I supported the United States in 2001 when it had a clear right to pursue the murderers of 3,000 of its residents and citizens. To me, the invasion of Afghanistan was justified and inevitable.
Shortly after the assault on his own country, President Bush made an explicit promise that he would work to help reinforce the move towards democracy for the Palestinians, and to reinforce security for the Israelis.
Since the beginning of the second intifada, nearly 3000 people have also been killed, over two-thirds of them Palestinian, a majority on both sides, like those in the Twin Towers, innocent victims of a violence in which they themselves had no part.
President Bush has since reneged on all his promises. By his failure of purpose in the Middle East, he has sanctioned extremists who pursue mayhem and murder in pursuit of ultimately unobtainable goals – on one side, continued occupation and expansion ; on the other, an end to the state of Israel.
He has been, thus far, the most self-righteous, dangerous and inadequate President in American history.
No exponent of American foreign policy has been able to explain why one UN resolution – that voted through recently against Iraq – should be made a matter of military urgency, while another, far more pressing resolution – the one which demands the withdrawal of Israeli troops to pre-1967 borders – has been allowed to stand for thirty years, unenforced, mocking Western claims of impartiality and justice.
I cannot understand a species of Christian zealotry prevailing in the White House which seeks only to prioritise the strong over the weak and the rich over the poor – an exact reversal of Christ’s stated mission on earth.
An unsanctioned invasion of Iraq has no legitimacy. Its arbitrariness is a hearty gesture of encouragement to terrorists all over the world. Like everyone else, I wish an end to dictatorship – in Pakistan and in Saudi Arabia, in Burma and in China, as well as in Iraq. But, most of all, I wish for an American government which has the guts and the vision to imagine a policy for justice and peace in the Middle East.
Originally published as part of a debate on 12 January 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 1.