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joe_sixsteps


joe_sixsteps

mULti-torTOISe
Location: Kent currently, Cornwall soon,...

Total posts: 310
Posted:As the purported justifications for the invasion of Iraq prove one by one to be the baseless lies of leaders who had decided on conflict before looking for a reason, we are left with the sole excuse that the value of Democracy is worth the price paid in Iraqi lives.

Im surprised that we consider ourselves in a position to judge the value of that transaction, and I am left wondering if Democracy is really worth such an exorbitant price.

For once, I am going to ignore that bloody handed despot on the other side of the Atlantic, and concentrate on my own beloved leader, Tony Blair. He led his country into war in the face of majority opposition from both his own party and his public. To do this, and to muster what slim support he could, it begins to look as though he or his agents summoned every flimsy scrap of evidence that they could lay their hands on, and twisted it as far as possible to argue their case. One by one his justifications are being shot down:
- there have been no WMDs
- it becomes clear that all the intelligence we had on them was flimsy, plagiarised guess-work, for the most part out of date
- during the war, British troops used cluster bombs on built-up civilian areas, making a mockery of any pretence of altruism toward Iraqi civilians
- no connection has been demonstrated between the Baath party and Al Qaeda
- it is the opinion of experts both from within the UN and independently, that the threat of terrorism within Iraq and toward the Western nations has been significantly increased by the destabilisation of the area, and the violence done to the Iraqi people (Roust, Dec 2003)

In addition, any semblance of an altruistic justification for the invasion is turned into a sick joke by the support given by the coalition of the willing to other regimes engaged in far more hideous atrocities against their own people (eg Uzbekistan see other threads for details), and by the late timing of our supposed outrage Rumsfeld met Saddam in Baghdad after the gassing of the Kurds.

The following is an excerpt from a letter which appeared in the Guardian, 22/01/04

Quote:
War Crimes in Iraq

[] shock and awe bombing raids indiscriminately killed 15 35,000 people and injured untold others. This is an offence under article 8, schedule 6 of the ICC statute, enacted by the UK in 2001, which outlaws: (a)(iii) wilfully causing great suffering; (a)(iv) extensive destruction and appropriation of property; (b)(ii) intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects and; (b)(iv) launching an attack in the knowledge that it will cause incidental loss of life.
Tony Blair admitted in parliament (Hansard, March 23 2002): If there is conflict there will be civilian casualties; proving he knew the attack would kill or injure civilians.
[discussion of the sanctions] Madeleine Albright proved genocidal intent when, told that 460,000 children had died as a result of the sanctions, she said: It is a price worth paying.
[]

Michael Mansfield QC
Dr James Thring

Legal Action Against War




It is clear to me that the invasion of Iraq was both illegal and immoral. Whether, in the long term, the Iraqi people will be better off, I dont know, but I refuse to believe that we had reached the point where no other solution but war was possible. Prior to the invasion, we saw the greatest peaceful demonstration that Britain has ever known, on the streets of London. Tony Blair engaged in this slaughter against the wishes of the people he supposedly represents, yet is still in power.

And what can we do about it? We are strangely powerless. We had no legal recourse whatsoever to stop him going to war. We could have armed ourselves, taken to the streets but what difference is there between that and life under a dictatorship? One presumes that Tony Blair wouldnt start gassing the home counties but he could still have us all arrested, and held indefinitely without trial under suspicion of being terrorists. Many people were arrested for demonstrating peacefully what would have happened if they had been trying just that little bit harder?

And after the bombing is over? Assuming that the Hutton inquiry doesnt finish him off, Tony Blair looks set to stay in power up to the next election. And that is where my question lies. I swore that if Britain went to war, I would never vote Labour again. Yet now the Tory party seems strangely re-invigorated under Howard, and even more bloodthirsty and right wing than Labour. I am frightened that voting with my conscience (either Lib Dem or Green Party), along with similar votes cast by what used to be the Labour left, coupled with a swing from the centre toward the Tory party, will result in a Conservative government for the next four years privatisation of universities, the reclassification of cannabis, and the hideous, inevitable backlash against those scapegoats of the new millennium, the asylum seekers.

