Monday, July 31, 2006

We know what you are against, but what are you for?

Hat tip to Dougal Paver at for his wise words on the war in Lebanon.

It got me wondering why Western liberals and so called progressives find it so easy to condemn the US, Britain and Israel. At the same time they see only what they want to see in the threat to our way of life from the virulent strain of militant Islam that lobs rockets into Israeli cities, flies planes into downtown New York and blows up the London Underground. I was reminded, however, that things were ever thus:

"The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to taking life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists, whose real though unacknowledged motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration for totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writing of the younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States ..."
George Orwell's Notes on Nationalism in May 1945.


Mouthwideopen said...

A bit of muddled thinking here?? Surely it's worth making the distinction between treatment of Isreal and treatment of Britain-US? Islamicist attacks on Israel aren't just the rage of swivel-eyed ideaologues - they are parts of a rational "foriegn policy" - just as much as Isreals doings in the West Bank and Gaza are part of a rational foreign policy. (Note - rational, not right... big difference). In each case Isreali or the Palestinians or Lebanese groups are trying to find ways to pursue their policy aims in a context in which diplomacy isn't working. War, after all, is just diplomacy by other means.

In contrast bombs in London and New York aren't part of any kind of dialogue-gone-wrong and deserve a rather more sophisticated kind of analysis. I'm not persuaded that there's an empire of evil on one side and angels of light on the other. I think the record shows that far more people were killed by British bombs in Dresden that on the London underground or in Manhattan... and one dead bystander is, after all, equal to one dead bystander whoever, whenever and wherever they happen to be.

Mouthwideopen said...

...oops... should have read it through before posting. Apologies for those awful slips of the fingers...