Standing by Israel

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.
Ralph Giordano
12 January 2003

You ask me where I stand?

My immediate reaction: any question about the Iraq crisis which mentions George W. Bush, but not Saddam, contains per se a tendentious answer. Which prompts me to ask back: "And where do you stand?"

My second spontaneous reaction is to say: "I am on Israel’s side, ladies and gentlemen, primarily on Israel’s side!"

No, I do not want this war, I dread it and its consequences – but I strongly oppose the impulse which lets the arch crook Saddam off the hook, leaving intact this terrible status quo, and delegating sole responsibility for the crisis to "the Americans". I am fed up to the point of nausea with the pathology of anti-Americanism and refuse to identify oil greed as the motive for the escalation of the crisis in the Middle East.

I am not a blind defender of the United States, and I have often raised my voice against a foreign policy which connived in the Cold War with all right-wing dictators around the globe. America, however, does not have one face. It has many. And it is a good thing to have America – I owe her my life after all, even though the 8thBritish Army liberated me on 4 May 1945.

I hope that Saddam will be defeated without a war – but he has to be defeated! And the UN must be behind it.

Again it rings true: pacifism in a non-pacifist world means nothing but the continuation of murderous and terrorist regimes. It cannot be the answer to the chief rogue Saddam Hussein.

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. II


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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