So there we have it. In our oh-so-wonderful democracy, we have no legal way to stop our government from perpetrating atrocities in our name, and no legal recourse to condemn them in the aftermath. If we show our displeasure by voting against the party we hold to be responsible, we may well end up with something worse. We are powerless.

Is democracy really worth anything at all?




*Note I am not saying that the removal of Saddam will not have benefits for the Iraqi people, or that there is no difference between our failed democracy and his open dictatorship. However, I think that his removal could have been accomplished through peaceful means, and I think that the mechanised slaughter that the coalition of the willing has conducted on the Iraqi people, coupled with the genocidal effects of the sanctions which preceded the invasion, can never be justified.




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simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London

Total posts: 3149
Posted:Yes, but we have seen them both in office.

Tony Blair as Prime Minister, and Michael Howard as Home Secretary in the previous government.
(Home Secretary is basically in charge of all the laws that apply to UK citizens)

Howard wasn't a nice home secretary mad

People were going out and having fun and he thought it was dangerous so he made parties illegal.

no, really. He did frown


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London

Total posts: 3149
Posted:Having said the above, is that Joe's cue to tell me i shouldn't be annoyed about the Criminal Justice Bill when there's other worse things in the world? wink

"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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joe_sixsteps


joe_sixsteps

mULti-torTOISe
Location: Kent currently, Cornwall soon,...

Total posts: 310
Posted:Quote:
Joe, not everyone shares your exact stance on iraq. Myself and the above postee for a start i'd estimate that 95% of threads in this forum are about iraq, so do we need another one?



Agreed, this isn't just about their attitude to Iraq - small arms trade, third world debt, asylum policy, the funding of "friendly" dictators and a glad-handed attitude to the truth would do just as well as indices of the underlying attitude. I feel that it's still very relevant though - my first post in this thread was asking whether the invasion of Iraq rendered our own democracy redundant. Debate about there being any significant difference between our two major parties is in that precise topic.

Quote:
Remember, in general everyone wants worldwide happiness and justice (even Bush and Blair, though you might not believe it), we just have different ideas of how best to get there.



I'm very interested in this comment as well. I have to say that whilst in general you may be right, I think that most people may say that they want it in theory, but then direct almost all of their actions toward a quite different end. I have recently read several very good books about the history of British foreign policy, which generally point toward the conclusion that our government has absolutely no concern for the lives or wellfare of pretty much the whole population of the world, unless such concern can be realised as votes.

The litany of casual disregard for human life which can be laid at our door is damning. Even where it looks as though we're trying to do the right thing, we have our hands bloodied beneath the surface. For example, of the top five recipiants of British overseas aid in the last five years, government subsidised arms companies have been the largest small arms supplier to... all five of them.

I have to admit, I do get very wound up about this. I sometimes find relaxed debate extremely difficult. Saying that our opinions have no impact on the situation is tantamount to saying that democracy has become irrelevant - so you may well be right. I plan on voting, but I don't imagine that the next government, whether they call themselves Tory or Labour, will be different from the current one in any way that I think really matters.

I'm looking forward to tea and cakes though Simian - I promise to try and calm down! Perhaps we can even take advantage of our current governments recently relaxed stance on certain issues to calm me down even further... though I doubt that the debate will benefit much! confused



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simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London

Total posts: 3149
Posted:Indeed smile

Quote:
small arms trade, third world debt, asylum policy, the funding of "friendly" dictators and a glad-handed attitude to the truth would do just as well as indices of the underlying attitude.





Exactly what i meant when i was saying that relatively small issues do have greater importance than you may imagine. They are indicators of the 'mood' of a government.



i have to say the Tory policies toward small arms trade, third world debt and asylum are all far less liberal than the current Labour policies.



when it comes to attitudes toward the truth: Mr Hichael Moward has a much worse record than Mr Blony Tair.



