Friday, 28 March 2003

I am in blood / Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more / Returning were as tedious as go o'er

As for what I think about the Anglo-American war with Iraq, I remain agnostic. Or rather, torn. As Edward Lempinen's piece in Salon.com puts quite lucidly, the fact is that anti-war protestors are not offering alternatives to the human rights violations committed by the Saddam regime. (George Orwell, ever quotable in such situations, writes that "the writings of younger intellectual pacificists... do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States". "Notes on Nationalism" is a nice short piece that's always worth a read.) I admit I remain completely suspicious of Dubya: I don't believe at present in the al-Qaeda / Saddam links, and I'm not sure how much of the war is due to a need for disarmament, how much a desire to impose a democratic regime, and how much the cold calculus of capitalism. Even so, the fact is this war could have positive human rights consequences, intended or no.

This is the stuff of tragedy, the irreversibility of time and actions. Saddam's numerous human rights violations are tantamount to the slaughter of Iphigenia: they set into place the tragedy. Alea jacta est: the die is cast, and now no choice of action, and indeed no moral choice, is possible that leaves your hands without blood. War may not be the answer, but peace isn't a perfect solution either.




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