I don't suppose we shall see Western students, socialist
politicians, film makers and stinking installation artists marching
against terrorists, murderers and "rebels"
September 13, 2004
I recently read a heartening report in the International
Herald Tribune, what a grand paper (They know a gent's walked
into the café, with the IHT. Good afternoon, I chant,
tea and salmon canapés please...) It concerned a new,
apparently popular Baghdad radio station Iraqis can call to air
on issues like crime, incipient civil war, girl/boyfriend troubles
or the price of vegetables.
I rejoice that after decades of fascist
oppression, our neighbours can call the radio to freely complain,
rather than praise Saddam Hussein and his sons, or execrate Israel
(which they can also). Every day, that radio station is helping
forge the fragile organism called civil society.
According to the
report, a poll taken by the radio station showed that the vast
majority of Iraqis - if not every single member of the sample population
that responded to that survey -- consider Iraqi insurgents "terrorists"
not "resistance fighters."
We rarely hear the views of the sedate majority, but when we
do, they generally confirm my opinion that people are more discerning
and sensible than the press and politicians suppose. It is barely
credible that the Iraqis should admire Muqtada al-Sadr, or the
terrorists and professional murderers intent on imposing a regime
infinitely worse than the government of Iyad Allawi and its likely
successors. They do not.
It is the ignorant or cynical left-wing
trash of Western countries that see a legitimate "resistance."
older generation of the same trash used to sympathise with the
Soviet Union, Sandinistas, Palestinian hijackers etc.., Oh, and
The IHT report says it all: Most Iraqis approve, grudgingly or
otherwise, the overall developments in their country. They may
wish the Americans to leave (as if the Americans want to stay)
but prefer the new arrangements to the past or anything Muqtada
al-Sadr can offer. What can he offer other than a perpetual economic
slump and a life of misery I hardly need describe to anyone on
An Associated Press report of 10 September cites a resident of
Samarra, in central Iraq, welcoming the return of provisional government
authority and American troops to the town, after a period of control
by "rebels" when, AP reported, the city saw a "reign
of terror," lawlessness, and the execution of "informers." I
don't suppose we shall see Western students, socialist politicians,
film makers and stinking installation artists marching against
terrorists, murderers and "rebels."
This I blame in part on accursed romanticism, the 19th century
cultural wave that repackaged violence, anarchy, and road-rage
as breathtaking heroism. The Left used it in the last century
to portray itself as a friend of the people and repository of disinterested
communitarian sentiments (on which I would merrily piss). Thus
we have T-shirts of El Che, but none of Richard Nixon. Who can
say, speaking qualitatively or quantitatively, that the former
served humanity better than the latter?
Richard Nixon was vilified for his politics, then for breaking
the law. Salvador Allende, the Chilean president Nixon helped
topple, also broke the rules of democracy.
He violated the Chilean constitution, certainly in spirit, if not in actuality.
He snapped, roughed up and manhandled all the legislation and rights, including
property rights, which he thought would obstruct the (usually forced) march
So is it the violation of laws we deplore, or
just anyone not from
the romantic Left? But Allende was democratically elected, they keep saying
(not Musaddiq, as someone pertinently observed on this site);
so was Nixon. Only Nixon
did not intend to discreetly put to death a liberal democracy, and perpetuate
himself as a populist dictator (nor does George W. Bush).
arguably. He sought to replace what he might have termed a "bourgeois
the socialism some consider the "real" version of democracy (to which
I say, democracy is one thing, sir, socialism another, and the first
is infinitely more pleasant than the second -- which reminds me
a British television
documentary, where a Cuban "citizen" was telling the filmmaker, "all
we can do here is drink and f**k.")
Allende I admit is a poor example of left-wing wickedness. He
was a good man, and he meant well; the circumstances of his death
were regrettable (as circumstances
Another IHT item I read a few months back reported that while
Iraqis dislike the U.S. occupation, they were furious at French
to compromise and
retain the regime of Saddam Hussein. And the French thought people would love
standing up for the little man...
Man, I love that paper. I shall try not to walk around saying
told you so, told you so, a perpetual temptation. I also suspect
George W. Bush will win
paribus - absent a gigantic act of terrorism. You look at Kerry and see another
spineless, dreary James Carter, and frankly I cringe at the great bargains
his putative vice-president is offering. But I do like the Kerry wife who
journalist to "shove it." You tell them, Mrs. "friend of the