(You'd think i'd be tired of going on about how nasty Howard is by now. But i'm not. He's more machine now than man, twisted and evil)



If you want more liberal than that, then you could vote Lib Dem. They're quite popular apparently (particularly in the constituency of Monkey Treehouse East ubbangel)

and the War in Iraq could well see more support for them, after both main parties supported the war fully, while the population tended toward disagreement.



But there is that factor of "we don't know what'll happen if these guys actually get powerful" aka better the devil you know.



Anyway, final unrelated point that occurs to me: many people think they are representative of the majority opinion in this country because they are representative of the opinions of the people they know.



The two are not the same thing by any means.


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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joe_sixsteps


joe_sixsteps

mULti-torTOISe
Location: Kent currently, Cornwall soon,...

Total posts: 310
Posted:Quote:

[Quote:] small arms trade, third world debt, asylum policy, the funding of "friendly" dictators and a glad-handed attitude to the truth would do just as well as indices of the underlying attitude.



Exactly what i meant when i was saying that relatively small issues do have greater importance than you may imagine. They are indicators of the 'mood' of a government.



Relatively small issues? Probably I'm too drunk to start debating this (the first party have turned up, and are juggling behind me as we speak), but I don't think these are small issues. Labour stated policy on small arms sales to conflict zones is identical to the Tory position, ie. no real restrictions whatsoever. Hawk jets with machine gun fittings to the Indonesian government? Special price for you sir, since you're an old customer. No record has been kept of the precise money donated by each party to regimes which contravene human rights... but I doubt we'd find much difference.

Michael Howard is certainly promising to be 'tougher on Asylum Seekers,' but he can't do much more than Labour have done already without publicising it.

As far as voting Lib Dem goes, we're back to the precise point of this debate. We can vote Lib Dem, almost sure they won't get in, and dubious of their ability if they do, or we can register a priority by voting green, but either make it more likely that we get Howard as swing voters leave Labour. Or we follow your strategy of fearing the Tories more than we condemn Labour for their actions, vote Labour and condone everything they've done in the last four years. (Even if we might not agree with elements of policy, our voting for them really does make us responsible for their actions)

I restate my position - there is no significant difference on the issues I consider important, and I (along with a significant proportion of the population) have no credible way of influencing those issues.

But we can debate this when you get here. When do you get here?


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simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London

Total posts: 3149
Posted:ok, i didn't make myself clear enough

i wasn't saying those issues were small.

but that looking at all the issues is important, whether small (as you'd dismissed the ones that directly concern me of being) or large, because they're "indices of the underlying attitude".

I'll be getting down there tonight with mr dizzy and mr moohaahaa. Probably around 9ish(?) maybe possibly ishhh uhhmmm


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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Raymund Phule (Fireproof)


Raymund Phule (Fireproof)

Enter a "Title" here:
Location: San Diego California

Total posts: 2905
Posted:Are all dictators bad?

Some Jarhead last night: "this dumb a$$ thinks hes fireproof"

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frostypaw


Great balls of fire
Location: Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Total posts: 643
Posted:Quote:
Are all dictators bad?


No, there is no moral judgement implied in the word.


I can SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

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simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London

Total posts: 3149
Posted:Yup, i'd be a benevolent dictator. Honest ubbangel

"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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joe_sixsteps


joe_sixsteps

mULti-torTOISe
Location: Kent currently, Cornwall soon,...

Total posts: 310
Posted:Can anyone think of a real-life benevolent dictator? Except Sim of course...

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simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London

Total posts: 3149
Posted:i'm sure there have been plenty of benevolent dictators.

It depends exactly what you're talking about though. Social groups used to be much smaller than nations.

But i'm sure there would have been some fairly pleasant Lords during feudal times.
Though maybe not quite responsible enough to their subjects needs by today's standards.

The problem is that you tend to hear only about nasty rulers, not the nice ones.


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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