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It is 12 January 2003 and US president Bush has rallied his troops for what he calls “The first war of the 21st century”. What is your view of this crisis, where, briefly, do you stand? This is the question we are putting to people around the world, especially those with their own public reputation and following. Our aim, to help create a truly global debate all can identify with.
Anita Roddick
12 January 2003

Shame on Bush and Blair for threatening their illegal and immoral war. The United Nations Charter, that noble document which authorizes war only in "self-defence if an armed attack occurs" or if the UN Security Council deems force necessary to maintain international peace and security, is like so much dust in the wind against the oil-slicked aggressive greed of an arrogant, rogue superpower and its shameless British lackeys. If the Security Council approves this unjust war, it will not be because the world is in agreement, but because it has been strong-armed by a bully.

Shame on the media for refusing to ask the right questions, or to question the right villains. Shame on them for their 24-hour war-watch programming peppered with million-dollar ads and extremist talking heads. Shame on them for cashing in on conflict and ignoring nuance and the truth-telling masses in the streets who are resisting the incessant war cries.

Who is asking the real questions: like, why now? Why not ten years ago, twenty years ago, or ten years from now? Or, if this war is truly about weapons of mass destruction, where is the evidence? If this war is really about the liberation of the Iraqi people from a tyrant, why did we never liberate Chile from Pinochet or Cambodia from Pol Pot? Why are we not liberating Zimbabwe from Mugabe? Why are we not seeking "regime change" by force in North Korea? The answer is obvious, and yet we are told not to believe it. Shame on us if we don't. And shame on us all for entering the new millennium still at each other's throats.

Originally published as part of a debate on 12 January 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 1.

See also Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 2.

Peter Geoghegan: dark money and dirty politics

Democracy is in crisis and unaccountable flows of money are helping to destroy it. Peter Geoghegan’s new book, ‘Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics’, charts how secretive money, lobbying and data has warped our democracy.

How has dark money bought our politics? What can be done to change the system?

Join us for a journey through a shadowy world of dark money and disinformation stretching from Westminster to Washington, and far beyond.

Sign up to take part in a free live discussion on Thursday 13 August at 5pm UK time/6pm CET

In conversation:

Peter Geoghegan Dark Money Investigations editor at openDemocracy and the author of ‘Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics’.

Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy.

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