Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Giving Saddam the Finger

MH Finger 2
"The tree of Liberty must from time to time be refreshed by the blood inky fingers of patriots."

My friend and Birkbeck classmate Muhamad shows the traces of ink left on his finger after he voted in last week's Iraqi elections. He cast his ballot while visiting the pilgrim cities in Saudi Arabia, covering the Hajj for an Iraqi news magazine. The Bagdhad native, who came to Britain just over three years ago, is a vocal supporter of George W Bush and the war he waged.

All I risk by supporting Bush and the war is an occasional episode of social embarassment. The soldiers and marines risk life and limb, but get to leave after six months, all the while knowing their families and friends are safe at home. For him, the stakes are much higher.

Many's the time I've sat in seminars, lectures and classes while some supposed authority, like Paul Rogers tell him how it supposedly is in Iraq, and various idiots in the audience concur and invoke Islamophobia, the Project for the New American Century, oil and Richard Clarke.

After the election, I'm both a lot more optimistic and somewhat more at peace with my own views. I've been very uncertain as to whether the invasion was unambiguously right: Now, I've come to realise that although the realist analyses of the risks are prudent and credible, the moral case for intervention was very strong and Bush and Blair could and should have acted to bring an outcome like this about.