering in the ranks!) has a brilliant plan for thwarting Bloodthirsty Blair's (Tony, not Tim) plans to rape and pillage Iraq:

Parliament might have been denied its debate and the cabinet might have been silenced, but there are other means of holding the government to account. If, by 4pm today, his lawyers have failed to agree that he will not attack Iraq without a new UN resolution, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will take the prime minister to court. For the first time in history, the British government may be forced to defend the legality of its war plans in front of a judge.

The case, hatched by the comedian Mark Thomas, looks straightforward.

Hatched by a comedian, eh? Who'd have thought.

If CND wins, its lawyers believe it is "inconceivable" that the British government would go to war without a new resolution, as it would lose its remaining moral authority.


Oh, that's true. No nation would dare do something on its own without the permission of the UN. Why...why...the UN's like God! God right here on Earth! All moral authority flows from the UN. Anyone who would ignore the UN is committing blasphemy!

But don't you go thinking that Monbiot's one o' them hippie wimps who is never for muscular action, no sir! He knows that would only doom the Iraqis to further suffering under the madman Hussein:

But just because we do not favour an attack of the kind the US proposes does not mean that we cannot support attempts by other nations, whose record is unsullied and whose motives are unmixed, to destabilise or overthrow the regime, if their action is legal and if we know that this is the limit of their ambitions. Indeed, if we do succeed in preventing an attack by the US, we surely have a responsibility to lobby for a just means of helping the Iraqi people to depose Saddam, led by nations with no imperial ambitions. And we may find that this requires military force.

See there! He's perfectly willing to let unsullied, morally pure nations with the most innocent of intentions to "help" the Iraqis depose Saddam. Nations like, well, let's, no, I'm sure it will come to me. Um, Andorra? And...uh...Belize? And Canada. The Iraqis will have the combined military might of Andorra, Belize, and Canada at their disposal---maybe, assuming no one would get hurt or anything---to effect regime change on their own.

Troy Davis of the World Citizen Foundation has been sketching out an ingenious means of pulling the rug from beneath Saddam's feet. The UN, he proposes, should help the opposition groups based abroad and in Iraq's no-fly zones to establish a democratically elected government in exile. This government is then given the world's Iraqi embassies and the nation's frozen assets. It gradually takes control of the no-fly zones and the oil-for-food programme. Saddam would find himself both isolated diplomatically and confronted by a legitimate alternative government. It is not hard to see how his authority over his own people would be undermined, permitting him to be toppled more easily.

Wow! That is ingenious. I want to know more!

Firstly, Mr. Davis invokes the Declaration of Independence:

The Declaration of Independence uses the terms "all Men", not "all Americans", underscoring its universal applicability...[it] clearly and forcefully expresses fundamental rights and came about in a way that maximized its legitimacy and popular mandate. It is our guide and provides all the justification we need for regime change in Iraq.

How would the Founding Fathers go about regime change in Iraq?

President Bush and the world ought to call immediately on all Iraqi groups and the Iraqi people to jointly design the next free and democratic Iraqi government.


Of course, Saddam should be challenged to allow any Iraqi group within Iraq to freely attend and their families be unmolested.

Global attention on the delegates and on their families would make it very difficult for Saddam to influence enough the Assembly to prevent it from designing a free and democratic government with fundamental guarantees of human rights. And Saddam should also be challenged to broadcast the proceeding of the Constitutional Assembly live, uncensored and unabridged on Iraqi state television and radio. He may refuse but his refusal would cost him enormous goodwill and political capital.


The Constitutional Assembly could then constitute and declare a new and legitimate Provisional Government of Iraq and "order" Saddam from his office to step down to allow the organization of free and fair elections in Iraq.

If Saddam refused to obey the legitimate government of Iraq, in effect a government in exile, the new Iraqi government could then request all assistance from the international community to free Iraq.

(Really, you must read the whole thing.)

And then the fearsome (yet virginal and unspoiled) combined armies of Andorra, Belize, and Canada would step in and remove Saddam without the loss of so much as a single innocent goat.

It's at this point, folks, that this idea stops being ludicrous and starts being sad, pathetic, frightening.

Saddam should be challenged to allow any Iraqi freely attend...

How do you "challenge" Saddam to this? You just do. "We'll know you're not really serious about democracy if you slaughter the delegates!" That'll give him pause.

...his refusal would cost him enormous goodwill and political capital.

Look, you simpleton: the only "goodwill" Saddam has is that which you and Monbiot and all your disgusting ilk choose to hand him. The tattered rags of "goodwill" which he clutches about his loathesome carcass are made of only one fiber: anti-Americanism. Saddam opposes the US, and is opposed by it in turn, and that's the only claim to any kind "goodwill" he has on this planet. And in the West, that grimy, stinking cloth is woven by idiots like you.

His "political capital" is formed of stouter stuff, however: it's made of ooooiiiillll. Yes, there are those whose interest is to protect---not attack, protect---Saddam because of ooooiiiillll, and those interests aren't changing just because you managed to gather together some sort of fairy tale congress of Iraqi exiles.

And how in the name of all that is holy you think that "global attention" is going to keep Saddam from influencing this pixies' parliament, I simply cannot fathom. The world's attention has been on Iraq, off and on, for more than a decade, and it hasn't kept him from doing whatever he damn well pleases within his borders so far. Unless, of course, the attention comes in the form of the sullied, impure aircraft of the Armies of Imperialism.

I just do not understand those who will look the last twelve or so years of history in the eye and still insist that Saddam Hussein can be routed by Global Attention in the form of Stern Looks and Firm Language. I'll also note that Davis's plan continues to rely on the United Imperialist Air Force to police the north and south of the country.

You know, once upon a time I believed as Monbiot and Davis do, that most people were well-intentioned -- or at the very least pragmatic -- and so Tactical Tsking and Strategic Sternness would work on them. Fortunately I was disabused of that notion long before I left my teens, and I do not see how one can attain adulthood without learning that lesson.

There is one bright glint of comedy gold in this midden: Imperialism is now OK, as long as you have good intentions.

I believe that there is only one good reason in favor of war with Iraq, and that is that Saddam Hussein is a bad man who is gathering powerful weapons to use against us, probably in such a way that he is not directly implicated. There's also only one good reason against war, and that's that wars are bad, and pre-emptive wars are worse.

Now, there are other arguments for and against this war, and they have their places in weighing whether or not to pursue it. But those two arguments are the primary ones; all others are at best secondary. For example, the argument that in toppling Saddam we will be freeing the Iraqi people from a cruel regime is a good one, but it is not and cannot be the primary reason for war. We must not pretend that we would be doing this for purely altruistic reasons, and indeed we shouldn't have to.

However, it is an important consideration to include in any calculation of whether or not to go to war. Many on the pro-war side have emphasized it heavily, and repeatedly. Most on the anti-war side (that I've seen) have been downplaying the possibility, either ignoring it or asserting that "stability" is more important to the Iraqis than liberation.

With this Monbiot column comes the first hint that the usual Guardian suspects realize that anti-war really means pro-Saddam. But of course they cannot possibly endorse American intervention, so they come up with this toothless vision of fantasy Iraqi parliaments who can ask the "international community" for help. The Left has searched and search and searched for an alternative to the nasty imperialism the Americans and British would impose, and they've come up with this phresh solution----imperalism! This parliament is just going to be a Western fabrication: a puppet body conjured up from nothing for the sole purpose of giving some flimsy legal pretence for removing Saddam. Oh, but it's Leftist imperialism, based on nothing but Good Thoughts about What's Best, so that makes it OK.

From Steven Chapman via Andrea Harris.