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Losing Friends the Anti-War Way
Last uploaded : Sunday 23rd Feb 2003 at 20:37
Contributed by : Stephen Pollard



I am a warmonger. I am bloodthirsty. I am rabid. My friends want only peace and harmony, but I want to wreak destruction and killing. I want to see British soldiers doing the Texan moron?s dirty work for him.

Almost alone among my friends, I did not go on The March. My absence was not due to ambivalence, but because I considered the march to be contemptible. I think the marchers are not only wrong but dangerously, wilfully, shamefully wrong.

Since this is, literally, a matter of life and death, I have been prepared to tell them precisely why I think that they are so in error. Their response has been to tell me what they think of me.

In all my 38 years, I have never before felt such a sense of personal shock. I am shocked that so many of my friends would rather a brutal dictator remained in power ? for that would be the direct consequence if their views won out ? than support military action by the United States. I am ashamed that they would rather believe the words of President Saddam Hussein than those of their own Prime Minister. I am nauseated that they would rather give succour to evil than think through the implications of their gut feelings.

It is a shocking experience to realise that your friends are either mindless, deluded or malevolent.

I used to think that 9/11 was the most important day of my life. It was indeed a day which transformed the world; its influence will be felt for decades, if not centuries. But however foul the ?America had it coming? refrain, that came mainly from the usual suspects. This is different. This time the words come from friends.

I have many friends with whom I disagree politically; it would be a small-minded person who could not say that. But this goes beyond mere politics. This is about fundamentals. And what makes it truly shocking is how many normal, apolitical, otherwise decent people are so deeply wrong, so stridently misguided.

I have tried to point out that saying you are in favour of ?peace? is meaningless. Which sane person is not? The question is: peace on whose, and what, terms? If it is peace on the terms of brutal dictators, secured by allowing them to build up whatever weapons arsenals they wish, then that is not peace. It is suicide.

Aha, but it is the UN which should decide this, not the US. Tell them it has, through 17 resolutions, and they tell you that Iraq should not be singled out for action, or that we need to give the arms inspectors ?more time? ? as if 12 years were not enough. And what should we do when they have had more time? ?You are just looking for an excuse for war.?

Most of my friends on The March could not place Iraq on a map, let alone describe the contents of Resolution 1441, which finds that ?Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations? and imposes a deadline ?not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution? for Iraq to supply ?a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration? ? a date which fell on December 9. Tell them this, and they say that it?s critical to stick by the UN, without being able to grasp the contradiction.

How can I use the word ?friend? to describe such people? It is not that they are wrong, but that our moral frameworks are so entirely different. They wallow in their sense of superiority, but what they wish to protest against, I thank God for. What they consider an affront, I salute. What they regard as a moral outrage, I regard as the only safe way to conduct world affairs. What they stand for, I feel sickened by.

This is not about Left versus Right. It is about freedom: those who are willing to protect it, and those who take it for granted.

The author is a senior fellow at the Centre for the New Europe.



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