Little to say for myself

Thursday, February 20, 2003  

I suppose it's got to start somewhere

I hear and read a fair few news reports, articles and blogs about the Iraq crisis, and I get more and more depressed. Psychobabble-fluent friends assure me that depression is suppressed anger. OK so I must be angry - but what about? Let's try listing a few things (in no particular order):
  • Bush saying "if you're not with us, you're against us"

  • Conversely, people who say that unless you are opposed to Blair you are pro-war

  • People who say "I went on the march because I'm anti-war". Who isn't?

  • People who can't see the difference between the threat of military action and actual military action

  • How readily critics find flaws in the stance of others, without offering constructive alternatives (just like I'm doing now...)

  • Right-on anti-racists who think it nevertheless legitimate to slag off 'the Americans'

  • Politicians who behave as though we think they're altruistic, thereby justifying their self-serving actions

  • People who refer back to "who did what for whom" in WW2 (and even further back)

  • People who say "this has nothing to do with oil/money/power"

  • The way Blair switches between different objectives (from regime change to disarmament to terrorist links to regime change again and back to disarmament) as soon as someone challenges the validity of his statements

  • The self-righteousness of pacifists and war-mongers who are blind to shades of grey

  • People who ignore the military commanders who oppose military action

  • People who ignore the Iraqi exiles who support military action

  • People who think that when Bush or Blair makes a speech, he's speaking to us rather than to Saddam

  • Bush (and Blair)'s evident belief that a single American (or British) life is more valuable than an Iraqi one

  • People who believe that war is a solution - that kicking Saddam out will solve the region's problems

  • People who believe that simply refusing to fight is a solution

Above all, the thing I get most angry about is the fact that I don't know what the hell should be done for the best. I just can't bring myself to agree with anyone for any length of time.

On the other hand, there are some things I'm grateful for:
  • I live under a system where a million people can march peacefully through a city together to express an idea

  • I live under a system where the government is my servant, and I can kick it out if I don't like it

  • I'm too old to be conscripted, and my children are too young

  • I don't believe in God, so I don't have to worry about what a bastard He appears to be

  • I don't have to choose between two evils, both of which involve the deaths of thousands of people like me

Given that we're all about to find out what our future history is, let's hope it'll be a good one.

posted by Plig | 23:16 |

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Forget the sentimental notion that foreign policy is a struggle between virtue and vice, with virtue bound to win.
Forget the utopian notion that a brave new world without power politics will follow the unconditional surrender of wicked nations.
Forget the crusading notion that any nation, however virtuous and powerful, can have the mission to make the world in its own image.
Remember that diplomacy without power is feeble, and power without diplomacy is destructive and blind.
Remember that no nation's power is without limits, and hence that its policies must respect the power and interests of others.
Hans Morgenthau

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts
Bertrand Russell

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one
Albert Einstein

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative
Martin Luther King Jr.

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man
Bertrand Russell

I think it would be a good idea
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun
Pablo Picasso

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others
Groucho Marx

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it
Mahatma Gandhi

Always make new mistakes
Esther Dyson
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