Sunday, 9 December 2007


Nick Cohen, writing in the Guardian, is an angry man. He's angry because people think the wars in Afganistan and Iraq are wrong, and that people criticise the American and British governments for them.
According to Cohen, vocal critics of these wars are wrong, because Baathism and Islamism are bad too, and we should defeat them.
I don't really understand why Cohen has concluded that because Saddam and the Taliban's regimes were horrible, it was right for "us" to go and bomb the crap out of said regime's citizens, leaving one country highly unstable, the other in chaos.

Cohen clearly thinks about morals and ethics, but he has got it wrong.

The repression of the Taliban was wrong, we can agree on that, as was that of Saddam. But when deciding to do something about repression, you have to judge the likely outcome of your action. The question is this; will lives be improved by your actions?

For an innocent civillian, of any country, is it better to be oppressed but alive, or free and dead? Many Iraqi civillians, if the dead could talk, would be able to tell us.
I know I would prefer any sort of life to death.

But is not Britain or America's place to decide for another nation's people that they will prefer the life (or death) that we will bring to them by removing their oppression.

I think the sectarian killings in Iraq, and the resurgence of the Taliban in Afganistan are horrific; but I oppose the US/UK wars in both countries because they demonstrably made innocent lives worse. We can support the cause of "freedom" without imposing it from above with bombs, can't we?

Did I say before that we don't have much democracy in the US or UK? We really don't, by the way. Perhaps someone ought to start wars against our regimes to bring us "freedom".
OF course I'm not really advocating that; it would be terrible, and wrong. So it is in Afganistan and Iraq. Am I wrong?


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