Tuesday, December 13, 2005


David Aaronovitch takes Matthew Parris to task in the Times today:
In February 2003 Matthew wrote that he would be against a war in Iraq even if there was WMD, even if it was authorised by the UN, even if a liberated Iraq was then stable, and concluded: “I’m against war because it will antagonise moderate Arab opinion.” And the Iraqi people? To be massacred, shredded, gassed, beheaded, suppressed, starved, immiserated, terrorised and tortured because all of that would be less bad than antagonising moderate Arab opinion. An Iraqi democrat stands in front of an armchair anti- interventionist, and is invisible.

I do apologise. For Abu Ghraib and Donald Rumsfeld. For not understanding the insurgents. For the looting. For the dire planning. I apologise to the election workers assassinated, the police trainees blown up, the parents of children caught in crossfire and everyone else that the planners and executors of the invasion that I supported, and still support, may have let down by neglect or stupidity. I recognise their bravery and their determination to succeed despite everything.

But a disaster compared with what? Compared with Saddam and sanctions or Saddam and cyanide. And that — the thing that Matthew presumably preferred — was not a disaster? Snort.
And although at risk of trivialising the problems underlying the election, he just about gets away with this:
There were reports out of Iraqi Kurdistan about how hard the Kurdish parties were having to work to get out the vote. Some of the younger electors were complaining about corruption and a generation gulf, and the parties had become worried about abstention. This, of course, is a problem of democracy. In the past it was resolved by having life presidents, shooting the complainants and gassing their villages. Now they have to organise rock-the-vote concerts.
Well worth a read.


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