02 December 2005
Kosovo, Iraq and middle class stupidity.
The Spectator has an article this week which compares and contrasts the attitudes towards the bombing of the Yugoslavian television station in Belgrade back in 1999, with the recent planned bombing of al-Jazeera's station. During the war against Yugoslavia, Clare Short could say with a straight face that, "The propaganda machine is prolonging the war and it’s a legitimate target." At the same time, liberal media such as The Guardian simply reported the atrocity by repeating the aggressor's line that "Nato targeted the heart of ...Milosevic’s power base early today by bombing the headquarters of Serbian state television, taking it off the air in the middle of a news bulletin." The report neglected to mention how 27-year-old Jelica Munitlak, a make-up artist and the other fifteen staff who died that night fitted into this category, but the liberal interventionists didn't care. Their cause was on the march and that was all that mattered. Today those same people and organisations are howling the loudest about the war against Iraq. Clearly something is very rum in all of this.
It is not as if the arguments for aggression have changed all that much. In fact, the lies and half-truths that were used in 1999 are very similar to the ones that were used in 2003. Then it involved glossing over the fact that Kosovo was a province of Serbia and what was going on was a civil war in that country. The number of people killed in that conflict was inflated, and the whole aggression was presented as a "moral imperitive" to save the ethnic-Albanians. It reads along similar lines to the nonsense about weapons of mass destruction, human beings put into mythical shredders, and government attacks on the Iraqi-Shias that we hear today. So what has changed? Why are the chickenhawks of 1999 so anti-war today?
Could it be that American wingnuts have a point? That what has changed is the man in the White House? Would the hostility to the war against Iraq be so intense if Bill "Bubba" Clinton had given the orders instead of George "The Chimp" Bush? Certainly outrage at the proposed bombing of al-Jazeera has been far more strident than opposition ever was to the actual bombing of the Belgrade station. In fact, the same liberal, middle class chatterwankers (*) who cheered on the war against Yugoslavia are often the same chatterwankers who today emote so loudly against the agression that Iraq is sufferering.
If the wingnuts are correct, and chatterwank opposition to the war against Iraq really is based on an aversion to the Chimp, then it would follow that they are making rods for their own backs. The whole point about these aggressions, is that they aimed to force countries to join the world of globalised capitalism. It is those same chatterwankers who gained so much from that world, just as the rest of us saw our lives destroyed by it. If America's defeat in Iraq is total, then it is quite likely that the country could retreat into isolationism. If that happens the whole experiment in globalised capitalism could be damaged beyond repair. The world could become a collection of sovereign states, each defending their own industries and way of life. As one who firmly believes that self-interest is at the root of all politics, it is good that the liberal middle-class have forgotten this truism. Thus they can serve their purpose as part of the grand coalition that opposes this war, and can be ditched once it is over and the time to rebuild Great Britain arrives.
(*) Do you like that word, chatterwankers? I just made it up. The concept of the "chattering classes" did not seem to cover them completely. Clearly they mouth-off at great length, but if this argument is correct, then they are chattering themselves out of pocket. Only a wanker would do that, so chatterwankers they are!
Update, 2 December 2005: I am very grateful to Comandante Gringo in the comments box for the Radio Netherlands link which contains further details about the atrocity, and the photo reproduced above of the murdered girl.